Tuesday 28 February 2023

Speak Your Brain! Part 48. Everyone's a Winner!

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, a month draws to a close.

But it was no ordinary month.

For a start, it contained not one but three special occasions.

Those occasions were Valentine's Day, Pancake Day and the opening of a new Lidl in the centre of Sheffield, next to Poundland, just up the road from the other Poundland.

And they say high street shopping is dead.

But what of you? Are those the subjects of which you wish to speak?

Or is there an even more urgent matter tugging at your tongue?

If so, here's the chance to say so because we've reached the latest installment of the greatest series of them all. The one in which the first person to comment gets to decide the topic of the day.

What will it be?

Only time - and the comments section - will tell.

Will Tell?

If I were a man of wit and intelligence, I'd now work out a way to end this post with a quip that relates to shooting apples off people's heads, and skillfully tying it into the fundamental concept of Speak Your Brain.

But I can't think of one.

So, I won't.

Sunday 26 February 2023

2000 AD - January 1985.

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

There's only one reason you're reading this post.

And that's because it has a domain name which enables you to actually find it.

And, for that, this post can thank the month of January 1985.

Verily, it be true. In that very month, the internet's Domain Name System was created - and things would never be the same again.

But, away from such futuristic fare, January saw a project that some may have feared was lagging behind the times a little, as the charity single We Are the World was being recorded by USA for Africa, making it far too late for that all-important Christmas market. Then again, maybe it was merely spectacularly early for the next Christmas market.

No such tardiness on the UK singles chart where, thanks to it being mere days after the Festive Season, the month kicked off with Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas? in top spot. But, inevitably, with Yuletide gone, it soon had to relinquish its crown. And it did so to Foreigner's I Want to Know What Love Is.

Love is, of course, a failure to score in tennis. I'm surprised a band of their resources and clout didn't have any means of discovering that.

Over on the British album chart, the month began with Various Artists' The Hits Album sitting pretty before forced to move aside for Alison Moyet's Alf which then, itself, gave way to Foreigner's Agent Provocateur

That was all delightful. But what of the galaxy's greatest comic?

It was still giving us the familiar diet of Rogue Trooper, Tharg's Future-ShocksNemesis the Warlock, Judge Dredd, The Stainless Steel RatThe Hell Trekkers and Ace Trucking Co.

However, there was one new element, thanks to the addition of the 2000 AD 1985 Calendar, Parts 1&2.

Interesting to see Prog 400's cover giving us a tribute to Roy Lichtenstein.

Or perhaps it was a tribute to whichever artist Roy'd borrowed the image from. Who can know? Not me, I'm a Philistine.

2000 AD Prog 399

2000 AD Prog 400

2000 AD Prog 401, Rogue Trooper

2000 AD Prog 402, Judge Dredd

Thursday 23 February 2023

February 24th, 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

Holy smokes, what magnificence is Marvel UK going to fling at us, this week?

The Mighty World of Marvel #21, Dr Doom vs the Fantastic Four

It really is no fun being Bruce Banner. No sooner is the Gamma-soaked brainbox back from his jaunt to Asia than he's jailed as a traitor.

Still, not to worry, as the President - knowing his secret, thanks to Rick "Blabbermouth" Jones - sets him free.

Not that he's at liberty for long, because that's when the Leader's army of Humanoids promptly captures him.

Back in New York, the origin of Daredevil continues apace. This time, getting a whole 10 pages devoted to it.

And, in another part of New York, Doctor Doom manages to convince the rest of the Fantastic Four that he's Mr Fantastic.

Then again, Alicia Masters managed to convince the rest of the Fantastic Four that she was Sue Storm.

They really aren't very good at recognising their own friends, are they?

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #2

I do believe it's the debut of the deadliest team of villains ever to set foot in a comic book.

That's right. The Enforcers are in town and, apparently, they're out to shake down Betty Brant.

Not that I know just what's meant by the phrase, "Shake down Betty Brant." It's just a plot description for the story, that I got from the internet.

But, whatever it all means, it would seem the Big Man - AKA Fred - is involved.

However, far far away from all that, Don Blake joins a medical mission to a civil-war-torn South American country, only for the leader of the communist faction to order an attack on the doctors.

Can our hero save his colleagues without giving away his secret identity?

