Thursday, 4 March 2021

March 4th, 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.


The most thrilling thing that happened to the world in this week in 1981 was Homebase opening its first DIY superstore and garden centre, at Croydon in Surrey.

I suspect it was a week in which we needed the thrills that only Marvel UK could provide, as never before.

Captain America #2, Dragon Man

My vast intellect tells me Cap's fighting Dragon Man, this issue - and that Draggie tries to eat his shield!

I think we all remember the lunatic hysteria that hit Cap when that bloke stole his shield at that roller derby of death thing. God alone knows how he's going to react to someone trying to eat it.

Iron Man would appear to be up against the Melter, Whiplash and the villain who used to be called Jack Frost. All of whom have taken it upon themselves to attack a casino frequented by Tony Stark.

I would assume Valkyrie's still in Asgard, while it's anyone's guess what dancetastic mischief the Dazzler's up to.

As if all that wasn't enough, we also get a free sticker!!!

Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly #417

Spider-Man's clearly up against that radioactive menace created from two quarreling brothers.

From the cover blurb, it seems the Hulk's in a crypt of chaos. I'm, therefore, going to take a stab at guessing this is the tale in which he bumps into Gog and Magog in Egypt.

I've yet to cover that tale in my US Marvel summaries, such is the degree to which the UK reprints are catching up with the American originals.

Of the rest of this issue's contents, I know nothing.

Team-Up #25, Machine Man and Spider-Man

Spider-Man's uniting with Machine Man to tackle the Sandman and Baron Brimstone.

That's all I know about this book's contents.

It seems, though, that this is the last-ever issue of Team-Up before the editors bow to popular acclaim and axe it.

The title will, however, survive, if only partially, by merging with Spider-Man and Hulk Weekly.

Future Tense #18, Adam Warlock

Warlock's battle with Triax the talking pig continues for what seems like its millionth installment. The most important development, this week, is the deepening mystery of presidential candidate Rex Carpenter.

In Star Trek, even more mystery abounds when an alien ambassador's beamed aboard with a knife in his chest, even though he didn't have one there when he dematerialised. How could this murder have been committed? How?

ROM's having a bit of a break from fighting, while his friends find themselves captive of the Dire Wraiths - and one of them's about to inadvertently marry one of those fiends.

The Micronauts are up to something that isn't very interesting.

Valour #18, Dr Strange

Doctor Strange is under attack from a man with a sword that makes all defensive spells redundant.

Realising it could be curtains for the Sorcerer Supreme, our hero seeks out the help of the Sub-Mariner, as the sword was originally of Atlantean origin.

Warriors of the Shadow Realm continues to do whatever it's doing.

Conan's busy rescuing a slave girl from the whip of the African queen he's currently employed to protect.

Now that Devil Dinosaur's defeated the alien invaders, he has the sadz because he thinks Moon-Boy's dead. ๐Ÿ˜Ÿ

Happily, and unknown to the T-Rex, Moon-Boy's alive and well. ๐Ÿ˜€

Yes, I have to power to do emojis in these threads.

Why do I feel the internet isn't celebrating?

Meanwhile, in a tale of Asgard, Loki's trying to get the Norn Queen to help him kill Balder, after every living thing but the mistletoe's vowed never to harm him. Showing a surprising level of principles, the Norn Queen's having none of it.

X-Men pocket book #12

The Blob makes his Weight Watchers defying debut.

And, as far as I can make out, so do the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Titans pocket book #5, Captain America

I vaguely remember there being a World War II based Cap and Bucky tale in which evil Nazis are planning to launch a rocket from an English castle, with the not completely-enthusiastic help of its owners.

From that cover, I'm assuming this book contains that tale.

Incredible Hulk pocket book #5

I'm genuinely clueless about what happens in this one.

Is that a Ron Wilson cover? It looks like it is.

Chiller pocket book #12, Man-Thing

The Man-Thing's on the front cover. It's drawn by Frank Brunner. That's all I know.

Conan the Barbarian pocket book #5

Conan's enmeshed within the web of the Spider-God, thanks to the pencil of Barry Smith and the typewriter of Roy Thomas.

Fantastic Four #12, the Thing goes amok

Reed Richard's plan to cure the Thing goes awry when it turns out the scientist he's brought in to help him perform the procedure is, in fact, the Mad Thinker who proceeds to sabotage the whole project and leaves Benjamin J Grimm giving in to the Dark Side.

Spider-Man pocket book #12, Daredevil and the Circus of Crime

Gasp as Spider-Man has his first encounter with the nigh-unstoppable Circus of Crime.

Tragically, our hero's no match for the Ringmaster's cunning and hypnotic powers.

But, happily, there's a blind man in the audience, who is!

The Young Romance pocket book hits its awesome 5th issue and I can't find a single picture of its cover anywhere on the internet.

