Sunday 31 December 2023

December 1983 - Marvel UK monthlies, 40 years ago this month.

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

The winds of change were blowing wherever you looked as 1983 prepared to make way for 1984. In the final month of that year, military rule ended in Argentina and democracy was restored with the launch of Raúl Alfonsín's first term as President.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, ANAP's Turgut Özal formed the new government of Turkey, thus beginning a new civilian regime in that land too.

But, in our cinemas, it was the return of the old, as Sean Connery reprised the role of James Bond, in Never Say Never Again, an adaptation of the novel Thunderball which had already been filmed in 1965. The "unofficial" movie would be the seventh and final time the Scot played the world's most famous secret agent.

Over on the UK singles chart, the Number One spot, that December, was held by just one song. And that song was the Flying Pickets' cover of Yazoo's early 1980s smash Only You.

On the British album chart, the Number One slot was initially hogged by Paul Young's No Parlez before even that was forced to make way for the unstoppable behemoth that was Various Artists' Now That's What I Call Music.

The Mighty World of Marvel #7, Wolverine

What's this? Unless my senses deceive me, the book the world knows as Daredevils has bitten the dust and merged with The Mighty World of Marvel to leave the company with just four monthly mags!

You can tell it's bad news. Look at how sad even Wolverine's looking about it, on that cover.

Then again, maybe he has other reasons for feeling down. After all, it seems Yukio's killed Asano, forcing our hero to recognise her treachery and hunt her down.

Meanwhile in the fun-filled wonderland of the United Kingdom, following Jim Jaspers' eradication of all super-beings, two young girls in hiding talk about Captain Britain.

And Night-Raven experiences Part 2 of the adventure that is Quiet Town.

Doctor Who Magazine #83, Cybermen

Other magazines may falter but, like its all-but immortal hero, Doctor Who Monthly just keeps on going.

In this issue, we get a history of the Cybermen and a look back at the Celestial Toymaker. Who would have thought that villain would return almost exactly 40 years after the publication of this issue?

And I do believe this month's much-touted poster is of that very villain, as played by Michael Gough.

But that's not all. We're also fed the conclusion of the comic strip Four-Dimensional Vistas which features that other First Doctor foe the Meddling Monk.

Speaking of the First Doctor, William Hartnell's widow is interviewed.

And there's a report on the Chicago Doctor Who Convention.

The Savage Sword of Conan #74, Marvel UK

The bulk of this issue belongs to The Demon in the Dark in which, after a death-defying encounter with Barachan pirate Bor'aqh Sharaq, Conan reaches the Argossean capital.

After that, he receives a six-page tale called Hunters and Hunted!

And there's the Solomon Kane adventure Red Seas in which the pistol-packing Puritan comes to the aid of a Portuguese merchant vessel.

Starburst Magazine #64

Britain's favourite sci-fi mag returns to thrill us with news of such gems as 
Spacehunter, Jaws 3D and Metalstorm! Much loved films, all.

But there's even more for us to sink our teeth into, as the issue also scrutinises House of Wax, Parasite and Friday the 13th 3D.

3D is definitely the theme of this issue and, to prove it, it even offers up a retrospective of the 3D movies of the 1950s and 60s.

Elsewhere, John Brosnan takes a look at the history of underwater Fantasy movies.

Thursday 28 December 2023

December 29th 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 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 said, "It's ChristMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASSSS!!!!!"

That man was Noddy Holder. And December 1973 was the first time he said it because that was when Slade's Merry Xmas Everybody claimed the coveted Christmas Number One spot in the UK.

Somehow, I can't help feeling I've said this before.

Regardless, over on the LP chart, Elton John's latest platter that mattered Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was hogging the pinnacle.

