Sunday, 18 April 2021

Marvel UK Collector's Editions 1981.

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

As all regular readers know, I have a feature where I look back at what Marvel UK was up to, forty years ago this week.

However, in 1981, the imprint unleashed several collector's editions which weren't tied to any particular month or week.

As I don't have a clue when, exactly, they came out, I've decided to give them a post of their very own.

And this is that.

Captain America Collector's Edition, 1981, Marvel UK

It's a book that's truly worth having, as it reprints the whole of Jaunty Jim Steranko's, admittedly, short run on America's fightingest national treasure.

Cap gains a new Bucky, in Rick Jones, gets "killed" by Hydra and then gatecrashes his own funeral to give that criminal gang the smack in the teeth it's asking for.

It is, of course, the storyline which gave us our first taste of Madame Hydra and, no doubt, set the world asking, "Who'd win a fight between Madame Hydra and Madame Masque?"

I think we all know the answer to that one.

Actually, looking into it, it seems Madame Hydra made her first appearance eight months before Madame Masque. So, people probably weren't asking that.

Then again, Whitney Frost made her first appearance exactly a year before Madame Hydra but hadn't yet adopted her Madame Masque identity.

X-Men Collector's Edition, 1981, Marvel UK

Just as we get a big slab of Steranko from the Captain America collector's edition, we get a healthy chunk of Neal Adams from this one.

First, the titanic teens have to deal with the Living Pharaoh turning himself into the Living Monolith and then they must stop the Sentinels from merrily rounding up all the world's mutants.

How can even the X-Men possibly hope to defeat such menaces?

But it does seem to me that the Living Pharaoh/Living Monolith's far too keen on letting everyone know he's alive, as though he thinks it's a major achievement. I mean, I'm alive but you don't hear me calling myself The Living Steve.

Superman and Spider-Man Collector's Edition, 1981, Marvel UK

It's a tale I've never read, as Superman and Spider-Man meet for the second time.

On this occasion, they take on the mind-numbing threat of Dr Doom and the Parasite.

Surely, this is too much to ask of even Marvel and DC's totemic heroes.

But I must confess I don't know too much of what happens in this one, other than that it's drawn by John Buscema, written by Jim Shooter and also features Superman vs the Hulk and Spider-Man vs Wonder Woman.

I don't know if it's any good but it certainly sounds like it's giving us plenty for our money.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

April 15th, 1981 - 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
***

I could claim I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.

But I wouldn't. That sounds like far too much work.

Instead, I'll just try to teach the world how to make Coca-Cola.

In fact, I can't be bothered to do that either.

However, on this day in 1981, someone had clearly taught the Chinese how to do it because it was right then that that nation's first Coca-Cola plant opened. Could it be the People's Republic's industrial revolution of the past 40 years was kick-started by that move?

Who can know?

An economist can.

I'm not an economist.

Therefore, I do not know.

I do, however, know that week's UK singles chart was topped by Bucks Fizz's Making Your Mind Up, giving the frisky quartet the first of their three British Number Ones.

On the UK album chart, drama was not to be found, as Kings of the Wild Frontier held on to the top spot that now seemed to have been its for an eternity.

Marvel Action #3, Thor

Thor finally defeats Sporr the giant amoeba, thus rescuing Sif from its tentacular clutches.

Dr Strange and Clea are hanging around with a woman called Sibylla but I don't have a clue why.

The Fantastic Four are probably still battling those space parasites that give you super-powers and revert you to a prehistoric state.

And we get a free sticker with this issue, which seems to feature Thor throwing his mighty hammer.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #423, with Team-Up, Wonder Man

Is that one of those Dreadnought things that're always giving SHIELD bother?

If so, it looks like, this time, it's Wonder Man handing out the bother - and it's the dreadnoughts who're on the receiving end!

Elsewhere, Spider-Man's invading the base of Gideon Mace, looking to avenge the near-murder of the White Tiger who announces his retirement from super-heroing, at the end of the tale.

