Thursday, 30 July 2020

July 30th, 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.

This very afternoon, in 1980, a veritable clash of the titans reached the starting line, as Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett launched themselves into the first round of the Moscow Olympics' 1500 metres contest. The whole nation waited with bated breath to discover which of these record-pummelling giants of putting one foot in front of the other would prove himself supreme.

Obviously, the nation would have to wait a bit longer because this was just the first round.

It may not have been clear which of that pair ruled the middle-distance roost but it was certain who ruled the vinyl roost.

And that was Deep Purple whose best-of compilation Deepest Purple now sat atop the UK album chart.

Meanwhile, Odyssey's Use it up and Wear it Out retained the prime spot on the UK singles chart, that it had claimed the week before.

Doctor Who Weekly #42, Tom Baker

We get more of the Fourth Doctor strip Dragon's Claw.

And we get yet more of the Daleks vs the Monstrons.

We also experience a Lee/Lieber/Heck masterpiece in which a scientist uses the time machine he's invented to go back to Ancient Egypt and discover where a pharaoh's treasure's buried - only to find himself entombed with the treasure!

Quite why a man who can invent a time machine needs to worry about making money is beyond me. Surely, a man of his genius is capable of making a fortune from his inventions?

And we finish with a two-part Alan Moore tale called Business as Usual.

Spider-Mand and Hulk Weekly #386, Jack Frost

Spidey's up against a thing called Meteor Madness.

I'm guessing this is the one where he teams up with the new Giant-Man, AKA Black Goliath, to thwart the return of Meteor Man. I couldn't say that for certain, though.

I can say for certain that the Hulk's up against the might of Jack Frost.

To be honest, the cover blurb, "Hulk fights the ice statues," doesn't exactly set my pulse racing. I mean, they're made of ice. They have to be the weakest opponents he's ever come up against.

Feel more concern for the She-Hulk, however. She's up against a violent robot that people keep mistaking for her.

Spider-Woman, meanwhile, is now in America and on the trail of Brother Grimm.

And, in The Defenders, Bruce Banner has to perform an emergency medical procedure on Subby, Nighthawk and Hellcat.

I think this may be the one in which that Russian bloke turns himself and the Red Guardian into god-like beings.

Forces in Combat #12

Nick Fury's trying to do a rescue mission in France - but is hindered by a medic who's determined to retrieve his dropped medical kit, no matter the risk.

That is all I know of this issue's contents but it would seem we also get the start of a colour strip called I Was Adolf's Double.

Of that strip, I know nothing.

Empire Strike Back Weekly #127

And I know almost as nothing about this week's Empire Strikes Back Weekly.

Obviously, I know the adaptation of the movie continues at its own leisurely pace but the events of the back-up strips are unknown to me.

I would assume Gullivar Jones is still on Mars and the Watcher's still telling us tales designed to keep our minds ethical and our actions responsible.


Anonymous said...

That sounds right about the Defenders story featuring the Russian fella who turned himself and the Red Guardian into god-like beings, Steve.
He had a giant egg shaped head as I recall, and called himself the Presence.

Although the pair of them might not be in that Spidey & Hulk issue, as Namor, stupid bird-man and Hellcat had their medical treatment after the conflict was over. They had radiation sickness, which fortunately isn't a big deal in the Marvel universe so Bruce Banner was able to sort them out at short notice.
Kinda surprising the radioactivity didn't just give them new powers really.


Anonymous said...

He was also known as Codename:Sergei.
I think that was a helmet, Sean, he took it off at one point, but maybe his head did look like later after all that radiation. Like a tomato.
I was sorry to see the Red Guardian leave the Defenders. There was an interesting female "squad' in the Defenders with her, Valkrie, and Hellcat. I think both Gerber and later Kraft wrote them to be as interesting as the male characters, more so, I think. Anybody remember when Val tried to apply for a semester in college? I thought it was amusing that Hellcat's joking would get on Valkrie's nerves. Asgardian warrior goddesses apparently have no sense of humor. And little patience for standing in endless lines trying to fill a class schedule for a semester.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

I hate to say it by I am still awed and traumatized at watching the UK's very own Kyle setting the world's record at eating toast and beans (what the Brits eat for breakfast on occasion as I understand it) on Monday.

And then listening to him talk about his "explosive" train ride back home on Talk Sport had me... well... bemused?

How the hell this kid eats a loaf of bread and 5 pounds of beans is beyond me.

But, in that context, when I looked at the covers above, I immediately thought two things:

1) Dr. Who participated in such an event and didn't explode soon enough and ended up with that hair.

