Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Spinner Rack - March 1979

Doug: Many moons have passed since last we visited the spinner rack! Today we're heading back to early 1979. If you're new here, you'll want to visit Mike's Amazing World of Comics, where you'll find covers of all of the comics that were cover-dated right smack on today's parameter. You can also click on the date below, which will take you to the Comic Book Database where you can get more specific information on each issue from that month/year. Have fun reminiscing!


Edo Bosnar said...

1979 was a good year for me in terms of comics reading and collection. It was around the beginning of that year that I really began to systematically follow a number of various super-hero titles (rather than what I normally did up to that point: randomly pick out comics based on a cool cover or a done-in-one story).

Some of the covers I see at Mike's Newsstand that really sparked some great memories are Defenders #69, Fantastic Four #204 (the beginning of a multi-issue story arc that took them all over the galaxy), Marvel Tales #101 (reprinting the origin of Man-Wolf), and Marvel Team-up #79 - the excellent Red Sonja issue, probably my favorite single issue of MTU.

I also see that Marvel's Battlestar Galactica began coming out this month. I recall having the first few issues at the time - they were just adaptations of the pilot movie and then the first episode of the TV show. Incidentally, unlike Team America, I currently have the whole run of this series - if anyone's interested in a review, just shout.

Also: 13 Richie Rich titles. Amazing...

Anonymous said...

I bought a load of Marvel comics dated April 1979 but this is March'79 so the only ones I had from this lot were Red Sonja #14 (which was the last issue I think) and Marvel Team-Up (also featuring Red Sonja). Teaming up Spidey and Red Sonja was very inventive (obviously nobody in the Marvel Universe was exempt from Team-Up duty) but if I remember correctly they don't actually meet but just interact with the villain in their own time periods - I could be wrong as it was a long time ago. Perhaps Edo knows as it's his favourite Marvel Team-Up :)

Edo Bosnar said...

Nope, Colin, they actually did fight the same (Hyborian Age) villain in the same room. Claremont cleverly got around the problem of different historical eras by using - surprise, surprise - magic. Mary Jane Watson, who tagged along with Peter and a Bugle reporter to a museum where some disturbances were occurring, picked up Sonja's sword, which was on exhibit, and was transformed into her.
Hope that's not too much of a spoiler; it's a still a great issue, and gorgeously drawn by Byrne & Austin (and beautifully colored by Glynis Wein). Well worth reading.

Doug said...

Here are the places you can find a reprint of MTU #79 (the last one probably being your best bet) -

Marvel Team-Up #79: Red Sonja (Byrne)
Mighty Marvel Team-Up Thrillers TPB
Marvel Tales #208
Spider-Man/Red Sonja HC/TPB


Redartz said...

Holy cow; what a great month on the spinner stands that was! Edo and Colin already discussed MTU, but there was so much more: Adventure 462, with the death of Earth 2 Batman
Avengers 181, one of the best issues in a terrific run of fine stories.
Iron Man 120, with Sub-Mariner!
Micronauts 3; this series was getting off to a wonderful start!
No wonder my comic buying was peaking about this time...

Martinex1 said...

That was a great month for my collecting. I did miss the MTU issue however, but I have heard nothing but good things about the story and art, so I will have to check that out.

Edo, I would like to hear about Battlestar Galactica. That is something I was always curious about but never owned. Marvel's licensing deals were at full steam with that, Shogun Warriors, and many others developing.

Like Redartz, I really liked Avengers 181. That cover is a classic. The same scene in the interior by Byrne is just as good. I still say Henry Peter Gyrich had it right in regards to Avengers membership. Keep it to 7 members. That team needs to be elite and limited. (His approach may not have been the best...but I wish Marvel stuck to the overall theory).

I too was getting into the Micronauts. I think it was shaping up to be one of the best team books of that era, I dare to say rivaling Avengers and XMen (at least for its first year).

I remember that Bugs Bunny issue. I don't think I had it, but I liked Bugs dribbling Elmer's head. Puerile I know, but it cracked me up back then.

Anonymous said...

OK, thanks Edo - and Doug, I think there's are Marvel Essentials Team-Up volumes too. One thing I've never really known is how to pronounce Red Sonja - is it Sonja with a j or Sonya. I've always sort of combined those two and say Sonjya :)

Doug said...

Colin --

I could be wrong, but I believe that due to licensing issues that MTU #79 is not included in the Essentials volume. Whoever holds the current Red Sonja license (Dynamite Entertainment?) has actually reprinted the Marvel story.


Martinex1 said...

Oh, the age old mystery on how to pronounce Sonja. Hard O or soft O; J or Y? I still don't know. Somebody I knew used to quip that the S is silent.

