Tuesday, 12 May 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - May 1980.

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

Fear! Fear! Wherever you went in your local fleapit, your only companion was the icy hand of dread!

That's because May 1980 saw the release of Friday the 13th.

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "I bet it came out on Friday the 13th! What marketing genius!"

In fact, no, it came out on Friday the 9th.

Discovering that's a bit of a letdown, like discovering Halloween came out on Easter Monday.

But there was even more dread to come because the month also saw the release of The Shining, a film so terrifying I've still never managed to stay awake all the way through it.

But, even then, there was some respite from horror, thanks to May also seeing the release of Fame, another film I found quite boring.

But wait! What's that? There was another movie came out that month? One that even I couldn't be bored by?

It's true!

May 1980 saw the release of, arguably, the greatest Star Wars film of them all; the motion picture the world knew, back then, as The Empire Strikes Back but now knows as Part 5. Who can forget where they were when they first discovered Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father?

Not me. I was in the cinema, watching Part 5.

That month's oddity was a thing called The Nude Bomb which, it turns out, was a movie spin-off of the 1960s TV show Get Smart.

It is a film I have never seen.

Until now, I didn't even know it existed.

Howard the Duck #5

It's the story that had to happen! Howard the Duck turns into a vampire!

Now the Circus of Crime are in trouble!

That's a very strange and unique cover by Larry Fredericks. I'm not sure if it's terrible or if it's genius.

Marvel Team-Up #93, Spider-Man, Werewolf and Tatterdemalion

And that's a very striking cover by Don Perlin.

From what I can remember, Peter Parker and Jack Russell happen to be attending the same event when someone called Tatterdemalion shows up and gives them both a far harder time than a man whose super-power is being a bit untidy should be able to.

Fortunately, the combined might of wolfman and spiderman finally wins out and the villain is brought to justice.

Marvel Two-In-One #63, The Thing and Adam Warlock

Someone's stolen Counter-Earth, and Her resurrects Adam Warlock, the man who just can't stay dead.

As it turns out, this time, he can because no sooner is he revived than it becomes clear he lacks a mind and the disappointed Her promptly re-buries him.

Meanwhile, Moondragon wanders around feeling jealous of everyone else for being more powerful than she is.

Spidey Super-Stories #46, Mysterio

I've no idea what happens in this one.

I must confess I only selected it because the cover features the words, "Disco madness with Mysterio!"

If a declaration like that that doesn't make you want to buy a comic, what would?

Micronauts #17, Psychoman

Can it be? Is it the end of Psycho-Man, at the hands of the Micronauts?

I hope not. He's too good a villain to be disposed of in such a manner.

Speaking of demises, apparently, someone called Jasmine dies, this issue.

I don't have a clue who Jasmine is.

But I can bet she's no Psycho-Man.
Marvel Spotlight #6, The Origin of Star-Lord

At last, we get the origin of Star-Lord.

Although I'm pretty sure we've had it before.

Anyway, this version's drawn by Tom Sutton who doesn't seem an obvious choice for such a strip but I'm a Tom Sutton fan and, so, have no doubt he makes a distinctive job of it.

Man-Thing #4, Dr Strange and Baron Mordo

Deep in the swamps of Florida, Dr Strange finds himself having to combat a Man-Thing under the spell of Baron Mordo.

Obviously, it should be simple for Strange to defeat a foe as limited as the Man-Thing.

Obviously, Strange manages to make ridiculously heavy work of it, from start to finish.


Anonymous said...

Did you not like Moondragon then, Steve? Maybe thats a pointless question, as I get the impression I'm the only one who did.
As became clear in the previous part of that Two-in-One story, with the dubious splash page of the Thing giving Moondragon a spanking. I don't know what problem Marvel writers had around 1980, but I hope they got them sorted out.


Steve W. said...

Sean, isn't the whole point of Moondragon that she's meant to be an unsympathetic character?

Killdumpster said...

As far as I'm concerned, the original trilogy IS Star Wars. Some friends of mine have told me a few of the later films are good, but I have zero interest.

