Sunday 27 February 2022

Man-Thing #6. And When I Died.....

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***

Man-Thing #6, And When I Died...
When I think of Marvel's Man-Thing, two words instantly leap to mind.

"Swamp," and, "Thing."

But two other words leap to mind.

"Dead," and, "Clowns."

And this is the issue responsible for that.

I first encountered the tale thanks to the pages of Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes weekly which reprinted Manny's adventures for the British public to consume, and here I am, encountering it again - but, this time, in that there fancy colour they've invented.

Will it prove as haunting as ever?

Will I even be able to understand it?

As we join the tale, Darrel the clown's just killed himself in the swamp.

Man-Thing #6. And When I Died.....
For most clowns, that would be terminal but he's made of stronger stuff. 
As our assembled cast of series regulars and one-off visitors watch in horror, his ghost appears and, for the entertainment of three mysterious hooded critics, uses those people to reenact his life.

He was, it seems, the son of a rich man who thought of nothing but making money. After the death of that individual, the now-rich Darrel decided to become a clown and give others' lives the joy and laughter his own childhood had lacked.

But, with him increasingly embittered by the state of the world, his act became ever more sinister, until the night he discovered his beloved Ayla the circus aerialist had been told by Garvey the circus owner to feign romantic feelings for him to keep his money flowing into the business.

Devastated, the clown killed himself and, now, representatives of Heaven, Hell and some place between are here to sit in judgement on his soul.

Man-Thing #6. The Jury
There's only one problem.

Having seen his life story, none of those representatives feel his soul's worthy of their realm and, so, decide to destroy it, leading to a fight between them and the Man-Thing, earlier drafted in by Darrel to represent his rebellious streak.

Still, it all ends when Ayla reveals she did love him after all. Thus, the representative of Heaven accepts Darrel's soul, takes it away with him and our tale ends.

How could anyone not love this story? It's Steve Gerber doing the sort of investigation of a character's life that he clearly loved to do. I remember him pulling the same kind of stunt with Nighthawk in The Defenders.

The one failing is the tale feels like it fizzles out at the end, lacking a suitably dramatic denouement and creating a resolution a little too pat but the rest of the story's strong enough to compensate for that.

Man-Thing #6, Darrel is miserable
But the real reason for reading the tale is Mike Ploog's artwork. Here, he's clearly going for it, happy to exploit the surrealism and theatricality of the night's events and giving us a string of compelling images.

The central character - Man-Thing - is, of course, almost irrelevant to proceedings but that's because he's a brainless walking pile of sludge with no real motivation, meaning he's nearly always going to be a supporting character in his own series.

Are there any other 1970s Man-Thing tales as memorable as this one?

Off the top of my head, I can't really think of one. You, however, may know otherwise...

Man-Thing #6, Manny vs the jury

Thursday 24 February 2022

February 24th 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
***

Disaster struck the time travel industry, this week in 1982 because it was at that moment the DeLorean Motor Company factory in Belfast was put into receivership.

I don't know. First, they discontinued police phone boxes and, now, DeLoreans. If I was a more paranoid individual, I might start to suspect a conspiracy.

But, at the time, perhaps we were all too distracted to care.

After all, on this every evening, that year, BBC One was transmitting the latest British Rock and Pop Awards, that ceremony we all tend to assume is the exact same thing as The Brit Awards but, it would seem, has nothing to do with them.

Presented by Sue Cook and Dave Lee Travis, 1982's ceremony was broadcast from the London Lyceum via the Nationwide TV show on behalf of the Daily Mirror.

I don't know who won what but I do know the event saw live performances by such musical deities as Alvin Stardust, Bad Manners, Dollar, Duran Duran, Toyah and Ronnie Hazlehurst and His Orchestra. Let's face it, nothing screams, "Rock and Roll," at you louder than the words, "Ronnie Hazlehurst and His Orchestra."

But, surely, the BBC was spoiling us because there was even more popular entertainment to come. For, straight after that ceremony, the same channel presented us with a documentary about the Batley Variety Club.

