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.

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right - in no particular order! 'Forces in Combat' # 24. What theme is it this week? Quite simply - separation anxiety! ROM is separated from his neutraliser; Machine Man is separated from his missing arm; and, in Fury, Hitler separates a German munitions expert from his wife & child, to force him to assassinate the allied leaders! Oh, Fury & the gang's separation from Izzy Cohen is still ongoing - but that plot seems completely forgotten for now!

In ROM, the Dogs of the Dire Wraiths (who look like the Nazghul) use their Vision-style disruptive powers on ROM, before capturing the Neutraliser (their real objective!)

Machine Man disguises himself in a trench coat & Homberg, just like the Silver Surfer used to do, then starts a bar room brawl! Later, Pamela Quinn takes the initiative, suggesting a date, but Aaron stack humiliates her, by turning her down point blank - maybe Machine Man's been taking lessons from Peter Parker, in the Belladonna story! Gears Garvin supplies Machine Man with a gadget to track his missing arm to a deserted warehouse (yawn!), where Machine Man is struck by a bolt of energy!

In Kull, Kull rescues a mysterious woman (Kull meets a lot of these) being sacrificed to a sorcerous raven. It turns out she has amnesia (don't they all?) The 3 hooded villains who summoned the raven think Kull might be "the prophesied one" !

The Golem is still on board a ship, being attacked by air demons. We learn the Golem is much weaker over/in water (like the Submariner, in reverse!), as he draws his strength from the earth (like Antaeus, in Greek mythology?) Nevertheless, the Golem wins, and he & the gang make it to a desert island where - shock, horror! - for the first time, the Golem speaks!

'Second Chance' returns this week. Separation anxiety always figures in 'Second Chance' as 'Frank Charlesworth's' spirit/soul is separated from his real body. This week's twist is that rather than possessing an allied soldier, Frank's spirit possesses the body of an Italian soldier fighting against the allies, in Libya!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

'Spider-man & Hulk Weekly' # 398 - The cover says 'She-Hulk & Spider-woman - Marvel's mightiest females' - I don't think Thundra, Phoenix & Ms.Marvel will be very pleased! Well, let's get started!

Spidey escapes the Vulture's James Bond-style conveyor belt. After his nephew is shot, the Vulture starts beating his underworld rival to a pulp, and Spidey arrives, just in the nick of time!

The Hulk story is a non-story, with everyone worried the Hulk will hurt an old man on top of a pole, which of course he won't! Gene Colan's take on the Hulk is quite interesting!

In She-Hulk, Tony Stark & Jen Walters are adversaries in court, but eventually Jen swoons over Stark (what an old pro!) after he lets suspicion fall on himself, to protect an old widow's feelings! Aaron Stack & Peter Parker could sure take some lessons from Stark!

Spider-woman makes no sense whatsoever. A mysterious force field keeps appearing to protect Jessica from Morgan's blasts; Morgan destroys Magnus's physical form, but he's not really dead; then Morgan (she's an astral figure) reveals her physical form is in a castle somewhere (through some kind of trans-time viewing portal thingy), whereupon Jessica fires a venom blast through the portal, at Morgan's physical form, to defeat her. I suspect Marv Wolfman is just making it up as he goes along!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

'Team-up' # 22 - The Spidey & Falcon team up is as nonsensical as Spider-woman. The writer doesn't seem to understand the concept of a 'spider-sense.' Spidey & the Falcon almost bump into each other, allowing the villains a momentary advantage - no Spider-sense. Later still, some goons creep up behind Spidey & the Falcon & knock them unconscious with pipe wrenches - yet no spider-sense alerts Spidey. The Golden Man is Midas - but it's not the Sydney Greenstreet-type from Iron Man. Like I said, nothing makes any sense. Some of it looks like Vince Colletta inks - which looks kind of scratchy, too!

Ms.Marvel ends with Grotesk - which always means an action packed story - against Ms.Marvel! In 'What if' it's a role-reversal, with Spidey discrediting Jameson, to give him a taste of his own medicine!

