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Sunday, 30 August 2020

E-Man #7 - TV Man.

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

***

E-Man #7, cover
Being a lover of Horror and of plucky underdogs, I always had a fondness for Charlton Comics, one which went beyond anything common sense said I should have.

But, occasionally, I got a reminder that Charlton wasn't only about Horror.

Unlikely as it always seemed to me, it occasionally did super-hero stories too.

And E-Man #7 was one of them.

In the book's first tale, our alien hero has a problem. He keeps turning into fictional monsters and trying to kill his girlfriend Nova Kane.

It turns out this is all the handiwork of Michael, one of the Entropy Twins our hero previously encountered and defused by altering their body chemistry so they can no longer touch each other.

Apparently, this was to prevent their combined power of order and disorder from destroying the planet Earth.

Not happy about not being able to touch his other half, Mike's now out for revenge but, this being a Charlton Comic, none of it plays out like a Marvel or DC tale and it all ends with a cheery handshake and everyone being friends again.

E-Man #7, the Entropy Twins
It's all a pleasant read and Joe Staton's artwork is charming enough but it's far too light a tale to be gripping.

The highlight of the story, for me, is definitely the scene in which Nova has a brief conversation with Midnight Tales' Arachne who's studying at the same university as her. Somehow, knowing the Charlton universe is intertwined gives me great pleasure.

E-Man #7, Rog-2000
But of far more interest to me is the issue's back-up strip which features a John Byrne drawn tale about the robot Rog-2000 who, having run out of petrol, decides to ask for some at a convenient hotel, only to discover a deadly mass of blobbiness is in the habit of eating its guests.

Like E-Man, it's all tongue-in-cheek but the Ben Grimm style persona of the protagonist and the tale's Lovecraftian elements make it more memorable and it's interesting to see some early Bryne before the big-time summoned him.

Both tales are written by Nicola Cuti because all Charlton tales seemed to be written by Nicola Cuti. He must have been the busiest man in comics and it seems odd that such a ubiquitous figure at the company did relatively little work for either of the main two publishers.

E-Man #7

E-Man #7, Rog-2000 Withering Heights

Thursday, 27 August 2020

August 27th, 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 week in 1980 was startingly dull, with even the top of the British singles and album charts remaining unchanged from the week before. 

Therefore, I shall launch straight into my look at what Marvel UK's weeklies were up to in that seven-day period.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #390

This is it! The Hulk's much-anticipated punch-up with It! The Living Colossus is well underway!

Not that it lasts very long.

But I do love the cover blurb; "The Hulk battles the owner of this giant foot!"

Elsewhere, Spider-Man's hanging around his local museum, hoping the Black Cat'll show up and try to steal something.

Meanwhile, Spider-Woman's still on the trail of the man who killed her father, unaware that a SHIELD agent's on the trail of her.

The Hangman's also somehow mixed up in all this.

Just what the She-Hulk's up to is anyone's guess but I'm sure it'll involve her dealings with a world that doesn't understand her.

Forces in Combat #16, War is Hell

I genuinely have no idea what happens in this week's issue.

I do know that cover's from 1974's War is Hell #9, a series whose existence I've previously been unaware of.

It seems to involve Allied soldier John Kowalski who gets killed but doesn't let that put him off fighting the forces of fascism.

He seems to have a hint of DC's Deadman about him, as he operates by possessing the bodies of the living, in order to achieve his aims.

Whether the cover means he turns up in this week's issue, or whether Marvel UK just chose to use the picture as a generic war image, I could not say.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #131

We're still in Lando Calrissian's floating house and C-3PO's literally going to pieces.

Gullivar Jones is still on Mars and his beloved is still endangered by the big red lobster man whose name I've completely forgotten.

We get yet more from The Destiny of the Dinosaurs.

And this week's tale of the Watcher is The Worst Man on Earth in which a criminal cunningly manages to break free from his prison cell...

...only to discover, upon flinging the door open, that that cell is floating in Space!

