Thursday 29 June 2023

June 30th, 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
***

Do you know how to please me?

Too right you do.

Do you know how to squeeze me?

Not half.

Because you've heard Slade's track Skweeze Me Pleeze Me and you've heard it because it's Number One, right now, in this week in 1973, giving the Wolverhampton rockers their fifth UK Number One and cementing their position as the biggest band of the era.

But, of course, when it comes to albums, there's no band bigger than Various Artists and, right then, they were doing it again by hogging the top spot, with their LP That'll Be the Day.

The Mighty World of Marvel #39

Outer space looms heavily in this week's Mighty World of Marvel

First, the Hulk encounters what seems to be a flying saucer but it's actually the Silver Surfer - and the big green galloot decides to try to force the former herald to take him to another planet where he can escape the attention of the puny humans.

Then, the Hulk does indeed find himself in space, where he encounters the High Evolutionary's New New Men who're starting to go the way of his old New Men and are out to kill their creator. Can the Hulk stop them before it's too late?

But outer space also comes to us, as the Skrulls send their greatest-ever agent the Super-Skrull to battle the Fantastic Four. How can the FF ever hope to defeat a foe who has all their powers and more?

But that's not all. We also get a four-page Lee/Colan epic called The Last Rocket! in which the only two people left on Earth, after everyone else abandons it, are revealed to be called Adam and Eve.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #20

It's double trouble for everyone's favourite web-slinger, as the Crime-Master and Green Goblin are out to take control of the New York mobs - with Spidey stuck in the middle of them.

I believe this is the one in which the Crime-Master's revealed to be a total non-entity we've never seen before, possibly leading to the myth that Steve Ditko left the strip because he wanted to reveal the Green Goblin to be an anonymous nobody we've never seen before.

Speaking of nobodies, Thor's still having trouble with Zarrko the Tomorrow Man.

Tuesday 27 June 2023

Speak Your Brain! Part 56. Bad movies you love!

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
It's certainly been a memorable time, of late, with a coup almost being carried out in Russia and then not being carried out at all.

But there's one place where you don't need to enact a well-staged military putsch to have your voice heard.

And that's Speak Your Brain.

Yes indeed. It's the return of the most anticipated feature on the internet. The one in which the first person to comment gets to decide the topic of the day.

But what will that topic be?

And will that person be you?

I can't say.

Only you can do that.

And you can do it in the comments section below.

Sunday 25 June 2023

June 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
***

Do I have a cunning plan?

And is it more cunning than Kenny Cunningham the cunning king of Cunningland?

Too right I do.

And that's because this month is the fortieth anniversary of the launch of classic sitcom Blackadder, the show that blew the lid off history and revealed, at last, the true story of Britain. 

Over on the UK singles chart, just two songs ruled the roost in June 1983. The first was the Police's Every Breath You Take which was then supplanted by Rod Stewart's Baby Jane.

Likewise, two LPs ruled the roost on the British album chart. The first was Michael Jackson's Thriller which was then succeeded by the Police's Synchronicity.

Starburst #56, The Keep

Hold on to your horses because the nation's favourite sci-fi mag offers us an interview with Jessica Harper.

Admittedly, at first, I got her mixed up with Rhoda star Valerie Harper and felt she was an odd choice as an interviewee in a sci-fi mag but it seems Jessica Harper is the star of such films as Suspiria, Phantom of the Paradise and Shock Treatment. She, therefore, does make sense as an interviewee.

And there's a look back at Rollerball, a look forward to Return of the Jedi and a look sideways at Things That Go Bump in The Night.

Star Wars Monthly #170

The power of The Force tells me this issue features everyone's favourite bounty hunter Boba Fett.

Why he's everyone's favourite bounty hunter, I have no idea. Does he even have any lines in any of the films? And does he ever do anything apart from falling into that big mouth in the sand?

The only other thing I know about this issue is it has an advert for an ET watch on the back cover.

The Savage Sword of Conan #68

Conan enters a small kingdom whose princess is about to marry some ruler or other.

