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Thursday, 25 November 2021

November 25th 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
***

There are times in this life when you know what it feels like to be a girl called Dorothy. Mostly when you've just teamed up with a robot, a scarecrow and a talking lion.

However, this week in 1981, the citizens of Britain got a full-on chance to feel that Wizard of Oz vibe, as the UK was hit by the largest recorded tornado outbreak in European history.

In the space of just one day, 104 confirmed tornadoes broke out across Wales and England.

Although most of them struck in rural areas, several large cities were blasted, including Liverpool, Manchester, Hull and Birmingham.

I was going to ask how come I've no memory of this cataclysmic event but I note it didn't, at any point, touch the southeast of England. So, I'm assuming it was all but ignored by the national media.

What was broadcast by the national media, that week, was The Three Doctors; the latest part of BBC Two's The Five Faces of Doctor Who season, which went out on this very evening.

How we gasped as the first three Doctors teamed up to tackle the anti-matter threat of Omega, mad, shouty ruler of another universe.

And how we gasped even more, as Omega took off his hat, only to discover he had no head underneath it because his mammoth ego was all that was left of him.

Let that be a lesson to us all.

Super Spider-Man TV Comic #455

It's another high quality cover as Spidey's comic roars ever onwards.

Inside, Ramrod's on the loose at ESU.

And that's bad news for Peter Parker's singing cowboy neighbour Lonesome Pinky who is, apparently, the only one who can foil his sinister scheme.

But, perhaps the greatest source of excitement for us, as we approach Christmas, is the revelation that we can also win 20 Spider-Man annuals!

Captain America #40, Daredevil vs Tagak the Leopard Man

Judging by that cover, it's a slightly more glamorous adventure for Daredevil than he's used to, when he gets to team up with Tagak the leopard man, in order to capture an inter-dimensional thief.

Meanwhile, on Asgard, Thor's still having trouble with the new fake Thor who's taken his place and his girl.

More Earthboundly, Cap's fighting the Constrictor on a sinking ship.

And there's even more excitement for the lot of us because we can win not 19 but 20 Captain America annuals.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your cheeky northern post-modern irony is all very well Steve, but that Cap annual was the "Collectors Edition" reprinting the Steranko trilogy that made Captain America great again. So at the time the chance to win one would have been exciting!

Even more than 10 years after original publication Jaunty Jim's stuff was still a good decade ahead of 90s superhero comics (;

-sean

Anonymous said...

Be fair now Steve, hasn't the national media ignoring t'North become a thing of the past since the current government levelled you all up?
Why, only today the anti-establishment tory MP for the Don Valley has been in the national news. Clearly Jodie Whittaker being Dr Who is still the burning issue du jour for the people of South Yorkshire...

-sean

Anonymous said...

I didn't have any of these but did pick up that Steranko Cap annual, and clearly remember the bright yellow cover.

I remember the 1987 hurricane but don't recall this one (ones), Steve, and so perhaps you do have a point about the south east dominated media. Any smugness at being spared will shorty dissipate, however, as in a few weeks time, we'd all be snowed in. Good times ;-)

DW

Anonymous said...

I remember Tagak from the Defenders. There was a lunatic (not to be confused with Lunatik) calling himself "Dollar Bill" (who apparently was modeled after Funky Flashman who in turn was, uh, modeled after Stan Lee). "Boffo!" That's where I learned that word.
Dollar Bill, a film student who seemed to be minoring in drug use and lechery, created a documentary about the Defenders for T.V.
Despite very, very, poor editing, it got aired, and this resulted in super-heroes coming outta the woodwork, showing up at Kyle Richmond's riding academy to join America's greatest non-team. Some of 'em were pretty obscure, like Tagak. Meanwhile, Libra and Sagittarius from Jake Fury's Zodiac assembled their own "Defenders" for purposes of larceny, some of whom who pretty obscure also.
This arc, Defenders 63-64, (I think) posed a challenge to the Marvel reader: how many of these weird oddball characters can one identify?
I had no idea who Stingray, Captain Ultra, Tagak, Whirlwind or Joe the Gorilla were.
Given that there were dozens of these third-rate clowns running around, I did pretty good.
This was way before the internet, mind you. Back when you had to rely on your own personal knowledge of all things pointless.
So what was Tagak's deal?
I could look it up but all this writing has tired my brain. Phil? Anybody?