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #1 - Twice Stings the Tarantula.

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

***

Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #1, the Tarantula

We all know there's only one Spider-Man.

And it's me!

No it isn't. It's Peter Parker.

And we know that because, in late 1976, a brand new comic came along to tell us so.

That comic was the one whose cover is displayed to the left of this very post and it meant the wall-crawler now had three books hitting the racks each month. The other two being The Amazing Spider-Man and Marvel Team-Up.

It sat on those racks, bearing a cover that long-standing readers may have found oddly familiar, as it was basically a retread of the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #134.

Given the need to make a big splash with the readership, some of whom may never have read a Spider-Man tale before, it's hardly surprising Marvel elected to pit our hero against, not any old bum but one of the web-slinger's greatest foes of all time.

The, erm, Tarantula.

We begin with our hero in his Spider-Man guise, hanging around, taking red-hot action snaps of his college's vice-chancellor delivering a speech, to students, about budgets. Clearly, the wall-crawler knows the kinds of photos newspapers will pay big money for.

Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #1, Flash and MJ
But, suddenly, it all gets even more exciting when a certain pointy-toed heel makes his arrival, abducting the vice-chancellor and scarpering with him, after teaching Spidey a lesson-or-two in how to fight.

With no clues as to his whereabouts, it seems the villain's gotten clean away but it's not long before the fickle finger of Fate leads to Peter Parker accidentally stumbling across the Tarantula's next crime.

This time, the mercenary's been ordered, by a mystery employer, to kill the mayor and make it look like a kidnapping gone wrong.

Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #1,The Tarantula
Needless to say, Spidey can't allow that to happen and rescues the mayor from his attacker but still fails to bring the wrongdoer to justice.

Now, not only is the villain gone but we're left none the wiser as to who his mystery employer is.

Well, we're not really. It's obvious to anyone with a functioning brain that he's the vice-chancellor who's faked his own kidnapping, in order to divert suspicion away from himself. We know this because it's hard to see why else he's in the story if he's not the man behind it all.

Of course, 14 years before all this, Amazing Adult Fantasy shook-up the world of comics, with the launch of Spider-Man upon the world, and things would never be the same again. Does this book do the same?

Not really. In all honesty, it's just a fairly standard-issue Spider-Man story of its era. It does set up what appears to be a story arc, involving the Tarantula and his employer but, other than that, there's little to distinguish it from anything that was happening in his main book at the time.

It's also a frustrating read because Spider-Man has ridiculous amounts of difficulty dealing with his foe who's just some bloke with stabby shoes. Time and again, our hero tells us how it'll be a miracle if he manages to survive against such a deadly opponent. At one point, we even have him dreading the thought of facing him again.

I mean, seriously, it's the Tarantula. Even I'd fancy my chances against him. If you're going to hook new readers on a book, I'm not sure having its hero be totally unable to win a fight with a non-entity is the way to do it.

There's also a major crime against logic, which has Spider-Man hanging around, in full view, taking the photos he plans to later sell as Peter Parker. I'm not sure that's the best way to maintain a secret identity.

Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #1, Glory Grant
But, speaking of Peter Parker, despite the comic being named after him, he's barely in the tale.

Still, at least while he's present, we do get a couple of scenes featuring Gloria Grant and MJ, the latter of whom is now dating Flash Thompson.

It's all written by Gerry Conway who always feels like he could knock out a competent Spidey story in his sleep, and it's drawn by Sal Buscema, about whom you could make exactly the same observation.

Personally, although I'm an admirer of Sal and his simple but clean story-telling, I've never been that big on him when it comes to Spider-Man, feeling his style lacks the idiosyncrasy the likes of Ditko, Kane and Andru brought to the strip.

So, it's OK but doesn't feel like as much effort's been put into it as could have been.

If one didn't know better, one might think the book was only launched as a way of making more money from a popular character, rather than because anyone involved believed the world desperately needed another book devoted to him.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

August 20th, 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 remember a guy that's been in such an early song?