Given that that Slade single is my favourite Christmas song of all time, it goes without saying that it's a track I approve of. However, at this time of year, even a Scrooge like me feels inclined to spread the love around and, so, other tracks I approved of on that week's singles chart were:

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every DayWizzard

My Coo-Ca-ChooAlvin Stardust

The Show Must Go OnLeo Sayer

LamplightDavid Essex

Roll Away the StoneMott the Hoople

Dance with The DevilCozy Powell

AmoureuseKiki Dee

Mind Games - John Lennon

PhotographRingo Starr


Goodbye Yellow Brick RoadElton John.

I do notice there are no less than two versions of Deck of Cards in the Top 50. What had we done to deserve that special honour?

Should you wish to study that year's UK Christmas countdown further, it can be found here.

While the accompanying album chart resides right here.

The Mighty World of Marvel #65, Hulk vs Sandman

Now the Hulk's in trouble!

He has to take on a man whose power is sand!

How can even our hero ever hope to prevail against a man who's coarse and rough and irritating and gets everywhere?

Quite easily, as it turns out but, first, he has to realise that he should be fighting him at all.

That's because, in a scheme to steal some secret military documents, Sandy cons him into believing he's his only friend in the world.

The Fantastic Four, meanwhile, are still, as far as I'm aware, in Dr Doom's embassy and having to face whatever new madcap malevolence the metal-masked menace has machinated.

I do believe this is the tale in which Doom and Reed partake in a mental dual in which the FF's leader convinces the villain that triumph is finally his.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #46

Oh, the melodrama! Spidey and JJ have been captured by the Kingpin who's out to drown the pair of them!

Not to worry, Spidey's web dome soon removes that threat and, now, the wallcrawler's free to deal with the rotund robber.

But there's more drama yet to be acted out as, in a surprising burst of nobility, Fred Foswell sacrifices himself to save the publisher who gave him a second chance.

An individual to whom you definitely wouldn't give a second chance is the Absorbing Man.

And that's a shame because he's getting one.

The mimicry-based menace is loose on the streets of New York - and only Thor can stop him.

But just how do you stop someone who's at least as powerful as you are?

The Avengers #15, General Gorgo

Hooray! This is the first issue I had that featured the new Avengers lineup!

And what a challenge they face when they must thwart the hulking horror of General Gorgo.

As far as I can remember, he's a Vietnamese tyrant who seems unstoppable until it turns out he's a robot and the Scarlet Witch blows him up with her hex power.

I do believe this issue also contains the conclusion of Dr Strange's first encounter with Dormammu, in which the smog-faced villain has to pledge never to invade Earth, thanks to having needed the sorcerer's help in preventing the Mindless Ones from destroying his kingdom.

Tuesday 26 December 2023

Forty Years Ago Today! The 1983 Marvel UK annuals for 1984.

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

What is this madness? It seems like it was mere days ago I was looking at Marvel annuals and, now, here I am, doing it again.

But, as always, there's nothing like a good dose of delayed gratification.

Therefore, I shall stall for time and reveal what we were watching on Christmas Day in the Lord's great big year of 1983.

Early on, BBC One was gifting us such fare as The Christmas Raccoons and something called The Glitterball.

Then, we were, as always, treated to the Christmas Day Top of the Pops. This time, featuring performances by such greats as Michael Jackson, Shakin' Stevens, Men at Work, Bonnie Tyler, Duran Duran, Bucks Fizz, Lionel Richie and David Bowie.

Later, Terry Wogan hosted a Blankety Blank special which guested Sabina Franklyn, Roy Kinnear, Ruth Madoc, Patrick Moore, Beryl Reid and Freddie Starr. I do believe that, of those, mentioned, Sabina Franklyn is the only one still alive.

Following in its wake were such delights as Treasure Island, The Two Ronnies, All Creatures Great and Small and Only Fools and Horses.

Finally, the channel's day was brought to a close by The Spinners at York. These were, of course, the British Spinners, not the ones of Detroit fame.

BBC Two, meanwhile, struck early with Nobody Minded the Rain...: Impressions of Coronation Day.

It also gave us The Book Game in which Anthony Burgess, Germaine Greer, Susan Hill and Adam Mars-Jones tried to identify extracts before giving vent to their literary likes and dislikes. I have to say that sounds a right barrel of laughs.