And I would assume the Hulk's still having to contend with The Presence, the Soviet Super-Soldiers, the Red Guardian and Glenn Talbot.

Captain America #8

Hooray! Not only do we get the long-awaited retelling of Captain America's origin but Batroc breaks Mr Hyde out of prison, so they can team up and cause nothing but nightmares for the city of New York!

I'm afraid I can shed no light upon the happenings in this week's Defenders, Dazzler and Iron Man stories.

I suspect not much has changed since last week's issue, though.

Which means we're probably getting Hela's war on Asgard, every super-hero in New York tackling the Enchantress' army of reprobates, and Firebrand trying to get the better of Iron Man.

Future Tense and Valour #24, ROM vs the X-Men

What's this? ROM finds himself up against the might of the X-Men?

Surely, even the ever-spirited space knight can't hope to defeat foes that powerful.

Or can he?

All I know of the rest of this issue is the Micronauts must confront the return of Baron Karza, presumably because the writers got tired of pitting them against such giants of comic book villainy as Plantman.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - April 1981.

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

It's not every day you're walking past a lake and there's a hand sticking up out of it, holding up a sword.

In fact, unless you're King Arthur, it's not any day.

However, that realisation does bring me to look at the cinematic releases which April 1981 unfurled upon us.

Of course, I can only be referring to the fact that one of those films was John Boorman's Excalibur. How I remember all that clanky, shiny armour. How little I recall of the rest of the film.

But it wasn't alone. For, that month also brought us such celebrated movies as The Howling and Atlantic City

I've seen all three films but none of them recently enough to have a strong opinion of them. Of the three, I think I enjoyed Atlantic City the most but I could be wrong.

Two films, released in April 1981, which I've definitely not seen are Going Ape! and Ringo Starr's Caveman.

Exactly what Going Ape! involves, I've no idea but I mention it purely because I feel such a title deserves recognition and, you never know, others who visit this site may have heard of it and have it on their list of favourite films of all time.

The Defenders #94, Hellcat

It looks like it's all action for the Defenders, as they answer a distress call, only to discover Hellcat's been possessed by someone called Avarrish who I would assume to be a demon.

My vast intellect detects that "Avarrish" is probably a play on the word "avarice." I, therefore, assume, that greed must be his or her big thing.

Epic Illustrated #5

The Brothers Hildebrandt supply us with a cover while the inside offers adventures for the likes of Almuric and Dreadstar.

For some reason, Judo Jim Starlin's billed as James P Starlin in this issue. I hope he's not starting to succumb to Barry Windsor Smith Syndrome

We also get an interview with those sibling cover artists, as well as various samples of their work.

Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu #99, Death Boat

It's ages since this site acknowledged the existence of Shang-Chi, and this seems as good a time as any to put that right, as Fu Manchu's son finds himself just one issue short of his century. This strikes me as a remarkable feat for a comic launched purely to cash in on an early 1970s craze.

Sadly, I don't have a clue what happens inside the book but have no doubt it'll be as stylish as ever.

Spider-Woman #37

Speaking of comics that have lasted longer than I would have expected, Spider-Woman hits her 37th issue - and still has a few left in her yet.

But that's an intriguing cover. It seems to involve a female version of the Banshee.

Not to mention the return of the Juggernaut.

It also features Nick Fury but I'm not so intrigued by that.

My in-depth research suggests the female version of Banshee is called Syrin and is the niece of Black Tom Cassidy who's involved in a plot to steal a load of vibranium.

What If? #26, Captain America had been elected president

Marie Severin's cover makes it clear what this issue's main subject is.

I haven't read the tale but am sure that, if Cap became president, he'd probably end up having to quit on some matter of principle or other.

The back-up tale asks what would have happened if the Man-Thing had retained Ted Sallis' brain.

I would assume the strip would just have been identical to Swamp Thing.

But I do know the tale includes a character called Bendix.

But wait. What? Isn't that the name of a washing machine manufacturer?

We also get a 6-page tale dealing with the history of the Eternals, which seems to involve a fair bit of Kree action; no doubt making them seem even more like the Inhumans than ever.

