Follow Me on Pinterest
Follow SteveDoesComics on Twitter

Tuesday, 6 July 2021

The Marvel Lucky Bag - July 1971.

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

It's time to do whatever it is you do while watching Shaft, because, this month, fifty years ago, that very film came out and things would never be the same again.

Obviously, as a man of culture, I'm more excited by the fact it was also the month in which the Japanese classics Gamera vs Zigra and Godzilla vs the Smog Monster were released.

In a tragedy worthy of Sophocles himself, I've never seen the former of those monster movies but, happily, I am, at least, fully familiar with the latter which Channel 4 once showed in a season dedicated to the worst films of all time. 

Worst films of all time? Do these people have no taste?

Speaking of having no taste, over on the UK singles chart, the first half of the month was hogged by Middle of the Road's classic Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep before Bubblegum gave way to Glam when T. Rex's Get it On elevated itself to the top spot. Bubblegum vs Glam? Truly, the 1970s had arrived.

When it came to the album chart, things were looking distinctly static, as Bridge Over Troubled Water spent the whole of July at Number One - a position it had already held on several previous occasions.

Amazing Adventures #7, The Inhumans and Black Widow

Yeah, burn, Black Bolt, burn!

The Inhumans get more relevant than ever, as their leader hits the streets of Los Angeles or San Francisco or somewhere like that.

Has he lost his memory, at this point, or does that come later on?

Or did it happen earlier?

I can shed no light upon what happens in the Black Widow's story.

I do feel it's highly impertinent of me to criticise Neal Adams but he really hasn't done a good job of drawing the Black Widow there. She looks way too stretched out and her head doesn't seem to be properly attached to her body.

Creatures on the Loose #12, Korilla

Stan Lee works his trusty magic, as yet another monster with a name that sounds like, "gorilla," threatens humanity. 

The hero of this tale faces a major headache when the authorities won't believe his claims that aliens are about to invade our planet.

Fortunately, he manages to foil the plot and the failed invaders are, therefore, murdered by their bosses.

In our second tale, Igor decides to complete Frankenstein's legendary experiment, after the not-so-good doctor has a heart attack.

Sadly, for Igor, things don't go well.

Where Creatures Roam #7, Glop

Now we're in trouble - because humanity's threatened by Glop!

Glop would appear to be a statue brought to life when covered by strange alien paint.

Fortunately, a handy artist destroys him, thanks to being in possession of a bottle of turps.

In the second tale, scientists experiment on a monkey to give it higher intelligence.

But here's the twist. The fact that their patient is a monkey is only revealed at the story's denouement.

I like to think there aren't many monkeys out there that can bandy around words like, "denouement." And that's why my place will never be taken by a monkey.

Although an orangutan might fancy its chances.

In the book's third, and final, tale, a baseball player's mitt is populated by tiny people who're forced to flee it when they see a baseball heading their way.

I'm assuming they think the ball is another planet and it's only at the climax that we discover they're on a baseball player's mitt.

Where Monsters Dwell #10, Gigantus

Gigantus turns up, looking to invade the surface world, on behalf of Atlantis. Fortunately, an advertising executive chases him off with a huge mannequin.

Next, we get the tale of an evil king who was once turned into a frog. He awakes from his ages-long slumber, only to discover everyone in the modern world looks weird and, so, goes back to sleep, having not liked what he's just seen, not realising it's Halloween and everyone was merely in costume.

Next, a man hires a drifter to fix his car. When the man won't pay, the drifter climbs into the automobile and flies it off into outer space, what with him being an alien.

On a future Earth, fed up of having to work an hour a week on a farm, a man flees to a planet that's filled with easy-to-access vegetation.

Only to discover the vegetation's too hostile to be eaten and the locals have to work eight hours a day to feed themselves.

My Love #12

We get yet more tales of tear-drenched romance.

I've posted this one purely because that's a lovely cover that the Grand Comics Database credits to John Romita but really doesn't look at all like Romita's handiwork.