Later, we got The Great Palace: the Story of Parliament, Meet Me in St Louis, an operatic version of Cinderella, and The Bob Monkhouse Show.

And the station ended its day with the Marx Brothers In Duck Soup.

But what of ITV? Christmas is, after all, a love-in for commercialisation. So, what was the commercial channel up to?

Early doors, it offered up Roland Rat's Winter Wonderland.

As the day progressed, it also provided us with The Capture of Grizzly Adams, Superman, Jimmy Tarbuck's Christmas All-Stars and The Revenge of the Pink Panther before shutting down with The Streets of San Francisco.

Well, TV's all very good but what we all want at Christmas is alcohol a singalong. So, that in mind, what was the UK's Number One on that special day?

It was The Flying Pickets' a cappella cover of Yazoo's Only You which was bravely holding off the challenge of Slade's anthemic comeback ballad My Oh My. Interestingly, even though it was a full decade after the band's commercial heyday, that week's Top 100 featured no less than four Slade songs.

Over on the British album chart, sway was being held by Various Artists' Now That's What I Call Music while Paul Young resided at Number Two, thanks to his LP No Parlez.

Marvel UK Star Wars Return of the Jedi Annual 1983/1984

Marvel's biggest money-spinner returns for another round of hardback action.

And it gives us the company's adaptation of the third film in the trilogy, as brought to us by Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson and Carlos Garzón.

Marvel UK, Spider-Woman Annual 1984

I'm going to be honest, if I was asked to guess which Marvel characters would get a UK annual, this year, Spider-Woman wouldn't have been on the list.

However, I'm clearly some kind of fool because she does get her own annual.

Info about it and its contents is hard to come by but I do know it provides us with plenty of Carmine Infantino action, as Jessica Drew stars in a tale called The Bounty Hunter.

There's also a guest appearance from the Hulk but whether that's in the same tale or a different one, I cannot say.

Marvel UK, Hulk Annual 1984

Rather less surprisingly, the Hulk gets his own annual.

And it's one which reprints his first encounter with Tyrannus, just as the 1972/1973 Marvel Annual did. But, this time, in colour.

We also get the tale in which the Hulk and Avengers must unite to tackle the Leader who seems to have concocted a plan to turn everyone into replicas of himself, via the city's water supply.

The book also seems to contain some of the material created for Marvel UK in the Sez Dez's Revolution era.

Marvel UK, Spider-Man Annual 1984

I know who's not going to have a merry Christmas.

And that's Spider-Man.

And that's because this year's annual reprints the death of Gwen Stacy and the death of Norman Osborn. Blimey, it's a miracle they didn't fling in the death of Captain Stacy while they were at it.

It also contains at least two text stories, and multiple photos from the 1970s Spider-Man TV show the kids are, no doubt, still talking about in 1983.

Sunday 24 December 2023

Fifty Years Ago Today! The 1973 Marvel UK annuals for 1974.

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

Yo-ho-ho, boys and girls. I hope you've all been good, this year, because it's the very Eve of Christmas itself!

And that means we're all going to be finding a very special something in our stockings.

Nothing less than 1973's Marvel Annual 1974!

But that can wait. First, we need to discover just what were we watching on Christmas Day of that year.

That morning, BBC One turned its back on wokeness and gave us the spectacle that was its Black and White Minstrel Show. I'm kind of feeling it won't be repeating that one this Yuletide.

In the early afternoon, we were treated to the Festive Top of the Pops in which Tony Blackburn and Noel Edmonds fronted a special edition of the nation's favourite music show. That meant we got the biggest hits from such stars as Suzi Quatro, Slade, the Simon Park Orchestra, 10cc, Peters & Lee, Wizzard, Dawn and David Cassidy.

And, of course, it was all visually supplemented by the permanently traumatising never-to-be-forgotten dance moves of Pan's People.

