Thursday, 28 May 2020

May 28th, 1980 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.

It's not often the theme tune to an American sitcom makes it to Number One on the UK singles chart.

But that's what happened exactly forty years ago this week because, to the possible surprise of all, the main song from M*A*S*H*, which went by the name of Suicide is Painless, climbed to that very pinnacle.

If I remember right, it was because a Radio One DJ (Possibly Noel Edmunds) took to playing it on his show, prompting people to rush out and buy it.

Over on the album chart, somewhat lighter fare was ruling the roost, as Paul McCartney's McCartney II smashed straight in at Number One to prove there was yet life in the old dog.

There was also life in Nottingham Forest football club who, on this very night in that year, retained the European Cup, with a 1–0 win over West Germany's Hamburger SV. This meant the European Cup had been won by an English club for the fourth successive year.

Also feeling triumphant, no doubt, were the creators of Pac-Man, as this week saw the release of what would go on to become the highest-earning arcade game of all time.

Doctor Who Weekly #33, Daleks

Hooray! The Daleks make the front cover again!

This is thanks to Genesis of Evil, a reprint of an old TV Century 21 strip from 1965, which tells us the origin of the Daleks - an origin which bears little resemblance to the one we were given in 1975's Genesis of the Daleks.

However, despite this epoch-making event, the Dogs of Doom is still the main story.

We also get another Lee/Ditko classic from Strange Tales #73. In it, a scientist ignores all warnings and builds a time machine - only to find himself trapped in an infinite loop in which he keeps building his time machine over and over again.

To finish off the issue, we get yet more of that tale about the Yeti.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #377

I'm assuming we're getting more of the origin of She-Hulk and issue #1 of Spider-Woman.

What the Hulk's up to, I can't say for sure but suspect he's now reached the Gardener storyline.

The FF may still be having trouble with HERBIE.

It also looks like Spidey's well on his way to becoming Spider-Lizard.

Forces in Combat #3, Machine Man

This week, Machine Man gets to hog the cover.

When it comes to the insides, as far as I can make out, the man the Howling Commandos are rescuing from a German POW camp is still gunning Germans down, ten to the dozen - even after they've surrendered. I suspect they should have just left him in that camp.

Elsewhere, Wulf the Briton's still in colour and has accepted a challenge to fight Rome's greatest gladiator!

But the thing that really leaps out is this issue contains eight stories. That's far too many for an early 1980s Marvel UK weekly. Even Dez never tried to cram that many into one book.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #118

After 117 issues, Star Wars Weekly is no more.

From now on, it's to be known as Star The Empire Strikes Back Wars Weekly. It's a title that just rolls off the tongue.

This means, of course, that we get the beginning of Marvel's adaptation of that brand new movie, as presented by Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon.

We also get a three-page article about the making of the film.

But it's not all dedicated to the movie of the moment, thanks to John Jameson still being trapped on a hijacked spaceship and having turned, once more, into the Man-Wolf.

Apparently, Lunatik features in this tale. I don't have a clue how that'd happen.

We also get a Tale of the Watcher in which an alien spaceship lands on Earth but, ultimately, leaves, disappointed that humanity never realised it was actually alive.

But, of course, the most exciting thing to come out of this issue is we get a set of Star Wars Letraset action transfers!

As I had this comic, that means I must have had them as well.

Why, then, do I have no recollection of them?


Timothy Field said...

The Empire Strikes Back Weekly does give the impression that the Empire were at least persistent.

Anonymous said...

Slightly disappointed by the absence of nipple electrocution in this post Steve, but I blame Marvel UK rather than you.

The TV 21 Dalek strips were reprinted a few times - I recall that origin story from a mid-70s Dalek annual - but did Marvel UK splash out on some colour printing for it? Seems unlikely, but then I was surprised when you mentioned they did for Wulf the Brexiter, so...


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

While there's a certain symmetry to it (and while it's very inclusive in a 2020 way) were the last remaining readers of Marvel's last weekly superhero comic really that interested in She Hulk and Spider-Woman? When (from what I can tell) Thor, Iron Man Captain America, Doctor Strange and Daredevil were all on hiatus and none of them anywhere near catching up with the US comics like Spider-Man and The Hulk were?

I tell you, they'd done a revamp and replaced 40% of the strips in Roy Of The Rovers with stories about women's teams, that comic would have lost all its readers overnight.

