Thursday 13 June 2024

June 15th 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
***

If there was anything we all loved to do in the 1970s, it was take off all our clothes and run around naked at sporting events. Therefore, inevitably, it was only a matter of time before a record celebrating the act would top the UK charts.

And top it it did, this week in 1974 when the pinnacle of the British Hit Parade was only went and claimed by Ray Stevens and his single The Streak.

While that was going on, the summit of the accompanying LP chart was showing no signs of change, with David Bowie's Diamond Dogs retaining the pole position it had seized the week before. 

The Avengers #39, Shang-Chi, master of kung fu

The trend I highlighted, recently, of me only seeming to get every other issue of The Avengers, during this period, continues with another issue I missed out on at the time.

But what happens in it?

Shang-Chi is still in Miami and looking for a place to live. I can shed no light upon his activities after that but, given how things always go for him, I'm assuming it somehow manages to lead to a fight with deadly assassins.

In their strip, the Avengers have been captured by the Ultroids!

But not to worry. The Black Widow, of all people, has showed up to rescue them!

I know little of what Dr Strange is up to but am aware it involves Umar and have no doubt it shall be something that the fate of the universe depends upon.

And the back cover gives us the chance to buy some patches which feature our favourite super-heroes on them.

And they'll only cost us 40 pence!

The Mighty World of Marvel #89, the Hulk, the Leader and the Glob

But what's this? It's not just the Avengers I missed out on, this week, because it's an issue of Mighty World of Marvel I didn't own at the time.

Looking for yet another opportunity to lose to the Hulk, the Leader reverts himself to his pre-Gamma Ray appearance  and befriends Bruce Banner, that he might learn of previous Hulk foes who might be able to stop the woodland-hued wonder.

Thanks to that, he decides the Glob is just the monster he needs and sets off to recruit him.

Far, far away from that, Daredevil's in a savage land at the bottom of the world and discovering the shocking origin of Ka-Zar.

Spoiler alert! It bears a remarkable resemblance to the shocking origin of Tarzan.

The Fantastic Three, meanwhile, are still trying to find a way to overcome the Frightful Four, now that those villains have the Thing on their side.

Spider-Man Comics Weekly #70

It's starting to look hopeless for our hero, with Mysterio having shrunk him to the size of an insect and trapped in him a perfect scale-model of a funfair.

Or has he?

Meanwhile, things get confusing for all British readers, as Iron Man's strip introduces us to a brand new super-villain.

The Black Widow!

The one who's currently rescuing the Avengers in their comic.

Oh the joys of Marvel UK continuity incongruities.

Anyway, the Widow and Boris are sent to America to kill the Crimson Dynamo for defecting to the land of the free.

And, while they're at it, they're also going to kill Iron Man and Tony Stark!

But that's nothing because, in a galaxy far far away, Thor's battling Ego the Living Planet.

What he doesn't know is that, back on Earth, the hapless Jane Foster, fresh from acquiring a flatmate from outer space, goes on a flight and instantly bumps into two men who possess strangely animal-like qualities...

And we finish off with a Not Brand Echh reprint titled The Auntie Goose Rhymes Dept, created by Roy Thomas and John Verpoorten and narrated by Aunt May in the career-defining role of Auntie Goose.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

In Marvel Team-up # 65/66, Captain Britain also faced mirror images of himself, in Arcade's funhouse hall of mirrors. Maybe it's an homage to Spidey's battle against Mysterio (although I doubt it!) And, in Nova # 9 ('Fear in the Funhouse'), the human rocket faced mirror images - not of himself - but of the Mega Man (a character with a Zefram Cochrane-like origin!) There's nothing new under the Sun.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

I don’t remember the exact details of that Shang-chi story but I’m pretty sure it’s just one sniper trying to kill him. And I think the sniper was hired by Fu Manchu? But don’t quote me, I could be totally wrong about that.

Also, there’s a sub-plot about some white people refusing to rent an apartment to Shang-Chi. With some seriously weak early artwork by Ron Wilson (not helped at all by Mike Espisito’s inks), it does make the Craig Russell-drawn MOKF story I was ragging on last week look much MUCH better in comparison.

b.t.

Anonymous said...