Edo Bosnar said...

Colin (and Martinex), regardless of how it's spelled, the name is pronounced Sonya - in fact, it's spelled that way in the original story by Robert E. Howard that introduces the character ("The Shadow of the Vulture"). Interestingly enough, the original character is pretty different from the one with which we're familiar: she wears more clothes for one thing, and most importantly, she lives in 16th century Europe and fights the Ottomans, so besides a sword she also wields an old-style pistol.

Martinex1 said...

Thanks Edo. It would be wild to see her with a gun. She's tough enough without it.

Edo, not to belabor a point, but is the "on" pronounce as "on" or "own"?

Edo Bosnar said...

Long "o," as in phone or tone.

Garett said...

Some that stand out for me:
Adventure 462- Joe Staton's art on JSA was very appealing at this time. Seems to me Adventure had other good creators as well, good book.

Conan 96- Super cover by John Buscema, inking himself.

Superman Famous First Edition- loved this glimpse into the Golden Age. Shuster's art was simple but with that cool style of an earlier era. Siegel wrote Superman with pep and toughness. 2 pinups by Garica Lopez showing Superman of today (1979) and of the future.

Iron Man 120- great cover by Layton, exciting to have Namor guest star. This title getting rolling.

Savage Sword 38- Great art by J Buscema/DeZuniga in this one, and those cool covers by Norem at this time.

Dick Giordano inks 9 covers this month for DC. I always looked for his inks on Buckler, Andru and Dillin--wonderful! Giordano could also make pencilers I didn't particularly like, like Saviuk or Delbo, still look good.

dbutler16 said...

1979 was when I discovered my local comic shop, allowing me to start collecting the X-Men.

Of the covers you've posted, the Micronauts brings back some wonderful memories, and I thought the stories held up pretty well when I re-read them a couple of years ago. For some reason, I never got into the Shogun Warriors series even though I had the action figures, as I did with the Micronauts.

The other issues from this month that I fondly remember purchasing off of the spinner rack are X-Men #119, Avengers #181, Fantastic Four #204, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #249, and Justice League of America #164.

Garett said...

I notice prices were a big deal this month, with explosive flashes around them. DC was NOW 40¢ and Marvel STILL ONLY 35¢.

J.A. Morris said...

The first I notice is Rawhide Kid. I don't think I ever saw that title on the spinner racks as a kid. Was there still a market for cowboy comics in 1979?

I'm not a big Iron Man fan, but that Sub-Mariner story was pretty good. And count me among the fans of the Spidey/Red Sonja team-up, great work by Claremont, Byrne and Austin.

But I have to mention the Spidey Super Stories issue from that month. It gave us the infamous Thanoscopter!:

Anonymous said...

I know I was reading comics at this point, but none of these really jumps out at me; the Batman cover looks familiar, so I may have had that, and I probably had some of the Spidey stuff. I didn't have Superman #333 originally, but I've got it as a reprint in one of my Blue Ribbon Digests.

I don't think I ever read the Battlestar Galactica comic, but I'm sure I watched the show (though I don't remember anything specific.) I have a couple of BSG activity books, and a couple of action figures (an Imperious Leader and a Starbuck with both arms missing; I used to have an Ovion, but that disappeared years ago.)

Mike Wilson

Dr. Oyola said...

The only one of these I had (and still) is the oversized collector's edition reprint of Action Comics #1.

david_b said...

I had collected this Avengers era only as back-issues. Funny as it's mention here, I was only collecting Marvel's Galactica title at the time as well. Obviously nowhere NEAR what the Star Wars title sales were back then, so I'm a little surprised folks here mention collecting fondly it at the time.

Speaking of vintage Galactica.., I FINALLY won a Mattel Galactica LandRam.., only a limited-release in Canada when the series was near cancellation. A long 'Holy Grail' of BSG collecting, the auctions for that vehicle with box auctions usually go for over $6,000. I was gobsmacked to get a near-mint loose one for just over $300.

Ironic for us American fans..: My favorite vehicle of the US-based series I'd REALLY like to own had only a limited-release in Canada...

Edo Bosnar said...

David, on Marvel's BSG, I was really into the show at the time, so I started getting the comic - as I said, initially it just featured adaptations of the TV material. For whatever reason, I lost interest and stopped reading it at about issue #5 or 6.
Fast forward about 30 years, and I ended up getting the entire run in one form or another, and I can tell you that it was not a bad series, the last roughly ten issues are really good: solid stories and wonderful art, mainly by Walt Simonson. In my opinion, it was far better than the much more popular Star Wars comics coming out at the same time.

david_b said...

