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Thursday, 2 December 2021

December 2nd 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
***

This week in 1981 was not a very eventful one in the real world.

But, in the world of television, it was a tumultuous one indeed because the universe itself was in peril.

And it was all down to the power of mathematics.

It could only mean one thing.

That, upon this very evening, BBC Two was broadcasting Logopolis as part of its Five Faces of Doctor Who season. 

Logopolis was, of course, Tom Baker's last story in the starring role and how a nation gasped as he lay there, turning into the bloke from All Creatures Great and Small.

Forty years later, I still don't have a clue what was going on in that tale.

Then again, I don't have a clue what's going on in Doctor Who: Flux either. It's nice to know some things never change.

Happily, I had no doubts as to what was occurring on the UK singles chart.

And I didn't like it.

The truth is the Number One spot, that week, had been rudely snatched by the full horror of Julio Iglesias with his cover of Begin the Beguine. I mean, I love a terrible record as much as anyone but some things take the biscuit.

Over on the British album chart, Queen retained the top spot, with their Greatest Hits LP.

Marvel Super-Heroes #380, the Avengers and the Red Guardian

By the looks of things, the Avengers are about to get their first taste of the original Red Guardian, thanks to a reprint from way back in 1967.

But that's not all we see of that team, this month.  We're also presented with the tale in which the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver get turned into marionettes and start to make some progress in rediscovering their origins.

Elsewhere, worried that Captain Britain may threaten her plans, Saturnyne sends the Avant Guard to stop him.

Inevitably, that results in him devolving into a monkey.

Doctor Who Magazine #59, Pyramids of Mars

And, speaking of Doctor Who, one of my favourite adventures from that show gets attention, as the mag looks back at Pyramids of Mars, that tale of robot mummies and megalomaniac aliens.

As if that's not enough, we also get comic strips that involve the Sontarans invading Egypt, and the Doctor meeting the Junkyard Demon.

We also get an episode guide to The War Games - and that story had ten episodes. So, that's a fair old episode guide to have to get through.

Savage Action #14, Man-God

I spy a dramatic cover by Earl Norem.

Apparently, it depicts Man-God but I'm not too sure who Man-God is.

Inside, Ka-Zar discovers what happens when the sea gives up its dead, Night Raven meets the Deathmaster, and Man-God gets up to who-knows-what.

Marvel Madhouse #7

More Marvel mirth and mayhem. This time, recycled from the pages of 1968's Not Brand Echh #8.

Super Spider-Man TV Comic #456

Unless I miss my web-swinging guess, Spidey, the Black Widow and Shang-Chi are having problems with Viper, the Silver Samurai and the Boomerang who would appear to have taken over SHIELD's Helicarrier.

And it all climaxes with our hero plummeting from that very vessel, towards his seemingly inevitable death.

Not only that but we have the chance to win five James Bond watches. I bet every agent of SHIELD wishes they could get their hands on one of those!

But they can't because I'm going to win them all.

Marvel Classics Comics #5, Ivanhoe

Marvel gives us its adaptation of Walter Scott's classic Ivanhoe, thanks to the efforts of Doug Moench and Jess Jodloman.

Although I must confess to not knowing who Jess Jodloman is.

Blockbuster #7, the Inhumans

Judging by that cover, things are going south rapidly for everyone's favourite royal family.

Just how far south, I couldn't say, as my knowledge of this tale's limited, even though I once read it.

I do know, however, that it sees the introduction of the villains Shreel and Skornn, only one of whom gets out of the issue alive.

Meanwhile, Iron Fist battles Radion, in the aftermath of the Post Office Tower's explosion.

Finally, Omega rescues Teresa and holds El Gato to a draw. It would appear that, while he's doing that, James-Michael's having problems of his own, with Nick.

Blake's 7 #3, Marvel UK

Issue three of the book aimed at fans of the BBC's second-most popular sci-fi show has been unleashed upon the news racks and we get the chance to meet Steven Pacey who, I believe, plays Del Tarrant, former Federation pilot, turned smuggler and outer-space rebel.