Nor can I uncover any news of its contents but I suspect its pages will be drenched in the tears of regretful young ladies.

Frantic #14, Dallas

Dallas gets the Frantic treatment. And so, it seems, does The Elephant Man.

Rampage #33, X-Men vs Sauron

Half the X-Men are in the Savage Land and find themselves facing the rip-roaring return of Sauron.

But that's the least of their worries. Zaladane and Garokk the Sun God are up to an even bigger mountain of no-goodness.

Luke Cage is about to have an encounter with Mr Death.

I've no idea as to whether, "Mr Death," is his real name. I do recall there having been a Reading Town footballer called Steve Death in the 1970s, so who can know?

Elsewhere, the Thing and Iron Fist find themselves kidnapped for reasons none too clear.

We get a look at the making of Superman II.

But, let's face it, what really matters is we get an article about Battle Beyond the Stars which, as far as I can recall, didn't actually take place beyond the stars at all. Movies and their false promises.

Elsewhere, there's material about The Wizard of Oz, a film I've still never actually seen all the way through.

I have, however, seen Return to Oz twice. I'm not sure what that says about me.

It seems we're also brought news of Earthquake 7.9, Mother's Day and The Attic, a trio of films I've never even heard of.

Doctor Who magazine hits its half-century with a preview of The Keeper of Traken. Truly, the Tom Baker era is reaching its very final stages.

There's also a profile of William Hartnell, a free poster and the chance to win a K-9 novel.

When it comes to comic strips, it would seem this issue unleashes a sequel to The Robots of Death, in which someone is once again stirring-up discontent amongst the androids.

Savage Action #5, Ka-Zar

Moon Knight's still battling Lupinar who I like to think has the proportionate strength of a lupin.

Dominic Fortune's involved in a plot to con Dum Dum Dugan out of his circus.

Wait. What? Dum Dum Dugan owns a circus?

When did this start to happen?

And, of course, Ka-Zar must attempt to prevent a woman who looks exactly like Mary Jane Watson from using her womanly wiles, and her tank, to steal his horde of Vibranium.

And there's also a review of the film The Exterminator which is a movie of which I could not claim to have previously heard.

Savage Sword of Conan #41

Conan's after the Heart of Ahrimian - and that takes him on a sea journey to deadly, snake-festooned Stygia.

Yes, The Hour of the Dragon is still going on. I don't have a clue how many months that hour's now lasted for.

Meanwhile, in the even-more-distant-past Kull's out to raise an army, in order to free Valusia from the rule of Thulsa Doom.

Marvel Superheroes #371

The Avengers are having trouble with Michael Korvac who's proving to be too much for even them to handle.

Happily, the Guardians of the Galaxy are on hand to help out.

And Ka-Zar's on hand to help the original X-Men, as they find themselves in the Savage Land.

The Champions, meanwhile, are having to rely on the help of the Stranger whose out-of-control expandy-contracty bomb threatens to destroy us all.

The Empire Strikes Back Monthly #144

I don't know what's going on in the main Star Wars tale but I know it's called Starfire Rising.

Killraven, meanwhile, is up against The Sirens of 7th Avenue.

I'm sure this is about the third time he's been up against them in the pages of Marvel UK.

In this month's tale of the Watcher, a newly-built robot decides to disguise itself as a human, that it might pass, unnoticed, among us but, having seen what we're like, decides it'd rather go back to the lab and avoid mankind completely.


Anonymous said...

Let's start with Dangermash's favourite, Captain America Weekly.

'Captain America' # 2

The cover. Here, Dragon man is orange/yellow. Yet, Captain America states Dragon man is grey. Maybe Dragon man is illuminated by the fire he ignited on the rooftop, during their battle. For covers, grey is also a poor colour choice. In addition, Dragon man doesn't chew on Cap's shield when it's on his arm. In the story, Cap throws his shield at Dragon man. On the plus side, the cover's depiction of Dragon man's strange, turtle like 'beak', emphasizes his 'otherness'.

Last week's Captain America was a characterization issue (friends & flatmates of Steve Rogers). There's more characterization this week, when Bernie Rosenthal gives readers a glimpse of Steve Rogers through her eyes. Bernie comments: "Just walking across the room, he looks like he's ready for anything. I don't think I've met anyone with that much presence." Unlike Clark Kent, Steve Rogers doesn't pose as a klutz - he's Cap without the mask, pretty much.

This characterization technique of another character's eyes providing the reader with a view of the hero isn't new. Prior to Thanos, Iron Man gave the reader his impressions of Captain Marvel, now Eon had transformed him, describing how, to Iron Man, Mar-vell had become a man he's very much in awe of.

This week, for Cap, Dragon man presents a Hulk-type threat (almost!)