Ka-Zar the Savage #1

It's exciting news for us all, as Ka-Zar gets a brand new series of his own.

Admittedly, it's not quite his own, as he has to share it with Shanna the She-Devil.

Tragically, I know not what happens in the story itself.

But I'll be gobsmacked if dinosaurs aren't involved.

Marvel Premiere #59, Doctor Who

Doctor Who continues to, no doubt, hit it out of the ballpark in the pages of Marvel Premiere.

I don't have a clue what's going on on that cover but I do know the issue's main story's called City of the Cursed which sounds like the kind of place you don't want to visit.

There's also a Werewolf by Night tale called Full Moon on the Highway.

I'm not sure Werewolf by Night is an obvious bedfellow for Doctor Who but there you go. I'm sure Marvel knows what it's doing.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Forty years ago today - April 1981.

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

Once more, my time portal flies open!

Once more, I must leap, face-first, into it!

Avengers #206

It's life or death drama, as Pyron the Thermal Man runs riot on the streets of New York, incinerating everything in his path.

The Human Torch can't handle him.

The Avengers can't handle him.

Nothing can handle him.

Well, that's not strictly true. In fact, if memory serves me right, the Wasp can handle him.

And she does.

I've a feeling this tale's drawn by Gene Colan. If so, it's nice to see him back on the strip after a very lengthy absence.

It's also striking to see the Avengers seeming so out of their depth.

Captain America #256, the Ghosts of Greymoor Castle

Remember that English castle Cap and Bucky visited in World War Two? The one that belonged to the posh brother and sister who were working for the Nazis? The one whose intrigues almost led to the two heroes being put in a rocket and fired at Churchill?

Cap does and, for some reason I can't recall, he's back there, in the modern era.

And it's haunted!

Except it's not. Its once-treasonous owner's taken to clanking around in it, in a suit of armour, in an attempt to apprehend a ghost who turns out to be the Demon Druid on the hunt for hidden treasure.

Needless to say, it's not long before the druid is soundly defeated.

And he'd have got away with it too, if not for that pesky super-hero.

Fantastic Four #229

It's a very odd tale in which a giant human black hole shows up in New York and causes no end of mischief.

The Fantastic Four seem to be as out of their depth in this tale as the Avengers are in theirs.

What with him and Pyron, New York's not having a happy time of it, this month.

Iron Man #145

From what I can recall, a rival industrialist to Tony Stark decides to create battle suits for his employees, in order that they can defeat Iron Man and be a great advert for his business.

Iron Man soon sorts them out and sends that industrialist to the jail cell he belongs in.

Amazing Spider-Man #215, Llyra and the Sub-Mariner

Spider-Man finally discovers the truth, that the hot neighbour he's dumped Debbie Whitman for is, in fact, the evil Llyra.

And she never liked him at all!

And it gets even worse because, thanks to the Wizard's technology, she and the Frightful Four have transferred his spider-sense to Namor, which leaves both he and Subby distinctly out-of-whack.

Spectacular Spider-Man #53, the Terrible Tinkerer

The terrible Tinkerer makes his senses-shattering return.

And he's not alone - because his fun-filled lackey Toy's back, and stronger than ever.

To no one's surprise, except Spider-Man's, it turns out Toy's just a robot. This comes to light when Spidey wrecks him, which makes the Tinkerer sad, as Toy was his only friend.

Wait. What? His only friend? What about those aliens in his cellar? Did they mean nothing to him?

Incredible Hulk #258, The Soviet Super-Soldiers

This all seems strangely familiar.

The Hulk shows up in Afghanistan, fights some Russian invaders and ends up in Siberia whereupon he blunders into the schemes of The Presence, as well as the Soviet Super-Soldiers' attempt to save the world.

Oh, and Glenn Talbot shows up, as well, in a big, flying tank-thing because a story can never have too many events going on at once.