Later, we got Billy Smart's Christmas Circus, Christmas Pantomime: Robin Hood, Bruce Forsyth's the Generation Game, The Mike Yarwood Christmas Show, The Morecambe and Wise Show and The Odd Couple.

And, because it was that time of year, we ended the day with Lost Hearts, one of the BBC's legendary Ghost Stories for Christmas. In this one, an orphan goes to live with his uncle but finds himself haunted by the ghosts of two children.

Tragically, despite my love of Christmas ghost stories, I missed it.

However, I had a very good reason to do so.

One that has shaped my mind to this very day.

Over on BBC Two, the morning offered us White Christmas before we were treated to a cartoon version of A Christmas Carol followed by Far From the Madding Crowd, Buster Keaton's The Railrodder, Swan Lake and Alice Through the Looking-Glass.

However, all of that paled into insignificance next to what the day's schedule ended with.

And that was Quatermass and the Pit!

And that broadcast is why I missed the ghost story on BBC One. And it's why I shall always associate Christmas with a man plunging a tower crane into the heart of Satan.

But what of ITV?

The commercial behemoth treated us to an episode of Rainbow before offering up Chipperfield's Christmas Circus.

The Afternoon Movie was Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows. A film I've never heard of in my entire life.

Then we got Queen of Hearts with Danny La Rue and Peggy Mount.

That was followed by All-Star Comedy Carnival which appears to have been a Jimmy Tarbuck-hosted compilation comprised of Man About the House, My Good Woman, Sez Les, Billy Liar, Spring and Autumn and Doctor in Charge. I must confess that My Good Woman and Spring and Autumn are totally unfamiliar to me.

After that, we got Tommy Cooper's Christmas, Von Ryan's Express and, if we lived in Yorkshire, The Odd Couple. This means the BBC and ITV were both showing The Odd Couple, that evening. However, the former was showing the movie, while the latter was offering us the TV spin-off.

Marvel Annual 1974

Hooray! It's the sequel to the classic 1973 Marvel Annual. And I have to say its cover's not a patch on its predecessor's 

Opening it up, the inside seems far less themed than that had been. All but one of the stories in its forebear were from the very early days of the 1960s, with three of the tales featuring our heroes vs alien menaces.

This year's selection of tales seems far more arbitrary.

We kick off with On Wings of Death! the tale in which the Beetle abducts Aunt May, and Spidey has to confront him in a swimming pool.

Then we get The Origin of Daredevil.

That's followed by something called The Star Raiders, a Lee/Ditko intriguer in which a group of convicts-turned-pirates are tricked into attacking a planet they believe defenceless. Only for them to discover the inhabitants are not the midgets they thought they were!

Next, is the aquatic drama of When Attuma Strikes! When Hank Pym snaps at the Wasp for making a mistake during an experiment, she flees. But, when her plane's captured in Attuma's latest bid for world conquest, only Giant-Man can save her.

For those who've not got enough of Giant-Man from that tale, we then get Special Feature: All You Want to Know About Giant-Man. To be honest, I'm not sure there's that much I want to know about Giant-Man but it's nice to know the info's there, should I ever need it.

Leaving the man of size behind, we stumble across And Then Came Electro! in which Spider-Man agrees to guest on a chat show but - wouldn't you know it - Electro just happens to be working at the studio and decides this is the perfect time to wreak his high-voltage vengeance.

Fortunately, Spidey survives that tale.

Just as he survives the next one which is The Terrible Threat of the Living Brain!

Now we get The Origin of... ...The Hulk as drawn by sturdy Steve Ditko.

And, finally, the Hulk has his first-ever meeting with the Fantastic Four.

I'll say one thing for that book, it might not have the thematic cohesion of the previous annual but it gives us plenty of (admittedly baffling) variety.

Also, it's a Marvel annual. Who cares what's in it? It's a Marvel annual!

Thursday 21 December 2023

December 22nd 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 years ago this week.

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

At this time of the year, there's only one thing that matters.

And that's, "What's Number One?"