In the final panel, Captain America fails to evade Dragon man, his attention being diverted by his shield, crashing back down to Earth, behind him. Why does this happen? Well, Dragon man, after unsuccessfully trying to chew Cap's shield, threw it so high, that it passed an airliner at 5,000ft, and was still going vertically!

The idea that an object, like Cap's shield, with plenty of surface area, could travel above 5,000ft, amidst turbulent air, and then fall back to almost exactly where it was launched, seems somewhat unlikely!

The page count ends with Captain America's ribs being crushed. This is a theme in Stern/ Byrne, as Mr.Hyde crushed Cap's ribs, too, I seem to remember!

Throughout this story, Machine smith's glowing ball, 'Gadget-12', is causing Dragon man pain & irritation, to keep him riled up. This is like the Hulk being shot by a cop or a soldier, every time Daredevil, or Doc Samson, calms him down!

Iron Man

The story starts with Bethany Cabe scolding Tony Stark (she does a lot of this!) for being ungrateful, after herself & Rhodey (who took a bullet) saved his life. She criticizes Iron Man's bodyguarding skills, and Tony realizes Bethany Cabe's a female bodyguard.To apologize, he takes Bethany for an expensive meal, followed by a casino visit. At this point, the casino is raided by the Melter, Blizzard & Whiplash.It's a rule in comics, that 3 baddies operating as a team, always work for a mysterious 'Mr.Big'. ( Power man, Whirlwind & Living Laser - Nefaria; Angar, Dark Messiah, Ramrod - Kerwin J.Broderick - there's numerous examples!) I don't know why Iron Man didn't start by asking: "Right guys, who's your mysterious Mr. Big?" Anyway, Iron Man's beating them all individually, as he's upgraded his armour, since his previous battles with them. But, as the page count ends, the villains combine their powers against Iron Man, causing him problems!

Anonymous said...

The Dazzler

Alison's fed up, so telephones the X-Men for a chat. Unfortunately, the Danger Room has them preoccupied - as it usually does! We then get a characterization (there's a lot of it, this week) flashback, to Alison Blaire's childhood. Alison's mother is deceased(She-Hulk/Jen Walters' mother is also deceased, so hardly original!), and she has a stern, authoritarian father (yawn!) The only light in her life is a benevolent grandmother (fairy godmother type figure). Cut to a school disco, where Alison's powers are about to manifest themselves (presumably!)

The Defenders

Last week, Valkyrie gazed into the spring of Mimir, viewing Valhalla in turmoil. This week, Val also learns Hela will banish her to Niffleheim, realm of the thrice damned - the Norns tell Val her fate cannot be averted!

At the same time, a metallic shark-suited baddie, named Ollerus the Unmerciful, is menacing Valhalla's borders. Hela tells Val the Norns are deceiving her, and she isn't going to banish her to Niffleheim - instead, she wants Val to lead her warrior maidens, alongside Harokin, leading Valhalla's legions, against Ollerus the Unmerciful.

Meanwhile, back on Earth (Midgard, for you Asgardians!), Hellcat is troubled by strange nightmares. Nighthawk has problems, too, with a couple of Department of Justice types, named Hal & Ron, building a case against Kyle Richmond (Nighthawk). Why don't they just prosecute him for all the break-ins at Richmond Enterprises? The Meteor Man broke in, as did Deathstalker. It's less secure than the door to the Negative Zone room!

Anonymous said...

'Team-up' # 25

The jig's up, for 'Team-up'. Next week,'Spider-man & Hulk Weekly' will swallow it up! Who makes the cut? Well, Ms.Marvel gets unceremoniously dumped, for a start! In 'Team-up', at the end of Ms.Marvel, the editor says:

- Ms Marvel fans watch out for new developments!

The comic.

'What If Submariner had Married the Invisible Girl?'

Namor gets Sue pregnant. Reed is so enraged by jealousy, he builds an 'ultra weapon' (imaginative name, eh?) to prevent the Atlanteans from breathing underwater. Later, Reed comes to his senses, and defuses the bomb, but not before Warlord Krang has died, trying to defuse it first! A silly story - but Sue should have married Namor; her life would have been far less boring!


The giant lizards in the Mid-West story ends. This was a good story, spoiled by its treatment in 'Team-up'. This last episode has been cut, too, I sense. Ms.Marvel & the humans were hypnotized to forget the giant lizards' location.

Spider-man & Machine Man

Jerry Bingham's art on Machine Man is interesting. He strides on his telescopic legs, almost like a miniature Stilt Man. Spidey & Machine Man are fighting, and Machine Man wins! The rules of Marvel normally say that almost no-one defeats Spidey! Now, Machine Man has already beaten Sasquatch, who's not much below the Hulk - now Spidey, too! Incredible! Machine Man's comments, on Spidey's defeat, are reminiscent of those Spidey doled out to Captain Britain!