Thor #306, Firelord

After learning of Gabriel's "death" at the hands of Thor, Firelord sets out to avenge the murder of his friend, refusing to accept he was just a robot and had been asking for it anyway.

It is, thus, that we learn the origin of both Gabriel and Firelord and of how they came to be Galactus' heralds.

Basically, they were Captain Kirk and Mister Spock and bumped into Galactus who turned them into his heralds.

X-Men #144

It's the Everglades, and Cyclops finds himself in solo action against D'Spayre and his morale-destroying illusions.

Of course, any attempt to make the world's stiffest hero give in to despair's going to be a short-lived one.

Also inevitably, the Man-Thing shows up because that's what the Everglades are for.

Conan the barbarian #121

My memories of this are a little vague but I think Conan rescues a sizzling sexpot who turns out to be a goddess who owns a flying city filled with apemen she's turned into proper humans.

At first, Conan likes the cut of her jib but it's not long before he decides a good decapitation'll improve her attitude, no end.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

April 8th, 1981 - 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 1981 was a bad time for people who don't exist.

That's because it was the week in which all the people who do exist got to do the UK census, leaving the nonexistent people feeling well and truly left out.

Still, they could at least take comfort in watching Bucks Fizz win that year's Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, thanks to that band's imperishable tune Making Your Mind Up.

The Fizz went on to make better records - and I'll fight to the death anyone who says they didn't - but nothing would ever embed them in the consciousness of the peoples of Europe in quite the way that track did. 

Marvel Action #2, Thor

It's the biology-defying return of Sporr, the giant, killer amoeba who now has designs on Sif!

I'm somewhat confused, though. Wasn't Sporr originally created by a Frankenstein-like scientist on Earth? Just how did it get into space, in order that it could pick a fight with Thor?

Back on Earth, the Fantastic Four are still having to deal with the space parasites that revert their hosts back to a prehistoric but super-powered state.

I cannot comment on what Dr Strange is up to. Not because I'm sworn to secrecy but because I don't know.

But I do know we get a free super-hero sticker!

As far as I can make out, the one you get is either going to feature the thunder god or the sorcerer supreme.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #422, Team-Up

It is clear to me that the Hulk's still in Siberia and still being bothered by the Soviet Super-Soldiers when he most needs to be bothered about the Presence who's, once more, in danger of unleashing nuclear disaster upon the world.
 
On a slightly smaller scale, Spider-Man's out to get Mace and his gang, following their multiple puncturing of the White Tiger.

Apparently, Wonder Man's in solo action but I know nothing of that.

And Spidey's teaming up with The Shroud. Does that mean it's the story where they tackle Tatterdemalion or whatever he's called?

Captain America #7, the Defenders

By the looks of it, the Defenders are still rampaging around Asgard and, presumably, trying to foil Hela's plans for conquest.

Captain America's still up against The Guy Named Joe who's still out for revenge on the system, following the death of his son.

Firebrand's kidnapped Tony Stark in an attempt to lure Iron Man into a trap. This is an old George Tuska drawn story which long predates the stories Marvel UK's been running lately. I'm sure that won't lead to reader confusion.

In the Dazzler's strip, just about every super-hero in town's tackling the Enchantress' army of disco-wrecking wrongdoers, meaning the Dazzler can probably just go home and leave them to it.

Future Tense and Valour #23, Nick Fury and SHIELD

The Micronauts blunder into SHIELD's war with Hydra.

I can give no information as to what's happening in the worlds of Conan, ROM or Star Trek.

I can't help feeling this post's somewhat petered out.

Still, never mind. I feel petering out is a unique feature of this blog. One that helps it stay ahead of the pack and maintain its legendary status.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - April 1971.

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

Have you ever found a suspicious hand in a field?

I haven't but some English villagers have.

Or, at least, they did in the outstanding movie that was released in April 1971.

That film was The Blood on Satan's Claw which was a Tigon production. Tigon was the company which also gave us The Creeping Flesh, The Blood Beast Terror, Witchfinder General, Curse of the Crimson Altar and Doomwatch, suggesting the spirit of Hammer was strong with them.

