Sunday 31 March 2024

Shazam #5, the Original Captain Marvel enters my life, via a visit to the butcher's shop.

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

Sazam #5, the Original Captain Marvel
If there's one thing visitors to this site can take for granted, it's that it will never be anything but topical.

And so it is that, this Easter Sunday, it can be found reviewing that most Easterly of comics.

Shazam #5.

OK, I admit it. It has nothing to do with Easter. But, who knows? Maybe we can find a little of that Easter magic contained somewhere within its pages.

I first acquired this comic in the early 1970s in a shop just beyond the city centre, before being dragged into a small butcher's shop where the elderly customers were complaining they'd never get used to this new money the government had brought in which involved having to know the ten times table, as opposed to the twelve times table.

How appropriate, then, that also concerned with money is small-time crook Slip Kelly who, in our first tale of the issue, encounters no less a dignitary than a visiting leprechaun.

Grabbing it, he claims his one wish and is granted the power of invisibility.

Shazam #5, Slip Kelly vs the horror of wet cement
With that, he robs the local bank, simply by walking out of it with a large pile of banknotes in his hands.

Fortunately for the bank - but not for Slip - clean-cut child Billy Batson just happens to be there and, quickly transforming himself into the Original Captain Marvel, sets about tackling the situation.

However, the leprechaun reveals that Slip can only be restored to visibility by cancelling his own wish.

And Original Cap knows just how to make him do it.

Shazam #5, Slip repents
He drops Slip from a great height, knowing that because he can't see him to rescue him, he has no way to prevent the crook from being splattered upon impact with the ground. Thus it is that Slip can only survive if he re-grabs the leprechaun and demands it make him visible again.

I'm not sure if I should point out that, if Slip hadn't managed to catch the leprechaun on the way down, he'd now be a huge red mess on the road and Original Cap would be facing a murder charge, lending the whole plan a far darker edge than it's, presumably, meant to have.

My main takeaway from this, the issue's first tale, is that CC Beck's art has a cartoony simplicity to it that's totally at odds with how super-hero comics were drawn at the time but has an easy-on-the-eyes charisma you can't help but like. 

Also, writer Elliot S Maggin has dropped the exclamation mark from his name. The one that I've now convinced myself he always used.

I am, though, puzzled as to why our hero's depicted with closed eyes in every single panel he appears in.

Shazam #5, Sunny Sparkles
In our second tale of the issue, Billy Batson's accompanied, on his mission to collect old periodicals for recycling, by his friend Sunny Sparkle - who, despite everything we're told about him, looks like something from a horror film - and his not so sunny cousin Rowdy. Among the material they gather on that collection is a book that tells you how to do everything.

Rowdy spots his opportunity and uses it to turn himself, instantly, into the world's toughest guy.

Shazam #5, Captain Marvel tears up the book that gives Rowdy his strength
Clearly, this can't be allowed to stand and, so, Original Cap challenges the boy to a show of strength in which our hero tears apart the book that's given Rowdy his newfound power.

And, with the book destroyed, that newfound strength becomes newlost strength and whatever slight menace Rowdy may have posed to humanity is gone.

Shazam #5, Captain Marvel Jr vs the Champ
To finish, we get a Captain Marvel Jr tale.

And this is noticeably different.

For a start, it's not drawn by CC Beck. Written by Joe Millard, it's drawn by Sheldon Moldoff and isn't a new adventure, being a reprint from 1948.

It's a big occasion for the local kids because, in the street, they spot a man who's only ever referred to as Champ who's clearly a boxer of some import.

Shazam #5, Champ the Chump
He may be a champ in the ring but, out of it, he's made of 100% rotten and nearly gets an autograph-seeking child killed by knocking him into the path of a speedy automobile.

Fortunately, local newspaper vendor Freddy Freeman's on hand to become Captain Marvel Jr who then takes Champ off to have a word with him about this behaviour, doing most of his talking with his fists.

It's then that we learn Champ's agreed to throw his next fight but, happily, a random woman walks into the room and convinces him not to, by referencing his mother and father.

Who this woman is isn't made clear in the story. But Captain Marvel Jr clearly knows her. So, I'll assume she's his housekeeper or something.