There's also a comic strip called Renegade, drawn by Ian Kennedy.

That's thrilling enough but the most exciting news is we can win an electronic video game computer!

Future Tense #40, the Micronauts

I don't know much about this month's Micronauts tale but it seems we get to meet The Devil of Tropica and, somehow, Dr Strange is involved in it all.

But Tropica can't be the only place we're interested in, because we're also given a map of the Micronauts' homeworld.

Elsewhere, the crew of the starship Enterprise find themselves in an adventure called We Are Dying, Egypt, Dying!

It sounds like Egypt had better do something fast.

Elsewhere, Captain Marvel's summoned to the Shadow Realm to defend its inhabitants from the Screamers, as delivered by Marv Wolfman and Steve Ditko.

And we get the origin of the Inhumans, as culled from the later pages of What If? #28.

Captain America #41, Marvel UK

It would appear the star-spangled super-doer is up against someone called Deathwatcher.

I don't have a clue who Deathwatcher is but it seems he likes feeding live mice to his cat and can, therefore, be assumed to be a wrong 'un.

Elsewhere, the brand new fake Thor's still causing nothing but trouble in Asgard.

But I can shed no light upon the activities of Daredevil.

Fantastic Four pocket book #21, the Mole Man

I'm detecting the story in which Sue Richards decides to buy a fancy-looking house in which she, Reed and Franklin can live a life away from all those pesky super-villains.

But it turns out it's not a house at all!

It's actually a machine built by the Mole Man for sending everyone in the world blind!

What are the chances?

Pretty slim, I would have thought.

Also pretty slim that he would have fitted his blindness machine with plumbing, toilets, showers and a gas supply.

But he has.

The Empire Strikes Back #152, Chaos on Cloud City

I can shed no light upon the activities of this issue, other than they clearly take place on Cloud City.

I note the cover declares this to be a full-length thriller. Whether this means there's room left over for back-up strips, I cannot say.

Savage Sword of Conan #50, Marvel UK

Marvel UK's oldest monthly hits its 50th issue.

And it does so by making Conan a king!

In this one, we get yet more of Conan the Liberator, the sizzling adaptation of L. Sprague DeCamp and Lin Carter's novel of the same name.

Spider-Man pocket book #21

My memories of this tale are always a little vague. Does it involve a scientist trying to get revenge on his former employer Norman Osborn, and ends with a person of mystery shooting a gun through a window that's too high up for a human being to reach?

In retrospect, I think we're supposed to draw the conclusion that the gunman was flying.

Almost as though he has a Goblin Glider!

Rampage Monthly #42

Here's a turn-up for the books because Nuklo is back!

And only Black Goliath and Orange Thing are there to stop him.

Frankly, I can only conclude humanity is doomed.

The X-Men, in their strip, are still fighting Arcade and his mind-bending traps of doom.

And there's also something called Time-Smasher but I don't know what that is.

X-Men pocket book #21, the Locust

The X-Men have been defeated by Count Nefaria who's out to capture the whole of Washington DC.

Can nothing stop his dreadful plans?

Frankly, I don't have a clue who the Locust is but it seems he's in this issue too.

Chiller pocket book #21, the Man-Thing

It looks like the Man-Thing's about to meet his fate.

Or at least Captain Fate, as the space pirate threatens to get a bit handy with his cutlass.

It's bad news, too, for Dracula who finds himself enduring the Night of the Screaming House.

I don't fancy his chances of getting much sleep in that one.

Then again, he sleeps in the day. So, he probably won't care.

There's also a tale in which some murderers are thwarted by a dog. I don't have a clue what that's about.

Worzel Gummidge #3, Marvel UK

It's more scarecrow-sized fun when Marvel UK's newest monthly hits its third issue and we get the chance to win that Worzel doll we've all, I'm sure, dreamt of.

Starburst magazine #40, An American Werewolf in London

Wolves have, of course, been extinct in Britain for many centuries.