Tuesday 21 February 2023

February 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

If British politics ever makes you despair, fear ye not. For, it is 1983 and there's a whole new force that's entered the Westminster scene.

That's right. In February 1983, the Official Monster Raving Loony Party contested its first-ever poll when it stood a candidate in the Bermondsey by-election. That candidate was Screaming Lord Sutch and things would never be the same again.

They'd be worse.

Sadly, for Screaming, he didn't cruise to the victory you might have expected and only managed to garner 97 votes. That, however, was never going to stop him - and his party - from returning, time after time, in the nation's elections, in a strange process where, with each election contested, they seemed to appear more and more sane when compared to the major parties.

Rather more seriously, that month - with the economy crumbling - unemployment had now reached a record high of nearly three and a quarter million.

However, at least someone was still making something and, on the automobile front, the Austin Metro became Britain's best-selling car.

Elsewhere, 37-year-old Pat Jennings of Arsenal and Northern Ireland became the first player in English football to chalk up a thousand senior games.

On the UK singles chart, the month launched with Men At Work's Down Under ruling the roost before it was forced to give way to the unstoppable new phenomenon in British music that was Kajagoogoo with their song Too Shy.

But even they were quickly dethroned by the even more unstoppabler phenomenon that was Michael Jackson's Billie Jean.

Over on the British album chart, events were dominated by Men At Work's Business as Usual which threatened to spend the whole of February on top but, at the month's very death, was displaced by Michael Jackson's Thriller.

The Daredevils #2

The UK's hottest new comic smashes its way into our lives again, as The Daredevils hits its second issue.

In its lead story, Captain Britain's back in his own reality but begins to have visions of the past. Can it be down to the supercomputer Mastermind?

Too right it can.

In the book's second strip, it's trouble for Daredevil when Bullseye abducts the Black Widow, in an attempt to flush our hero out into the open.

And, in the book's third and final tale, it's the 1960s and Spider-Man's still entangled in the Kingpin's kidnapping of J Jonah Jameson, and the subsequent death of Fred Foswell.

Plus, you could win a camera!

Marvel Super-Heroes #394

Everyone has the sadz because Jean Grey's - allegedly - died and Scott sees no other option but to quit the team.

I do believe the Avengers are still battling the out-of-control Red Ronin.

And Night-Raven's up to something too, thanks to the pens and pencils of Alan Moore and Paul Neary.

Doctor Who Magazine #73

Hooray! We get a preview of the upcoming series of everyone's favourite sci-fi show!

And there's a free sticker for those who want a picture of Peter Davison stuck to their school book!

It would appear the comic strip the world knows as The Stockbridge Horror is still ongoing and may have hit Part Three.

There's also a retrospective of the First Doctor's serial The Myth Makers which, as we all know, was set in the time of the Trojan Wars.

The Savage Sword of Conan #64

I've no information about what happens in this one but its cover promises us Sword and Sorcery at its greatest. So, it must be good.

Blakes 7 #17

The magazine dedicated to Britain's second-most popular sci-fi show gives us an interview with Josette Simon.

We're also treated to a five-page comic strip titled Hunted, brought to us by Paul Neary and Phil Gascoine.

And there's a free sticker in this one too. But it doesn't have anyone's face on it and, so, looks a bit boring.

Star Wars #166

My knowledge of this one is skimpy, to say the least, but it would appear Luke Skywalker meets the water bandits!

It doesn't say if he fights them, or anything. So, maybe he just has a chat with them.

About water.

In the grand tradition of his dad's conversations about sand.

Starburst Magazine #54

In this month's jam-packed issue, Stephen King and George A Romero talk about their plans for future collaboration.

And Steven Spielberg tells us about the making of ET.

Sybil Danning, meanwhile, dresses up as Shanna the She-Devil and talks about her own life and career.

Sunday 19 February 2023

The Marvel Lucky Bag - February 1983.

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

Sometimes, there are things lurking in your local swamp that you don't want to know about.

But you did in February 1983.

That's because it was the month which saw the release of the very first Swamp Thing movie, starring Dick Durock and Adrienne Barbeau. It's been so long since I saw it that I can't recall if I liked it or not, although I vaguely recall having preferred its sequel.