Thus is our hero hired as her bodyguard.

But it turns out an evil wizard's out to marry her and take over the kingdom.

I've no doubt Conan puts a stop to that and probably gets his leg over with the princess while he's at it.

By the looks of that cover, he probably kills a Yeti too.

All in a day's work when you're a barbarian.

Blakes 7 #21

The magazine dedicated to everyone's favourite space malcontents refuses to die.

For now.

To be honest, the fact that it's still being published and is about Blake's 7 is just about all I can reveal about this issue.

Oh, yes, and it contains a picture strip, plus a text story.

And it costs 60 pence.

Doctor Who Magazine #77

I have far more knowledge of this one, though.

For instance, I'm aware that, in this issue's picture strip, the Doctor finds himself trapped in The Lunar Lagoon.

Elsewhere, there's a review of the recently broadcast serials Mawdryn Undead and Terminus.

The mag also tries to come up with a workable chronology of the Daleks. Good luck to it with that one.

And we should acknowledge that it presents an overview of the demise of the British police box.

The Mighty World of Marvel #1

Hold the front page because a brand new magazine hits the UK spinner racks!

And it's one with a very familiar name, as the latest incarnation of The Mighty World of Marvel is launched upon the world!

In our main tale, Rachel Summers sends Kitty Pryde back in time to warn the X-Men that the new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants is set to launch a chain of events that will spell doom for mutant-kind.

We're also treated to An Abbreviated History of the American Comic by Frank Plowright.

Then we finish off with a Scarlet Witch and Vision adventure called Trick Or Treat!

And, of course, we shouldn't overlook that we're given a free sticker that the cover describes as, "Fantastic!"

The Daredevils #6

But what's this? Marvel Super-Heroes is no more and has been swallowed up by The Daredevils? What kind of shenanigannery is this?

Whatever it is; inside, Captain Britain's up against something called Judgement Day.

Alan Moore's still casting his beady eye over sexism in comics.

There's also a look at Chinese comics.

And, in our other big story of the issue, Daredevil tangles with Dr Octopus and is lucky to come out of the encounter with his life still intact.

Finally, the indefatigable Alan Moore returns to give us a picture strip he calls The 4-D War.

But, frankly, I've no idea what that's about.

Thursday 22 June 2023

June 23rd, 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
***

Load up. Load up. Load up with rubber bullets.

No. Steve Does Comics hasn't decided to dramatically change tack and head off down the path of mindless violence. You'll be pleased to know this site's as peace-loving as it's ever been.

I'm merely acknowledging that, fifty years ago this week, 10cc's song that bore those lyrics hit the Number One spot on the UK singles chart. I do believe it was the first time they'd managed the feat and they'd go on to have a total of three chart-toppers in the space of five years.

On the British album chart, however, it was those Various Artists who were again proving indomitable, thanks to their latest offering Pure Gold which sat proudly at Number One.

The Mighty World of Marvel #38, Hulk vs Abomination

But what's this? The Stranger decides to abandon Earth but leaves behind the rampaging Hulk to wreak destruction on his behalf? What a dastardly plan.

However, it's foiled by our hero reverting to Bruce Banner.

Still, the threat isn't over, as a spy uses Banner's Gamma Gun to transform himself into the Abomination, a monstrous entity even more powerful than the Hulk!

In our second tale of the issue, having been beaten up by the Abomination, Hulkie's revived by Thunderbolt Ross's men.

But can his scientist alter-ego concoct a plan that can stop the villain and liberate Betty Ross from the villain's clutches?

In the Fantastic Four's tale, the Sub-Mariner - upset about damage done to his undersea kingdom - is still planning an attack upon the dwellers of the surface world.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #19, the Spider-Slayer

It's thrills galore, as J Jonah Jameson gets his hands on the first-ever Spider-Slayer and sets out to destroy our hero

Needless to say, that plan fails miserably and the puffed-up publisher will have to go back to the drawing board.

