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Thursday, 29 October 2020

October 29th, 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.

***

Wait! What's this? Another week has passed and Marvel UK's down to just three weekly comics? Is the bony hand of Death knocking at the imprint's front door, once more?

No. It isn't.

In fact, not only is the House of Ideas still publishing a zillion and one monthlies but there's a whole new slew of weeklies about to hit the newsagents, as well. What kind of madness is this? Is whoever's in charge trying to take over the whole blamed world?

If so, coverage of that conquest'll have to wait another seven days. For now, let's see what the company's giving us that displays a cover date belonging to the last week of October 1980.

Spider-Man & Hulk Weekly #399, Hulk and Moon Knight


All I know about this issue is Spider-Man's fight to thwart the Vulture's takeover of the New York mobs continues and we also get a two-page spread showing us the layouts of the Daily Bugle and the Daily Globe, as well as the campus of ESU.

I think we're all been desperate for those treats.

It would also appear the Hulk gets to tangle with Moon Knight, although that's not a story I could claim to have any memory of.

Forces in Combat#25

I'm even more clueless about the contents of this one but, clearly, Kull's still battling those Devil-Birds that were so vexing him last issue.

And I suspect ROM's probably still having to wage war without his Neutraliser.

Team-Up #7, Nighthawk

And I finish off with another rubbish attempt at a summary because all I know about this issue is Spidey gets to team-up with Nighthawk in a scrap to the death with the Meteor Man and, also, the Torpedo has his own strip.

I'm also certain Morbius' series is still running, though I couldn't say what's currently happening in it.

All in all, thanks to my ignorance, I can't help feeling this week's post has been a bit of a washout.

Fortunately, I've already written the vast bulk of next week's Marvel UK post and know it's so packed solid with useful info that it's practically bursting at the seams.

In fact, the World Wide Web'll probably collapse beneath the sheer weight of it.

Therefore, if you meet the man who owns the internet, please remember to apologise to him, on my behalf.

Sunday, 25 October 2020

The Cross-Over From Hell. Tomb of Dracula #18 & Werewolf by Night #15.

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

***

Tomb of Dracula #18 & Werewolf by Night #15.

The first Marvel multi-title crossover story I can remember ever reading was the nightmarish horror that occurred when Tomb of Dracula first collided with Werewolf by Night.

How I remember reading both books at the same time, as I sat in the raised cafeteria of Sheffield's indoor Sheaf Market whose main claim to fame was being next to the indoor Castle Market where the video for Tony Christie's Walk Like a Panther was shot.

How glamorous, but neither of these characters walked like a panther. One walked like a dog and one walked like a bat.

Still, I didn't let that put me off.

So, with Halloween looming, it's time for me to revisit that two-part trauma-thon and see just what's going down in Fang Land.

Jack Russell and his lady friend Topaz are travelling to Transylvania, in search of answers about his family's history of lycanthropy.

At the same time, Frank Drake and his lady friend Rachel Van Helsing are also travelling to that very same part of Europe, in search of Dracula who's headed out there for whatever reason.

Neither couple is aware of the other's existence, nor of each other's mission.


But the two missions soon intersect because it turns out the very first lycanthrope in Jack's family was his great, great, great grandfather who, after staking Dracula, was turned into a beast by a female werewolf the Count had been keeping prisoner.

Dracula, meanwhile, has decided he fancies getting his teeth into Topaz, even though he discovers she has a strange power to mentally repel him, thanks to her magic abilities.

Needless to say, this leads vampire and werewolf into conflict, one in which the werewolf does surprisingly well, thanks to the influence Topaz is exerting on both his and Dracula's minds.

Anyway, just as the fight's reaching its apex, Frank and Rachel show up to distract Dracula and seize a book that could enable them to destroy him, before fleeing in their helicopter, forcing Vlad to take off in hot pursuit and leaving Topaz and Wolfie far behind.


For a story that's spread over two parts, it's a surprisingly simple tale. What's good about it is we get to learn a little more of Jack's backstory and he, for once, isn't totally useless in a fight. In fact, he actually manages to win one.

Granted, it's against a drunken sailor but it's one more fight than he normally manages to win.

