Sunday, 7 June 2020

Fifty years ago this month - June 1970.

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

It was all excitement in the world of football, this month in 1970, as Brazil won the World Cup for the third time, by defeating Italy, 4-1. It was also the third time their star player Pele had won the World Cup. So, well done to him.

Meanwhile, far further north than Brazil, the Beatles notched up their 20th and final US Number One, with The Long and Winding Road, the track that was, ironically, cited, at the time, as the main reason why the band had to be broken up.

Avengers #77

For some reason I can't remember, the world's mightiest super-team finds itself having to work for an unscrupulous tycoon.

I'm sure they'll get the upper hand on him, in the end, probably by revealing he's actually the mystery criminal who's been causing nothing but trouble of late.

Or something similar.
Captain America #126, Diamonhead

Diamondhead's causing trouble in Harlem.

And that can only mean one thing.

The return of the Falcon!

As far as I can remember, Diamondhead turns out to be a Maggia agent who's been stirring up local resentments, in order for that crime outfit to take over the area.

Didn't the Red Skull have a near-identical plan?

Why are all these super-villains so desperate to take over Harlem all of a sudden?

Daredevil #65, Brimstone

A mysterious villain's murdering the cast of a soap opera Karen Page is starring in.

Doesn't he turn out to be a weedy little sound-man, or something, who's in the habit of putting on an exo-skeleton, in order to make himself seem like a huge man?

Come to think of it, are exo-skeletons a thing that exist in the real world? They turned up all the time in the Marvel comics of my youth but I can't recall hearing about anyone ever developing one in real life.

Fantastic Four #99

I think this is the one in which the Torch decides to invade the Great Refuge, in order to bring Crystal back to civilisation, after she's been taken back there by her family.

I'm assuming she agrees to return, as she's in the strip for the next few issues.

I do believe this issue reveals the Abominable Snowman is actually an Inhuman!

Incredible Hulk #128, the Avengers

Thanks to circumstances I can't recall, the Hulk's travelling across America, via subterranean tunnels.

But, alarmingly, he's in danger of setting-off the San Andreas Fault and destroying California.

Clearly, the Avengers need to be called in to stop him.

But can even they stop the green gallivanter?

Iron Man #26, Val-Larr

It's a very odd tale, as Shellhead finds himself in another dimension and battling the forces of evil, alongside some magic barbarian or other.

The details of this story elude my memory.

I think the Collector may be involved. I'm not sure in what capacity.

Thor #177

At last, we discover the Schemer's shocking secret, even though we've already guessed it.

But that's a fat load of use to Spider-Man who still has to survive being trapped in the Kingpin's house!

Thor #177

I genuinely don't have a clue what happens in this one.

Apparently, Surtur's in it. In what capacity, I've no idea.

Are they sure this comic exists?

It can't do, or I'd remember it.


Fantastic Four follower said...

Firstly let me say I loved every issue shown at the time and continue to do so but..... not all the issues stand the test of time! The Avengers, as I have droned on before, is in that time period where it can do no wrong.Captain America and Daredevil fall into the catagory of Amazing artwork and unremarkable stories: both titles searching for a purposeful storyline and failing with abrupt changes that did not go anywhere(in my opinion of course)! The FF had sadly reached the end of the road with another 'torch on the rampage' story though the art remained magnificent.Loved the Hulk issues at this time but Ironman was unreadable!!! Spiderman was in a Golden era for me and I loved the Schemer. Thor was brilliant and that cover was used as a poster and deservedly so.Little did I realise it was Jack's second last issue and Marvel would change forever. Great post lads. Keep up the good work and stay safe. APPRECIATED.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

The unscrupulous tycoon in Avengers is Cornelius Van Lunt who (spoiler warning) later turns out to be Taurus in the Zodiac. I don't know why the Avengers are having to work for him though.

And I agree with FFF. Spider-Man, Avengers and Thor are looking good right now but the rest all seem to be treading water.

Anonymous said...

Thats right about the Red Skull Steve, as a bit later in Captain America he turns out to be the hooded leader of black power group The People's Militia. But before we get to that, theres also the story about Modok building a robot to lead the inhabitants of Harlem in riotous insurrection. Its all pretty reactionary stuff.
And don't even get me started on Steve Rogers joining the NYPD...

