Thursday, 13 January 2022

January 13th 1982 - 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

A wise man once remarked, "Do not despise the snake for having no horns. For who is to say that snake will not, one day, grow up to be... ...a dragon?"

That man was Burt Kwouk and he was, once more, visiting our TV screens on this night in 1982, thanks to BBC Two repeating the very first episode of The Water Margin, that tale of 108 Chinese warriors who did something or other so impressive the Japanese made a TV show about it and the BBC bought it.

That was certainly very thrilling but, for those who preferred pursuits more sedentary than the martial arts, there was also good news, as this was the week the Commodore 64 was launched. So mighty was it that it would go on to become the best-selling personal computer of all time.

It was clearly a success story that could warm the coldest of cockles and, right then and there, the people of Britain needed their cockles warming because, right across the realm, temperatures were plunging to nightmare lows.

So bad was it that −27.2 °C was recorded in Aberdeenshire, equalling the UK record previously set there in 1895.

Not having to worry about the cold was Mark Thatcher, son of Margaret, who managed to disappear in the Sahara desert, during the Paris-Dakar rally.
When it came to the UK singles chart, there was a change at the top, that week, with Bucks Fizz's classic The Land of Make Believe finally displacing the Human League.

But it wasn't all bad news for the synth-happy band, as their Dare LP was still ruling the UK album chart.

For any who may care, these are the other tracks that I approved of on that week's British singles chart:

Don't You Want Me - the Human League

I Could Be Happy - Altered Images

It Must Be Love - Madness

The Model/Computer Love - Kraftwerk

Young Turks - Rod Stewart

Being Boiled - the Human League

Golden Brown - the Stranglers

Bedsitter - Soft Cell

Cambodia - Kim Wilde

Under Pressure - Queen and David Bowie

Tainted Love - Soft Cell

I Go to Sleep - the Pretenders

The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum) - the Fun Boy Three

The Voice - Ultravox

Waiting on A Friend - the Rolling Stones


Joan of Arc - Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

And, should you wish to investigate the topic further, that chart can be found here.

While the associated album chart is located here.

Super Spider-Man TV Comic #462

It would appear that, this time, Spidey finds himself confronting the Speed Demon - previously the Squadron Sinister's Whizzer who, not unreasonably, has decided he needs a name change.

To celebrate that name change, he goes on a stealing spree which leads to a confrontation with the wall-crawler in a department store.

There's also a one-page pin-up dedicated to the Molten Man.

And, of course, we get the chance to win a Raiders of the Lost Ark T-Shirt.

Marvel Classics Comics #8, Robinson Crusoe, Marvel UK

Marvel gives us its adaptation of Robinson Crusoe, from the pens and pencils of Doug Moench, Sonny Trinidad and the Tribe.

Captain America #47, Marvel UK

It would seem Cap's still trying to rescue that girl from that castle and, on top of all the other weirdness that's breaking out, he now has to contend with doorknobs that can turn into serpents.

Thor's in this issue too but I don't have a clue what he's up to.

But I do know we get a Fantastic Four pin-up.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

As I contemplate all above...

Why 108 Chinese warriors? Why not 107 or 109?

I mean both of those are PRIME NUMBERS!

There's always been something magical about prime numbers. Like the number 3!

At least the Spartans had 300 warriors which, though not a prime, has the numeral 3 in it.

The Chinese or the Japanese missed the boat on that one, aye???

Charlie would have gone with 107 since it and its numerals are all primes. (Please Actuary Man, don't beat Charlie up over "0"!)

Charlie Horse 47 said...


Charlie hadn't heard of either until 10 odd years ago?

Can anyone recommend an album? When Charlie heard Golden Brown his OCD kicked in and he played it like 107 times in a row.

Perhaps a a strange question is how Charlie could have totally missed that group 40 years ago, at the height of his musical-listening powers? They were presumably British?

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Ummm.... did they find PM Maggie's son in the dessert dead or something with vultures dining on him???

Steve W. said...

Charlie, sadly, I don't have a clue why there were 108 Chinese warriors and not some other number.

I must confess the only Stranglers album I've ever heard is La Folie which I didn't think was much good. I suspect their best albums are likely to be No More Heroes and Rattus Norvegicus. They're certainly the band's most famous ones.

I can announce that Mark Thatcher was later found alive and well and, to my knowledge, is still with us.

dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Is it OK to point out to Charlie that 1 isn’t a prime number?

The lowest prime with three different digits that are all primes is 257. That would be a good number of Chinese warriors to go with.

Anonymous said...

That is a great selection of songs and highlights how strong the charts were at the time. Can't really add much about this week's comics but the Commodore 64 certainly deserves it's legendary reputation. While it didn't dominate the UK market as it did the US (being rivalled locally by the Spectrum and BBC micros) it did have a major impact. It appears to have actually arrived for sale around August at an initial price of £399 which explain why, later that year, I received the cheaper Vic-20 for my birthday. I upgraded a couple of years later when the C64 could be found sub £200. Crazy that it was still selling large numbers in the late 80s.

This is a great Depeche Mode compilation played entirely on the C64 SID chip:

All together now...


Anonymous said...

And for Charlie, here's Golden Brown:

Never a frown...


Colin Jones said...

Steve, your list omitted the fantastic 'Yellow Pearl' by Phil Lynott which became the TOTP theme tune!!!

Charlie, did you know that 'Golden Brown' is about heroin?

Colin Jones said...

Mark Thatcher is barred from entering the United States because he was convicted of funding an attempted coup in Africa. Curious that Maggie's dodgy son gets a mention on the very same day that the Queen's dodgy son is stripped of his titles.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Jfc… that just blew my mind Colin! Lol!

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, what blew your mind? Mark Thatcher or Golden Brown?

Colin Jones said...

