Thursday, 18 June 2020

June 18th, 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.

Do you ever feel like crying?

Don McLean did.

He felt like it in June 1980.

He felt it so much that an entire nation could do nothing but sympathise and propel his track of that name to the very top of the UK singles chart in this very week, forty years ago, giving the smooth-larynxed songster his second British Number one, eight years after his track Vincent had also hit the pinnacle.

But what of the mags put out in that period by Marvel's UK offshoot? Was whatever they were up to enough to reduce us to tears?

Doctor Who Weekly #36, the Time Witch

The Fourth Doctor's still up against the Time Witch, and Brimo notices her power is draining.

Franky, I don't have a clue who Brimo is.

This tale features a character called Sharon Davies. I'm assuming she's not the Sharon Davies who won a swimming silver medal in the 1980 Olympics and went on to become a well-known British TV presenter.

In the latest adventures of the Daleks, the Emperor's triumphed over his challenger Zeg and, now, the tin-covered tyrants are conducting experiments in time travel. The universe can only tremble at such a revelation.

We get a tale reprinted from Chamber of Darkness #1 in which a scientist travels back to Medieval times, only to find himself getting laughed at.

And we finish off with an Alan Moore tale in which a junior Cyberleader's feeling poorly.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #380

I know little of this issue's contents but it seems the Hulk's still battling the Gardener.

Meanwhile, the Frightful Four's plot to invade the Baxter Building, by getting the Trapster to pretend he's Spider-Man, is still in full swing.

Apparently, Spider-Woman's fighting a knight who's adrift in time, which must be quite an annoyance to him.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #121

I think things are still going off on Hoth.

And Man-Wolf's still having adventures in Space.

We're also given A Martian Odyssey: Part One, reprinted from the first issue of Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction. I can say nothing of what transpires within this tale.

And, lastly, this week's tale of the Watcher is The Things From Dimension X, a Lee/Heck masterpiece in which the sculptures on Mount Rushmore come to life and thwart an alien invasion.

Had Stan and Don had a bit too much to drink that day?

Forces in Combat #6

Hot on the heels of rescuing a homicidal maniac from the Germans in the last story, the Howling Commandos are now in the process of liberating a captured British scientist from them this issue.

Someone else who might feel like he needs a good rescuing is Wulf the Briton who's seen-off the challenge of Rome's greatest gladiator.

But now there are lions loose on the streets!

Having said that, Wulf doesn't seem to care. He's too busy looking for Flavius Maximus.

Not that I actually know who Flavius Maximus is.

I'm assuming he's the local bad guy.

I've no doubt he'll soon be feeling the sharp end of Wulf's blade.

Elsewhere, ROM's in the process of foiling a bank robbery.

And Kull's seeing off an airborne attack on Atlantis in a tale drawn by Alfredo Alcala and reprinted from Kull the Destroyer #18.

On top of all this, you could win eight televisions!


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

While I remember, I thought I'd point out that ComiXology has a new set of free comics available. Including Panther's Rage from the mid 70s.

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Dangermash. :)

Anonymous said...

As I recall Steve, in Doctor Who Weekly Sharon Davies was the companion in the lead comic strip drawn by Dave Gibbons; she's actually been around for a while at this point, since at least the start of the Star Beast storyline.
I'm no expert on the history of Dr Who, but surely she was the first recurring black character? Long before the tv show...

Btw, a lot of those comixology freebies dangermash mentioned are also available to read for nothing at
I just mention it because they've also included a couple of other series, including "Truth: Red White & Black", which is pretty good.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

SDC - Is that Crying by Mclean the remake of Orbison's version? It's not an original?

Happy Birthday to Sir Paul, just in case he's reading SDC today!

Steve W. said...

Charlie, it is indeed a cover of the old Roy Orbison song.

Sean, thanks for the Sharon Davies info and the comics link.

Killdumpster said...

The Don McLean remake was more insufferable than Roy's original.

Horrible song.

Killdumpster said...

Hokey Smokes, Snuff-winkle!!!

I appreciate the thoughts from the last post, unfounded or not.

As I told Charlie, I would never off myself. It would make folks I don't like happy. Lol.

To paraphrase the Goose in the original Mad Max movie:

"I'm big as life, and twice as ugly!!"

Anonymous said...

Another great line from Mad Max--"I'm a rocker! I'm an roller! I'm an out-of-controller!"
Let's all have a moment of silence for the Night Rider.
I'm pretty sure that was a line from an ACDC song.
It may be somewhere in Australia's constitution.
Along with "Don't touch anything that might be alive."


Anonymous said...

I remember that version of Crying and, at the time, mistakenly thought it was by Don Maclean from Crackerjack. I can laugh about it now...


Anonymous said...

No worries DW - its an easy mistake to make after the Crackerjack Don Maclean had a hit with American Pie.


Colin Jones said...

Luke and Leia seem to be kissing rather passionately on the cover of Star The Empire Strikes Back Wars Weekly which, in hindsight, is rather embarrassing.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie says, "wait a second...!" You guys are saying that Don Maclean of American Pie was in a group called Cracker Jack?