Shazam #5, Mrs Wagner lectures the Champ
Suitably shamed by her speech, Champ, with Jr's aid, quickly brings justice to the match-fixers, and Champ's a reformed character who's now even willing to talk to children.

It does leap out at you that this story has a far more serious attitude than the issue's other two, in both art and writing and does make you realise that Daredevil would never have existed had Captain Marvel Jr been around.

Overall, the book's a charming and simple read, like encountering a less demanding but cooler version of a 1970s Superman comic and, therefore, I give it the gentle Easter Sunday thumbs-up it, no doubt, deserves.

Thursday 28 March 2024

March 30th 1974 - 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
***

Have you ever wanted your own private army?

If you so, you'll have to put some effort into it to get a bigger one than Qin Shi Huang the first emperor of China 

Admittedly, his was made of terracotta and buried with him and, therefore, may not have been much use in an actual fight.

But who cares about that? Not archaeologists. Not this week in 1974 because that's when members of that profession first impressed the world by unearthing it near Xi'an in the province of Shaanxi.

But an almost equally momentous event was taking place at around the same time.

You guessed it. March 30th saw BBC One screen The Day the Earth Caught Fire, a film I still, to this day, always get mixed up with When Worlds Collide.

i suppose the easy way to remember which is which is that the former movie stars the then editor of The Daily Express who quickly demonstrates that he's no actor.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #59

Can it be? Is the webby wonder going to bring George Stacy to justice for stealing things while brainwashed?

He is if he has his way - but, quelle horreur, doing that might prevent him having his way with Gwen. Just which way-having will win out? Only the bitter twists and turns of a superhero's life can decide.

Speaking of which, Iron Man's still trapped in the distant past and assisting Cleopatra in her efforts to defeat malevolent chancer Hatap, AKA the Mad Pharoah.

Strangely enough, the 1980s BBC drama serial about the multitude of Cleopatras never once mentioned this incident. And that's, no doubt, why it failed to win the hearts of the nation.

In the present - and in Asgard - a weakened Thor must defeat an ex-lickspittle of Odin who's got his hands on that ruler's superpowers and is determined to abuse them.

Our hero succeeds but will even that act of heroism make Odin stop acting like a demented tyrant at him?

And the issue signs off with a venerable Syd Shores drawn tale in which a thug demands a sorcerer reveals the six words which will allow him to fling men into limbo.

This can only mean trouble for someone and - inevitably - that someone is himself.

The Avengers #28, Shang-Chi busts through a wall, to the astonishment of the Avengers who thought this was their comic!

Hold on to your nunchucks because a seismic shift has arrived at Marvel UK, as Shang-Chi, master of kung fu, takes over as headline act in the Avengers' book.

And he doesn't do it with much style, managing to commit murder, right off the bat.

Fortunately, he soon recognises the error of his ways and sets out to punch his own dad in the gob.

When it comes to the Avengers; as far as I'm aware, Goliath's still in a hidden city in the Andes and still fighting its inhabitants.

Elsewhere, in the world of Dr Strange, Dormammu challenges our hero to a battle for  mastery of Earth!

And, to do it, their only weapon must be...

...The Pincers Of Power!

The Mighty World of Marvel #78, the Glob

Judging by that cover, the Hulk remains in the Everglades and is out to rescue Betty Ross from the clutches of the Glob.

But how can even the Hulk defeat a foe so squishy that you can't land a good blow on him?

And does he even need to?

Over in New York, the man without fear continues to face the Organization's coterie of animal-themed crooks, as they seek to prevent Foggy Nelson from becoming DA.

Or are they seeking to enable him to become DA? I'm struggling to recall.

In the Baxter Building, the first family of super-doers is in a life-or-death contretemps with the Frightful Four.

Is this the one that climaxes with the evil FF literally nuking the good FF?

If so, I think we can safely say that's a bunch of bad guys who don't believe in doing things by half.

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Speak Your Brain! Part 75. Your top five TV shows from the first half of the 1980s.

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

The Steve Does Comics Megaphone
A wise man once remarked that, "Time marches on," while another claimed, "An army marches on its stomach."

Clearly, that man had an army of slugs, as no human army would dream of marching on its stomach.

However, right now, it's neither time nor slugs that are marching on.

Instead, it is March who is marching on, progressing relentlessly towards a brand new April that will, no doubt, be somewhat like previous Aprils but also have an identity all of its very own.