Over on the UK singles chart, April was dominated by T.Rex's Hot Love but, right at the end of the month, the Rex were finally dislodged by a classic dose of reggae, thanks to Dave and Ansell Collins' instrumental Double Barrel. 

Over on the LP chart, Andy Williams initially held sway with Home Lovin' Man but was soon forced to lose his top spot to Motown Chartbusters Vol 5, for the rest of the month.

Astonishing Tales #5, Dr Doom vs the Red Skull

It's the one we've all been crying out for, as Dr Doom takes on the Red Skull - with the winner getting to rule Latveria!

I can't help feeling this is all a bit of a comedown for the Red Skull. Once upon a time, he wanted to rule the world. Now, he'll risk it all to gain control of a kingdom the size of Wath upon Dearne.

I mean, it's not like he's trying to take over the vast realm that is Northumbria.

I note the Exiles are also in this tale. Perhaps the man with the scarf will prove pivotal to this epic clash.

In the Savage Land, Ka-Zar finally sees off the threat of Garokk the petrified man, by flinging him into the pool which gave him immortality in the first place. It's an act that robs Garokk of that immortality and, no doubt, sorts out all the jungle lord's problems, for him.

Special Marvel Edition #2, Thor and the Absorbing Man

It looks like we're getting a reprint of Crusher Creel's second-ever adventure. The one in which he decides it'd be a good idea to try and take over Asgard by beating up Odin.

Needless to say, that turns out not to be such a good idea.

We also get a tale of Asgard in which Thor has to take on Sigurd who gains his strength from being in contact with the ground.

Obviously, Thor thwarts him by picking him up and flinging him into outer space.

The Absorbing Man's also sent flying into outer space, in his tale, and also gains his strength by touching things.

Call me wrong but I think I'm spotting a certain amount of repetition.

Sub-Mariner #36

Hooray! It's Namor and Dorma's big wedding day!

Not that everyone's celebrating. Attuma decides it's the perfect opportunity to attack Atlantis.

Inevitably, the Avenging Son puts paid to that plan - only to discover he's not married Dorma at all.

He's accidentally married his deadly enemy Llyra!

Now how's he going to get out of this mess?

And how's he going to explain it all to Dorma?

Monsters on the Prowl #10, the Roc

Somebody call for Sinbad because the Roc's on the loose!

And he's in Egypt!

I'm not sure how he got there.

Anyway, two newly-weds find themselves having to thwart whatever it is he's up to.

In the issue's only other story, we get a "borrowing" of part of W W Jacobs' The Monkey's Paw, the part in which two parents wish their dead son would come back to life.

I assume it goes as badly for them as it did the parents in the original tale.

My first-ever exposure to The Monkey's Paw was in that TV series which always began with Orson Welles emerging from the fog to lecture us before disappearing again to get drunk. I mention this for no reason other than that I can.

Millie the Model #189

It's a pretty thin month for unglamorous Marvel comics of interest, so I'll throw in an issue of Millie the Model, purely because there's a gorilla on the cover and, as we've mentioned before, nothing sells comics like gorillas.

Sunday, 4 April 2021

Fifty years ago this month - April 1971.

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

How good a month was April 1971 for UK lovers of gold?

It was a great one. Suddenly, after five years of restrictions, it was now legal to own as much of the stuff as you liked.

Since 1966, United Kingdomonians had been banned, by law, from holding more than four gold coins or from buying any new ones, unless they held a licence.

But, now, that was all in the bin and, since then, the people of Britain have been bathing, every day, in a bathful of melted gold.

Or, at least, I have. 

I'm assuming I'm typical.

It seems unlikely that I'm not.

It wasn't such a good month for the Brythonic tongues, as eight members of the Welsh Language Society went on trial for destroying English language road signs in their country.

And it was an even worse one for Charles Manson because the homicidal cultist was sentenced to death in the United States.

Then again, it turned out not to be that bad for him, as he didn't actually die until 2017 - and that was from natural causes.

