Sunday 9 June 2024

Forty years ago today - June 1984.

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

The British election campaign's hotting up.

But there are even greater conflicts going on in this world.

And they're occurring in the comics below!

The Amazing Spider-Man #253, the Rose

I'm struggling to remember just what transpires in this one but I do believe it involves a brand new villain called the Rose who's responsible for fixing American football games via the bribing or blackmailing of a quarterback.

Clearly, only your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man has the chops to deal with that sort of thing.

Also, Robbie Robertson's acting a bit grumpy.

The Spectacular Spider-Man #91, the Blob

Speaking of Spider-Man, he and his girlfriend find themselves confronting a Blob on the rampage through the streets of New York, thanks to the villain's grief over the death of his friend Unus the Untouchable.

I seem to recall the Black Cat's power of bad luck being noticeably more useful against their opponent than Spidey's more physical powers are.

Fantastic Four #267, Dr Octopus

It's one of those stories that questions whether it's Dr Octopus who controls his arms or whether they control him, when Reed Richards must enlist the villain's aid in the emergency treatment of Sue who's on her radiation-inflicted death bed.

He manages to get Ock to agree to help - but the cephalopodic scientist's mechanical limbs aren't necessarily as accommodating.

Daredevil #207

What's this? Hydra kidnap the Black Widow, in order to lure the man without fear into a deadly trap?

Needless to say, he walks straight into that deadly trap.

Also needless to say, his super-senses get him - and her - straight out of that deadly trap.

Thor #344, Balder

We take a mighty diversion, as the now-pacifist Balder is sent to deliver a message to Loki, on behalf of Odin.

Loki, however, has allied himself with the malevolent Malekith and doesn't want to hear about it.

Inevitably, it all leads to a fight.

One in which, Balder redefines the word "pacifist" by chopping off Loki's head.

The Avengers #244, Dire Wraiths

The Avengers have to thwart the Dire Wraiths who've infiltrated the staff at the Kennedy Space Centre for, doubtless, nefarious purposes.

Tragically, I can remember nothing beyond that.

I am, however, confident the world's mightiest super-team triumph.

Conan the Barbarian #159

Conan bumps into yet another damsel in distress and rescues her - only for it to turn out she's evil and drugs the men she encounters, turning them into her helpless slaves until she gets bored with them and transforms them into statues.

Can our hero regain his senses before he too becomes part of the decor?

The Uncanny X-Men #182, Rogue

Things start to get weird when Rogue starts to think she's Carol Danvers and sets out to rescue one of Carol's old boyfriends from the clutches of SHIELD.

This necessitates her having to launch a single-handed assault on the organisation's helicarrier.

One that succeeds.

This, though, leads to Nick Fury declaring war on the X-Woman.

The Incredible Hulk #296, Rom

With Bruce Banner going increasingly out of control, Rom steps in to try and sort out the mess. He manages to de-radiate the victims of Bruce's latest device but finds that even he can't de-radiate the Hulk enough to cure him.

Captain America #294

I remember little of this one but do know the Red Skull's daughter and Baron Zemo have turned Cap's old friend Dave Cox into a ruthless killing machine intent upon slaughtering the hero and his sidekick Nomad.

Can the star-spangled Avenger talk some sense into the man?

Or is it too late for that?

Iron Man #183, Taurus

Now there's trouble. The new, robotic Taurus is out to kill the original Taurus - and only Iron Man can stop him!

The problem is Shellhead's going to have to do it without his repulsor rays because the gauntlets he acquired in the Secret War have been messing up the functioning of the rest of his armour and he's had to ditch them!


Anonymous said...

Wow, we’re now firmly in the era when I’d pretty much stopped buying new Marvel Comics. I didn’t have any of these. Sad!

Peeking at Mike’s Newsstand, I see one Marvel comic that I did buy that month, a DOCTOR STRANGE by Roger Stern and Paul Smith. I actually just remember that cover, I don’t recall any details about the story or art inside.I also see a few other (Non-Marvel) comics that I bought : the first issue of DC’s Baxter NEW GODS reprints, and the current issues of AMERICAN FLAGG, MARS and SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING. Also, the new issue of Fantagraphics’ AMAZING HEROES. Apparently, I was still fannishly interested in seeing which comics were on the horizon, even if I didn’t end up buying very many of them.

