Thursday, 4 June 2020

June 4th, 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.

Unrelenting dullness claimed the world in this week of forty years ago. I shall, therefore, plough straight on with my look at what our favourite Marvel UK mags were up to within that time-frame.

Clearly, in such uneventful times, we needed their thrills and spills more than ever.

Which is convenient, as there were more of the things than ever before.

Doctor Who Weekly #34, Daleks

My knowledge of this week's contents is sorely lacking.

Clearly, from the cover, the Daleks are involved and it would seem we get a text article about the Tom Baker era story The Creature From the Pit.

Come to think of it, I've no recollection of the events of The Creature From the Pit. I think I always get it mixed up with The Face of Evil.

Other than that, I can say nothing.
Spider-Man & Hulk Weekly #378, Spider-Lizard

Hooray! Spider-Lizard is loose on the streets of New York!

And nothing can stop him!

That is the sum total of my knowledge of this issue.

Forces in Combat #4

When it comes to this book, I do know Nick Fury's still fretting that the P.O.W. he's rescued from the Germans is a raving psychopath.

He's fretting to such a degree that the pair come to blows.

And his opponent's willing to cheat!

I'm not really sure who this week's cover star is. Is he meant to be Skull the Slayer?

The Empire Strikes Back Weekly #119

Because the excitement never stops, we get the latest installment of the box office sensation that's sweeping the world's cinemas. I do believe we're currently on the ice planet Hoth.

Man-Wolf's still on the spaceship that's been captured by aliens.

We get a tale called The Forest For the Trees, reprinted from Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #1. Frankly, I've no idea what that's about.

In this week's Tales of the Watcher, a communist general's in search of an alien spacecraft that's landed on a mountain...

...unaware the spacecraft is the mountain.

Marvel Superheroes #362

The Avengers accompany the Guardians of the Galaxy to Earth, to confront... ...The Enemy!

"The Enemy?" That's a bit vague. Could they not think of a better name?

However, I'm assuming the seated figure on the cover is Henry Peter Gyrich and not, "The Enemy."

Elsewhere, Cyclops is wanted for murder, as the original X-Men tangle with The Living Pharoah.

And the Champions find themselves battling a villain called Rampage who I vaguely remember to be a not totally unsympathetic villain.

There also seems to be a feature dedicated to the Sub-Mariner.

Star Heroes pocket book #3, the Micronauts

The Micronauts are in this book.

That is the limit of my knowledge.

Chiller pocket book #4, Dracula

Dracula is in this book.

That is the limit of my knowledge.

However, it's pretty clear that things are looking bad for our hero.

Fantastic Four pocket book #3, the Inhumans

I, at least, know what happens in this one.

The Seeker having made his getaway, the FF follow his trail to the Andes where they discover the Hidden Land and have their epic conflict with the Inhumans and Maximus the Mad in a tale that makes no sense at all but is still magnificent.

Spider-Man pocket book #3, Ka-Zar

I do believe I see Stegron on the cover; in which case, this is a tale I've never read.

I am, therefore, going to assume it's reprinted from an issue of Marvel Team-Up.

Frantic #4

More mirthful satire comes our way from a comic that could save us 30 pence.

I wouldn't want to be cruel by saying you could save even more by not buying it.

Savage Sword of Conan #32

It would appear Conan's up against the hordes of Salome. I could pretend to know just who the hordes of Salome are but I don't.

Anyway, King Kull's up against the snake man of Teyanoga.

Thulsa Doom would appear to be involved in one of these tales but, as I've said a gazillion times before, I can never remember if he's a Conan villain or a Kull villain.

Starburst #22, Chewbacca

Coverage of The Empire Strikes Back is, inevitably, provided but, also, the works of John Carpenter and David Cronenberg.

I think that, overall, I'd find the John Carpenter feature more appealing.

Does Chewbacca wear that oxygen mask in the film? I've no recollection of it or of where in the movie it would appear.

Rampage #24, Firelord vs the X-Men

Bruce Banner finds himself stranded on a crescent-shaped island, with an old man. It would appear to be a veritable paradise.

As it wouldn't be much of a Hulk tale if it was, I shall assume it's not a paradise at all.

Personally, I'd like it to turn out to be the island that had all the giant monsters living on it, from way back in Herb Trimpe's days.

Sadly, I fear it won't be.