Steve, somewhere between the artists David Bowie and Ray Stevens the truth of human nature lies.
I'm not sure in which direction.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

So we're still going on about Mike Esposito are we, b.t.?

You're right about there only being one sniper in that Shang-a-lang Chi story, another terrible short with a ridiculous 70s title - 'Reflections In A Rippled Pool' (even though theres no pool anywhere in it) - from Giant-Size MOKF #1.
But theres also a couple of club-wielding goons - don't ask me why they aren't better armed - working with the sniper, so Steve was also correct using the plural 'assassins'.

With the renting a flat sub-plot, you have to wonder how Shanga-a-lang can afford anywhere. I mean, all the MOKF stories so far have consisted of him wandering around - generally in some American city - barefoot and wearing the same red pyjamas, so you can see why after months of that he'd finally want somewhere to live.
But he doesn't seem to have a job or anything. Or even pockets to keep money in.

-sean

Anonymous said...

Never mind 'The Streak', Steve, the topical record of the month was Gil Scott-Heron's 'Winter in America' -

https://youtube.com/watch?v=1wixtjUL42E

-sean

Anonymous said...

I remember a story in DEADLY HANDS where Moench made an attempt to explain how Shang-Chi got enough money to get by. In that one story, he did some kind of manual labor and then spent his day’s wages on fast food for his supper — a greasy burger and soggy french fries, IIRC. And then complained about it — just like he got all judge-y about pizza in GIANT-SIZE MOKF 2 and Americanized Chinese Food in MOKF 22. I’m kinda glad Moench dropped the “picky eater” schtick after those early stories. I suppose it made sense for his character, to a degree, but I found it oddly kinda annoying.

In another DEADLY HANDS story, he saw a poster advertising a kung fu movie in a grindhouse theatre window, wanted to check it out, and Moench just had him sneak into the theatre via the rear exit door. No money necessary!

And yes, Sean, I make it a point to whinge about Esposito’s inks at every opportunity. Just wait until we get to Gulacy’s final issue of MOKF…

b.t.

Anonymous said...

b.t.-

I'm not very familiar with DHofKF but I would guess it was Moench's critique of American consumerism.
Which has gotten so far past what it was at the time he wrote it, it seems rather quaint now.
Still, a guy on the move, whether he's a soldier or a renegade or just a traveler is gonna eat whatever's put in front of him. He has to.
Even bad pizza.
He doesn't have to like it, though.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

Sean - As regards the title, 'Reflections in a Rippled Pool'...

A noun, followed by 'in a', ending with an adjective pre-modifying a noun.

The formula is exactly the same in the title...

'Demon in a Silvered Glass' !

Which is also written by Doug Moench! Are such titles a Moench thing, I wonder.


b.t. - Shang Chi subsisting, with little cash...

Kwai Chang Caine carried a pouch with him. He'd go up to a bar, and ask for water - which he'd get for free. Then, Caine would take some kind of powder out of his pouch, and sprinkle
it into his water, transforming it into a much better drink.

Shang Chi clearly needs such a pouch, full of powder like that! Maybe beef jerky or pemmican, too (although Caine's more likely vegetarian - perhaps Shang's now too far gone, having been exposed to fast food culture, since the mid-70s.)

Phillip

Anonymous said...

MOKF #50 is Gulacy's best one, b.t.! Admittedly thats more down to him having sorted out his figure proportions - well, relatively speaking - toward the end of his run, rather than the inking.
Although Esposito did a better job than Jack Abel or Pablo Marcus. A low bar to clear, but still...

Phillip, Doug Moench also came up with my favourite story title of the era, 'Magick Man's Last Gasp Purple Light Show' - with extra bonus point for the 'k' in 'magick' - from Planet of the Apes #13.
Offhand, thats more '70s Marvel b-list than any I can think of by Steve Gerber or even Don McGregor, so it seems reasonable to consider such titles a (giant-size?) Moench thing.

He had a good go at the purple prose thing too - especially in MOKF - but Dauntless Don won that one hands down.

-sean

Steve W. said...

Sean and MP, we can only conclude that the perfect record would have been a collaboration between David Bowie, Ray Stevens and Gil Scott-Heron.

