Sunday 26 May 2024

May 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

This month in 1984 found it all kicking off in the Soviet Union.

For one thing, that nation announced it would boycott the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, in retaliation for the 1980 American boycott of the Moscow Olympics.

For another, it experienced the Severomorsk Disaster in which a Naval Base explosion destroyed two-thirds of all the missiles stockpiled for the Soviets' Northern Fleet. The blast also caused the deaths of hundreds of technicians and was believed to be the worst disaster the Soviet Navy had suffered since World War II.

Rather less dramatically, the one-dollar coin was introduced in Australia, Liverpool beat Roma 5–2 on penalties in the final of the European Cup, and London's Thames Flood Barrier was opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

But there was bad news from the world of showbusiness when legendary UK comedian Eric Morecambe died from a heart attack at the age of 58, having collapsed on stage at the Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury, the previous day.

On the UK singles chart, two acts ruled the roost, that May.

The first was Duran Duran with The Reflex and the second was Wham! who succeeded them at the top, thanks to their catchy pop ditty Wake Me Up Before You Go Go.

Over on the accompanying album chart, the month kicked off with Now That's What I Call Music 2 in charge before that was dethroned by none other than Bob Marley's Legend which is still in the UK Top 40, a full four decades later.

The Mighty World of Marvel #12, Captain Britain and the Fury

It's all tension for Cloak and Dagger as they star in True Confessions, a tale which I believe begins with the unconscious Dagger being rushed to hospital.

Elsewhere, the Jim Jaspers saga comes to a close, as fresh from killing Jaspers, the Fury returns to our world - only for Captain UK to finally finish the thing off by tearing it to pieces.

Not quite so elsewhere, Night Raven stars in a tale Marvel knows as When in Rome...

And we conclude with a two-page showcase story called The Living Planet by Anthony Smith. Does this yarn involve Ego? That, I cannot recall.

Doctor Who Magazine #88, Colin Baker

Joy reigns unfettered across the land, as a brand new Doctor arrives!

And he does it in style by trying to strangle his companion to death in his first scene!

Still, I'm sure things'll get better from this point on and he'll go on to be everybody's favourite Doctor. After all, he's called Baker and that has to be a good omen.

Aside from a look at that, there's an interview with Lalla Ward who played the second Romana and there's a retrospective on The Time Warrior, the serial which first introduced the potato-headed Sontarans to us all.

For those who demand even more from a magazine, we're treated to a new strip called The Shape Shifter which I suspect stars the brand new Doctor.

And there's a look at the depictions of the future that the show has given us over the years.

The Savage Sword of Conan #79, Marvel UK

Strap yourself in for adventure when Conan returns to the land of Ophir where a coup d'état has taken place.

Not only that but the government's been overthrown.

Someone called the Iron Maidens now rule in conjunction with someone called Balthis but they're both conspiring against each other. Can Conan decide which side to assist?

And will it just happen to be the one that has a beautiful queen in its ranks?

We also, in this issue, are treated to a three-page portfolio by Pablo Marcos.

Starburst Magazine #69, Christine

You can probably guess, from that cover, that, this month, Stephen King talks about possessed-car-on-the-rampage movie Christine.

But that's not all because the magazine also reviews the movie

There's a report on a Belgian film festival, David Cronenburg talks about Videodrome and we take a look ahead to the new Tarzan movie known to us all as Greystoke. Disappointingly, Tarzan at no point in that movie shouts out, "I HAVE THE POWER OF GREYSTOKE!!!"

Clearly, that man has no class.


Anonymous said...

I've noticed, on the sidebar, that Paul's having some health problems. Here's wishing him a speedy recovery. Get well soon, Paul.


dangermash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve W. said...

Phillip, yes, I've just noticed that. Here's hoping the medics can get him sorted out.

dangermash said...

Looks like I crossed posts with Philip and ended up looking insensitive. Fingers crossed for Paul.

And, back in May 1984, he's not going to sell much ice cream going at that speed, is he?

Anonymous said...

Paul: hoping for a speedy recovery…

All my best,

Anonymous said...

Gents… who is Paul again? Thanks, Charlie

Anonymous said...

Paul is McScotty.


Colin Jones said...

Best wishes to Paul - it's a sad reminder than none of us is getting any younger.

I haven't seen the film 'Christine' but I did buy the novel and only read the first few pages.

Anonymous said...

Charlie feels daft… in part because he may have asked this not so long ago… what is Paul’s blog site?

Colin Jones said...

It's called That Was Then, Charlie.

Anonymous said...

Likewise, I hope you recover soon Paul.


Anonymous said...

My best wishes as well. This is a community.


Redartz said...