But it seems werewolves have fared much better. Not only was Universal's 1941 The Wolf Man set in Wales but it's a well-known fact there's a hairy-handed gent who's been running amuck in Kent.

And so it is that we get Starburst's review of the hot new film An American Werewolf in London.

We're also handed reviews of Dead and Buried, Blow Out and The Beyond. None of which I've ever even heard of. Classics all, I'm sure, though.

We also take a look at women as movie victims. Which sounds like it'll be...

...interesting.

And, to top all that, we get a review of the latest Disney horror masterpiece the Fox and the Hound.

Come to think of it, we don't have any wolves in Britain but we're knee-deep in foxes. How come there are no British-set films about werefoxes?

Then again, maybe those previously mentioned films were about werefoxes, and people just thought they were werewolves.

Yes. I can see now that that explains it all.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pssst, Steve - you forgot to include this month's Marvel Superheroes (#380 I think).
If you're quick you can add it to the post before anyone else gets here, and we can keep it between us. I won't tell if you wont.

-sean

Steve W. said...

Thanks, Sean. I've now added the relevant issue.

I can, however, proudly boast that I didn't forget to include it. I accidentally deleted it while proofreading the thing.

It's competence like that which makes this blog the triumph it is.

Anonymous said...

Deathmaster & Deathwatcher?

Nuklo & Radion?

Steven Pacey playing Del Tarrant & Dieter Tarrant?

The Marvel Age of nothing being original (?)

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Steve

Timesmasher was an original Marvel UK story loosely included within Captain Britain continuity. It was by Paul Neary and Mick Austin (most famous for the gorgeous painted Marvelman cover on Warrior #7). It presumably wasn't particularly well received as there were only four episodes.

Phillip

Ironically this was Marvel UK's most original period with UK originated material for Doctor Who and Captain Britain, plus associated back-ups. I'd forgotten that Saturnyne was introduced this early into Captain Britain. She became an integral character, particularly during g Moore's run (which you already know).

Steve (reprise)

I like to think the grammatical and spelling competence, within the comments (mostly my own) make this blog the triumph it is

;-)

DW

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Anyone else get a Barry Smith vibe from the Locust figure on the xmen cover?

Can't say I get it from the rest of the cover though.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Steve -

I've think you've done a salutary and superlative and venerable job with this blog given the impact of the Great Vowel Shift 500 years ago.

After all, when one lives in a city caught forever between the past and future one is never far away from anything.

Take a breath and take bow Pilgrim!!!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Phillip - Nuklo? Me no follow...

I do have this first issue Nukla in the long box... is this what you are referencing?

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?tid=185061&mingr=0

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Nuklo's on the cover of Rampage, doing a palm strike on Black Goliath's chin! Nukla has a feminine suffix - 'a', unlike Nuklo, whose suffix is a more macho - 'o'. However, with modern gender fluidity, anybody can have any suffix they want - or both! And more power to them! Both Nuklo & Radion have similar nuclear/atomic powers. But, like DW says, they are both probably originals, and individuals in their own rights, whom it is unfair to lump together (like Del & Dieter Tarrant!)

Phillip

Anonymous said...


‘Black Goliath and Orange Thing’…

‘I love a terrible record as much as anyone but some things the biscuit’….

Steve, you make me laugh harder than Morecambe, Wise and Both Ronnies combined :) :) :)

Jess Jodloman was what I would classify as a solidly ‘Second Tier’ Filipino artist, who mostly worked for DC on their many Mystery / Horror anthologies. Besides a few MARVEL CLASSIC COMICS adaptations, he drew one feature-length Kull adventure in the B/W KULL AND THE BARBARIANS mag, and also ‘The Death Song of Conan the Cimmerian’ in SAVAGE SWORD OF YOU-KNOW-WHO #8, adapted from a POEM, for Crom’s sake, and a poem written by no one’s favorite Conan scribe, Lin Carter, no less. Incredibly, it ain’t half bad! (Well, the pictures look nice, at least.)

