Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - May 1981.

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

May 1981 was not a classic period in the field of Cinema.

It was, however, the month which saw the release of such gems as Lady Chatterley's Lover starring Sylvia Krystel and nobody else I've ever heard of and, also, a film called Polyester. I dread to think what that's about.

Bizarre Adventures #26

I was going to claim I've never heard of this comic before, despite it being issue #26 but it turns out I highlighted issue #25 in March's Lucky Bag. That was the one which featured the Black Widow and the Daughters of the Dragon.

This issue's made up entirely of Kull adventures drawn by John Bolton and scripted by Doug Moench and I don't know what happens in any of them.

There's so much concentrated Kullness in this book that I wonder if the tales were originally intended for a monthly comic that never happened and were then collected here, in order to make use of the material?

Moon Knight #7

I must confess I've included this one purely because it's such a bizarre cover.

I'm suspecting it may have been inspired by the front of Fantastic Four #37, the one in which the FF invade the Skrull's homeworld in search of the scoundrel who killed Sue and Johnny's dad.

Whatever the case, it would appear this tale's set on Earth where a bunch of criminals have added a hallucinogen to Chicago's water supply.

I remember reading an article in the Fortean Times, once, which claimed that, in the early 1970s, the US military experimented with the idea of pouring LSD into reservoirs to make it easier to invade other people's countries but the plan had to be dropped when it was realised it would require all the LSD on Earth to even have any effect on just one reservoir.

ROM #18, the X-Men

It's a thrilling time for us all, as ROM meets the X-Men!

Granted, it's not that thrilling for ROM - because the instant they set eyes on him, they assume he's an evil mutant and attack him.

Then, they accidentally fire him into Limbo.

What a bunch of morons.

Spidey Super Stories #52, the Mole Man

It had to happen! Spidey meets the Mole Man!

I say it had to happen but I can't remember it ever having happened before, which is a remarkable thing, given that both characters have been around since the early 1960s.

Apparently, our hero also encounters Blizzard in this one.

Master of Kung Fu #100

Master of Kung Fu hits its 100th issue, even though, as Colin's pointed out previously, it's not really the 100th, thanks to Marvel's liberal approach to numbering some of its comics.

Either way, it's been around for a long time and that's a serious achievement for a comic launched as an act of bandwagon-jumping.

We get a mighty 52 pages, this month, as a new Jack the Ripper goes on the rampage.

Ka-Zar the Savage #2

The spirit of Neal Adams is strong on that cover by Brent Anderson.

Exactly what happens in the story itself, I've no idea but I wouldn't be surprised if pterosaurs are involved.

Ghost Rider #56, Night RIder

Hooray! Night Rider's back!

I say hooray but I don't have a clue who he is or what he's doing.

I do know he bears a remarkable resemblance to the character I created for that Marvel UK design-a-super-hero contest, which can only prove I wuz robbed in not winning it.

Admittedly, my character was called The Masked Manhunter and was dressed all in black but, that aside...


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

I think Spider-Man may have gone up against Mole Man with Mr Fantastic in an issue of Marvel TeamUp?

Anonymous said...

Theres only one Kull story in Bizarre Adventures #26 Steve, Demon In A Silvered Glass, which I'm pretty sure was always intended to be full magazine length. From the editorial it seems Marvel were impressed by John Bolton's work - as they should have been! - and wanted his US debut to make an impression.

I wasn't that interested in Marvel's sword & sorcery/Howard comics by the end of the 70s - you can only read so many stories about wizards, comely wenches, giant snakes (paging Dr Freud), man-apes and dodgy theories about the virtues of barbarism against the metropolitan elitists - but even so, Bolton's work put Demon... right up there with Red Nails, and the better Buscema/Alcala collaborations.

It seemed strange back in the early 80s that more Marvel UK creators didn't follow Bolton to the US parent company (especially as they'd also reprinted Dave Gibbons' Dr Who). Obviously DC were more on the ball - I recall getting Madame Xanadu #1 - which had a back-up drawn by Brian Bolland - around the same time...


Anonymous said...

Seeing as Storm had a bit of a crush on a Doombot in this months X-Men, Steve, I wonder if she was attracted to Rom too...


Steve W. said...

Sean, thanks for the Kull and John Bolton info.

As for Storm, I'm just hoping she didn't try to cop off with a Dire Wraith.

Dangermash, I shall look into it.

Steve W. said...