X-Men #69, the Mimic

This month, we get an X-Men double bill, as, first, the misfit mutants find themselves battling the Sentinels and their deadly leader the Master Mold.

Not content with that, they must then deal with the Mimic and his uncanny ability to ape their powers.

Amazing Spider-Man #95, Spidey goes to London

It's a thrill for all British readers, as the Amazing Spider-Man finds himself visiting London, in a bid to retrieve the heart and mind of Gwen Stacy.

Needless to say, it's a city which bears no resemblance to any London anyone from Britain will ever recognise. Just how long has Tower Bridge been next to the Houses of Parliament?

Sadly, it's also a London teeming with terrorists who've planted a time bomb.

But where have they planted it? Where?

Avengers #87, the origin of the Black Panther revealed

The Avengers take a break from foiling world-threatening menaces, to listen to T'Challa recount the tale of his origin.

It probably makes a nice change for them to escape from Captain America boring them with endless retellings of his origin.

Captain America and the Falcon #136, the Mole Man

This cover promises us a mystery villain, though, looking at that profile and the mention of, "The World Below," I'm betting it might just be the Mole Man.

For some of us, the main mystery is why Marvel keeps bringing the Mole Man back when it has the far more stylish Tyrannus available.

There is also, of course, a super-intelligent gorilla to be dealt with.

Conan the Barbarian #4, Barry Windsor Smith, giant spider

Barry Smith's art develops apace, as our hero discovers he must thwart a giant spider.

Daredevil #75, El Condor

Matt and Foggy find themselves enmeshed in the revolutionary activities of El Condor, a South American villain of whom I have very limited memories.

Fantastic Four #109, Annihilus

Hooray! The Fantastic Four enter the Negative Zone to have another punch-up with Annihilus!

From what I can remember, they're really after Janus the Nega-Man who's managed to get himself stranded there and has, no doubt, plans to take the place over.

I suspect a certain evil grasshopper'll have something to say about that.

Incredible Hulk #138, The Sandman turns to glass

It's yet another stunner when the Sandman decides the cure for his problem of having been turned into glass is to turn Betty Ross into glass, instead.

No wonder the woman had a nervous breakdown.

Iron Man #36, Ramrod

It's another of those Iron Man tales I must have read but have no memory of, though I do recall the name, "Ramrod."

Looking at that picture, even though the cover's by Sal Buscema, Ramrod himself looks very much like he's a Don Heck creation.

Thor #187, Thor vs Odin

Who'd win a fight between Thor and Odin?

The reader would!

It's true. Odin's managed the unique feat of being taken over by himself and is now a threat to all who live.

Happily, his son's around to give him the punch in the teeth he's asking for.

Green Lantern #83

That's what Marvel's up to but what of its biggest rival?

Of DC's output, this month, just two books leap off the spinner rack at me.

The first is Green Lantern #83.

The Lantern and the Green Arrow investigate a school that plans to use a psychic child to control the other students.

I've never read this tale but it's by Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams, so, I shall assume it's fully socially relevant and will teach us - and the Green Lantern - a valuable life lesson we'll never forget.

Jimmy Olsen #137

Jack Kirby continues to make his mark on Superman's best pal.

And, thanks to it, the world's mightiest mortal must confront a clone created by Simyan and Mokkari.

I don't have a clue who Simyan and Mokkari are or why their clone seems to have four arms.

I do know that cover's inked by Neal Adams, though.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

April 1st, 1981 - 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.
***

Here in Blighty, we've just, this week, turned our clocks forward for the summer but, on this day in 1981, the Russians were doing it for the very first time.

Yes. Incredible as it may seem, it wasn't until then that daylight-saving time was first introduced in the Soviet Union.

I have no word on whether the Russians have spent every change of the clocks, since then, complaining that the whole thing should be scrapped, as happens every single year in Britain.

I like to imagine they have, as it'd be nice to think that, even in the depths of the Cold War, there were some things that united us all.

Mere days before that, in the UK, the first London Marathon began, with a whopping total of 7,500 runners.

