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Tuesday, 8 June 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - June 1981.

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

Good God above! What was that you were confronted with in June 1981?

It was the sight of your local cinema bursting at the seams.

That's because it was struggling to contain a whole pile of theatrical awesomeness.

"But Pourquoi?" I hear you demand.

And the answer is it was the month which saw the release of the following movies:

Clash of the Titans, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Cannonball Run, Superman II (in the US and UK), Dragonslayer, The Great Muppet Caper and For Your Eyes Only.

Not only that but it also saw the re-release of a bunch of Herbie movies and a reissue of Freaky Friday.

Frankly, with all that going on, I doubt any of us had time to read any comics.

But that's not going to prevent me from taking a look at them.

The Defenders #96, Ghost Rider

Hooray! The Ghost Rider shows up in The Defenders!

And this is why:

The Defenders attack Ghost Rider, thinking him in league with the Six-Fingered Hand. But, upon discovering their error, they join with him to fight Asmodeus Jones who's out to give his fans' souls to Fashima.

Frankly, I didn't understand a word of that but that's a striking Michael Golden cover. So, who cares?

Plus, the Ghost Rider does feel like a character who belongs in a Defenders story.

Epic Illustrated #6

Neal Adams give us the cover, and a whole host of artists like Mike Saenz, Bob Aull, Phoebe Berry, Ken Steacy, Jim Starlin, Jean Bello, Marc Bright, Steven R. Bissette and Rick Veitch give us the insides.

Interestingly, Harlan Ellison is credited as writer on one of the tales, a thing called Life Hutch.

Hulk #27

It's the final issue of the magazine that started out as The Rampaging Hulk.

Does it go out in style?

I don't know but I do know it departs with a tale from Lora Byrne and Gene Colan, plus a story by J. M. DeMatteis and Gene the Dean.

There's also an article called Happy Accidents, featuring the work of Jack Kirby, Marie Severin and Earl Norem.

Moon Knight #8

It's another striking cover from Bill Sienkiewicz, as Moon Knight travels to Chicago to rescue Marlene.

Sadly, there's no information as to whether he rescues Boycie.

Anyway, he's also out to stop the villains who put a hallucinogen in the city's water supply.

ROM #19, the Space Phantom

Thanks to Kitty Pryde managing to fling him into Limbo, ROM finds himself up against the pulse-pounding terror of the Space Phantom.

Crazy #75, Flash Gordon

What's that? You'd have to be crazy to tackle Flash Gordon?

That's right! Crazy tackles Flash Gordon!

Savage She-Hulk #17, Man-Elephant

It's the fight we all wanted to see, as She-Hulk tackles Man-Elephant!

Well, at least she's not tackling the Elephant Man, which would be straight-out bullying.

Apparently, our heroine's still wanted for the murder of Jill Ridge but evidence may soon emerge that will clear her.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Watching the man elephant with red swimming trunks jump the she hulk who has this absurd looking full body loin cloth...

It just seems chock full of "subliminal messaging?"

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I never realized Space Phanthom controlled Limbo.

How do you non-Catholics feel about that? I thought Limbo was slang for Purgatory which was only a Catholic (Orthodox too?) interpretation of the Bible?

You don't think that Marvel was subliminally trying to convert you all... slowly but surely... one issue at a time?

Anonymous said...

What kind of Catholicism do they teach over there in the New World, Charlie?
Purgatory and Limbo are two different things.
And its Immortus that controls Limbo, the Space Phantoms just work for him.

That is a great Mike Golden cover on Defenders #96 Steve.
Iirc Asmodeus Jones was a Heavy Metal singer doing the Ozzy-type bat biting Satan thing, and Fashima was one of half a dozen minor demons who grouped together as the Six-Fingered Hand - a sort of devils' union - to have more influence on the earthly plane.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Hi Sean - well at the time of the comic, Limbo still existed and was part of Purgatory. And I do certainly remember all these theoretical discussions about Limbo / Purgatory and what happens to unbaptized babies should they die. It was interesting in our Catholic Catechism classes, I thought. Speculative Theology at it best!

