Thursday, 11 June 2020

June 11th, 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.

Personally, I can never get enough LPs whose sleeves feature the singer's face melting.

I was, therefore, excited in this week of 1980 to discover Peter Gabriel's third album had hit the very summit of the UK album chart. That was, of course, the record which featured the singles Games Without FrontiersNo Self-Control and Biko. By claiming the top spot, it restricted Roxy Music's Flesh and Blood to the Number Two slot.

Over on the singles chart, the theme from M*A*S*H* still reigned supreme.

But what of Marvel UK?

Twenty Two. That's how many books the subsidiary had, so far, published which bore a cover date of June 1980.

And we were still only twelve days into the month.

Doctor Who Summer Special 1980

It's summer!

And that can only mean one thing.

Heavy rainfall!

But that's not the only thing it can mean because it can also mean summer specials!

And, this year, Marvel UK has five of them for us!

This is one of them!

From what I can make out, it's basically just made up of reprinted material from the weekly comic, so it's not as thrilling a treat as it could be for the avid Doctor Who fan.

Warrior Women Summer Special 1980

And here's a one-off.

It mostly consists of that Tony DeZuniga drawn tale in which Shanna spends half the proceedings wrestling around on the floor, with her pet python, and the other half being chained to things. I'll give that story credit, once you've read it, you never forget it.

We also get a look at warrior women in the movies, including Caroline Munro, even though I'm not sure when Caroline Munro ever played a warrior woman, unless they mean her role as Stella Star.

We also get The Fury of the Femizons, a tale set on a world in which emotions are outlawed.

And we round it all off with A Woman From Khitai, a tale reprinted from an old issue of Savage Sword of Conan, starring someone called Soosha.

Captain Britain Summer Special 1980

I don't have a clue what's in this one. I'm going to assume it's either reprints of old stories or new material that never got the chance to be used in the recently cancelled Incredible Hulk Weekly.

Doctor Who Weekly #35

The Fourth Doctor finds himself up against the Time Witch.

We get more adventures with the Daleks. This time, a Dalek scientist called Zeg challenges the Emperor himself for supremacy.

There's also a tale in which a fugitive hides out in an amusement arcade which then shows him a future he can't avoid.

And we finish off with an Alan Moore tale in which Cybermen land on the planet Goth.

I would spend good money to see the Cybermen's adventures on Planet Goth.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #379

Spider-Lizard's still on the loose and, by the looks of it, the Hulk's on Jarella's homeworld and fighting the assembled hordes of The Gardener.

From that cover, it looks like the Frightful Four are launching their latest attack on the Fantastic Four, the one which involves the Trapster pretending to be Spider-Man to gain access to the Baxter Building.

Forces in Combat #5

Back in World War II, everyone's clearing up in the aftermath of Nick Fury's fight with the bloke he rescued from that German P.O.W. camp.

Slim as it is, that's all the information I have about this week's issue of, "Britain's most exciting weekly comic."

Western Gunfighters Summer Special 1980

It's another bolt from the blue, as we get a summer special packed with tales of the Old West, featuring a highly stylish cover by Frank Bellamy.

Inside, we get adventures for the likes of Matt Slade, the Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt and Wyatt Earp.

Possibly most intriguingly, we also get the reprint of a 1971 tale written by Steve Parkhouse and drawn by Barry Smith.

Amazing Spider-Man Summer Special 1980, the Sinister Six

Hooray, it's a reprint of the first Spider-Man story I ever read; surely Steve Ditko's artistic masterpiece, as our hero takes on the menace of the Sinister Six, a bunch of people who lack the sense to gang up on their foe and insist on uniting in order to tackle him one at a time.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #120, Darth Vader

It can only be trouble for our heroes when Darth Vader's on his way to Hoth.

Elsewhere, the Man-Wolf's being mistaken for a god but doesn't care about that. He's too busy pulling a sword out of a tree.