What shall be that identity?

I don't have a clue.

Nor do I have a clue what I'm talking about.

But I soon will.

That's because it's the return of the feature in which mystery quickly becomes enlightenment. The one in which the first person to comment in the space below gets to choose the day's topic for debate.

Therefore, if there's any opinion you're burning for other people to get off their chests, then feel free to make it happen by posting your question or topic in the comments section and let whatever-will-be be.

Sunday 24 March 2024

March 1984 - 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
***

Exactly forty years ago this March, the UK Labour Party was experiencing heady days indeed.

Just five months after becoming party leader, Neil Kinnock saw the party top a MORI poll, with 41% of the vote. Just six months earlier, the Conservatives had had a 16-point lead!

Surely, nothing now could prevent Nifty Neil from becoming our next Prime Minister!

Elsewhere, it was the month in which the UK miners' strike began, pitting the National Union of Mineworkers against Margaret Thatcher.

On the UK singles chart, March saw just two tracks hit the top spot. The first was Nena's 99 Red Balloons, while the second was Hello by Lionel Richie which managed to achieve its triumph despite almost universal ridiculing of its video.

On the British album chart, the Number One slot was initially held by the Thompson Twins' Into the Gap but that was soon supplanted by Howard Jones' Human's Lib which then had to make way for Lionel Richie's Can't Slow Down.

The Mighty World of Marvel #10, Cloak and Dagger

Marvel's most angst-ridden heroes are back, thanks to a tale taken from the pages of Cloak and Dagger #2. I don't remember what happens in it but I guarantee it won't feel good.

And there won't likely be much cheer in the pages of Captain Britain, either.

In it, Saturnyne finally gets Linda to put on her Captain UK costume and agree to fight against Mad Jim Jaspers.

However, that's probably not a great idea, as Captain Britain's trying to do precisely that and is being rewarded by having his mind turned inside out.

Next, we're given Episode One of a new Night-Raven tale with the groundbreaking title of All the World's a Stage.

And we finish off with a thing called Disenchantment which I recall being a Sword and Sorcery yarn from a budding newcomer. I can't bring to mind the exact plot details but I do know it's five pages long and written and drawn by a man named Simon Jacob.

But we can't ignore the most thrilling news of the month. Which is that, attached to the front cover of this issue is a free badge!

It's missing from the comic featured here but my mighty mind does remember it being a John Romita Spider-Man image.

Doctor Who Magazine #86

Our favourite mag about our favourite adventurer in time and space looks forward to serials we can only come to know as Resurrection of the Daleks and Planet of Fire.

We're also granted an interview with original companion Carole Ann Ford.

And there's a look back at the Tom Baker blockbuster Destiny of the Daleks which nobody but me likes.

As if that wasn't enough for us, we also encounter Part Two of a comic strip that bears the thrilling title of The Moderator.

The Savage Sword of Conan #77

All I can say about this one is it doesn't bear the greatest cover I've ever seen on an issue of Savage Sword of Conan.

However, it does, at least, tell me this offering features not only the world's barbarian of choice but, also, Red Sonja and Solomon Kane.

Starburst Magazine 67, Diana Rigg

The UK's greatest sci-fi mag takes a look back at old British TV shows, including 
The Avengers and The Prisoner

Thanks to that, we also receive an interview with Patrick Macnee and a profile of Diana Rigg. 

And, because you can never get enough Time Lording in this life, there's also a look forward to the new season of Dr Who.

Thursday 21 March 2024

March 23rd, 1974 - 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
***

This week in 1974 produced great news for anyone who likes to guzzle that gas, because it was the week in which OPEC's five-month long oil embargo against the United States, Europe and Japan finally came to an end and we could all get back to the hard work of driving up the world's temperature.

The Avengers #27, Goliath

It's a striking cover and one I remember well. Mostly because, one Sunday evening, as a child, I decided to get my pencil out and copy every fizzog on it, having decided it was time for me to learn how to draw faces.

Inside the comic, I do believe that, still stuck at giant size, Goliath finds himself in the Andes where he blunders across a hidden civilisation with advanced technology and no reluctance to use it.

Yes, this does sound remarkably like the Inhumans. But the Inhumans, they ain't.