I do. And that guy is Major Tom.

A man I've learnt, over the years, that I'd better not mess with.

Although I don't know why.

Anyway, the reason I know what I do know is because, in this week in 1980, Ashes to Ashes by David Bowie hit the Number One spot on the UK singles chart, becoming, as far as I'm aware, the first sequel to a Number One to also make Number One.

Over on the LP chart, things felt a little less groundbreaking, as Flesh and Blood by Roxy Music climbed to, once more, reclaim the Number One crown.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #389, the Black Cat

The Black Cat's robbing a museum of its treasures - and Spider-Man's out to stop her, little suspecting that, to her, he's the loveliest treasure of them all.

The Hulk's all set for a punch-up with It! The Living Colossus.

Spider-Woman's on the trail of whoever it was who killed her father.

But the Hangman's on the loose and still determined to free the streets of vermin.

I assume he's going to decide Spider-Woman is vermin. He's that kind of man.

Then again, he's also the kind of man to try and protect her by knocking her out and imprisoning her in his dungeon.

Still, if Spider-Woman thinks she's got daddy problems, that's nothing, compared to the She-Hulk. Not realising she's his own daughter, Sheriff Walters is out to kill the green-skinned gal.

The Defenders are battling someone called Warbot - and not making a good job of it. I, at least, take solace from the fact it's not Lunatik they're fighting.

Forces in Combat #15

The Howling Commandos have been offered a free pint in a London pub, little suspecting there's a bomb underneath it.

Underneath the pub, that is. Not underneath the pint. They'd have to be particularly unobservant to not notice a bomb underneath their pint.

Fortunately, Pinky, having liberated himself from his Nazi captors, shows up just in time to thwart the treasonous landlord and warn his chums.

Meanwhile, I was Adolf's Double continues, a comedy strip that seems to be genuinely bizarre.


Empire Strikes Back Weekly #130, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker

The Millenium Falcon's arrived at Lando Calrissian's floating fun palace, little suspecting the trap they're blundering into.

Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker's in a cave and fighting an imaginary Darth Vader.

In Monsters of the Cosmos, a group of time-travellers are startled to see an alien space rocket standing around in the age of the dinosaurs.

On Mars, Gullivar Jones' girlfriend's about to have her first meeting with her captor and would-be husband, the decidedly anti-social Ar-Hap.

While Tales of the Watcher gives us a Lee/Ditko classic called Hunted, a tale of which I know nothing other than its title and that it features one man opposed by an entire planet.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

2000 AD - July 1982.

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

***

band, whose name I've long since forgotten, once sang a song which began with the words, "I'd like to fly away in my beautiful, my beautiful, balloon."

And they weren't alone.

But, unlike them, someone actually decided to do it instead of just standing around singing about it.

And that man was Lawnchair Larry an individual who, in July 1982, flew 16,000 feet above Long Beach, California, in a lawn chair supported by weather balloons.

I like to think he's still up there but I suspect he isn't.

A man who's definitely not still in the place that made him famous is Michael Fagan who breached security at Buckingham Palace, that month, and found himself in the Queen's bedroom. Needless to say, this caused quite a kerfuffle at the time.

Also causing a stir, back then, were Italy who beat West Germany 3–1 to win the 1982 FIFA World Cup in Spain.

Not quite as happy as those Italians was the Reverend Sun Myung Moon who was, in New York, sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $25,000 for tax fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

While all this drama was going on, the world of the Hit Parade carried on as normal. And so it was that July 1982 saw the UK singles chart topped by Captain Sensible's Happy Talk and then Irene Cara's Fame.

Over on the British album chart, the month began with ABC's The Lexicon of Love gripping the top slot but even that behemoth finally had to make way for the unstoppable juggernaut that was Fame, as the month ended with the chart being ruled by that movie's Original Soundtrack.

And, of course, through all of this, the nation's greatest science fiction comic still kept rolling along, unconcerned that it was now less than 19 years away from its title becoming passé.