Anyway, the heroes combine forces, to locate Baron Brimstone & Sandman. Spidey follows Brimstone into some kind of Dr.Strange-type other-realm, whilst Machine Man fights the Sandman, back on Earth. The heroes win - as you'd expect - and Machine Man's girl(in his Aaron Stack identity), Pamela Quinn calls him a monster, and runs into Spidey's arms for protection. Spidey realizes Machine Man has it much worse than him! Oh, this story also has far too much alliteration!

Anonymous said...

'Spider-man & Hulk Weekly' # 417

The cover. What have we got here? A yellow, shorter, more symmetrical version of the Bi-beast? No - it doesn't look like the Bi-beast, at all!

The story begins with a splash page, with gags about Simon & Garfunkel's '59th Street Bridge Song'. You see, Sterno isn't the only writer who can work lyrics into his stories - Denny can do it, too! Spidey sees a car accident on the eponymous bridge, and learns - once again - that no good deed goes unpunished.

This is the story of the two vertically challenged Fusser twins, Hubert & Pinky. One is a science guy, whilst the other is underachieving (this is striking too close to home!) The scientist twin, Hubert, is messing with a particle accelerator, before it's been safety checked. Soon, the machine goes haywire, and Hubert's brother, Pinky, grabs his arm, so the two become linked, becoming a being called 'fusion'. Fusion jumps out of a 6 storey building, and seems to get bigger - a bit like the Growing Man - and when Spidey attacks Fusion, he's repelled, with great force. To be continued.

The Hulk

This story is the complete opposite of Spidey. With Spidey's villain, two people became one being. In the Hulk, in contrast, one being - the Egyptian wizard, Nephut-Sha, becomes two separate entities - Gog & Magog.

To proud Londoners, this must be a story about the Lord Mayor's parade (Gog & Magog?) Well, it isn't. Incidentally, didn't the Lord Mayor's parade feature on 'The Saint', with Roger Moore? But....I digress.

The story begins with Banner being rescued from Cairo's Eastern desert, by some friendly Bedouins, and taken to an Egyptian archaeologist with a hidden agenda. He wants to bring Gog & Magog back to life, to attack Israel. I seem to remember when Gog & Magog attack the Hulk, they don't just use their fists - they bite as well. Nasty demons - a bit like the Blood Brothers, who also bite. To me, what doesn't make sense is, thousands of years ago, Gog & Magog were captured & chained by the pharaoh's successor. Now, if Gog & Magog gave the Hulk a hard time, how were they captured & chained by ordinary soldiers, back in the Bronze Age?

Back at the ranch, Gamma Base is being disassembled, & Thunderbolt Ross is getting slagged off by a congresswoman supervising the shutdown. Moments later, Glenn Talbot blasts off in a giant machine, called the 'War wagon'. There's also some of those banana shaped Piacecki (?) helicopters that preceded the Chinook.


Finally - after weeks of promising covers - Man-Wolf & She-Hulk actually fight - albeit briefly. Hellcat soon breaks it up. She-Hulk must hold a giant jewel (an incredibly dense giant jewel) aloft - whilst it is vibrating - to send everyone back to the realms in which they belong. The full explanation is incomprehensible - so don't bother looking it up! Back on Earth, Zapper, in a fit of jealous rage over Richard Rory, throws Jen's pearl necklace on the ground, and She-Hulk reappears, growing to full size. (Considering how jealous Zapper gets over nothing, I don't know how he'd have reacted if Namor got Jen Walters pregnant, like he did with Sue Storm - probably invent an 'Ultra Weapon'!) She-Hulk shows her appreciation by giving Zapper a great big kiss. I suppose, transformed to She-Hulk, Jen's less inhibited than in her human form, in which she views Zapper 'like a brother'. The Editor ends...Fans of She-Hulk, watch out for an exciting announcement! What - like it's being axed next week?


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Yes, I remember there was a Steve Death who played for Reading. Think he might have been the goalie.

More to the point, the lecturer for my first year Uni course on Potential Theory was a doctor D'Eath.

Steve W. said...

Thanks for those magnificent summaries, Phillip. I can't wait to see which strips do and don't survive the upcoming rounds of mergers, with Valour and Future Tense also heading rapidly towards agglomeration.

Dangermash, Steve Death was indeed a goalkeeper. I also have it in my head that there was a Premier League player called, De'Ath in the 1990s but can find no trace of him via Google.

Steve W. said...

Phillip, I've just remembered that I read on Twitter, the other day, that some comic book editor/publisher had the notion that comics sold better if their covers included the colour yellow. And, looking at it, all the covers featured in this post have yellow on them somewhere.

Such a thing would explain Dragon Man's recolouring.

Anonymous said...

Steve - Thanks, Steve. You're the only one who understands how long it takes to write these! You do it every couple of days!

Hmmm, interesting. If true, Daredevil should have stuck with his first costume! ;)


Anonymous said...