And there's more because I do believe Hawkeye's in sensational solo action against Power Man, Swordsman and the Black Widow.

As the world has come to expect - and even demand, my knowledge of what's occurring in Dr Strange's strip is a little vague but I've good reason to suspect our hero's, once more, in combat with Baron Mordo. And that Dormammu's up to his elbows in it all.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #58, the Kingpin.

Who says the Kingpin's no fun?

Mostly, the Kingpin does, as he's always going on about how he's not the jolly fat man everyone thinks he is. Even though literally nobody has ever expressed an assumption that he's jolly.

However, here he is, giving Spider-Man a good time by swinging him round and round above his head.

But it's not such good news for Webhead once we enter the comic.

You see, our hero's just discovered Wilson Fisk is really the Brainwasher and that he's programmed George Stacy to commit a robbery most heinous.

How's Spidey ever going to be able to inflict the necessary levels of violence upon Stacy without upsetting his daughter Gwen?

Elsewhere, no sooner has Tony Stark finished his encounter with Kala Queen of the Underworld than he's travelling back in time to meet Cleopatra Queen of the Nile, thanks to the Machiavellian machinations of a miserly magician who's menacingly made up his mind to murder his monarch.

Methinks Stan the Man's decided Don Heck's strength is drawing glamorous women and is making sure the stories include them.

Needless to say, Cleo falls in love with Iron Man, despite him being encased from head to foot in armour.

Fresh from his defeat at the hands of Hercules, Thor returns to Asgard - only to discover he'll have to rescue the place from the treacherous Seidring who's used his newly-gained Odin Power to take the place over!

And we finish with a surprise, as, in addition to the book's usual strips, we're treated to Lee/Ditko thriller The Secret of the Universe in which a man sets out to discover just what lies beyond the cosmos and, of course, lives to regret it.

The Mighty World of Marvel #77, the Glob vs the Hulk

J
ust look at that cover!

Seriously, if that doesn't make you want to part with six pence of your own money, I don't know what will. frankly, I'd happily part with eight pints of my own blood to get my hands on this book.

And, inside, things are just as awesome, as the Glob makes his first appearance when an escaped convict sinks into a bog and finds himself transformed into a mindless swamp monster with only one thing on his mindless mind.

Smooching with Betty Ross! 

Meanwhile, on the streets of New York, the Organizer and his team of animal-themed henchmen are making decent people's lives a misery.

But how does this tie in with the fact that Foggy Nelson's decided he wants to run for the post of District Attorney?

Finally, this issue, the Frightful Four make their dastardly debut, as the Wingless Wizard, Sandman and Paste-Pot Pete team up with the enigmatic Madame Medusa in a bid to defeat the first family of comics.

Thus it is that, no sooner have Reed Richards and Sue Storm announced their engagement, than the villains invade the Baxter Building and start capturing their foes, one by one.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Speak Your Brain! Part 74. The first 10 American comics you ever read.

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
I
t's time for me to, once again, concoct an introduction to a post.

But some things need no introduction.

They simply arrive without warning and leave nothing but carnage and chaos in their wake.

Thus it is that we are again confronted with the feature in which the first person to comment in the space below gets to choose the day's topic for debate.

Therefore, feel free to post that topic and we shall see to which hinterlands of truth, enchantment and wonder the winding paths of Fate lead us...

Sunday 17 March 2024

2000 AD - February 1986.

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

I possess zero doubt that February 1986 saw those of a superstitious persuasion anticipating nothing but disaster.

The 9th of that month was, after all, the moment when Halley's Comet reached its perihelion. Also known as its closest point to the sun. Previous sightings of that body had coincided with such disasters as William the Conqueror smashing up a small town near Hastings. Serious stuff, indeed.

As far as I'm aware, this time, global catastrophe never appeared - although Su Pollard did almost reach Number One on the UK singles chart, with Starting Together.

She was, however, kept off the top spot by Billy Ocean's When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going which spent the entire month in a position of chart supremacy.

The British album chart was similarly becalmed, with the pinnacle being held for all of February by Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms.

When it came to film news, it was a highly significant month; as it was there and then that a combination of John Lasseter and Steve Jobs founded Pixar.