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, I can only assume the editor was working on the idea that, as Spider-Man and the Hulk were Marvel's most popular characters in Britain, adding more spidery-Hulkiness would boost reader interest.

I feel like he was wrong.

Sean, I have seen no evidence that the Dalek strip was reprinted in colour.

Tim, it also gives the impression that Darth Vader's grown to be fifty foot tall and that Luke Skywalker is very unobservant.

Anonymous said...

Ladies in comics - its political correctness gone mad!

Seriously though, 2000AD didn't lose suddenly lose readers when Halo Jones started, which was one of the best series they ever published. The problem for Marvel was that She-Hulk and Spider-Woman just weren't particularly good comics.

dangermash, Dr Strange is in Rampage at this point. Cap, Thor and DD were all in the Dez-era weeklies but presumably the falling sales that bought about the Hulk/Spidey merger suggested trying something else...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

McCartney II – came and went fairly quickly to little critical praise, though it became seemingly more popular years after the release.

Coming Up Like a Flower was a lovely song and quite popular among the Anglo-Saxon world.

Waterfalls was apparently fairly popular in the UK, though not here in the USA. I just went and youtube’d it and found it quite enjoyable! I recommend watching. The "old man" is only 38 years old at the time!

SDC – I would never have discovered Waterfalls without your blog! And that’s why I am a satisfied sponsor!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Dangermash - I am with you in regards to Roy of the Rovers. I would not have followed a female soccer team either.

Yet ole Steve does have a fair point that the only way that they could exploit whatever it was that made Hulk and Spidey popular was to run with feminine versions. I mean, they had all kinds of heroes and villains with insect / animal powers or transforming into super strength, yet only Spidey and Hulk were of extreme popularity. I mean, take someone like the Lizard who sort of has both aspects... he never got his own title. Werewolf did but not a long run. Just a thought... not very profound LOL.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Spotters badge, Sean. I forgot about Doctor Strange being in the monthlies with the Avengers and the old and new X-Men.

And, what's that I see? The Champions is in the monthlies too? Thor and Iron Man are definitely getting a raw deal here. I feel a bit of loyalty to those strips after they were Spider-Man's support acts in Marvel U.K. for years in the only comic that I got to read every week.

Redartz said...

Steve, it's interesting that the M.A.S.H. theme was released as a single and hit the top in the UK. It never appeared on the US Billboard Hot 100, as far as I know. And the show was so incredibly popular! I would have bought that single...

Charlie- "Coming up like a flower"? I never had "McCartney II", and am unfamiliar with this song. However, Wings hit number 1 in 1980 with "Coming Up", and there is a line "...coming up, like a flower...". Is that the same song?

Doubtless others have noticed that Daleks look like salt shakers...

Killdumpster said...

When I ran the jukebox department, supplying 45's & CDs at the music warehouse I worked for, the theme from M*A*S*H on vinyl was popular for southern Waffle House units.

I would've bought a Lizard book. They could've at least gave him an issue or two in Marvel Spotlight.

The Giant-Sized Spider-Man, which featured Man-Thing and the Lizard as antagonist was awesome. Liz really had his deadly on.

Marvel really missed their favorite Jekyll & Hyde theme on that one.

Hmmm... wish our restaurants were open here in PA.

I have the flavor for waffles now, or French toast. Or pancakes.

And bacon. And homefries. With gravy. Maybe a couple eggs.

Looks like COVID-19 is reducucing my cholesterol level. Silver lining in every cloud... I guess...


Steve W. said...

Red, Charlie is indeed referring to Coming Up. There were two versions, a studio one recorded by McCartney where he played all the instruments himself and the live version by Wings. The solo McCartney version was a hit in Britain. The Wings version was a hit in America. The solo version is very different from the Wings version.

Allegedly, the Daleks were based on pepperpots in the BBC canteen but that seems to be apocryphal. They also bear a noticeable resemblance to the Martian spaceship in the original TV version of Quatermass and the Pit.

Charlie, Waterfalls made the Top Ten in the UK. Clearly, TLC liked it because they "borrowed" its opening lines for their own song of the same name. McCartney II is a highly idiosyncratic album with all sorts of oddities on it. The third UK single from it was a thing called Temporary Secretary which has to be heard to believed and has become something of a cult classic.