While I enjoy the Friday 13th and Halloween franchises, the 13th reboot and the Rob Zombie (whom I'm a fan of) remakes leave alot to be desired.

While the original movies made the "slasher" genre commercially viable, the writers & directors of those films didn't invent it.

Too bad Howard didn't make the Cicus Of Crime into vampires. That might habe made them actually formidable. They could have been the VAMPIRE Circus of Crime, with a nod to the Hammer film.

If I recall correctly, Tatterdemalion's powers are minor league super-strength, ability to disintegrate certain forms of inanimate matter, scarf skills, and a really nasty stink. Spidey & Jack Russel shouldn't have had a problem. I do remember he had a whistle to control the Werewolf in his own book, though.

Warlock was a fav of mine. Was so bummed when he "died" the first time in Hulk'S book.

Mysterio would have ruled the disco scene if he would've laced his mist with cocaine. No waiting in line for Studio 54! Lol.

Too bad they wasted Psycho-Man on a comic based on toys.

Killdumpster said...

Wasn't Kevin Bacon in the first Friday the 13th? Can't really remember.

I think Starlord's first appearance was in a Marvel b&w mag. I got it for a Xmas present, but I wasn't impressed.

Sean, Moon Dragon seems to have always been a snotty troublemaker.

Strange may of had problems with Man-Thing because the monster is the "nexus of all dimensions". Or some such nonsense. Always hated that. Liked him better beinging a lumbering swamp-monster that stumbled into situations.

Anonymous said...

Well, I suppose Moondragon was written to be unsympathetic in some stories Steve, but I kind of liked her anyway. Perhaps I just relate to snotty troublemakers.


Killdumpster said...


Killdumpster said...

Quite surprised there was no mention of the passing of Little Richard, a founder of Rock & Roll, on this site.

Especially with the musically enthusiastic participants of this site.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I have to wonder if Walt Disney's lawyers gave Marvel a call over copyright infringement on the Duck vampire. He really looks close to Donald IMHO and we all know if you get too close to the Duck's image, the lawyers come calling!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

This is the first time I've seen ANY of these covers. So I also no nothing of the contents. Talk about a two-fer, LOL!

Hey KD - that is a nice looking car! How fast does it go and what make/model?

Anonymous said...

Walt Disney had already given Marvel calls a few years earlier over Howard the Duck and trademark infringement Charlie.
Thats why Howard wore trousers by '78.
No wonder he didn't do well in the '76 election wearing nothing below the waist.


Fantastic Four follower said...

Tried to read HTD in various comics:Man-thing, B&W/Colour Mags, his own series and did not get into it. Marvel tried ever format but for me it had no appeal. I guess I am in the minority. Anyone have any idea how it sold?

Killdumpster said...

Thanks, Charlie. Its a '72 Dodge Dart Swinger. It's got a 340 small block engine with Edlebrock intake & 4 bbl carb, oversized camshaft, and dual stainless exhaust.

I put front & back sway bars on her so she handles really smooth. With the oversized air shocks, lift kit, leaf-spring shackles, and go-wing I've achieved the classic 60's-70's hot rod/muscle car look.

She's pretty quick. Hadn't timed her from 0 to 60, but I do burn up alot of tires! Lol.

My speedometer only goes to 120 mph, and I've had that buried a couple times. Would like to take it to a track to see what my top speed might be.

Anonymous said...

FF follower, apparently the print run on Howard in '77 was 400,000 copies, which I guess at a bit over 50% sell through would be sales of nearly a quarter of a million.

Which is pretty good going for a new series in the mid 70s - most of Marvel's new comics that did well back then were licensed or public domain, like Conan and Dracula (I think Luke Cage was the only other new character they actually owned that lasted more than a couple of years in a series).

Originally Marvel Howard weren't happy with a talking duck appearing in Man-Thing, but readers responded. So Howard was popular - he only had a continued presence as a character because for once the readers really did demand it!
Although interest declined by the later stages of the colour monthly, probably because Steve Gerber was no longer the writer (although fwiw personally I thought his work on Howard was a bit over-rated by then anyway).