Meanwhile, movies released in that period included 9½ Weeks, The Hitcher, House, Pretty in Pink and Hannah and Her Sisters. Of those, I suspect that House will be my pick.

But what of the galaxy's greatest comic?

Being a space alien, Tharg was, presumably, busy keeping a close eye on the comet but, inside the comic he edited, we were being treated to our usual supply of Halo Jones, Strontium Dog, Sláine, Ace Trucking Co and, of course, Judge Dredd whose current storyline was a thing called The Secret Diary of Adrian Cockroach.

As you can tell, I don't have a lot to say about any of that stuff but it all sounds solid enough and, somehow, gave us a cover with singing chickens on it.

2000 AD  Prog 455

2000 AD  Prog 456

2000 AD  Prog 457, Ace Garp

2000 AD  Prog 458, Judge Dredd

Thursday 14 March 2024

March 16th, 1974 - 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
***

As I stand haughtily atop the tallest buildings South Yorkshire can offer, and observe the witless follies of personkind, people often ask me, "Stevie-Pops, what was the first single you ever bought?"

And I can sensationally reveal the answer is one that could cause even the gods themselves to crumble.

Because that record was no less than Billy Don't Be a Hero by Nottingham's finest Paper Lace.

Such was that record's impact upon me that, even to this day, I refuse to be a hero.

And I like to feel my act of buying that record is what helped propel it to Number One on the UK singles chart exactly fifty years ago this week.

One band, however who've never known the joy of me buying one of their singles is the Carpenters.

Not that they needed care, seeing as how their greatest hits package was still reigning supreme on the UK album chart.

The Mighty World of Marvel #76, Hulk vs Maximus

The world can only tremble, as the Hulk joins forces with Maximus the Mad in order to swat Thunderbolt Ross's planes like flies.

Still, fear ye not, Humanity. I'm sure it won't be long before the jade Juggernaut recognises his mistake and turns against his new allies.

Elsewhere, the man without fear's trying to stop the Sub-Mariner's wrecking spree in the streets of New York.

You might think our hero must stand no chance against such power-packed opposition but you've not reckoned with his face. His face that has developed the tactic of repeatedly smashing itself into Subby's fists until the Atlantean's forced to get bored and go home.

It's a novel strategy but it might just work 

And, finally this issue, the Fantastic Four conclude their latest clash with Diablo by watching him and Dragon Man crash through ice and disappear beneath the waters of a lake we can only assume to be bottomless.

I do believe this tale concludes with Reed and Sue taking a trip up ESU's Lover's Lane, where they finally decide to tie the knot.

Let's face it, it's probably easy for Sue to tie a knot with Reed, what with him being made of elastic.

The Avengers #26, the Swordsman

Those who often despair at my inability to recall what Dr Strange is up to in this comic need not despair about that, this week.

Instead, they need despair at the fact I can't recall what the Avengers are up to.

I do know the Swordsman, Power Man and Black Widow are involved. And I have a nagging feeling a scientist with a new invention may also feature.

Judging by that cover, it seems the villains have decided to give themselves the moniker of, "The  Terrible Trio," and I'm sure their next clash with the Avengers will reveal just how terrible they truly are.

"But what of Dr Strange?" I hear you ask.

Indeed. That's what I ask too.

Sadly, when I ask myself, I get no answer.

I am going to assume, though, that Eternity, Baron Mordo and Dormammu are involved.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #57, Mary Jane dances

It's a sight that does my soul good, as Mary Jane Watson gets to dance on the front cover.

Sadly, things aren't working out so happily for her inside the book, as it turns out her brand new job, taking customers' photos at a club, is really a front for one of those brainwashing organisations that are becoming such a nuisance these days.

Apparently, Spider-Man also does stuff, this issue but I only read his comic to see what Mary Jane's up to.

After that, we're supplied with a one-page feature called A Day at the Daily Bugle created and presented by the dynamite team of Lee, Lieber and Romita.

Deep below the Earth's surface, Tony Stark's been kidnapped by Kala queen of a buried kingdom.

Sadly, her plans to conquer our realm collapse when it turns out she can't visit the surface world without ageing dramatically.

Far too busy scrapping to worry about any of that are Thor and Hercules who're still tussling over the heart of Jane Foster.