Steve W. said...

KD and Red, I remember the M*A*S*H* single was quite controversial in Britain, when it hit the charts, because of its references to suicide and there were calls, from some quarters, for it to be banned from the airwaves.

Anonymous said...

I am indeed a sad anorak dangermash.

Charlie, I doubt I'd be much interested in following a series about a female football team either, but if they did one about women's wrestling... well, that would be quite a different matter!


Anonymous said...

Kd, I'm surprised your just complaining. Liberate the Waffle House! Live free or die.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - Was there such a series on woman wrestling? I truly have no idea.

That being said, when my son was playing indoor soccer in winters, about 10 years ago, the Chicago Lingerie football team would practice on the next field. I hate to sound sexist but all the dad's went to watch the ladies in lingerie... We'd leave the kids to the coach. Anyhow, it wasn't worth driving home and back for the one hour practice.

If only they'd served brew at this place, along with some chicken wings. (Yes, I'm serious!)

FWIW - you did NOT want to be in a practice with the lingerie team. I mean, these ladies hit each other so bloody hard we would cringe! The boys would stop soccer practice trying to figure out what the noise were: it was their protective pads smashing into each other!

Killdumpster said...

The M*A*S*H theme I had on 45' had the original version on one side, the TV instrumental on the other. I'm sure the TV version got played more.

I'm not so much complaining, but waxing nostalgic.

You are absolutely right though. "POWER TO THE PANCAKES!" would make a good rallying cry.

Unfortunately Waffle Houses are a predominant thing mostly in the southern part of our country.

I'd be more than happy to organize the "Maple-Syrup Squad"! Lol!

Anonymous said...

To be fair to you Charlie, American football seems like it would be more entertaining when played by women not wearing much.

The only womens wrestling I've seen in comics was in Love & Rockets, and - briefly - Marvel Two-in-One.
Actually, now I think about it, Roy of the Rovers was just football; maybe I was getting it mixed up with Tiger & Scorcher, which did have a series about a wrestler, Johnny Cougar (which was terrible).


Anonymous said...

Sean, I'm a huge fan of Love and Rockets. In fact I just got the latest issue, after not following it for some years.
One thing I love about it is that the characters age just like I do. They're almost like real people to me. I got hooked back in the late '80's.
Tia Vickie and her all-female wrestling camp. I remember that.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red,Steve, et al.

Oddly I heard the live Wings version of Coming Up (Like a Flower), bought the single, and it was instant shock for Charlie. Reason being that the single sold here was the all-Paul instrumental.

I don't know if the live Wings version was sold as a single or not? Perhaps Killdumpster recalls? But I rather preferred the live version.

Anyhow, the only two singles left in this house are Monkee's Pleasant Valley Sunday and Rolling Stone's Harlem Shuffle LOL.

Colin Jones said...

Star The Empire Strikes Back Wars Weekly is possibly the stupidest name ever for a comic but it did have a nice cover unlike the covers of 'Forces In Combat' and 'Spider-Man & Hulk Weekly' which looked embarrassingly crappy and cheap.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Gents!

According to your venerable sports radio show "Hawksbee and Jacobs" (this morning in the USA, this afternoon in the UK, lol) the UK is bringing back Pigeon Racing this weekend!

All I can say is "Yowza!" I'd love to see Pigeon Racing!

Any of you guys going?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - given you were robbed of your opportunity to cover the International Snookers championships in Sheffield, would you be willing to give us coverage of the UK Pigeon Racing?

Also, if you go, would you please advise if they sell pies at these things?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey - UK Guys - Not to delve into politics per se but just a general question. This guy who works for Bo Jo who violated social distancing (took his wife and kid to the grandmother?)...

Is this really a big deal in the UK or is it just one side of the political spectrum using it to dig at the other side? Sometimes when I see your news, as reported by our news, it's really hard to tell if folk's truly are bothered or is it just a media thing b/c it could sell papers?

Anyhow, I really don't want to stir it up about the right/wrong of what he did as much to know if this is really a big story or not.

Timothy Field said...