It's bad enough Charlie never even heard Don sung Cryin and now he was in a group Charlie never heard of either.

Which is strange b/c Cracker Jack was a big-time snack for kids our age, back in the 1960s and earlier. (Caramel popcorn with peanuts and a prize all jammed into a little cardboard box. Charlie's recall is that it was famously introduced at the Columbian Exposition in 1892 in Chicago... 400 years after Columbus sailed to America and 100 years before they started throwing his statues into the sea LOL.)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I have it on good word that Sir Paul does indeed read SDC and he is actually not perturbed his birthday was not mentioned yesterday.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Admittedly, we are especially fond of Steve's reporting on UK sports like Snookers and Conkers.

Steve - The World Bog Snorkelling Championship, first held in 1985, takes place every August Bank Holiday in the dense Waen Rhydd peat bog, near Llanwrtyd Wells in mid Wales. I am wondering if this will be cancelled due to Covid?

If not, do you know if they will pay special tribute to famous Welsh personality Ricky Valance who just passed? Maybe a tribute band or something? I'm thinking it'd be worth making a trip from Chicago for this! Any info would be helpful especially on bus fares.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, Crackerjack was a kids' TV show - one of the presenters was called Don McClean.

Never mind Ricky Valance - we are all in floods of tears following the death of World War II songbird and national treasure Vera Lynn.

Steve W. said...

When it comes to Vera Lynn, it is strange how it can be a shock when someone who's a hundred and three dies but I think it's like when Stan Lee went; some people always feel like they're a permanent fixture.

Colin, all I can say is Luke and Leia are royalty. Royalty have strange ways...

Charlie, I have no idea whether the bog-snorkelling championship will go ahead. I like to think breathing through a snorkel is the best defence there is against disease but, then again, I'm not a scientist.

KD, personally, I love Don's version of Crying. I'm off to listen to it on YouTube, right now.

And, also, to Pink Floyd's Vera. It is remarkable that, 40 years ago, I sat there listening to them singing, "Vera, Vera, what has become of you?" and thinking, "That's a point. What ever did happen to Vera Lynn?" and, then, 29 years later, she was at Number One on the album chart. What an unpredictable thing fate is.

Anonymous said...

I confess I didn't know about Vera Lynn until the other day, when National Public Radio did a story about her to honor her passing. Incredible lady and a hero, I think.
I didn't believe Charlie when he mentioned the World Bog Snorkelling Championship, I thought it rather a phantom of his fevered brain. But I googled it and apparently it's a thing.
I would be hesitant to engage in such activity for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that I would be running the risk of accidentally putting my foot through the ribcage of some corpse that's been perfectly preserved in the peat for two thousand years.
From what I understand, they've found guys in that stuff from a bygone era that were so intact they could figure out what their last meal was.
I'm not gonna get in there. I have a lifelong aversion to corpses. The fact that at some point I'm gonna BE one bothers me late at night.


Dougie said...

Sharon was indeed the first PoC companion in Dr. Who-preceding Martha Jones by almost 30 years. Comics: woke for a very long time, to the horror of the "SJW" mob, hopefully. Last year, Sharon was played on audio by the aptly-named Rhianne Starbuck, in the Big Finish audio version of The Star Beast. I recommend the Comic Strip Adaptations box set very highly.

Anonymous said...

Always amusing to read online complaints from the incel snowflake crowd about the political correctness gone mad of modern comics.
Although I would say its more particular comic creators that have been "woke" for a long time (in the case of DWW that would be Pat Mills and John Wagner) and fortunately its been the better ones, who have had a strong influence on those who came after.

Which reminds me, as a tribute to the late Denny O'Neil the SJW classic Green Lantern #76 is available for free (til I think the 23rd) at -


Steve W. said...

Dougie, thanks for the Sharon info and, Sean, thanks for the Green Lantern link.

MP, yes, peat bogs are celebrated for their ability to preserve the dead. I think they basically turn flesh to leather. Seemingly, our ancestors were in the habit of disposing of their victims in them, for ritual purposes.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they just didn't feel like diggin' a hole, Steve.
I think a lotta history can be explained by sheer laziness.
Like finally getting around to abolishing slavery, for example.


Anonymous said...

People used to kill kings and throw them in a peat bog M.P., which is pretty cool.


Anonymous said...

I checked that link out, Sean, and I stand corrected. If they buried these people with treasure and valuables, there was a reverence to it.
Often, however, ceremony is married to convenience, and it's a lot easier to throw Chief Fergus in the bog than digging a big hole, Viking-style, with him and all his treasures.
Particularly if you're being harassed by rival tribes or Roman-led mercenaries.


Anonymous said...

Well, while there seemed to be a ritual element, it didn't come across like there was much reverence involved in those cases at all, which were more about disposing of rulers who were failures or unpopular.
An ancient custom possibly worth reviving...


Charlie Horse 47 said...

You'd think bogs would be an imaginative vehicle for creating super villains or heroes, no?