Slade are Number One!

Or, at least, they are if you're living in 1973.

It's an indisputable fact. That year, their ever-green smash Merry Xmas Everybody claimed the Yuletide top spot that all British artists dream of, and sealed their place in immortality. And, arguably, revived the concept of the Christmas single itself, setting us on the path to where we are today with about 50% of the Top 100 being made up of festive offerings.

Nothing quite so festive was occurring at the pinnacle of the British LP chart which was ruled, right then, by Elton John and his double album of renown Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Then again, that record took its title from The Wizard of Oz, and The Wizard of Oz tends to show up on TV at Christmas. So, perhaps Elton's offering was more Christmassy than it initially seemed.

The Mighty World of Marvel #64, Hulk vs the Galaxy Master

Recruited by desperate locals from outer space, the Hulk continues his battle with the biggest mouth in the universe, as he and the Galaxy Master slug it out in a conflict that could shake the cosmos itself.

Obviously, the villain stands no chance against the World's mightiest mortal and is soon overcome.

However, even that mortal has problems when, battle over, he transforms back into Bruce Banner on a spaceship with barely any air in it!

Back on Earth, things start out nicely for the Fantastic Four when they're invited to a posh do at the Latverian embassy.

But, as they enter that embassy, little do they know who their true host for the evening really is...

Then again, their host might not be too sure who he really is either, as I do believe this is the tale which first posits the notion that Dr Doom, Kang, Immortus and Rama-Tut might all be the same man.

The Avengers #14, the Minotaur

Drama is piled upon drama when the all-new Avengers must prove themselves in battle with the Minotaur.

I've never read this one and, so, from that cover, I'm going to assume the Minotaur's working for the Mole Man.

I'm also led to believe, by the internet, that this comes about because of the gang's search for the Hulk who they're hoping to re-recruit to the team.

Well, the Minotaur may not prove to be one of Marvel's great villains but I know who does.

And he's about to make his debut in the pages of Dr Strange.

For, lo, it is in this very issue the dread Dormammu makes his Marvel UK debut when the Ancient One tells our hierophantic hero the villain plans to conquer the Earth.

This gives Strange no choice but to enter Dormammu's realm and challenge him to a punch-up.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #45, the Kingpin

When the Kingpin recruits "reformed" reporter Fred Foswell and kidnaps J Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man makes it his own personal business to get involved.

But, like the Hulk always does, neglects to hold his breath when shot in the face by gas.

Can our hero possibly bounce back from this setback?

And is it really worth all this trouble to save Jonah?

Elsewhere, Odin sends Thor and Loki to Skornheim to endure the Trial of the Gods, in order to determine which of his sons is lying to him; the honest one or the one who never stops lying.

Call me prejudiced but why do I get the feeling only one of those combatants is going to follow the rules?

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Speak Your Brain! Part 69. Memories of comics/pop culture & toys. Plus, fake trees or real trees?

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
What seems like barely more than three weeks since it began, yet another year is careening towards its end.

But is that what's on your mind?

Or are there other concerns that tug at your attention strings? Concerns that have become scratches that must be itched?

Are there questions that refuse to leave your mind? And answers that can be withheld from the world for no longer?

If so, you've come to the right place - because it's a Tuesday and it's the second half of the month. 

And that can only mean one thing.

The pulse-pounding return of the feature in which you The Reader get to decide just what should be the day's topic for debate.

It could be drawn from any field of human endeavour. Or even non-human endeavour. It may even be drawn from the field of indeterminate non-endeavour.

It simply doesn't matter.

All that matters is the comments section awaits below, is free of charge and at your disposal.

Sunday 17 December 2023

2000 AD - November 1985.

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

Operating systems. Where would we be without them?

I know where I'd be. I'd be not sat at this keyboard.

However, in November 1985, this site and the whole wide world web of webbery that accompanies it came a step closer to reality, thanks to the world-shaking launch of a brand new thing called Windows.

