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Thursday, 16 September 2021

September 16th 1981 - Marvel UK, 40 years ago this week.

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

Are you waiting for your mail to arrive?

If so, you'll know just how vital a good postman is.

And that means you'll be awed to know that, on this very day in 1981, a new kind of hero was born.

That hero was Postman Pat.

For, it was there and then that his show first aired on BBC One and a delivery legend was born, leading to forty years of argument about whether his theme song includes the words, "black and white cat," or, "black and white cap."

Reader, I have the definitive answer but refuse to reveal it.

What I can do is expose what happened in his very first adventure.

It was this:

Postman Pat and Jess call in at Mrs Goggins' post office to collect the items to be delivered in Greendale. But his round quickly becomes a search for Katy Pottage's missing doll.

Tense stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Over on the UK singles chart, things were probably no less tense. It was bad news, after all, for Soft Cell, as their track Tainted Love was deposed by Adam Ant, thanks to his recording Prince Charming.

That chart had the kind of people on it you'd expect to be on an early 1980s UK chart. But, rather intriguingly, it also included a trio of once-faded early 1970s Glam gods who'd helped sire such phenomena as Adam Ant in the first place.

That's right, Marc Bolan, Slade and Alvin Stardust were all in the Top 100 - with Stardust even managing to be in the Top 10, thanks to Pretend.

Was this coincidence?

Had the New Romantic movement spawned a wave of nostalgia for the days of Glam that had propelled those stars back into the public consciousness?

I've no idea.

Over on the British album chart, Meat Loaf was still ruling the roost, thanks to his LP Dead Ringer.

Spider-Man and Hulk Team-Up #445, She-Hulk

Spider-Man teams up with the She-Hulk, thanks to the biros of Tom DeFalco & Jim Shooter, and the pencil of Herb Trimpe.

This is the limit of my knowledge of this issue's contents.

Marvel Super Adventure #20, Daredevil vs Brother Brimstone

And I know barely more about this one.

Clearly, Daredevil's up against the bludgeoning powerhouse that is Brother Brimstone which suggests to me that he's still on the trail of Karen Page and is still in Hollywood.

After all, as far as I can recall, Brother Brimstone is, in fact, a heavily disguised lowly technician working on the TV show Karen's currently starring in, in her capacity as an actress.

And he's a small man in a big exo-skeleton.

Of the Panther's activities, this week, I can say little.

However, Marvel UK's still playing on the idea that this is a comic for all lovers of moodiness.

Marvel Action starring Captain America #30, Dr Octopus

Doc Ock makes a rare appearance against someone who's not Spider-Man.

And that suggests this is the tale in which Cap goes in search of a youth who's run off with a biker gang, only to have the tentacled terror gatecrash the meeting.

Happily, the bikers quickly recognise Cap's an OK cat, for a square, and help him see off the villain.

The Dazzler, meanwhile, is starring in a tale called Hell... Hell is for Harry. I can make no claims to know just who Harry is.

And Iron Man's battling the Titanium Man.

I'm sure Thor's fighting someone too but I can shed no light upon their identity.


Dave S said...

I'm struggling a bit for a Cover of the Week this time, but I'll go for Marvel Action. It's the one I'd be most likely to buy.

Anonymous said...

Marvel Super Adventure's cover has Brimstone's street sign club, with printed 'YANCY STREET' on it! Could this be a trailer to the Yancy Street gang (c.f. Ben Grimm)? - An interesting teaser, perhaps?


Anonymous said...

with 'YANCY STREET' printed - damn syntax typos!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Was Postman Pat in response to the mail strike that gripped the UK 40 years ago? (Or was it 50?)

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Is it not interesting that all three covers, two in particular certainty, that the person who is evil has their back to the reader?

Charlie thought always that such a thing was a no no in the covers of the comics?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Indeed, with their backs to the reader, I thought DD was fighting Mr. Hyde!

How foolish is Charlie. Were it not for Steve's power of recall and notes Charlie would never have known!

Anonymous said...