The Lord Mayor's parade doesn't have anything to do with Londoners Phillip, as its a City thing, where no-one actually lives. I believe Gog and Magog - or, if like me you go with Steve Does Comics' fave historian Geoffrey of Monmouth, Gogmagog and Corineus - have been in the parade since the time of Henry V.
Hardly surprising demonic forces are still worshipped in the occult centre of financial power.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

While I am envious at the wealth of material available to you UK chaps in this week, I am also sympathetic that you only get a few pages of each story per week, in black and white.

I assume the pocket books had the full stories though?

Philip - you have yet again performed a yeoman's service filling in the details! Bravo!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - I thought for sure that Devil Dinosaur had the Sadz b/c he looked in a pool of water and finally realized that stoopid red thing he kept seeing was himself?

Perhaps this was a big evolutionary step in animals (well I figure he's an animal and not a robot or android?) in which they first developed consciousness?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - Are there a lot of chefs in Sheffield?

Philip - are there a lot of chefs in Leeds? Or are there more per capita in Sheffield?

Steve and Philip - If Leeds and Sheffield went to war, who would win?

Anonymous said...

Phil, I knew Gog and Magog were obscure references from the Old Testament (like a lotta other bible references, whose historical significance is murky at beat) but I had no idea how persistent these names have been. They seem to denote enemies, or something Satanic.
Even into the Middle Ages, huh? London, Sean? You mentioned a parade. Like Mardi Gras?
I assume there was a bit of drinking involved.
That's where Stan came up with Mangog! Or maybe Jack did.
Probably jack, at that point.

Phil, Speaking of "Satanic" I'm working my way through The Monk, and it is getting weirder and weirder.
Bad things have already happened, and it's gonna get worse, I figure.


Anonymous said...

I meant "murky at best"
Dang it!

Killdumpster said...

Crap! Wish I would've left an appearance on the last post! I actually had a sum of those titles.

Frank did a decent Man-Thing.

Always enjoy to see original X-Men against classic foes.

As well as seeing the Circus Of Spank getting their bottoms troddened.

To be honest, I'd rather see DD in his red & yellows than that two-tone purple thing with sea-shell armor on it, from years ago.

Steve W. said...

KD, I will always insist that DD's red and yellow outfit was his best, no matter how much everyone else insists it wasn't.

MP, as Sean touched upon, there's also a giant called Gogmagog, in British folklore, who has some hills near Cambridge named after him. Apparently, some bloke threw him off a cliff.

Charlie, I don't have a clue how many chefs there are in either Sheffield or Leeds. I doubt it's an unusually high number.

Leeds would win a war with Sheffield because Sheffield would find a way to mess it up.

Anonymous said...

Sean - Your fine distinction between London & the City, isn't something Northerners consider! I don't think Citizen Smith would have liked the parade at all - "Power to the People!"

Charlie - As regards pocket books, I remember - inaccurately - them having 52 pages of one story. In reality, pocket books usually had 2 stories - sometimes separated by a Stan Lee 'Twilight Zone'-type short!

Thanks - it's nice to be appreciated! In your crack unit, my buckle polishing would have been impressive.

In respect of Sheffield/Leeds eateries, my knowledge is woefully outdated. My older sister lived in Sheffield 40 years ago. There used to be a good Italian restaurant, named Giovanni's, and an American Diner, called 'Uncle Sam's' - but that's the extent of my first hand experience.

As regards Leeds vs Sheffield, here's a scenario for you to 'wargame'. Leeds would launch an overwhelming first strike, whereupon the citizens of Sheffield would respond by filling water cannons with Henderson's relish, and hosing the Leeds lot down with it. The prospect of free relish would attract reinforcements from Leeds, whereupon the Sheffield citizens would flee to the hills (Derbyshire side), launching guerrilla attacks. Eventually, a peace treaty is signed & a massive celebration party is held, at Ranmoor Student Village - at which point, the police arrest everybody, and fine them all £10,000 each!

M.P. - I think my earlier comments on 'The Monk' may be totally invalid, as I think I was confusing it with 'The Castle of Otranto', by Horace Walpole. That's the problem with trying to remember books you read 30 years ago. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the book! From his comments, I think b.t. is the expert on such genres!


Colin Jones said...

On the subject of satanism and British folklore, I'm currently reading the latest issue of 'Fortean Times' magazine which features a fascinating article about Toni Arthur of Play School fame (for our American friends, Play School was a daily BBC TV show for very young children). Apparently Toni Arthur was also a folk singer and in 1970 she and her husband Dave made an album called "Hearken To The Witches' Rune" containing folk songs with an occult theme. Gosh, whatever next? The Play School toys forming a coven with Humpty as Grand Wizard?

Phil, I haven't read "The Castle Of Ortranto" but I do know that it's considered to be the first ever Gothic horror novel. And the book's author, Horace Walpole, was the son of Robert Walpole, the first British Prime-Minister (and 2021 is exactly 300 years since Robert Walpole came to office).

