Tuesday, 5 January 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - January 1971.

Thanks to Charlie Horse 47 and Killdumpster for their sponsorship of this post, via the magic of Patreon.
Irwin Allen. What a producer. He gave us Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and The Towering Inferno.

He also gave us City Beneath the Sea, the movie about attempts to rescue an underwater drilling project and an undersea city. To be honest, I don't remember much about it but do recall its cast included a man who swam with the same dolphin-inspired technique the Man From Atlantis used.

If you're wondering what the relevance of any of this is, it's that the film came out in January 1971 and is, thus, now exactly fifty years old.

Back above the waves, Dad's Army star Clive Dunn was busy invading the UK singles chart, as, for the first half of that month, his magnificent track Grandad sat proudly atop that listing.

Grandad was, of course, written by Herbie Flowers, the man who'd supplied the iconic bassline for Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side.

Sadly, this didn't lead to the duet between Clive and Lou the world was, no doubt, clamouring for.

However, even the power of Clive can't withstand that of a Beatle, and the second half of January saw him driven into retreat, as George Harrison suddenly annexed the hit parade's pinnacle, with his lawyer-bothering masterpiece My Sweet Lord.

When it came to album sales, it was Andy Williams who initially ruled the roost that month, with his Greatest Hits package. However, Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water then reclaimed the Number One spot, for the 30 millionth time, before George Harrison triumphed again, as his triple album All Things Must Pass rose, without peer, to finish the month on top.

Avengers King-Size Special Annual #4, Masters of Evil

It's the first of a whole slew of annuals that have been released this month, even though they're generally labelled, "King-Size Specials," rather than, "Annuals."

In this one, the Avengers must thwart the invasion of the Lava Men who, no doubt, light their underground kingdom with lava lamps.

As if that wasn't enough on the team's plate, they also have to win their first-ever encounter with the Masters of Evil, thanks to both Baron Zemo and the power of reprint.

Captain America King-Size Special #1, Bucky

Captain America finally gets his very own annual, and celebrates it with a retelling of his origin, for those who've somehow managed to miss out on it until now.

In this case, it's a reprint of the 1965 Lee/Kirby version, which is the one we're probably all the most familiar with.

As if that's not enough, we get three-part World War II action, as Cap and Bucky must spend Midnight in Greymoor Castle.

And we get a reprint of Cap's attempts to prevent Batroc from laying hands on the nightmare terror of Inferno 42.

Whatever that is.

It sounds like a discotheque.

I suspect it isn't.

Incredible Hulk King-Size Special #3, Annual, the Leader

More early Hulkinanigans, as our anti-hero dares not revert to being Bruce Banner, thanks to a bullet that's lodged in his brain. Glenn Talbot thinks Banner's dead and tries it on with Betty, and the Leader tries it on with everyone by attacking Gamma Base.

This all leads to the Hulk being beamed to another planet to retrieve a goldfish bowl which'll give the Leader access to the Watcher's vast repository of knowledge.

It's at this point the tall-headed heel discovers it's not always a good idea to get what you've always longed for.

Thor Special Marvel Edition #1

What the difference is between a King-Size Special and a Special Marvel Edition is, I've no idea but Thor could probably tell us.

Then again, he may be a little too busy for that. Having lost a fight with Loki, the thunderer must recover a bunch of Norn Stones from Vietnam, in order to regain his good name.

No doubt, he socks it to some communists while he's at it. Even a god of the storm knows there's no substitute for a good old dose of square-jawed capitalism.

This, of course, leads him to his first-ever encounter with the Destroyer, in one of my favourite Lee/Kirby Thor tales.

Just for a break, we get a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, as fed through a decidedly Asgardian filter.

Sub-Mariner #33, traitor

When Atlantis is hit by shockwaves from an underwater explosion, that bounder Byrrah re-shows his face to claim the throne of Atlantis - with eager support from the populace.

All of which sends Namor to an international nuclear convention to find out what caused the explosion.

Needless to say, it's all down to underhanded treachery by the realm's new ruler.

But is there anything Subby can do about it?

Sub-Mariner King-Size Special #1

Because one comic isn't enough to contain the raging power-house that is Subby, he also gets the launch of his own annual.

In a Gene Colan drawn reprint, when Warlord Krang takes over Atlantis, Namor sets off to get the trident of Neptune to prove he should be monarch.

Some of us might have thought he'd be better off staying in Atlantis and beating-up Krang but, no, he's royal and doesn't do things that way.

This, inevitably, leads to a confrontation with Marvel's greatest-ever villain Seaweed Man while Krang gets bored with Lady Dorma's constant spurnings and banishes her to the realm of the Faceless Ones.

Thor King-Size Special #3

Wait? Hold on? Not only does Thor get a Marvel Special Edition, he also gets a King-Size Special too? What is this, no doubt, troll-induced madness?

