Sunday, 9 May 2021

Forty years ago today - May 1981.

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

Like a siren in the night, the past beckons me onto its clashing rocks.

And, once more, I must heed that call...

Conan the Barbarian #122

Conan and his mostly-silent friend stroll into a town where time has been made to stand still.

Needless to say, a sorcerer's behind it all.

Also needless to say, a good stabbing soon sorts out that problem.

Captain America #257, the Hulk

From what I can remember, some ex-lackeys of Baron Zemo decide to kidnap Bruce Banner (so they can create an android as strong as the Hulk) and, also, Captain America. I don't have a clue what they want Cap for.

Inevitably, taking the Hulk and Captain America prisoner turns out to be a terrible idea and the villains promptly get a good smacking.

The, "Hulk-powered," android also turns out to be a bit of a pushover - to such a degree that even I'd fancy my chances against it.

Nostalgia fans will be delighted that Zemo's magic glue puts in an appearance. No doubt, Paste Pot Pete can only watch in envy.

Fantastic Four#230, the Avengers

The human black hole's still blundering around New York and being unstoppable. I think Reed Richards sorts it all out by draining his powers into the Negative Zone, or something.

The Avengers show up but, in one of the most pointless guest appearances ever, I don't think they actually do anything.

Incredible Hulk #259, the Presence

At last, Bruce Banner and the Soviet Super-Soldiers discover it's Dr Phobos - and not The Presence - who's their enemy, which means everyone teams up to thwart the doctor and restore niceness to Siberia.

But, holy Darth Vaders, Batman, not before two of the Super-Soldiers discover The Presence is their long-lost father.

Iron Man #146, Whiplash

Whiplash is back!

And he's renamed himself, "Backlash," which is such a 1990s super-villain name.

Not only that but he has a new and better whip.

And, what's more, he's out to kill Tony Stark's head of security, for reasons that are not yet made entirely clear.

Amazing Spider-Man #216, Madame Webb

Spider-Man spends twenty pages whining about everything while also striving to prevent the predicted murder of a competitor in a New York based marathon.

It then turns out it's not a competitor who's under threat of assassination but a politician who's handing out prizes at the end of it.

Regardless, thanks to most of the runners being hopelessly accident-prone, Spidey gets to save a whole bucketful of lives, along the way.

Spectacular Spider-Man #54

Our hero's on a floating restaurant, trying to rescue the original Power Man from a bunch of gangsters and their samurais.

Spidey makes short work of the samurais, as he and Power Man unite to finish off the villains.

Then it all ends with a round of arrests for drug possession.


Darededevil #170, the Kingpin

The Kingpin may have retired to Japan but that hasn't prevented the New York mob from putting out a contract on his life, via the medium of Bullseye.

When Kingie hires Matt and Foggy to be his lawyers, and then his wife gets kidnapped, it can only be time for a whole heap of trouble to descend upon the city.

Thor #307, the Dream Demon

An experimental machine manages to turn the nightmares of New Yorkers into a seemingly unstoppable monster. One that Thor stops by wrecking the machine.

Avegners #207

When an island mysteriously appears in the middle of the Mediterranean, the Avengers decide to respond by beating up the stranger who rules that island.

Except he's a good guy.

And now he's dead because of the Avengers.

And now they have to face whatever menace it was that he was trying to warn them about.

I hope they feel suitably ashamed of themselves.

X-Men #145, Dr Doom

That bounder Dr Doom's kidnapped Arcade. So, the X-Men set off to rescue the not-so-fun-filled assassin from the Latverian troublemaker.

Of course, it's all a trap and, now, Doom has the mutants where he wants them.

The weirdest thing about this story is Storm has the hots for Doom.

Seriously, woman, sort yourself out. He's a hideously disfigured killer in a metal mask, whose only topic of conversation is world conquest and who crams the word, "dolt," into every sentence. There should be enough clues in there that one shouldn't entertain thoughts of romance with him.


Anonymous said...