FF follower is right about Thor #177 being brilliant - its visionary ancient-to-the-future Kirbymania all the way, as Surter turns up for an epic battle after noticing Odin isn't around anymore since Loki conquered Asgard.


Steve W. said...

Sean, thanks for the Thor/Surtur info. It's starting to ring a bell for me.

Dangermash, thanks for the Van Lunt info. I'd totally forgotten about him being Taurus.

FFF, for me, the Avengers tale is OK, the Cap tale I don't recall too strongly, the DD one's also vague for me, the Fantastic Four one feels like filler, the Hulk one's OK, the Iron Man one's mediocre, the Spidey one's appealingly melodramatic, the Thor tale's a vague one for me.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie has been pulling out the long boxes and reading the FF to do his homework for SDC.

FF 99 is, through Charlie's eyes in 2020, rather moronic. Torch is functioning as an adolescent, ripping into the land of the Inhumans to, presumably, drag Crystal back to NY.

Also, if I recall, the artwork is starting to look unfinished (or perhaps that's issue 100) with some pages seeming to be little more than layouts by Jack with the inker being expected to perform some heroics?

But the cover is exciting enough and a young Charlie would have grabbed it off the spinner. It's not often you see Karnak standing waist deep and karate chopping the earth for no apparent reason since the Torch flies.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

That Thor looks like a thing of beauty. And, if as Sean says it seems to be working the past and future contemporaneously, it is clearly the antithesis of Sheffield.

Perhaps this is the best indication yet that alternate universes... dare I say Bizarro universes... exist?

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Maggia. How does one pronounce that.
I get it. While using the Mob in comics was too much to resist, nobody at Marvel wanted to antagonize the actual Mafia itself, which was a big deal in NYC in the '60's and '70's.
I've read that some mob guys even warned Francis Ford Copolla not to use the term "Mafia" in Godfather one.
Still, I gotta roll my eyes every time I run across "the Maggia," which, oddly enough, happens to be the name of a river in Switzerland.
I'm not sure how all of this applies to Skrulls and that gangster planet they had.


TC said...

IRL, powered exo-skeletons have been built by GE, Honda, and Cyberdyne.

IIUC, some are being used in Japanese hospitals to enable nurses and aides to lift and move heavy patients.

Some models being tested could allow spinal injury patients to walk.

The US Defense Department has done R&D on prototypes to enable soldiers to carry extra weapons and ammunition. Similar models are being tested that might help firefighters to carry heavy rescue equipment.

My impression is that much of the technology is still at the experimental stage, and not widely marketed or commonly used IRL.

Anonymous said...

I'm worried that they're not going to get robots that realistically resemble women on the market soon enough to do me any good.

...Cyberdyne? Wasn't that the name of the company in Terminator 2 that created Skynet?!


Anonymous said...

One of my all-time favorite scenes in comics is when Ben Grimm is kidnapped by a Skrull slave trader and sent to fight in gladiatorial games on a Skrull world where everybody looked, dressed, and acted like people in movies about Prohibition-era America.
This one slave boss who looked and talked like Edward G. Robinson told the Thing, "We don't like mouthy slaves around here, see?"
Ben Grimm flatly replied, "I wasn't figgurin' on winning any popularity contests in this dump."


Anonymous said...

Wasn't Vince Colletta also, supposedly, mobbed up? I struggle to recall any FF story after the Skrull gangster tale, until the Subby/Magneto story finished by Romita. Ironically I have really good memories of the Romita and Buscema era, even though most people seem to think they're pretty light weight.


Anonymous said...

Well, supposedly Colletta was in the pornography business, when he wasn't erasing Kirby's pencils. I assume he had to pony up to the powers that be. Heck, my father used to run cattle out to the east coast without inspection or taxes, back in the late '70's, early '80's. He told me, many years later, in confidence that it was a mob deal.
He's long gone now, so I don't see the harm in admitting it.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

HELP! Charlie has been reading the $1 True Believers which reprints Avengers #19. (This is the classic cover which introduces the Swordsman to fandom!)