It's true. It was in the month in which the Microsoft Corporation released version 1.0 of its legendary operating system, and things would never be the same again.

Elsewhere in the world, 22-year-old Garry Kasparov defeated Anatoly Karpov to become the youngest-ever undisputed World Chess champion.

While, in Geneva, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev met for the first time. Not, I suspect, to play chess with each other.

But what of the cinemas of this globe? What was occurring, therewithin, as those world-changing events were unfolding?

As it turns out, nothing too impressive was occurring but it was a month that did give us such offerings as Death Wish 3, A Nightmare on Elm Street 2, To Live and Die in LA, My Beautiful Laundrette, King Solomon's MinesEwoks: The Battle for Endor, Rocky IV and Santa Claus: The Movie.

I must declare that, of that lot, I think I've only seen King Solomon's Mines. I must also declare that I don't remember it being very good, although it did strike me that that Sharon Stone woman who was in it might have a future.

Over on the UK singles chart, the top spot was initially clung to by Jennifer Rush's The Power of Love before future eco-warrior Feargal Sharkey dislodged her with his version of A Good Heart. But that too then had to make way. This time, for the unstoppable force that was Wham's I'm Your Man.

Meanwhile, the accompanying album chart entered November with George Benson's Love Songs on top before it was displaced by Sade's Promise which was then superseded by Various Artists' The Greatest Hits of 1985.

But what of the galaxy's greatest comic? Surely, it too must have had many and plentiful things to offer us. 

In fact, what it had to offer us was what we'd grown accustomed to it offering us, with it producing such strips as Robo-Hunter, NemesisJudge Dredd, Tharg's Future-Shocks and Mean Team. As far as I can make out, no new strips were launched during this spell. One can only assume Tharg had decided the book was perfect and needed no tinkering with at all.

2000 AD #442, Sam Slade

2000 AD #443, Judge Dredd

2000 AD #444, Rogue Trooper

2000 AD #445

2000 AD #446

Thursday 14 December 2023

December 15th 1973 - Marvel UK, 50 years ago this week.

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

No one loves science more than the owner of this website does.

Thus it is that I'm thrilled to report it was this week in 1973 that Brian Josephson shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for his theoretical predictions of the properties of a supercurrent through a tunnel barrier. In particular, those phenomena which are generally known as the Josephson effects.

Not only that but Geoffrey Wilkinson and Ernst Otto Fischer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, for their pioneering work, performed independently, on the chemistry of the organometallic sandwich compounds.

Much as I love sandwiches, I'm perfectly happy to settle for them being kept in shops. I see no reason why they need entire compounds to store them in.

Over on the UK singles chart, the battle for Christmas supremacy reached overdrive, as Glam Rock gargantuans Slade smashed their way straight onto the Hit Parade at Number One, with their classic party-pleaser Merry Xmas, Everybody. Off the top of my head, I do believe it was their sixth Number One. Though, sadly, and surprisingly, it also turned out to be their last.

Over on the accompanying LP chart, events were dominated by far less rowdy fare, as David Cassidy's Dreams Are Nothin' More Than Wishes climbed serenely to the pinnacle.

The Mighty World of Marvel #63, Hulk

It's another Marvel masterpiece, as the aliens who created Umbu - the robot the Hulk destroyed, last week - visit Earth to find out just what kind of a being could stop their unstoppable creation.

They then make the mistake of taking him back home, where he can be recruited in a plot to destroy the Galaxy Master, a shouty, floating mouth who wants to rule the universe.

And, as we all know, if there's anyone who's never seen a gob he didn't want to punch, it's the Hulk.

But, after that tale, there's a shock.

And that's because this issue doesn't contain a Fantastic Four story.

Instead, it contains the true tale of the origin of Dr Doom, in which we learn how he started out as a poor young Romany boy, lost his mum, lost his dad, invented hair restorer, turned mud into gold, invented the bomb-proof caravan, blew himself up and ended up seizing the much-coveted throne of Latveria.

The Avengers #13

It's issue #13 and it's unlucky for some.