In this one, the hammer-happy deity reveals his secret identity to Jane Foster but she doesn't believe him.

In the same story, he also has to contend with the Grey Gargoyle.

In a tale of Asgard, Loki tries to kill Balder, with mistletoe.

In another tale of Asgard, Thor wrecks a troll mining operation. Well, so much for him being a hero of capitalism.

In another tale of Asgard, Arkin the weak betrays Asgard to win the hand of Queen Knorda. I don't have a clue who these people are.

And, in another tale of Asgard, Odin loses a battle against an army of men.

Or does he?

Far more importantly than any of that; in our final tale, Loki turns mortal prison inmate Crusher Creel into the nightmarish Absorbing Man. Now Thor's got problems...


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Clive Dunn was only 48 when they started filming Dads Army. Something to remind all your friends about on their 48th birthdays.

And putting the Hulk on that Avengers cover battling the Masters Of Evil is shameful. Is this the same sort of time in history when there was that Iron Man annual with Sub Mariner and Titanium Man teamed up against him when they were in separate stories inside? And some FF annual with Mole a man and someone else appearing in separate stories inside but teamed up on the cover?

Anonymous said...

You are correct Steve - Inferno 42 was not a disco. It was a chemical some mysterious organisation (which I believe was later revealed to be AIM, but don't hold me to that) planned to use to destroy New York.
That story was actually the first appearance of the master of Savate with ze outraaageous accent, Batroc ze Leepair. And (I think) Sharon Carter.

Ah, Marvel doing Vietnam. Even with superheroes like Thor on their side the Americans still didn't win.


Darren Clayton said...

Wasn’t “Special Marvel Edition” a comic in its own right, just to muddy the waters a bit?

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Darren's right. Turns out Special Marvel Edition started out as Thor reprints, moved onto Sgt Fury reprints, then brand new Shang Chi stories before being renamed Shang Chi Master Of Kung Fu.

Steve W. said...

Darren. Sean and Dangermash, thanks for the various clarifications. :)

Colin Jones said...

Yes, Clive Dunn was only 48 when Dad's Army began and Wilfred Brambell was only 49 when he started playing Albert Steptoe. The film version of Dad's Army was on BBC 2 just last Saturday - the 1971 original, not the recent remake which I haven't seen so I shouldn't judge but meddling with a classic doesn't seem like a good idea. As Sgt. Wilson would have said: "Do you think that's wise, sir?"

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Is "Dad's Army" a comedy or drama or...? Y'all got me curious.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

If you enjoyed Cap King Size # 1 featuring a rare retelling of Cap's origin, you'll be certain to enjoy Cap King Size #2 (next year) which features a rare appearance of the Red Skull's Sleepers, LOL!

I know Frank R didn't draw the cover to King Size #1, but man it sure leans that way, looking at it on a telephone screen, lol. Ole Charlie gets a whiff of "The Invaders."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

You know... Subby had a tough time holding on to his kingdom. Maybe he should a took lessons from Black Bolt or Doc Doom? Maybe Subby could've even teamed up with the Doc???

Redartz said...

Ah yes, that Captain America annual; a neighbor gave me a copy of that several years after it was published. Very nice of him, and it was sufficiently enjoyable. But it's shameful nitpicking time. I never cared for yellow backgrounds on covers, and Captain America had them frequently. Seems this was explained in a letter col at some point, as the ever present red-and-blue of Cap and his logo didn't look so good with other color schemes. At least, that was the explanation...

Charlie- you're right, Namor was absent from his kingdom even more than Doom was from his. And that's saying something. No wonder Byrrah and Krang were always on his case.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, Dad's Army was a sitcom about the British Home Guard in World War II. It ran for about ten years and has often been voted Britain's favourite sitcom of all time. Here's a highly popular scene from it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYz2nPE0BCk

Steve W. said...

Colin, I've not seen the Dad's Army remake either. I do like the original film adaptation though.

Red, I too am not keen on yellow on comics covers.

You can't help feeling a lot of Atlantis' problems would be solved by it having a representative democracy.

Anonymous said...

Dunno Steve - Boris Johnson is a pretty good argument against the benefits of representative democracy. Personally I think Atlantis would be better off if they collectivized the economy and turned it into a glorious workers paradise. Like the old Peoples Republic of South Yorkshire, or Latveria.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

The original film adaptation of Dads Army is great. You only watch the TV program and you think Captain Mainwaring is just a puffed up bank manager in uniform. Watch the film and, in particular, the showdown with the Germans at the end, and you'll be admiring his bravery and understanding why he was the right choice of captain.

Fantastic Four follower said...