The programme featured contributions from Shirley Bassey, Cilla Black, Cannon & Ball, Bernie Clifton, Con Cluskey, Paul Daniels, Ken Dodd, Gracie Fields, The Grumbleweeds, Vince Hill, Engelbert Humperdinck, Eartha Kitt, Danny La Rue, Lulu, Vera Lynn, Johnny Mathis, Eric Morecambe, Gene Pitney, Cliff Richard, Neil Sedaka, Derek Smith, Alvin Stardust, Freddie Starr, Frankie Vaughan, Charlie Williams and Mike Yarwood.

I'm pretty sure Gracie Fields was dead, by this point. So, I'm assuming that whatever contribution she made was achieved through the medium of archive footage, rather than just a medium.

I must confess I don't know who Con Cluskey and Derek Smith were.

But it's good to see that Alvin Stardust managed to feature in both shows.

I am, of course, far more clued-up about the contents of this week's presentations from our favourite comics company.

Scooby-Doo and his TV Friends #1

How many times have we seen this phenom before? Just when we were thinking Marvel UK's weekly line is close to death, it comes out with a brand new book.

And this one's a sure-fire hit, as it unleashes a proven property upon the public.

If the front cover's to be believed, the mag gives us picture strips, games and so much more. 

And I've no doubt it features more people pretending to be supernatural horrors than you can shake a Scooby Snack at.

Super Spider-Man TV Comic #468, Man-Wolf

I'm going to guess this is the one that features the return of the Man-Wolf.

I do believe Curt Connors tries to cure the accident-prone astronaut but, it being a Curt Connors experiment, it all goes wrong.

Still, never mind. While we're fretting about that, we can at least try to de-stress by winning a walk-about cassette player.

Captain America #53, Iron Man

Hooray! Iron Man's back!

And to celebrate, we get an updated retelling of his origin!

But, alas, I can shed no light upon what's transpiring in this issue's other strips.

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Speak Your Brain! Part XXI. Science-Fiction predictions that may or may not have come true.

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

The Steve Does Comics Megaphone
Image by Tumisu
from Pixabay
Yet again it is a Tuesday and, yet again, free speech has broken out.

But how will that freedom of speech be used?

Only the readers of this blog can decide - because we've reached the latest installment of the feature in which the first person to comment gets to decide the topic of the day.

It may be sport, art, films, books, cooks, nooks, rocks, music, mucous, fairy tales, fairy lights, Fairy Liquid, fairy cakes, Eccles cakes, myth, moths, maths, magic, murder, mystery, mayhem, May Day, Christmas Day, sofas, sodas, sausages, eggs, whisky, broth, Bath, Garth Marenghi, Garth Brooks, Garth Crooks, Bruno Brookes, Bruno Mars, Mars Bars, wine bars, flip-flops, flim-flam, flapjacks, see-saws, flowers, flours, bread bins, bin bags, body bags, doggy bags, bean bags, cola, pancakes, pizzas, sci-fi, Wi-Fi, Hi-Fi, horror, sewage, saunas, suet, Silurians, Sontarans, sins, suns, sans or sandcastles.

Then again, it might not be.

Let us see what develops...

Sunday 20 February 2022

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Official trailer. (Spoilers ahoy!)

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


By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! Mere days ago, Marvel Studios unleashed the trailer for its latest venture into cinematic carnage, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Can it ever hope to live up to the excitement of Eternals? Only time will tell.

The first thing that hits me, from it, is that Cambuslang Splungiepatch is still doing his, "Hugh Laurie is House," voice. I must confess it's a fact which aggravates me greatly, as he sounds all wrong doing it. For that matter, why is he even doing it? If any American Marvel character could get away with having an English accent it's Dr Strange. It's not like he's Captain America or The Thing who'd sound ridiculous with an English accent.

The second thing that strikes me is it's massively CGI-heavy. Given the nature of the character, that's inevitable but the question is always can CGI ever genuinely be compelling?

The third thing that strikes me is it would appear we get a bus fight between the sorcerer supreme and Shuma-Gorath, which is not a thing I ever thought I'd live to see. Still, I'm always happy to have a bit of Lovecraftian vehicle-flinging in my life.

And the fourth thing that strikes me is it's directed by Sam Raimi. As I loved Raimi's first two Spider-Man films, it gives me great pleasure to see him being let loose on an official Marvel Studios movie.

The Scarlet Witch is in it but I managed to totally miss WandaVision So, that doesn't really provoke any great emotional response in me.