Meanwhile, Clea finds herself kidnapped in the park, by some bloke but soon sorts him out by hitting him over the head with his own statuette.

Firelord's looking for a scrap with Phoenix, for reasons I can't recall.

Instead, we get a protracted flashback to a fight between the new X-Men and the original X-Men, which I think is down to Professor X's dark subconscious taking over, or something.


Killdumpster said...

Even if the Champions had a wacky membership their book featured a few good villains. I'd count Rampage as one of them.

It was even better when he returned with the Griffin, another favorite.

You mentioned Herb Trimpe's art ability for giant monsters in Hulk's mag. His best were the ones that had the appearance of being made of stone.

It's too bad his Godzilla wasn't up to standard. Maybe it was the inking.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Yes Steve - that Stegron story is in MTU. It's a two parter. In the first part he's up against Spider-Man and Kazar in the Savage Land. At the end of the first part he fills some flying vehicle with dinosaurs, flies them to New York with Spider-Man stowing away by sticking to the outside for god knows how many hours. Then in the second part he's beaten in New York by Spider-Man and Black Panther with dinosaurs all wandering around the streets. These two issues were reprinted in a U.K. hardback annual. And you've mixed this storyline up a few times with Stegron's next appearance in ASM (co-starring the Lizard) where he animates dinosaur skeletons that also wander around the New York Streets.

In X-Men, that new vs old story crowbarred into the middle of the Firelord storyline is a dreaded deadline doom issue. I think I pointed out a few weeks ago that there were a few X-Men filler issues coming up.

Finally, a question. Hulk is appearing in both a monthly and a weekly comic. Is one of them proper US reprints and the other non-canon stuff made only for U.K. readers and maybe based on the TV series? If so, I'm guessing that it's the weekly comic that gets the junk?

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure both were US reprints dangermash - the stories in Rampage were definitely from the Hulk magazine. Which were, as it happens, closer in tone to the tv series than those from the regular comic book (which I assume ran in the weekly).
Although we're not too far off from the end of the run, and the X-Men taking over as lead feature.

And on the subject of the X-Men in Rampage, I don't think the story here is the dreaded deadline doom issue, not if its the fight between Phoenix and Firelord - that new v. old fill-in was the next issue of the original US monthly, and it seems like Steve might have conflated the two in (whisper it) error.

Steve, as I recall, Firelord was fighting the X-Men because he was duped into it by Eric the Red, which was tied in with some Sh'iar malarkey, and Lilandra's arrival on Earth.
Why there was an alien space villain with the name and look of an old, very short-lived and uncharacteristically camp Cyclops alter-ego, with the spelling changed from Erik to Eric, I have no idea.
Was it ever explained?


Anonymous said...

Actually, having just had a quick look back at some of the other recent start of the month Marvel UK posts, I'm not so sure now that isn't the X-Men dreaded deadline doom fill-in.
I was going by the cover, which was originally from X-Men #105... but so far as I can tell from previous Rampage blurbs, it might actually reprint #106 inside.
(If thats the case, apologies for doubting your expertise Steve)


Steve W. said...

Sean, I believe this month's story starts with Firelord complaining he wants to resume his fight with Phoenix, then we get the new vs old X-Men bust-up and then it's back to Firelord complaining he wants a rematch with Phoenix.

Dangermash, Sean's right; the weekly UK book reprinted tales from the Hulk's regular mag, and the monthly UK book reprinted Hulk tales from what started out as The Rampaging Hulk magazine.

KD, Trimpe's work on Godzilla did indeed lack something.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - how can you say nothing happened this week 40 years ago???

Tom Jones was turning 40! Those Welsh guys know how to sing!

My dad has told me 1000, perhaps 2000, times that all Welsh men sing good because that's how they pass the time working in coal mines. I haven't a clue if my old man knows w.t.h. he's talking about.

Would anyone of you UK guys know if Welsh men sing a lot because that's what they do in coal mines?

Also, there was a cool song called Canary in Coal Mine... so I'm starting to think my old man is on to something?

We used to sing a lot marching in the Army so... who knows... maybe I missed my calling?

Anonymous said...

That doesn't explain Tom Jones' gyrating dancing style on stage, Charlie.
I assume that didn't come from a coal mine. Nobody's throwing panties at your head down there.
Unless things have gotten very weird...


Anonymous said...