2) Kyle was on that airplane with Sgt Fury and the medic!

Gawd... I just watched it again. I'm nauseous! Link below.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

FWIW - medics did not carry weapons, at least if they were wearing that red cross.

My grandmother would weep (don't know why) when telling me of her brother who was in the infantry fighting across France and Germany in WW2. For some reason he had written that he was better off than a medic b/c he could hide behind a tree whereas the medic went out, to save people, and would get shot at.

Not sure why it made her weep the two times she told me that. Her brother survived with no physical injuries. Maybe it upset her reading it in his letter, during the war, and left a scar?

Make War no More.

Killdumpster said...

I loved that Defenders story. Nice retro artwork.

Now, to go off topic a bit (yeah, that never happens), in a recent story they claim the rocks from Stonehenge came from 15 miles from the site.

Didn't they already figure that out last year? That the stones came from some kind of quarry?

Hope you UK gents aren't paying for this with tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, that eating contest would probably kill me at this point.
When I was on leave visiting the U.K. I remember staying in bed and breakfast places and you would get a sausage, a fried egg, toast, tomato slices and beans. Or something like that.
It wasn't bad, but eating beans first thing in the morning struck me as odd. They don't agree with me.
I guess you could say the beans set the tone for the whole day.


Anonymous said...


I've often felt time-machine inventing evil geniuses would save themselves a lot of trouble if they understood compound interest. I believe that Alan Moore story 'Business as Usual' was an early collaboration with David Lloyd, and edited by Dez Skinn, no less.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I hate baked beans. That was like a horror movie to me. If I was Kyle's trainer, though, I'd be saying look we're already the fastest in the works at eating dry toast, we really need to work on speed eating the beans.

Colin Jones said...

I remember reading that Sebastian Coe was unpopular amongst the athletic community because he was a Tory (and he later became a Tory MP and then after losing his seat he got "kicked upstairs" to the House of Lords and became Lord Coe - isn't British democracy wonderful?)

I've never had beans on toast for breakfast in my life - nor fried eggs, sausages, fried tomatoes etc. I'm pretty sure most people in this country have cornflakes, muesli or some other cereal.

The stones from Stonehenge came from South Wales - more like 150 miles than 15. And photographs taken in the late 19th Century show Stonehenge as just a jumble of toppled stones - the site was ignored and neglected for countless centuries until it was re-constructed in modern times.

Anonymous said...

Actually Colin, archaeologists - English ones, naturally - are now saying most of the stones are from Wiltshire.
They must think we're all idiots. Who believes stuff like that?
The British deep state propaganda effort to cover up the real origin of Stonehenge continues...

The funny thing about Sebastian Coe becoming a tory MP and peer of the realm is that he grew up in the peoples republic of Sheffield.
How did something like that happen? Its enough to make you question everything you thought you knew about South Yorkshire...


Anonymous said...

DW, thats right about David Lloyd, but SezDez had left Marvel UK by then.
My understanding is that it was actually Lloyd who suggested Moore as writer for the Nightraven-type character Skinn wanted for the new monthly comic he was planning...


Steve W. said...

Not only is Coe a Tory, Sean and Colin, but he's also a Chelsea supporter, which is the sort of thing that isn't going to win you friends in the People's Republic.

I think his unpopularity with other athletes was primarily that he refused to reside in the Olympic Village and rented his own private accommodation elsewhere, which was seen as lacking the necessary team spirit.

DW, for some reason, people who invent time machines always seem to be remarkably lacking in brain cells.

MP, Valkyrie's attempt to enroll in college was my favourite Defenders storyline.

Dangermash, I love baked beans.

Although, not as much as Kyle does.

Charlie, I believe the medic stole the gun off someone else, before Nick and the gang could stop him.

KD, don't worry, the cost is all ultimately recouped in tourist money.

Anonymous said...

To be fair to Coe, at least he isn't a Spurs man Steve.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Coe is a Chelsea supporter? We Americans have one decent soccer player (we are a tiny nation of only 330,000,000) named Pulisec who plays for Chelsea.

Using the transitive property. If I like Chelsea and Coe likes Chelsea, I like Coe?

And, since I love sausages, eggs, tomatoes for breakfast I live the UK! This world is amazing!

Lastly, I do not like sweet baked beans either. Too sweet...

Anonymous said...