What does provoke a response is my assumption that the character who shows up at the end is Nightmare. I've always loved Nightmare and will be highly delighted if it is indeed he.

But wait! What's that? Halfway through the trailer? The mystery voice? Could it belong to the star of a certain franchise that exists in the strange and alien dimension they know as The 20th Century Foxyverse? And, if so, how does it affect the already tangled continuity of that series?

Only you can decide.

Well, no, admittedly, you can't. And neither can I. Only the big film studios can decide that. What we can do is decide whether we like it or not.

And we can do that in the comments section below.

Thursday 17 February 2022

February 17th 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
***

1982 has let me down badly. Little of interest was happening in the world of politics or current affairs this week, back then. Nor were there new Number Ones to celebrate or revile on the UK singles and album charts. Nor was there anything good on the telly. Therefore, I shall collapse straight into my look at what Marvel UK could dish up at the time, and hope it can save me from the ennui I must have been enduring.

Super Spider-Man TV Comic #467, Man-Wolf

Here's a daring experiment. Up until now, Super Spider-Man TV Comic's alternated between using photo covers and drawn covers. This issue, however, the editor's had a brainwave and decided to combine both concepts in one image.

I'm not totally sure it works, as I can't help feeling our hero's battle with the Man-Wolf deserves a larger space than it's getting.

Tragically, I'm not sure which of Spidey's encounters with the hirsute howler's featured inside but I do know we have the chance to win ten X-Men annuals, and there can't be a soul alive who wouldn't want to win those.

We also get a gallery of Spidey's foes.

If the Kangaroo's not in it, I'll be furious.

So will he.

In fact, I've heard he'll be hopping mad.

Captain America #52, the Avengers, Marvel UK

Sadly, I can unearth no information about the contents of this week's comic. It's clear Cap's fighting the Avengers but I don't have a clue why.

Nor do I know why they've chained the Falcon to a wall. Clearly, kinky things are afoot at the mansion.

In this issue, we also get a chance to win an X-Men annual but, on top of that, we get a free Hulk poster!

Tuesday 15 February 2022

The Marvel Lucky Bag - February 1982.

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

Do you ever find you've spent your entire day just looking for fire?

If so, you were probably on our cinema screens in February 1982.

After all, that was the month in which the unstoppable box office mastodon that was Quest for Fire was unleashed upon the world.

Made for $12 million, it, possibly surprisingly, went on to gross $55 million, which sounds like success to me, posing the obvious question of why there was never a sequel. I mean, who wouldn't queue to see In Search Of Wood, Where's That Antler? or Does Anyone Round Here Have A Flint?

But that wasn't the only memorable film to escape that month. For February also saw the release of such treasures as One from the Heart, Swamp Thing and Death Wish II.

Bizarre Adventures #30

In this month's set of adventures that are bizarre, we're served delights with such titles as Saturn's Secret, Assignation at Madstar!, Honor and Ronnie Raygun of the Space Patrolbrought to us by the likes of Steve Skeates, Steve Smallwood, John Buscema, Peter Gillis, Gene Day, Bill Mantlo and Mike Vosburg.

Sadly, I can't vouch for how good any of those tales are, as I've never read them.

Epic Illustrated #10

Epic Illustrated is also trundling along. And, this time, we get Press Gang, Bird, Liaison, Faces the Future, Children of the Stars, Flightus Interuptus and Marada the She-Wolf, all behind a cover painted by John Bolton.

Savage She-Hulk #25, the end of the She-Hulk

Can it be? The end of everyone's favourite gamma-powered gal?

Yes, it can.

Or, at least, it's the end of her comic, as the mag that was launched 25 issues ago, by Stan Lee and John Buscema, comes grinding to a juddering halt.

Does she go out in style?

I cannot say but I can say she finally defeats Doc, with assists from Ralphie, Zapper, Richard Rory, Sheriff Walters and the Mutations.

And then she reconciles with her father.

So, it's not all bad news.

And we get the chance to win a bicycle.

Starlord, The Special Edition #1

Star-Lord is back - with his own 68-page special!

And he does it with a detailed history of the character, and a load of material reprinted from Marvel Preview #11.

But we don't only get the adventures of Peter Quill. Somewhat oddly, we also receive a Doctor Who tale entitled Spider-God, as rustled up by Steve Moore and Dave Gibbons.