MAN-GOD was an adaptation of a novel called ‘Gladiator’ by Phillip Wylie, supposedly an inspiration for Doc Savage and Superman and other early super-hero type characters. By Roy Thomas and Tony DeZuniga. It was one of those projects that seemingly was in the works for many months before it finally appeared and the ballyhoo and anticipation may have worked against it. I remember being somewhat underwhelmed by it.

There’s a weird coda to it tho — the Marvel adaptation only covered the first half of the novel, but DeZuniga had at least started pencilling Part Two. Years and years later, some fan commissioned DeZuniga to complete the adaptation, and even reached out to Thomas to see if he would finish scripting it. But I’m not sure what came of it all.

Oh, and Howard Chaykin and Russ Heath did their own adaptation of the book in the late 90s, i think.

b.t.

Colin Jones said...

The new Omicron variant of Covid is named after a Greek letter but it would also make a great name for an alien race in Doctor Who.

"Doctor, the Omicron invasion of Earth has begun - how can we ever stop them??"

Anonymous said...

For the curious unfamiliar with Jess Jodlomon, theres a well illustrated piece about him - with a double page spread from "The Death Song..." b.t. mentioned, and some complete short stories (including a Weird War Tale) - at:

https://cv-zedricdimalanta.tumblr.com/post/141245594299/filipino-comics-art-fridays-jess-jodloman

Not bad for 'second tier'. I believe the mighty Alex Nino started out in the Filipino comic biz as his assistant...

Steve, no worries about your competence - its nice to know you're not a robot.
Plus, it gave an early DW the opportunity to get in first about the Marvel UK new stuff for a change.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Sean:

That’s a cool link, with the Jess Jodloman stuff. I particularly like that Barbarian / S & S story from WEIRD WAR, I’ve never seen that one before. And yes, ‘Not bad for Second Tier’ indeed . BTW, ‘Top Tier’ Filipino Artists in my book are Nestor Redondo and Alex Nino (and Tony DeZuniga and Alfredo Alcala on their very best days). ‘Second Tier’ Filipino artists for me are Jodloman, Gerry Talaoc, Anton Caravana, Vic Catan, Sonny Trinidad, Rudy Florese, Abe Ocampo (sometimes), Rudy Nebres (ditto), a few others. No shame at all being lumped in with that lot.

b.t.

Anonymous said...

Dunno about Tony deZuniga b.t... Alfredo Alcala is a lot better. Rudy Nebres too imo.

Colin, whenever I catch one of those Boris Johnson press briefings on tv I keep expecting him to pull off his face to reveal his true self, and welcome our new alien overlords.

Steve, I'm fairly sure there were 3 comic strips in that issue of Dr Who; as well as the second part of 'Junkyard Demon' and the Sontaran story - drawn respectively by Mike McMahon and David Lloyd - I think there was also a reprint of an old Ron Turner TV21 Dalek story (in b&w unfortunately).

'Pyramids of Mars' was a fave of mine too, but when I finally saw some old Who again a few years back during the the complete stream on Twitch I avoided watching too much of that one, after being disappointed by how 'Genesis of the Daleks' actually came across decades later.
For me the original series is best revisited by highlights.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mp0ioyNyKk

-sean

Colin Jones said...

Sean, a few years ago I bought the DVD of 'Planet Of The Spiders' which was one of my favourite Dr. Who stories but on re-watching it I couldn't believe I'd ever been scared by such obviously fake-looking spiders!

Another of my favourite Who stories was 'Invasion Of The Dinosaurs' which would surely look hilarious nowadays :D

Anonymous said...

DR. WHO didn’t air in my neck of the woods until ‘79 or ‘80, so I was in my late teens when I first saw it, and I just couldn’t get into it. I really WANTED to like it but it seemed to be a little too ‘juvenile’ for me. The cheap production values and overly-bright ‘‘Soap Opera-ish’’ video-taped look sure didn’t help. I did love the trippy title sequence tho, and especially Ron Granier’s theme. So I’d usually watch that much of it, and the first few minutes of that week’s episode. I think I may have watched only four or five complete episodes before I gave up.