Doom is a sophisticated, powerful guy Steve, and as you note he does have that bad boy thing going on - why wouldn't Storm fancy him?
She does seem to go for fellas who rule their own technologically advanced countries (I expect she's quite high maintenance, what with being worshipped as a goddess before joining the X-Men).

Hey, its the Kingpin in Daredevil #170 - further evidence for DW's Spider-Miller theory.
Not only did Miller actually make the Kingpin came across as an interesting character, I think that issue might be the first time the name Wilson Fisk was used.


Fantastic Four follower said...

Daredevil is the winner amongst this month's a mile!FF is about to enter a golden era but this issue is poor.Likewise Caps day in the ByrneStern sun is over and as with Thor and Amazing Spiderman seems aimless to me.Peter Parker and Ironman are still interesing but the general tone of this month's comics is treading water exemplified by Conan which was by the numbers at this stage and had been for years.Av engers had nice artwork by Colan but muddy printing did not help and the title,as I complained before was about to fall off the proverbial cliff.Not a patch on the Perez/Byrne masterpieces we had enjoyed for years.Lastly I looked forward to the return of Cockrum to the Xmen....this was big news but for some reason the magic had gone from the title and for me was never the same again!

Anonymous said...

FFf, my theory fwiw is that the X-Men missed the creative friction between Claremont and his "co-plotter" after Byrne left.
Now I think about it, Byrne pretty quickly used the FF to retcon that X-Men story - apparently he didn't much care for how Claremont handled Doom - so Storm actually had the hots for a Doombot.


Anonymous said...

Gratuitous off-topic comment about Sheffield dept:
Wow Steve, I was reading earlier that there is now a tory councillor in the peoples republic of Sheffield. Amazing (not in a good way, obviously). Whatever next?


Anonymous said...

Sean - Also, the original Cockrum run was bi-monthly. Cockrum's return, post-Byrne, was monthly. Hence, a slight drop in creative edge. To succeed as an artist, your work rate must be fast (e.g. Sal & Byrne.) Other artists had the same issue. Most memorable line, delivered to Colossus: "Doom does not engage in fisticuffs, youth."


Steve W. said...

Sean, my faith in Storm's leadership is in tatters. I can't imagine Cyclops falling for a Doombot's dinner table chat.

FFf and Phillip, I have indeed read, elsewhere, that Cockrum struggled with the monthly schedule.

Sean, I'm sure the Tory councilor's a mere temporary blip. The big story, locally, as far as I can make out, has been a surge in support for the Greens, including them taking the Labour council leader's seat off him, meaning the city's somehow managed to get even more left-wing than before.

Anonymous said...

Good to hear the workers paradise in Sheffield is on course to survive global warming and the forthcoming age of eco-catastrophe Steve.

Not to knock Dave Cockrum, but I thought the X-Men stories improved when John Byrne started on the series. So as Byrne proved to be a capable writer on his own later, I still reckon him and Claremont probably vetoed each others worst ideas (Claremont definitely needed someone to say "no leprechauns").


Anonymous said...

Maybe if aliens visit our ravaged planet in the far future they might find Sheffield as a city under an enormous dome, a utopia in a desert of rubble.
Perhaps the aliens will come to regard the city as the apotheosis in human civilization.
Aliens from across the universe may come to learn their ways.


Anonymous said...

"'Ey up Earthling, take mi t' leader."


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Anyone else find it ironical that both 40 and 50 years ago this month that Reed Richards was mucking around with the Negative Zone?

Anyone else find it ironical that a man with a scarf takes down Cap 51 years ago and a man with a whip takes down Iron Man (I assume)? What would have happened if Bellini with his scarf had take on Iron Man??? (Bellini was personally trained in scarf tactics by the Red Skull so we know he's trouble.)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

If they'd of put the Gladiators saw blades on Hulk-bot's wrists he would have cut off Cap's head and won!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Here's the deal with women...