Dangermash, you're right. It was Marvel Team-Up #17. Apparently, Spidey and Reed go to the centre of the Earth to rescue Captain Marvel.

Colin Jones said...

The only one of those covers I recognise is ROM but I don't remember anything about the story. ROM was actually a consistently good comic as Phillip has previously noted.

Steve W. said...

Sadly, ROM totally bypassed me in my youth.

McSCOTTY said...

Totally agree with Sean, John Bolton's S&S work is right up there with the very best work on the genre ever. The “Demon In A Silvered Glass” story from Bizarre Adventures was also reprinted a few years ago in colour in the Dark Horse magazine “Robert E Howards Savage Sword” . Mr Bolton also did a colour Kull series for Marvel around 1983 “The Blood Kings” which (based on the 1 issue I have) also had stunning art even by his high standards. He also drew a Thor strip for Bizarre adventures (I think it was issue 32) that was nice.

Anonymous said...

Paul, Marvel put out two issues of that extra-length colour Kull comic in the early 80s. The one you mentioned is the second, better one by the same team as Bizarre Adventures #26; the first has a Bolton cover, but its drawn by John Buscema (I forget who inked it, but its all fairly average stuff).

Bolton also started work on a Red Sonja issue of Bizarre Adventures with Chris Claremont, which - I think because of some rights dispute to do with the Sonja film - became their Marada series in Epic. It was collected a while back by Titan, and well worth tracking down.


McSCOTTY said...

Hi Sean, Marada was excellent I think I still have the 2 ( well worn) issues of Epic illustrated where it appeared. Thanks for the info on the Titan collected edition I will look out for that .

Anonymous said...

I think that Baxter KULL #1 book with the Bolton cover (with the memorably vivid Pepto-Bismol colored background), pencilled by John Buscema, was inked by Danny Bulanadi, doing his ‘Poor Man’s Rudy Nebres’ thing. ‘Fairly average stuff’ is a polite way to describe it.

I have always wanted to like the Moench/Bolton story in issue #2, but I’ve always bounced off it. For one thing, the coloring is just incredibly garish (I think Bolton even did the color himself, IIRC). And it’s on Baxter paper so the colors look even louder. Also, I think that Bolton’s work on the b/w epic in BIZARRE ADVENTURES had set the bar WAY high. But I should probably dig up KULL 2 and give it another try, maybe I would like it better now...


McSCOTTY said...

For Kull I can recommend the 70S comic with art by John and Marie Severin, especially issue 9. I haven't seen a lot of John Bolton's art in recent years with the last work of his that I came across being his work on Dark Horses "Evil Dead" comic with painted art (I think that's a technical enough description ). But my favourite of his work (apart form the aforementioned Kull in Bizarre Adventures) has always been his House of Hammer strips especially Curse of the Werewolf and One Million years BC

Anonymous said...

Besides John Bolton, Kull had some ‘Pretty Good’ to ‘Excellent’ art over the years at Marvel. Starting with Berni Wrightson on Kull’s first appearance in CREATURES ON THE LOOSE, the odd but effective team of Ross Andru and Wally Wood on the first full-length issue of his own self-titled book, ten sublime issues drawn by Marie and John Severin, a few nice issues by Mike Ploog (sadly the inking wasn’t up to par on most of ‘em), two or three fascinatingly weird backup strips in SAVAGE SWORD by Dale Eaglesham, and five or six issues of a re-launched color title drawn by John Buscema (inks by Dan Green, Joe Chiodo and Klaus Janson) that are, to my eye, a bit more lively than the work he was doing on Conan at the same time. That run also featured some truly outstanding covers by Mike Golden and Barry Smith as well.

I liked those HOUSE OF HAMMER comics too. Bolton also did one of the Christopher Lee Dracula adaptations (DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, i think?) that was really nice. And young Brian Bolland did a few strips too, including an intense adaptation of one of my favorite Hammers, VAMPIRE CIRCUS.


Dave S said...

Some great covers in that selection, especially Moon Knight, Rom and Ka-Zar. I wonder if the MOKF cyber is the one that Jim Shooter described on his blog that George Roussos objected to colouring as he wrongly believed that Stan Lee didn't like green covers?

Steve W. said...

Dave, it's possible. I remember the artist Patrick Woodroffe saying he once made the mistake of painting a green cover for a novel, only to be told, by the publisher, that people won't buy books with green covers. So, it seems Stan wasn't alone in his distrust of that particular colour.