Agreed.., sir. I collected the later issues and they were fine. The more recent comics from Dynamite has had great painted covers and good intial story chapters, but they sort of trail off into oblivion a few issues later.

Actually, as a very rare treat for me, I'm heading out to Seattle this July for Galacticon 4, largest regular BSG con currently running. Lots of classic series guests, reimaged series guests, plus B5 and LIS will be represented. Apparently due to my military connections, I'll be helping with security plus have been picked to play bass on stage with a few others. Will probably my only gig this year, planning on taking the Amtrak out and back, just for relaxation.

I'm getting my colonial warrior suit ordered/tailored now (my first entry into cosplay stuff..), scored my italian SIDI full-bore boots last year and having them painted brown (what the original cast wore..).

I'm such a geek.

Karen said...

If memory serves, I believe I got thirteen books that month, all but one of them Marvel (the outlier was Legion of Super-Heroes). I was feeling dissatisfied with a number of titles at this time (Fantastic Four, Hulk, for example) but kept buying out of habit. That would end soon.

Avengers was just about to end a strong run, but Iron Man was still a great read, as was X-Men.

I wish I had picked up that Adventure Comics issue. And that Marvel Two in One with Dr. Strange looks intriguing.

David -I (and I bet others here) would love to hear about your experiences at the Galacticon this summer! Sounds like you are going all out. I hope you have a great time.

William Preston said...

Karen, I also was becoming disillusioned by certain titles. Kupperberg art on MTIO, weak stuff in Defenders, Marv Wolfman demonstrating an absolute inability to write for either Spidey or the FF, Howard the Duck struggling along in its post-Gerber lameness, the continuing horror of Infantino's work on Nova--again, another Wolfman misfire, Thor and Hulk enduring slumps. This was balanced by great stuff in (surprisingly) Micronauts, X-Men, and Iron Man (great issue), but I continued to buy a ton of Marvel, always hoping for the weaker mags to (re)find their legs.

BTW, I own the original of that Daredevil cover. Anyone want to buy it?

Redartz said...

William- Nice Colan cover, bet it looks great full size and b/w!
Karen- yes, there was reason for disillusionment then, yet I still managed 21 titles that month. Have to mention one: the Hembeck book. His cartoons were always entertaining, and informative as well. Any lover of comics will find familiar sentiments in his musings...

Humanbelly said...

Looks like fourteen books for me-- some off the rack, some acquired as back issues. Like Karen, this was just about the time I, too, gave up on the FF for awhile. The whole "Four No More"/Reed losing his powers plotline which culminated in the "final" (groan) battle w/ Dr Doom in #200 left me feeling. . . unsatisfied, at best. It was a heck of a lot of soap opera with absolutely no enduring developments.

Hulk was weak, Defenders were weak, HtheDuck was weak (tho the art was good)-- a lot of really nice covers, but so many books seemed to be kind of on autopilot.


Robert L. The Marvel and DC True Believer from the 1970's said...

At this point in time, I really liked the Micronauts. Not the toy, however I couldn't wait to see Michael Golden's art each month and Bill Mantlo's stories. At one point Howard Chaykin penciled a few issues. But Golden was the primary artist that stood out for me. It was a time of change at Marvel in those years. The slick Magazines like Epic and full process color Hulk magazines were my steady favorites during 1979. Epic tried to be Heavy Metal without the gratuitous material. It's ironic that Epic became a line of creator owned comics. It's where Jim Starlin took his Dreadstar book and eventually moved it to First Comics, along with Howard Chaykin who went to First Comics to create "American Flagg"....it was great era for comics back then because everything was changing.

Edo Bosnar said...

As stated above, my impressions of this month, and 1979 in general, were really positive as far as comics go.
I was actually enjoying Wolfman's tenure on FF at that point (I really liked that space opera story arc - so much so that I have the HC reprinting it) and Spectacular Spider-man was in the middle of what I considered a really good run, with Bill Mantlo as main writer. Also, far from ending a strong run, I thought Avengers was just getting into a great run (my personal favorite), with Michelinie handling the writing chores (mostly) and Byrne doing most of the art in the 180s, followed by Perez (mostly) in the 190s.
The fact that the X-men, Micronauts and Iron Man were really strong at this point has been noted; in two months time, Frank Miller would take over the art chores on Daredevil. So I don't really share the negative assessment of Marvel's output at this point.

Robert L., yes, Chaykin took over as penciler on Micronauts after Golden left with issue #12, and stayed on for about 5-6 issues. However, his work was being inked rather heavily by Al Milgrom so it doesn't have its usual panache.

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