Cap, unwittingly thinking that he actually received a written letter in the mail from Fury, telling him to come and join Shield, goes to a warehouse and is beaten by the Swordsman.

At the end of the story, Cap is kneeling on a plank off the edge of a high building. He is tied up. Swordsman pushes him off the plank, as the rest of the mighty Avengers (Quicksilver, Wanda, and Hawkeye) watch from the roof top of the adjoining building.

Well... There is no $1 reprint for Avengers #20 so I NEED HELP!

Does Cap live or not?

TIA! Charlie

Charlie Horse 47 said...

My "great" relatives grew up around Chicago, where there was no maggia / maffia / mobbia activity during Prohibition. So, we have no stories to tell.

Though there is this article in the Chicago Tribune of my dad's godfather being arrested for stealing his father's still, during Prohibition. Now that is one weird story to read. It's even weirder that the Tribune prints the story.

Colin Jones said...

Steve, we'd all guessed the Schemer's shocking secret? I first read the story in 'Spider-Man Comics Weekly' and I definitely never guessed his secret :D

June 19th is the 50th anniversary of Ted Heath becoming Prime-Minister. I know I'm 11 days early but dear old Ted took us into the EEC and he was the last genuine One-Nation Tory so he deserves a mention I feel.

Charlie, on the subject of whether Tom Jones was bigger in the USA - here in the UK Tom Jones had two #1 hits - It's Not Unusual and Green, Green Grass Of Home - plus several songs that reached #2. In the US he had no #1 hits so he was definitely bigger here. Why aren't we celebrating his 80th birthday? Probably because we don't care. In October it will be Cliff Richard's 80th birthday and we won't care about that either.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey - UK Chaps! I keep hearing advertising on your "Talk Sport" radio station that the UK is urgently hiring 25,000 policemen. Are you like really short of police??? Is it due to Corona??? Just seems like an unusual advertisement to keep hearing over and over on radio.

Maybe Charlie, KD, MP, et al... we should sign up!!!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

OK - Charlie is sorry for going off on a tangent but he just came across an article that presumably would have great interest to comicdom: "Could Bruce Lee Win a Real Fight" from ESPN.

Given Bruce Lee played Kato in Green Hornet, and Kato and Green Hornet fought Robin and Batman in 2 shows from the 1966 Robin and Batman series Charlie thought you chaps may take an interest.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I've got a copy of Avengers #19 in my attic, Charlie. Cost me £2 from Virgin in Brighton back in the late 80s. Nice looking cover but it turned out to have the middle four pages missing. Anyway, it was a couple of years before I found out what happens in Avengers #20 in one of those Marvel Masterworks hardbacks. So I share your pain.

Here's what happens, Quicksilver runs in circles holding a TV aerial (!?) to create a vortex and slow Cap down. Hawkeye cuts Cap's bound hands loose with an arrow (a little risky). And Wanda makes some rivets pop out of some scaffolding, letting a girder fall really quickly across the street in Cap's path In time for him to land on. A bonkers sequence in so many ways. If the rest of the Avengers team had been Wasp, Ant Man, Black Panther and Vision then Cap would have been toast.

And if anybody has two minutes to spare, any responses to my art survey at would be appreciated (thanks for your votes Steve).

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

And, Colin, you're not the only one not to have guessed the Schemer's secret. Maybe if they'd actually given him a mask or shown some scenes in silhouette with him holding his mask in his hand, then we might have known that there was somebody there under a mask and been able to guess who it was but instead, he was drawn all the way through the story as some middle-aged guy without a mask. Three panels before the big reveal he even has a sweaty forehead.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

DaTAA - I voted in our poll! Nice drawings.

Thanks for the help on Avengers 20. I was afraid Cap might have bit the farm! One last question... at the end of Avenger 19, the 3 Avengers say, "Look Swordsman pushed Cap off!" And then one says, "No I think he jumped!" (Something like that...)

Did Cap actually jump somehow sensing he would be rescued?

