Thursday, 7 May 2020

May 7th, 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.

Grab on to your Filofaxes and head on down to the nearest stock exchange because this month in 1980 saw the first-ever recorded use of the word Yuppie.

It would appear it turned up in an article by Chicago-based journalist Dan Rottenberg, titled About that Urban Renaissance.

Far from the world of yuppies, and in the very heartland of British working-class culture, that same month saw Liverpool football club win the domestic league for the 12th time.

In London, mere days later, the SAS stormed the Iranian Embassy, killing five of the six terrorists who'd taken the inhabitants hostage. This was an event so big that I'm fairly certain the BBC interrupted their broadcast of the snooker to show live coverage of it.

When it's the 1980s and even snooker gets interrupted, you know it's huge.

Spectacular Spider-Man #374, Morbius

As the boast at the top of the cover tells us, this comic has mere days to go before it merges with Marvel's other super-hero themed book. But, for the time being, Spidey's got better things to worry about - such as the return of Michael Morbius.

I do believe this is the one which begins with the living vampire attacking a group of teenagers on bicycles.

I can't imagine Dracula attacking cyclists.

That Morbius, he has no dignity.

I can confirm that, despite what the cover may imply, Mike hasn't suddenly grown to be the size of King Kong.

Star Wars Weekly #115

Our heroes are still being menaced by that big red monster.

However, thanks to Leia attacking the mechanisms which control it, and Luke getting handy with his lightsabre, the fiend's quickly dispatched and the siblings are free to return to their space adventuring.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy not so far away and not so long ago, Man-Wolf's fighting a man who's on a quest to find the Weirdstone, whatever that might be.

Even more meanwhile, Deathlok finds his mind's now inhabiting the clone of his original body and that his worries seem to be over.

I get a feeling that they're not.

Doctor Who Weekly #30

Now we're in trouble. The Doctor would appear to have turned into a werewolf!

Complete with a scarf!

I can only assume this is occurring in the tale known as The Dogs of Doom, mostly because that's what it says on the cover.

After that, there's a text article about the show's special effects. No doubt, it'll be looking at how the producers manage to source so many egg cartons, milk bottles and rolls of tin foil every week.

We get a tale titled The Man in the Mummy Case created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Given that creative team, I would assume it's not a Doctor Who adventure.

We also get a text story called The Sands of Time.

And, finally, we get more of the Abslom Daak outing The Star Tigers.

Marvel Super-Heroes #361, the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy

The Avengers are called in when a huge orbiting spaceship threatens SHIELD's HQ.

This leads to a clash between the world's mightiest super-team and the Guardians of the Galaxy. How many pages of fighting will they get through before they realise they're on the same side?

Elsewhere, the X-Men find themselves up against the bluster of Blastaar.

I do believe the artist on it is Barry Smith in his very earliest days at Marvel.

In The Champions, someone called Edward Lansing's out to enslave the whole world, including our heroes!

Most intriguingly of all, the issue departs with a feature about the Marvel characters of the Golden Age.

Star-Heroes Pocket Book #2, Battlestar Galactica

For those who don't find Star Wars Weekly enough to satiate their need for sci-fi, the Star Heroes pocket book gives us a dose of Battlestar Galactica and the Micronauts.

I suspect I'd find the Micronauts tale, whatever it is, to be the more interesting of the pair.

Chiller Pocket Book #3, Dracula

I don't know much about this month's contents but I believe they're a product of Chris Claremont and Don Heck and are reprinted from Giant-Size Dracula #3.

How ironic that a tale intended for a giant-size comic should end up in a pocket book.

Fantastic Four Pocket Book #2, the Inhumans

As the cover informs us, the Fantastic Four find themselves battling the Inhumans and pondering just who these strange people are.

But that's not all. We also get a 1950s Marvel Boy tale and a Keith Pollard pin-up of the Frightful Four.

Spider-Man Pocket Book #2

I may know plenty about what happens in the FF pocket book but I don't have a Scooby what occurs in this one.

I know the book's often in the habit of giving us Marvel Team-Up reprints but can neither confirm nor deny that it's doing so again.

Savage Sword of Conan #31, A Witch Shall Be Born, Boris Vallejo

Hooray! The Savage Sword of Conan's still bravely seeing off all challengers to its crown of, "Britain's Number 1 Sword and Sorcery magazine!"

