Thursday, 26 November 2020

November 26th, 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 shot JR?

It wasn't me. I have an alibi.

And I had one 40 years ago.

And that's a good thing because this was the week, in 1980, the TV show Dallas revealed the culprit behind the attempted murder of its supreme villain.

And that culprit was...


Frankly, I don't remember who Kristin was but I'm sure she was a very memorable character.

Even more memorable were ABBA.

And, also that week, their track Super Trouper hit the very peak of the UK singles chart, dislodging Blondie's The Tide is High in the process. This meant the Swedish superstars held the top spot on both the UK singles and album charts, their LP of the same name having already seized the summit of the latter listing.

Team-Up #11, Spider-Man and Iron Fist

Here's a cover that's familiar to Marvel UK readers.

That's because it had also appeared on the front of The Avengers #73 in 1975. 

In both comics, Spidey teams up with Iron Fist to tackle a villain from the future who's living his life backwards.

Needless to say, it all ends badly for the wrongdoer when he regresses into being a single cell and then nothing.

This is, of course, the second time Spider-Man's come up against a foe who's done that.

He must be starting to feel it's becoming a habit.

Of the rest of the issue, I can say nothing because I know nothing.

Valour #4, Doctor Strange

Dr Strange is still confronting the dweller in darkness.

But he's got an even bigger problem on his plate - because the blurb at the cover's summit announces that this issue includes Merlin but then describes him as the world's Number One wizard.

What? Even more Number Oney than Dr Strange? Does Marvel UK have no respect for the master of the mystic arts?

The touted Merlin tale is, of course, the Doug Moench and John Buscema one I touched upon in The Marvel Lucky Bag for July 1980.

Future Tense #4, Star-Lord

Now the Micronauts have a problem.

That's because Bug's been captured by an insect expert called Odd John.

Personally, I'd have little faith in a man who has the word, "Odd," in his name.

And it turns out I'd be right, as, barely has he captured him, than the oddster turns the minuscule hero into a murderous monster.

Can his buddies rescue him?

And can they do it before he kills them?

Elsewhere, the crew of Seeker 3000 are having equally perilous trouble with a computer.

Star-Lord's fighting the reptile aliens who caused the death of his mother.

And, while the High Evolutionary sleeps, the Man-Beast sets about ruining the newly created Counter-Earth.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #403, the Cobra

Spidey steps in to put a stop to the Cobra's feeble crime-spree.

Meanwhile, the Hulk and Jarella return to her own world.

Except, hasn't Marvel UK already featured her death? A long time ago? Perhaps it's a What If? tale?

Perhaps it's not and they're reprinting it totally out of sequence?

In all honesty, I do not know.

Forces in Combat #29, Machine Man

It looks like Machine Man has his hands - and feet - full, tangling with Alpha Flight.

Other than acknowledging that ROM's in this issue too, there's little more I can say of this book and its contents.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

The one decent hit the Cobra has ever managed in any fight.

Killdumpster said...

Aw, c'mon Dangermash, finally a writer finds Cobra formidable, and uses him to a fuller potential.

The guy's first foe was Thor, for goodness sake!

Killdumpster said...

Speaking of Thor, wasn't the first appearance of Man-Beast in his book? I recall he gave Thor a run for his money.

Killdumpster said...

Yep, Thor #135, as Super-Beast.

Killdumpster said...

I think I've told you folks my aunt was a continous extra, then got small speaking parts, on Dallas.

Anonymous said...

'Team-up' # 11:

Steve's already told you about Iron Fist & Spidey. I'll just add Iron Fist, who has no super strength, snaps Spidey's web, "which - if only a quarter inch thicker - could hold the mighty Thing a prisoner for life!" It makes no sense!

Modok uses mind-control to compel Ms.Marvel to kill the fake Ms.Marvel. Modok could have just used Morbius - villains are always hypnotizing Morbius to kill people! He's got more experience at it than Carol! Needless to say, Ms.Marvel breaks free from Modok's control!

In 'What if?' Electro works out Daredevil is blind, and makes it public. Spidey says that explains why DD has that silly yellow costume!

Sue activates the FF '4' signal in the sky, & the boys rush home, to find Franklin floating in mid-air outside the Negative Zone.

In Morbius, we learn all about Balkatar, the cat demon, and his people. Turns out "Balkatar" isn't the cat demon's name; it's a title. Kind of like "Hunter" in Callan (another reference for our older readers!) At the end of the page count we discover that - you guessed it - the cat demons want Morbius to kill people for them - their own people, as their realm is overpopulated!