He, of course, doesn't defeat Dracula but that part is one of the story's main weaknesses.

In order to make the scrap not as one-sided as all logic suggests it would be, Dracula has to be portrayed as remarkably ineffective in this tale. Not only does he not manage to summon the wherewithal to defeat his hairy foe, he twice has a perfect chance to kill Rachel and Frank and twice departs without doing so, letting them off the hook for no real reason. 

He also tries to sabotage their helicopter - laughing maniacally as he does so - and does such a terrible job of it that, when they climb into it, they have no difficulty flying off in it at full pelt, leaving the villain to have to turn into a bat and flap like crazy to chase after them.


I think we can assume he's having an off-day.

Speaking of off-days, I'm not sure that either Gene Colan or Mike Ploog produce their best work in this tale, while Marv Wolfman sort of does what he has to.

This tale's set in modern-day Europe, which means it's, inevitably, somehow, still the 19th Century, and Transylvania seems remarkably British. Even the local inn's sign is in, "Olde," English.


I'm also not sure about Dracula's ideas about time management. We're told he's travelled all the way back to Transylvania, from England, in order to concentrate on hatching his next scheme.

But the scheme he then hatches is to return to England and carry on doing what he was already doing.

I can't help feeling that was something of a wasted journey.

So, in the end, it's all non-decisive and I feel the tale has to be seen as just another episode in the turbulent lives of both sets of characters, rather than an awesome and historic epic that fans will never forget.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

October 22nd, 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's a woman in love?

Barbra Streisand is.

At least she was, in this week exactly 40 years ago, as her single of that title hit the top of the UK singles chart, thanks to the songwriting skills of the Brothers Gibb.

To be honest, I can barely remember it. I shall have a quick listen to it, on YouTube, to refresh my memory.

...

...

...

I have now listened to it.

It's OK.

That is my considered opinion.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #398 , the Vulture

Holy feathery dooms! The Vulture has Spidey in chains and about to be incinerated! Is it the end of our web-spinning superstar?

No, but it could all be bad news for the villain's nephew.

Elsewhere, Iron Man discovers the truth about the robot he thought was She-Hulk - but now his alter-ego and hers must face each other in a court of law.

Even more elsewhere, Morgan Le Fey's out to kill Magnus - and only Spider-Woman can stop her!

I don't have a clue who Magnus is.

Is it just me or is Spider-Woman the most random strip of all time?

I'm not sure what the Hulk's up to this week but I think he might be smashing-up a high street while a man sits up a flagpole.

Forces in Combat #24 , ROM

If the cover's to be believed, ROM's been separated from his Neutraliser!

I don't have a clue what that is but I can't help suspecting its absence may be a bad thing.

Elsewhere, Kull's up against the talons of the devil-birds.

Team-Up #6, Spider-Man and the Falcon

Spidey and the Falcon are still teaming up to tangle with whoever it is they're tangling with.

And it would appear we're going to be told what would have happened if Spider-Man had become a film star.

But, of course, Spider-Man did become a film star. I've seen the movies.

The rest of this week's contents are a mystery to me.

Star Wars Weekly #139, last issue

It's a historic moment, as Marvel UK's biggest-selling weekly reaches its last-ever issue. 

But not to fear, for, next week, it'll become a monthly.

And, to celebrate, Leia has a showdown with Darth Vader which involves her trying to blackmail him.

Has he told her, yet, that he's her father?

He's taking his time over it. He could barely wait to tell Luke.

In other matters, we get more of Killraven's origin.

In the reprint of Marvel's adaptation of the first Star Wars movie, old Ben Kenobi saves Luke from the Sand People while the empire's busy killing Luke's aunt and uncle.

And, finally, in I Was a Prisoner of the Martians, a tyrannical film director's kidnapped by extraterrestrials - and his only hope of liberation is if the actors he's been bullying feel motivated to rescue him.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Forty years ago today - October 1980.

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

***

You know, a wise man once said, "Get on with it, you moron." So, I will.

Conan the Barbarian #115, Red Sonja

Zukala's back!

And, for reasons I don't recall, he wants to sacrifice Red Sonja.

Obviously, Conan's having none of that.