Time Bandits #1, Marvel Comics

It's not a film I would have bet good money on having been granted a Marvel Comics adaptation but The Time Bandits hits our spinner racks, thanks to the skills of Steve Parkhouse and David Lloyd.

Sadly, I'm afraid that's all the light I can shed upon the publication.

What If #31, What If Wolverine Had Killed the Hulk?

Wait! What's this? Wolverine's killed the Hulk? That Watcher, is there no circumstance he won't concoct in order to give us a yarn?

As far as I can remember, the tale posits that, had Wolvie managed to slaughter Jade Jaws in their first encounter, he'd have gone on to become a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants before betraying them to save Jean Grey and would have then been killed by his own claws, thanks to Magneto's need for vengeance.

I'm assuming this was a time before Wolvie's miraculous healing powers had been established in the comics?

We also get the tale of what would have happened had the Fantastic Four never existed. As far as I can remember, it would have meant Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor would also never have come to be.

But there's no news on Ant-Man.

Sunday 13 February 2022

2000 AD - January 1984.

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

January 1984 was a historic month for all lovers of orbiting the Earth in cooperation with other lands.

That's right. It was the month in which US President Ronald Reagan announced his country would begin development of a new space station and would invite other nations to join in too. It was, at the time, labelled Space Station Freedom but would, later, become known by its current name The International Space Station.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, this month's winner in "Independence From Britain" Bingo was Brunei.

The UK singles chart, that January, saw three records claim the top spot. They were, in order of appearance, Only You by The Flying Pickets, Pipes of Peace by Paul McCartney and Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood.

Over on the British album chart, things were even more lively, with a full four Number Ones that month. They were; Now That's What I Call Music by those Various Artists we hear so much about nowadays, No Parlez by Paul Young, Thriller by Michael Jackson and, finally, Touch by Eurythmics.

Clearly, plenty of churn occurring on the charts, there but no such churn was visible in the pages of the galaxy's greatest comic. That month's progs featured the familiar faces of Sláine, D.R. & Quinch, Judge Dredd, Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog and Nemesis the Warlock.

From the covers, I'm going to guess that Prog 352 sees the debut of D.R.'s girlfriend Crazy Chrissy. However, that's pure assumption on my part and I could be talking complete rubbish.

What I'm not talking rubbish about is that these issues see the start of Judge Dredd's Mutie the Pig storyline in which the lethal law-enforcer discovers Judge Gibson's secretly committing crimes as Mutie the Pig.

And we never need wonder again what the date is, because we'll also be getting our hands on Tharg's 2000 AD calendar for 1984.

2000 AD prog 350

2000 AD prog 351

2000 AD prog 352, DR and Quinch

2000 AD prog 353, Judge Dredd

Thursday 10 February 2022

February 10th 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
***

Well, there's a coincidence. Right now, all true Royal lovers are getting excited about the Queen's Platinum Jubilee which I think means she's sold over half a million records.

However, forty years ago, this month, she was celebrating her Pearl Jubilee, which I don't remember getting quite so much attention.

However, what was getting attention was the UK singles chart.

That's because the Jam had done it again, smashing their way straight in at Number One, with the double A-Side Town Called Malice/Precious.

This gave them their third Number One and was their second 45 to have entered the chart at the very top.

Over on the British album chart, things were sounding rather less angry, with Barbra Streisand's Love Songs holding onto pole position.

I, of course, approve highly of Town Called Malice - even if Precious was never my cup of tea  - and these are the other singles on that week's UK hit parade that I dig:

Golden Brown - the Stranglers

The Model/Computer Love - Kraftwerk

The Land of Make Believe - Bucks Fizz

Being Boiled - the Human League

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye - Soft Cell

I Could Be Happy - Altered Images

Don't You Want Me? - the Human League

It Must Be Love - Madness

Tainted Love - Soft Cell.

For those who want to investigate that week's singles chart further, it can be found by clicking here.

While the accompanying album chart may be found here.

Marvel Classics Comics #10, First Men in the Moon

The comic that can't stop giving us classics turns its sights on Jules Verne's The First Men in the Moon, the original of which I've never read although I've seen the film.

In truth, it's not one of my favourite Harryhausen flicks. The second half's fine but the first seems to drag on forever, with it taking far too long for our protagonists to reach the moon which is the place we all want to be.