In the world of politics, the week also saw the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan who was shot in the chest by John Hinckley Jr in a perfectly logical attempt to impress Jodie Foster.

Rather less dramatically, the world of UK politics also experienced a historic event, as that week saw the launch of the Social Democratic Party, thanks to Labour Party defectors Shirley Williams, Bill Rodgers, Roy Jenkins, and David Owen. Jodie Foster's view of that is not known.

Marvel Action #1, April 1981

A brand new comic smashes its way into your local newsagents, featuring the characters whose presence totally failed to save the weeklies they were previously in. Having failed before, can they triumph this time?

I cannot say but I do know this issue features a whole 17 pages of Thor, suggesting the other strips may find themselves a little squeezed.

I also know that cover's by Alan Davis and may, possibly, be his first work for Marvel UK.

Thor, by the way, is up against the return of the Stone Men from Saturn, and their deadly weapon the Gravitron.

The Fantastic Four, meanwhile, are battling those space parasites that revert their hosts to the form of their prehistoric ancestors.

Sadly, I can shed no light upon what Dr Strange is up to.

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #421, The White Tiger

It's bad news for the White Tiger when Gideon Mace and his men pump him so full of holes you could use him as a tea strainer.

My information on the rest of this issue's sparse but, if the cover's to be believed, the other strips feature the Hulk, Wonder Man and Hercules.

I would assume the Hulk tale's still the one where he's in Siberia, having to combat the renewed peril of the Presence and Red Guardian while the Soviet Super-Soldiers get in everyone's way.

Captain America #6

It's a thrilling day for us all, as Captain America manages to make the cover of his own comic.

This time, he's up against the return of Joe from the final days of Steve Ditko's Spider-Man. A man so destabilised by the death of his son that he goes on a super-powered rampage.

The Dazzler's having serious problems with the Enchantress. But not to worry, because Spider-Man, the Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men are all on hand to help her!

I can't help feeling that's a slightly overcrowded story. Is there actually any room in it for the main character?

I would assume the Defenders are still in Asgard, trying to thwart the deadly schemes of Hela.

And I would also suspect Tony Stark's out to solve the mystery of why his armour's turned homicidal.

Future Tense and Valour #22, ROM

The contents of this one are none too clear to me.

I do know we get the origin of Baron Karza, which I know is something we've all been screaming out for.

From the looks of it, ROM's dealing with some sort of robot or other.

But what's occurring in the Star Trek strip, I couldn't say.

Hulk Pocket Book #6, Rick Jones shoots his mouth off

It's the issue where Rick Jones reveals to the world that Bruce Banner's the Hulk.

I've a feeling he does it because he thinks Bruce is dead.

Bruce, however, is not dead.

Rick probably will be, though, once Bruce gets his hands on him.

Conan pocket book #6, Elric

It's the big one! Conan meets Elric!

Is this the tale that sees the return of Zukala and his famous daughter, or am I thinking of a totally different adventure?

Fantastic Four #13, the Mad Thinker's latest android

The Mad Thinker's latest android's on the loose.

And nothing can stop it!

Not even Sue waving her arms around!

Fortunately, the Fantastic Four don't have to stop it. They just need to dump it in the Negative Zone and let the people there worry about it.

So, that's exactly what they do.

Doesn't it reappear, several years later, armed with a beard, the Cosmic Control Rod and a dramatic increase in size?

Spider-Man pocket book #13, the Sandman

The Sandman makes his grip-defying debut.

And is promptly defeated by a vacuum cleaner.

Fair play to Sandy. Most people would give up on trying to be a super-villain after a setback like that but not him. He still goes on to have a lengthy career in crime.

We also get the tale that features the second-ever appearance of the Green Goblin. The one where he and the Human Torch gatecrash Flash Thompson's inaugural meeting of the Spider-Man Fan Club, endangering everyone present.

I do believe both tales feature Spider-Man refusing to fight that issue's foe, due to concern for the welfare of Aunt May, leading to everyone assuming he's a coward.