As we had been for quite a while now, we were treated to the thrills and spills of Robo-Hunter, Rogue Trooper, Mean Arena, Judge Dredd, Ace Trucking Co and Tharg's Future Shocks.

However, Progs 273-274 also gave us a Steve Moore written tale called Trouble in Tree-World which was, it seems, an Agent Rat adventure.

I must confess I don't have a clue who Agent Rat was, as I'm assuming he wasn't The Stainless Steel Rat who had, at one point, had a strip in the book.

But what I do know is it's somewhat incongruous to see the Rogue Trooper talking about the mystery of fruit gums, on the cover of Prog 272.

2000 AD Prog 271, Ace Trucking

2000 AD Prog 272, Rogue Trooper

2000 AD Prog 273, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 274, Rogue Trooper

2000 AD Prog 275, Ace Trucking

Thursday, 13 August 2020

August 13th, 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 week in 1980 wasn't an exciting one. In fact, the most thrilling thing that happened was the opening of the Tyne and Wear Metro system, which I'm sure left the people of that area awestruck but wasn't quite such a big event for those of us who lived too far away to be able to use it.

I shall, therefore, leap straight into my look at what thrills Marvel UK was serving up in that period.

And the first thing that strikes me is it was only serving up three-quarters of the thrills it had previously been doing.

That's because Doctor Who Weekly had bitten the dust.

But fear not. It wasn't because the Daleks had somehow managed to exterminate it. It was because it had now been upgraded to a full-blown monthly magazine.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #388, The Black Cat

Unless I miss my ever-loving guess, the Incredible Hulk is about to find himself facing the power of It! The Living Colossus, thanks to a bitter sandwich board man called Aloysius Vault.

And, judging by that cover, we're also getting the story in which Spider-Man discovers the Black Cat has a shrine devoted to him. So, nothing weird going on there, then.

I would not presume to guess what this week's She-Hulk, Fantastic Four and Spider-Woman tales are about.

The Empire Strikes Back Weekly #129, Boba Fett

The adaptation of the series' second movie continues at its own leisurely pace.

And it would appear we get our first glimpse of Boba Fett, a character who made no impression at all on me when I first saw the film, to such a degree that, before I finally gained access to the internet, I didn't even know he was a big thing.

We get a one-off story called The Destiny of the Dinosaurs.

I'm unclear what their destiny is but I suspect it won't be good news for some poor soul.

We get more from Gullivar Jones, as our hero and Chak the pterodactyl man do their best to survive while on their way to rescuing the necessary princess.

Finally, we get a Lee/Heck Tale of the Watcher in which a boy finds a teleport device that sends him to a parallel world where he meets alternate reality versions of his own family.

Forces in Combat #14


Nick Fury and his men are sat in a London pub, waiting for their only English member Pinky to show up.

But little do they know he's been captured by German spies!

Needless to say, Pinky's doing everything he can to escape, in order to ensure his colleagues don't fall victim to the same spies.

That is where my knowledge of this week's contents begins and ends.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - August 1980.

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

Have you ever felt some jobs in your life are just too big to accomplish?

Then feel sorry for the crew of The Deepquest because in this month, exactly 40 years ago, they were set the task of lifting an ocean liner from the very bed of the sea!

That's right. It was the month in which Raise the Titanic, the film that all but sank the British film industry, was released...

...and then did about as well as the boat that had inspired it.

Famously, this was the movie of which producer Lew Grade once lamented, "It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic."

But it wasn't the only film released that month because August 1980 also saw the unleashing of The Final Countdown and, Steve Does Comics' favourite, Xanadu.

Oddity of the month - assuming you don't think Xanadu deserved that title - was a film called I Go Pogo which was, it seems, based on a cartoon strip I've never heard of. The internet tells me the strip ran from 1948 to 1975 and its main character was an opossum. It seems it won awards, so, it is clear I've missed out on a valuable piece of culture.