Regardless, this version's brought to us by the typewriter of Don McGregor and the pencil of
Rudy Mesina.

Super Spider-Man TV Comic #466, Goldbug

The Gold Bug's back and he's out to commit a crime so thrilling that he'll gain greater respect among the criminal classes and find it easier to land work.

However, Spider-Man'll soon put a stop to those plans.

However, that's not what's really exciting about this issue.

What's exciting is we've the chance to win ten Spider-Man lampshades. What kind of madman wouldn't want those in their house?

Granted, the Gold Bug probably wouldn't but that just means there's more left over for the rest of us.

And, if that's not excitement enough, we're also promised Spidey TV cartoon news!

Captain America #51, Thor vs Hyperion

Unless I miss my ever-loving guess, Thor must tangle with the might of Hyperion.

I don't think I've ever read this tale but it seems the thunder god travels to Hyperion's world where he and the Squadron Supreme must battle the evil Hyperion and Emil Burbank.

When it comes to the star of the comic, it would appear Cap's out to rescue Peggy Carter from the menace of the Manipulator.

And, just to top it all off, we're given a free X-Men colour poster, as drawn by Mick Austin.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Forty years ago today - February 1982.

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

Let's see what the past is out to fling at us.

The Avengers #216

It's a terrible issue in which Tigra acts like a total coward throughout and then decides to quit the Avengers, having only joined them a few issues ago. What on Earth was Jim Shooter thinking?

Also, having flattened the Avengers, the Molecule Man has a change of heart and agrees to turn over a new leaf.

Conan the Barbarian #131

Conan's tricked into putting on the Ring of Rhax which can't be removed unless the wearer tricks someone else into putting it on. 

It all ends in an encounter with Rhax himself who confidently declares he can't be killed.

Obviously, he turns out to be wrong.

Captain America #266

It looks like curtains for our heroes, with Nick Fury strapped to a nuclear missile, and Cap and Spider-Man plunging 10,000 feet towards their deaths.

The good news is, the plucky trio survive to save the United States from The Sultan, the robotic fiend who caused all this trouble in the first place.

Fantastic Four #239

Frankie Raye joins the FF and they descend upon a small town that's under siege from a bunch of strange creatures.

But, of course, the real news is that, after all these years of references, none other than Ben's Aunt Petunia finally puts in an appearance.

And she's not what anyone expected.

The Incredible Hulk #268

From what I can remember, Rick and Betty's latest attempt to cure Bruce Banner is scuppered when a villain called Pariah rides into town and starts trying to drain everybody's life energy.

Needless to say, the Hulk has several things to say about that.

Those things are mostly, "Hulk," and, "Smash."

Iron Man #155

I really don't know what happens in this one but I've a feeling part of it involves some teenagers accidentally sending a tank on the rampage.

Is there some sort of sub-plot involving Tony Stark's PR man and his strained relationship with his son?

The Amazing Spider-Man #225

At last, Peter Parker discovers the truth about Greg Salinger, the new student he's been helping to get settled in.

That truth is that he's none other than the Foolkiller - and that he's up to his usual murderous tricks!

The Spectacular Spider-Man #63

The Molten Man is back!

And that means we get a return appearance from his half-sister Liz Allen and her boyfriend/husband/whatever Harry Osborn. 

Not only that but I think Flash Thompson also shows up.

Thor #316

There's been a lot of talk, lately, on this site, about swamps.

And wouldn't you know it, it's time for even more talk of swamps, as Thor and Iron Man find themselves in the Everglades where they have to face the combined might of the Bi-Beast and the Man-Beast.

Definitely more beasts in this story than are strictly needed.

The Uncanny X-Men #154

Cyclops is in for a shock when Corsair shows up on Earth and reveals he's his father. A fact that Storm already knew.

Cyke's not exactly happy about this revelation but he doesn't have as much time to dwell on it as he'd like, because a bunch of creatures called the Sidrian Hunters have appeared and are causing nothing but chaos wherever they go.

Daredevil #179

For reasons I can't remember, Elektra's out to kill DD and eliminate snooping journalist Ben Urich. Possibly, Urich is out to expose the truth about a corrupt politician, and the Kingpin's decided he can't allow that.

Either way, it's bad news for DD who comes off worse in his tangle with his ex.

