Tuesday 3 October 2023

The Marvel Lucky Bag - October 1973.

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

Let's take a look at what was hitting the screens of our cinemas in October 1973.

It turns out they were being hit by many films. Amongst the most famous were Mean Streets, Don't Look Now, Charley Varrick, The Way We Were, The Iceman Cometh and That'll Be the Day.

Of those offerings, the ones I've seen are Don't Look Now, The Iceman Cometh and That'll Be the Day. None of which can be said to have truly floated my boat but I am aware they each have their admirers.

Tragically, The Iceman Cometh turned out to have nothing at all to do with the X-Men. People, in their millions, must've been demanding their money back. I'm demanding my money back and I didn't even pay to see it.

Combat Kelly #9

For you, Combat Kelly, the war is over.

It's true, the mag that could never match the fame of Sgt Fury's Howlin' Commandos hits its last appearance, after just seven issues, and does so with a story in which Jay Little Bear leads Kelly's men to rescue both he and Laurie from Doctor Sweikert. As a result, Kelly loses his entire squad and then quits the Army to look after the crippled Laurie.

Well, that didn't end on a downer.

Dracula Lives #3

Neal Adams gives us a striking cover, as the Prince of Darkness hits his third monochrome issue.

Inside, Dracula's brought before Nimrod, the king of vampires but refuses to swear allegiance. So, Nimrod challenges him to a duel of wooden poles. The most hardcore form of battle ever.

Needless to say, Dracula kills Nimrod - presumably with a wooden pole - and takes over as king.

The next story portrays Jack the Ripper as a hate-filled hunchback who wants to become a vampire but is repulsed by the sight of blood. It all sounds like it's in the best possible taste.

Next, we get a text article about Bela Lugosi.

Then, Solomon Kane's looking for someone called Rosella Carson, in Transylvania but bumps into Dracula. During a night at Drac's castle, he's attacked by Rosella who's now a vampire!

Next, there's a text story illustrated with photos from Hammer films.

Then, when Scottish nobleman Macbeth is told by three witches he'll, one day, be king, his ambition takes him down the path of murder and tyranny. I can't help feeling that plot sounds familiar from somewhere.

Finally, Dracula arrives in Paris - only to be attacked by someone called Helene DuBois who seeks revenge for the death of her ancestor Jacques DuBois! The thoughts of Blanche DuBois are not recorded.

Gunhawks #7, Reno Jones

It's not just Combat Kelly's book that's kicking the bucket, this month. So does Reno Jones, Gunhawk. And it too has only managed to survive for a mere seven issues.

I would say it goes out in style but, in truth, I don't have a clue what happens in it, other than its villain is called Durango.

Nick Fury and His Agents of SHIELD #5

But what foolishness was I spouting earlier? It turns out that any failure Combat Kelly can manage, Nick Fury can outdo.

And thus it is that his book is cancelled after just five issues!

Granted, his book is just made up of reprints. So, at least it has an excuse for being unpopular.

Inside, while the AUTOFAC computer works out the true identity of the Supreme Hydra, our hero plans to have someone called Bronson transport someone called Laura to SHIELD's West Coast HQ.

But, first, he has to survive an attack by Hydra's giant killer robot the Dreadnought!

Warlock #8

And yet another Marvel mag hits its Waterloo, as Adam Warlock reaches his last issue too.

Sadly, I've no recollection at all of what happens in this one but I'm sure the Man-Beast and Counter-Earth will be involved.

Crazy Magazine #1

A new humour mag hits our shops, as Crazy makes its, no doubt, side-splitting debut.

In it, we get yarns with such titles as Kung Fooey, The Lighter Side Of Racial Violence, Evolution and History Of Moosekind and many others, created by such talents as Vaughn Bodé, Bob Foster, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman and that renowned master of comedy Harlan Ellison.

Intriguingly, in one of the tales, Don McGregor gets an art credit.

Marvel Spotlight #12, the Son of Satan

It's here. The most important moment in the history of Western culture, as the Son of Satan makes his Diabolical debut and the world will never be the same again!

Inside, spinning-off from this month's issue of Ghost Rider, exorcist Daimon Hellstrom transforms into the titular terror, has a scrap with a motorbike gang, threatens various people then travels to Hell to free Johnny Blaze and Linda Littletrees from Satan. If this isn't the single greatest issue of a 1970s comic, I don't know what is.

Sub-Mariner #66

Subby thinks he's got problems when Virago the She-Beast, newly arrived from Zephyrland, decides to invade Atlantis, with her bare fists.

But then, things get even worse when she bumps into Orka the Human Killer Whale and the pair decide to team up to destroy our hero!

There's also a Tales of Atlantis back-up story called The Sword in the Throne, of which I know little.


Colin Jones said...

The villain in Reno Jones should have been called Durango Durango!