But She-Hulk isn't evil Charlie. And I would say doesn't really have her back to the reader anyway. Not that it matters, as they're all terrible covers.
Maybe Marvel Action is the least worst...?

Steve, its a bit embarrassing to admit I know this, but Dazzler's manager was called Harry. Perhaps he was the Harry of "Hell Is For Harry" fame? (Sorry I can't definitely settle it for you).


Anonymous said...

PS I'm not especially knowledgeable about Postman Pat, but surely its "black and white cat", not "black and white cap"? Otherwise it doesn't rhyme.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - She Hulk is evil. She replaced Thundra in the FF as Sue's substitute.

Anonymous said...

Oh well, if she replaced Thundra I take it back Charlie.


Anonymous said...

I'm...gonna havta go along with Charlie on this one. I kinda prefer Thundra to She-Hulk, myself.
I dunno why. She-Hulk was written like she's a funny person, or trying to be a funny person, but she isn't. It comes off as sarcastic.
Thundra actually was funny, because she wasn't trying to be. She had absolutely no sense of humor or irony. Everything with her was equally serious, no matter how ridiculous.
That's comedy.


Anonymous said...

It is worrying when you find yourself agreeing with Charlie, M.P. (thats a general "you", rather than you specifically).
But sometimes it happens...


Anonymous said...

I agree with Charlie more times than I would care to admit, Sean. He's an ex-officer who piloted a helicopter. That's two kinds of crazy. Trust me on this.
Most of us take the long way around the barn through the deep snow to get to the the point of a logical argument, but his kind go through the barn, killing cows and chickens and the two peasants who were screwing in the hayloft.


Anonymous said...

M.P. - For Thundra, that's a sharp character profile! Like your earlier Grey Gargoyle profile, it seems obvious - but until you pointed it out, I didn't see it.

I'd never considered it before, but Thundra's an earnest character, who lacks the capacity for self-examination - hence no sense of humour, like you said.

I'd give Thundra credit for the single-mindedness of her interest in Ben Grimm, though. Dr.Minerva had the same interest in Mar-vell, but took a pit-stop with Rick Jones, first. With Thundra, in contrast, it was Ben Grimm, all the way. Would Thundra have been so single-minded, had she realized Wonder-man was the strongest man alive, not Ben? (The Hulk's defined as a creature, whilst Thor's a god).

Also contrast Thundra with the She-Hulk, who was stringing along Zapper & Richard Rory (albeit one was for Jen Walters).

As regards Officers - on Star Trek DS9, Chief O'Brien had his misgivings about them, too! He'd indulge in insubordinate conversations about Officers, with trainees, etc - contrasting them with non-commissioned guys, like himself, who did all the hard work.

I agree with Charlie that Gene Colan's Daredevil's the definitive Daredevil, as opposed to Miller. I also agree with Charlie that Fury & the Howlers is poor. Like Charlie, Shakespeare interests me. Apart from those...Charlie's comic era's earlier than mine.


Colin Jones said...

Which is the best Adam & The Ants song: Stand And Deliver or Prince Charming? Let the debate begin (or not).

No doubt Sean would say "neither, they're both awful" but I'll put Prince Charming narrowly ahead.

Anonymous said...

Colin - It's definitely 'Prince Charming'. The lyrics just start reverberating though your head - with 'Stand & Deliver', the effect is less pronounced. Incidentally, Blake's 7's been terrific, the last 3 nights!


Anonymous said...

Relatively, Colin, Prince Charming is the better one, but they're both awful.
So you were half right.


Colin Jones said...

Phil, I'm glad to hear you're enjoying Blake's 7 all over again (another thing that Sean doesn't like). I've started reading the new issue of 'Fortean Times' but I haven't reached the article on Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World yet.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie respects Adam Ant.

First, he was smart enough to break from Punk to New Wave. As he is quoted, "I realized that you could only put so many safety pins in your face, and spit on the crowd so many times, before folks would soon tire of it."

