Thursday, 21 November 2013

A Marvellous Book

Bear with me here - this is a festive "mini series" sort of thing that I wasn't planning to do until December, but the reality is there probably won't be enough time in that month to do much... So it's being brought forward a bit. All the adverts have been on telly since March anyway, so I may as well.

RIGHT. The "theme" goes like this: What happens on the 25th December, usually? If you're aged between five and twelve, maybe beyond? You get ANNUALS, that's what. Nice hardback books, to keep you busy throughout the festive week. Some people grow out of them, most don't and end up with hundreds of the things stacked in the corner of the room twenty years down the line. Like the majority of people, I fall into the latter category, and so... Well, it's my Top Twenty-or-so Most Favourite Annuals Ever. In no particular order, and I probably won't get that many done by Christmas, but it's worth a go. And we're starting with a bloody Marvel book of all things.

Now, just to clarify - I don't like superhero comics. Convoluted plots, cross-referencing over different titles (not just different issues), mass investment of time... These are reasons that people who DO like them cite as good things, and that's fine, but they're just not for me. I like my comics to be funny, or scary, or weird - superheroes (and especially those of the all-American, clean cut Marvel variety) just don't do anything for me.

Monsters, on the other hand - they can have ALL of my time if they want it. As much as they want. And on my eighth year on this planet, I became momentarily enamoured with a certain big green monster:

Yeah! Look at him go! I didn't actually get this particular book for Christmas - it's from 1987, a year in which I hadn't yet advanced beyond Richard Scarry books - but we saw it at a car boot sale, and I wouldn't put it down because the Hulk was on the cover, so that's how it came into my life... Anyway, here's the Hulk breaking a deer's neck with one punch, just because he can:

Eeh, the loveable brute. It's a good story this one, as Marvel things go. Here's a weird character called Doc Samson, the fabulous flying green-haired muscle-man:

He goes off to fight the Hulk, because he's mad like that, and gets right pulverised. Then all these odd things happen:

Fairly thrilling stuff when you're a young tyke who's into his monsters, and there's your current favourite "monster" scrapping with some impressively monstrous folk. Especially Modok, what a mad looking bastard he is! I suppose it would've been nice to find out if Doc Samson ever "cures" Banner permanently (a pointless endeavour if you ask me), but I'm guessing with superhero comics, it really is something you have to be "into" from the start. I got more enjoyment from reading the Beano than I ever did from the Marvel Super-Heroes Omnibus, and I'm now a fairly well-rounded individual. Who knows what would've happened had I gone down the route of melodramatic comics, rather than the funny stuff? Who cares?

Here's some more fun bits from the book - some people have made careers out of looking at Marvel's stuff, but I promise this will be the only time it'll ever feature on this particular part of the Internet (unless I ever get around to the other "big project" that's sort of getting planned).

Some deliciously cheesy dialogue from the X-Men here:

Here's some of the X-Men fighting Spider-Man. I'm unaware of when the Marvel folk decided that Beast should be an actual beast, rather than a hairy-limbed man in an ill-fitting jumpsuit. And I could try and think of something witty here about making a connection between Spider-Man's comments about the X-Factor and ITV's X-Factor, but my heart's not in it at the moment.

Oh look, here's a cameo appearance from the Griswolds of National Lampoon fame:

And the reason for Disneyland being closed lies with Tony Stark (aka. Iron Man), who's rented out Disneyland for the day because he's a dick like that:

If I'd made this post back when Disney bought Marvel a couple of years ago, I could've been witty and relevant by saying something like "Oh look, Marvel bought Disney in the past and now it's the other way around". Ho hum.

One last thing - I'd LOVE it if they made a film of this character here called the Tumbler. If only to see his method of transport replicated in such a way that's at least TRYING to be taken seriously:

And... That'll do for that one. More "unexpected" annuals on the way, hopefully.


  1. I'm not going to 'bare' anything with you - it's too bloody cold for a start. I will 'bear' with you, however, 'cos I think that's what you meant. (Who's a peasant? Oh, you said 'pedant' - okay, guilty as charged.) Ho, ho - what a wag I am.

    I bought this annual when it first came out, THB, and it only seems like a few years ago since I bought it. Still got it, too. I've even got the original Hulk and FF tales it reprinted.

    Sigh! Where does the time go?

    1. Well, erm, that IS what I meant... just didn't want to worry anyone into thinking any ursine creatures were in the direct vicinity.

      Yes, that'll do...

  2. Read some Hellblazer! It's funny, scary and weird, so it ticks all of your boxes!

  3. Would love to see "the Tumbler" "re-imagined" as a dark angst ridden character. Imagine huge dramatic argument ending with him saying "right to hell with this I'm outta here" & rolling away.

    1. They'd find a "gritty" way to do it, no doubt - maybe riding the corpses of his dead parents or something.