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Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - March 1971.

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

March 1971 can only be viewed as a varied month for the dedicated lover of Cinema. Not only did we get the release of George Lucas' first movie THX 1138 - without which Star Wars would, no doubt, have never been made - but we got the unleashing of Up Pompeii and The Andromeda Strain. I'm not personally convinced any of those three films are actually good but they are all, at the very least, memorable.

Not so memorable - for me, at least - was the song at Number One in Britain as that month began.

That was Mungo Jerry's Baby Jump. Out of curiosity, I listened to it on YouTube, a few nights ago and have already forgotten it. I feel I've let Mungo Jerry down quite badly with my strange lack of ability to recollect one of their classic tracks and can only apologise to them.

Regardless, halfway through the month, that song was dethroned by a brand new sound, as T. Rex suddenly rose to supremacy with Hot Love. Truly, the 1970s had now arrived.

Over on the UK album chart, George Harrison's All Things Must Pass proved its point by losing the top slot, halfway through March, to Andy Williams' Home Lovin' Man which saw out the rest of the month, in that position.

Amazing Adventures #5, Inhumans and Black Widow

Roy Thomas and Neal Adams give us yet more Inhuman fun, although I'm not sure of its details. Have we yet entered the phase where Black Bolt's lost his memory and hooked up with a teenage sidekick on the streets of Los Angeles?

Or was it San Francisco?

As a kid, I always used to get the two mixed up.

I can offer no information at all about the Black Widow adventure, other than it features a character called The Astrologer, which would possibly explain why her foes on that cover have stars all over their pyjamas.

It, of course, doesn't explain why they're wearing pyjamas.

Creatures on the Loose, King Kull

Creatures on the Loose launches its sensational first issue upon the world, which is labelled #10, as it continues the numbering of Tower of Shadows.

No, I don't have a clue how that makes sense either. 

A man who probably doesn't care either way leads the book's charge - and that's King Kull. Is this his first appearance in a colour comic? I couldn't say.

Apparently, Kull's arrogance leads to the release of an ancient menace he's barely able to defeat.

Judging by that cover, it looks like it might be the octopus thingie Beowulf was having trouble with in my last post.

Fear #3

The third issue of Fear gives us the tale of ZZutak, the thing that shouldn't exist.

And, apparently, it only does so because an artist is given a bunch of paints that make everything he depicts come to life.

Quite why he's painted a fifty-foot tall monster is anyone's guess. Most people would have painted a vase of flowers.

We also get I Must Find Korumbo, The Man Who Hated Monstro, The Gentle Old Man, Journey Into Nowhere, A Monster Waits Outside, Save Me! Save Me!, The Lifeless Man and I Dared to Battle Rorgg... ...King of the Spider Men.

I would like to claim that's all one story but it is, indeed, a number of stories.

But I think we can safely say this book's 68 pages are packed solid with thrills.

Ka-Zar #3, Spider-Man

The comic may be titled Ka-Zar but he's very much a guest in other people's adventures, as this issue concentrates on reprinting Amazing Spider-Man #57 and Daredevil #14, in which those two heroes had their first-ever encounters with the jungle lord.

We also, for no noticeable reason, get solo action for the Angel, in which Warren Worthington must confront The Dazzler but, seemingly, not that Dazzler.
Sub-Mariner #35, the Avengers

When an experiment in controlling the weather threatens to cause ecological chaos, Subby, the Silver Surfer and Hulk team-up to prevent it.

But that just leads to the Avengers being called in to protect the experiment and, needless to say, a massive punch-up instantly breaks out between the two sets of super-doers.

Where Monsters Dwell #5, Gorgilla

Gorgilla's back, and out to make friends with humanity.

Sadly, it's not to be and he's shot dead by the US military.

But not until after he's destroyed a group of communists.

You see? Even monsters know to hate The Red Menace.

Also in this issue, we get Something Missing and He Waits in the Dark.