The month also saw the release of legendary Stone Age movie Quest for Fire, a film that, to my knowledge, has never had a sequel.

Although, I suppose, technically, every film made ever since has been a sequel to Quest for Fire.

Epic Illustrated #16

A rather lovely Barry Smith cover adorns this month's issue of the mag that loves to give you pretty pictures.

Inside, more pretty pictures are supplied by Rick Veitch, Marc Hempel, Jim Starlin, Dave Sim, Trina Robbins, Gene Day, Carl Potts, Rick Geary, Barry Smith and Charles Vess.

Between them, they illustrate tales with titles like Two SistersOur New DadThe Vision, The Woman Who Loved the MoonArnold the IsshurianThe HordeA Path of StarsThe Beguiling and Arise Awake, Awakening.

I can sensationally reveal that I know nothing about the plot of any of them.

Moon Knight #28

Speaking of covers, Bill Sienkiewicz gives us another attention-grabber, as our hero returns to Sudan and finds himself protecting a treasure in the temple where Moon Knight was born.

Special Edition X-Men #1

Hooray! Great news for those who missed it the first time round, as Marvel gives us a second chance to encounter the first-ever adventure of the New X-Men!

How well we remember that day when the original members were captured by Krakoa the Living Island, and Professor X had to recruit a team of misfits to rescue them.

But because even that's not enough to keep some people happy, we also get a brand-new tale in which Kitty Pryde shows Illyana around the mansion and talks about the team.

I know!

It sounds riveting!

What If? #37

This month, we get a triple bill from the comic that never stops demanding answers, when the Watcher ponders what would have happened had the Beast and Thing continued to mutate and what would have happened had Galactus turned the Silver Surfer back into boring old Norrin Radd.

ROM #39

At last! It's the fight that had to happen!

OK, I admit it. It's not. It's the fight that probably no one would ever have seen coming, as Rom encounters Shang-Chi son of Fu Manchu. 

It seems the pair unite at the British Museum, in order to prevent a coven of Dire Wraiths from resurrecting the mummy of an Egyptian witch-princess.

Red Sonja #1

Everyone's favourite she-devil with a sword gets another chance at solo stardom, as her latest book hits a shop near you.

I've no idea what happens in it but I do know blue definitely doesn't suit her and she needs to switch back to the bikini as soon as possible.

Bizarre Adventures #34

Joe Jusko supplies the cover, while Mark Gruenwald, Alan Kupperberg, Steven Grant, Paul Smith, Larry Hama, Bob Camp, Mike Carlin, Al Milgrom, Steve Skeates and Steve Smallwood fill the pages with a whole heap of humour-packed goodness that's just right for the Christmas holiday that's on its way.

Marvel Team-Up #126

The book that's traditionally concentrated on Spider-Man team-ups also gives us the combo of Luke Cage and the Son of Satan.

As far as I make out, those two are facing the mind-numbing peril of the Sons of Satannish.

Wait. What's this? The Son of Satan vs the Sons of Satannish? I spot a whole heap of room for confusion in that one.

Sadly, though, I don't know what occurs in the Spidey vs Hulk clash.

Thursday 16 February 2023

February 17th, 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

Rumour has it that, fifty years ago this week, big things were afoot in the world of Marvel UK

But what were they and shall we encounter them in this post?

The Mighty World of Marvel #20

What's this? The man without fear in The Mighty World of Marvel? How on Earth will one book be able to contain four heroes of the power and magnitude of the Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil and Fantastic Four?

It won't. But we'll come to that later.

In our first tale, the Hulk's in the Himalayas but becomes Puny Banner just in time to be menaced by a local bandit chief. It all climaxes with Bruce and Glenn Talbot, seemingly, plunging to their doom.

Elsewhere, in his sensational origin tale, Matt Murdock saves a blind man from a radioactive lorry but is blinded by it and gains super-senses. Can he use those senses to avenge his boxer father's death at the hands of The Fixer?

I suspect he can, even though, despite the cover hype, this tale only seems to have four pages devoted to it.

Even more elsewhere, Doctor Doom returns from space and drops in on Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He then goes on to swap bodies with Mr Fantastic.

But what a terrible plan. Just think how much damage he could have done if he'd swapped bodies with Stan Lee, instead.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #1

And this is the reason for Spider-Man's absence from Marvel UK's flagship title.