However, it's not good news for the thunder god, as useless plonker Odin decides it's a great time to halve his son's superpowers, causing that son to right royally lose to his opponent.

And, to compound it all, Odin decides to give his own superpowers to the not-at-all trustworthy Seidring.

We conclude with a two-page feature which reveals just what Spider-Man would look like if drawn by artists belonging to other publishers.

Tuesday 12 March 2024

The Marvel Lucky Bag - March 1984.

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

A veritable smorgasbord of celluloid greeted those who attended the picture houses of the world in March 1984.

It was, it turns out, a month which saw the release of such never-to-be-forgottens as Romancing the Stone, Greystoke, Police Academy, Splash, The Hotel New Hampshire, Children of the Corn, Against All OddsRepo Man and This is Spinal Tap.

I would say the last of those movies stands out to me as being the one that stands out to me but other offerings may stand out for others. Film appreciation being, as it is, a subjective matter.

Doctor Strange Classics Starring Doctor Strange #1

A brand new comic hits our spinner racks, selling tales that are, admittedly, not of the newly-minted variety.

However, thanks to this mag, we can read reprints of occult action sourced from Strange Tales #130-132.

This is, of course, the run of Dr Strange stories in which Dormammu increases Baron Mordo's powers, leading to a quest to discover the secret of Eternity.

Regular readers will know that I have no need of this book, as I have an eerily photographic recall of Dr Strange stories from this era.

Hercules #1

I think we've all been desperate for a new Hercules comic, following the awesomeness of his previous solo outings.

Sad to say, I possess little knowledge of this book but a little bird has whispered in my ear that it all kicks off when Zeus starts killing the other gods.

In fairness, from what I can remember of Greek mythology, that does seem like a fairly Zeus thing to do.

He'll probably eat a few of them, while he's at it.

Micronauts #57

Time and again I find myself drawn to the Micronauts in this feature.

Admittedly, it's usually down to the covers - and this one's no exception, even if I don't really know what's going on on it.

Inside, we get a 45-page epic by creator of that cover Butch Guice and writer Bill Mantlo. That epic is titled The World of Never-Summer! and that's all I know of it.

Moon Knight #36

Do I spot a team-up with Dr Strange?

Potentially.

All I know about this issue is the master of mystic arts is, indeed, contained within.

But is he there as friend or foe?

Marvel Fanfare #13

It's not easy to tell from that cover but the star of this month's issue is the Black Widow who's got it all on her plate when Damon Dran sends out a lookalike to take her place.

Can our heroine alert SHIELD before it's too late?

We also get a tale of the Warriors Three in which someone called Idunn asks the Asgardian adventurers to locate her husband Bragi.

Marvel Team-Up #139

I admit it. I picked this one purely because of the weirdness of the cover.

I couldn't really pick it because of what happens inside it because I don't know what happens inside it, other than the involvement of the characters displayed right here.

Spider-Man and Daredevil Special Edition #1

It's another reprint book, as we're allowed to, once more, read the saga from Spectacular Spider-Man #27-28 in which Daredevil helps the blind wall-crawler tackle the Masked Marauder who's threatening to annihilate the whole city!

G.I. Joe, A Real American Hero #21

The man who Britons know as Action Man has to leap into peril when Storm Shadow captures Scarlett and brings her to Destro's Castle, as a present for Cobra Commander.

During the rescue, we discover she's related to Snake-Eyes, based on both of them having the same tattoo.

I may be imagining things but I'm sure that's exactly the same plot as appeared the last time I covered a GI Joe comic in this slot.

The A-Team #1, Marvel Comics

But forget all that! This is what we came here for!

The 1980s arrive with a vengeance as TV's hottest team gets its own Marvel mag! And I pity the fool who doesn't buy it!

After all that hype, I must confess I know nothing of what happens in this one but I do know it's brought to us by Jim Salicrup and Marie Severin.

Sunday 10 March 2024

Forty years ago today - March 1984.

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

Can it be the time, yet again, to find out what Marvel's big hitters were up to in comics which bore a cover date of exactly forty years ago?

Too right it can!

Fantastic Four #264

It's the team-up some said could - and should - never happen. The Mole Man combines his forces with the Thing and Human Torch to thwart Neal Adams' eccentric plan to heat up the Earth's core in order to make the world grow bigger.