So do we think BoJo is finished or will the little maggot wriggle free again?

I'd love to believe the former but I suspect it'll be the latter.

Charlie Horse 47 said...


Charlie thought golden brown was a refernce to a girlfriend’s hair…

Now Charlie be bummed out.

I mean Briown Sugar sort of works with uncut heroine but… geeze… not Golden Brown!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Charlie never much cared about Maggia Thatcher, Mark Thatcher, or thatched huts.

But Sh!t. How am i going to sleep now knowing Buck Fizz beat Human League and Golden Brown is about the stuff?

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, Bucks Fizz's 'The Land Of Make Believe' was terrific and a worthy #1 - go and listen to it on YouTube.

And who cares if Golden Brown was about heroin? It's still a great song!

Redartz said...

That's a fabulous list of tunes! Many of my favorites from the time. Especially fond of Kraftwerk. Ah, the contrast between your UK charts and our Billboard Hot 100. Kind of like the difference between a whole box of Ghirardelli Chocolate Mint Squares and a single, humble 'fun size' Hershey bar.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

All! She-Hulk is back in her own book on Jan 19!!! Not sure if she is fighting an island or emoji but my LCBS just sent out their weekly email advising she's back!

Colin - once you hear/see/smell/taste/imagine something it sometimes can't be undone. Golden Brown just went from a romance to "whatever." I did listen to Buck Fizz but it didn't help.

DW - Well your suffering should end soon. 5th leg of the Ashes should wrap up this weekend? Also, would you please just deport Djokovic once and for all? Tired of hearing about it,lol. But it sounds like you never joined the Aussie side once moving to Australia?

Actuary Man! - Charlie has it on good authority that 1 is indeed a prime number. Don't listen to the fake news, please.

Colin Jones said...

Charlie, now I feel guilty for mentioning that 'Golden Brown' is about heroin.

I should have left you in blissful ignorance!

By the way, it's Bucks Fizz not Buck Fizz (the band named themselves after a drink called Bucks Fizz).

Colin Jones said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Charlie Horse 47 said...

CJ - No worries! Facts is facts... Charlie is a big boy!

Bucks Fizz - I just looked it up! Sounds like a Mimosa! Wonderful!

MattVA said...

Being American & old time Rock 'N Roller (Deep Purple, ZZ Top, etc), I always liked Kim Wilde's music, Human League, & good to see Meat Loaf's Bat Out Of Hell album listed -- it's a classic!

Anonymous said...


I think the Hobart test has draw written all over it. A 3:0 loss for the series will appear less one sided than it actually has been. Roll on the 2023 with a Duke ball, more swing and less bounce. Actually 'more swing less bounce' would be a good name for Northern Soul revival LP.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

UK Gents - quick question!

I was looking for photos of Vanessa Paradis next to a yellow Citroen 2 CV specifically in context of her mega hit Joe le Taxi from 1988.

So the ONLY thing on the internet is her performing live in 1988, at the age of 15, in London a show called "Roxy." Was Roxy something you folks used to watch a lot? Just curious...

Anonymous said...

Charlie - As regards 'Roxy', no idea at all, I'm afraid.

On a totally unrelated matter, as a kid, after watching 'The Water Margin', I always saw a similarity between the Tiger Hunter (the character comically raising his fist, in the opening credits):

and the Jack Kirby character, Big Bear:

That's despite never having read 'Forever People'!

I'll get my coat...


Colin Jones said...

Charlie, The Roxy was broadcast on ITV and was intended as a rival to the BBC's weekly music show Top Of The Pops. But The Roxy wasn't very successful and it got cancelled after only a couple of years.

Colin Jones said...

UPDATE: according to Wikipedia The Roxy lasted for only ten months, from June 1987 to April 1988.

Steve W. said...

Charlie, I have absolutely no memory of The Roxy. I was assuming it was one of those shows that were broadcast in the early hours of Saturdays mornings, for the benefit of people who'd just got home from the clubs but, from the Wikipedia article, it looks like it wasn't.

Phillip, thanks for that Water Margin link. Two things do strike me about that clip. One is the theme tune's similarity to that of James Bond's. And the other is that one of the credited voiceover artists was Miriam Margolyes. How bizarre.

Colin, it's starting to look like the tories don't really have the guts to get rid of Johnson and he's going to drag them all down to the underworld with him.

Hi, Matt. I must confess I do have a liking for Bat Out of Hell.

DW, my first computer was also a Vic-20. I remember it having a massive 3.5k memory.

Red, the UK singles chart was indeed a remarkably vital thing during that period.

Anonymous said...

I know I’ve mentioned it before, either here or at Redartz’ old site, but i really dig ‘Bat Out of Hell’. Well — a lot of it. The ballads don’t really do anything for me, but I love the high-energy rockers. They’re epic and bombastic but so ridiculously Over The Top that it keeps them from sounding pretentious. And ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’ is genuinely (intentionally) funny. I probably still listen to that album at least once a year.


Anonymous said...

I'm rather amazed Meatloaf is still alive.
Even as a kid I thought, "Jesus, that guy is a heart attack waiting to happen."


dangermash aka The Artistic Actuary said...

Loved Bat Out Of Hell back in my Uni days. But then at some point in the last 20 years I heard someone say that the album sounded like the soundtrack to a West End musical. And the6 were right. I've not felt the same way about that album since then.

On the other hand, there was a time when I was driving one of the kids somewhere and the Alan Parsons Project was on, they said that it sounded like the Wombles. That pushed both the Wombles and APP up in my estimation.

Steve W. said...

Bt and Dangermash, I always feel it sounds like Andrew Lloyd Webber tries to do Bruce Springsteen.

MP, I was under the impression that he'd once had a heart attack on stage but Google insists he just fainted.