I reckon you're right because the Rampage issue before last was Magneto, which was X-men #104, thereby confirming your timeline. This was the first Rampage to feature the New X-men on the cover and so presumably someone thought #105 was better then #106. Which it was.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, all I can do is blame Wikipedia for not reminding me of Tom Jones' birthday.

There's a long tradition of coal mines having choirs - and brass bands. Whether they actually sang down the mines, I have no idea. I am, however, certain that they didn't play trombones down them.

Steve W. said...

I've now checked and next month's Rampage would appear to reprint X-Men #107. Which means this one reprints #106, the deadline doom issue. It seems Marvel UK have used the wrong cover for this issue, thus flinging the world into confusion.

Killdumpster said...

Well, looks like another little piece of our childhood has went away, Or at least mine anyway.

Steve Priest, founder & bass player of Sweet just passed.

Their "Desolation Boulevard" album was on my turntable for a month when it came out. Such a great record.

Anonymous said...

Steve, "The Fury of Firelord" Rampage cover blurb doesn't help with the confusion either, as he only appeared in a framing sequence for the X-Men #106 fill-in.
Seems weird to reprint a dreaded deadline doom fill-in when theres no dreaded deadline doom to... er,fill in. Surely it would have made more sense to follow #105 with #107?

Anyway, the real question is - whats the story with Eric the Red's connection to Cyclops?


Anonymous said...

Here's a synopsis of Spider-man & Hulk Weekly # 378 ( Beware the SPIDER-LIZARD!)

1.) Inside front cover - UK Bullpen & Checklist

2.) Spider-man - The Terrible Turnabout! (Mantlo & Springer/Villamonte) - 8 pages

3.) Letters page

4.) Spider-woman - "The strange woman called Spiderwoman dreams: of Modred who knows her mind, of herself, a child dying of radiation sickness...and the injection of spider serum given by her father..." - 5 pages (Wolfman/Infantino/Dezuniga)

5.) Advert page - Empire Strikes Back / Superhero Fun and Games mag / Forever People mail order/back issues

6.) Hulk - "Hulk and the dead Jarella, shrunk to submolecular size, have returned to Jarella's world, K'ai, only to find it dying. Meanwhile at the destroyed Gamma Base, Capt. Marvel is being threatened by Commander Talbot..." - 5 pages (Mantlo & Buscema/Constanza)

7.) Ad page - The Great Cartoon Race - Corgi toys

8.) She-Hulk - "Dr.Banner has told his sister, Jen, of his secret alias as the Hulk. She has been shot and to save her life Dr.Banner gave her some of his own blood, then ran away..." - 4 pages (Lee & Buscema/Stone)

9.) The Defenders - "Unknown to the Red Guardian, those who once fought beside her in battle are now engaged in another kind of struggle - for sheer survival!" - 4 pages (No credits - but it looks like Kraft & Giffen)

10.) Back cover - Free Empire Strikes Back transfers from Kraft Dairy Lea cheese!

Phillip Beadham

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, I'm afraid your father's theory about Welshmen singing in coal mines is nonsense. There were coal mines all over Britain so surely all coal miners would sing to pass the time - why just in Wales?
By the way, Margaret Thatcher and her successor, John Major, closed most of Britain's coal mines in the '80s and '90s. Nowadays we import most of our coal from Poland.

Tom Jones's real name is Thomas Woodward. He took the name Tom Jones from the 18th Century novel "A History Of Tom Jones" or more likely from the 1963 movie adaptation of that novel starring Albert Finney.

Steve, Thulsa Doom is a Kull villain but the 1982 Conan movie confuses things by using Thulsa Doom as a Conan villain.
And it's King Kull who appears on this month's Savage Sword Of Conan cover - the first time ever that Conan didn't feature on the cover of his own monthly.

And the Rampage cover is the first one ever that didn't feature the Hulk. As Sean mentioned, the X-Men were soon to replace the Hulk as cover stars in the Rampage monthly.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Phillip - great work there. With Spider-Man being reduced to 8 pages, can you tell Whether this is the whole or half Of the original US comic, whether the panels have been cut up and rearranged and whether any panels have been left out? No is an acceptable answer.