And no wonder, as it gives us Marvel's adaptation of A Witch Shall Be Born, complete with legendary crucifixion!

In other news, I don't have a clue who Marok the Mighty is.

Starburst Magazine #21

We get yet more coverage of The Black Hole, whether we want it or not and, it seems, yet more talk of Battlestar Galactica.

Not content with giving us BBC special effects enlightenment in Doctor Who Weekly, Marvel UK also gives us an interview with Mat Irvine who, famously, was the man behind the effects on the show.

Perhaps most intriguingly, we're given an article dedicated to the films of Jules Verne, which threatens to be quite thrilling for us and will, no doubt, include a photo of James Mason battling a giant squid.

Frantic #3

Frantic gives us its take on Alien.

And, also, The Martian Chronicles, for the handful of people who remember that show.

My main memory of the series is that someone in it got poisoned to death by a Martian cheesecake.

The things that stick in your mind after 40 years...

Incredible Hulk #62

The Hulk's still determined to return Jarella's corpse to her own world.

And now he's got Captain Marvel on his side!

Rampage Magazine #23, the Hulk

I'm genuinely blank on what happens in the main Hulk tale.

And I'm not really sure what happens in the X-Men one either.

I am sure, though, that it reprints whichever story comes after the New X-Men's first encounter with Magneto.

Dr Strange, meanwhile, finds himself up against the menace of Wormworld.

I really have no idea what that is.

I feel I have failed in my summary of this issue.

On the other hand, I've just summarised the contents of thirteen comics and am, therefore, awarding myself a No-Prize.

Next month, I have to do fourteen.


Anonymous said...

Assuming, for obvious reasons, Marok the Mighty isn't Maroc the Mighty from IPC's old Lion comic - drawn by the also mighty Don Lawrence - I had no idea who he was either Steve.

So I googled him. The first result I got about comics was this very post, which informed me the writer didn't have a clue. So much for twenty-first century information technology!
But well done on being the go-to online source for Marvel's Marok the mighty.

Btw, re that Rampage - the Wormworld was in the Quadriverse. Hope that clears things up.


Killdumpster said...

Hoo-ray for Morbius! My favorite science-induced/non-supernatural vampire!! Can't wait for the movie!!!

If I was a vampire, and hungry, I don't think I'd be looking for some kind of challenging prey either.

Dracula himself quenched his thirst more than once on helpless, sleeping women in literature, films & comics.

I'm not familiar with Dr. Who turning into a werewolf, but that is so cool. Cooler than turning into a woman. Lol.

As far as him being scarfed while indulging in lucanthropy, in the film Werewolf of London the accursed scientist would put on his hat & coat while in wolf-mode.

Even Lon Chaney Jr./Larry Talbot kept his shirt & pants on.

Thanks for appeasing me during this time of the Super/Flower Moon, Steve.


(By the way, I am not playing with my magic flute, or nipples.)

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Sean. I am endlessly heartened by my ability to top search engine results by not having the slightest clue what I'm on about. I like to think it's what the internet was invented for.

Steve W. said...

KD, I've just this day, watched the first-ever episode of HR Pufnstuff. The only thing in it that rang any bells for me was the talking flute. The rest of it drew a total blank.

For some reason, I vaguely remembered it as being an Irish show. I don't have a clue why.

Charlie Horse 47 said...
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Charlie Horse 47 said...

Gents - I still can't believe there were only 16 episodes + a UK movie for PufnStuf!!! It ran for a number of years but I only saw it Sunday mornings, like right after Jubilee Showcase!

KD - you need to put down the magic flute and send SDC a photo by which we can recognize your sponsorship of this revered site!

UK Gents - I listen to Talksport and the telecomm advert keeps pronouncing the word router as rooter. Is that how you say it or just some oddness for the commercial? Over here we pronounce a router as a rowter.

Steve - it is truly ironic that a giant size would be published as pocket size! I agree!

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Ok, some random comments:

- I’m disappointed with that made-for-UK Spider-Man cover after having those ASM #38 tribute covers in recent weeks

- original X-Men vs Blastaar. Yes, I think that's Barry Smith. I remember seeing covers in one of those official Marvel indices and noticing the sudden change in style. We must becoming pretty close to the point at which X-Men went on hiatus with reprints for a few years.