This was the Jon Pertwee era — I never did see any of the Tom Baker ones until many years later. I read a review somewhere (maybe in Video Watchdog?) of one of the Baker serials when it was released on DVD, the Fu Manchu homage / pastiche one, and it made me want to give it another try. Still didn’t grab me, I’m sorry to say.

I do wonder if I might have connected with the whole concept if I’d seen the show just a few years earlier, when I was a bit younger (and less judgemental). I did kinda like the first ‘Modern’ series, with Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper. But then again, there are other ‘genre’ series that I liked as a kid (WILD WILD WEST, TIME TUNNEL, MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E., etc) that I find difficult to enjoy now, as an adult.

b.t.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen a lotta Dr. Who episodes but I watched it for a while and I do remember Billie Piper. Yow.
That winsome lass distracted me from the cheap production values.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

You don't know what cheap production values are til you've seen the 70s Dr Who, M.P.

Colin, 'Planet of the Spiders' was the first Dr Who story I ever saw on moving to England. I thought it was fantastic, but yeah - seeing some of it relatively recently the spiders definitely didn't have the same impact as when I was 9.

Three or four years ago Twitch - some sort of gamer site - bought the rights to stream every complete 20th century Dr Who story continuously from the start; they'd do one episode after another for 12 hours, repeat them for the next 12, then follow the day after with 12 more hours worth, repeat, and so on etc etc for months.
Which is probably the best way to consume old Who. Not continuously all day for months - you'd have to be mad to do that (or you soon would be if you did) - but just dipping in and out for 10, 15 minutes or so here and there, maybe a bit longer when you can't sleep, or the real time comment feed alongside gets particularly amusing.

'Planet of the Spiders' was the last of the third Doctor era stories, but I became familiar with more of them from reading those Target paperback novelizations. Interesting to finally see bits of what they actually looked like, as it turned out - believe it or not - there was something of a gap between what I imagined and what had been on tv.
You're right - 'Invasion of the Dinosaurs' does look hilarious.

-sean

Anonymous said...

I did see some of the Tom Baker episodes, Sean, when I was pretty young. My uncle always had public television on when we went over there and a large part of their programming back in the day were shows from the U.K.
Baker was born for the role of Dr. Who.
He was a pretty good Rasputin too, as I recall.
I remember seeing an episode where there were Vikings in space, and thinking, "this seems pretty cool, but I got aunts talking all over the place and cats jumping on my lap and I just can't follow the plot."

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Sean - As regards Target books, I had 3 Cybermen ones: 10th Planet, Tomb, & Revenge ( I can't be bothered writing the names in full). My bro' had Ice Warriors, plus another one I can't remember.

My favourite Dr. Who episodes were the Krynoid ones (giant plant monster).

Moving from Ireland, you must have missed 'Rancheros' (excellent corn snack). They were sold in Ireland & Malta, but not the UK.

Phillip

Colin Jones said...

MP, Tom Baker also played the evil wizard Koura in 'The Golden Voyage Of Sinbad' and I remember reading that he was offered the part of Dr. Who on the strength of his role as Koura. I don't know if that's true or not!

Steve W. said...

Sean, you're probably right about there being a TV21 Dalek story in that mag. It did like to make use of that strip.

Sean and Bt, thanks for the Jess Jodloman info. It turns out I'd seen his work in Weird War Tales.

Charlie, the Locust, on that cover, does indeed have a Smith/Steranko kind of vibe about him.

DW, thanks for the Timesmasher info.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I dare say that you chaps had a far greater breadth of time-span and artists to choose from than we did at that time? I mean - Ditko, Roth, Kirby all on the stands for you. Like 1966 for us.

Isn't there a www site that can show the US dudes what the covers were to what was on sale in a given month, even the reprint titles?

Anonymous said...