But, to do that, they're going to have to get past Neal's deadly army of androids!

The Spectacular Spider-Man #88

When Mr Hyde, yet again, decides to inflict revenge upon the Cobra for "betraying" him, it's up to Spider-Man to prevent the transmogrifying terror achieving his goal.

But just how easy can that be when the Black Cat's attempts to assist our hero only succeed in hampering him?

Daredevil #204

It's bad news for everyone when cut-price Tarzan clone Micah Synn's back in town and as charmless as ever.

However, the good news is he might not be around for long because his aristocratic family in England wants rid of its black sheep - and have even gone so far as to hire a daft hitman called Crossbow to eradicate him from their bloodline.

Most people would probably leave him to it. But not Daredevil. He has principles of the kind that people like me lack.

Conan the Barbarian #156

One day, while blundering around in his usual style, Conan decides to stop off at a mansion, looking to get out of the rain.

Sadly, its owner's as unreliable as everyone else the barbarian ever meets and tries to feed Conan to his monstrous, flesh-eating brother.

I would accuse this tale of being influenced by the Jim Starlin Hulk story that featured a people-eating brother but this one's written by Michael Fleisher whose work for Atlas Comics adequately revealed his love for all things cannibalistic.

Thor #341

Now that Thor no longer has access to his Don Blake persona, the thunder god gets SHIELD to fix him up with a brand new secret identity. That of Sigurd Jarlson who looks like Thor, sounds like Thor and even has a Scandinavian name. So, that's guaranteed to fool everyone, then.

Not that he manages to maintain a pretence of normalcy for long because, no sooner has he applied for a job on a construction site, than stroppy dragon Fafnir shows up, looking to plant one on him.

Captain America #291, the Tumbler

There can't be many people who were desperately hoping the Tumbler would make a comeback.

And he doesn't.

Because he's dead.

His brother, however, is after the insurance money and, once he adopts the Tumbler's mantle and teams up with Cap, the pair unearth a life insurance scam that's been ripping-off the nation's super-villains for years.

Iron Man #180, the Mandarin

Who can the mystery, ringed wrongdoer on the cover be? Who!

Blow me down with a feather if it's not the Mandarin and, as so often in the past, he's out to avenge himself for his many defeats at the hands of Iron Man.

However, he's totally unaware that he's up against a brand new Shellhead who still hasn't fully got the hang of his armour yet.

The Avengers #241, Morgan Le Fey

As far as I can remember, Morgan le Fay's trying to enter our universe by possessing the comatose body of Spider-Woman.

Needless to say, the Avengers aren't going to let that happen.

And neither are Dr Strange and the Shroud.

With all that lot against her, you might think it's a hopeless cause for the sinister sorceress but she didn't get where she is today by not being an optimist.

Admittedly, where she is today is trapped in a barren dimension in the middle of nowhere. So, it just shows where positive thinking gets you.

And that's the Steve Does Comics Tip of the Week. Never be positive.

The Uncanny X-Men #179, the wedding of Kitty Pryde

Also, never get married.

At least, not if the wedding's going to be held in a sewer.

It's all getting unsavoury beneath the streets of New York when Callisto and the Morlocks try to hold Kitty to her promise to marry Caliban.

As you'd expect, the mighty X-Men set out to put a stop to that kind of thing but, to their astonishment, Kitty insists on honouring her commitment.

It's a storyline you can't help feeling one should draw a veil over.

In more ways than one 

The Amazing Spider-Man #250, the Hobgoblin

With his spider-sense out of commission, and the victims of Hobgoblin's blackmail in no mood to help him, the web-slinger decides to use technological means to track down the villain.

But has Hobby discovered the truth about our hero's true identity, among Norman Osborn's documents?

The Incredible Hulk #293

Upon returning to the United States, following his trip to Mexico, Bruce Banner's rudely interrupted by someone trying to murder him.

After all these years of being the Hulk, you'd have thought he'd be used to it, by now. But, this time, it's different. The would-be killer's a man whose entire home town was destroyed by the Hulk.

Not only does Bruce try to get all charges against the man dropped, he also single-handedly rebuilds the town for him.

Isn't that lovely? How nice to finish the post with a happy ending.

You see, Michael Fleisher? It doesn't all have to be nastiness. 😀