Shogun Warriors #19, the Fantastic Four

Hold on to your hats because the Shogun Warriors tangle with the Fantastic Four!

Just how large a scale this fight is, I couldn't say but, given the size of at least one of the participants, I would assume the scale's quite large.

As well as that, the Grand Comics Database informs me that Genji Odashu, in Combatra, leads the way to Ilongo Savage's Oceanography Research Centre.

And, you know what? Not one word of that plot summary meant a thing to me.

Tomb of Dracula #6

Because you The Reader demanded it, the book's been cancelled!

Which is disappointing, seeing how successful the original comic was.

I can only put it down to the magazine format, rather than the allure or lack of it of the good count himself.

Still, at least Marvel get to bill it as the, "Special Last Issue!" which, I'm sure, convinced people to rush out and buy it in a fever of excitement.

As so often, Dracula's tale is drawn by Gene Colan although, this time, Dave Simons gets to be inker and Jim Shooter gets to do the writing.

We also get a back-up tale called Violets for a Vampire, drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz.

What If #22, Dr Doom had become a hero

Hooray! At last, Dr Doom gets to be a hero!

Although, I'm sure the people of Latveria have always viewed him as a hero. After all, as we were regularly told by them in our days of yore, Latveria has been a prosperous land since Doom became ruler.

Apparently, in this tale, he doesn't have the accident which turned him evil.

I would assume, judging by the cover, that he also has a triumphant battle with Mephisto.

Special Edition #1, Spider-Man and Hulk

We get issue #1 of a summer special starring Marvel's two most TV-friendly characters.

I wish I could give huge amounts of detail about what happens in this one but I really don't have a clue.

I do know that, once again, Jim Shooter's the writer.

It doesn't seem to be much of a summer special, as it only has 20 pages, making it something that sounds suspiciously like a regular comic.

Spider-Woman #29, Spider-Man and the Enforcer

Spider-Woman's being controlled by the Enforcer - and only Spider-Man can stop her!

I've no doubt he does just that and the pair of them then team-up to thwart whatever the Enforcer's terrible plan is.

Apparently, Ernie Chan shows up as a guest character in this issue.

Ernie Chan also happens to have done the breakdowns for it.

I suspect these two facts are related.

Marvel Premiere #55, Wonder Man

At last, after all these years, we get to see Wonder Man in solo action.

It would appear our hero's up against the Maggia in this tale - and that Madame Masque is also mixed up in it.

Marvel Team-Up #96, Spider-Man and Howard the Duck

It's the meeting we've all been crying out for, as Spider-Man teams up with Howard the Duck.

Every single element of this comic, from the writing, all the way through to the lettering, was done by Alan Kupperberg. I don't think I've ever read a Marvel comic in which every role in the creative process was filled by one person.

The villain of the tale is Status Quo.

I am assuming that's not the band of the same name.

Spectacular Spider-Man King-Size Annual #2, the Rapier

The Spectacular Spider-Man gets its second-ever annual, and it's all-new thrills, as Spidey finds himself up against the Rapier.

I'm not sure how a man with a sword is going to cause too many problems for Spider-Man but, then again, Silvermane and the Maggia are also involved, so Webhead may have more of a fight on his hands than is immediately apparent.

It seems this tale was originally produced as part of a Coca-Cola promotion that fell through.

Exactly what that Coca-Cola promotion involved, I could not say.

I can say that, at first glance, the Rapier looks more like a Daredevil villain than a Spider-Man one.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Forty years ago today - August 1980.

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

With Britain hit by a heatwave, there's only one thing for it.

And that's to take refuge in the coolest books Marvel Comics had to offer, way back in 1980.

Avengers #198, Red Ronin


Red Ronin's gone on the rampage and Ms Marvel's still pregnant.

These two facts are unrelated.

But can our heroes bring down a robot designed to stop Godzilla himself?

And will Carol Danvers ever be able to work out who the father of her child is?