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Tagak was a leopard man chasing after an interdimensional art-thief M.P. - Steve explained that in the post!

Iirc correctly that Defenders story came just after the Tyranny & Mutation/Revenge of Vera Gemini arc, and quite frankly was a disappointment. But then what wouldn't be disappointing after that epic?
Torpedo, Paladin, Quasar (or maybe he was Marvel Man by then)... most of the oddball characters weren't that hard to name if you read a lot of Marvel comics in the 70s. They don't come any more obscure than Joe the Gorilla though, so I reckon you did do pretty well on the pointless knowledge challenge. Boffo, even.
Congratulations.

-sean

Anonymous said...

M.P. - I also acquired that Defenders issue (albeit decades later). With the cover having all those superheroes on it, it seemed a lot of bang for your buck. Unfortunately, the story dissolved into nothing!

I'd a lot of time for Stingray, in the late 70s.

I first saw Stingray battle the Hulk, in MWOM:

https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Mighty_World_of_Marvel_Vol_1?file=Mighty_World_of_Marvel_Vol_1_297.jpg

Later, Stingray fought/rescued Namor, in Hulk Comic.

Finally, I remember Stingray in a Perez minor classic, the Serpent Crown Affair (a mini-epic):

https://marvel.fandom.com/wiki/Marvel_Two-In-One_Vol_1_64?file=Marvel_Two-In-One_Vol_1_64.jpg

What with Jacques Cousteau, and 'The Man From Atlantis', undersea superheroes, exploring the ocean depths, had a certain cachet, in the 70s. Unfortunately, Stingray gained little traction, as a character.


Captain Ultra auditioned for the Frightful Four, along with Texas Twister.

Tagak reminds me (not a favourable comparison) of a UK character, the Leopard From Lime Street.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

The Texas Twister was also a SHIELD Super Agent, and one of the Rangers (as called on by Rick Jones' New Teen Brigade) Philip - for a fourth rate clown he got around.

-sean (giving M.P. a bit of competition in the pointless knowledge challenge)

Anonymous said...

Steve - Minder's detective Jones (later Sergeant Jones) had a tidy mind (at least so he claimed), too. Because of his tidy mind, Jones wanted all the manor's villains kept together, in one place - the Winchester club. For this reason, Jones went against his fellow police colleagues (well, Rycott), to keep the Winchester open. Just thought I'd share that little ungolden nugget. By contrast, my mind isn't tidy at all!

Coincidentally, Cap Ultra's ill-fated audition for the Frightful 4's another Perez outing.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Sean - I've only just read your comment. Yes - Texas Twister turned up in Cap America. I propose my Minder comment, for the pointless knowledge competition.

Phillip

Colin Jones said...

No mention of the pop charts, Steve? This week in 1981 saw the release of 'The Visitors' which was ABBA's last album for 40 years. Perhaps Adele could follow suit and wait until 2061 to release her next album '70'.

Anonymous said...

Colin - My brother bought 'The Visitors'. It's a great album - eerie & melancholic.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Minder was quite mainstream in its heyday Philip, so although knowing that sort of detail is pointless its not as impressive as your earlier comment on Stingray.
Comics generally were off the beaten track back then, so knowing a really obscure character like Stingray appeared in the Serpent Crown Affair demonstrates a qualitatively superior order of pointlessness imo.

Bonus point for The Leopard Of Lime Street mention too.

-sean

Colin Jones said...

Phil, 'The Visitors' was indeed a great album but the narrow-minded, blinkered ABBA-haters will never agree.

Anonymous said...