The world's oldest profession in not prostitution but protection. THus for evolutionary reasons women want a man who can convey power to protect them.

Hence Storm has a thing for Doom. It's perfectly natural. He's powerful.

But... every super hero has more/less wiped their back side with Doom in one way or another. I would think Storm would know that and save her feminine charms for a real tough guy like Galactus.

"Storm and Galactus sitting in a tree... K.I.S.S.I.N.G... First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes [ ] in the baby carriage!"

Fellow True Believers please fill in the blank!

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I'm not sure that's the correct usage of the word "ironical" .
In fact, I didn't even think it WAS a word, I figured maybe you just invented it because you're a nut, but apparently it is. I hadda look it up!
Don't get me started on the Negative Zone. There are many problems there. Apparently space there has an Earth-like atmosphere and temperature. Sure, some cool monsters came outta there. Why Mr. Fantastic would install a doorway to the Zone in his own building where his wife and kid live is beyond me. I think he sometimes makes lousy choices, like going up in a rocket in the first place without proper shielding against cosmic rays!
And that's another thing: there really is such a thing as "cosmic rays"! They are
bombarding us all the time, every second of the day. I was sure Stan Lee made that up.
Maybe that explains that strange itch I got. Cosmic radiation.
Alas, this seems like a poor crop of comics here, Steve.
A lotta low cards in this hand. Marvel was not riding high in '81, it seems.
Well, the Hulk issue was okay, I guess.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP... let's get serious here and forget that the cover blurb mentions "Toppled by The Midget Magus!" B/c if you are like me, Conan fighting a midget just gives me a raging form of excitement that wants to send me to ebay to find a slabbed copy and frame it on my wall!

Anyhow, were else would the Marvel's version of Plastic Man put the door to the Negative Zone? I mean, so he puts it in Gary, Indiana? Then how the hell is he going to get there? Taxi? OK so he takes the Quinn Jet... but then where in the heck is he going to park it? It'd be stolen before you know it.

Yes - I am a nut. The Uncola nut veriety though. I'm sure you remember the commercial below? And, like the uncola nut, Charlie brings a certain "je ne sais quoi" to SDC!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

And like the Uncola Nut, Charlie is "larger and juicier" than the average contributor to SDC.

Anonymous said...

Charlie, maybe you're right.
Maybe there's no good place to put a portal to the Negative Zone.
Maybe Florida. I don't think anything could seem strange down there, anymore.


Anonymous said...

Charlie, I checked that out! That was the guy from Live and Let Die!
I dunno if I wanna start drinking 7-Up on the advice of Baron Samedi. It almost sounds like a Faustian bargain, just for the sake of citric-flavored refreshment. It sounds diabolical.
Do I gotta show up at the crossroads at midnight under a full moon and sign a piece of parchment with my own blood? For the sake of a fizzy cola?
No thanks. M.P. is a skittish cat. I'll stick with Fresca, thank you very much.


Anonymous said...

"Midget magus"? Tsk, tsk, Charlie.
Its not 1981 anymore; these days its "Differently sized magus".


Anonymous said...

Regarding Storm's interest in imperious Dr. Doom, Ororo had similar relationships with Arkon & Dracula. The only imperious character missing, for Storm to have the 'set', is Namor!

As regards 'vertically challenged villains', there was also that guy in 'The Wild, Wild West'.


Colin Jones said...

The words "midget" and "dwarf" are considered extremely derogatory nowadays - the preferred modern terms are "little person" or "person of diminished stature" etc.

It's interesting that the human black hole's power gets drained away because that is what will happen to real black holes. They will all evaporate eventually but it takes a long, LONG time - the last black holes in the universe will finally evaporate in about one hundred, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion years.

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Man's role as protector:


Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP, Philip, Regarding little persons and James Bond, was not the little dude who used to say "Boss the plane! The plane!" on some show with Ricardo Montebann (Fantasy Island) a bond villain?

