Tuesday, 2 February 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - February 1971.

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


February 1971 wasn't what could be called a classic month for movies but it did see the release of two films of note, in Carry On Henry and Countess Dracula. The first of which I remember seeing at the Classic Cinema in Fitzalan Square. The second of which I remember seeing on television in my living room.

Indisputably, both films told vitally interesting stories but, on the UK album chart, there was only one story in town.

And that was All Things Must Pass by George Harrison which hogged the Number One slot for the whole of February and confounded all who'd expected Lennon or McCartney to be the first out of the commercial blocks, post-Beatles.

Not only that but George was dominating the British singles chart as well, thanks to My Sweet Lord which held the top spot for the first three-quarters of the month until being deposed, at the death, by Mungo Jerry's Baby Jump.

I must confess, despite the latter track having been a chart-topper by a well-remembered band, I've no recollection of ever having heard it in my entire life.

But what of Marvel and its less-popular comics that proudly bore the name of that month upon their covers?

I can only assume something must have been going wrong because, this time out, the company only published two-thirds the number of books it had the previous month. What lay behind this curious thinning of the pack?

I couldn't say but I will say that, of its reduced output of secondary titles, the below are the ones which seem, to me, the most attention-worthy.

The Petrified Man's now adopted the title of, "Garokk the Sun God," as his priestess Zaladane continues to cause chaos in the Savage Land.

Seemingly in a mood for a holiday after seeing-off the recent attempt to overthrow him, Dr Doom goes for a trip to the Riviera, unaware the Red Skull's about to take advantage of his absence and seize control of Latveria.

We travel back to 1965 when Foggy Nelson decides to run for District Attorney, gets himself a love interest and finds himself ensnared in the schemes of the Organizer and his lackeys the Ani-Men.

But whom can the Organizer be?


It's almost an early Defenders outing, as the Hulk, Namor and Surfer team up to prevent a South American dictator from doing something or other that'd damage the environment.

In the process, they also help overthrow him and introduce democracy to his land.


Needless to say, before they manage that, all three of them come to blows until they finally agree to fight on the same side.

Stan Lee did like to give monsters names that sounded like, "Gorilla." And here's another one, as Gorgilla goes on the rampage.

I do believe he may, at one point, defend our heroes from a dinosaur, so perhaps he's not as bad as he looks.

In our second tale, an archaeologist plans to rob an Egyptian tomb but ends up, instead, trapped within it. A fate that, thanks to comics, I know befalls all who seek to rob Egyptian tombs.

Meanwhile, in our final tale, Kraggoom the gaseous alien seeks to possess an astronaut, so it can invade the Earth!


Anonymous said...

From the evidence of that ASTONISHING TALES cover, I am sorely disappointed to discover that Dr. Doom doesn’t sleep with his full armored suit on. But it also appears that he has Gene Colan Dracula finials on his bedposts , which does balance the scales somewhat.


Anonymous said...

On the plus side b.t., Doom does wear his full armoured get-up while holidaying on the Riviera in that story.

"Alone against the deadliest foe of all!"
The Red Skull? The deadliest foe of all - seriously?


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Are we to assume that is Doc Doom sans armor being thrown out the window? I thought his visage was badly deformed?

Sean - I agree the Red Skull was not the "deadliest foe." LOL. In that 3-issue run in Cap around issue 118 where he has the Cosmic Cube, Falcon is introduced, etc. Cap in Skull's body is done in by Bellini whose only weapon is an 8 foot scarf.

Point being clearly Skull was a mental midget and a muscular midget as well as far as comic villains go.

Give ole Charlie the Cosmic Cube and he would transport to Sheffield and set up a people's republic. He'd then restore all Yorkshire dogs to their rightful owners!

Anonymous said...

I'd hope you wouldn't forget to make the Human League great again while you were at it Charlie.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - I guess I have a bit of the Red Skull's common sense in me when it comes to the CC.

If I had the cosmic cube, I'd probably revive Human League, Heaven 17, and ABC (and Cabaret Voltaire for your die hards).

Then, I'd have Gerry Conway thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge.

Then I'd a had Jack Kirby draw the Invaders as if he was still in the mid-late 1960s.

Then I'd a had Steranko draw Cap for like 50 issues and finish Volumes 3 - 7 of his History.

And Bill Everett would have inked Gene the Dean on Daredevil starting with when Black Widow saved his life from drowning while unconscious, for like 100 issues.