Happy new year to everybody. Keep up the good work. I think I read somewhere, maybe Jack Kirby Collector, that Marvel flooded the Market in late 1970,early '71,to prevent DC crowing about stealing Kirby from Marvel. They had numerous adverts in their comics that Kirby was coming and then the arrival of the fourth World books overshadowed the House of ideas. May or May not be true but it was a Huge bonus to all of us who had never seen those comics before and allowed us to begin the jigsaw puzzle of connecting all those comics and stories into one universe.

Anonymous said...

Sean - As regards collectives, the Borg were the ultimate collective, but species 8472 gave them a good kicking! Maybe, if Locutus had been left in charge, the outcome would have been different, and the collective would have been ultimately successful!

Steve - I haven't looked at your link, yet, but I bet it's the submarine captain ("I vill be taking notes!")

Dangermash - Captain Mainwaring's drunken twin brother told him so hard truths!


Anonymous said...

some not so!


Redartz said...

Steve- thanks for giving us that link. I'd never heard of "Dad's Army", but now have enjoyed a taste of it. Oh, the benefits of this "internet" thing...

Anonymous said...

It is the submarine commander! I swear I didn't look first!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, Sean, Sean...

Obviously Atlantis cannot become part of Yorkshire. That would imply that the male Atlanteans would start stealing and selling dogs in addition to voting.

However, have you ever seen any dogs in Atlantis?

I mean, it's Atlantis not Bikini Bottom Bay from Sponge Bob Square Pants (the funniest cartoon of all time!)

Anonymous said...

No, no, no, Charlie, LIKE South Yorkshire.
I'd have thought a Cuban spy would agree with me, but I suppose you have to keep your cover going.


Anonymous said...

Correct, Sean - West Yorkshire's bus fares used to be cheap (not anymore), but nowhere near as cheap as Sheffield's! Likewise, there has never been a single dog ever stolen & sold in South Yorkshire. Dog stealing only happens in West Yorkshire! What about some new (old?)Yorkshire stereotypes, like pigeon-fancying & wearing clogs?


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I heard Leeds was a bit of a no-go city for dog owners Phillip, and they have to be really careful around Hebden Bridge.


Steve W. said...

Phillip, I'm nothing if not predictable.

Dangermash, I think that's the genius of Dad's Army, that the characters initially seem like nothing more than a bunch of fools but are also often revealed to be people of resourcefulness, loyalty and courage.

Red, it seems there was an attempt to make an American version of Dad's Army but it never got past the pilot stage. Here's the same scene in that version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gIAFLJS83A&ab_channel=JakeE.

Happy new year to you too, FFf.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve -

Thanks for Dad's Army link. I enjoyed it.

The US version... never heard of it. Man - the scene for the link you posted was identical. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gIAFLJS83A&ab_channel=JakeE.

Well - we don't have a comparable comedy that I can think of for WW 2 on the Home Front in the USA but we did have Hogan's Heroes. It's still in syndication here. And what amazes me is that after seeing HH for 50 years I still encounter shows I've never seen.

B.t.w. we sang that song in the youtube as follows...

Oh you whistle while you work
Hitler is a jerk
Mussolini pulled his weenie
Now it doesn't work

Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Gents!

All this Yorkshire talk (dog thieving, enormous slugs, cheap bus fares, new wave music, being caught between the past and the future) inspired me to google.

The main question I have is why is North Yorkshire seemingly bigger than East, West, and South Yorkshire combined?

And, are the north, south, east, and west divisions legally recognized districts or is it just descriptive?

Cheers, Ta, and all that!

Steve W. said...

Charlie, in the early 1970s, the government created six metropolitan counties; Greater Manchester, Merseyside, South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Each included a major city and its surrounding towns. South Yorkshire was based around Sheffield, and West Yorkshire was based around Leeds. North Yorkshire didn't have any major cities, therefore, didn't get metropolitan county status and was just the part of Yorkshire that was left over.

The metropolitan counties were abolished in the 1980s and, officially, South, West and North Yorkshire were no longer recognised as separate legal entities.

However, the last four or five years have seen the creation of city regions, which tend to include the same territory as the old metropolitan counties. What was South Yorkshire is now The Sheffield City Region and what was West Yorkshire is now The West Yorkshire City Region. North Yorkshire is, again, the part of Yorkshire that's left over.

Anonymous said...

I assumed North Yorkshire was bigger because they nicked part of Co. Durham, Steve. C'mon - they're not Yorkies in Middlesbrough.


Anonymous said...

Steve & Sean - To me, North Yorkshire's interesting, on the map, having a "panhandle" !


Colin Jones said...

Apparently when the Queen dies the BBC intends to clear the schedule and show episodes of Dad's Army as well as other appropriately heartwarming and patriotic programming.

Colin Jones said...

Heartwarming and patriotic in the BBC's opinion of course.

Anonymous said...

Is there any particular reason the BBC also do that the rest of the time too Colin?