(Please notice that there is nothing in the article below about either Immortus or Space Phantom. Thus it may be considered fake news. But it's the best I could find!)

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church has effectively buried the concept of limbo, the place where centuries of tradition and teaching held that babies who die without baptism went. The verdict that limbo could now rest in peace had been expected for years.
Apr 20, 2007

Charlie Horse 47 said...

YOu know... If the Catholic Church has determined that Limbo does not exist after all, then what the hell are Immortus and Space Phanthom doing? Where are they actually?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - Would the Irish Catholic Church maybe grant ole Charlie an indulgence for eating Kerrydale Irish Butter? (Grass fed, you know!) My fav grocer, Trader Joe's, carry's it.

Redartz said...

Oh man, it was indeed big times at the cinema! I'll never forget going to see "Raiders" with a gang of art school pals. That opening sequence blew us away with its breathtakingly chaotic string of pitfalls. And it just kept getting better...

As for limbo, I prefer mine Chubby Checker style : "How low can you go?"
Marvel missed an opportunity by never letting the Space Phantom have a go at the limbo bar...

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about butter Charlie - so long as you don't get any of those imperialist British sausages you can get away with what ever you like.


Steve W. said...

Sean, thanks for shedding light on the plot of that Defenders issue.

As for Sausage Wars. I remember an episode of Yes Prime Minister, 40 years ago, centring on a battle between Britain and the EU over sausages. Is reality now stealing the plots of old sitcoms?

Charlie, I'm afraid I can shed no light upon the Catholic Church's stance on Limbo.

Red, I agree that Raiders was the pick of that month's magnificent bunch.

Anonymous said...

As regards 'For Your Eyes Only', I've just checked my 1981 diary. It seems I watched it at the cinema on October 10th, 1981. Puzzling!


Steve W. said...

Phillip, is it the date that's puzzling to you, or is it that you'd forgotten you'd gone to see it?

Anonymous said...

Steve, the date! It seems a long time after the film's release!


Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, it was possible to see films in an actual movie theatre weeks and sometimes even MONTHS after they were first released! ;) I tease — but it’s easy to forget that there was a time when such a thing was fairly commonplace. Wikipedia (which is NEVER wrong) says FYEO was released in late June, so three and a half months DOES seem a bit long for it to be hanging around. But then again, I think FYEO was a fairly big hit — here in the States it wasn’t unusual for popular ‘first run’ movies to stick around for four or five months on the theatrical circuit (even longer for ‘mega-hits’ like STAR WARS or E.T.). And when the ticket sales started to taper off, they would often still be available to screen at smaller independent theatres, often at bargain ticket prices, and as part of double bills.

Steve and Red:
Agreed that RAIDERS was the pick of this crop, by several light years. I liked FYEO at the time because it jettisoned a lot of the more flamboyant excesses and downright silly elements of the previous films in the series. But it’s funny — these days I find FYEO kinda dull and I’d much rather watch goofy old MOONRAKER any day. Both movies got adapted in MARVEL SUPER SPECIAL, complete with gorgeous fully-painted movie poster style covers by Howard Chaykin, who was clearly going through a ‘I WANNABE BOB PEAK!!’ phase. The adaptations themselves were not all that great.

Speaking of nice covers though — that Ghost Rider DEFENDERS cover by Mike Golden is STUNNING, and his ROM cover ain’t bad neither. Somewhere around here I’ve got a binder full of Golden covers from around this period.


Anonymous said...

b.t. - I do remember a time before multiplexes. In the mid-late 70s, I even remember the lady coming round with ice-creams, during the intermission!

b.t. - the most memorable thing about FYEO was the theme song. It was on the 'Themes & Dreams' album, which my brother & I got in 1982. The only picture I can find of this album is copies being sold on ebay (I'm not promoting it!)

As you can see, it's a pretty decent selection (although they're all instrumental versions.)


Anonymous said...