Philip - I am looking at the link you sent and Lady Williams is startled by an adder (I assume that is not a cunning mathematician) and Thomas Jones comes to her rescue? That sounds like man's role in the big scheme of things! I'll give it a viewing. SUITS YOU SIR!!!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Colin -

The whole Negative Zone thing and black holes...

That's where the FF stories lose their credibility. Until then they are totally realistic and plausible but then Reed, the NZ monsters, Annhilius dance around the event horizon like it's a bright line to include Reed seemingly reaching across it, as the human rubber band, to try and grab Janus before he gets totally sucked in.

Actually the NZ's Black Hole is more like an anti-matter zone where matter and anti-matter meet and go "poof."

So I guess it's actually what we could refer to as the Positive Zone in the Negative Zone?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie was raised on Uncola Nuts. That is why he is larger and juicier.

Gerry Conway was clearly raised on Cola Nuts and hence he did his best to wreck Charlie's life by killing Gwen Stacy and trying to have Reed and Sue divorce. I

I suspect Gerry is thus smaller and dryer than Charlie and would NOT be surprised if the Midget Magus was his idea!

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Yes! - The Man with the Golden Gun!

Charlie - What's more, Lady Williams is...Jane Asher! So you can watch the clip, and imagine you're Paul McCartney, rescuing Jane from a bad which other band members have over imbibed! Suits you, Sir!

The hero of the clip is a late medieval/early Tudor version of the Falcon, but with a Welsh acccent!

There's another clip about sheep stealing:

Didn't dogs exist in Wales? I'll get my cloak!


Anonymous said...

As the guy's name is Thomas Jones, let's get all the predictable jokes like, "It's not unusual" to be startled by an adder - or, "baby it must have been cold outside" for a snake in those days, out of the way!


Anonymous said...

Didn’t Storm also have a bit of a crush on Dracula a year or two later? Maybe Claremont read a lot of Gothic Romances in his formative years. His lady heroes did have a tendency to be attracted to hyper-masculine, controlling ‘Dark Dad’ types. Fortunately, the ladies would always come to their senses at some point, but still, the trope was always a little cringe-y. The on-the-nose word balloons didn’t help. ‘Against my better judgement, I find myself .... ATTRACTED to this man.’ Etc.

Yeah, i dutifully kept buying X-MEN after Byrne’s departure, but the immediate drop-off in quality was pretty obvious. I think Cockrum was a pretty terrific artist (and excellent costume designer) but this second run on the title lacked the fire of his first. I seem to remember that in order to meet the monthly deadline, he was only able to provide loose ‘layout’ type pencils on this second-go-round, which left him somewhat at the mercy of his inkers. But whatever the case, it all felt a little un-inspired, a bit ‘been there, done that’. I think Byrne certainly brought more exciting plot and storytelling elements to the book.

When Paul Smith took over the pencilling duties, the book was more fun to look at for a few months, but even then the stories felt kinda tired and warmed-over. Ah well. Nothing lasts forever....


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Philip, Sean, Colin

Didn't one of you send me a really cool link to a BBC show a few months ago wherein the reporter discusses touring around the Asher house which is where Paul McCartney lived there when he was in London. (It's where he and John wrote "I Want To Hold Your Hand?")

I guess you can walk around the house but not inside since it is inhabited, not a museum.

OK gents, it's lunch time and the larger and juicier Un-Charlie is going out to get some lunch... and perhaps kick some Midget Magus in the backside for some good fun.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Charlie - And Paul became part of the Asher household, with his own room with the family!
Don't overdose on 7up!


Anonymous said...

Phil, didn't St. Patrick chase all the dogs outta Wales?
No, waitaminnit. I got it mixed up. It was St. Bernard that did that.
That's how he got the name!
Those big-ass dogs were ravaging the countryside and eating Christians.

Colin, nobody has ever explains to my satisfaction in a way my limited intellect can understand, is WHAT HAPPENS TO STUFF THAT GETS SUCKED INTO A BLACK HOLE. Does it go somewhere? Does it, like, spill out? Does it just, like, stay there?
It's gotta go someplace, is what I'm saying. Matter can neither be created or destroyed.
That's in the Bible, I think! Maybe Ecclesiastes, I dunno.