- new X-Men and Phoenix going mad. This sounds like when she has a fight with Firelord. I think we're coming up to a lot of some deadline doom filler issues .about now - there was definitely one filler issue right in the middle of that Firelord story

- HR Pufnstuf and vague memories, I don't remember the talking flute but I did remember Pufnstuf's huge head and his weird mode of transport. And as remembered the name Witchypoo but not that she was in this program. All of it though had just been filed under weird memories. You wonder whether these memories are real and, if they are real, where they came from. And then one day you get to see on YouTube or wherever where it came from and it confirms that you weren't just dreaming. I had a similar experience when the Marvel Masterworks first came out in the late 80s and I got to see the Beetle in ASM #21. I'd had had these weird memories of a Spider-Man villain that I'd seen in a U.K. comic when I was 8 or 9 with three long suckers on each hand. And then it's like whoa! That's him!

-The Man in The Mummy Case by Lee and Ditko originally featured in (get this!) Amazing Fantasy #15. Some criminal hides in a museum, a mummy steps out of a sarcophagus, tells the guy to hide in the sarcophagus until the police have moved on. Which he does but he's transported back in time to become a slave in ancient Egypt, dragging around huge brick sth5 will be used to build pyramids.

- and, yes Charlie, even those off us that don't listen to or present on White Van Man Radio pronounce router rooter. It's got route in the name just like Route 66.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

OK Dangerous Actuary...

Let's be clear! The ONLY time I've heard route pronounced as root is with Route 66 in the song! (As far as I recall!) And the story is that it sounded better that way for the song cause "rooot" is easier on the ears when stretched out. I mean, who would sing "rowwwwt 66?" It would sound like Nat King Cole had a tooth ache!

And no one in IT here calls it a rooter. The ONLY time I heard the word rooter was in reference to "rotor rooter" to get rid of the constant "drip drip drip of gonorrhea!"

So there!

Anonymous said...

You say tomayto, we say tomahto Charlie, lets call the whole thing off.

And dmaTAA, that Spidey cover looks suspiciously like a Paul Neary swipe from two different Gil Kane pics to me.

That Avengers/Guardian of the Galaxy crossover was one of the better US monthlies of the late 70s. A pity Jim Shooter didn't stick more with the writing gig instead of going for the big office job.
Am I the only one who thinks Thanos in the Infinity War flicks was partly based on Korvac, where the writers made changes to Starlin's original character?


Anonymous said...

As a small kid I found H.R. Pufnstuff disturbing. These were denizens of a bizarre, twisted, alternate reality. And that big head of his, as Dangermash mentioned, made me even more uneasy. Who knows what (who) he might eat.
I wasn't crazy about Ronald McDonald and Grimace either. I think they kinda retired Ronald after the John Wayne Gacy unpleasantness. Believe it or not, my brother works with a guy who claims he sat on Gacy's lap in a shopping mall somewhere when he was a little kid. Some sorta event that warranted clowns, I guess. Brr.
Sean, I also enjoyed that crossover, especially the issues when George Perez was on pencils.
That cosmic battle between Korvac and Starhawk was incredible, with the imagery. Perez sure could do cosmic.
I didn't see a connection between Thanos and Korvac in the movies, but I haven't seen the final movie yet. I guess maybe they were both willing to be ruthless in their pursuit of what they thought was the "greater good."


Anonymous said...

"Pursuit of what they thought was the greater good" is what I was getting at M.P.
Starlin's Thanos wasn't interested in that, he just wanted to impress his girlfriend Death.
Its like the film makers wanted to make him more "interesting", but he came across as inconsistent instead.

And stupid. Seriously, what kind of a plan is wiping out half the people? The world's population has doubled in my lifetime, so its not like that would change much over the long term anyway.


Killdumpster said...

I've had the last two Avengers films for months on Blu Ray. Saw Infinity War twice, both times in "3 sheets".

Wanna watch it sober before I watch Endgame.

Redartz said...

Count me among the admirers of Jim Shooter's writing. Those Avengers issues were among the best of the series. And they picked a great cover for the issue you featured, Steve! A Perez masterpiece.

Speaking of great covers, that Fantastic Four cover is another gem. Originally from FF 45, that introduced the Inhumans. One of Kirby's best.