Second, he survived Malcolm McClaren's treachery of stealing his entire band, behind his back! (Malcolm created Bow Wow Wow from the Ants.)

Third, he just has wonderful cheekbones.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

IT's Friday and the means it's time for Charlie to go random on UK culture!

SO Adam Ants' Stand and Deliver gets a lot of comment reference to "horrible histories." what is that referring to?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

M.P. - Good god man! You should be a writer! Maybe you and Steve can do a co-work? Charlie'd buy a copy!

You summarized how Charlie felt about Thunda perfectly!

Also, for some reason, Charlie just never grooved to She Hulk. The only time Charlie was hopeful was when She Hulk was in the Hulk comic that involved Rick Jones bachelor party and they were all watching a movie of a certain nature.

Unfortunately for Rick his fiance was the lead performer in said movie (well done Peter David!)

SO... Charlie was hopeful She Hulk was a co start in said movie.

Does that make Charlie bona fide nuts? Charlie is crazy and he has the papers to prove it, but could he also be nuts?

Anonymous said...

Colin - Yes! Watching Blake's 7 as an adult, you notice a lot more. All the episodes have been good, but the standout was episode 2.

Camera angles are Star Trek-like close ups, of faces, etc. For middle-aged viewers, this is helpful.

Every episode's got actors you recognize, giving it everything they've got. In episode 1, Blake's appointed lawyer was the actor who played Mike Dunkirk on Airwolf's HX-1 episode (& another similar mercenary, on Airwolf's Echoes From The Past episode.) Episode 2 has Jack Rolf, from Howard's Way, as the captain of the prison ship, taking Blake, Avon, Jenna, etc to Cygnus Alpha.

There's lots of naval fiction references, with the senior officers referring to the captain as "the old man" (a naval reference), regardless of his age - also, the idea of capturing the derelict Liberator for 'prize' money. Someone's read their Hornblower and/or Ramage!

Episode 3, seemed to owe something to Warlock, perhaps. Blake teleports down to Cygnus Alpha (a prison planet). Here, Brian Blessed & Pamela Salem have a set-up a bit like the Universal Church of Truth (albeit, it's only on one planet), in Warlock. Brian Blessed is the male leader of the religion, whilst Pamela Salem's his side-kick, like the Matriarch.

The actor who plays Rycott, in Minder, also pops up.

Of course, for idealistic Blake, freedom is what the religion's prisoners/worshipers need, whilst cynical Avon's all for leaving them to it (and Blake, too!)

Not all old shows stand up well today. However, Blake's 7 - particularly episode 2 - gripped my attention from start to finish. Great stuff!

At the end of the Arthur C Clarke article, it says Fortean Times is continuing to examine the series next month, too. Should be good!

Colin - I'd like Sean to write an article celebrating a song/story/comic he really enjoyed, or which had a powerful positive effect on him. Or, about a story when he still had a sense of magic & wonder. Sean's got a powerful intellect - he could bring a lot to the blog, by exploring, and unfolding, a great story he loves, and knows about, but we don't...There are very many, I'm sure!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

And this is REALLY important!!!

We all know folks in and around Sheffield / Yorkshire love to steal dogs. (It was well stated in the original Lassie movie if you don't believe Charlie!)

Well finally, on 6 September MP Clive Barker succeeded in getting tougher dog-abduction laws passed!

Clive could be Charlie's new hero! (Charlie assumes Clive wears a flat cap and owns a Whippet?)

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Like myself, Sean's a Moorcock reader. With me, that still counts for a lot!

For a moment, I thought you meant the Daily Star (a funny paper). That's the Sheffield Star!
Clive Betts is the M.P. Clive Barker - isn't he a horror writer? Admittedly, dog-napping is a horror story.

Let's hope the legislation works. Unfortunately, resources are so stretched...well, I have some doubts.


Dave S said...

Colin- the best Adam Ant song is Apollo 9! With Goody Two Shoes a close second!

Anonymous said...

For fans of Whispering Bob Harris, BBC4's got an Old Grey Whistle Test documentary on at 9pm!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Phillip, IIRC you are a Yorkshire man? Do you wear a flatcap and have a whippet?