Charlie - This is a good one:

http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/mikes/features/newsstand.php

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Oh, reprints! - Did you mean a UK one? I don't know about that.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Charlie - UK's Channel 5 has just broadcast an interesting tv show about Chicago, entitled 'Draining Lake Michigan'. It was about underwater archaeology, as related to Chicago's history. Chicago had something similar to London's 'Great Stink', with lots of associated cholera, etc - so some guy connected a pumping station on Michigan Avenue to the middle of Lake Michigan, via a brick tunnel, to get fresh water to the city. There was also stuff about a ship overloaded with Christmas trees, sinking on Lake Michigan. Finally, after Pearl Harbour, training for landing on carriers was done on Lake Michigan, too, with lots of crashed Grumman Avengers, at the Lake's bottom.

Charlie, you'll know most of this already, but it was news to me!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Philip:
Yeah, I think Charlie was wondering if there was something like a ‘UK equivalent’ of the fabulous and indispensable Mike’s Amazing World Newsstand, with a month-by-month listing of all the various UK comics, reprint or otherwise. (Sorry Charlie, if I’m putting words in your mouth that don’t belong there…)

Steve:
If there ISN’T such a website, what reference source do you use for your ‘UK Comics 40 Years Ago’ posts?

b.t.

Colin Jones said...

The new singles chart (which really should be re-named the streaming chart as it's VERY different from the physical singles chart) is now packed with Christmas songs including Slade's 'Merry Xmas Everybody' at #48 which is a relief because the British festive season can't officially begin until Slade make their first appearance! And there's good news for Charlie because 'It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year' by Andy Williams is at #38.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Steve uses it but a handy way to get a sense of what Marvel UK published is to checkout the timelines on Michael Carroll's Rusty Staples blog.
Like this one that covers MWOM, the Spidey titles and the various comics that merged with them (theres a second one at the site covering the remaining ones) -

https://michaelowencarroll.wordpress.com/2019/01/06/the-mwom-smcw-timeline/

Its not the month by month guide Charlie asked for, but its a useful overview expressed in a single graphic.
Plus, I thought he'd appreciate the DC Thomson timeline. Just click on the timelines tag near the top of the page Charlie, and you'll find it - its awesome.
Although perhaps the most impressive is the one for Buster, which covers over a century (Buster itself started in 1960, but by including the various merged titles apparently goes back all the way to the first issue of Funny Cuts from 1890).

-sean

Steve W. said...

Bt, I mostly use the Grand Comics Database and ComicVine to find out what UK comics came out when.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

HI Phillip -

Wow... that is cool you got to see a show about Chi-town!

Chicago's "big deal" was to reverse the flow of the Chicago River so that it drained to the west ultimately to the Mississippi River then into the Gulf of Mexico in 1890.

This kept the raw sewage out of the Lake which was causing the cholera, etc. outbreaks. This led to cholera outbreaks in St Louis, now downstream from Chicago's sh!t, since it is on the Mississippi.

Wow... I could talk for hours on this but won't lol. I will maybe make a list of things worth googling if you want to understand how the environment / ecosystem around here has been totally wrecked.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean, b.t., Phillip, Steve - Thanks for the links / tips on the monthly comic mags available!!!

Sean - special thanks for the heads up on DC Thomson! I will indeed check that out!

Just curious... off hand... I still get DC Thomson emails of offerings very friendly and it really seems that the Oor Wullie/Broons line are marketed as a separate entity from the Beano/Dandy/Dennis Menace line of products.

(Though as a kid I would see both in the same Xmas Annual Catalogue which was like 4-6 pages.)

I am wondering if you know if there is some business / historical reason the two lines don't really seem to be blended when being marketed? Just different genre? Totally different audiences?

Anonymous said...

Oor Wullie and The Broons were strips in Scottish newspaper the Sunday Post Charlie, so I guess thats why the annuals were only (or largely?) sold there and not the whole of the UK.
You might enjoy the tv doc 'The Broons at 70' (although I bet you'll complain about the accents ;) -

www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNfyR5jAApc

-sean

McSCOTTY said...

Charlie, Oor Willie and the Broons may have been marketed separately from the Beano, Dandy etc as the former were published in the Sunday Post newspaper ( full page every week) so may have come under the newspaper banner whereas the comics were under the juvenile publications team etc.