That Dracula Lives cover rings a bell so I've just checked and it was also used as the cover for Marvel UK's Dracula Lives weekly #27 in April 1975.

BBC Radio 4-Extra recently broadcast an adaptation of Don't Look Now (which was originally a novella by Daphne Du Maurier) and I found it much easier to follow than the confusing film version.

Anonymous said...

Daimon Hellstrom's steeds are Hecate, Set and Amon. One named after the goddess the witches in Macbeth were summoning - the other two named after male Egyptian gods. Very strange!


Colin Jones said...

At least they aren't called Huey, Dewey and Louie!

I'm glad you've turned up, Phil, because it was rather creepy here on my own for so long!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Colin - eerily quiet !


Colin Jones said...

The goddess Hecate is also mentioned in the film 'Jason & The Argonauts'. The Argonauts reach the land of Colchis to steal the golden fleece and the king's daughter who helps Jason is the high priestess of Hecate (I think).

Anonymous said...

Medea! In the legend, Medea only turned nasty after Jason deserted her. In the movie, however, I don't think they wanted Jason looking like a rat!


Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what the greatest single issue of the 1970s is, Steve - New Gods #7.
Or possibly 1st Issue Special #6. Although I accept for Marvel zuvembies it could be Dr Strange #13 or Amazing Adventures #32.

Marvel Spotlight #12 isn't even the best Son of Satan comic of the 1970s.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

You know.... Ole Charlie, like Ole Steve, had a fair few that were not Marvel this month, from DC.

But more interesting is the Marvel the Steve has not featured here!

Marvel Tales - The tale with the two Vultures on the cover (around issue 60?)

Marvel Triple Action - with the 2 old mutie-Avengers and Hawkeye on the cover and Cap being kicked off the building by Swordsman! ICONIC!

Where Monsters Dwell - SSERPO on the cover!!! CLASSIC!

LUKE CAGE - STILL HERO FOR HIRE. Though the switch to POWER MAN and the fight with POWER MAN is imminent!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

I do recall reading COMBAT KELLY'S last issue.

The issue did stick in my head. I mean, every last dude was killed IIRC.

At first I thought I must have been thinking of the last issue of CPT SAVAGE but it seems those dudes survived their last mission more/less.

Poor Cpt Kelly... Well, you got to wonder if Killer Conway opened the door to cheap, sensationalistic writing given he whacked Gwen and Goblin just a few months ago.

Charlie Horse 47 said...

Below was the USA's top-10 singles 50 years ago. Interesting "Motown" has 4 of them.

Still dig Loves Me Like a Rock by Paul Simon! I remember he got the grammy, finally, after so many years, and thanked Stevie Wonder for not putting out an album that year! Too funny.

Keep on Truckin also pops up on my youtube at times. Cool tune. You guys remember the dude on the "Keep on Truckin" t-shirt? I always assumed it was one of the Fabulous Furry Freak Bros but I doubt it.

1 3 HALF-BREED –•– Cher (MCA)-10 (1 week at #1) (1)
2 4 LOVES ME LIKE A ROCK –•– Paul Simon (with the Dixie Hummingbirds) (Columbia)-10 (2)
3 2 LET’S GET IT ON –•– Marvin Gaye (Tamla)-13 (1)
4 1 WE’RE AN AMERICAN BAND –•– Grand Funk (Capitol)-11 (1)
5 6 HIGHER GROUND –•– Stevie Wonder (Tamla)-8 (5)
6 8 THAT LADY (Part 1) –•– The Isley Brothers (T-Neck)-13 (6)
7 10 RAMBLIN’ MAN –•– The Allman Brothers Band (Capricorn)-7 (7)
8 13 ANGIE –•– The Rolling Stones (Rolling Stones)-5 (8)
9 5 DELTA DAWN –•– Helen Reddy (Capitol)-16 (1)
10 12 KEEP ON TRUCKIN’ (Part 1) –•– Eddie Kendricks (Tamla)-7 (10)

Anonymous said...

Charlie, on Marvels that came out this month you forgot Savage Tales #2. Its primarily notable for the first part of the 'Red Nails' adaptation of course, drawn by Barry Smith. On top of that it also includes his 'Cimmeria' piece, a short with some rather nice artwork by Gray Morrow, and even the filler reprints are good - the first Kull story drawn by Berni Wrightson, and an above average Atlas era story by Stan Lee and Joe Maneely.

I reckon that has to be pretty high on any list of best comics of the month.
Some might even rate it more than Marvel Spotlight #12.


Anonymous said...

'Keep on truckin' was from a Robert Crumb one-pager in Zap Comix #1, Charlie.


Anonymous said...

Sean! Your memory is phenomenal!

And yes it is weird that Mikes Amazing bi-monthly titles are different for Marval and DC for the month they show availability.