Steve W. said...

Colin, Hamble the doll was made of 100% evil.

Anonymous said...

M.P., Gog and Magog are actually from the book of Revelations, although the "Gog from the land of Magog" mentioned in the Old Testament prophesies of Ezekiel is generally identified with them and sometimes translated that way.
Ezekiel lived during the Babylonian exile, so Gog and Magog are associated with apocalyptic events in the middle east, which probably explains why they appear in a Marvel comic introducing the Arabian Knight.
And then theres the US invasion of Iraq...

The funny thing about George Dubya worrying about biblical prophesies is his alliance with Tony Blair, as Gog and Magog have watched over the City of London since Brutus founded the place and chained them to his palace gates on the site of what is now Guildhall.


Anonymous said...

Charlie, I say Sheffield beats Leeds easy, especially in a winter campaign. You can't beat a Peoples Republic that can always fall back on guerilla warfare.

But why would it happen? Surely their real enemy is North Yorkshire?


Anonymous said...

Colin - I'm a lapsed 'Fortean Times' reader myself. Are Toni & Dave a bit like Rod, Jane & Freddie? The name rings a slight bell, but obviously Play School's a distant memory. Derek Griffiths & Floella Benjamin are clearer. Benjamin's in the House of Lords, now, isn't she? From humble acorns spring mighty oaks - or whatever the saying is. 'Haunted Generation' featured an interesting book, called 'The Ghost on the Hill'. Also, there's that website 'natural curiosities' (?) - or something - which features 'Grave Goods' (?) in which Fortean type people suggest what they'd take for the journey into the afterlife!


Anonymous said...

Sean - Underneath, Yorkshiremen are a soft-hearted race, who - deep down - only want peace between Sheffield, Leeds, York & Hull.


Colin Jones said...

Phillip, the Fortean Times article did mention that Dave Arthur sang folk songs on Play School. And yes, Floella Benjamin is a Lib Dem peer. Why are you a LAPSED reader of Fortean Times? That magazine is essential monthly reading for me (along with SFX magazine)!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hmmm Wike says:

"Within the borders of the historic county of Yorkshire are large stretches of unspoiled countryside, particularly within the Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors and Peak District national parks. Yorkshire has been nicknamed "God's Own County".

I would suspect, as a former military genius, that Sheffield could wage an interminable guerrilla war, taking refuge among the Moors and Dales!

Do you Yorkshire chaps also have Heathers and Heaths? If so, I would say that warfare is futile against Yorkshire in general.

Anonymous said...

Tell that to the black pudding throwers of Lancashire, Charlie.


Anonymous said...

All this talk about intermittent guerilla and/or cultural warfare in the green fields of northern England is all well and good, but I would be remiss if I failed to point out that in that Conan comic Steve posted above, there is a Spider God.
His name is Omm; if the Marvel Database is to be believed, he is one of the earlier, monstrous spawns of Gaea, the primordial elder goddess of Earth.
Technically that would make him Thor's half brother; in the guise of Jord Gaea mated with that horny, conniving not-to-be-trusted Odin.
If you think your family gatherings are awkward...
Of course, none of this is alluded to in the Conan comic, Omm's debut. Instead, Omm is presented as an enormous spider, as big as maybe three elephants, and basically mindless.
And he eats people. He could probably give Shelob a run for her money in more ways than one.
Being consumed by a giant spider is maybe the most horrific fate I can imagine, and being something of an arachnophobe, that comic gave me the willies.
I've had tiny jumping spiders in my apartment. I leave them alone, they're harmless, but I couldn't kill one if I tried, they're so goddam fast.
But I can sense them on my windowsill, regarding me with those eight glittering eyes...


Killdumpster said...

Did you ever see The Incredible Shrinking Man? His battle with the tarantula was a great scene. I believe Stan Lee was inspired by that film to write Man In The Anthill, Hank Pym's prototype. It may have also had something to do with the Ant-Man storyline in Marvel Features, best Ant-Man tale ever.

Really suprised/disappointed that the mention of British mystiscm didn't lead to another discussion of Stonehenge.

Killdumpster said...

Just popped in Incredible Shrinking Man for late-night viewing.

Anonymous said...

I did see that, K.D. Yikes! What did he have, a sewing needle?
That and also that scene from The Fly (1958 version). "Help me!"
That stuff gave me nightmares as a kid.


Killdumpster said...

Yeah, MP! Both movies are wonderful childhood nightmare goodness!!

Anonymous said...

M.P. - M.R.James was petrified of spiders, them figuring prominently in a lot of his stories.


Anonymous said...

Steve - I think Comicsfan's twitter feed is pointing out that, on the original cover of Cap vs Dragonman, Dragonman is much greyer than on the Marvel UK version!