Except it turns out he's having plenty of that - because Zukala's promised he'll restore Bêlit to life if Conan helps him bump off the warrior woman.

Happily, the barbarian thinks better of it and comes to Sonja's rescue, just in the nick of time.

Not so happily, throughout the tale, Rascally Roy manages to portray Sonja as barely more than another feeble damsel in distress.

Royston, let Sonja kick bottom, for once.

Fantastic Four #223, Salem's Seven

The FF, Agatha Harkness and Gabriel the exorcist have all descended upon Salem, to sort out Agatha's son and free Franklin Richards from his evil possession.

But, before they can do that, they're going to have to deal with the return of the town's very own team of super-villains.

Incredible Hulk #252

Woodgod's gone all High Evolutionary and created a whole community of animal-men for him to lead.

Now, the Hulk's ventured into their midst, in order to rescue Rick Jones and friends from their clutches.

I seem to recall this tale just sort of fizzling out, with the Hulk getting bored of fighting, and leaving.

Amazing Spider-Man #209, Kraven the Hunter

Kraven's gone into retirement, having decided that being a super-villain is unworthy of a man of his principles

Unfortunately, his disapproving girlfriend goads him into making one final attempt to get the better of Spider-Man.

And, of course, it all ends the same way it always has.

Kraven is, however, portrayed in a far more sympathetic light, here, than has traditionally been the case.

Spectacular Spider-Man #47, the Prowler

What's this? Hobie Brown is back and causing limited trouble for our hero again?

As it transpires, he isn't. The Cat Burglar from Amazing Spider-Man #30 has, in fact, returned and is running errands for fashion criminal Belladonna, in Hobie's stolen costume.

Sadly, the man seems to be more of a pathetic dupe than anything and it's not long before his employer's betraying him, in her attempts to bump-off Spidey.

Thor #300

At last, we get an answer to why Odin struck a deal with the Celestials, umpteen zillion years ago - and it all leads to Odin taking over the Destroyer and having a noticeably one-sided fight with the Celestials before Thor has a noticeably one-sided fight with them before Thor's mum turns up, from nowhere, and does a deal with the space giants to make them go away.

This implies, to me, that the solution to any problem is to just have Thor's mum show up.

Back in the real world,  humanity emits a sigh of relief, as a protracted and confusing storyline finally comes to an end.

X-Men #138, Cyclops quits

In the wake of Jean's death, Cyclops quits the team, and Kitty Pryde joins it.

I think this issue's mostly taken up with flashbacks but I could be wrong.

Captain America #250, President?

How very topical. People keep telling Cap he should run for president and, so, he gives it considerable thought before bottling it and deciding it's not his bag, man.

I'm fairly certain this issue contains a flashback to his origin because where would an issue of Captain America be without telling us how he came into being, for the gabillionth time?

Avengers #200

Thor may be celebrating his 300th issue but the Avengers are celebrating their 200th.

And they do it by unravelling the mystery of where Ms Marvel's baby's come from and how it's growing to adulthood at an alarming rate.

As far as I can recall, it's all something to do with Immortus, female abduction, mind-control, gaslighting and dubious weirdness that probably doesn't even make any sense, anyway, when you try to figure it out.

Iron Man #139, Madame Masque

Madame Masque has returned to her life of crime but, fortunately, Iron Man and friends are on hand to put a stop to whatever nefarious schemes she's concocted.

Thursday, 15 October 2020

October 15th, 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 saw two memorable things happen in the world of British politics.

One was that Margaret Thatcher declared she wasn't for turning.

The other was that Jim Callaghan declared he wasn't for staying. The former prime minister quit his post as leader of the Labour Pary, after having lost the 1979 election.

In retrospect, it seems surprising it took him a full 18 months to get round to doing it but, then, he's the man who helped Captains Britain and America defeat the Red Skull. So, he clearly wasn't a man to give up easily.

Marvel Team-Up #5, The Falcon and Spider-Man

Hooray! Spider-Man teams up with the Falcon, though who the deadly menace is who's forced them to unite, I've no idea.

Similarly, I've not got a clue who anybody else in this issue's up against.

I do know Morbius the Living Vampire has a strip of his own, because the cover tells me so.