Those Some being fans of Iron Man, Giant-Man and Thor who all announce they're leaving the team they created.

Strangely, the cover blurb totally ignores the existence of the winsome Wasp who's also leaving. But how will the team ever survive without her?

Simple. It'll survive by recruiting a trio of well-known criminals.

Dr Strange, meanwhile, stars in a tale called Mordo Must Not Catch Me!

And I'm going to guess, from that title, that Baron Mordo's involved.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #44

And it's another classic, as Peter Parker decides he shall no longer be Spider-Man.

At least, not until he sees a man who looks like Uncle Ben being put upon by robbers and, so, feels he has no choice but to intervene.

Not only does this story contain that historical event but I do believe it may very well be the first issue of any Marvel comic to feature the mountainous menace of the Kingpin.

Elsewhere, Thor visits the steel mills of Pittsburgh, to repair the hammer damaged, last week, by the Destroyer.

However, the thunder god's worries have only just begun, as he soon discovers Jane Foster's gone missing. 

And I do believe this is one of those very rare occasions when Marvel UK continuity stacks up because, at one point, he tries to contact the Avengers for help - only to discover that nearly all of them have quit and been replaced by new-fangled newcomers he doesn't like.

Tuesday 12 December 2023

The Marvel Lucky Bag - December 1983.

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

A visit to the cinema in December 1983 was, most likely, a tense one, with the release of such knuckle-chewing thrillers as ChristineScarface, The Keep, The Plague Dogs and, erm, Terms of Endearment... 

...and Yentl.

As far as I can remember; amongst those, Christine and Scarface are the only ones I've ever seen. I will, therefore, go for Christine as my pick of the bunch, even though I suspect it's nothing like the best of them.

Moon Knight Special Edition #2

Everyone's favourite dark night detective gets a second special edition, although it's not that special, being made up entirely of reprints. This time, from the late-lamented Hulk magazine.

In it, Moon Knight and his friend Jason set off to watch a total lunar eclipse, to discover what effect such a phenomenon will have on his powers and, as far as I can make out, they bump into the Hulk while they're at it.

Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #1

Nick Fury's SHIELD gets its million-and-oneth book.

However, it's made up entirely of reprints from Jim Steranko's 1960s run.

More specifically, tales involving such rogues as Scorpio and Centurius.

Power Man and Iron Fist #100

Power Man and Iron Fist may not be able to sustain a comic of their own, as individuals, but, as a team, they must be doing something right because they've managed to hit their hundredth issue!

And, to celebrate, Marvel grants them a double-sized comic. One in which we're retold the origins of the dynamic duo.

And, given the embiggened page count, I'm sure there's plenty more happens in it besides that.

The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #17

Not wanting to be left out of all these special-issue shenanigans, Spider-Man gets his 17th annual.

And it's built around a brand new adventure from Bill Mantlo, Roger Stern, Ed Hannigan and Jim Mooney. However, I can shed no light upon what actually happens in it.

It would seem the villainous Louie Minelli makes his debut but I don't have a clue who he is.

U.S. 1 #7

The nature of this comic is still a mystery to me but, this month, it has a pleasant cover. Therefore, I shall include it.

Micronauts Special Edition #1

And, good Lord above, even the Micronauts have a special edition!

Again, it's just reprints. This time, recycling tales from the first three issues of their monthly mag.

Magik #1

But, at last, a genuinely new mag hits our spinner racks!

And it happens when Storm and Illyana team up to do something or other!

All I know of this book is Illyana's trapped in Limbo, with the X-Men from an alternate timeline.

What If? #42

The world's most inquisitive comic demands to know what would have happened had the Invisible Girl died.

I assume they would have buried her or cremated her. Hopefully, they wouldn't have got the Human Torch to cremate her, as that would have been, frankly, tasteless.

Beyond that, I cannot speculate as to what would have transpired.

Star Wars Annual #3

The war of the stars gets its third annual. And, to my surprise, it appears not to be made up of reprints.