Speaking of which, looking at Wikipedia, I am impressed by how many hits Ray Stevens had, for a man who specialised in novelty songs. Misty and I Need Your Help, Barry Manilow, were, of course, his finest moments.

Phillip and Bt, thanks for your comments too.

Anonymous said...

UK- Gents- The missus and i are in the u-bahn train station in Munich and there are hundreds upon hundreds of men… in kilts! I don’t understand what they are saying but I am assuming they are Scottish lol! But none of their women folk get to wear kilts? What’s up with that???

Charles

Anonymous said...

Moench had a real gift for gonzo story titles. “Up The Nose-Tube To Monkey-Trash” is my personal favorite of his PLANET OF THE APES titles. At Warren, he went through a phase of pairing nonsensical compound words — “Stridespider Spongerot”, “Webtread’s Powercut” and the like. He also had a lot of super-pulpy, perfectly fine (but much less bizarre) titles like “Weapon of the Soul” and “Lair of Shattered Vengeance” but it’s the kooky ones like “Knucklebones To Fever Twitch” that stand out in my memory.

And yes, McGregor had some real doozies too.

b.t.

Anonymous said...

Charlie - You sure do get about - raise a steinkrug to us! Maybe Scottish women don't need kilts (with sporrans), because they've got handbags to carry all their miscellaneous stuff!

For a long time, I only had 2 MOKFs - one Gulacy, & one by Mike Zeck. By coincidence, despite being separated by many issues, both comics guest-starred the Cat. Later, I got quite a few Gene Day ones.

Don't try looking at the MOKF cover gallery, because according to my free virus protection software, it's infected with something called 'Blacklist' !

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Phillip:
For me, the most pertinent thing about the title ‘Demon in A Silvered Glass’ is its similarity to the title of Harlan Ellison’s famous OUTER LIMITS teleplay ‘Demon With A Glass Hand’. Moench certainly wasn’t the only comics writer to riff on Ellison in the Bronze Age but he did homage him a few times. His Iron Fist story ‘Citadel on the Edge of Vengeance’ has no story elements in common with Ellison’s famous STAR TREK tear-jerker but the title is clearly inspired by it, and I’ve always thought his trippy horror story ‘Shards of a Crystal Rainbow’ in VAMPIRE TALES 9 was probably inspired by Ellison’s nightmarish anti-drug culture tale ‘Shattered Like A Glass Goblin’.

b.t.

Anonymous said...

b.t. - I never realized that. Those Moench titles you've highlighted are so similar to Elison's, that it seems undeniable. I'm kicking myself for not spotting the Iron Fist & Star Trek one ; )

Sean - Are you watching the Carrick Fergus castle documentary, about Essex's massacre? Shocking details.

Phillip

Colin Jones said...

FUN FACT: The Magick Man's Last Gasp Purple Light Show was printed in Marvel UK's Planet Of The Apes #87 which was the final issue before POTA merged with Dtacula Lives.

Anonymous said...

I have often been struck by how similar some of the stories in early-mid 70's comics were to episodes of Twilight Zone, Star Trek or Outer Limits, and various sci-fi novels. And Ellison, of course. Even beyond that period.
Always ending with a commentary on human nature (or alien nature, as the case may be) and an ironic twist.
That's what those guys like Conway and Gerber grew up with.
And me too, really!
Science fiction is generally about the human condition.
How much real science was there in the stories that made up the Martian Chronicles?
Zero. Zip. It was about people, and all the #@$@ed things they do.
You can't just go walking around on the surface of Mars like you're on a movie set in California.

...same thing with Little House on the Prairie, now that I think about it. That was not filmed in Minnesota.
Maybe the movie Fargo was. THAT looks like Minnesota.

M.P.

Anonymous said...

As we're discussing Doug Moench stories...

1.) Daughters falsely accusing heroes of killing their father. This happens in Moench's Iron Fist (courtesy of Joy Meachum); also in Moench's Moon Knight (after Marlene's father's killed by Bushman, but she thinks Spector did it); is there a third example, too? Anyway, perhaps a Moench preoccupation. Heather Glenn accused Daredevil of killing her father, but I don't think that was Doug Moench.