Fantastic Four & Morbius both feature bio-stasis tanks. I wonder which story had the first ever bio-stasis tank? Anyway, the FF are having a very hard time against the plastoid aliens - even the Torch's nova burst doesn't help! Sue finds the aliens under the lake/ crystal - it's a first contact situation! Morbius learns that taking the blood of the Amazon warrior also hurts the girl (her alter-ego); and 3 mysterious cowled figures (like the ones in Kull) get Morbius to drive her to an old house (sanctum of the Caretakers), which has 3 - count 'em! - bio-stasis tanks!

Finally, we have Team-up's new story, the Torpedo - the twist being the Torpedo isn't a nerdy geek, like Peter Parker, but a high school Jock/football star - more like Flash Thompson would have become (incidentally, D.C. already did this, with Firestorm.) To start with, Torpedo's having difficulty learning the ropes - a bit like Nova.

Phillip

Steve W. said...

Thanks for all that Philip. Once again, you've done the internet a massive favour.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who thinks Spider-Woman stories just seem to be cobbled together from whatever totally random ideas appeared in the writers' and editors' heads.

Anonymous said...

Something bothers me about the Spiderman and Hulk logo, in that it seems un-Marvel like. It reminds me of the 2000AD and Tornado logo that would have been used from mid 1979, and so was probably a deliberate choice. If they were targeting 2000AD readers I'm not sure that that Hulk and Spidey material was the best option.

I remember sitting through Woman in Love, on VHS, with the family one Sunday afternoon (presumably a year or so after it's cinematic release). It seemed to go on so long, I'm guessing the dvd was available by the time it finished. Definitely not one for the early teens.

DW

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Phil, Anyone - what issue of Hulk was done by Colan? I will get my happy feet down to the library toute suite to take a look! That sounds really intriguing.

The Vulture cover reminds me of Icarus flying too close to the sun, lol. Looks like birdman is going to singe his wings on the flames.

Woman in Love - Heard it the other day on MeFM (only plays 50s - early 80s. Nice harmonies. Rather enjoyed it. Don't have any idea what I would have thought of it 40 years ago though.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Woman in Love from A Star Is Born?
I got confused there for a moment and thought of Women In Love... but watching Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling naked didn't really seem like Sunday afternoon family viewing.

On the subject of Marvel UK finally wising up and competing with 2000AD, aren't we getting close to Future Tense? Still, I don't think Tharg had to worry too much about losing readers of the galaxy's greatest comic to reprints of Micronauts and a Star Trek: The Movie adaptation...

Not to take anything away from Phillip's impressive account of the comics, but I remember that Falcon story from a US MTU and he neglected to mention part of it was set in a disco.
From what I remember, the villain Midas was some sort of dodgy racist.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear, that was mostly in response to DW.

Charlie, Gene Colan drew the Hulk in the colour era of the magazine version - theres at least one issue with his pencils inked by the mighty Alfredo Alcala.
They made a pretty good team.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Hulk #19 (I just looked it up to check).
It has two stories drawn by Gene the Dean, including the one Phillip mentioned with the old geezer on the pole.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Sean

Of course the movie was A Star is Born. I've repressed the memory too long...

I quite like the recent version.

DW

Anonymous said...

FFS, I've just googled Woman in Love and had no idea it wasn't actually from the Star is Born movie. They appear to have used scenes from the movie in the video for the song, and presumably released the movie on VHS on the back of the hit single. I hadn't appreciated the four year gap between the two.

I may have a nice lie down...

DW

Anonymous said...

Not seen the recent A Star is Born DW. Or for that matter the Streisand one, which is obviously why I'm a bit clueless on the subject - according to the wiki it came out in 1976, and Woman In Love wasn't on the soundtrack at all.
Seems they just used clips from the film in 1980 to promote her then new single (not quite sure why I'm looking up stuff about Barbara Streisand to comment in a blog about old comics, but there you go).