It's because he now has a mag of his own.

And what a mag it is. Not only bringing us an entire Spidey story every week but also regaling us with a Thor one, as well.

Not only that but we get a free Spider-Man mask, to boot!

Granted, it's just a red paper bag with eye holes cut in it but who cares about that?

Well, I did, for a start. I thought it was rubbish, even at the age of eight.

Anyway, inside this book, Electro decides to bust some criminals out of jail so they can help him with his latest crime spree.

The truth of FOOM is, at last, revealed!

And in Norway, a lame doctor bumps into an alien invasion, finds a stick in a cave, hits it on a rock, and things will never be the same again... 

Tuesday 14 February 2023

Forty years ago today - February 1983.

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

It's all kicking off in the skies above us. People seem to be shooting at UFOs, wherever you look.

But what of the contents of our Marvel comics, forty years ago?

Were they proving to be out of this world?

Or were they too coming crashing down to Earth?

Conan the Barbarian #143

As far as I can make out, this issue sees Conan almost tricked into being sacrificed to a dragon - and then having to conduct a huge barney with said dragon.

A barney that I predict the barbarian will win.

Captain America #278

SHIELD helps Captain America escape Baron Zemo's lair, and our hero heads off to confront Primus who's determined to wreck Steve Rogers' private life - by pretending to be him!

The Amazing Spider-Man #237, the Stilt Man

Now Spider-Man's in trouble - because the Stilt Man's back.

And just as stilty as ever!

I must admit I'm struggling to remember just what his plan is. It probably just involves him striding around on his stilts until someone knocks him over.

Come to think of it, I think it might involve him trying to restore his sense of self-respect by defeating Spider-Man who is, seemingly, the only super-hero he's ever beaten in the past.

Exactly when that was, I have no idea.

The Spectacular Spider-Man #75

There's nothing but action, this issue, as Doc Ock and the Owl have their big confrontation over which of them gets control of a nuclear device.

And, just to cloudy up the waters, the Black Cat's back from the dead, and doing her level best to get in the way of everyone concerned.

Thor #328, Sif vs Megatak

When the other gods return to Asgard, following their short sojourn in Don Blake's flat, Sif decides to stay behind on Earth but soon finds herself in physical conflict with brand-new villain Megatak. A menace blessed with the power of a video game!

Daredevil #191

I haven't read this one but, apparently, it's an issue in which Daredevil plays Russian Roulette with a hospitalised Bullseye.

Well, that sounds... ...great.

It almost makes me miss the days of Mike Murdock.

Iron Man #167

Things are looking bad for Tony Stark. Not only has Obadiah Stane hypnotised a group of international financiers, in a bid to drive Tony Stark out of business but our hero responds to it all by, once more, hitting the bottle.

The Uncanny X-Men #166

The saga of the X-Men being infected by the Brood comes to a head, with the mighty mutants bumping off the Brood Queen. That'll teach her.

The Avengers #228, Hank Pym on trial

Hank Pym's life somehow manages to get even worse. No sooner is he put on trial for treason than he's "rescued" by the New New Masters of Evil - on behalf of Egghead who then convinces his emmet-loving enemy to join forces with him.

The Incredible Hulk #280

Grrr! Bruce Banner smash!

Actually, I know very little about this issue but, from that cover, it's obvious the Leader's back and making his latest bid for revenge against our hero.

Fantastic Four #251

Reed Richards still hasn't learnt to stop interfering in the Negative Zone.

And because of that, Annihilus manages to slip through the portal into our world and menace poor old Alicia.

Sunday 12 February 2023

The Marvel Lucky Bag - February 1973.

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

We may all know what it feels like to have our flesh crawl but do we know how it feels for that organ to actually creep?

We did in February 1973 because it was the month which first unleashed The Creeping Flesh, that film of terror starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee as rival scientists who get more than they bargained for when a mysterious corpse is unearthed.

That film was, of course, brought to us by Tigon, the Hammer-like company which gave us those classic tales of dread Doomwatch, The Blood on Satan's Claw, The Beast in the Cellar, Curse of the Crimson Altar, Witchfinder General, The Blood Beast Terror and, er, Black Beauty.