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, our government has reduced police numbers by 20,000 since 2010 and now they want to hire them again. This is the mad world we live in under the crazy, clueless Conservative party.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Yes Charlie - Cap jumped thinking he would be rescued. I half expected to see a speech bubble from Cap saying "Avengers! Execute rescue plan V3B!" but looks as if it was all made up on the spot.

Thanks for your votes too.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hey Comic Fans...

After Johnny Storm's cry-baby act, in FF 99, did Marvel finally stop with that theme in his behavior? I can't recall future immature outbursts?

I mean, there were still attempts to change Thing back to Ben, a well traveled theme, but did Marvel finally stop with Baby Johnny?

In retrospect maybe Charlie would have preferred Baby Johnny to mature themes like Sue filing for divorce?

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I expect join the cops ads are all about reassuring the public that Boris Johnson isn't putting the "n" back into tory cuts, rather than actually attracting applicants.
Its all about perception.

And Colin, Ted Heath? Really?


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin - Charlie is hurt you did not care about Tom Jones' 80th Birthday. Such an iconic figure who brings so much excitement to his followers. And while he did not hit #1, he did have 7 gold albums in the USA and has sold over 100,000,000 world wide. So, Tom gets Charlie's respect for sure!

Killdumpster said...

Only had 2 of the books featured, the FF & Hulk. I remember grabbing the DD thinking it was Mr. Hyde on the cover, but only had enough pennies for two comics.

Ha! The Abominable Snowman is an Inhuman thing! Marvel has played the Snowman legend in their stories more than once.

I remember the Surfer encountered a tribe of cold-weather primate types (who turned out to be evil sorcerers) in an early issue of Defenders. There's probably more that I can't recall.

Having this thought a child, and now thinking it again after seeing the cover of #128 once more, does anyone else think Herb drew Hulk way too small?

Killdumpster said...

Thought I'd just gurge on the observation that if Quicksilver, Panther and Vision stood straight up, they would be taller than Hulk as depicted on the cover.

Steve W. said...

KD, the Hulk is indeed too small on that cover. Also, the ground would collapse under the Avengers' weight if it was that thin.

The Surfer also encountered a bunch of Yetis in the first issue of his own comic.

Charlie, I can't say anything about Johnny Storm's future behaviour, from memory but it did always strike me that John Buscema seemed to draw him looking noticeably older than Kirby and Romita had.

Dangermash and Colin, for me, the fact that the disappearance of the Kingpin's never-before-mentioned son kept getting referred to meant I was fully expecting the Schemer to turn out to be him.

DW, I too have read, on numerous occasions, that Colletta was supposed to have mob connections.

MP, I always pronounce, "Maggia," with a hard G.

TC, thanks for the exo-skeleton info.

Sean, thanks for that Jim Shooter link, even though Chrome won't let me visit it, claiming the site might steal my credit card details. Blimey, I know Jim Shooter's a divisive character but I'm sure he wouldn't do that to me.

I think I've just answered everyone who's commented so far. If I haven't, let me know.

Anonymous said...

The Hulk... too small, or just further away?
Often hard to tell with Happy Herb - his figure perspective and depth of field were decidedly iffy.


Anonymous said...

Apologies Steve - all I can say is Chrome didn't warn me about Shooter's site, and neither did my supposedly up to date internet security.
Maybe you should remove the comment so no-one else tries the link? (Being anonymous I can't do it myself)


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Or maybe Hulk is underwater and the refraction just makes him look shorter?

Killdumpster said...

Lol! The Hulk couldn't breath underwater without help back then, DM, but apparently nowadays he can now.

I agree with Sean & Steve, with Trimpe's issues with dimension and persective.

His few presentations of the Vision, though, are always entertaining. At least to me.

There was a back-up story he did in an Avengers annual or giant-size, can't remember which, where he drew Viz Battling Whirlwind. I thought it was pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Forget Copolla being (allegedly) warned M.P., theres much more interesting stories about the early comic biz and its (alleged) ties to organized crime eg pulp publisher and DC founder Harry Donnenfeld was supposedly involved with the Luciano family during Prohibition.

As late in the newstand era as Jim Shooter's time as Marvel editor-in-chief it seems there was still a fair bit of it about.


Steve W. said...

Sean, I've reposted your comment, with the link removed though I'm sure it was perfectly safe and it was just Google being melodramatic.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Steve.