Oh no, you mean Sheena Easton isn't on it, Phillip?
Or Olivia Newton-John & the ELO? (; Theres a listing - and better pic (of the lp version) - at:

Pickwick were like MFP, too cheap to license original recordings so they'd find someone to re-record stuff, which was invariably disappointing. My brother had a Big Western Music Themes cassette on MFP, and A Fistful Of Dollars and The Good, The Bad And The Ugly don't sound right when arranged by an English light entertainment hack instead of Ennio Morricone.

There were loads of those compilations around in the 70s. There must be landfill sites full of 'em now, as they haven't developed any kind of cultural afterlife as retro kitsch.


Redartz said...

Sean- you're quite right about those second rate compilations. As an obsessive collector of Compilation discs, I've encountered many; both on CD and vinyl. More so on vinyl; back in the day you had to be careful what you spent your hard earned money on. Thinking you were getting a solid collection of authentic movie music, you might end up with a batch of pseudo tunes by the Hollywood Strings, or some such...

Anonymous said...

Sean - At least the FYEO theme was better than 'Modern Girl'! Thanks for the link. The phrase 'Midnight Mood Orchestra' made me remember this album's something I've posted about before. Like one of those albums, I'm giving people the same 'hits' (or non-hits!), over and over again! These albums 'core' always included 'Cavatina', 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' - and maybe 'Bright Eyes' - then they would 'spice it up', by throwing in some current tunes like Sheena Easton's FYEO - or, maybe the theme from the Thorn Birds. There were at least 4 similar albums! Like your bro's Big Westerns, we had 'Big Bond Movie Themes' - also mfp's 'Themes For Superheroes' & 'Star Wars & Other Space Themes'.

Redartz - I didn't realize those albums were a phenomenon in the USA, too. Some of them were quite charming - 'Echoes of Gold', for example, was one of the better ones.

As Stalin famously said, "Quantity has a quality all of its own" - 22 hits is a lot of bang for your buck!

To me, one of the greatest compilations of that time was this:

20 well-chosen songs, some of which were sung really well!


Steve W. said...

Phillip, I definitely have to check if that Brotherhood of Man LP's on YouTube.

Bt and Phillip, I think there was also a problem that there were often a limited number of prints of a movie available. Those prints would tour the country, meaning some areas got them later than others. I remember movies often turned up in Doncaster before they did in Sheffield. Bearing in mind Sheffield's larger population, that always seemed odd but there must have been a reason for it.

Sean and Redartz, I think we had the cloned Ennio Morricone album. We also had a 1968 collection of covers of hits whose front featured the immortal words, "Can you hear a difference between these recordings and originals?" And the answer was yes, we could.

Anonymous said...

Steve - Regarding 1968, you just reminded me, my older sister had this album (which my brother & myself listened to, as kids):

Stand outs were 'Love is Blue', 'Ghost Riders in the Sky', etc.

Steve - Doncaster's Frenchgate centre was good for spending your X-mas money - as an alternative to Leeds. Incidentally, half of 'The Brother of Man' are from Wakefield.


Redartz said...

Sean, Steve and Phillip- another variation of those compilation albums (one I've noticed more with cds) : you find a good looking track list listing the songs performed by the original players. But, somewhere in the fine print, it's stated that these are "new recordings by one or more members of the original group". I've been snookered by these a couple times, and the "new recordings " always pale in comparison to the originals...

Anonymous said...

Redartz - Or..."The themes on this compilation are interpretations and are not the original soundtrack recordings."


McSCOTTY said...

I used to love the K-Tel and Ronco compilations of the (in particular) early 1970s as they always seemed to have a great selection of original tracks from middle of the road tunes to rock to then new artists like T-Rex and Bowie. I also remember picking up those Top Of the Pops complication LPs (that actually had no relation to the ToTP programme) but was gutted that they were all cover versions. Some of those ToTPs albums charted with one reaching number one in the UK charts . I still have quite a few complications on CD and a couple on Tape for the car (except the tape of course) and am looking to track down a few K-Tel compilations form the 1970s now I have a record player.