Anonymous said...

Charlie - In a spiritual/metaphorical sense, I have a flat cap & whippet. But, in reality, I just feed a stray cat!


Steve W. said...

Thanks to you all for your comments.

Colin, I can't say I liked any Adam Ant singles. Given a choice, I'd probably go for Goody Two Shoes because I have a liking for brass sections.

Charlie, Horrible Histories is a series of books and a TV show aimed at teaching children history in a fun way. Among other things, the show once did a skit about the highwayman Dick Turpin, in the style of Adam Ant. This is it:

Dave, I think I have to nominate every one of this week's covers as Worst Cover of the Week.

Sean, thanks for the Harry enlightenment.

And I agree. It's, "black and white cat."

Charlie Horse 47 said...

OK, this is an important question. Maybe even more important than the late breaking legislation to stop abduction of dogs… Which song is better? Relax by Frankie goes to Hollywood or tainted love by Soft Cell?

Anonymous said...

Phillip, Charles, regarding Thundra, great minds think alike.
I always enjoy you guys!
And Sean too, even if he doesn't dig Keith Giffen. But I will put that down as merely a quirk of his personality (Yep, Sean, I monitor PPoC regularly, even when I don't comment, which is often now because I don't wanna drive C.F. into despair).
Steve S., I'm gonna check out that "Apollo 9" you mentioned. I'm a fan of The Ant, but admittedly I'm a dilettante when it comes to being familiar with his work his work.
Speaking of weird T.V. shows, I've started watching Rat Patrol which is shown on one of the oldies channels.
The show is plumb dumb, it's almost a cartoon, yet oddly engaging. Every week the intrepid Patrol had to foil the sinister machinations of the Afrika Korps, while keeping their shirts pressed and hair well-groomed.


Colin Jones said...

Charlie, I've never really liked either of those songs but I'll choose Tainted Love as the less worse of the two.

Phil, a few years ago I watched the entire first series of Blake's 7 on YouTube and numerous episodes from the following three series but all those episodes have now disappeared from YouTube. By the way, my father read all those Horatio Hornblower books.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

MP -

Great minds do think alike but only one had the greatness to express the profound emotions Charlie felt towards Thundra! Hats off to you, buddy!

B.t.w Charlie too has been watching Heroes Channel featuring The Rat Patrol. Something oddly compelling about it. It really is synonymous with films like "Sahara" with Bogart... wandering in the desert with a stewart tank and randomly taking on Nazis.

I watch it more not I think than I did like as a 7 year old when it really was plausible in the mind.

And what's even weirder is that the head honcho in Rat Patrol (the one with the whitest teeth and most fetching coiff) reminds Charlie of McGaritt on Hawaii 50!!! YOu see the similarity?

But lets face it... the best of all the WW2 series was Combat, no?

Anonymous said...

I've seen that! A couple episodes anyway. And the head kraut in Rat Patrol (Eric Braeden) was also in Combat, I guess.


Anonymous said...

Colin - My father was in the navy for 7 years (1947-54?), so naval fiction rubbed off on me, too. Half of last night's Blake's 7 was a stock sci-fi plot - "Sleepers awake" type of thing, a bit like Khan, in Star Trek - or Peter Bowles as that demonic villain Koenig & co wake up in Space 1999. The other half was Cally - the telepath - joining the team. Also, character driven storytelling, with Jenna (& the audience) learning Gan can't kill, because he's got an implant to prevent this.

M.P. - As regards Thundra, Charlie's right. You said, in a couple of sentences, what it takes me an entire paragraph to say. Great stuff.

Charlie - In the UK, we're unaware of Rat Patrol, I'm afraid. My favourite war movie (although not a traditional one) - is 'The Hill', starring Sean Connery. Have you seen it?