I am, however, intrigued by that cover's boast that this issue features, "Imaginary action with Spidey."

Hold on. Does this mean all his other adventures are true?

Failing that, I can only assume it means there's a What If? story involved.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #397

Spider-Man's just discovered the Vulture's the mystery villain who's in the process of taking over all of New York's gangs.

Unfortunately, the information's not likely to do the web-spinner any good, as he's now wrapped in chains and on a conveyor belt that's about to deliver him to a fiery furnace of doom.

Meanwhile, the Hulk and 3-D Man are in the process of smashing-up Uncle Chuck's house.

Frankly, Uncle Chuck only has himself to blame for being the one who invited Bruce Banner into his house and then setting 3-D Man on him. Clearly, this was not the best thought-out plan of all time.

This week's activities of She-Hulk and Spider-Woman are a mystery to me.

Forces in Combat #23, The Golem

I don't know anything about this week's contents but the Golem makes the front cover, which is nice for him.

Empire Strikes Back Weekly #138

Leia and the droids find themselves on a planet filled with delightful butterflies.

But is one of them a hostile shape-shifter sent to spy on them, by Darth Vader?

Elsewhere, thanks to Neal Adams' pencils, Killraven's out to get to the man we know only as The Keeper. But, first, he has to fight his way past a pair of hostile mutants.

And there's yet more of Marvel's adaptation of the first Star Wars movie. Luke Skywalker's just bought himself a brand new droid called R2-D2. But now it's gone AWOL and he has to set off in search of it.

Can it be that it's seeking out old Ben Kenobi?

And for what purpose?

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - October 1980.

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

***

Three was the number of classic films that were released in October 1980.

Those three were Superman II, The Elephant Man and Private Benjamin.

In fact, so classic were they that I've actually seen them all.

I would say Superman II is my favourite of them and Private Benjamin my least favourite. In fact, I actually preferred the TV spin-off of that movie. I'm not sure what that said about me.

But which of our random assortment of Marvel mags with that cover date am I going to prefer?

Epic Illustrated #3


That's a very striking cover from Paul Gulacy, although my inner pedant compels me to notice the pterosaur wings are anatomically inaccurate.

Admittedly, I only know that from having recently watched too many videos, on YouTube, about the beasts.

My knowledge of this month's contents is less impressive but I do know there's an Elric of Melnibone tale written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Craig Russell, a Jim Starlin story starring Vanth Dreadstar and an Almuric adventure written by Roy Thomas, among the many fantasy-packed tales and features that are crammed into its 100 pages.


Fantastic Four Annual #15, Dr Doom

"Dr Doom lives!" declares the cover, to a shocked world.

And there was me convinced he was dead and would never be coming back.

In fact, I don't know anything about the stories in this annual, other than the Dr Doom tale's drawn by Tom Sutton, which is a revelation that intrigues me. One of comics' great horror artists drawing Doomie is a highly appealing thought.

The main strip, meanwhile, clearly involves Skrulls and Captain Marvel but I don't know to what end.


Hulk Magazine #23

I've included this one purely because that's a striking cover by Walt Simonson. I'm not convinced it's one of his better efforts but it is impossible to ignore.

Inside, we get a tale called A Personal Hell, written by Jim Shooter and drawn by John Buscema who I've no doubt was delighted to find himself inked, once again, by Alfredo Alcala.

We also get a six-page Hulk adventure from Roger Stern and Brent Anderson, and a Dominic Fortune tale bearing the unfortunate title of Moo Over Manhattan.

Either that's a misprint of Moon Over Manhattan or someone's put Howard the Duck in charge of creating story titles.


Marvel Preview #23, Bizarre Adventures 1

I've no idea what goes on in this one but we clearly get a slew of yet more fantasy tales; this time, from the likes of Joe Jusko, John Buscema, Gene Colan, Denny O'Neil and Frank Miller.

Not to mention a Clyde Caldwell cover.


She-Hulk #9

Concerned about her increasing anger-management problems, Jen Walters has decided to have a sample of her blood tested by a renowned scientist.

That scientist is Michael Morbius!

I think we call all guess where that's going to lead.