Sub-Mariner #39

Having decided to desert Atlantis, Subby promptly sets up base in an abandoned jail in New York.

However, the local politicians and military are having none of it and declare war upon the avenging son.

Needless to say, Subby's perfectly happy to fight back.


Anonymous said...

Why are Black Bolt and the Black Widow both white? Its political incorrectness gone mad!
No wonder that fella on the cover of Amazing Adventures #7 is protesting...

Seriously though Steve, I don't recall much about those two stories either - actually, I don't think the Inhumans one in particular was even very clear at the time, but I do remember it was set in San Francisco... as I mentioned to you under this very feature just a few months ago.

As for "relevance", Marvel didn't really do that at this point, not like DC.
Take that Sub-Mariner story for instance - why has Namor suddenly decided to live on the surface, squatting a disused island prison near a US city? Thats got to be based on the United Indians Of All Tribes' occupation of Alcatraz, which came to a head in the first half of '71.
But it doesn't tell you anything about it, or even make a general point about the situation of indigenous peoples. Unlike, say, the main feature in Action Comics #402 the same month (included in Sunday's post).

Whether you think thats good or bad I suppose depends on what you think of "relevance". Personally, I much preferred the Superman story. But that might just be because Subby #39 was rubbish.


Steve W. said...

Sean, Black Tom is white as well, as Deadpool 2 pointed out. Where will this madness end?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, Steve - I'm sort of surprised that, given the way the Magic World of Marvel works, Balck Bolt and Black Widow haven't ripped off their mask-faces by now to reveal they actually are black people, or black robots, or black cyborgs, or black androids, or...

Sean - my memory is not as good as yours, but I do have a very strong recall of one/some of those Inhuman stories actually being nearly incoherent. I wonder if it's this issue.

Steve -I really wish you'd 've split up Sunday's post. It was just too much to ogle for only two days.

Sean - No worries on "poor taste." I don't live in the city of Chicago, nor the county of Cook any longer, lol. So I figure it's foolish to even think about it anymore. With the divorce I spend most of my free time and thoughts on, lol.

Anonymous said...

Here’s the skinny on that off-beat Romita cover for MY LOVE 12 :

Marvel assigned a story to a Spanish artist named Enrique Montserrat who specialized in Romance Comics, much of it for the UK market. When they received the job, Romita was so impressed by it that he was compelled to homage the artist’s style for the cover. There’s a terrific blog post about it, including scans of selected panels and pages at Jacque Nodell’s awesome Romance Comics site ‘Sequential Crush’.


Steve W. said...

Charlie, I'm afraid it's the nature of the world. Time moves constantly on. The good news is there's always another new post to look at.

Bt, thanks for the info about that John Romita cover. I shall see if I can find that post about it.

Steve W. said...

I've managed to find that Sequential Crush post:

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - what a marvelous link! IT may be the first love story I've read this century! It's a nice one as far as they go.

However I have a question... so Jazzy Johnny was able to mimic Montserrat's style, seemingly easy enough. And we know dudes like Buckler could morph their style to look like Kirby.

My question is, for the sake of argument, why wouldn't guys like Heck or Robbins tweak their styles? Surely they had to be aware of the feedback, especially after following acts like Colon or Kaluta. Why not draw in a generally more palatable way?

Just a question...

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Congrats to England for toppling Denmark! And on an own goal and PK on a soft foul, no less.

Sunday against Italy... fingers crossed you guys can do it.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, Don Heck’s pencils on superhero books like Avengers WERE his attempt to ‘Do Kirby’. His supervillain costume designs and science-fantasy tech showed a distinct Kirby influence. He even did pretty good Kirby Krackle — though the dots were more oval-shaped than round :) . Once the Marvel ‘Brand’ started to take off in the 60s, he was always being encouraged by Stan to follow Kirby’s example as closely as possible — specifically, to make his staging more dynamic and dramatic. I think he did the best that he was capable of, but apparently it was always a struggle.