Speaking of trees, we get Part 2 of the tale known as The Forest For the Trees. I still don't have a clue what that's about.

But I do know that, in this week's tale of the Watcher, a Martian travels to Earth, in order to capture a human scientist who's developed a weapon the Martians could use against their foes on Jupiter.

But the Earth scientist turns out to be a Jovian - and it was all a trap!


Redartz said...

Steve- I loved that Peter Gabriel lp. A classic musical gem. I'd picked up an imported UK single of "Biko" , and then simply had to get the album.

That Spider-Man annual features what I consider the single greatest comic story ever. That said, you make a good point about the Six' lack of effective cooperation. Of course, they might have won, then Aunt May might have ended up married to Dr.Octopus...

Anonymous said...

You know how I dislike contradicting you Steve, but "Fury of the Femizons" is actually set on a world where warrior women have enslaved men.
Its reads like a critique of feminism as understood by some 13 year old would-be culture warrior-boy in the habit of ranting about SJWs; writer Stan Lee was a grown man though, so I'm not sure what his excuse was, even in the early 70s.

I believe that Cyberman tale in Dr Who Weekly - "Black Legacy" - might be Alan Moore's first published professional comic story (not counting his more humorous stuff under the Curt Vile pseudonym). Its a solid enough debut, but anyone with expectations paying good money to read it now may be a little disappointed.
Worth noting that it was drawn by David Lloyd (interestingly enough, Moore's first work for 2000AD a couple of months later, a Ro-Jaws Robo-Tale, was drawn by Dave Gibbons).


Anonymous said...

PS Seeing as you seem to like a bit of Barry Smith, Steve, you can check out that story he did with Steve Parkhouse at -
Its obviously some of his earliest Marvel work, even though it wasn't published til '71.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Feeling the cowboy in me lately, I think I'd like to read Warrior Women!

If it is truly unforgettable, which after reading SDC for years is actually an anomaly, why not???

Women wrestling with snakes???

When I went to buy my shit kickers, as was obligatory in the early 80s, there were numerous boots made out of snake skin.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for the corrections, Sean. Needless to say, I blame the internet for having misled me.

And thanks for that link.

Charlie, I don't think that boot shop would have lasted long if Shanna had found out about it.

Red, I think I found that Peter Gabriel album a bit dry for my tastes but I did always love the singles.

Killdumpster said...

Even though her solo stories seemed a little mundane, I would still buy Shanna's books. Guess I can't pass up redheads, especially scantily clothed ones.

Concerning boots, I set-up sound/light equipment for Black Oak Arkansas for a couple shows. Man, those guys loved to party!!

After the the first show there was a big after-party at the club till sunrise. Jim Dandy wanted to trade me my knee-high, leather, steel-toed motorcycle boots for his worn out python-skin cowboy boots. I had to say "no" to him a dozen times.

I did own one pair of cowboy boots, much to my chagrin. My penny-pinching mother bought me a pair of blue suede ones off a K-Mart clearance rack, for my "back-to-school" 6 grade attire.

Every once in a while, some moron thinking he was funny, would stomp on my feet.

The whole Elvis "Don't step on my blue suede shoes" thing. Fights always followed. Quite a few visits to the principal's office followed also.

That's when I decided to work at a chicken farm for $2 an hour at age 13-14. Just to buy my own clothes.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - I think we must have been twins separated by an alternate universe. Somehow, like 7th grade I too had a pair of blue shoes with higher heels cause that was coming in vogue. Sure as heck the wise guys would step on them usually reciting the Elvis line...

Elvis would be 85 this year if he would a ate more than hamburgers and PB and J and not ended up with 20 pounds of crud impacted in his colon.

I too get a kick out of Sheena. I have some gorgeous Golden Age Sheena's I keep on display, Jumbo Comics from Fiction House. If you are patient you can get a nice one in the $10- $20 range. I checked on and you can get a copy of Warrior Women for 6 pounds. None are for sale here in the USA though. Bummer... I could use an unforgettable comic!