Here's to your quick recovery, Paul; best wishes. Be well and feel better soon!

Anonymous said...

Yes, all the best to Paul. Its not good to be in hospital at the best of times, but now... I had my first ever (and hopefully only) overnight stay in one about five, six years ago, and with the state of the health service in this country it was bad enough then, even before the covid pandemic.
Get well soon, Paul.

Anyway, on to the comics -
"This is how it ends" Obviously the highlight here is the finale to Moore/Davis Captain Brexit epic in MWOM, not least because the episode was double the length we usually got. Which was just as well with Warrior this month (and after Gargunza had revealed the existence of a crashed alien spaceship in the previous issue - aaaarrgh!)

Anyway, 'Endgame' was one of the very few conclusions to a super-hero epic with a threat - two even! - that's impossible to stop that was reasonably satisfying. The end of the super powerful Jim Jaspers was really well done, as the Fury realised the way to destroy him was by returning the both of them to its own destroyed alternate universe where there was no reality to manipulate.
And of course with CB being the bait to bring the two together in the first place.

The end of the Fury though... it was dramatically satisfying that Captain UK finished it off rather than CB - in retrospect Moore had clearly set that up from the start - but maybe it wasn't entirely convincing? I know I'm being a bit picky here, and you could say the Fury was in a weakened state, but maybe that ending might have worked better if we'd seen a final shot - possibly even in next month's epilogue - of it very slowly starting to repair itself...


Anonymous said...

*which was just as well with NO Warrior this month...

Sorry for the poor editing there.
Yeah, Warrior was becoming infrequent - it hadn't come out in the first two months of '84, and then the March issue had that Marvelman story drawn John Ridgway instead of the ongoing storyline. It was getting a bit frustrating (although of course a few months wait was nothing compared to what was to come)


Anonymous said...

Btw Steve, you're right about the comic strip in that issue of the Dr Who mag being the first to feature the (then) brand new Doctor. Well done.
It was also the first to be drawn by John Ridgway, and introduced the new companion Frobisher, a shape-shifting alien trapped in the form of a penguin iirc.


Matthew McKinnon said...

Best to Paul - hope you're up and blogging again soon.

That CB is one of the best 'big final fights' I've ever seen. Were this the hotly anticipated conclusion in a US comic, everything wuuld be fuzzy and inconclusive and had to leave things open for future fights. If it were a Claremont comic, it'd have a couple of other plot lines started off awkwardly and an epilogue where the villain is regrouping for the next big confrontation.

Not Alan Moore '84. He knows he's not coming back, and he likes to burn stuff to the ground to see if something more interesting rises out of the ashes. Merlin's dead. The Fury's dead. Jaspers is dead. End of story. Bye.

And that technique! Pushing the fight into such surreal territory - matched by Alan Davis stunning art. So worth the build-up.

The rest of the mag was rubbish. Clock & Dagger was another of Marvel's 'sheep in wolf's clothing' mini-series: they made it look more adult by selling it through the direct market, but the content was milquetoast.

Wariror's persistent absence was doubly worrying for me, as I relied on it turning up in random newsagents around town - which was unreliable at best.So I never knew if I'd just plain old missed it.

I had that issue of Starurst and I remember being interested in Videodrome so I must have actually read that one.

I have seen Christine but I don't really rate it. I liked the book.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Moore foreshadowed the death of the Fury via its internal narrative ‘it never gives up’. Almost two years later it ‘finally understands the concept of complete annihilation and gives up’.

Moore exits towards better paid US work, and conveniently concludes all of the interesting threads he’s weaved across his run.



Anonymous said...

"If it were a Claremont comic..."

Well, Matthew, the obvious comparison to make back then was to the Proteus storyline in the X-Men, as that was about a reality warping mutant too.
In fairness to Claremont, he did kill Proteus off. But that came across more like he couldn't think of any other resolution, and as his groundwork consisted of establishing that the character was vulnerable to metal - which was such an obviously old school comic book device - it was all fairly predictable (you know, what with one of the X-Men having a metallic form).

As it happens, late in '85 Claremont, apparently a big fan of the Moore/Davis CB, included Jim Jaspers in X-Men #200. He was going to be the villain in an extended storyline - the one that instead became 'The Fall of the Mutants' (no, me neither) - that would also include the Fury.
You could see all how all that stuff might have become a recurring thing in the X-titles, only it didn't happen because a certain party objected...


Matthew McKinnon said...

Sean -

I did not know that Claremont / Moore story: it's depressingly believable though.

And reminds me of how Miracleman is inevitably going to become part of the brown, mixed up plasticine Marvel Universe in a few years time. Who'd have though, back in 1982?