2.) Telescope women/female astronomers. Moench's Stained Glass Scarlet (Moon Knight) has a telescope. Nocturna in Batman (Moench) is a telescope lady, too (with events taking place at an observatory). In Captain Marvel, Jacqueline Carr worked at Denver observatory (although Scott Edelman created Ms.Carr in # 55, and Moench only continued her(?) in # 56.) Also, in Moon Knight, Marc Spector's friend, Jason, is an astronomer (obviously not a woman, in this case!), in 'An Eclipse Waning'.

M.P. - As regards California film sets - for me, Justified's 'local colour'/atmosphere took a hit, when I learned it was filmed in California, not Kentucky.

And those hills (must be in California), on the opening sequence to M.A.S.H., must feature in virtually every American tv series broadcast, if you watch long enough!

Phillip

McSCOTTY said...

Charlie, Back in the day Scottish women used to wear a female kilt called a Leine. Today it's not really used but women do and can wear a " traditional" kilt. Women probably just prefer other clothing though. Anyway let's just forget Scotlands 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Germany yesterday please lol. Jeez it never changes for Scotland but at least the 200k fans took it on the chin Good luck to England when their game is due ( though gritted teeth but meant)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, Paul - and timely, too, batting Charlie's question!

Phillip

McSCOTTY said...

Thanks Philip, its good to be back and doing "normal" things.

Anonymous said...

-McSCOTTY

So, should we root for England, then, even with clenched teeth? I'm prepared to do that.
Those goddam Germans...

M.P.

Anonymous said...

No, M.P., let's not root for England.
Maith thú Iceland.

Paul, hope alls well, and you're on the mend from whatever it was.

-sean

McSCOTTY said...

I won't be rooting for them M. P. but I wish them all the best, they are a good team and could win it.

McSCOTTY said...

Thanks Sean, I'm on the mend from my heart attack not helped by that awful Scotland ( non) performance.

Anonymous said...

Not only that, Paul, but opinion polls are suggesting Labour will make a comeback in Scotland on July 4th.
Don't let it get you down! I'm sure it'll just be a blip on the way to independence - a few years of returned Blair-era zombies might well be just what you lot need to get you there.
Sorry I can't be as positive about the Scottish football team though (;


Phillip, I think with most full-time comic book writers of Moench's generation you're inevitably going to get a number of stories with elements in common simply because of how prolific they had to be to make a reasonable living back then, before royalties and 'incentive payments', in the 70s.
The regulars at Marvel and DC would write a few comics - and maybe additional short stories - every month, and had to come up with them to a deadline irrespective of whether they had any fresh ideas. And there's only so many of those someone can have anyway (if they're not Jack Kirby) especially within the limits of the genres they had to work in.

So its hardly surprising that sometimes stuff from Star Trek, The Outer Limits or whatever would get reworked. But thats not a criticism - there's a big difference between, say, Kirby using a planet of gangsters as a setting in the FF, and Bill Mantlo plagiarizing Harlan Ellison.
I mean, even Watchmen recycled an old Outer Limits episode -
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Architects_of_Fear
- but it was still reasonably creative...

-sean

Anonymous said...

Sean - Further to what you said, to kids it doesn't matter, as they don't notice recycled ideas (I certainly didn't), anyway. Everything seems original, to a kid. It's only as adults that we become aware of such things.

Phillip

Anonymous said...

Paul / McSCOTTY — welcome back! About a week ago, I noticed that you had posted a reply at Rip Jagger’s Dojo, and was hoping it meant that you were on the mend.

b.t.

Colin Jones said...

I see football is already dominating the SDC comments so it's bye from me until the Euros are over.

Colin Jones said...

Welcome back, Paul :)

Steve W. said...

Welcome back, Paul. It's nice to know you're on the path to recovery. :)

Anonymous said...

Paul! Glad you are back! Charlie tried to comment on your blog but there was a login / username issue with google that would Not allow Charlie to do that!

But, again, glad you are back!

Charlie is torn who to cheer for… lived 4 years in Germany, 30 years a French wife and kids dual US-French citizenship… and of course many years now at SDC which could create an emotional interest in England.

You know… life would be easier if the UK only had one team!

McSCOTTY said...

Oh Charlie you have no idea how much a UK team would not work lol.