Sean - Hey, after all these years, I've only just realized - 'The Serpent Crown Affair' is a punning reference to 'The Thomas Crown Affair' (open palm slaps forehead!)

Colin - Yes - the fools!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Philip:
As punning reference titles go, ‘The Serpent Crown Affair’ isn’t all that obvious and groan-worthy, it almost passes as a standard Comic Book Adventure story title — in fact, it could easily be the title of a MAN FROM UNCLE episode or tie-in paperback. It ain’t no ‘The Good, the Bad and the Uncanny’, that’s for dang sure.

b.t.

Steve W. said...

Colin, I didn't cover this week's charts because there was no change at Number One on either of them.

Phillip, thanks for the Minder info. I must admit it's a show I don't think I ever watched an entire episode of.

Sean, Phillip and MP, I'm proud to announce I was aware of the existence of Captain Ultra, Texas Twister, Stingray, Dollar Bill, Tagak, Whirlwind, Torpedo, Paladin and Quasar.

Joe the Gorilla, however, is not a character I'm familiar with.

DW, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who doesn't remember all those tornadoes.

Colin Jones said...

So Adele's '30' hits #1 on the albums chart - if you want to hear a rich woman whining about her hard life this one's for you!

On the singles chart the Christmas songs are starting to flood in but so far Slade are nowhere to be seen! And apparently Wizzard's 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day' had a highest chart position of #10 when actually it was #4.

And on the physical singles chart Cliff Richard's 'Saviour's Day' supposedly had a highest chart position of #6 when actually it was the Christmas No.1 of 1990.

Anonymous said...

I kinda like Slade!

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Not that I'm particularly interested in defending Adele, who isn't my cup of terrible racket at all Colin, but Abba can't be too short of the readies either.

-sean

Anonymous said...

I don't think Adele and Abba should be mentioned in the same sentence.
Adele sounds like somebody is hitting a cat in the ass with a frying pan.

M.P.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Two pikes of muck sitting on a pavement. Another pile of muck comes up with a baby muck in a buggy. Goes to cross the road without looking. Big screech of brakes, just in time. Guy sticks his head out of the car window. What don't you look where you're going? Muck with the buggy shouts back. Oh why don't you just f*** off you ***ing m***********g ****. And don't you swear in front of my ***ing baby.

Back to the other two bits of muck. One turns to the other and says

Hark at her- common as Adele.

McSCOTTY said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McSCOTTY said...

I love that Wizzard Christmas song. I think Adele has a good ( or maybe strong)voice but I don't understand why she's so popular as in selling in the millions. I think M.P. description of her voice, for me at least, is bang on. She's been so built up by the media I think folk are scared to publicly say " she ok but not that good" or indeed " she's p*sh". Totally scunnered with her going on about being "real" when she is made up to within an inch of her life and writes songs to her child about why she broke up from her hubby, maybe just talk to him\her when the kids older like " real" folk do. Even more baffling to me is that she sells records etc on a par or exceeding the Beatles, Queen etc. I'm not a big Abba fan but at least they can write a good toon.

Anonymous said...

I don't get Adele's appeal either Paul, but theres always been a lot of money to be made by middle of the road artists that can reach a mass 'adult' audience.
Is she posh? I read that she's from Tottenham, which isn't generally the kind of area where people are born with a silver spoon up their nose.

-sean

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Adele's not posh, Sean. If you'd ever heard her speak, you'd understand my previous post.

Colin Jones said...

Sean, Paul means pish not posh.

Yes, ABBA are rich too but they didn't make an entire album whingeing about how terrible getting divorced was.

Anonymous said...

Ah right, thanks Colin - I did read "p*sh" as "posh".

dangermash, I just checked a clip of Adele being interviewed to find out how she speaks.
Most of the people round my way sound like that! And we're metropolitan elitists.

-sean

Steve W. said...

Colin, I think the anomalous "highest" chart placings for Christmas songs is because the company that does the charts now isn't the one that did them back in the 1970s and it's giving the highest chart placings those tracks have achieved since it took over the task of compiling the charts.