Anonymous said...

*Originally Marvel weren't happy...
(Duh, apologies for the poor edit there in that last comment)


Killdumpster said...

I believe it had enough sales to justify printing. Though I enjoyed the title, it seemed to have primarily a cult/college following.

Anonymous said...

Well, all comics have enough sales to justify printing them... until they don't!

For a comparison, sales of the FF in '77 were hovering just under 200,000, which would make Howard one of Marvel's better sellers at that point.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Holy moley! How the mighty had fallen! Howard outselling FF! Sean - you should write a history of comics! Seriously. You have more data / insight...

Killdumpster said...

Man, sales volume sure is different today. Marvel still prints books that sell under 10,000 copies.

Course comics are priced at $2.99-$5.99 or more now, not our 12 to 50 cents a book growing up.

You could go broke trying to follow a multi-title storyline nowadays.

Redartz said...

Steve- I was one of the few who saw "Nude Bomb" in the theatre. I honestly can't remember anything about it, so it obviously didn't leave much of an impression. Especially noteworthy as I really liked the "Get Smart" series on TV.

Regarding "Empire Strikes Back"- heresy alert. I felt a bit cheated upon seeing it for the first time; thinking it a bit cheap to leave everyone hanging in a film where the next installment wouldn't be out for years. Buuuuut, that's just me...

As for Howard the Duck, I did enjoy Gerber's run, but felt the book suffered immensely after Steve's departure. That unusual cover struck me as novel, but as you noted Steve, whether it was novel good or novel awful was up for debate. The insides weren't much to get excited about, if memory serves. Interesting how many of the more unremarkable books leave no memories after the reading. Perhaps our brains have a form of 'disc cleanup'...

Steve W. said...

I'm still stumbling across comics that I previously had no memory of ever having owned. For instance, I recently rediscovered DC's 1st Issue Special #3 which featured Metamorpho vs a ghost.

Until I saw a few panels from it online and remembered it was the place where I first saw the word, "Daguerreotype," its existence had totally slipped from my consciousness.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean we can expect legendary Steve Does Comics feature The Most Forgettable Comics I Have Ever Owned to make a return appearance soon, Steve?


Steve W. said...

You certainly can, Sean. I have at least two contenders lined up for it.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - I suspect the reason you don't remember DC First Issue Special #3 is because it had a house ad for the upcoming # 4 in it. That issue featured "Lady Cop" on the cover, billy club in hand, ready to be whacked by a big dude with a chain.

That cover alone probably caused you to forget all you had just read!

Colin Jones said...

Did you know that 'The Empire Strikes Back' is the LEAST successful of all the nine Star Wars films??

And May 12th 1980 is the birth-date of Rishi Sunak (Boris who?)

Steve W. said...

That would explain it, Charlie.

Colin, I believe that none of the original Star Wars films officially ever made a profit, such is the creative nature of Hollywood accounting.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, Steve, is not more likely that both DC First Issue #s 3 and 4 were simply eclipsed by the next two issues of awesome Kirbymania?
A new Manhunter, and c'mon - who could possibly forget the Dingbats?


Anonymous said...

Tom Sutton may not be an obvious choice for drawing Star-Lord, but he was actually really good at the sci-fi stuff. Around that same general time period, he also drew the one-shot Trek rip-off Seeker 3000, three separate Star-Lord stories and a handful of shorts for DC’s short-lived sci-fi anthologies MYSTERY IN SPACE and TIME-WARP, and they’re all really quite nice. And of course a few years later he pencilled DC’s STAR TREK comic for a fairly lengthy run, but he was so thoroughly over-powered by Ricardo Villagran’s inks on that book that you can barely tell it’s him. Anyhow, I’m a huge Sutton fan too, and think he’s vastly under-rated. Seeing his name in a comics blog is like low-hanging fruit to me — I can never resist commenting, just to spread the word.

- b.t.