Sean - there are two types of DDD comics: the reprint and the inventory. My opinion is that the inventory stories like this one (and, say Spider-Man and Captain America vs Electro with a leper as a hostage in the ASM #180s) should have been reprinted in Marvel U.K. but that reprints shouldn't. Not quite the sam etching but think at some point Marvel UK messed up by reprinting the Hulk storyline from ASM #119-120 that Marvel reprinted in as ASM Annual.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD- sorry for your loss. It always is a bummer when someone who gave us enjoyment passes.

On the bright side, some nostalgia to cheer you up: Paperback Writer was played today, in 1966, on the Ed Sullivan show.

Colin - My dad is adamant that coalminers in Wales especially like to sing. It could be a Wales thing? It's like they only play Zydeco around New Orleans, though one can find banjos and washboards throughout the USA?

Steve did corroborate that Wales coal miners are famous for the brass bands and choirs.

And truly, I don't know any famous non-Wales coalminers who sing, so...

I hate to say it on this Friday morning, but you have a long row to hoe to get me and my pappy to change our perceptions of Welsh coal miners. This is one of those bedrocks upon which our family is built. :)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie is curious... did any of you ever see Tom Jones live in concert? I did around 1980 in a 3,000 person concert hall in Merrillville Indiana. The place was packed!

The ladies in the audience were "over the top" to say the least. I mean, they were throwing their undies up on stage for him to wipe his brow and throw back.

I was rather bemused. I didn't throw mine though. I'm not one to get caught up in the moment like that, even when he launched into "What's New Pussycat!"

Anonymous said...

dangermash - thanks! No - I'm afraid I haven't the US original to compare it with! As you (and all the rest of us) probably already know, When British Marvel weeklies had glossy covers, detecting the differences ( compared with US originals) was easier. In the glossy cover weeklies era, British weeklies had (uncredited)extra splash pages by Steve Stiles. Also, sometimes the black & white art was improved through the use of 'tones', by Brian Moore & Howard Bender (sometimes making it better than the US original). When British Marvel weeklies became 'paper weeklies' (rather than glossy ones), under Dez Skinn, these distinctive artistic embellishments seemed to stop. Nevertheless, cut ups & rearrangements still must have happened, as you say.


Anonymous said...

dangermash, I can see theres an argument for reprinting inventory fill-ins, but rather than a hard and fast rule, some editorial judgement is called for. I'd say in this instance it was a bad idea to interrupt a classic storyline with some irrelevant bollocks (especially as it was drawn by Bob Brown).

Anyway, I looked up Eric the Red, and there doesn't appear to be any explanation for his similarity to Erik the Red.

As Eric bought back Magneto and brainwashed Polaris it seems some connection to that earlier X-Men era was intended - a cover identity drawn from Cyclops' mind perhaps?
I guess Claremont, master of the slow burn sub-plot that never went anywhere and got forgotten, just forgot about it.
Somewhat surprising Marvel never did a mini-series or cross-over epic later to explain it all.

-sean (no, I can't quite believe I'm theorizing about X-Men continuity either)

Steve W. said...

Phillip, thank you for the Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly info. You have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Colin, thanks for the Thulsa Doom and Kull info.

Charlie, I have never seen Tom Jones live.

KD, it was indeed a shock to learn of the death of Steve Priest.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I always assumed Welsh singing came out of religion, the tradition of nonconformism/Methodism.
Although probably not the throwing around underwear aspect.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - THanks! I will let my dad know. Boy this is going to be a rough visit when I tell him, though.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I'm actually a fan of Tom Jones. He has some good stuff on YouTube. A live version of "Thunderball" for some award ceremony and a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Tower of Song." Both'll knock your socks off.
I got some nice headphones and sometimes I like to cruise the Tube and jam out while sippin' a little whiskey.


Killdumpster said...

A Tom Jones fan here. Wanted to see him live when he was in my area, but had gigs with bands. All abought paying bills and buying food back then.

I've always owned a Tom Jones greatest hits in one form or another. I have a CD right now.

My folks had one of his lp"s, and us kids would play it for "It's Not Unusual". That was the opening theme from his t.v. show.

Back in the early 80's I found Tom's album "Green, Green Grass Of Home" in a used 50 cent bin at a Ohio record store.

I played it constantly. My punk buddies/bandages thought I was insane.

Years later Jones did an album with Nine Inch Nails.

Killdumpster said...

Meant "bandmates" not "bandages", but we certainty went through alot of those back-in-the-day.

Dougie said...