Sunday 6 February 2022

The Marvel Lucky Bag - February 1972.

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

February 1972 didn't see the release of many famous films but it did, at least, see the unleashing of Cabaret upon the world. I would say the movie totally blew my mind when I saw it but I don't think I've seen it. I, therefore, have no strong opinions on it.

I do, of course, have far more opinions about the contents of that month's UK singles chart but, for now, I'll stick to merely saying the month saw just two 45s claim the Number One slot. The first was T. Rex's Telegram Sam, while the second was Chicory Tip's Son of My Father.

Over on the British album chart, it was also a good start for T. Rex, as their Electric Warrior LP initially claimed the summit. However, that was soon despatched by Neil Reid's Neil Reid which held the pole position for the month's final three weeks.

I was going to announce I've never heard of Neil Reid but a quick Google tells me he was the child responsible for the mega-creepy song Mother of Mine which was bothering the higher reaches of the singles chart at the time, and that still has the power to inflict nightmares upon those of a nervous disposition.

Astonishing Tales #10, Ka-Zar

It's a Roy Thomas/Gerry Conway/Barry Smith classic, as Ka-Zar tries to bring an end to World War II which is still being fought in one small part of the Savage Land.

Fear #6, Marvel Comics

It's time to venture once more into a whole world of fear, as the mag of that name brings us no less than seven tales of terror and horror.

Thus it is that we get yarns with such titles as The Midnight Monster, There Is a Brain Behind the Fangs!, I Took a Journey Into Fear!, Wings of the Butterfly!, The Last Laugh!, The Black Ray and The Voice of Fate!

Highlight of this issue sounds to be There is a Brain Behind the Fangs! in which a man believes dogs are planning to take over the world. His friend, though, convinces him they're not, by proving his dog can't understand complex questions, even under hypnosis. But, oh my God, neither man realises the dog's already been hypnotized by the cat!

Marvel Spotlight #2, Werewolf by Night, first appearance

A whole new era starts for Marvel, as one of its main horror stars of the 1970s makes his senses-shredding debut.

It's true. Marvel's second-most popular werewolf is launched upon the world, with this issue, and things will never be the same again.

But that's not all, because we also get a back-up tale reprinted from 1951's Venus #18.

That story's called Where Gargoyles Dwell! and the character known as Venus visits the Graycar building where she finds a 13th floor populated by gargoyles. Needless to say, a fight with the gargoyle queen soon puts an end to that malarkey.

Special Marvel Edition #4, Thor

It's time for a whole load of Lee/Kirby Asgardianness, as Thor and Hercules fight over Jane Foster.

And it's at that exact moment Odin decides to act like the jerk he is and removes half of Thor's strength while also giving his own Odin Power to Seidring.

Defeated by Hercules, Thor then returns to Asgard where, to no one's surprise but Odin's, he finds Seidring's taken over!

We're also served up with A Viper In Our Midst! in which Loki helps a giant to escape from the Asgardians.

Sub-Mariner #46, Sting-Ray

Poor old Subby, he just can't get a break. First, Lady Dorma gets killed and, now, thanks to Llyra and Tiger Shark, his dad bites the dust.

Can things get worse for the Avenging son?

I've seen the next issue and, yes, they can.

Monsters on the Prowl #15, It!

The comic that refuses to die gives us three tales.

It gives us The Thing Called...It!, The Man from Mars!, and Terror of the Pterodactyl!

But shouldn't that be Pteror of the Pterodactyl?

Obviously, for all fans of swamp monsters, the main source of interest will be the first story, reprinted from 1961, in which a bitter scientist builds a swamp monster to destroy his rival.

But the creature refuses to murder and its consciousness is accidentally transferred into its creator's body, freeing it to live a noble life.

And freeing the scientist to be dead.

Our Love Story #15

I don't know what happens in this one and I don't really care but just look at that cover. Look at the drama! It's almost enough to make me hand over my 20 cents.

Thursday 3 February 2022

February 3rd 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
***

If you weren't afraid, this week in 1982, you were either very brave or weren't a computer.

That's because the world had just been subjected to the very first computer virus; the Elk Cloner. Written by a 15-year old, the thing was happily infecting Apple II computers, via floppy disk.

That could be good news only for those who hate computers.

But, fortunately, we all know someone who loved computers.