The former of those features an astronaut miffed about his girlfriend stowing away on his mission to Mercury. But he's soon singing a whole other song when her presence saves him from the wrath of the Mercurians.

While the latter tale gives us a janitor out to thwart a malevolent landlord.

Where Monsters Dwell #10

Here's a turn-up for the books because this issue's cover's brought to us by the unusual team of Marie Severin and Bernie Wrightson.

In the main story, an explorer learns of an invasion plot by four-armed aliens. He attempts to alert humanity but then realises his own nurse is one of them.

Next, we get It Happened on, "The Silent Screen," in which a monster repeatedly steps out of a movie and into the real world.

Run, Rocky, Run presents us a criminal seeking to flee in a rocket ship, who then makes a nightmarish discovery about it.

And, finally, Dream World gives us a man with a levitating bed.

My Love #10, No Man is My Master

This month gives us No Man is My Master, He Never Even Noticed, And Then I Found You and Don't Ask Me to Marry You.

I've no idea what any of those masterpieces involve but I'm sure there are yet more tears to be shed and hearts to be broken.

It'd be great if Gorgilla turned up in any of them.

I suspect he doesn't.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

People know by now that IMHO Avengers #84, Silver Surfer #4 and Captain America #110 are the holy trinity as far as artwork is concerned.

But I'd just like to point out that the Colan and Everett in the Black Widow story in Amazing Adventures #5 is also stunning.

It was featured in that first oversized U.K. "Holiday Grab Bag" back in the mid-70s.

Anonymous said...

Steve, i believe that IS Kull’s first color comics appearance— in fact I think it’s his very first comics appearance, period. Seven atmospheric pages by the young Bernie Wrightson. When next we see the King of Valusia, he’ll be drawn by Ross Andru and Wally Wood in KULL THE CONQUEROR #1, followed by six or seven STUNNING issues drawn by The Severin Kids.

As for why TOWER OF SHADOWS became CREATURES ON THE LOOSE — and its sinister sister CHAMBER OF DARKNESS morphed into MONSTERS ON THE PROWL — if I had to guess, I’d say the two mags probably weren’t selling as many copies as the books they were created to emulate (DC’s HOUSE OF MYSTERY and HOUSE OF SECRETS), and Marvel’s available freelance artists and writers were already stretched pretty thin, so the Powers That Be at Marvel figured they should just cut their losses by turning them into straight Reprint Monster Books, and get some mileage out of those drawers full of Kirby and Ditko art.

And speaking of Jack and Steve — that FEAR cover is all kinds of awesome, isn’t it?

Boy, they were really trying to make Ka-Zar happen, weren’t they?

IIRC, ‘No Man Is My Master’ in MY LOVE 10 is a Stan Lee / John Buscema epic about a young Woman’s Libber who has had it up to HERE with Male Chauvinist Pigs, baby! But she’s still looking for love, natch, and after dating a series of bland, wishy-washy ‘Sensitive Guy’ types, she ends up falling for this Manly Macho Dude who orders her meals for her in restaurants, tells her what kind of clothes she looks best in, how she should wear her hair, etc etc. Swear to God, I think he even says ‘Me Tarzan, You Jane!” to her at the climax — and she digs it! The art is fab, but it is NOT Stan’s finest hour.

- b.t.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Carlos’s musings:

1) Steve – Thank you for yet another masterful posting! Love the Love mag! If you can ever find another cover like a few blogs ago from DC, Carlos’ll promise eternal gratitude!

2) Fair play to Marvel for their Monster comics. Carlos could never get into DC’s supernatural witching hour things even if Neal the Peel Adams was drawing them. However, Carlos hunkered down many a day with a Marathon Candy Bar and a Marvel Monster comic! Indeed Carlos still has that issue of Fear in his long boxes!