Leonardi’s AMAZING SPIDEY cover is quite nice. I always liked his stuff, but I really REALLY hated that black costume, maybe that’s why I didn’t buy this issue.

I didn’t like Byrne’s black-and-white FF uniforms either. That FF cover is confusing and unappealing, IMO.

Am I the only one who thinks the Dire Wraiths looked more goofy than fearsome? That big pot-bellied thing on the AVENGERS cover looks ridiculous.

Y’all know I love Big John Buscema, especially when he’s inking his own pencils. That CONAN cover isn’t terrible, but it’s also not particularly exciting. The perspective is a bit weird, too — it’s a down shot, right? But hey, at least he’s not wearing that crazy blue muscle T.

I love the stylized ‘flat’ or ‘open’ art style of people like Jaime Hernandez, Alex Toth and Yves Chaland. I think JR JR may have been trying to do something in that vein with his X-men stuff from this period, but it looks less like “Ligne Claire” than just plain ‘unfinished’. I wanted to like it, but didn’t.


Anonymous said...

b.t., I read a few issues of Conan and SSOC from this era recently, b.t., and can reveal that although it's not shown on the cover he does actually wear his light blue sleeveless t-shirt in #159.
The good news though is that John Buscema does do a good job inking his own work inside.

Unfortunately Big John was also coming up with the plots around this point, and it's a particularly dumb one this issue, as some posh lady aristo has the hots for Conan and uses a magic potion to control him, which has the effect of turning him into an effete girly-man who likes discussing silk robes.
I'd be up for a story like that if it in anyway deconstructed sword & sorcery cliches, or even if it was just amusing. But its just terrible.

Yeah, I'm pretty much out of the loop on Marvel by this point too, apart from Although I recognize that X-Men cover, and know I read the issue (I don't get the appeal of Romita Jr either - even Paul Smith was better!)


Anonymous said...

*Obviously I like replying to b.t. so much I mentioned him twice. Duh.


Anonymous said...

Sean, that’s totally okay, Sean. I like replying to you too, Sean.

Your description of that Conan story rings a bell! I think I must have bought that comic after all — just not when it first went on sale in ‘84. Probably got it years later from the Quarter Bin on a Slow Comics Day. I would sometimes buy up Conan back issues just for the Buscema cover art if I they were priced cheap enough. If it’s the story I’m thinking of, yes, it was AWFUL.


Anonymous said...

I too recognize both Daredevil and X-men covers but nothing of what transpires inside. I suspect my faith that both would come good, outweighed by commercial acumen. I also would have bought The Electra Saga #4, despite having already read most of the content, due to the vague promise of new material (which is likely just the cover, by this final issue). A skim through Mike’s suggests Swamp Thing and The New Teen Titans from DC (two comics, not some weird cross over ;-).

I did get Love & Rockets #6 but not until a year, or so, later (#8 was my first ‘current’ issue). And Warrior #18 and 2000AD #361 (at least). I was originally exited to have finished my O’levels by late June 1984, but these appear likely on sale in March, and so still three months to go…


Anonymous said...

Did you not read Thor that month, DW? It was the only Marvel comic I was reading regularly by this time (which I did intend to mention above, but somehow it didn't appear in the comment).
#344 is a good one. Even if it was the first appearance of Malekith the dark elf. Much as I like Simonson's work, I thought that character was a bit of a mis-step.

Other than that, I got Saga of the Swamp Thing #25 - 'The Sleep of Reason...' - the New Gods #1 reprint, American Flagg #9, and Cerebus #63. The latter had been a bit iffy for a while, and that issue - 'Mind Game IV' - seriously tried my patience...
Not sure there was much else worth reading, in an off month between Love & Rockets and Ronin.

Although admittedly I am not up on Mars. Hey b.t., is it worth giving it a go?


Anonymous said...

Sean, it’s been at least 30 years since I last read MARS — I barely remember what it was even about. I’ve always liked Marc Hempel’s artwork so I think I can safely say it probably looked good.


Anonymous said...