They loved them so much, they'd taken that love to Number One on the UK singles chart.

That's right. Kraftwerk had, that very week, claimed top spot on the hit parade, with their double A-side The Model/Computer Love.

Over on the British album chart, the pinnacle was still held by Barbra Streisand's Love Songs which I've no doubt bore a heavy Kraftwerk influence.

In the world of television, Late Night with David Letterman made its debut on NBC, that week, and its first-ever guest was Bill Murray who would, 33 years later, go on to be its last-ever guest.

Elsewhere, sales of British tabloid newspapers were reported to have been boosted by the introduction of bingo, with The Sun now selling more than four million copies per day.

X-Men pocket book #23, the Mimic

Accept no imitations? We don't have a choice because the Mimic's back!

 I must confess that's all I know about this one but I'm sure it's filled with 100% thrills.

Starburst Poster Magazine #1, Excalibur

I don't know exactly when this one came out but this is as good a place as any to park it.

You thrilled to John Boorman's movie in the cinema. Now you can thrill to it in the comfort of your armchair, as the Starburst Poster Magazine for Excalibur draws its sword, and sorcers it around in front of you.

I can't say anything much about the mag, due to total ignorance but I'm sure it gives us a full insight into the making of the film, and into its cast, its crew and special effects.

Escape from New York  poster magazine 1982, Marvel UK

Who wants to escape from New York?

Snake Plissken wants to escape from New York.

And I know that because Marvel UK's treating us to yet another poster magazine.

And this one's dedicated to Snake's quest for departure.

As with the Excalibur mag, information about this publication's hard to find online but that cover makes it clear we'll get coverage of the stars and special effects, and behind the scene pictures.

Not only that but we'll also receive a great big poster, as well!

If they had any class, they'd be giving away a free eyepatch with it.

Marvel Superheroes #382, Captain Britain

Because you The Reader demanded it, Marvel Superheroes has merged with Savage Action!

In our lead story, Captain Britain and Saturnyne battle the Status Crew. It seems the rapscallions blast Cap with a sonic beam to deprive him of his power and then try to blast him with a bazooka!

But, fortunately, Jackdaw sacrifices himself to save our hero.

Elsewhere, the Avengers are still getting to the heart of the origin of Wanda and Pietro, on Mount Wundagore.

Even more elsewhere, Night Raven stars in a tale called Death's Divide.

While Dominic Fortune stars in a tale called Ghoul of My Dreams.

Super SPider-Man TV Comic #465

Unless I miss my guess, we're getting the tale in which the Red Ghost tries to steal a mathematical treatise from the university and then tries to silence all witnesses, including a student Peter Parker's trying to help settle in.

And because it seems that even an intangible Russian and his super-apes isn't enough for us, we also get a free Doctor Strange poster, the results of the Be A Marvel Artist competition and the chance to win a Spider-Man pencil-by-numbers set.

Doctor Who Magazine #61, Peter Davison cover

Holy ghosts of Gallifrey! What's this? The magazine dedicated to Doctor Who manages to misspell the name of its star, on its front cover? I bet Tom Bayker never had this problem.

That aside, we get a look at the return of the Sea Devils (presumably, in Warriors of the Deep), and what we're told is, "The awesome power of the prime mover."

Captain America #50, the Punisher, Marvel UK

The comic's defied all critics and hit its 50th issue, one for every state of the country Captain America represents.

And it does so by printing the clash that had to happen, as America's most principled law-enforcer meets its least principled law-enforcer.

Even though I've read it, I can't remember what happens in it. I've no doubt, though, that the mismatched pair will initially clash before agreeing to unite against a mutual foe.

Elsewhere, it looks like Thor's got a battle on his hands because he's tangling with Hyperion.

Marvel Classics Comics #9, the Invisible Man

And so we come to Marvel's adaptation of The Invisible Man. Many are there who think HG Wells' tale is a classic though, personally, I've never been able to see it.

Thinking about it, I remember Marvel doing two adaptations of the tale in the 1970s. The version I read was in Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes and was drawn by Val Mayerik.

But this isn't it. This one comes at us from the writing and drawing  talents of Doug Moench and Dino Castrillo.

Blockbuster #9, The Inhumans, last issue

Does anyone know the way? There has to be a way to stop Blockbuster.

And there is - because this is its last-ever issue.

