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.


Anonymous said...

Oh come on Steve, the Red Skull might be a somewhat second rate super-villain but I'm not sure even Paste Pot Pete would bother fighting over somewhere the size of Wath-upon-Dearne - Latveria is bigger than that.

My understanding is that it was founded in the 13th century on territory seized by King Rudolfo 1 from Transylvania (Latveria that is, not Wath-upon-Dearne obviously), which back then would have probably included a bit of Hungary and Serbia as well as a part of Roumania ie its basically t' North of the Banat region.

So I would suggest Latveria is - appropriately enough for a glorious workers paradise - about the same size as the peoples republic of South Yorkshire.
You could imagine Marvel Sheffield being twinned with Doomstadt...


Anonymous said...

Pretty sure Dave and Ansell Collins' Double Barrel was the first Jamaican record to feature Sly Dunbar - Sly & Robbie fame - on drums; there weren't too many without him for quite some time after.

Strange how Bob Marley gets the credit for popularizing reggae in the UK when there'd been hits going back to Prince Buster in the 60s. I guess that just reflects the attitude of the music press in the 70s, as records like Double Barrel were basically considered to be novelty hits and not taken very seriously.


Anonymous said...

*of Sly & Robbie fame


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Not sure how you UK guys viewed Red Skull, or even you non-UK guys, but I viewed him as the personification of Nazi Germany and thus anything could happen.

Admittedly the man was a walking contradiction: he could create dozens (?) of Sleepers yet not issue a command to the Cube Cosmic to atomize Cap, instead sending a guy with a 6 foot scarf after him, lol.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ah yes... here is where Subby decides to position itself as a successor to EC comics or something...

- His wife is killed

- A few issues later his long-lost, found again, nut job father is found and killed.

- He starts murdering all types of denizens of the deep as they are used as villains.

Mind you, the next several issues are pretty damn good, climaxing with Bill Everett's works, but still I think the wife and father would have balanced Subby out immensely and perhaps given rise to a run of a few hundred or more issues.

I mean, I like Thor better with Sif, Spidey better with Gwen, Reed better with Sue, Prince Valiant better with what's her name, etc.

One can only conclude that the Marvel editors were a bunch of closet weirdos.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


My general understanding over here was that is was a small, small niche until Marley went to London and re-mix all his songs into the hits we know today. I still dig the rawness of the original versions but am not complaining about the remixes.

Also, so I've been told from someone from the islands, when Marley was in the UK he was caught in the back seat of a car with Miss UK... smoking the ganja and rather unclothed.

Supposedly Ganja Bob "bargained" his way out of these "crimes" by advising the police man that he would not say a word to the UK press of what was going on in that back seat if he would be allowed to continue on his way, lol.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I wonder if Red Skull might have fared better with the Rod Cosmic vs. the Cube Cosmic?

Though that may have brought him into contact with the FF.

But what the hell... if a guy with a 6' scarf can take down Cap, surely two guys with 6' scarfs could take down the Thing? Or at least wrap up Reed like a pretzel?

Colin Jones said...

It's also the 50th anniversary of the Man-Thing and Marvel has just launched "Avengers: Curse Of The Man-Thing" #1 to celebrate the anniversary. An evil being called The Harrower has taken over the Man-Thing's body and is intent on mischief no doubt!

I feel T-Rex are quite an under-rated band but they had some terrific songs, didn't they:
Hot Love
Get it On
Children Of The Revolution
Metal Guru
Solid Gold Easy Action
Ride A White Swan...

Wear a tall hat
Like a druid in the old days
Wear a tall hat
And a tattooed gown...

...excellent advice I'm sure we can all agree :D

Charlie, the Red Skull bored the pants off me. He and Magneto were my least-favourite Marvel villains.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, not only did the Red Skull use the Cosmic Cube to swap places with Cap instead of just killing him, it was the second time he had the Cube! I can understand taking your time to finish off a hero if you're in possession of a device that can transform reality, but not if you've already failed with it once before.

Another time, the Red Skull kidnapped Jim Callaghan, which isn't exactly top super-villainy.

On Jah Bob, I don't think you can say reggae was niche in the UK when there were regular hit singles (although obviously there was also a more specialized audience among black Brits from a Jamaican back ground).
But Marley crossed over earlyish in the roots-era, so you could say he popularized a particular idea of reggae - dreads, herb, Rastafari and all that - which you don't really get in, say, the Youtube clip of Dave and Ansell Collins doing Double Barrel on Top Of The Pops, introduced by Tony Blackburn.


Colin Jones said...