Elsewhere, Thor must deal with the sensational return of Zarrko the Tomorrow Man.

This is because Loki's restored the villain's memory. And, now, that villain builds a robot so powerful that even the god of thunder can't defeat it!

But who cares about that? All we really care about is that, according to the front cover, we have a chance to win another great football competition!

Tuesday 20 June 2023

Speak Your Brain! Part 55. Buyer's Remorse.

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
As I've scanned the internet, of late, I've noticed there's been much talk of UFOs, UAPs whistleblowers and back-engineering. Is there anything to it? Or is it all hogwash and balderdash? 

I cannot say. For, truly, it is one of the great mysteries of our time.

But there is another mystery. An even greater one. 

And that's what will the topic be for today's Speak Your Brain?

It could be anything. That's the whole point. Whoever makes the first comment gets to decide how the conversation goes. And that comment merely needs to be made in the box below.

Therefore, be sure to make that comment and propel this site into a whole new cosmos of discourse.

Sunday 18 June 2023

2000 AD - May 1985.

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

If you were intrepid enough to enter your local cinema in May 1985, you'd need to be ready for action because it was a month which saw the escape of both Rambo: First Blood Part II and A View to a Kill.

I don't think I've ever seen Rambo: First Blood Part II and, so, I shall vote for A View to a Kill as my favourite of those two movies.

I don't have a clue what my favourite song was in that year's Eurovision Song Contest but I do know the event was the 30th ever staged and took place in Sweden's Gothenburg.

But it wasn't the host nation that won. Instead, triumph favoured its neighbour Norway, thanks to Bobbysocks's legendary track La Det Swinge.

But it was a far darker month for football fans. One which saw two major disasters at European stadiums. 

The first was down to the fire which engulfed a stand at Valley Parade in Bradford and left 56 dead.

The second was down to fighting in Belgium's Heysel Stadiumat the European Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus, which left 39 dead.

Just when it seemed the month couldn't get worse, a few days later, the scientists of the British Antarctic Survey announced the discovery of a hole in the ozone layer.

On the UK singles chart, it seemed there was only one song in town - and that was Paul Hardcaste's Vietnam-inspired 19 which spent the whole month at Number One; seeing off the likes of Duran Duran, along the way. 

Over on the British album chart, those inescapable Various Artists kicked off May at Number One, with their latest platter HITS 2.

But even they then had to make way, as Dire Straits' juggernaut of an LP Brothers in Arms smashed straight in at Number One. It would, of course, go on, at one point, to be the biggest-selling album in British history.

But what of the galaxy's greatest comic?

As so often, it was offering us a diet of SláineJudge DreddRogue Trooper and Strontium Dog.

But something had changed, as we saw the launch of a serial in which PSI Division's Judge Anderson must tackle the return of the Dark Judges in a strip that seems to have replaced The Ballad of Halo Jones.

But who cared about that? What really mattered was that, thanks to Prog 416, we could win the Commodore 64 computer and Valiant Robo-Turtle we'd always wanted to win!

2000 AD prog 416

2000 AD prog 417, Johnny Alpha

2000 AD prog 418, Judge Anderson

2000 AD prog 419, Judge Anderson

Thursday 15 June 2023

June 16th, 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
***

Make a stand for your man, honey. Try to can the can.

No. I don't have a clue what that means.

But I don't need to.

Suzi Quatro needs to.

And it seems she does because her 45 featuring those very words hit the top spot on the UK singles chart, this week in 1973.

Of course, that song also features the lines:

Well, you call your mama, "Tiger,"
And we all know you are lying.
And your boyfriend's name is Eagle,
And he lives up in the sky.

Words to make us all stop and think, I'm sure.

Sadly, Suzi's dominance of the singles chart wasn't, that week, replicated on the associated album chart. For, as it turned out, the Number One spot on that was held by Various Artists' Pure Gold.