Meanwhile, Jen's set out to infiltrate a mind-controlling cult and finds herself up against the female power-house that is Ultima.


Micronauts Annual #2

Confounding the expectations of some of us, the Micronauts get their second-ever annual and, thanks to Bill Mantlo, Rich Buckler and Steve Ditko, find themselves up against the peril of the Toymaster.

Haven't I already mentioned him recently? Clearly, you can't keep a good villain down.


Marvel Premiere #56, Dominic Fortune

Dominic Fortune makes his second appearance of the month - and I don't have a clue what he gets up to in it but I do know Dum Dum Dugan shows up at one point.

Wasn't Dominic Fortune originally Atlas Comics' Scorpion?

I have to say, he looks a lot cheerier on that cover than he did in the one issue of his Altas book that I ever read.

Sunday, 11 October 2020

2000 AD - September 1982.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
 ***
Has there ever been a more emotional month than September 1982?

No, there hasn't.

And the reason for that is it was the month in which someone called Scott Fahlman posted the first-ever emoticons.

Exactly where he posted them - and why - I've no idea. Nor do I have a clue who he was or where he was, but where would the world of the internet be without the ability to post things like 😐, 😭 and👽?

Nowhere. That's where.

The sharp-eyed will have noted that one of those emoticons was an alien.

And that's no coincidence because September 1982 also saw the launch of the organisation known as the United States Air Force Space Command. I don't have any knowledge of what that was but it sounds like something that'd give Space Force a run for its money and make sure those pesky UFOnauts had better watch out.

On the film front, the month saw the release of two movies which attract the attention of the supreme being who runs this blog.

Those are Pink Floyd – The Wall and Amityville II: The Possession. I must confess I've only ever seen the latter of those two movies but have always been frustrated that it never occurred to the producers to call it Amityville II: The Repossession. Could those people not see an open goal when it opened up in front of them?

When it came to music, that month's UK singles chart was dominated by Survivor's Eye of the Tiger although that track was finally dumped from the top slot, in the month's very last week, by Musical Youth and Pass the Dutchie.

It was a similar tale on the UK album chart where Kids from Fame by the Kids from Fame spent nearly the whole month at Number One before being dethroned, right at the death, by Dire Straits' Love Over Gold, giving that band their fourth consecutive multi-platinum selling album.

But what of Tharg and his cast of intergalactic misfits? What were they up to while all this was going on?

Inside the books, we were still getting Robo-Hunter, Judge Dredd, Ace Trucking, The Mean Arena, Rogue Trooper and Tharg's Future Shocks. It would seem Dredd was on the trail of Fink Angel but the Judge Child was causing all kinds of trouble.

Amazingly, the front covers were still going on about the Fruit Gum Mystery. Never has fruit gum mysteriousness been dragged out for so long.

The front of Prog 283, meanwhile, was promising us the chance to see Tharg as we've never seen him before, thanks to something called, "The Shedding." Frankly, the mind boggles. 

2000 AD Prog 280

2000 AD Prog 281, Judge Dredd

2000 AD Prog 282

2000 AD Prog 283

Thursday, 8 October 2020

October 8th, 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 the Austin Metro?

Everyone remembers the Austin Metro.

And this day in 1980 was when they started being able to remember it.

That's because it was then that British Leyland launched its successor to the iconic Mini. According to Wikipedia, the small three-door hatchback made use of much of the Mini's drivetrain and suspension, including its engines. Despite ending up being outlived by the car it was meant to replace, the Metro continued to be in production for 18 years, with over 1.5 million sold in the UK.

Elsewhere, it was good news for the Police. In an arresting feat of commercial supremacy, their LP Zenyatta Mondatta crashed straight in at Number One on the UK album chart, while their track Don't Stand So Close to Me maintained the dominance of the singles chart it had first achieved several weeks earlier.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #396

I could be wrong but I suspect this week's Spider-Man tale may be the one that involves the Vulture's attempts to take over the mobs of New York.

I do know for a near-fact that Iron Man's about to come into conflict with the She-Hulk, in his search for a missing employee of Tony Stark's.

I can say nothing of this issue's other strips but I'm sure the He-Hulk and Spider-Woman are also up to all kinds of mischief.