This is it. After long months of teasing, FOOM #1 hits a letterbox near you!

I could give you a detailed rundown of what issue #1 contains but I refuse to do so. Mostly because I don't know what it contains.

It does, however, have a picture of Stan Lee on the front of it. And that's good enough for me!

Defenders #4, the Valkyrie

No such ignorance with this one, though.

Thanks to that triumphal cover, I know the Valkyrie only goes and makes her ever-loving debut!

At least, the Barbara Norriss version of her does, as different incarnations of the character have already appeared in the Hulk and Avengers mags.

In all three cases, however, it's been down to the machinations of the Enchantress.

Hero for Hire #6, Luke Cage

It would appear Luke Cage has to fight a bunch of suits of armour.

Why he has to do this, I can't recall.


Hooray! SHIELD gets its very own comic!

Granted, it comes purely in the form of reprints from 1966 issues of Strange Tales.

Also, it's destined to last for just five issues before disappearing.

As for the plot, it would appear Nick Fury blasts his way into an underwater base but is trapped by energy waves. Somehow, AIM and androids are also mixed up in all this.

Vault of Evil #1

Vault of Evil makes its nerve-shredding debut.

And does so by bringing us nightmares that bear such titles as The Thing that Grew!The Withered Hand, The Man in the Box! and Poor Mister Watkins. All of them reprinted from the 1950s.

Crazy #1

And here's yet another new comic for us to spend our money on, as Crazy #1 hits us in the funny bones.

All of this issue's tales are reprinted from 1968's Not Brand Echh #8 but this book won't replicate the success of that mag and will disappear after just three months.

Millie the Model #200

Someone who could teach Crazy a thing or two about longevity is Millie the Model who celebrates her 200th issue, this month!

Having said that, her book will only survive for another seven issues before it too folds.

Li'l Kids #10

I know little about Li'l Kids but I do know that someone called Calvin makes his debut.

Sub-Mariner #58

That red face can only mean one thing. 
Aquatic space alien Tamara makes her first-ever appearance and is out for revenge upon the people of Atlantis for massacring her people when they went to the city, in search of help.

Can Subby convince her to see there's good in the people of Atlantis as well as bad?

And is there actually any good in the people of Atlantis?

More urgently, can he prevent her from blowing the entire place up before we even get the chance to find out?

Thursday 9 February 2023

February 10th, 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

If I said the words, "Power to all our friends," you'd, no doubt, know exactly what I was alluding to.

Too right you would because February 10th, 1973, saw Cliff Richard unveil that very song on BBC One's Cilla Black show, in his bid to be selected the UK's entry for that year's Eurovision Song Contest.

I don't think I'm giving anything away by pointing out the bid succeeded. Though, sadly, he'd go on to only finish third in the actual contest itself. Still, he was only six points off winning it.

Eurovision is one home of all that's great in music but what about that other home of banging tunes, the UK singles chart?

As it turns out, there was no change at Number One, with top spot still being held by the Sweet's Blockbuster.

However, on the album chart, Elton John had now seized the pinnacle, thanks to his LP Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player.

I, of course, thoroughly approved of Blockbuster - the best song ever to be named after a home video rental store - and these are the other tracks I approved of on that singles chart.

You're So Vain - Carly Simon

Daniel - Elton John

Papa Was a Rollin' Stone - the Temptations

Whiskey in the Jar - Thin Lizzy

Superstition - Stevie Wonder

C. Moon -Wings

Crazy Horses - the Osmonds

Gudbuy T'Jane - Slade


Nights in White Satin - the Moody Blues.

Should you wish to explore that singles chart further, it can be found right here.

While the accompanying album chart resides here.

The Mighty World of Marvel #19

I do believe the Hulk escapes his Russian captors, thanks to a fellow fugitive sacrificing himself to spare him a blast from a deadly proton gun.

Back in America, Spider-Man gatecrashes Dorrie Evans' party. An act that brings him into conflict with her boyfriend the Human Torch.

Apart from guesting in other characters' stories, it's Spidey's last appearance in The Mighty World of Marvel - and possibly not the most classy way to leave.

Speaking of the Torch, he and the rest of his team are still broke and being forced, by circumstance, to star in a movie produced by their new employer the Sub-Mariner.