-sean

Anonymous said...

Aha - you looked it up too DW!
Nice to know I wasn't the only one...

-sean

Anonymous said...

Sean - Yes, Midas is a racist who runs a club (the disco you mentioned) called "the hot spot". I may need to set a "pop quiz" (heaven forbid!) on last week's Team-up summary! For a real plot twist, Marvel could have had Midas lead the Sons of the Serpent!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Sean - actually, it's no wonder you've forgotten - I just remembered Team-up missed an issue one week, didn't it - so it all just blurs together somehow.

Charlie - Colan's Hulk wasn't just a standard Colan 'behemoth type', like his Man-bull, for example. In fact, Colan seemed to maybe put a bit of the TV Hulk into the face & features. My only criticism is the story's backgrounds were sometimes a bit sparse - occasionally non-existent - in terms of scene details. Thankfully no entire page explosions though.

Phillip

Colin Jones said...

Woman In Love was written by the Bee Gees but so was the entire album it came from, "Guilty", which featured Babs and Barry Gibb cuddling on the cover (they both sang the title track).

Phillip's mention of an old man on top of a pole (eh??) made me think of Saint Simeon Stylites who lived on top of a pillar for decades - 37 years according to Wikipedia. Apparently Saint Simeon died on 2nd September which is also my father's date of death and Keir Starmer's birthday.

Killdumpster said...

Errr. Barbra Streisand. On the rare occasion my mother would buy lp's, it was either Babs or Cher. Us kids would only listen to the Cher records.

That cover of Hulk/Spider-Man Weekly certainly had the nostalgic flavor of the old pre-code horror comics.

Magnus was some kind mentor to Spider Woman. While I was an avid reader of her comic I can't for the life of me remember what that whole relationship was about, or how it started.

Morgan Le Fay was one of my favorite witchcraft/sorceress villains. Bet she could go toe-to-toe with the Enchanteress.

Gene Colan drew a great Hulk. At least in that fake movie theater appearance in Captain America #130(?). Wish he would have done more.

I believe I had that Spidey/Falcon tale in Marvel Team-Up, but I lost interest in Falcon after he lost his funky green uniform. The best story featuring those gents together was when Falc tried to capture Spidey in Captain America.

That "I Was A Prisoner Of The Martians" story sounds like something Ditko might have done. Was he the artist?

Steve W. said...

KD, the Martians story was drawn by Joe Sinnott and written by Stan and Larry.

Colin, thanks for the Babs and St Simeon info.

DW and Sean, I must admit I thought the song was from a movie too.

Charlie, I don't mind Woman in Love but, when it comes to Bee Gees songs written for people who weren't Bee Gees, I prefer Chain Reaction and Islands in the Stream.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

If we're talking non-Bee Gees songs written by Bee Gees, I'd like to throw into the ring How Can You Mend A Broken Heart from the Let's Stay Together Album by Al Green.

A long way from The Allman Brothers Band, I know.

Anonymous said...

Reading K.D. mention Morgana Le Fey instantly makes me think of a young Helen Mirren in the 1981 movie Excalibur. Yow. That was some good casting.
When she was on screen it was impossible to notice anything else.

I thought Englehart, during his run, handled the Falcon pretty well. He kinda came into his own when Cap temporarily retired, then became Nomad. I think Kirby tried to do right by the character, but sometimes Jack's dialogue could be...a little painful to read.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

As you know M.P. I'm very much one for seeing the other guy's point of view, but in this instance I'm afraid I have to disagree with you.
Englehart retconned the Falcon as Snap Wilson, dupe of the Red Skull, which was a poor (and shameful imo) way to handle Marvel's first African American superhero.
And he mellowed out Leila Taylor.

Kirby's dialogue was stylized... but it fit with his artwork. I liked his use of the Falcon in the bi-centennial Madbomb storyline as a foil for Cap, with a somewhat less rose tinted view (for obvious reasons) of the war of independence and all that stuff.