The Empire Strikes Back Weekly #137

As far as I can make out, both Princess Leia and Darth Vader are still having trouble getting through customs.

Meanwhile, Killraven's still having trouble trying to survive the latest attack from Skar.

Only one of them can survive - and Skar isn't the star of the strip, so I think we can guess which one it'll be.

Elsewhere, we get more from the reprint of Marvel's adaptation of the first Star Wars movie.

And, in our tale of the Watcher, a megalomaniac sets out to destroy an entire galaxy, in order to demonstrate his awesome power, unaware that he and his universe are tiny and are being observed through the lens of a child's microscope.

Forces in Combat #22, King Kull

According to this week's cover, Kull's opponent this week is both crawling and dead. Personally, I'd say it doesn't have a lot going for it.

Still, I'm sure the Valusian king will make a suitable meal of defeating it.

In the 20th Century, Izzy Cohen's been captured by the Japanese, and Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos are invading a remote island in an attempt to get him back.

This is all I know of this epic issue.

The observant reader will have noticed the absence of Team-Up from this week's summary.

That's because it would appear there is no issue this week.

Why it's vanished from the shops of Britain, I've no idea but I do know it'll reappear in the nation's shops, next week.

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

The Marvel Lucky Bag - October 1970.

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

***

Do you like films that are both hairy and subterranean?

If so, you loved October 1970, as it saw the release of Trog, the tale of modern-day characters discovering a prehistoric man still living in a cave in England.

I've never actually seen the movie but have heard it mentioned many a time, over the years, and, obviously, it's impossible to escape the suspicion that Atlas Comics' The Brute was based upon it.

But it wasn't all prehistoric shenanigans in the cinemas of the world. For, that month also saw the release of Hammer Horror's Sapphic lust-a-thon The Vampire Lovers, that story of Karnstein carnality in the 19th Century.

On the UK singles chart, October was dominated by Freda Payne, retaining the Number One slot she'd grabbed the previous month with Band of Gold. But, in the very last week of October, she was deposed by Matthews Southern Comfort's Woodstock.

Over on that nation's LP chart, things were far more volatile, with a total of four separate albums managing to claim the top spot during the month.

Those LPs were; Black Sabbath's Paranoid, Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water, Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother and, finally, the compilation album known as Motown Chartbusters Volume 4.

Astonishing Tales #2, Ka-Zar and Dr Doom

It's the second issue of the book that manages to fit both Ka-Zar and Dr Doom between one set of covers.

Ka-Zar's continuing his epic battle with Kraven the Hunter in a tale mostly drawn by Jack Kirby but with added artwork by Marie Severin and Barry Smith.

Meanwhile, far away from the Savage Land, Doom's having problems with his own bandaged duplicate, while the natives of Latveria are revolting.

Is this the end for the Bavarian backstabber?
Sub-Mariner #30, Captain Marvel

Subby discovers wrongdoers have planted a huge bomb in the ocean and will use it to destroy all aquatic life if the world doesn't give them a pile of cash.

Fortunately, both Captain Marvel and Rick Jones are on hand to help the ruler of Atlantis deal with the danger.

Music lovers will be relieved to hear that Rick sings in this issue.

Spoof #1

It's good news for Marie Severin's bank manager, as Marvel launches yet another comedy mag upon the world.

And I must confess it's not one I've ever heard of before.

Apparently, this issue contains a parody of the TV show Dark Shadows but, other than that it existed and was a mix of Horror and Soap, I know nothing of that show.


Clearly in a laughing mood, Marvel launches its second new humour mag of the month.

This time, it's something called Harvey whose cover leads me to assume it's some sort of rip-off of the work of Archie Comics.

I know even less about this one than I do about Spoof but I do know it only lasts for six issues before meeting its demise. So, I assume it doesn't prove to be what you could call a sales blockbuster.

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Fifty years ago this month - October 1970.

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

***

October 1970 presented us with both good news and bad news from the world of music.

The good was Pink Floyd released Atom Heart Mother which became their first Number One album in the UK, although it only peaked at Number 55 in the United States. It did, however, achieve gold status in both countries and went platinum in Italy. Those Italians clearly liked their Floyd.