Love dangermash's underwater refraction explanation - top no-prize material (what a shame its around fifty years too late for the appropriate Hulk letters column).


Redartz said...

Always such a freewheeling conversation here!

KD- you're right, that Vision solo story was a backup in Avengers Annual 6 ( with Nuklo and Living Laser).

Charlie- if you get the opportunity, read that Avengers 20. Excellent art- it was the debut of Wally Wood on inks, for an all-too brief period. And the cover, with Wood inking Kirby- beautiful.

Regarding Tom Jones- recently found his "Greatest Hits " among a box of cds I picked up at a flea market. My wife was very happy...

Killdumpster said...


Thanks for the specifics on Annual #6. That was such a great self-contained book.

Did you do a little gyrating, lipsyching when your wife played the Tom Jones CD? Panties thrown? Lol!

What people do in their house, especially married people, is none of anybody's business.


About us going to England to be cops, you really have to be relatively thin, and on the tall side, to be intimidating in that goofy "bobbie" helmet.

Guess that's why Graham Chapman usually was a copper in the Monty Python skits.

"Well, what's all this, then?!"

Anonymous said...

I gotta laugh picturing Graham Chapman playing a Bobbie. (is that the right term?)
The guy could be hilarious by doing very little. He was a natural as a comic actor.
I think it has something to with having a serious or dour appearance. A stern look.
John Cleese has it and I think Will Farrell does to.
You expect them say something serious and they say or do something totally bizarre. Like the Ministry of Silly Walks.
Humor is about surprise as much as anything, I think.
Not that anybody has asked me what I think about anything for a very long time...


Killdumpster said...

Every member of Monty Python is a comedy legend.

Humor across the board was greatly enhanced by their presence.

Anonymous said...

M.P., bobby isn't the term generally used for them in the area where I live...


Killdumpster said...

Your opinions/insight are always appreciated, at least on my end, M.P.

Man, did THAT sound touchy-feely! Aaaargh!!!

Killdumpster said...

The bars in Pennsylvania just recently opened up... (hic)...

Anonymous said...

I was kidding, K.D.
A poor attempt at humor. But I love the masters of the art.


Killdumpster said...

Oh my brother, we be cool.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, K.D. I always enjoy hanging out with you.
Hey, fellas, this is apropos of nothing, but have you guys seen Ad Astra, the film, yet?
I just saw it and was firmly struck. Now I know you fellas are science fiction geeks like me, so I know it must've blipped on your radar.
No spoilers from M.P., but it's one of those films that you think about for days after seeing it.
Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of it. Something to do with fathers and sons and death.
And outer space, of course. The finale occurs at the edge of the solar system.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Red - I hope you and your wife enjoy the Tom Jones CD! He just turned 80 this past Sunday. You know he had 7 gold albums and sold over 100,000,000 records! You are spot on with that Avengers #20 cover: very, very memorable!

Sean - all those Beanos, Dandys I read seemed to call the Bobbies Bobby? Oor Wullie had PC Murdoch as a frequent guest, which I guess would be short for Police Constable? Where you live do you call them PCs and not Bobby? (Easy KD - PC is NOT what you are thinking, LOL!)

As I look at the Hulk cover, I do chuckle at the Vision's and Wanda's poses... so reminiscent of Kirby's Avenger's covers, lol, where he draws the Avengers in these poses like they are doing some hip/mod dance LOL

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, nobody calls police officers "bobbies" except irritating politicians who like to use the phrase "bobbies on the beat" when referring to the police. The word "bobby" comes from Robert Peel, the 19th Century Prime-Minister who created the police force.
PC does indeed mean Police Constable and WPC means Woman Police Constable (but that title might have been dropped now as it's probably considered sexist).
By the way, the police in Scotland don't wear helmets, they wear peaked caps - but you didn't mention what PC Murdoch in Oor Wullie wore on his head.

dbutler16 said...

Steve, I'm sure exoskeletons exist, because comics are based on real science!

Steve W. said...

D, I'm sure you're right.

MP, I've not seen Ad Astra yet. In fact, I think this is the first I've heard mention of it.