And only Bill Everett would have touched the Sub Mariner at Marvel.

You know... all the important things in life at my fingertips!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Anyone else want to join in this parlor game? What would you have done with the Cosmic Cube, from a comics perspective???

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I'm still plagued by these King Size dudes in the winter. Really I thought they were strictly summer fare!

Colin Jones said...

Well, if it's only from a comics perspective I'd have used the Cosmic Cube to exile that irritating old bat Aunt May to the Negative Zone permanently. And then J Jonah Jameson next.

Anonymous said...

If I had the Cosmic Cube....

I’d take both seasons of SPACE:1999, keep all the special effects scenes, the music, dialogue and sound effects tracks as they are, but replace the live-action footage with Super-Marionation puppets.

I’d have Bruce Springsteen record covers of all those Springsteen-wannabe songs — ‘On The Dark Side’, ‘Shadows of the Night’, ‘You Took The Words Right Outta My Mouth’, ‘Jack and Diane’ , etc.

I’d have producer Bob Ezrin re-record the first Kiss album with all four original members, and give it the slick but crunchy style that he brought to ‘Destroyer’.

I’d pit Blacula, Dr. Phibes and Count Yorga against each other in a three-way Super-Villain Battle for World Domination. I’d get Ken Russell to direct it.

I’d have Frank Giacoia and Joe Sinnott take turns inking Kirby on CAPTAIN AMERICA 100-103 and 107-109 instead of Syd Shores.

I’d have John Buscema ink his own pencils all those issues of CONAN, instead of Ernie Chan. And I’d let Neal Adams take his sweet time finishing ‘Shadows in Zamboula’ instead of handing it off to Tony DeZuniga and his pals.

I’d replace Margot Kidder’s cringe-inducing Spoken Word performance of ‘Can You Read My Mind?’ in SUPERMAN THE MOVIE with Maureen McGovern’s single version.


Steve W. said...

If I had a Cosmic Cube, I'd give the Silver Surfer a cheery demeanour. Admittedly, a feat on that scale would probably drain every bit of energy it has.

Charlie, I think Doom is the one in the bed, with his back to us. I'm not sure how he's firing blasts from his hands. I can only assume he's suddenly remembered he has occult powers.

Anonymous said...

Charlie - 1.) isn't Mike Royer the quintessential Kirby inker?

2.) We all have our umbrages to take. With you, it's Gwen & the George Washington Bridge. With me, it's Hulk Comic # 20. As a kid, Captain Britain was my favourite hero. When Captain Britain was killed (despite having super strength, force fields, and agility) by 'Death's White Rider' (just some skull-faced dude, with no powers, on a horse), I was mightily displeased. To add insult to injury, to avenge Captain Britain's death, the Black Knight - who has no super strength, or force fields - went & killed 'Death's White Rider', in 5 seconds flat! This made even more of a mockery of Captain Britain's death. Captain Britain was later revived, in Marvel, with the ultimate indignity - being forced to wear Killraven boots! A hard look to pull off ! To me, Hulk Comic # 20 is a comic which will forever live in infamy! I would use the Cosmic Cube to undo all that nonsense!

3.) Steve - I think Dr.Doom wears his gauntlets - which fire energy bolts - to bed, for some reason.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

First job: bring back Stan Lee
Second job: bring back his memory
Third job: create a huge pile of comics for me to read. I've read ASM #1-500 bu5 a sinila4 Avengers run would be good.

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Sorry, point no.1 was directed at b.t.!

b.t. - Isn't Mike Royer the quintessential Kirby inker?


Anonymous said...


I do adore Mike Royer’s inks on Kirby, it’s true. He, Giacoia and Sinnott are my Top Three Favorite Kirby inkers. Ask me which one is #1 three days in a row, I’ll probably give you three different answers. I like Chic Stone on Kirby a lot, too. George Klein and Bill Everett are okay. Colletta is fine (but not on the F.F. — yeccchhh). Adkins did a decent job on two issues of Cap. Not a fan of Dick Ayers on Kirby — except for that Subby Vs. Iron Man donnybrook in TALES OF SUSPENSE that Kirby slammed out over a weekend, and that one Cap story with the Tumbler.

But I’ll take just about ANYONE over Shores. Those six issues of Cap make me weep.


Anonymous said...