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Steve - nobody can ever mention Hamble without me sharing this story.

Although it was originally a very common type of doll, sold in Woolworths, by the time Play School was in full flow there were only two Hambles in Britain. The other was owned by a woman in Chester, who would hire it to the BBC for £40 a week whenever the Play School regular was injured.

That happened quite often, as it wasn't just the audience who detested Hamble. None of the presenters could stand her either, so she'd get drop kicked across the studio, and once, when she wouldn't behave, Chloe Ashcroft took a dreadful liberty.

"I did a terrible thing to Hamble. She just would not sit one day I got a very big knitting needle, a bit wooden one, and I stuck it right up her bum, as far as her head. So she was completely rigid, and she was much much better after that."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

KD - while you were MIA those weeks / months, Sean mad us aware that Stonehenge was originally in Ireland and dragged over to Wales and then to its current resting place. At least that's the working theory among some research types?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Whenever anyone mentions The Fly movie. I think of Lord of the Flies. I guess they are like sub-atomic particles of the same particle in Charlie's mind: forever entangled.

The author of Lord of the Flies was a Brit.

The author of the book The Fly was a French - Brit born in Paris: George Langelaan.

During WW2, he became a spook for the Brits and parachuted into France early in the war, was captured, and actually escaped the Nazi camp just prior to being executed. Prior to parachuting in, they did plastic surgery on his ears b/c they were too big and altered the aerodynamics of the parachute.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

IF we're going to talk about Hamble, we need to talk about Poppy. (Gee - was she so named because she has something in common with Poppy seed?)

Any SJWs out there today?

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, Chloe was a very brave woman. I wouldn't dare risk the wrath of Hamble in any way whatsoever.

Thanks for the Twitter link, Phillip.

Am I the only one who can never remember what the difference is between MR James and Henry James? Oh well, at least I never get them mixed-up with Sally James.

KD and MP, I love The Incredible Shrinking Man. It has a truly memorable ending.

When it comes to spider gods, didn't some of the native peoples of Central and South America depict the constellation of Orion as a spider god?

Charlie, Sheffield has Carl Wark, an Iron Age fortification probably dating back to 800 BC. It's where I'll be making my last stand in the event of war with Leeds.

Then again, the city's Wincobank Iron Age hill fort is just up the road from the Meadowhall shopping mall. That might be a more convenient place to make my last stand, as I'd be able to do my shopping while I'm at it. I have no doubt that's why the hill fort was built there.

Colin and Phillip, I too am a lapsed Fortean Times subscriber. I stopped reading it purely because 86 pages a month was too much for me to plough through with all my other commitments. If only they'd stuck to their previous 64 pages every two months.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I'm not familiar with Poppy, unless you mean the decidedly disturbing singer.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, and anyone else if so interesetd, but Sean has the French thing going...

A really solid graphic novel has just been released in the USA "Once Upon a Time in France" by Fabien Nury, Sylvain Vallee...

It's originally "Il etait une Fois en France"

Set before, during, after WW2. True story about a Romanian Jewish scrap dealer who somehow becomes a billionaire in France during WW2. There's a great scene where the SS escort him to the "judge" to be declared an Aryan, though everyone (literally) knows he's not.

Reminds me of Georing's "I'll decide who's a Jew and who isn't!"

ANyhow. I got it at the library! A great read!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve - It's OK you are not familiar with Poppy. Charlie isn't familiar with Play School, so...

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

MR James >>>>>>>> Henry James in my opinion. I've read the "greatest hits collections" of both MR was everything I was expecting of a writer of ghost stories. Henry bored the pants off me though - there's some famous really long story about an evil pair of twins that I just couldn't get into. It's not the Taming Of The Shrew but it has a name like that, And did MR write The Beckoning Fair One? That was good.

The dangermash hate ranking:
Dez > Frank > Henry James > Cobra

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, I suspect the Henry James story you're thinking of is The Turn of the Screw. I can't comment on its merits, not having read it but it was filmed as The Innocents, starring Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde and the creepy kid from Village of the Damned. It's one of the best horror films ever made.

It's currently available on YouTube:

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Turn Off The Screw - yes, that's the one. I could well believe it's a good film - it was the writing style rather than the storyline that bored me to death.

Anonymous said...

I saw that in a film adaption.
The ending is a mystery, the reader (or in my case the viewer) has gotta figure out what was real and what wasn't.
Was the woman insane? Was she seeing only the product of her fevered imagination?
Or was she confronted by an actual ghost?
If it was a ghost, it's even more terrifying, because it happens in broad daylight.
To see something supernatural and diabolical in the clear light of day seems to me to be more horrific. My mom claims to have seen a ghost once in the daytime, in a cemetery no less, but I dunno about that. It mighta been some weird old guy walking around silently.
Which is also spooky.
Charlie, that was pretty wild, the backstory of Langelaan. I had no idea The Fly was a book, much less one written by a guy with such a fascinating history.
Talking about writers who have a problem with spiders, I suspect Tolkien probably did. Giant man-eating spiders show up in The Hobbit, The Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings.
I'll bet dollars to donuts he had a hang-up with arachnids.
It was like that was the scariest thing he could imagine.