I was buying the UK SSOC from time to time that summer, so I can tell you that aside from the reprint from the short-lived Kull and the Barbarians, there was also a map. I loved fantasy maps.

Salome is the eponymous evil twin in Robert E. Howard's A Witch Shall be Born, the Conan crucifixion story. We are told she is actually an ancestor of tne Biblical Salome in her monologue, IIRC.
Thulsa Doom was used by various writers, including Roy Thomas, as a Conan villain in the 80s colour comic and the 90s b/w magazine.

Killdumpster said...

It would have been great to have had a few Howard paperbacks during this virus thing. As a kid I read them constantly, as well as Doc Savage. I'm sure there are a few I've never read, though.

I ordered a Robert E. Howard box set at a bookstore once, and forgot about it. That Christmas my mom hustled me aside and gave it to me as a present, away from the rest of the family.

She said my father would disapprove of the exploitive artwork on the covers.

Anytime I had a handful of comics in the living room, and my dad felt like reading one, he'd leaf through them and pull Red Sonja. Lol.

Colin Jones said...

I own an e-book called "The Complete Chronicles Of Conan - Centenary Edition". It's a Centenary Edition because it was originally published in 2006, the centenary of Robert E. Howard's birth. The book includes a fascinating (and very long) essay about the life of Robert E. Howard and the cultural influence of Conan (R.E.H. is considered to be the father of the sword-and-sorcery genre). I saw the book on sale back in 2006 and even flicked through it but didn't buy it which I later regretted. But I've got the e-book version now :)

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Hi guys. On a completely different subject, if you have a couple of minutes to spare (honestly, that's all it takes) I have another art survey at You'll be shown 32 portraits. All you need to do is highlight your favourites and click on send.

You won't know most of the subjects so won't be able to tell whether they're good likenesses, so feel free to pick those that look human or that exude enough personality that you feel you know them or where you like the colours or composition. Just whatever rocks your boat really.

Just doing my best to keep Mike's memory alive. I know he was popular around here. Cheers.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD, MP - I am almost wondering if Tom Jones was a bigger hit in the USA than the UK? I'm not really feeling the love from our UK brothers! And tomorrow is his 80th birthday for cripes sakes!

UK gents - youtube "What's new pussycat" or "It's not unusual" or any of his numerous hits. You'll be a fan for sure!

UK Gents - did they not have the Tom Jones show on TV in the UK? Or was it an American thing?

Steve W. said...

Charlie, KD and MP, Tom Jones has always been successful in the UK but I think his reputation as, "Your granny's favourite," has possibly not done his credibility any favours.

He has had shows on British TV but I don't know if the one he had on American TV ever got shown over here.

Dangermash, I have now voted in your art survey.

Colin and KD, I have a 2-volume collection of all of Howard's Conan stories I bought sometime in the 1990s.

Dougie, thanks for the SSOC/Salome info.

Sean, I have a feeling some of the northern English colliery bands may have some sort of links with Methodism as well but I could be wrong.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I do like a bit of Tom Jones. As well as his greatest hits I have most of his albums from the last 20:years when he's been getting more into the blues. The frustrating thing is that I can never see him in concert because I know that there will be Lots of people in the audience who will just natter away through most of it, especially the modern stuff. I should really go to classical concerts where they don’t let on late arrivals and where just coughing during the music is liable to get you kicked out.

And cheers for your vote Steve.

Anonymous said...

That sounds right Steve - my understanding is there was quite a strong link between nonconformist religion and the early workers movements in northern England. And Wales too, so maybe theres a connection there.
Plus of course you also have "granny's favourites" up north, like Sheffield's own Tony Christie. Perhaps its something to do with being caught between the past and the future?

Charlie, maybe Tom Jones was bigger in the US - I think he had a couple of big hits in the 60s here, but I don't recall being particularly aware of him at all until his comeback around the mid-90s, when "loungecore" or whatever they called it was supposed to be fashionable. You know, that strange time when an Andy Williams remix could be a hit.


Steve W. said...

Well, now you're talking, Sean. Surely no man has ever been caught between the past and the future more than the protagonist of Tony Christie's Walk Like a Panther.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I'll tell you what was permanently caught between the past and future was Little Richard's face.

Anonymous said...

Steve, Tony Christie even regenerated into Jarvis Cocker to perform it, thats how suspended in time - and Sheffield - Walk Like A Panther was.