Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Spinner Rack - April 1980

Doug: This should be old hat to everyone by now. Click this link to head over to Mike's Amazing World of Comics and check out what was cover-dated April 1980. You can also click on the date below and get yourself to the Comic Book Database if you'd like more information on any of the comics you find at Mike's. Thanks as always for your comments!


Edo Bosnar said...

This month's Richie Rich tally: 11

I was in full fanatic mode in 1980, and near as I can tell, I had at least 18 of the titles for this month.
Some of my favorites were X-men (obviously, right in the thick of the Hellfire Club story), Iron Man and Marvel 2-in-1 (our friend the Groovy Agent just had some posts on that very story).
Also glad you highlighted the relaunched Amazing Adventures, which was reprinting the early issues of X-men. I was all over that, as well as Marvel Super Action, which featured the first Vision story this month.
Also notable for me was Marvel Premiere #53, the end of a three-part story that concluded (in a rather disappointing fashion) the Klan story from years before. However, it piqued my curiosity so much at the time that I actually tracked down and bought those original Jungle Action issues, which were really cheap at the time, and was thus introduced to McGregor's first Black Panther run.

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo !! For me this was an incredibly important month because it was here that I started seriously buying U.S. Marvel comics every month rather than just now and again as I'd done up till now. I bought exactly 8 Marvel comics because they were 12 pence each so £1 would buy eight comics. I even know the exact date I bought them - Saturday April 5th 1980 which was Easter Saturday (in the UK they went on sale in the actual month on the cover - none of your three months ahead malarkey). I bought Defenders, Ghost Rider, Thor, Marvel Premiere, Marvel 2-in-1, Tales To Astonish, Iron Man and X-Men which, as Edo mentioned, is where the Hellfire Club/Dark Phoenix storyline kicks off. Two days ago was exactly 35 years since I bought these comics so I was thinking about them and here they are, what a coincidence.

Humanbelly said...

Happy 35th to ya, Colin!
That's pretty darned cool-- a very neat life-reference-point to anchor to.

So. . . Marvel put out TWO Empire Strikes Back publications with the same cover-?? Sheesh, no shameless grab for accidental revenue there, folks-- just keep on movin' along. . .

This would have been at the beginning of the seconds semester of my Freshman year of college-- where I'd already discovered I wasn't nearly the whiz-bang genius student my high school career had led me to believe I was. It's one of those periods where buying comics COMPLETELY fell off of my radar. I know I have about 9 or 10 of the issues shown for the month now, but I'm pretty sure that all but maybe 2 were acquired after the fact (with my Dad being my subscription-collecting benefactor for those couple of titles).

So this was the inaugural month for EPIC ILLUSTRATED, eh? Y'know, as cool as that mag seemed, I don't think I own a single issue of it. That has got to be a major oversight on my part.

Great looking covers for both Amazing Spiderman and Peter Parker, aren't they?

And, IIRC, this may have been the point where DEFENDERS started to go into its looooooong, long, long decline. Like, years & years long. Still enjoyable at times, yes, but the Keith Giffen era for that book didn't thrill me as much as it did other folks.

Hmm-- and what was going on in Thor during this period? We're just barely pre-Simonson run, right?


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

HB, the Walt Simonson run didn't start till late 1983. For the next few months (till #300) Thor became a kind of adaptation of Wagner's 'Ring Of The Nibelung' which was part of a larger story involving the Eternals and the Celestials returning to Earth to judge mankind (or something). I loved the Wagnerian storyline but I never got #300 so I didn't know how it all ended till I read it on the internet.

Doug said...

Everything on this list was published three months after I quit buying new comics. I know that because I only bought issues 1 and 2 of the Amazing Adventures X-Men reprint series. Then... nada.

Well, that's assuming AA was published monthly. So I guess it could have been a bit longer that I'd been out.


Karen said...

My comic buying was slowing down a bit here. I did have that Thor but...oh man...unlike Colin, I was not digging that Wagnerian cycle after several issues. It just dragged on and on, it seemed. I wanted to get back to the Celestials. It did end really well. Even today I'll go back to those issues and skim the Wagner-inspired stuff to read the whole battle between the gods and the Celestial Host. MMMmmm.