Conan the Barbarian #113, Satan had a Son


When Conan's current sidekick gets injured, the barbarian has to call on the help of a local witch but, when it turns out a demon's after her son, Conan can't resist returning the favour, by thwarting that vile denizen of another world.
Captain America #248, Dragon Man


SHIELD and Cap are baffled as to the origins of the Baron Struckerbot they were trying to interrogate last issue.

But we're not baffled, because we know it was Machinesmith wot dun it.

And now he's decided to set Dragon Man on the star-spangled superman.

Could our hero finally be out of his depth?

Fantastic Four #221


At the North Pole, the Fantastic Four battle to prevent a group of hostile aliens destroying the planet!

Except it turns out they're not hostile. They're just trying to get their spaceship working, so they can leave, and are totally oblivious to the risk they're posing to the locals.

It all ends happily when the FF help them launch their spaceship, thanks to Reed Richards having more scientific know-how than they do.

How, exactly, does Reed Richards have more scientific know-how than aliens from outer space?

Incredible Hulk #250, Silver Surfer


The Silver Surfer's still mithering about not being able to get through Galactus' space barrier and comes to the totally rational conclusion that all he has to do is turn himself gamma-powered, so he'll get stronger and be able to smash through it.

So, of course, he ropes in Bruce Banner to help him do the deed.

Needless to say, it's a terrible idea, the Surfer goes on the rampage and then has to return to Earth to save Bruce's life, after the scientist falls off the back of his surfboard.

And it could all have been avoided if the Surfer had anything that resembles foresight.

Amazing Spider-Man #207, Mesmero


Here's an oddity. Mesmero's gone straight and now has a gig as a stage hypnotist.

On the lookout for a box office boost, he hires Spider-Man as his stage assistant but, when the show gets terrible reviews, the malevolent mesmerist can't resist setting out to kill the critics.

And, of course, Spidey sets out to stop him.

Spectacular Spider-Man #45, the Vulture


The Vulture's still out to take over the gangs of New York but, thanks to the webbed wonder, it all goes wrong and his nephew gets killed, causing the villain to seek revenge upon his killer.

Thor #298, Siegfried vs Fafnir


Siegfried is told he has to tackle the dragon Fafnir, in order to learn the meaning of fear, the one trait he lacks that all great warriors must possess.

There's also a magic ring involved but I struggle to recall in what way.

Uncanny X-Men #136


Hooray! The X-Men finally stop the rampage of the Dark Phoenix and restore Jean Grey to normal!

Not so hooray; her planet-destroying antics have attracted the attention of three galactic empires who want her dead.

Iron Man #137


If I remember right, a saboteur has struck at an oil rig, requiring the attention of both Tony Stark and Iron Man.

Meanwhile, a friend of Tony Stark's girlfriend has now been beaten close to death.

What can it all mean - and how are these events interconnected?

Frankly, I don't have a clue but I'm sure we're going to find out.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

August 6th, 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.
***

Who takes it all?

The winner takes it all.

And I know that because ABBA told me so.

They told me so, this week in 1980, when the Swedish supergroup hit the pinnacle of the UK singles chart, with the song of that title.

It brought to an end a period of two years in which, despite a zillion near-misses, they'd failed to hit Number One, and gave them the eighth of their nine British chart-toppers.

But, on the country's LP listings, far noisier fare held sway, as AC/DC's Back in Black knocked Deepest Purple off the Number One spot. It is strange how Heavy Metal never gets any mention in TV retrospectives of the British music scene in this era, even though it sold in massive quantities.

Marvel Superheroes #364, the Avengers

Jarella's back and it would appear to be causing no end of consternation to the Avengers.

The original X-Men find themselves up against the Living Monolith - who's so much more dangerous than The Dead Monolith - thanks to the pencil of Neal Adams.

And, in the Champions, we get to meet the man who created the Black Widow.

I have a feeling that he dies not too long after we meet him.
Doctor Who Weekly #43, Tom Baker

My knowledge of this week's issue's somewhat incomplete but I do know the Fourth Doctor's still up against the menace that is Dragon's Claw.