It looks like it might be curtains for Black Bolt too, if that cover's to be believed.

I know little of the tale in question but it seems to feature villains blessed with such names as Mon-Tog, Skornn and Kree.

Also, we get to see the death of Warkon but I don't know who that is. So, I doubt I'll be too heavily traumatised by the loss.

When it comes to Iron Fist, on his flight to Master Kahn's fortress, our hero discovers he's rich. He then finds Colleen but she's been brainwashed into hating him.

And, finally, Omega's having troubles of his own in a story called Cats and No Dogs.

Blake's 7 #5, Marvel UK

Josette Simon makes the front of the mag dedicated to the nation's second-favourite sci-fi show. And we even get a poster of her.

Sadly, that's all the light I can shine upon this month's contents but it seems we're to be given the chance to get even more sci-fi about things, as there's the opportunity to win the Philips Videopac home computer we've always dreamt of.

Marvel Madhouse #9

Yet more comic book hilarity greets our eyes. This time, from the pages of Not Brand Echh #9.

Fantastic Four pocket book #23

The cover's not giving too much away but I suspect that, this month, we get the story that features the first-ever appearance of Agatha Harkness and her cat.

And, inevitably, that can only be bad news for what's left of the Frightful Four.

Savage Sword of Conan #52, Marvel UK

Our Conan tale, this month, is A Dream of Blood, as adapted from the L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter novel Conan the Buccaneer. Marvel's version's brought to us by Roy Thomas, John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga.

We're also treated to the Red Sonja yarn Master of Shadows, a tale I know nothing about but I can say it's delivered by Christy Marx, John Buscema and Tony DeZuniga.

We also get an explanation, via the Inside Comics feature, of what the Society of Strip Illustrators is. I suspect that group's title will prove to be self-explanatory.

The Empire Strikes Back #154

That's a rather lovely cover by John Higgins.

I'm assuming that's not the John Higgins who plays snooker.

Among other things, we're presented with a tale called Tilotny Throws a Shape, starring such characters as Tilotny, Horliss-Horliss, Danda Sine and Splendid AP. Frankly, I don't have a clue who any of those people are.

We also get a four-page feature that lets us see the design sketches for C-3PO, the Millennium Falcon, an Imperial Stormtrooper, Princess Leia and R2-D2.

Sadly, I can reveal nothing else about this month's contents. Is Killraven still in the book? I don't know.

Spider-Man pocket book #23, the Rhino

As we can plainly see, we're about to meet the Rhino for the first time.

But that's not all. This issue also sees the pulse-pounding revelation of the origin of the Green Goblin, and then his subsequent descent into amnesia. How can one comic contain such thrills without bursting at the seams?

Rampage Magazine #44, the X-Men, The Thing

The book may be called Rampage and its headline act may be the X-Men but, this month, it's Ben Grimm who makes the cover, as he, Quasar and the new Giant-Man must unite to defeat the audio-visual might of Klaw and Solarr.

I can't guarantee it but I suspect the X-Men are on Muir Island, trying to take down Proteus, while Jean continues to have Mastermind-induced delusions.

Chiller pocket book #23, Dracula

Judging by that cover, things are looking fairly terminal for our favourite count.

However, I've a sneaking suspicion Drac'll be back on his feet in no time at all.

According to the Grand Comics Database, in this tale, Dracula recalls the circumstances that led to him being discovered by Drake and Graves, which doesn't sound the most thrilling of plots but I suspect Wolfman and Colan will, as always, extract maximum drama from proceedings.

Worzel Gummidge #5, Marvel UK

Amongst other thrills, this issue, we're treated to Aunt Sally's recipe page.

Is Aunt Sally noted for her cooking skills? I must confess I've never seen one minute of any of the TV adaptations of Worzel Gummidge.

I do feel this probably makes me culturally deprived.

Starburst #42

It's all excitement for us, this month, as Britain's top sci-fi mag takes a look at the upcoming movie Dragonslayer which it assures us will be the big Fantasy film of 1982.

We also get interviews with Jenny Agutter and Sean Connery and a look at the making of John Carpenter's upcoming film The Thing.

As far as I can make out, this issue doesn't contain a single photo of Caroline Munro. Quick, someone call an electrician! Something's clearly gone wrong with the editor's programming!