Hi Charles, most people seem to feel Cummings was in the wrong, regardless of political leaning, the lockdown has been a PITA for most normal folk, so it has ruffled people. That said he does have some defenders, though they tend to be a bit Brexity.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, it is a big story. BoJo's adviser, Dominic Cummings, broke the lockdown rules which everybody else has to follow and most people are angry about it. But Cummings refuses to resign and Bojo refuses to fire him so Cummings will survive. But BoJo likes to think he's a modern-day Churchill bringing the nation together in these difficult times blah, blah, but now he's exposed as a hypocrite who thinks there's one rule for him and his pals and another rule for everybody else. Dominic Cummings is considered to be the brains behind Brexit while Boris Johnson was only the dancing muppet who appealed to the xenophobic old codgers who support Brexit and the Conservative party.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents! Thanks for you insights on Dominic. Yes, I get it... the rules are for "y'all" b/c you ain't smart enough like me.

Same ole, same ole... LOL.

List of the latest USA shortages due to Covid: Lawn Mowers (factory closed), small and above-ground swimming pools for kids (public pools closed), convertible ba-days (bedes?) that fit on to your existing toilet due tot he toilet paper shortages! (You know... the thing the french use to clean their private parts when you don't need a full bath or shower).


Steve W. said...

Colin and Tim are correct. The Dominic Cummings scandal is a very big story and is still not dying down. He's been attacked by people on all sides of the political spectrum.

I don't think pigeon racing is particularly a spectator event. Basically, a bunch of pigeons are released from one spot and then they all fly home. The one that gets home first wins. I'm sure they sell pies. After all, they have to find some use for the losers.

When it comes to Coming Up, the A-Side was the solo version, the B-Side was the Wings version. Most American radio stations preferred the Wings version and played that, even though it was the B-Side. All British radio stations preferred the solo version. The only time I ever heard the Wings version on British radio was on Paul Gambaccini's American chart show on Radio 1, which used to play it.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - thanks for that insight!

So was Waterfalls a big song too? I mean I know you said it popped Top 10 for sure. But I am wondering if it was not exactly a "young man's" song given it is more beautiful than rockin (you get my point, lol).

Did you guys dig it when you were in your late teens or so?

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

The spelling, Charlie, is bidet.

Speaking as a man, there's no way I could ever use one of those without ending up with water all over the bathroom floor and a very wet pair of jeans to walk around in for the rest of the day.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, my memory is that Waterfalls was very popular and highly regarded, even amongst teenagers. Remember, it's Synth-Pop, and Synth-Pop was one of the "in" things at the time. Hence the massive popularity of Ultravox's Vienna.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

OK Steve - now you got me going!

I like Vienna enough but not where'd I'd listen to it. Not sure why... Was Vienna inspired by Orson Welles' The Third Man in post-war Vienna? Was it a big hit in the UK?

On the other hand Paul's Waterfall's is really grabbing me... I'm playing for the 3rd time this morning (I'm in Chicago not UK, lol).

I will listen to your 3rd recommendation from McCartney II soon "Secretaries." I pray thee this is not in the same "nutzo" category of Plastic Bertrand, Japanese Boy, and that other dude Boney M. I can't take another one of those! Not now! I mean, I'm so stir crazy I'm googling bidets on AMazon!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - If I do buy a bidet through Amazon, you can rest assured I will use your link to Amazon at the top! I just used it to load up on buckwheat hot cereal last week!

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Charlie. I shall forever be grateful to your bidet.

Vienna was a very very big hit in Britain but it got stuck at Number Two forever. An entire generation was traumatised by its failure to reach Number One. A decade or so ago, a national poll conducted by the BBC and the Official Charts Company discovered it to be the nation's favourite Number 2 single of all time.

These are the results of that poll:

1. Ultravox - Vienna, 1981.

2. The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York, 1987.

3. Don McLean - American Pie, 1972.

4. James - Sit Down, 1991.

5. The Stranglers - Golden Brown, 1982.

6. The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset, 1967.

7. The Beatles - Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever, 1967.

8. Queen - We Are The Champions, 1977.

9. The Beach Boys - God Only Knows, 1966.

10. A-ha - Take On Me, 1985.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't it Joe Dolce who kept Vienna off the top spot, Steve? Good for him - shaddup you face Midge!
And well done Englebert Humperdinck on being bigger than the Beatles.

Sorry, but despite your deft change of the subject I'm going to weigh in on Cum-gate.
Charlie, it does seem like Cummings has been elevated from mere cockwombledom into the more rarefied territory of the sh*tgibbon.