The Mighty World of Marvel #37, Hulk vs Boomerang

The Boomerang on that cover looks suspiciously like he's been swiped from a Gil Kane panel but the cover's by Rich Buckler and I find it hard to believe Rich would ever dream of swiping anything.

As we might suspect, in our opening tale, that villain is back and, now that they've realised the Hulk's not a true villain, the President tells Thunderbolt Ross to pardon him.

Of course, the Boomerang picks that exact moment to annoy our hero, causing him to go on the rampage - leading Ross to once again see him as a menace.

Just to prove Ross right; in our second tale, the Stranger arrives on Earth and decides to use the Hulk to wipe out humanity!

And, speaking of wanting to wipe out humanity, in the Fantastic Four's tale, the Sub-Mariner's found Atlantis in ruins and decided this is a great time to gain vengeance upon the surface-dwellers.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #18

It's the return of the greatest super-hero comic magazine of all!

At least, that's what the boast on the cover says.

Unless I miss my guess, this is the one in which Spider-Man thinks he's going mad and decides to visit a psychiatrist - only for his screws to become even more loosened.

Or has it?

I detect a trick by that foul supremo of special effects the world knows as Mysterio.

Thor, meanwhile, is still fighting the sinister Mr Hyde who still wants to kill Don Blake for not giving him a job.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

The Marvel Lucky Bag - June 1983.

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

It's June 1983 and you're going to be spending a lot of time in the cinema.

That's because it's a month that sees the release of virtually every film you associate with the 1980s. The cinematic onslaught includes The Man with Two Brains, Psycho II, WarGames, Trading PlacesOctopussySuperman III and Twilight Zone: The Movie.

It's a terrible admission but I'd have to say that, of those, Octopussy is probably my favourite. Not that I have a high regard for the thing. It doesn't even have a theme tune anyone can remember. It's just that I prefer it to those other films.

Master of Kung Fu #125, final issue

Not many of the series Marvel launched in the early 1970s hung around for very long but Shang-Chi's certainly did, lasting for a good decade before its demise.

That's an even more remarkable feat when it's remembered the character was created purely to cash in on a fashionable craze.

But, at last, even the Rising Spirit has to run aground and so it is that this is his final issue.

Does he go out in style?

I don't remember but I do know it's a book with 52 pages. So, I assume there's plenty going on in it.

I'm assuming that cover's a tribute to John Romita's legendary panel from Amazing Spider-Man #50. If so, the lack of a dustbin seems an egregious oversight.

Marvel Super Special #28. Krull

I'm not sure I've ever managed to sit all the way through the movie but I might have more luck with the comic, as the power and majesty of Krull hits a spinner rack near you.

Marvel Two-in-One #100

But what's this? It's not just Shang-Chi who's hit the buffers? So has The Thing, as Marvel Two-In-One celebrates its hundredth issue by, erm, being cancelled.

Yet again, we get 52 action-packed pages. This time, the Thing travels to an alternate reality where he cured his other self - only to find it's been taken over by the Red Skull and his Nazi hordes!

What If? #39, Thor vs Conan

And it's another book with 52 pages.

But, this time, there's no cancellation in sight.

What there is is the question of what would happen if Thor battled Conan.

I think all common sense suggests Thor would flatten the barbarian in less than a second but this is a Marvel mag. So, I've no doubt it'll somehow be contrived to be a draw.

It'll probably involve Conan having a magic sword or an amulet, or something.

Spider-Woman #50

Anything Shang-Chi and the Thing can do, Spider-Woman can equal!

And so it is that her book too gets cancelled this month.

Sadly, all I know about the contents is there are 52 pages and the tale inside is called Lifeline.

I'm not convinced that's what you could call a good cover by Bob Larkin and Eliot Brown but it's certainly one you can't fail to notice.

The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #6

Howard Chaykin gives us a dynamic cover, while, inside, Marion opens a club called The Raven's Nest.

However, after numerous, "accidents," there, it becomes clear that someone's out to kill her.

But who?

Who?

ROM #43

Celebrate, humans! Not only has Rom's mag not been cancelled, this month but it has a new lease of life, with our hero being, at last, freed from his armour!