M.P.- like you, I found Pufnstuf troubling. And now that you make the connection, he did have a resemblance to Mayor McCheese...

Charlie- "route" is an auditory oddity. Yes, 'Root 66' sounds perfect. But commercials on Cincinnati's WLW (heard by these ears while listening to Reds games) refer to some restaurant on "Rowt" 4 in Fairfield. And I personally have used both pronunciations when planning a driving route. Ah, the idiosyncrasies of the English language. Or the American version, at any rate.

Killdumpster said...

While a regular reader of Avengers, and a fan of George Perez, George was a bit static where it was needed for fluid movement.

Classic example in the cover featuring the Beast. A hero whose primary power is agility, attacking a foe with his legs parallel behind him?

Kirby never drew the original Beast in that stance. Nor Adams, or even Heck. Nor any other artists during his furry incantation from Amazing Adventures to his intro to the Avengers by Tuska.

That was what made me notice the stagnantess of George Perez. His heroes/villains are pretty, but mostly in pose.

Anonymous said...

I think if you're talking about an actual road like Route 70, or Route 45, "root" is the correct pronunciation.
If you're saying something like, "well, if you wanna go that route" or "that's the route I would take" or "the army was routed" it's pronounced to rhyme with "doubt".
I think it's largely a result of us Americans screwing up the pronunciation of French words. The French used to own a big chunk of what is now the U.S., and many of our towns in the Midwest have French names, but often they are pronounced wrong. We have a flat accent that doesn't rise much above the guttural.
The capital of South Dakota is Pierre, but it's pronounced like "peer" or even "per".


Steve W. said...

I can confirm that, in Britain, route is always pronounced, "Root," except when an army is routed, then it's pronounced, "Rowted."

Dougie said...

This was the week I sat Higher French! I was also reading Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone novel and ERB's The Moon Maid, in addition to Spider-Man, Star Wars, DWW, MSH, Rampage, Starburst, Star Heroes and that FF pocketbook. And I was revising Patterns of Settlement for Higher Geography, according to my diary. I thought I was really good at Geography but I didn't know how far it was to Barra when I went for an interview there, 10 years ago.

Redartz said...

M.P.- you're quite right about those midwestern town names. Here in Indiana we have a Versailles;which is always pronounced "versails'. Ah well...

Anonymous said...

Dougie, to be fair I don't think anyone knows how far it is to Bharraidh.
At least you didn't end up in a wicker man.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

And down the road a piece from me is "Marseilles" pronounced Mar-sel-lis, lol.

That said, (sorry for tangent!) when my French wife first arrived in Customs in Chicago the officer asked her, "Where are you staying?" and she replied "Il-li-nwah. He started laughing.

Given the French first settled the USA's interior, esp around the Great Lakes, it occurred to me that Il-li-nwah was probably the correct pronunciation for that Indian Tribe's name, not Il-li-noise or Il-li-noy.

But son of a gun if you pronounce these cities by their original phonetic /French name... people don't know what you are talking about, LOL.

Happy VE Day Gents!

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

If you're going to talk about US cities pronounced differently to their French counterparts, the most obvious one that even I knew about is New Orleans.

As for rowt and root, well, you learn a new thing every day.

Charlie Horse 47 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Killdumpster said...

There's a burrough were I grew up named Eau Claire. I think that's French for "fresh water".

Outsiders pronounce it "U- Clare", but us locals pronounce it " O Claire" which I believe must be proper.

Anonymous said...

Well, all I can say is that its a good job that when Brendan of Clonfert and his crew were the first Europeans to sail to America they didn't go round naming places. I dread to think how you lot over there in the US now would pronounce Irish.


Anonymous said...

Sean, those Celtic town names are pretty wild! I dunno who was in charge of coming up with the spelling of those names in our common alphabet, but he was clearly out of control.
Maybe he was getting paid by the letter, I dunno.
I'm not complaining, I think it's cool. It's like seeing the traces of another place and time, and I get why they stick with it. I would too.
Writing the address out on an envelope must be a pain in the ass, though.


Anonymous said...

K.D., I don't recommend anybody over the age of fifteen watch an Avengers movie, or any Marvel movie, "sober."
Get some weed, at least.
Slam some Nyquil, I dunno.


Killdumpster said...


Killdumpster said...

Then again, I don't watch ANY movie without alcohol.