In the Torpedo, we learn that the Torpedo suit's foreign inventor had wealthy American relatives, who were actually dirty commies in disguise! What year is this story written in? Was McCarthyism still alive & kicking in 1980? Also, Brock Jones works out who the mysterious Mr.Big is - whilst the writer gives a cop in the story an Italian name ("Lorenzo") - I can't help feeling a Claremontesque "Salvatori" would sound be better!


Anonymous said...

'Valour' # 4

Conan kills his opponent & the giant Spider, to become warchief of the Bamula tribe, whilst inheriting his opponent's wife, by tribal custom. Gentleman Conan declines his droit de seigneur. Nevertheless, the lady intends to kill the Cimmerian in his sleep (maybe she was insulted!) At the last minute she relents, like the Nazi assassin at the Teheran conference, in 'Forces in Combat' !

Last week M.P. told you the giant spider had a face like Fozzy bear. Some of you assumed M.P. was exaggerating. Well, he wasn't! Look at it for yourself:

Devil Dinosaur reminds me of the T-Rex in the ZX-81 game, 3-D Monster Maze! (Another one for our older readers!)

Thanks to the kind soul who provided a free view of Valour # 4. Read the rest yourselves - a picture's worth a thousand words, and I want to finish in time for 'Public Eye' at 9pm!

'Future Tense' # 4

Steve, if you have no faith in people named 'Odd', the Odd Thomas series can't be a favourite. To be honest, it's not one of mine, either!

The inking's better. Bruce Patterson in Micronauts, maybe? Seeker 3000 - one character's face make-up looks like the rock group KISS. In Paladin, Phantasm's just a mash up of DD villains.

Pictures paint a thousand words (thanks kind soul who scanned it):


Anonymous said...

'Spider-man & Hulk Weekly' # 403

Spidey beats the Cobra in 2 seconds flat. Mike Zeck & Bruce Patterson - seems to be Bruce Patterson's week, this week!

The Hulk Jarella story is by Herb Trimpe, so it looks reprinted. Interesting when they pass by other Marvel micro-worlds, on the way to Jarella's. The Micronauts world isn't mentioned, though - presumably because it hadn't been invented when this Trimpe story first came out! The page count ends on a silly note - with a Lovecraftian monster ("Dark Gods").

Spider-woman's tracked down Dr.Moreau - I mean Dr. Benway! Plus, the criminal Jessica's been bounty hunting has had his brain transferred into one of Dr. Benway's monsters! Jessica's having a tough time against the monsters & a paralysis gun, but she slaps Bruce Banner to wake him up, whereupon Banner transforms into the Hulk & trashes them all. There's a couple more twists & turns, but basically, that's it! Oh, it is still a Spider-woman story, as we randomly get told that Benton's monsters aren't gamma monsters, but robots! Just like that! With Steven Grant, I thought Spider-woman might become more like a proper, serious story - but it seems he does know how to write a proper Spider-woman story, after all - just make it up as you go along!

Last week, the side-kick was King (Richard Rory & Ridondo) - and She-Hulk continues this theme. Richard Rory pursues the She-Hulks to help her, but doesn't recognize her as she's transformed back to Jen Walters. Rory is ecstatic because he asks Jen for a date, and she agrees! Unfortunately, the famous Rory bad luck running true to form, a truck dumps a load of dirt on the limousine Rory bought with his casino winnings!

'Forces in Combat' # 29

A nice Rich Buckler cover. The American cover this comes from is signed Buckler, not 'Validar' - so Rich can't have been on contract to D.C. then! Anyway, the cover's good!

In Machine Man, MM can detach his head from his body & use it as a flying weapon - this looks pretty silly! Half Machine Man's face gets melted, leaving him looking like the Phantom of the Opera. Machine Man beats Sasquatch for a second time, even more quickly than before. Maybe MM's one of the strongest heroes in Marvel - stronger than the Hulk! It seems a bit silly! I think Machine Man's comic finished in the U.S. shortly after this.

In Kull, Ridondo the minstrel tries to hit the Hooded Ones with his lute, but only succeeds in smashing it. The Rolling Stones could do that to a hotel room! Anyway, the hooded ones summon a giant pair of eyes ("the Master")to subdue Ridondo. 'Back at the ranch', the hunchback tricks Kull & the mystery woman into drinking a slow poison ('Fortress of the Pearl', Elric readers?) which only affects women. The hunchback then forces Kull to go on a mission for him, if he wants the girl to be given the antidote (or whatever!)

In 'Weirdworld' a nasty wizard summons some molten monsters who capture Tyndall the Elf & his elf girlfriend.