No I didn’t read Thor. I read the first few Simonson stories years later (**huge name drop approaching**) when I knew I’d be joining him (and Louise) for breakfast (I was at a Sydney convention with Eddie Campbell) and didn’t want to have not read his (probably) most well known work. Subsequently, I wish I had gotten onboard at the time they initially came out. They were a lot better than the other then current Marvel titles.

I had read a few odd Cerebus issues by then, but was not a regular buyer.


Matthew McKinnon said...

I remember that DD cover - I was still buying it, I guess. Is it Klaus on the art there?

Thor obvs. That is a brilliant cover.
Also like BS doing Hulk & Rom.

I bought that Iron Man, I think, but no memory of the contents.

Is this the FF where Sue loses her baby at the end? John Byrne was quite critical of Alan Moore in the 80s, but if this was his idea of bringing real-world stuff to comics - a 20 page punch up followed by a miscarriage - he should perhaps have been taking notes.

So if this is the month of Swamp Thing 25 and ‘The Sleep Of Reason’ it’s also the month of Alpha Flight 12, which bears some discussion. I guess that’ll be in the Lucky Bag.

Anonymous said...

Due to my not having these, much of today's debate, to me, sounds like Charlie Brown's teacher(my fault!)


I also hated black Spidey - to me, it was sacrilege!

The "Dark Elf" is Eol from the Silmarillion (Rip Jagger's Tolkien season influencing my remembrances). Malekith inspired by Tolkien?

The Dire Wraith's hands resemble Doc Ock's tentacle ends. In fact, too much Doc Ock inspired stuff - Iron Man's opponent's harness, supporting his tentacles/whips, looks Doc Ock inspired, too. And there's the FF...

Iron Man doesn't wear "gloves" - he wears gauntlets! Shellhead getting in touch with his feminine side, like Conan?

The Hulk looks like he's tipping that boulder on himself.

That mustachioed dude on Cap's cover's costume brings Devil-Slayer to mind.


Redartz said...

Sean and B,t,- I also read "Mars", but it's been too long to recall much about it. Primarily remember the art, which was somewhat 'looser', more cartoonish if you will- but unique and quite enjoyable. Much more interesting than the slick, computer polished, ho-hum art one sees too often nowadays (uh oh, there goes the old codger again).

Aside from Mars, I also had American Flagg, E-Man and Journey. From Marvel- only four: Amazing Spider-Man, Alpha Flight, Fantastic Four and Thor. And that tally would soon drop by half. It's a striking contrast to my buying trends as noted in your coverage of 1974, Steve. What a difference ten years makes- from buying nearly the whole monthly output to just four. Is that ten year span typical for our community here, or did some hang on longer (or quit sooner)?

Anonymous said...

Phillip, I saw the Devil-Slayer resemblance too. That is, once my eyes re-adjusted after being temporarily blinded by those colors. Holy cow, that is a terrible cover!


Steve W. said...

Red, I didn't have any of the comics published this month. I think my American comic buying ended in 1981, before a brief revival in 1991.

Anonymous said...

Redartz - I finished in 1981, too. Then, like Steve, a revival in either 1990 or 91 (back issues, not current comics.)


Anonymous said...

Phillip, Malekith and the elves seemed more like something you'd find in Moorcock than Tolkein. It didn't surprise me later when Simonson drew Moorcock's Multiverse and Elric for DC.


Anonymous said...

Matthew, John Byrne seems critical of pretty much everyone in comics who isn't John Byrne.


Anonymous said...

I've noticed that about him.


Colin Jones said...

Only 23 days left until the UK election and I still haven't received any election leaflets!

Colin Jones said...

There were rumours that the Tory manifesto might include a commitment to leave the ECHR or to hold a referendum on leaving but neither has transpired so obviously the idea is too barmy even for the desperate Tories.

Anonymous said...

In the latest election news, I see Reform UK Ltd leader Nigel Farage is in South Yorkshire today. Apparently he has had a traditional south Yorkie welcome, from a left-wing mob that hates Britain (good for them).

Will you be turning up to throw something at Nigel yourself, Steve?


Steve W. said...

Colin, I too have not received any election leaflets. I'm starting to think the Monster Raving Loony Party are taking my vote for granted.

Sean, I feel that travelling all the way to Barnsley is far too far to travel in order to throw things. He'll have to stand a lot closer to me if he wants me to do it.