Steve, when I enrolled in college and stood in long lines trying to get the classes I needed for my schedule, if I had super-strength I would've pounded more than one desk in half.
God, that was awful.
When I visited Stonehenge there was a rope around it, but every picture I see there's no rope.
I understand why there IS a rope, otherwise some goof would walk up and spray-paint BALLS on one of the standing stones.
I think the place is incredible. You're standing in the presence of something that every English king has looked upon since recorded history began. And who knows who else.
M.P. is a cat who retains a shred of child-like wonder.


Anonymous said...

There never used to be a rope or anything around Stonehenge back in the days of the old free festival, let alone the centuries before M.P.

The argument that it now needs to be protected from the public is ridiculous. Especially as the only real threats to the stones come from the British army playing war games on Salisbury plain, and the tunnel being dug underneath it, both of which the authorities are quite happy to allow.
(Although I believe work on the tunnel has recently been suspended again for a few months)


Anonymous said...

I dunno, Sean. I understand the argument against separating people from physical contact with their own history, but probably some clown or multiple clowns would deface it, given the chance. Maybe a teenager high on aerosol fumes.
I would assume the British army on their exercises are practicing forbearance and aren't lobbing any mortars in the direction of Stonehenge, and the tunnels are being dug by archeologists in the name of research.
I only hope they don't unleash or reawaken an ancient evil, a demonic entity buried eons ago by the Druids.
That's about all we need right now. Yog-Sothoth showing up and declaring his candidacy for president on a third party ticket. It would complicate matters.


Anonymous said...

Yog-Sothoth seems preferable to the other two candidates, and would probably get my vote if I had one M.P.
Although I hear you lot might not be having an election at all in November...


Anonymous said...

Trump's talking out of his ass. He's finished.
But I prefer old uncle Joe over any Satanic being. Trump or any Lovecraftian entity.
At least hear him out on his foreign policy.


Colin Jones said...

"You're standing in the presence of something that every English king has looked upon since recorded history began"...

Actually, MP, I doubt that any English king has looked upon Stonehenge. As I mentioned in my earlier comment, Stonehenge's cultural importance is a modern invention - the site was abandoned and forgotten until the 20th Century. All the stones had toppled over and Stonehenge had to be re-constructed.

By the way, "recorded history" began around 3500 BC but the earliest English (Anglo-Saxon) kings date back to around 500 AD. Or did you mean British kings?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

It's easy to imagine Stonehenge laying there in a heap of rubble, lol.

It reminds me of those photos from 100 years ago in greece where no-famous sites like the temple of venus or the oracles or whatever are all overgrown and the locals are grazing their sheep on them not having a clue as to what they were.

Heck, driving around the southern part of France you see these 3-stone tables / alters everywhere (sort of) that were installed by the Celts (they think) like 2,500 years ago but they have no idea why.

I know why the elts built them, having been in the army. you get tired eating your food standing up. so you make a table and chair. But these academics don't want to listen to me.

Anonymous said...

I expect a fair few of those stones in France were put there by Obelix the Gaul stopping for a bit of wild boar on his travels Charlie. These academics are crazy.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I couldn't agree more!

I suspect thought that Asterix came up with idea and put Obelix to work! During the meal, Domatix could rest underneath in the shade and then afterwords, Geriatrix could recline on the table before the gang continued its journeys?

Academics can be an interesting lot. By in large, I have no problem with them, but there is that expression about "being educated beyond one's intelligence..."

Anonymous said...

The people of Sheffield will be pleased to hear that Chelsea just lost - tough sh*t Sebastian Coe.
Arsenal are just the better team. Obviously.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean... you just burst Charlie's bubble! If only the American Pulisic hadn't pulled up gimp in the 2nd half!

But hell, I'm just glad you are watching soccer! I was afraid none of you chaps paid any attention.

Anyhow, you folks have the best league in the world, and are lucky to enjoy such a high level of talent and play (shenanigans aside). And you have a bumper crop of young'ins! You may kick some serious B@tt at the next World Cup in Qatar.

Anonymous said...

Colin, despite having a history degree and having visited the place, briefly, like many Americans I have a rather romantic view of British history that probably isn't very accurate. We get our impression of the place from movies, by and large.
I guess I meant British or English kings, I think I understand the difference. Opinions may vary, but isn't Alfred the Great considered by some to be the first king worthy of the title?
Certainly the 800's are not "the dawn of recorded history", I was just being goofy. I know about the Tigris-Euphrates river valley.
Charlie I am intrigued by these "alters" in France you mention. I dunno if I buy the idea that they were put there so a guy could sit down and eat lunch. Maybe YOU sat down on one and ate a sandwich and thought "this is great!"
You may angered the forest gods.