To me, the Grant was more interesting than the Stuart because, in profile, it appeared to have one barrel mounted above the other, like the Wacky Races tank. Nevertheless, I suppose the Stuart trumps the Grant in terms of fame, it starring in 'The Haunted Tank' (which I've never read). Harlequin green takes you back to early 70s tank stuff.


McSCOTTY said...

CH: Good question on Relax and Tainted Love, both brilliant songs but for me Tainted Love just gets it although more a fan of the original Gloria Jones version ( wasn't she Marc Boland partner?). Adam and the Ants mmmm ok band but my fav is Ant Music.

Colin Jones said...

My favourite war movie is 'Ice Cold In Alex' but 'Where Eagles Dare' is great too.

And the 'Dad's Army' film of course (the original one) :D

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Below is a pretty good representative show of Rate Patro. 25 minutes.

Quite the swashbuckling bunch of lads they are!

MP - You probably remember from your military time, those .50 cal on the jeeps do not sound like that. They are much deeper and slower in sound.

Chunk-chunk-chunk vs. zip zip zip.

Other than that though it is really really accurate, lol! Good fun!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Phillip, Gents - Charlie stands corrected. Bogie is in a Grant tank in the movie Sahara, not a "Jeb" Stuart.

You know, Jeb Stuart wasn't all that. If the fool had not been riding all over Pennsylvania doing god-knows-what, and instead was helping out Lee at Gettysburg, it could have made a difference.

Don't get me wrong... I'm glad he was being the fool.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie's fav war films made during the WW 2 period are:

Bataan filmed 1942 (actually has real footage)

Sahara filmed 1943


Anonymous said...

Charlie - The main character's wearing an Australian goonie (?) hat, turned up at one side. Wasn't this hat feature to help with aiming a rifle? Yet, the hat's turned up on the left side, yet the main character's clearly right handed, when he throws the grenades, later on. Unless, the hat was turned up on the left, for square-bashing, whereby it would be "Present arms!" - or something - on the opposite side. You & M.P. know all about this - I'm just guessing. Also, I don't think a 50 cal machine gun would take out the sloping front of a tank. Apart from that, the show was good - and just the right length!


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Phillip - Rat Patrol is just entertainment for sure. The guys are all suave, never breaking a sweat, perfectly coiffed and shaved.

Though now that you mention it, I've assumed they were americans with a brit or aussie or something... Maybe each is a different nationality like Kirby's Boy Commandos?

I'm not sure how much armor a .50 cal can penetrate. It could also depend on the type of bullet being fired.

The Rat Patrol are firing the M2 which the US has used the end of WW1. Over 100 years now. If you are hip you call it the "Mah Deuce" lol.

I personally hit an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier (Vietnam era) from a good 750 yards out with a .50 cal. The tracer bounced off... not sure if the actual rounds penetrated or not. This was in training.

Below pretty much summarizes "army training sir."

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Yes, pure Hollywood. The guy with the English accent's facial expressions, and mannerisms, aren't remotely English. You also get the honourable German(s) - a trope in almost every war show (Ed Asner & the nurse). In the 60s/70s, I bet Germans got sick of always being portrayed as 'baddies'.

Apparently, Germans liked the UK comedy, 'Allo, Allo' (a spoof on 'Secret Army'), because the Germans characters were played with a lighter touch - they weren't portrayed as evil; but just bumbling through improbable, and comical, situations - the same as the French & British.

I've seen the M2 documentaries. I suppose there's maybe 7 rounds for every one tracer, so - who knows - maybe you were lucky! Those M113's must have been death traps.

That video seems very informal, somehow - like nobody's even taking the training exercise remotely seriously.


Anonymous said...

No wonder they keep killing non-combatants by mistake in their wars, Phillip.

Like Paul I prefer the original Tainted Love by Gloria Jones. Actually the Soft Cell version doesn't do a lot for me, and neither does Relax, so I don't have a preference either way.
A more interesting question would have been which is better, Say Hello Wave Goodbye or Two Tribes?
Now thats a hard one, as they're both pretty good. I can't decide, so I'll give it to Frankie for putting a pic of comrade Lenin on the sleeve.