Anonymous said...

Can't you find reasonably priced back issues of DC's Rima the Jungle Girl in the US, Charlie? Its a lot better than anything Marvel did with Sheena...


Anonymous said...

Sorry, that should be Shanna rather than Sheena. I don't know how I got them mixed up, when clearly Marvel were hoping to avoid any confusion between the two.


Anonymous said...

Hey you guys, I've just watched Ad Astra.
It seems to me almost like a combination of Heart of Darkness (or Apocalypse Now) and 2001 A Space Odyssey.
Anybody see it? I think it's quite beautiful to watch, but the science seems to be a little sketchy. But, great science fiction doesn't necessarily have to be completely plausible. Like The Martian Chronicles, for example. It's mostly about human behavior.
This seems to be about one man's journey to figure out himself.
Any of you fellas catch it yet? I recommend it, although it leads me to believe that primate experiments in zero-g are a bad idea.


Colin Jones said...

I loved "Games Without Frontiers" when it was in the Top 40 - it's still THE single I think of whenever somebody mentions Peter Gabriel. By contrast, I thought "Sledgehammer" in 1986 was just irritating and the video was horrible.

The only cover that I recall from this bunch is the Spider-Man Summer Special but I must have read the Spidey/Hulk weekly because I vividly recall the Gardener storyline.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

RIP Denny O'Neil. His GA/GL run with Adams' art was really top shelf at the time. I also enjoyed his Batman works.

Steve W. said...

Colin, I liked Sledgehammer but mostly thanks to the last minute or so of it which added an extra dimension to it.

Charlie, It is indeed a sad loss.

MP, I shall keep an eye out for it.

Killdumpster said...

I think I have the first issue of Rima somewhere. As far as the story, writer, and artist I don't recall anything.

My first exposure to Sheena was in an issue of Jumbo Comics. It was in a stack of golden-age comics I found in a abandoned house. She was written as intelligent, so I assume that was her character throughout her comics history.

The tv show & movie unfortunately threw that out the window, going for "Johnny Weismuller's Tarzan" dialog.

The show & movie are still entertaining, since Irish McCalla & Tonya Roberts were such tasty eye-candy.

Killdumpster said...

Gabriel's first big hit here in the states, as far as AOR (album oriented radio), was "Salisbury Hill".

One of the local bands I worked with continuesly was called Radon. They did all original material, in the semi-progressive of style of Gabriel's Genesis.

The lead singer would do a gazillion costume changes during sets. Their wimpy keyboard-player had 3 racks of keyboards. He constantly demanded separate channels for each (which he never got). He also had a theatre/film level wind fan, so he could look "windswept" on stage.

I'd have to run power cables to the other side of the building, just so the electrical bleed didn't interfere with the vocalist's & guitarist remote mics & pickups.

They played dump bars, where the patrons yelled "Free Bird!" or "Seger!" althrough their show.

They sucked so much. I truly hated working for those jacks. We had to use every piece of sound & light equipment on these goofballs.

They couldn't understand why they hadn't been discovered. I told them,"because your sound is OLD!!!".

Anonymous said...

I had a buddy in high school who so inspired by "Biko" that he joined the Peace Corps and went to Africa and dug irrigation ditches for a year.
He came back skinny as a rail with a bad case of dysentery, but he was happy as a clam.
He regarded it as a year well spent. He was one of those people that just likes other people. Helluva guy.


Dougie said...

Really enjoyed everyone's Gabriel/Prog stories today.

I bought that Capt. Britain special on ebay two years ago, maybe? I think it reprints the Buscema Lord Hawk stories and BK material from the Hulk comic.
I just bought the Smash Special 2020 in case Scottish lockdown eases and I can go down to the Machars of Galloway in August.

Steve W. said...

Dougie, thanks for the Captain Britain Summer Special info.

MP, it is remarkable, the things that can change the course of a man's life.

KD, that was his first post-Genesis hit over here, as well.