(Peel as in “peel off some of those green backs and hand them to me if you want to talk to me or do a picture at C2E2.”)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Carlos gave up on Mungo Jerry once he learned, on this very blog, that the goofy sound in the middle of “In The Summertime” is a recording of his MG going back and forth and not the “springs” in the back seat of his car ;)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

If one is interested in a good Dracula book, though not written 150 years ago, lol, Carlos does recommend “The Historian.” Set in Hungary, then Paris, in the modern era it is worth the time…

Hungarians are a special folk. Carlos knows firsthand. As Carlos’s Serbian and Czech friends have told him “Any group of persons that could hold on to Hungarian plains, for 1000 years, have something special going on.”

Also, it is well known that Hungarian folk are exceptionally beautiful with their high cheek bones. E.g., look at the Gabor sisters. It is also well known that Adam Ant was jealous of Hungarians because their cheekbones were better than his.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

IIRC, there may have been cost savings continuing the numbering of comics versus introducing a new one starting with #1, from a postage perspective. THis could explain Creatures on the Loose starting with #10.. simply opportunity to save $.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Stan the Man could carry the torch for minority rights but he and Jack both were stereotypical boneheads when it came to females.

IIRC in Tales to Astonish there were several instances of the Black Widow literally lounging about, eating bon bons, wondering about the latest fashions, etc. also prevalent with Sue in the FF.

Anonymous said...

Disagree about Kirby being a bonehead when it comes to women Charlie - left to his own devices he came up with characters like Big Barda and Sersi.
Whereas Stan Lee gave us the Femizons in Savage Tales #1 (I hope it helped get whatever it was out of his system).

I believe along with a Chamber of Darkness short a couple of months earlier that first Kull in Creatures On The Loose #10 was the only story Berni Wrightson drew for Marvel til the mid-80s. According to an interview I read once, he wasn't very impressed with how they treated him at the time (they must really have pissed him off, considering what DC were like at the time).


Anonymous said...

The Inhumans story in AA #5 is the start of the one you're thinking of, Steve, with Black Bolt and the kid. Pretty sure its set in San Francisco (apart from the bit where Karnak and Gorgon set Maximus free because... well, they're morons).

I'm afraid I can't help you with any info on the Astrologer or pyjamas in the Black Widow. For some reason, all I recall from that story is the scene with Natasha in the shower.


Colin Jones said...

I wonder if The Gentle Old Man in 'Fear' is an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft's The Terrible Old Man?

Steve W. said...

It doesn't seem to be, Colin. According to the Grand Comics Database, this is the plot: "A greedy landlord is captured by a time traveler who maintains a collection of 'dolls' consisting of miniaturized heartless people from different eras."

Thanks for the Black Bolt confirmation, Sean.

Charlie, that explanation for the eccentric issue numbering does ring a bell. I have a feeling it has something to do with the US Postal Service distribution statements American comics used to publish once a year.

Bt, thanks for the Kull confirmation and for the No Man is My Master info.

Dangermash, those comics do indeed contain masterful artwork.

Anonymous said...

B.t. - Excellent comments on Dracula (Lucy & the blood transfusions).

The only thing I'd add, as regards Claw, is his hand seems a blatant rip off (or
homage, depending on your point of view!) of Moorcock's 'hand of Kwll', as used by


Anonymous said...

Don't know about that Phillip - Claw's hand wasn't even cut off. Iirc, it was deformed because of some sort of hereditary curse...?
And he didn't live in Cornwall either.


Redartz said...

Another most enjoyable post, Steve! Especially enjoying the romance and horror coverage. Hmmmm, romance and horror, sex and violence, love and death; perhaps there's something deeper going on in my twisted head. Great, something else to lie awake at night wondering about.

Aaaaanyway, those books are fun indeed. For those of us who never read the originally published tales, they are all new. Even today, most of those old mystery tales (hey, that sounds like a good title for a comic) are new to me. Guess it helped not existing back in the late 1950's.

Sorry for the mental wanderings, folks. It's been a physically exhausting day and my mind is getting silly. Maybe I'll go read about "Goom"...

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Red. I do feel there's nothing like a quick dose of Goom to clear the head.