But will this piece of luck last?

Of course it won't. Barely has it arrived than his new body begins to deteriorate.

Meanwhile, Quasimodo possesses Rom's empty armour and launches into battle with the Wraiths he's, until now, been allied with.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Forty years ago today - June 1983.

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

As the temperatures outside soar, let us, instead, plunge.

Plunge into the icy depths that are The Past.

The Avengers #232

It's thrilling news for us all, as Eros joins the Avengers and, at the same time, changes his name to Starfox!

Other than that, I'm struggling to recall what happens in this one. Is there a boat involved?

Conan the Barbarian #147

I do believe Conan sets off in search of old flame Pelija Lon but, when he finds her, she's been mesmerised into acting as a high priestess by a villainess who wants to unleash the vile hordes of Set's underground kingdom upon the world.

Needless to say, it's going to take more than the underground hordes of Set to prevent everyone's favourite brawler from getting his leg over.

Fantastic Four #255

In the rooms and corridors of the Baxter Building, Alicia confronts her captor Annihilus who's not feeling too well.

Meanwhile, in the Negative Zone, the Fantastic Four free Reed's captured psyche from the clutches of Taranith Gelstal who's been using it to power his spaceship.

The Spectacular Spider-Man #79

In a saga that seems to be going on forever, Doc Ock's still out to kill the Black Cat who's still hospitalised.

Fortunately, Spider-Man's on hand to put a stop to his deadly plans.

Daredevil #195

When mayoral lackey Tarkington Brown discovers he has just weeks to live, he recruits a bunch of cops to form a criminal-killing murder squad.

That might sound like trouble but that trouble gets even worse when a drunk Heather Glenn tells him that Matt Murdock is Daredevil!

But, hold on. Didn't a drug-addicted Karen Page also once tell someone that Matt is Daredevil? I'm starting to spot a pattern here.

The Uncanny X-Men #170

Below the streets of New York, Storm reveals what a badbottom she is by beating Callisto in a knife fight, to become leader of the Morlocks.

Above ground, Scott and Maddie begin their romance, despite - or possibly because of - her uncanny resemblance to Jean Grey.

And, somewhere else altogether, Rogue abandons the care of Mystique and sets off in search of the X-Men.

Thor #332

Jane Foster's gone missing - and Don Blake is prime suspect Number One.

Elsewhere, Dracula's showed up and decided that what he most needs to drink, in order to raise his power levels, is the blood of a god.

And, fortunately, for him, Sif's around to provide it.

If Sif at no point declares, "A pint? That's very nearly an armful!" I shall be highly disappointed.

Iron Man #171

With Tony Stark still a raging alcoholic, Rhodey's having to learn how to use his boss's armour.

And he's having to learn fast because Thunderball's on the loose!

The Incredible Hulk #284

The Leader's still causing major problems for the Hulk and his Avenger buddies but I'm struggling to recall just what those problems are and what his plan is.

The Amazing Spider-Man #241

The good news is that, after a very lengthy absence, Mary Jane's back in town!

The bad news is the Vulture's back too.

And he's still seeking vengeance upon the man who double-crossed him in his pre-Vulture days.

Captain America #282

Cap, captured and drugged by Viper, is perturbed by imaginary visits from his father. 

Having now adopted the guise of Nomad, the 1950s Bucky sets off to rescue our hero but is, instead, flattened by him.

Thursday 8 June 2023

June 9th, 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
***

Who wants to see my baby jive?

You do?

Well, you can't because she's not jiving. She's too busy, in her bedroom, listening to Wizzard's See My Baby Jive which was Number One on the UK singles chart, this week in 1973.

Over on the British album chart, it was Pure Gold by Various Artists that was ruling the roost.