HB, I noticed those two Empire Strikes Back mags too. I know I had one of them, not sure which though. I also had that first issue of Epic Illustrated, but I only bought a couple more. Just never got into it.

It seems odd that Star Trek #1 was out at the same time as the Empire Strikes Back mag. If I didn't have to prepare for a meeting, I'd look into that one.

I've got Star Trek on my brain right now. I'm reading a monstrous book right now, Return to Tomorrow: The Filming of Star Trek the Motion Picture by Preston Jones, that is an oral history of the production of the first Star Trek film and while interesting, it has far more detail than I need to know, about everything...seriously, if you want to know the minutiae of how the Enterprise's warp core effect was created by two young amateurs using table-top models, this is the book for you.

Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, that's odd that Marvel had two different editions of the Empire adaptation. Like Karen, I had one of them - pretty sure it was the one indicated as "Marvel Super Special #16" at Mike's Newsstand.
I also just noticed another one I had that I hadn't noticed earlier: Tales to Astonish #5, which was reprinting the Sub-mariner series. I was really loving all the John Buscema art both there and in the Avengers reprints in Marvel Super Action. And Doug, yes, revived Amazing Adventures was a monthly book.

J.A. Morris said...

Lots of good stuff that month. That Amazing Adventures issue with the blog was my introduction to the "old" X-men. Which is why I'll always think of Blog as an "A-list" villain even if I know him to be less than that. I didn't own X-men 132 until later, but I read a friend's copy that month.

Marvel Two-In-One was a good issue, even if it contained this somewhat disturbing image:

Anonymous said...

I was eight years old in April 1980. Many of the comics on that page I purchased many moons later, but at the time I know I bought the Spider-Man books, Avengers, X-Men, Iron Man, one or two Richie Rich, a few of the Disney books and my perennial favorite: The Defenders. That pretty much maxed out my allowance and the extra buck or two my grandfather would slip me.

The Defenders had me hooked since issue 61; the quirkiness of the book appealed to young me and it was the first series for which I completed a full run (thank you, flea markets of the day). I forever will have a fondness for it and its characters. The Avengers was a great book then and thrilled me each month. I had just started buying X-Men with 129 and one issue was all it took to make me an addict; what a ride. Spidey was a must and the Barks reprints were treasures.

I have always loved that DC Special Series cover, because Garcia Lopez is awesome and a happy Batman became rarer than hen's teeth a few short years later!

Oh, and I bought Fun & Games...and did all the puzzles. Probably in ink.

Thanks for the walk down memory lane, BAB!

Humanbelly said...

That blasted auto-correct is tryin' to undermine you, there, J.A.-- don't surrender your meaning to the tyranny of the Spell-bots! Throw off your chains, Winston Smith! (Or maybe I'm a little over-invested in this train of thought. . . heh. . .)

And yes-- agreed on the rather disturbing image-

Clearly, even in 1980 there was still a lot of struggling going on with exactly how to depict a male hero battling a female villain (or at least opponent). And I guess condescending, misogynistic humiliation (which has an unavoidable, squirmy sexual undertone) was still viewed as preferable to just slugging it out like one of the boys. Geeze. I probably found it cute and amusing at the time, but I definitely don't anymore.
Interestingly, there's She-Hulk's book up there, early in its first run, and as reviled as that character was from many quarters at the time, there's no question that she was the ice-breaker when it came to portraying female characters as first-rate, big, tough powerhouses WITHOUT having to sacrifice their female-ness (as it were).


Martinex1 said...

I think the Star Wars Special Edition was an extra large $2.00 treasury... wasn't it? I think I had that once upon a time. Could never store it easily.

I like the Machine Man cover with Byrne pencils and Ditko inks. At the time I was not that in favor of Ditko's pencils within, but I liked that cover for some reason. It was a nice blend of new and old styles.

The Avengers were starting the Taskmaster storyline in that issue. That was a favorite of mine, so X Men and Avengers were both at a nice point for me.

Garett said...

Nice Garcia Lopez art on the DC holiday special cover, and on the Legion story inside. This is one of those times when Flash had a great cover, here by Andru/Giordano, but then disappointing Heck art inside. I notice some good art by Luis Dominguez this month on several horror and western covers--he was totally off my radar back then.