Hey, speaking of Atlas Comics (we WERE speaking of Atlas Comics, weren’t we?) — I just stumbled upon something weird and interesting. There seems to be an entire line of prose novels based on some of the Atlas characters. There’s a TARGITT one, a BOG BEAST one, and strangest of all, one featuring a Ditko character called ‘Wrecage’ that was originally meant for the b/w THRILLING ADVENTURE STORIES but went unpublished because of that mag’s cancellation. It’s all apparently part of a promotional push related to a proposed series of live-action movies.


Anonymous said...

Don't read them all at once now, b.t. - you can have too much of a good thing (;

Yeah, Mike Royer was the man. Much as I like what Wally Wood did with Kirby's pencils the results were very smooth, and had more the feel of joint work by two artists; whereas along with an accomplished technique, Royer also had enough of that gnarly quality to be truer to Kirby (hope that makes sense).

Off hand, I can't recall Royer inking anyone else, which is very telling.


Steve W. said...

B.t, the existence of those novels is indeed a surprising thing. I do remember reading about plans to launch an Atlas Comics cinematic universe but it's hard to see it ever getting off the ground, given the characters' lack of popularity and fame.

Anonymous said...


Royer assisted Russ Manning for years and years, but it’s kind of hard to tell how much of the actual inking he did. It might have been mostly backgrounds. His super-slick inking style is certainly very similar to Manning’s own.

Outside of Manning and Kirby, I can only think of a handful of comics he inked over someone else’s pencils. He inked a two-part Batman story pencilled by Ernie Chan that looked kinda interesting. And one of Don Perlin’s early issues of Werewolf By Night — again, ‘interesting’. Slick, very ‘clean’. Definitely preferable to Perlin / Colletta.

A Creeper story by Ditko in FIRST ISSUE SPECIAL. Perfectly fine, but Royer’s inks didn’t add much of anything to Ditko’s pencils. The art just kinda sits there. Also in FIRST ISSUE, a one-off iteration of ‘Starman’ pencilled by Mike Vosburg. I thought this one looked pretty cool, actually. Vosburg’s stuff could be a bit wobbly back then, and Royer’s tight inks helped give the pencils some substance, as well as some flair.

Oh — and two rather odd issues of KA-ZAR pencilled by Don Heck. Royer basically used the same approach as he did on Kirby : Just ink what’s there, don’t re-draw anything, don’t ‘fix’ anything, don’t ‘embellish’. They’re kinda fascinating as an experiment, but not entirely successful. I think they’d look better if Heck had inked them himself, honestly — but again, they’re WAY nicer to look at than Heck inked by Esposito or Tartaglione or Colletta.


Yeah, the whole connected ‘Atlas Cinematic Universe’ thing seems like a VERY long ‘long-shot’ indeed. None of the original titles ever even crossed over with each other, far as I can remember. Plus, they’re such a group of misfit weirdos, hard to imagine any of them really connecting with modern audiences.

I mean, I absolutely LOVE that aspect of them — their off-putting ‘unappealing-ness’ is what makes them REALLY appealing to me. Elizabethan Faust-Zorro, Omega Man With a Nasty Mullet, and Stuck-Up Shadow — and Fake Mannix and Fake Dirty Harry, and Fake Kid Colt and Fake Sgt. Rock, and Fake Creature From The Black Lagoon and Fake Shang-Chi and Fake Conan The Rapist and Tommy Shaw The Barbarian, and all those damn cannibals — Cannibal Caveman and Cannibal Were-Spider and Futuristic Cannibal Man-Triffid — O how I love them! But one can easily see why they were never gonna set the world on fire. And most of the ‘straight’ superhero types are pretty basic Fake Spider-Man acrobat adventurer types — Destructor, Tiger-Man, Cougar, the re-booted Scorpion, etc. Can’t really see any of them becoming the next Wolverine or even the next Deadpool. But who knows?

Still — I may check out one of the novels, just for gits and shiggles.


Redartz said...

Inkers over Kirby? Sean mentioned my favorite, Wally Wood. Chic Stone was nice. Obviously Sinnott. Would have liked to see Terry Austin over 60's Kirby. Maybe if I had Charlie's Cosmic Cube.

While I have my mitts on said Cube-
Add a few more years of Ditko on Spider-Man.
Add a few more years of Frank Brunner on Dr. Strange.
Make current comics affordable to kids, and revive spinner racks.
Bring about a new "British Invasion " to American music.
Permanently erase auto tune from existence.
Bring "Aero Bars" back to the U.S.A.
That's a fair start...