See My Baby Jive is, of course, a classic but other tracks I approved of on that week's singles chart were:

Can the Can - Suzi Quatro

Albatross {1973} - Fleetwood Mac

Stuck in The Middle with You - Stealers Wheel

Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed

Giving It All Away - Roger Daltrey

Brother Louie - Hot Chocolate

and

Live and Let Die - Paul McCartney and Wings

Should you wish to pursue the matter further, that week's UK singles chart can be found here.

While the corresponding LP chart dwells right here.

The Mighty World of Marvel #36

In our first tale, Bruce Banner's hanging from the Orion missile and heading for the heart of New York City!

Somehow, this all leads to Thunderbolt Ross activating the Leader's most powerful Humanoid of them all!

I do believe this tale features some of the very earliest work John Buscema did for 1960s Marvel.

In fact, I wouldn't be at all shocked if it was his very first. I do remember that his art in this yarn lacks the dynamism and self-confidence we later came to take for granted.

In our second tale, the Boomerang's back!

Well, I suppose he would come back. He is, after all, called the Boomerang.

Meanwhile, in the Fantastic Four's tale, the Sub-Mariner locates what little remains of his undersea realm and, fueled by a desire for vengeance, plans a new attack against the surface world.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #17

It can only be trouble when the Green Goblin tries to take over Lucky Lobo's gang. And it turns out to be trouble for Lucky's gang when Spider-Man puts the lot of them in jail.

Elsewhere, having been refused a job by Dr Don Blake, Calvin Zabo becomes Mister Hyde and sets out to gain retribution!

Tuesday 6 June 2023

The Marvel Lucky Bag - June 1973.

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

You couldn't accuse June 1973 of short-changing you when you entered a cinema.

It was, after all, a month that saw the release of such masterpieces as Cannibal GirlsBattle for the Planet of the ApesThe Legend of Hell HouseShaft in Africa and Live and Let Die. Who wouldn't want to hand over their money for those tickets?

Granted, not all those films, or even most of them, are that great but who cares about that? Just look at their titles.

The Cat #4

The Cat's comic meets its demise and does so with her meeting the Man-Bull.

Come to think of it, in her second issue, she met the Owl, suggesting her comic was a dumping ground for old Daredevil villains.

Then again, her first issue was drawn by former DD artist Wally Wood. Just what was behind Marvel's determination to link the two comics at every opportunity?

As well as the Cat's latest adventure, we also, for some reason, get a reprint of the Linda Fite/Werner Roth X-Men five-pager about Marvel Girl and her powers.

Doc Savage #5

Gil Kane gives us, perhaps, the most Gil Kane cover of all time.

Other than that, all I can say about this comic is the story within is an adaptation of Lester Dent's Monsters.

Hero for Hire #10

And all I know about this one is that Luke Cage finds himself up against a man called Mr Death.

Monsters Unleashed #1

A brand new mag hits us in the eyeballs, as Monsters Unleashed is indeed unleashed.

And it unleashes The Man Who Cried Werewolf!The Thing In the FreezerVampire TaleSkulls In the StarsPortrait of the Werewolf As A Young Man: The Odyssey of Larry Talbot,  One Foot in the GraveThe Fake! and World of Warlocks! Around half of which are elderly reprints.

Shanna, the She-Devil #4

The Cat's mag may have reached its doom but Shanna's is still going strong.

Admittedly, it's not that strong, as next month will see its demise as well.

Still, it's here, for now, and, other than Mandrill being in this tale, I can offer little in the way of a plot description.

Astonishing Tales #18

It's one of my Ka-Zar faves, as, despite the presence of Gog, the jungle lord manages to liberate the super-soldier serum from Gemini.

But then, Professor Victor Conrad drinks it and finds himself transformed into the villainous Victorius.


Marvel Spotlight #10, Ghost Rider

It's another one whose contents I've little memory of but I do know that Snakedance and Linda Littletrees are involved.

Sub-Mariner #62

As far as I can recall, Dr Hydro's transformed a bunch of surface dwellers into amphibians and, doubtless, intends to use them for malicious maraudings.

Fortunately, Subby and Nita are on hand to thwart his ghastly plans.