Anonymous said...

Charlie, Stonehenge was never in Wales, thats just what the British are saying now that the evidence is out that it was originally somewhere else than Wiltshire.
Its a well known fact - as recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth - that Merlin and Uther Pendragon stole it from Ireland.


Anonymous said...

Steve - I think Dangermash is deliberately misnaming 'The Turn of the Screw' with humorous alternative titles!

Someone said that reading a Henry James sentence is like being inside Hampton Court maze! That's why Henry's writing style puts him only slightly above Fr*nk, in dangermash's sh*t l*st!

As well as the unreliable narrator (as M.P. highlighted) in 'The Turn of the Screw', I think James is also known for a narrative technique named 'central intelligence' - or something - whereby, although a story is written in the third person, all the events are shown from the perspective of one particular character (as if it were the first person, "I"). However, don't quote me on this!

Also, often Henry's novels have dramatic - melodramatic perhaps? - titles, like 'The American', 'The Europeans', 'The Ambassadors', etc.

As many of you probably already know (teaching granny to suck eggs) Henry's brother, William James, was a famous philosopher (did he come up with something called positivism, perhaps? - I'm not sure) for us to further confuse with M.R.James!


Anonymous said...

The cover of Savage Action:

1.) It's almost identical to:

2.) Night Raven isn't featured, despite being advertised.

3.) Ka-zar isn't a 'dark avenger, vigilante or soldier of fortune'!

4.) Aren't brigands like bandits? Dominic isn't a brigand!

5.) I've got rats in the loft/attic - Where's the Exterminator when you need him?


Anonymous said...

The cover of Empire Strikes Back - Princess Leia looks like Paul Darrow/Avon, from 'Blake's 7'!


Anonymous said...

The BBC really missed a trick not revealing that Avon was actually Blake's sister, Phillip.
Now thats how you build a successful sci-fi franchise!


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

That's not me being funny Phillip. I just couldn’t remember the name but remembered it was something that sounded like Taming Of The Shrew. It worked because it got Steve to the proper name. If I was in a pub quiz and a question came up asking the name of Henry James' most famous story and the team couldn’t come up with the answer but then afterwards when they read out the answers, I said "Ah yes, Turn Of The Screw. I knew it was something that sounded like Taming Of The Shrew." I'd be lynched by angry team mates for not telling them that before and costing the team a point. Two if we'd played the joker.

My mother in law had this horrible habit of keeping stuff to herself at pub quizzes and then when the answers come out it's "Ah yes, Eric Idle. I knew it was one of the Monty Python team but couldn't remember his name." I try to stay away from pub quizzes these days.

Dez > Frank Robbins > Henry James > Non Team Players > Cobra

Anonymous said...

Dangermash - Sorry! Your accidental typo 'turn off the screw' made me think you were indulging in whimsical humour, both times!


The strong ones - Gan, Chewy

The cynics - Avon, Han Solo

The naive idealists - Blake, Luke

The comic relief - Villa, C3PO

The planks - Tarrant, Lando

Doesn't do much - Leia, Jenna

The brains - Obi Wan, Orac

The ships - The Liberator, Millennium Falcon


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - just curious if you are familiar with the french graphic novel I mentioned above. IT would be a real treat for ole Charlie to be able to recommend something you haven't read yet!

Anonymous said...

Chiller Pocket Book # 12

Inside cover - that ubiquitous Star Wars watch, yet again.

Dracula's the main story. Frank Drake's suicide(he staked his fiancee) is prevented by Rachel van Helsing (more specifically, her giant Indian henchman). Frank's mate Cliff's been vampirised (I've made up a word) & is looking after a coffin full of gold coins for Dracula. There are various twists & turns. At the end, a top fashion model, who's middle-aged, and has lost her looks, now owns castle Dracula. She freely invites Dracula in, hoping to regain her beauty.

Ads for Dangerous Visions back issues.

This one's that Man Thing story in which 2 German Shepherds turn out to be gods, at the end. Howard the Duck, Man Thing & a generic barbarian are led by a wizard to save a girl, named Jennifer Kale, from a demon called the Overmaster, who peels off his face to reveal another demon Man Thing's encountered before. Typical Steve Gerber fare. Oh, Howard the Duck falls into the abyss, presumed dead. You don't see him after that!

"There is Something Strange About Mr.Jones!" - A Stan Lee super short!

Ads for Conan monthly, Rampage Monthly & Frantic.

Outside back cover - Ad for Starburst.