There's also an article about The Green Death, the Third Doctor serial which made us discover the true horror of giant maggots.

We get more of the Daleks' adventures as they attempt to conquer the universe.

We get a Silver-Age Marvel twist-in-the-tale reprint of the kind we've grown used to, but I don't know which one.

We get the, no doubt, enlightening feature Fantastic Facts.

Just how fantastic those facts are, I could not say.

And we finish with Business as Usual, a strip in which a man called Max Fischer is trying to flee the Autons. And it appears that, when they've done with him, they'll have their sights set on Earth!

Spider-Man and the Hulk Weekly #387, Meteor Man

Meteor Man is back - and grown too big for even the new Giant-Man to stop!

Star Heroes Pocket Book #5, the Micronauts

The Micronauts find themselves in a story which guest-stars the Fantastic Four.



Chiller Pocket Book #6, Dracula

Dracula's in a strop and wants his vampire powers back, necessitating a return to Transylvania where he finds himself besieged, not only by his human enemies but also his former undead lackeys.

Is this the end for the quarrelsome count?

Elsewhere, Ghost Rider finds himself in a punch-up with Satan - and comes to realise the lord of Hell may not actually own his soul, after all.

Fantastic Four Pocket Book #5

Here's a book worth having. Not only do we get the tale in which a bitter scientist body-swaps with Ben Grimm but then learns the error of his ways but we also get the Fantastic Four's first-ever encounter with the Black Panther

And then we get the one-off tale in which, way back in prehistory, the Kree's Sentry goes for a walk, to check-up on our planet's progress and teaches us the true origin of the Inhumans.

Savage Sword of Conan #34

My info on this one's limited but I do know Conan finds himself and a friend trapped on a big rock, under siege from a group of Arabs.

Judging by the cover, this leads to him being menaced by a giant in a cave. He really does have to be the unluckiest man alive.

Then again, Red Sonja's not that much luckier, because, in her strip, she's got to sort out a bear god.

Spider-Man Pocket Book #5, Hawkeye

The only thing I know about this book's contents is they feature Spider-Man and Hawkeye in a tale written by Len Wein and drawn by Sal Buscema.

Obviously, robots are involved.

The cover told me that.

Forces in Combat #13

I know nothing of this issue but the cover asks me, "Can an English ghost in a German's body turn the tide of the war?" and that has to be a good enough reason to buy any book.

The Empire Strikes Back #128

Luke's getting training from Yoda, while Darth has a Zoom meeting with the emperor.

Meanwhile, Han and the gang find themselves in a strange cave...

Gullivar Jones is hanging around with Chak the pterodactyl man, and learning a thing or two about the history of Mars.

Elsewhere, in Monsters of the Cosmos, mankind must face the threat of Gargantus.

And, in Tales of the Watcher, a thief steals a robot and uses its awesome power, to rob banks, before holing up in a cave and ordering it let no one pass through its entrance.

It's only later that he discovers that that means it won't let him leave it!

Frantic #6, Howard the Duck

For me, this book's contents are a mystery wrapped inside a riddle placed inside an enigma but it all looks very hedonistic.

Rampage Monthly #26, the X-Men

Bruce Banner's attempts to rid himself of the Hulk, via psychological means, succeed only in unleashing an insane Hulk upon the world.

Luke Cage finds himself up against the deadly servants of a mystery villain.

I have a suspicion that villain is Dr Doom but I could be wrong about that.

And the X-Men must tangle with the Guardian of the Crystal in what, I think, is John Byrne's first issue on the strip.

Starburst #24, Caroline Munro

I do remember that Starburst seemed to have a strange fascination with Caroline Munro. I can't imagine why.

And so it is that she makes the cover, not for the first or last time in her career.

Even more sexily, we get an article about Stingray!

And, of course, there's more Star Wars related goodness because where would Starburst be without it?