Not so happily, Janis Joplin died from a drug overdose and became yet another rock star to die at the age of 27.

Still alive and well was the Soviet author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn who, in that month, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

For those who like to splash around underwater, there were exciting events, as October also saw the discovery of the wreck of Confederate submarine Hunley, off South Carolina. Hunley held the distinction of being the first submarine in history to ever have sunk a ship in warfare.

Avengers #81, the Vision and Scarlet Witch

It's, for me, one of the less memorable of this era's Avengers tales, as our heroes and Red Wolf find themselves up against that bloke with the Dutch name who'll go on to become the leader of Zodiac.

Given the presence of Red Wolf, I'm assuming the villain's inflicting serious ecological damage on Native American land.

In which case, it's a massive disappointment that Tomazooma doesn't show up to teach him a lesson.
Conan the Barbarian #1, Barry Smith

Mitra's teeth! Robert E Howard's greatest creation gets his own comic and Barry Smith gets his chance to shine, as a whole new era begins for Marvel Comics, that of licensed properties.

My memories of this are that there's a dead bigfoot at the beginning of it, a queen with slaves in the middle of it, and a shot of a space-walking astronaut at the end of it. How could you not love it?

And how could you not love that cover? Bazza may not have hit his peak yet but I do have to say that's an image that'd make me want to rapidly liberate a book from its spinner rack.

Captain Amerca #130, Batroc, Porcupine and Whirlwind

What's this? Batroc, the Porcupine and Whirlwind? How on Earth can even the walking flag possibly defeat all three of those at once?

Realistically, he couldn't.

But he does.

Because it's his comic.

If I remember right, there's some villain or other trying to stir up unrest on the campuses of America, and Cap has to deliver a speech to calm down the nation. One where, proving he's not the square we may all have suspected him to be, he declares there's nothing sacred about the status quo.

Either that or he says there's nothing sacred about Status Quo. In which case, he's wrong because there's nothing more sacred than Status Quo.

I have a feeling the promised appearance by the Hulk is a cheat and he's just appearing in a film Steve Rogers is watching in the cinema, just before he goes into another of his moans about being a man out of his time.

Daredevil #69, the Black Panther

This isn't one I remember but the internet informs me Daredevil and the Panther take on a gang called the Thunderbolts while a boy's life hangs in the balance.

Given the presence of street gangs, I shall assume this is another piece of social commentary, to rival that of this month's Captain America.

Fantastic Four #103, the Sub-Mariner

It's a major shock for readers, as Jack Kirby, the man who's drawn every issue of the book from #1 onwards, disappears without trace, to be replaced by the man who draws Spider-Man.

Yes, Jazzy John makes his debut on the strip. His run on it may not be long but some of us still recall it with affection.

Meanwhile, Magneto's scheme to manipulate Atlantis into waging war on New York progresses malevolently.

Incredible Hulk #132, Hydra

Those dastardly blaggards Hydra recruit the temporary services of Jim Wilson.

I'm pretty sure they do it in order to trick him into stealing some secret plans from under Thunderbolt Ross's nose.

And, of course, that, inevitably, brings them into conflict with the Hulk.

And, inevitably, he smashes them to pieces.

But we also nearly get the death of Jim.

And we get a short-lived truce with Thunderbolt Ross.

Iron Man #30

I'm struggling very badly to remember this one but I'm assuming Shellhead's in Japan.

I think there may be some sort of Japanese nationalist stuff going on and, possibly, a robot dragon and a nice old man and his daughter who help our hero defeat the forces of evil.

And computers.
Amazing Spider-Man #89, Dr Octopus

I do believe this is Gil Kane's arrival on the strip.

And, as far as I can remember, it involves everyone thinking Doc Ock's been killed in an exploding plane - only for him to turn up, alive and well, thanks to the protective power of his terrifying tentacles.


Loki's still in Thor's body and threatening the United Nations.

Meanwhile, the Warriors Three - and Sif - have ventured into Mephisto's realm, in order to free the real thunder god from the clutches of the Lord of Evil; possibly, after Odin's banished him there, thanks to Odin being a king-sized numpty who never listens to a word anyone says.