Chiller pocket book #13, Dracula

This month's issue boasts a cover that's an odd amalgamation of work by Neal Adams and John Romita; two artists whose styles are not exactly natural bedfellows.

Other than Dracula being in it, I would struggle to say what happens inside this book.


It's time for yet more sobbing, self-recrimination and lesson-learning, as love destroys yet more innocent lives.

Titans pocket book #6, Thor vs Loki

I do believe Captain America's been captured by some Germans who put him on a rocket. No doubt, with the intention of firing him at somewhere he'll do maximum damage, such as France or London.

I also believe Iron Man's about to have his first-ever encounter with the Mandarin.

When it comes to the cover story, I have childhood memories of Thor escaping his concrete prison by summoning Asgardian pixies to give him a belt of strength, which seems a bit of a cheat. I mean, even I could be a super-hero if Asgardian pixies gave me a belt of strength.

X-Men pocket book #13, the X-Men

With one mighty bound, Star Heroes pocket book becomes The X-Men pocket book.

And it looks like the titanic teens have their hands full with the return of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Not only that but they have to face it, even though Professor X has lost the use of his powers!

Doctor Who magazine #51, Tom Baker

Doctor Who Monthly says goodbye to Tom Baker, now that a fall from a radio telescope's left him a changed man.

We also get a look back at his companions, an article about his final story Logopolis and an interview with the show's producer John Nathan-Turner.

We also get a picture of a Zygon on the front cover, which is easily my favourite monster design in Doctor Who history.

You really don't know how much I wish I were covered in suckers.

Savage Action #6, Blade

This month, we're treated to a re-telling of the origin of the Punisher.

You know, the one that bears a remarkable resemblance to the plot of Death Wish?

Some might start to wonder whether the massacre of Frank Castle's family ever happened or whether he saw the film and, in his mentally unbalanced state, somehow convinced himself it had happened to him.

Elsewhere, Blade seems to be laying siege to a house in Mayfair. One that's filled with vampires.

And I'm sure Night Raven's also being thrilling.

Savage Sword of Conan #42, UK

At last, after what seems an eternity, The Hour of the Dragon finally reaches its senses-shattering conclusion.

Even though I've read the Robert E Howard original, I've no recollection of how it actually ends. I shall, therefore, guess that it involves the slaying of a sorcerer and the rescuing of a beautiful woman. The stabbing of a monster may also be involved.

Don't ask me how I know these things. I must just have the gift of clairvoyance.

Marvel Superheroes #372, the Champions

This week's Avengers tale sees the Beast in solo action against someone called the Manipulator - and Hank McCoy seems to be in a very bad mood.

He also gets into a fight with a knife-wielding villain called Perry who I suspect is not the Manipulator.

The Champions are after the Runestaff of Kamo Tharn in their bid to prevent the Stranger's out-of-control expandy-shrinky bomb from destroying the solar system.

And the original X-Men are up against the Creator. A villain I can't claim to have any knowledge of.

Rampage #34, the New X-Men

The cover boasts this is the, "New Look," Rampage Magazine, although I struggle to see in what way it looks any different from how it always has.

Regardless, Garokk and Zaladane are in danger of blowing-up not only the Savage Land but, also, the whole planet.

And only the X-Men (and, possibly, Sauron, Ka-Zar and Zabu) can stop them!

Elsewhere, the Thing and Nick Fury team-up to tackle Mentallo and the Fixer.

Even more elsewhere, Senor Muerte thinks he's put paid to Luke Cage.

I suspect Senor Muerte urgently needs to reappraise the situation.

My mastery of all Earth's languages tells me, "Senor Muerte," translates as, "Mr Death." The villain I remember mentioning in last month's summary.


Hooray! We can win 85 prizes in Starburst's Monster Club competition!

Not only that but we get an interview with Servalan herself, Jacqueline Pearce.

And a review of Superman II.

What more could we ask for?

We could ask for a feature on the 1931 Frankenstein movie.

And we get one.