A broader answer to your question is that some people are just better at mimicking other artist’s styles, or more able to adapt their own styles to suit current trends. Johns Buscema and Romita are obvious examples of artists who were able to adopt Kirby’s influence — their work became more bold and exciting , and without going entirely down the the ‘Kirby Clone’ path either. A better example might be be George Tuska. Like Don Heck, he was firmly in the Caniff / Sickles ‘school’ in his formative years, but was more successful at subsuming Kirby’s bombastic approach to action staging into his own style.

Herb Trimpe’s big influence as a budding cartoonist was Jack Davis — he really wanted to do Westerns and War stories but ended up at Marvel doing the Hulk instead. He was able to adapt himself pretty well to the bombastic Marvel Style, and for many years. If you look closely, you can see some lingering Davis-isms mixed in with the Kirby Krackle and ziggurat squiggle sheens, and amazingly, the synthesis somehow works! But later on — holy cow, his attempts to do the then-trendy Jim Lee / Rob Liefeld / Image Comics style in the 90s… tragic.


Anonymous said...

Generally Charlie I prefer it when England lose, although for once its good to see them do well as it'll piss off the kind of arseholes who booed the team for "taking the knee" before the games.
But if they win the final people in this country are going to be insufferable...
Still, so long as Britain lose the sausage war I'm ok with it.

Btw, that link was actually from b.t., via Steve.
Thanks lads. I assumed that cover was some sort of pastiche/homage - you could see the Spanish/romance style, even though Romita didn't really catch it (imo) - and I appreciated seeing the source.


Anonymous said...

Come on Sean, you can't begrudge us a win every 55 years. Particularly after we were beaten 0:0 by Scotland.


Anonymous said...

BTW, is anyone getting a David Essex vive from the bloke on the My Love cover?


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

DW, I wouldn't mind so much, but if England beat Italy that "Football's Coming Home" song is going to be unavoidable for the rest of the summer.


Anonymous said...

I’m not that familiar with David Essex (he only had that one hit in the States, ‘Rock On’) so I had to Google him to see if he did resemble the MY LOVE guy. Well, similar coiffure, certainly. For me, the guy looks like dozens of dark-haired dudes from horror stories in the Warren mags, as drawn by other Spanish artists. He’s a dead ringer for Jose Gonzalez’ Adam Van Helsing in the Vampirella series especially.

But looking at those vintage pics of Essex, I keep thinking he and Young Peter Gabriel could have been brothers — and even in his more current photos, with his shaggy hair long gone, and his trim little white mustache and Van Dyke, he kinda looks like ‘Old Peter Gabriel’ :)


Anonymous said...

b.t. - My (much)older sister (who lives 'darn Sarf') took my bro' & myself to watch David Essex, in 'Mutiny', when I was about 14. After watching 'Mutiny', my brother-in-law reckoned he could act better than David Essex.


Anonymous said...

David Essex is cool - he's from an Irish Traveller family, and Patron of the National Gypsy Council. And he's on the War Of The Worlds album. Rock On!


Steve W. said...

Thanks, Charlie :) . I have faith that England can totally blow it in a penalty shoot-out.

Sean, and he also played Che Guevara in the original run of Evita.

Phillip, Essex is definitely not the greatest actor in the world. Basically, his main strength as an actor is playing David Essex.

Bt, it's true. Old David Essex and Old Peter Gabriel have somehow morphed into being exactly the same person.

DW, it's interesting. Pin-ups of Essex were a staple of UK girls' comics and magazines, and Enrique Montserrat did strips in UK girls' comics and magazines. I wonder if he ever based any of his romantic heroes on Essex.

Sean, but the good news for you is that, if England do win the tournament, the song Three Lions will become instantly redundant, as it's about not having won anything for decades, meaning you'll never have to hear it again. Even though it's completely gear.