-sean

Anonymous said...

I forgot about that! Yeah, you got a point there. I dunno what Englehart was thinking.
That wasn't necessary. There where other angles of that character a writer could explore than just making him a "Manchurian Candidate."

Sean, you know there's no bigger fan of Kirby than me (and I really appreciate you telling me about that interview he did about the war, I showed that to my brother who's also a history buff) but I thought his dialogue was better suited to gods, aliens, alien gods, robots, Eternals, Deviants and assorted mutants than the average guy on the street.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

I think generally speaking in the 70s comic book writers like Englehart were aiming for greater "realism" (that isn't the right word as their comics weren't actually realistic, but putting it in quote marks will have to do).

Whereas I think Kirby had a different idea, and approached characters like Cap and the Black Panther - who aren't average guys on the street - as symbolic. Which yeah, I accept can make them seem two dimensional... but the characters as such weren't what the stories were about. He was more interested in ideas, so its not a problem. Well, not for me anyway.

-sean

Killdumpster said...

Excalibur is in my top 5 favorite sword & sorcery films

Anonymous said...

Top five?! How many are there?
You've piqued my curiosity, K.D. What were the other ones?
Now, I happen to be a fan of the LOTR movies, so I won't criticize you for naming one of those.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Sean & M.P. - Here's my opinion:

Captain America represents the human potential, in its ultimate form, in terms of courage, determination and fighting skill.

This is best illustrated in the finale of the Korvac saga, when all the "big hitters" - Thor, Hercules, Starhawk, Wonderman, Iron Man, etc - and have died fighting Korvac (as far as the reader knows, at that point), leaving Captain America standing alone, against a god. Captain America tells Korvac that he isn't facing a god, or a superman - just an ordinary man - but nevertheless he tells Korvac he will lose! When Korvac tells Cap that he can't possibly win, Cap replies that he'll find a way! This isn't bravado, but absolute resolve. Of course, Cap doesn't succeed, but Korvac respects him, far more than any other Avenger. Other villains too, grant Captain America far more respect than his powers alone justify - it's everything else he brings to the fight that makes the difference.

This idea of Cap representing the human potential isn't just in Korvac - I seem to remember it being used when he & Spidey fought the Scorpion, too.

Unfortunately, Captain America, when handled poorly by writers, can appear sanctimonious &/or patronizing. It's all down to the writer!

Probably, you guys have thought of all this stuff already!


Killdumpster - is the Sir Gawain & the Green Knight movie (often shown over Christmas) one of the 5 films on your list? It ought to be!


Phillip

Anonymous said...

Get rid of the 'and' after etc!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Killdumpster - I meant the 1984 version of Sir Gawain & the Green Knight with Sean Connery as the Green knight.

For another one, what about 'The Sword of Xanten', with that woman from the Terminator movie? Sean may not like it, though, as it's a version of the Niebelung!

Phillip

Colin Jones said...

Another song written by the Bee Gees for somebody else is Dionne Warwick's "Heartbreaker" which reached No.2 in the UK singles chart in November 1982, beaten to No.1 by Eddy Grant's "I Don't Wanna Dance".

Anonymous said...

Hey, just because I don't like those Wagner/Eternals crossover Thor comics (and frown a bit on the composer's dubious worldview) it doesn't follow that I can't appreciate a good take on the Ring cycle, Phillip - I really like the illustrated version by Arthur Rackham.
Not that I know anything about Sword of Xanten though.

I strongly suspect Hawk the Slayer will be in Killdumpster's top 5.
(It wouldn't surprise me if a film with Jack Palance AND Bernard Bresslaw in it made #1)

-sean

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

So, when we all finally get together, will we be inviting Success James along? I'm sure he could rustle up a good hangover cure.

Anonymous said...

Sean - 'The Sword of Xanten' has lots of good stuff in it - mostly ring saga, but also a sword forged from a meteor/meteorite? (another classic motif) - also, the motif of the broken sword reforged (if I remember correctly) - of course Tolkien uses that one, as does Poul Andersen & others.