However, that's all the light I can shed upon the subject of what occurs within, because neither my personal experience nor Googling provides me with ready answers.

Sunday 10 December 2023

Forty years ago today - December 1983.

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

One of the stars of this week's comic book cavalcade is travelling forward in time.

We, however, will only be heading in one direction.

And that's towards yesteryear.

Captain America #288, Deathlok

Cap flings himself into the far-flung future of 1993, to find a world where all super-heroes have been bumped off and a cyborg called Hellinger is planning to wipe out what's left of humankind.

Needless to say, it only takes America's greatest hero about twenty minutes to track down and stop the villain.

With a massive amount of aid from Deathlok, of course.

Daredevil #201, the Black Widow

With Daredevil's activities severely hindered by his recent injuries, the Black Widow decides to chip in and help out when he wants to track down the mystery man who tried to assassinate Foggy Nelson.

I seem to remember the hero doing a lot of whining, about being useless, in this one.

Fantastic Four #261, the Watcher, in search of Reed Richards

Oh my God! Now what are we going to do? Someone's kidnapped Reed Richards, with the aid of an outer space beam!

Needless to say, the rest of the gang waste no time in looking for him; even seeking aid from the Watcher, along the way.

But, when they find their missing leader, it turns out he's been put on trial for saving the life of Galactus. An act that's directly led to the destruction of the Skrull homeworld.

With no doubt at all that Richards did it, it seems to be an open-and-shut case.

Surely, his execution can't now be prevented.

The Amazing Spider-Man #247

I've not one millimetre of recollection about what happens in this one but I gather the instoppable menace that is the Frog-Man is involved.

The Spectacular Spider-Man #85, Hobgoblin

I do, however, recall what happens in this book.

Because yet another fight breaks out between Spider-Man and the Hobgoblin.

And, now, the villain's got super-strength!

But the good news is our hero doesn't have to fight alone, as he now has the Black Cat on his side.

Or is that good news? Because all she manages to do is get in the way.

Thor #338, Thor vs Beta Ray Bill

Now that Beta Ray Bill has Thor's hammer - and his powers - there's a pressing need to decide which of them is most deserving of that hammer and those powers.

Thus it is that Odin sets up a contest between them to decide just who is the noblest warrior of them all.

And, quelle horreur, the sheep-faced alien wins it!

The Incredible Hulk #290, MODOK

Hooray! Romance is in the air, as MODOK transforms SHIELD agent Katherine Waynesboro into a female version of himself and, inevitably, they fall in love with each other.

Or do they? It's not long before they're at each other's throats and trying to kill each other.

Iron Man #177, the Flying Tiger

Out of work since Obadiah Stane's takeover of the Stark business empire, Rhodey decides to hire himself out as a bodyguard to the rich and powerful.

But that brings him into direct conflict with the awesome foe that is the Flying Tiger.

Luke Cage and Iron Fist put in a guest appearance, thanks to their ability to give Rhodey advice on how to become a hero for hire.

Tony Stark, meanwhile, is making some kind of move towards drying out.

The Avengers #238

The Vision finally awakes from his coma.

But that's where the good news ends, as, thanks to a link-up with Titan's controlling super-computer ISAAC, he's now smarter and more powerful than ever.

And determined to make full use of his new abilities, whether other people like it or not.

Conan the Barbarian #153

Some of us thought we'd never live to see Conan riding along on the back of a giant dragonfly but we were wrong.

All I remember of this one is the barbarian meets a woman with the unlikely name of Alhambra and she has wings. What she does with those wings and for what purpose, I cannot say.

The Uncanny X-Men #176, Cyclops vs the tentacles

It's a departure from the norm, as the issue mostly dwells on Cyclops and his wife taking a boat trip. One on which they find themselves attacked by a giant octopus.

Elsewhere, beneath the streets of New York, Callisto's moving pieces into place in her bid to gain vengeance upon Storm for deposing her as leader of the Morlocks.