Master of Kung Fu 87--prime time for Zeck art! Power Man/Iron Fist 62-- Kerry Gammill just getting going on a sweet run drawing. Two of my favorite titles at this time. Sub-Mariner vs Tiger Shark--one of my favorite Sub-Mariner stories, and some of J Buscema's best art!

Kaluta drew some cool covers for Time Warp. Warlord and X-Men were good reads at this time. World's Finest was a pretty good bet, with Joe Staton drawing one story this month, and Don Newton drawing both Aquaman and Shazam!

Cerebus has a hefty price tag here-- $1 compared to 40 cents for an average comic. I read some early Cerebus, but just later in the cheap reprints. Road Runner 89-- there was a Road Runner comic? I wonder if anyone has the entire collection.

Garett said...

I may have been hard on Heck. Here's the splash page for Flash 284:
Flash 284 Splash

The guy can certainly draw. Good anatomy, poses here. Also I remember Professor Zoom was in this story, and I enjoyed him as a Flash villain. Still, I get a hyper/nervous feeling looking at Heck's art, instead of powerful/thrilling.

Edo Bosnar said...

Garett, like I said a few days ago, I was a regular reader of Flash at this point, and while Heck was never my favorite artist, he got the job done. And I preferred his art to Infantino's, who took over about a year or two later.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember any of these specifically, but I probably had quite a few (the Spideys, Batman/Detective, DC Presents, JLA, MOKF) That Sgt. Rock cover looks very familiar...

I'm not sure what's up with the two Empire Strikes Back things either; as far as I can tell, they were identical. I didn't have that particular Super Special, which is strange since I bought everything Star Wars related at the time.

Mike Wilson

Anonymous said...

Well now we have a good selection of covers here. Never was into the Richie Rich or ghost comics. Yes, HB and JA, that image of Ben wacking Moondragon's caboose has been burned into my consciousness for 35 years now!

Colin Jones,buddy, you must have a really good memory if you remember exactly those issues you bought 35 years ago!

That reprint of the X-men's first encounter with the Blob was good too; I remember reading the original story years ago (also with Unus the Untouchable too IIRC). The Warren mags were also a favourite of mine but this period signalled the beginning of the end for them.

- Mike '1980? I was 9 years old - the most important thing to me was ice cream!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

BK said...

So interesting to see these all together. While I've read many of hem since, I think the only two I bought off the rack in Thunder Bay, Ontario were the FF and Micronauts --my two fave series and one with a crossover with the other. Slightly startled/excited/confused that the animated HERBIE from the tv show was making an appearance in that run of the FF and very disappointed in the post-Michael Golden run of the Micronauts and especially with what was probably my first introduction to Chaykin. Both Byrne (the FF artist that April) and Chaykin would later become two of my favourites (well, I enjoyed Byrne on the Avengers earlier) and I would follow them religiously until abandoning superhero comics completely around 1988 or so.

Overall, some crazy Bronze Age goodies in there. Thing vs Moondragon, the freaky LOTR-style Defenders saga, 1994, Battle of the Planets, and more! Frank Miller drew that Black Panther vs KKK cover!

Looking back, the X-Men was probably the best continuing serial there (read it slightly later) but this was the period of well-regarded runs on Jonah Hex, Legion, and MOKF. The Warren mags appeal to me more now and still hold up with many hidden gems. A few years later I would have killed to get my hands on that Cerebus comic (Cerebus was a gateway drug to "alt" comics for me) but I would rather read some of those Disney reprints than almost anything on that page today.

I certainly read the Subby/Tiger-Shark story way back then as well but I'm not sure if it was with this issue or my little brother's copy of the original.

Distribution of comics was spotty for sure in my neck of the woods, and most of those I never would have seen. An older high school kid and budding cartoonist showed me that first issue of Epic and also the first issue of King Conan, which i think was published around then. Two very expensive comics for a 10-year-old.

Lots of magazines there, including Crazy, but no Mad or Cracked. I wonder what undergrounds were still coming out then? I'll have to dig out an old issue of Comics Reader or Comics Journal to see…

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