And on the subject of The Mighty Thor - earlier tonight I was watching 'The Vikings', the 1958 film starring Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine, Janet Leigh and Dandy Nichols (before she became famous as Alf Garnett's wife - for our American friends, Alf Garnett was the right-wing bigot in the TV series 'Till Death Us Do Part' which was re-made for American TV as 'All In The Family'). Anyway, I hadn't seen 'The Vikings' for donkey's years and I really enjoyed it - Ernest Borgnine plays Kirk Douglas's father even though Borgnine was several weeks YOUNGER than Kirk Douglas!

Anonymous said...

Charlie - As regards Red Skull stories, maybe scarf man was Dr.Who, as played by Tom Baker. He had the longest scarf in the world!

Sean - Your knowledge of stories featuring Captain Britain is truly impressive. Maybe Sunny Jim was captured by the Red Skull because, under the mask, the skull was Maggie! (Getting a bit political, here!)

It seems a paradox/contradiction that the skull is a Nazi/fascist, yet red is the colour of the left & communism?

Colin - I lump 'The Vikings' together with 'The Warlord', starring Charlton Heston, for some reason.


Anonymous said...

Ey up, and why aye, Phillip.

Anyone'd think I was a fan of Captain Brython! But when I was a kid I got the first issue of the weekly and was blown away by the Steranko SHIELD back up, and I liked the FF, so... I put up with CB and got it regularly. Then later there was Steve Parkhouse and the Black Knight era, and the Moore and Davis run... so I was stuck with him.

Thatcher would be a good villain (tbh so is Callaghan for me really, as he was home secretary during the deteriorating situation in the late 60s north o... well, lets not get into that on a comic blog) but we don't want to end up cheering on a nazi like the Red Skull, do we?


Steve W. said...

Sean, I must confess that Captain Anglo-Brythonic didn't appeal to me until Alan Moore got his hands on him.

Phillip, perhaps the Red Skull just wasn't very bright and wore red because he misunderstood the term, "National Socialist."

Colin, similarly, wasn't Dustin Hoffman only about five years younger than Anne Bancroft, even though, in The Graduate, she was supposed to be over twenty years older than him?

Charlie, if the Red Skull had had the Cosmic Control Rod, he'd probably have accidentally blown his own head off with it.

By the way, am I the only one who always thought the Cosmic Control Rod was blatantly a thermos flask?

Sean, your knowledge of Latverian history is admirable.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

That gorilla on the front of Millie The Model. Is it the same gorilla as the one loose in Central Park in level 4 of the Spider-Man vs Kingpin game on the Sega Megadrive?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

The cover on Thor, I had heard that Crusher is actually modeled on Baron von Raschke. See link.


At that time the USA wrestling was getting quite popular in the USA (and for some decades after that). Crusher and his cousin Bruiser were the stars of the land as "good guys." Hence probably the reason for the name Crusher? But Rashke had the "looks" lol

Baron von Raschke was a "bad guy" and had the infamous Claw whereby he'd grab your stomach with his grip and squeeze you til you were unconscious.

Anonymous said...

Charlie - That wikipedia pic of Baron von Raschke, with him grinning in 1975, looks like Brian Glover, from 'Kes' ( & 'The Beerhunter'.) In Britain, our most famous wrestling goody & baddie were Big Daddy & Giant Haystacks. In the 70s, wrestling was broadcast at 4pm, every Saturday. One wrestler was even called 'Ironfist'! You (the U.S.) sent us 'The Mighty Quinn', who was a U.S. equivalent to Pat Roach. Charlie - Your comment fits in nicely with the real people/actors in comics theme. Very apt! Paul Gulacy - as you probably already know - was guilty of this a lot, in his stories.

Colin - 'The Longships', with Richard Widmark, is another good companion piece to 'The Vikings' !

Sean - If you hate Captain Britain, at least you had Brian's arch enemy, Slaymaster, to cheer for - or 'Death's White Rider', who eventually killed CB, in the pseudo Middle-earth/King Arthur era.

Steve - As regards political colours, I wonder if Marvel reprints stories featuring the Yellow Claw. Maybe if it's seen as a period piece, reflecting the outdated attitudes of the time. Still....


Anonymous said...

Steve, despite my short-lived interest in SezDez era Marvel UK originated material (sorry dangermash) during the Black Knight run, the novelty value of Brythonic superheroics involving Cornish milk-men didn't last long - not once that @&#$& elf turned up - and I agree with you about the Alan Moore Captain Brexit.


Anonymous said...

Phillip, I didn't much care for Slaymaster, who was a too smug and up himself for my liking (although killing CB is a point in his favour).

Strangely, there weren't any French villains in CB, not that I recall anyway. You'd think even if they couldn't be arsed to make up any they new ones they could at least have done a story with Batroc ze Leapair.
Or Frog Man. From the Ani-men, yeah - Frog Man was, inevitably, French.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - just thought I'd repaste this link from BitBA since you mentioned "france." And if you guys didn't get your remarks in, at BitBA, chop chop!!!