In ROM, Steve Jackson's state-trooper friend dies, and Steve angrily blames ROM. ROM turns his energy analyzer on Steve's friend, and informs him his pal's still barely alive. ROM then flies off, in search of his stolen neutralizer.

In Fury, the bomber the Howlers are flying in gets shot down by some German planes, and the commandoes parachute out near Treblinka, which they're going to liberate - I presume.


Anonymous said...

The Howling Commandos at Treblinka? That sounds like poor editorial judgement to me - I dread to think whats coming in the next issue...


Anonymous said...

Agreed, Sean - whatever happens, it'll be in bad - even appallingly bad - taste.


Anonymous said...

I could see an argument for the educational value of that kind of subject matter Phillip, and at least a war comic - in which the characters are at least notionally regular human beings - aren't as inappropriate as a superhero comic (exhibit A: The Invaders in the Warsaw ghetto).
But I bet it is bad.


Anonymous said...

And on a lighter note, Spider-Woman is up against Dr Benway? Seriously?
I wonder who wrote that story, and if it was intentional. Sounds like it might be...
(Dr Benway is a character who turns up in a few of William Burroughs' novels).


Colin Jones said...
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Anonymous said...

Phil, I'm pretty sure that spider showed up on a Muppets Halloween Special.
It was either the one the hosted by Alice Cooper or Vincent Price. I may have to do further research.
Speaking of the spooky and macabre, and Morbius, I've got a few old copies of Adventure Into Fear, one of those old anthology (not sure if that's the right term) comics Marvel was putting out. That was one weird comic. Cat-people were the least of it. At one point Morbius fought a green giant covered with eyeballs. It was...interesting, but I dunno who was at the wheel, editorially speaking. But I'm always down for a bit of weirdness.

Wasn't Spider-Woman originally supposed to have been evolved up from an actual spider by the High Evolutionary? I seem to remember that. She took that news pretty hard, I recall. They later ret-conned it, I guess.


Anonymous said...

I read that Wolverine was originally supposed to have been evolved up from an actual wolverine by the High Evolutionary, M.P.
No, really - I'm not trying to take the piss. You can see traces of the idea in an early issue of the All New, All Different X-Men - the one with the Sentinels - where its claimed Wolverine isn't human.
Apparently when he heard Stan Lee thought the idea was disgusting and vetoed it. I guess no-one told him about Spider-Woman when they re-used the idea.

Marvel writers don't seem to understand how evolution works.


Anonymous said...

When I see how little difference there is between man and beast, I go in fear.


Steve W. said...

Phillip, thanks for the summaries and thanks for the links as well.

I've never read any Torpedo story but it does sounds like it wasn't the greatest strip.

Sean, even as child, I was mildly annoyed that all Marvel writers seemed to think it was the destiny of all animals to evolve into human-like creatures if given enough time. Even at the age of ten, I knew evolution was driven by environmental factors and not predestination.

MP, I do believe you're right about that being given as Spider-Woman's origin, at one point.

Colin, thanks for the Crosby clarification.

KD, I can't help feeling they should have stuck with the name The Super-Beast. It feels much less generic than, "Man-Beast."

Dangermash, that Spider-Man story did make me feel strangely sympathetic to the Cobra. All he wants to do in it is get away with his loot and he has no interest at all in fighting Spidey.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I admit, guys, that I've not seen much of the cobra. Some very old Thor stories and and one somewhere between ASM #200 and #ASM #250, in all cases with Mr Hyde in the same story. He just seems like the sort of guy that would be quickly flattened even by one of those whose physical strength is measured in pounds in the OHMU like Cap, DD, Black Panther, Kingpin, Vulture. I think any of us here would stand a decent chance against him. I've no idea why he ever went up against Spider-Man and Thor.

Maybe the cobra needs to be added to that list with Dez and Frank R*****s as subjects whose posts should include the mandatory "calm down dangermash".

Colin Jones said...

This week is also the 40th anniversary of the original broadcast of "Hordes Of The Things", a fantasy spoof made by BBC Radio 4 and starring such famous names as Paul Eddington, Miriam Margoyles, Simon Callow and Ballard Berkeley (the Major in Fawlty Towers). Hordes Of The Things was intended to do for fantasy what Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy had done for sci-fi and pinched ideas from such fantasy classics as Lord Of The Rings and Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea novels (the series is set in Middle Sea, obviously a combination of Middle Earth and Earthsea). But lightning didn't strike twice and the idea was dropped after just one series of 4 episodes. I am a loyal devotee of Hordes Of The Things and I always welcome a repeat broadcast on the radio - which occurred as recently as last September.

"The evil flesh-eating Lord of Kraan is NOT a cannibal".....

Charlie Horse 47 said...