MP and McScotty, I love both Slade and Wizzard. It would be insanity not to.

When it comes to Adele, I love Set Fire to the Rain because I like a good dose of OTT. None of her other stuff has done anything to me. I do think she's got a great voice, though.

Unknown said...

Speaking of how people speak...

Last night, while narco'd up due to my surgery, I decided to watch youtube videos on "the great vowel shift" in England from 1500 - 1700.

E.g., "meat" was formerly pronounced as mate became meat over that time period.

What was really interesting is they talk about how the Irish and Scottish monks introduced spacing between words! I guess the spacing made it easier for them to transcribe words in latin while making bibles since they didn't know latin in the first place.

IwantotothankallthoseofIrishandScottishdescentforthisinnovation.Life wouldbereallyhardwithoutspacingbetweenwords!

Makeminemarvel!


Unknown said...

The vowel shift videos did say in the north of Scotland a lot of the vowel shifting did not really occur, or at least not in the same way?

So if I understand correctly a local Scotsman way up north would pronounce "mouth" as "mooth" rhyming with "booth" or "tooth?"

Thanksinadvanceforyourreplies!

Anonymous said...

Charlie - As Paul will tell you, the most famous one must be house pronounced 'hoose'!

Phillip

McSCOTTY said...


Philip do you mean as in "There's a moose loose aboot this hoose" ( for our North America's "moose" is "mouse" not the big antlered "moose" which is errr moose in Scots as well.

Colin Jones said...

My father was Scottish so his dialect was just everyday speech - "I'm goin' doon the toon" etc.

I'd heard that medieval monks invented spacing between words but we'd probably cope fine without spacing if it had never existed - after all we don't leave a space between every word when we speak!

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that 'received pronunciation' - the way posh English people speak - came about from around the start of the 18th century on because the English aristos imitated the accent of their German royals.

-sean

McSCOTTY said...

Colin, I don't think I have personally ever used "hoose" in my day to day speech but I do sometimes say "toon"

I have certainly heard folk say "mooth" for mouth as well ( it's not as jarring with a nice highland accent) but we also use "gub" and "geggie" usually when not being polite for example " I wish Adel would shut her geggie"

Colin Jones said...

Steve, your explanation for the incorrect highest chart placings is probably right (the Official Chart Company didn't start compiling the chart until 1994 according to Wikipedia). But on the OCC website there's a list of all the Xmas No.1s since 1952 including Cliff's 'Saviour's Day' which they claim only reached #6. Their chart facts are sloppy and inconsistent and anyway, they can't just ignore any chart positions from before they took over!!

Anonymous said...

Ya know, this conversation is interesting, Colin, McScotty, Unknown, and Sean.
I'd never heard that about medieval monks inventing what we call "spacing" between words. But maybe that's what happened. I mean, they were the guys who were on the ground floor of developing the written form what we now call the English language which I think is a hodge-podge of other languages.
Like Celtic, Germanic, Latin and who knows what else.
Now here's why I'm curious about this spacing business that Colin brought up. It seems to me that Celtic words, like you might see on a sign in Wales, for example, seem to me to be spelled very differently from how they're pronounced. Of course, you could say that about French, and a Polish guy once told me that he found English to be an infuriating language to learn. To him it seemed a language without rules, particularly the written part, and I think I replied to him that English is a bastard mongrel language, stitched together from different parts like the Frankenstein monster.
Maybe it had something to do with the fact that all this happened on an island. Who knows.
But getting back to the Celts, take, for example this town in Ireland: Muckanaghederdauhaulia.
The internet says this means "pig-shaped hill between two seas."
The Celts were nothing if not literal.
But what was the deal here? (and I'm getting back to Colin's point) Maybe they didn't know that you could put spaces between words.
And, if you did, it would make things a lot easier for everybody.
I guess we have medieval monks to thank for that innovation.

And I'm sure it's a lovely town, close to the sea. I'm picturing it in my mind.
Hills of green and crashing waves.

M.P.