Btw… FOOM #2 has an awesome cover. I’m assume Steranko!

Charlie Horse 47 said...

And speaking of FOOM, why did Steranko end up heading it up? Seems he was only at Marvel for a short period, though his work was incomparable.

Anonymous said...

According to the first issue of FOOM Steranko got the gig because he "dropped into the bullpen to rap with Stan about the current comic scene" and offered his services after Lee told him he planned to start a new Marvel fan club, Charlie.


Charlie Horse 47 said...

Sean - you are right, Mike's is a bit funny strange.

I'm looking at Shadow #1, dated November 1973, showing as being on sale in July 12. And hence it is under "July."

However he shows the venerable Batman 253, also dated November, as being on sale Aug 23. And hence it is under "August."

Clearly Mike has some very specific data (from where?) and can pinpoint when a comic hit the spinner.

FWIW, I clearly recall buying the Batman 253 weeks before seeing Shadow #1, though both are cover-dated the same though Mike's states otherwise in terms of actually being on sale.

B Smith said...

I could be wrong, but recall reading that Steranko and Stan made a deal wherein Steranko did all the editing/layout of FOOM in exchange for a page or two to plug his new Supergraphics company.

Anonymous said...

Seems possible. Steranko’s 2 volume History of Comics was released about that time (well worth reading mind you!).

Also i suspect the release of Volume 1 may have inspired DC to roll out the Shadow next month in 1973 which featured prominently in Chapter 1 on “The Pulps.” But i do not have any data on that.

CH 47

Anonymous said...

There's an interview with Gary Groth on the Cartoonist Kayfabe channel on YouTube where he talks at length (among other subjects) about working for Jaunty Jim - which meant living in his house - in that early 70s period thats quite amusing, B.

Charlie, Mikes shows both the on sale date, and the cover date. The former would be when a comic hit the racks, surely?
In the UK both dates more or less coincided - import American comics on sale in, say October generally had an 'Oct' cover date - so when I was a little scrote it really confused me when I'd get to the bit at the end where it would say something like 'next issue on sale' second week or whatever of August.

Anyway, I expect any quirks or inconsistencies would be down to publisher practices at that time, rather than the site. Maybe DC generally had longer on sale periods for the first issue of new titles like the Shadow #1?


Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry Charlie, I misread your comment there, and thought you were querying which was the on sale dates (rather than where the data came from).


Anonymous said...

Possibly the cover date marked the cut off period for sale? Like, with October cover dated comics that was when they could be returned to the distributor?
So, it would be quite possible to buy Batman #253 a few weeks before the Shadow #1, even though it went on sale a bit later.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to go off at a tangent, but CF, at 'The Peerless Power of Comics', deserves our thanks.


Colin Jones said...

Phillip, on first reading your comment I didn't understand what you meant so I went straight to the PPOC.

A sad day indeed!

Anonymous said...

Just from my own personal perspective, Mike’s “Newsstand” feature gets things right more often than not.

The 5-comic Binge Buy that jump-started my official comic collecting habit was on the weekend before the Fall school semester started, Labor Day weekend — Sept. 3, 1973. Three of those comics were cover-dated “December” (AVENGERS 118, CAPTAIN AMERICA 168, MARVEL DOUBLE FEATURE 1) and two were stragglers cover-dated “October” that hadn’t been sent back to the distributor yet (FRANKENSTEIN 6 and the mighty WEREWOLF BY NIGHT 10).

The next few weeks were joyous as I spent most of my lunch money and ALL of my allowance on my new obsession. The comics I bought in September 73 in that first hot flush of Comics Puppy Love are burned into my brain — CONAN 33, GHOST RIDER 3, HERO FOR HIRE 16, MARVEL TEAM-UP 16, OUR FIGHTING FORCES 146, SPECIAL MARVEL EDITION 15, STRANGE TALES 171, THOR 218 — all cover-dated “December”.

But …

If I use Mike’s “On Sale In” filter for September 73, I also see lots of issues cover-dated “January” — DAREDEVIL 107, DOC SAVAGE 8, INCREDIBLE HULK 171, KA-ZAR 1, MARVEL SPECTACULAR 5, MARVEL SUPER-HEROES 41.

The one really odd outlier is TOMB OF DRACULA 17 which I’m 99% sure I also bought in September 73 — but it’s cover-dated “February”. No idea how that happened.

Oh, and as per Charlie’s list of chart-topping singles that month — I have a VERY distinct memory of hearing Paul Simon’s “Loves Me Like A Rock” in the radio while reading AVENGERS 118 sometime that Labor Day Weekend :)


Anonymous said...

Colin - Diversions of the Groovy Kind - gone. Back in the Bronze Age - gone. Peerless Power of Comics - Gone. But - luckily - Steve Does Comics endures!


Steve W. said...

The Peerless Power of Comics will indeed be missed.