YOU folks know the FF issues referenced above? Well, I guess it would be referenced in "team up?" I'd like to know how Franklin ended up in the Negative Zone.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Is it fair to say Thor featured the most mis-matches given he is some sort of a god?

The Wrecker, Cobra, Mr. Hyde... I mean one blow from Thor's hammer should literally blast them into the respective elemental atoms comprising their bodies?

I figure of them could give Spidey, Cap, DD, etc. some shtick but Thor should be off-the-charts too strong for them?

Colin Jones said...

Diego Maradona's funeral is like Evita all over again.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I think you're selling the Wrecker short.
Now, I ain't up on all his powers. I think they came from the Norn Queen originally.
Who the heck knows what that means. But he seems to be able to take a licking and keep on ticking. I mean, this is a guy who's had Mjolnir bounced off his skull more times than I could count. Of course, that ain't made him any smarter, that's for sure. I think he's really more in the Thing's class.
But Hyde and the Cobra, yeah, the only reason they're alive (if they are currently alive) is because Thor was holding back. I mean, waaaay back.
Thor's got the same problem as Superman or the Hulk. It's hard to find opponents who pose a credible threat. That's why I figure writing the Hulk would be hard. You've got him jumping around like a big green grasshopper and everywhere he lands you gotta come up with a character who's capable of giving him a hard time.
...for a few pages anyway. In the end they all get clobbered.


Charlie Horse 47 said...
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Charlie Horse 47 said...

You are spot on MP!

ON the villain side of the Marvel house, who would have really been a match for Thor or Hulk among the early villains, anyhow?

The Enforcers? Nope.
Red Skull? Nope.
Subby or the Thing - Sort of for Hulk.
Lokie - I guess for both.
Skrulls - Perhaps though they seemed rather incompetent in that first FF appearance.
A guy named Joe? Probably with a swiss army knife, if the House of Ideas had thought of it.

Anonymous said...

Well, lessee.

Uh, the Abomination. He clobbered the Hulk the first time they met. But he got somewhat de-powered after that.
The Absorbing Man, who's powers on paper are essentially limitless, but he's a cement head.
The Destroyer, Juggernaut, the Stranger, Molecule Man...
After that you get down to opponents who can be defeated by fisticuffs, like Ulik, the Wendigo, Dragon Man...
Count Nefaria was pretty bad-ass when he got Superman-like powers, but he didn't get those until later.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and the Silver Surfer. He's held his own against Thor and the Hulk.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, as far as I can remember, Franklin was playing hide and seek with Sue when he wandered into the room that contains the doorway to the Negative Zone. Reed had left the door to the Negative Zone unlocked (!), Franklin opened it and the mind of Agatha Harkness' son promptly leapt out through it and took possession of him.

Colin, the hold Maradona held over the nation of Argentina was indeed remarkable. I bet someone's working on a musical about him, right now.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you're not the first comic book fan to notice that leaving a "doorway" into the Negative Zone in the same building where you're living or raising a kid might be pretty stupid.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

I think that Reed should have divorced that dumb bunny Sue! Would've served him right after she got all in his face for putting Franklin in a coma to save the universe (around issue 148?).

I mean, she got one simple thing to do: watch the kid. She was probably thinking about Fall fashions and bling bling as she was wont to do in the earlier FF stories and not her kid.

Anonymous said...

A woman in a super-hero team, eh Charlie? Its political correctness gone mad!


Anonymous said...

I remember for a short while there the F.F. had Tigra and Thundra hanging around.
Now that's a spicy meatball.
Oh, and the Impossible Man!
Mostly he just sat around watching T.V., but he did get off the couch long enough to knock out the Molecule Man. See, HE controls HIS OWN molecules, thank you very much.
In one glorious issue it was just Tigra, Thundra, the Thing and Impy fighting a giant robot.
What a combo. Wisecracks galore.
Marvel shoulda ran with that line-up for a while, IMO.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I'm telling you... look at those early FF issues, Black Widow appearances... it is so hilariously condescending (by today's standard's in any case.)

Colin Jones said...

Steve, we await "Oh, What A World Cup Circus" and "Another Football In Another Hall".

Anonymous said...

Charlie - in respect of your earlier post regarding mismatches against Thor's hammer, one of the most memorable is Nova surviving a direct hit from Mjolnir, in Nova # 4. In that story, Nova's astonishment is as great as the reader's! That still doesn't get the writer off the hook, though!

Sean - the Spider-woman story was written by Steven Grant.

Steve - that topic you discussed, about Marvel's treatment of evolved animal men, is very relevant to Balkatar's origin, in the Morbius story!