Its a big problem for Boris Johnson because while a fair bit of the public seemed to find his useless upper class idiot image appealing (don't ask me why - its an English thing) most have now discovered that he wasn't just playing a part after all, and they have actually put a useless upper class idiot in power. Which doesn't seem to be going down well.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - All I can is I am gobsmacked!!!

Steve - I pray thee doth provide us a pie report from the pigeon races to sooth my nerves.

Also - I did listen to McCartney's Secretary Temporary. It truly sounds like something John Lennon would have come up with given the lack of a beautiful bass, soaring vocals, and, well, just one weird subject LOL. I may listen to it again in my life, today, and that may just be fine for a lifetime?

How high up the charts did that song get, LOL???

Steve W. said...

Temporary Secretary was a 12" limited edition release of just 25,000 copies and, therefore, didn't chart.

However, this is from Wikipedia; "In 2014, Temporary Secretary was ranked as one of the greatest songs of all time by critics of NME magazine. They described it as, 'wonky electropop that didn't sound so much ahead of its time as out of it altogether.'"

Steve W. said...

Joe Dolce was indeed the guilty man, Sean.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Well Steve - who can argue with a statement like that for Temporary Secretary?

I dare say that if Paul had been in Sheffield at the time he recorded it, and somehow bumped into Human League or ABC, it would have been THE GREATEST song of all time!!!

Can I get an "Amen?!"

Anonymous said...

It still wouldn't have been as good as what Cabaret Voltaire were doing at the time Charlie.
Or Throbbing Gristle, and they weren't even from the Peoples Republic of Sheffield.


Colin Jones said...

Like Sean, I have no problems with Joe Dolce's "Shaddup You Face" beating Ultravox to #1 and I also agree with him that the Beatles are totally over-rated - so there.

And Boney M's "Rasputin" and "Ma Baker" both reached #2 but they are better than any of the songs in Steve's list of #2 hits :D

Killdumpster said...

Having breakfast-on-the-brain the last few days, I did some shopping last night to cook a good one myself this morning.

It was a "triple crown". 3 waffles soaked in butter & syrup, 3 eggs sunny-side up & runny, and 3 big greasy slices of Throbbing Gristle (A/K/A farm fresh bacon).

Killdumpster said...

This is off-topic, but I'd like to wish my space-faring brothers a safe trip after the successful launch of the Space X/NASA collaborated rocket effort.

So glad our country has some kind of space program again. Nice respite from the virus & the recent riots happening here in the States.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin - pretty funny, pretty funny... to suggest that anything by Boney M is better than Strawberry Fields / Penny Lane...

I would rather watch Plastic Bertrand's Ca Plane Pour Moi than Boney M any day!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Killdumpster - are there riots in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave? Did I miss something?

Just kidding...

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Charlie, the Land of the Free might have the highest death toll from the coronavirus in the world (and rising), the cops are on the rampage and its MAGA night at the White House... but at least the new Space Force is making Elon Musk richer.


Killdumpster said...

Atta boy!

Anonymous said...

I've always loved astronomy, planetary science, space travel, but putting a couple guys in orbit isn't exactly groundbreaking. This is about egos, pure and simple. Trump and Musk.
And a piss-poor attempt at a distraction from the awful state of affairs over here.


Redartz said...

Yes, it's been quite a week. At least here one can find some mental peace and refreshment, discussing waffles, space and Boney M. Thanks guys, I needed that!

Anonymous said...

Good point, Red.
We should be talking about the stuff we like here, that's what this place is for.
Ill leave politics out of it and talk about space and waffles, two subjects I'm passionate about.
I'm 51 years old and I haven't had a homemade waffle since I was a kid, just the frozen kind.
I have made some pancakes, but like Victor Frankenstein, what I thought would be a thing of beauty turned out to be a monstrous, misshapen thing.
The ugliness of the thing in the pan could only be drowned out by copious amounts of syrup.


Anonymous said...

You're quite right about what SteveDoesComics is for M.P. - one of us should really have gone with the joke about Elon Musk being basically a rubbish real world Tony Stark.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents - I am cooking buck-wheat pancakes for breakfast! C'mon down to the farm!

I don't do no bacon though... Charlie has to watch his girlish figure!