Sam Neill's portrayal of Merlin is another good movie, with its stirring soundtrack. It also explored the events prior to Arthur gaining the throne in more depth. Rutger Hauer's Vortigern is interesting.

To make a random free association between the Falcon & Sword & Sorcery, anyone remember the 1970s series 'Hawkmoor' (set in Tudor times), about a Welsh freedom fighter, who wore a hawk mask (very slightly similar to Falc? Yes, it's tenuous!) to disguise his features? It had a good theme tune.

Dangermash - what the hell is 'bareness'? Best not go there!


Phillip

Anonymous said...

Phil, I hear ya. I remember that scene where Captain America confronts Korvac after he had already wiped out most of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. These were characters that, on paper, had far greater powers than Cap, which as you mentioned had abilities within the human range. Albeit, the upper limits of that range.
I've always enjoyed seeing him take on incredibly powerful entities like the Super-Adaptoid (that is my favorite supervillain name of all time) the Absorbing Man (another classic villain name) and even the Beyonder. (not bad)
I think it was genius that Marvel, (or Stan Lee as the case may be), introduced the Falcon. It made the Captain America comic more relevant, more complex, and humanized Cap somewhat, by writing him as a guy who needed help from time to time. It got even better when they gave Falc the power to fly, which allowed him to use aerial tactics against opponents. The movies have really made excellent use that.
He got to be an expert at it, like the Vulture.
Say, that would be an interesting showdown, right there.

I'm hard pressed to think of many good sword and sorcery movies, outside of LOTR. Excalibur, yeah, and there was Krull, which wasn't exactly great. Okay, there was Conan the Barbarian, that was pretty cool, I thought!
I have a deep fondness for the two Sinbad movies from the '70's. They blew my mind when I was a kid, and I re-watch them every time they show up on Turnip Classic Movies.
That Ray Harryhausen stuff, with the eerie, creaky movements...Caroline Munro...
Oh, and Clash of the Titans. The original.

...If one needs spell-check to figure out how to spell "genius", does that automatically mean that he is not one? I don't think it's a good sign, anyway.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Not to sound overly hung up on genre M.P., but... are flicks like Excalibur or Clash Of The Titans really "sword & sorcery"? C'mon - if we're going to put ancient myth in that category, then why not The Ten Commandments, or Jesus Of Nazareth?

-sean

Anonymous said...

Well...there were guys with swords and there were "supernatural" beings and "magic" I guess...
Heck, I dunno. To be honest, I'm not sure what the term means, exactly.
That Ten Commandments movie scared the crap outta me when I was a little kid. That swirling fiery tornado and the Red Sea opening up and then slamming shut...
Yet somehow, I never became religious. Go figure.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

M.P. - As regards Captain America vs Absorbing Man, I remember shortly after Jim Shooter left the Avengers, and David Michelinie took the reins, when the Avengers battled the Absorbing Man, Captain America made a beginner's error - he threw his shield at the Absorbing Man who, at once, absorbed its near indestructible properties, making Creel a much tougher opponent for the rest of the team! How could an incredibly experienced, battled hardened hero, like Captain America, make such an obvious mistake? My brother & I thought, "Such rubbish would never have happened if Jim Shooter were still here, writing the Avengers!" Immediately, David Michelinie's stock plummeted, in our eyes! He made Cap look foolish!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Well, iirc Michelinie's stock had already dropped a fair bit even before that Absorbing Man fight, as he came up with the Falcon joining the Avengers because of federal government quotas.
Still, there was always room for it to plummet further... as we saw with the infamous Avengers #200. Which DID happen with Jim Shooter writing too, blowing a bit of a hole in you and your brother's theory Phillip (;

-sean

Anonymous said...

Sean - Jim Shooter's first & second runs are completely different animals - the theory was sound, based on the first run (genius)! We didn't have a crystal ball!

Phillip