McSCOTTY said...

Sorry Sean never saw your reply when I started to type

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Good God! Don't tell me Beano, Dandy, Dennis the Menace, Hotspur, Sparky, Victor, etc. were considered "juvenile!" What does this say about me if I still like reading them at age 60???

Anonymous said...

Charlie - You return, and the blog springs back to life again, like a galvanized frog!

I've almost finished reading Charles Dickens' account of his (first?) trip to America (I'm onto Dickens' final section, about slavery). Dickens went on various river trips, and contrasted the Mississippi negatively with the clear water of the Ohio - and that was even long before 1890! One thing that infuriated Charles Dickens was the U.S. habit of spitting out chewing tobacco - even indoors, onto other people's floors/carpets! Dickens keeps returning to this, over & over again. In contrast, he's very positive about many of America's public institutions (apart from slavery).

As regards Chicago, I read 'The Jungle', years ago, all about Lithuanian immigrants having to work in the stockyards - but I didn't know about all the sewage being diverted to the Mississippi. I'll have to widen my reading!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Charlie - Here's some free-associating.

On BBC4, tonight, I watched a documentary about mad King Ludwig, of Bavaria. Eventually, Ludwig called himself the "Moon King".

This reminded me of Moon Knight # 7, which involved the "Moon Kings".

Just by way of coincidence, I seem to remember, this story involved Chicago's water being polluted - albeit with lots of hallucinogenic drugs - or something!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

I've been to that castle of his, Phil, when I was stationed over there.
If Ludwig was nuts, it was certainly a brilliant kind of madness.
Holy shmolies. Heck, just the Alps by themselves stunned my brain, having grown up in Iowa.
Me and a couple buddies took the package tour (listening to a Led Zeppelin mix-tape all the way down there) and I was astounded by how many Japanese tourists were there.
It was a strange and wonderful day. A good time was had by all.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

M.P. - That trip sounds memorable! I've never visited Ludwig's castle, although my sister has. Her husband's eldest sister married a German guy, and lives in Fussen. My sister had a big poster of Ludwig's castle, when I was a kid. I suppose your youth's the time for such adventures. My impulse to travel (never great) has lessened. My kidney's creatine (?) levels are raised, according to a blood test, a few days ago. I asked the young nurse what this meant. She replied, "That's a doctor question!" Those Tom Selleck movies have a lot to answer for. When I pressed her, she asked if I was drinking enough water. That's adding fuel to the fire!

Back to Ludwig, the "Moon King" - yes, he's an interesting character, wanting to remain mysterious, both to himself & others. Maybe Moon Knight should use Steven Grant's billions to build a mock gothic castle!

Interestingly, the tv show I was watching also said the king of Prussia deliberately declared himself Kaiser, at France's palace of Versailles (hall of mirrors, etc) - presumably to humiliate France. That reminded me of Hitler (much later) deliberately making France surrender in that railway carriage at Compien (?), out of spite, as this carriage was where Germany was forced to surrender, after WW1. Sorry, M.P. - I'm rambling, now!

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Not at all, Philip, I always enjoy your comments, and I hope you are well. I confess, the place was so wonderous and weird I couldn't even take it all in, and I barely remember it.
I vaguely remember a lake, but I can't recall if there were any swans.
I'd like to think there were. The whole thing was like something out of my childhood.
Or somebody's childhood, anyway.
Phil, I share your appreciation for the things in this life that seem magical.
If you get a chance, go see it!

I gotta tell ya, though, just being around mountains (even small ones, which was the case) messed with my head a little bit. Where I come from its flat as a pancake. M.P. is a nervous cat when he's in unfamiliar areas.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

M.P. - I know what you mean. The Romantics visited the Alps/Mont Blanc, and were struck by the sublime - a powerful feeling of awe & dread (with dread being the operative word!)

Phillip

Dave S said...

Looks like a nice Al Williamson cover on that Star Wars issue- very playing to the eye!

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