Anonymous said...

My Peter Parker/Elektra theory aside, this month's Daredevil was the start of a brilliantly consistent run, where Kingpin loomed large over the continuing storyline, and Miller barely missed a beat until the end of his original run (#191) and then a few years later through 'Born Again' (loosely #227 to #232). I also really liked Cockrum's return to X-men, although these issues probably haven't aged as well as the Byrne run. This was a great time to transition from UK weeklies to US monthlies, as my thirteen year old self did.


Anonymous said...

M.P. - Yeah - maybe that adder was the descendant of one of the snakes St. Pat kicked out of Ireland!

Remember how, in the Warlock story with Star Thief, Adam went through a black hole, ending up exiting through a white hole, on the other side? That's major invulnerability! This idea/ thought experiment seems taken from Carl Sagan's 'Cosmos', yet 'Cosmos' was on tv after Warlock (at least in the UK) ?

Last night I woke up at 03.25am (not unusual), and ended up listening to BBC World Service, followed by Radio 4. Turns out they're commemorating 40 years since Bob Marley's passing.


Colin Jones said...

MP, I'm no expert on the subject but I think stuff that gets sucked into a black hole just stays there and is compressed by the massive gravitational force of the black hole. It was thought that a black hole would last forever but it's now believed that black holes do lose their matter slowly over trillions of trillions of trillions of years.

Phil, I'm glad BBC radio knows that Bob Marley is actually dead - about 15 years ago I heard that a BBC researcher tried to get an interview with Bob Marley for an intended documentary!! There are some real idiots on the BBC - I was once listening to a radio programme and the presenter thought that the author Evelyn Waugh was a woman and Jenni Murray (formerly of Woman's Hour) didn't know that Handel wrote any operas.

Anonymous said...

Colin - Yes, Radio 4 has some stupid commentators. I remember a woman commentator asking why people find it so hard to name 2 contemporary poets, saying she herself could just about manage it. One of the 'contemporary' poets she named - to sound clever - was Walt Whitman! He was around during the US Civil War! I can't remember her second choice, but it was also crap.

Even Melvin Bragg comes out with rubbish, sometimes, on 'In Our Time.'

I always associate Handel more with Oratorios.


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

MP/Colin - black holes evaporate slowly if left long enough. Empty space isn't empty but is constantly crackling like a bowl of rice crispies as particle and antiparticle pairs randomly appear out of nowhere, then cancel each other out just as quickly. When this happens just outside the black hole, it's possible that one half of the pair can disappear into the hole while the other half escapes, so they don't cancel each other out. Those bits that escape end up as "Hawking radiation" that looks like it's being emitted from the hole. And by conservation of mass and energy, it means the mass of the black hole must get smaller.

That's the closest I can get to an explanation. I know it's weird that the black hole gets smaller even though I'm saying it's absorbing particles. This is just one of those bonkers things where at tiny quantum mechanical scales, things just don't behave according to the sort of physics we learnt at school.

Colin Jones said...

Dangermash, thanks for that explanation. I've read about "Hawking radiation" but I didn't know enough about the subject to mention it in my previous comment!

Stephen Hawking was undoubtedly a brilliant scientist but he had some wacky ideas about the future of humanity. He was convinced that Earth is doomed and we must flee to another planet. Where this other Earth-like world is to be found and how we'll get there was never actually explained though.

Anonymous said...

Steve (and the gang):

Don't blink or you'll miss it, but the name is *BLACK-Lash* not Backlash. It's not a typo either as I had several comics where he appeared and that name always bugged me.

Even Phillip missed that one! ;)


Steve W. said...

FB, it's madness. What were Marvel thinking of? Regardless, thanks for pointing it out. You definitely get a coveted Steve Does Comics No-Prize. :)