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“…There Must be A Creature Superior To Man.” COMICS! Sometimes Hasslein Was RIGHT!

John Kane

This isn’t actually a post about comics it’s a post about the posts about comics which are to follow. See, I had an idea…oh dear. Click “More” to enter…The Planet of the Nostalgics!

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(Art by George Tuska)

For a while now I’ve wanted to write about the experience of comics reading during the ‘70s. I thought this might be of interest as it is now 2012 and some of your parents weren’t even born then. I thought it might be of even more interest as, and the keener minds among you will have already noted this, I live in Great Britain. Which isn’t that Great but it is certainly called Britain. Alack, alas, I had a great deal of difficulty figuring out where to start, I’ll spare you all the hemming and hawing and just say that I think I’ve found a solution…

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Yeah, stick a flag in it, pal. That’ll solve everything!
(Art by George Tuska)

What I’m intending (intentions!) to do is look at the entire run of PLANET OF THE APES WEEKLY published by Marvel Comics International Limited. Well, issues #1 (Oct 1974) to #123 (Feb 1977). (Following this it was folded into THE MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL.) By having a focal point I am hoping that I will be able to touch on a multitude of areas of historical comical periodical interest. Not only will I be moaning about George Tuska’s inert art but I’ll hopefully go wider and give some idea of the ‘70s via many words on the content, availability, price and format of comics. Most of the words will concern content, I imagine. Largely though I will be hammering home the important sociological point that using comics as surrogate parents ends up with your kid turning out like me. This is certainly what I would call a warning from History.

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A really quite significant moment for Tiny me was when Taylor (AKA “Tay-LAH!”) just said, “Aw f*** it and f*** you all too!” in the most final of manners.
(Art by Alfredo Alcala)

I suppose I could claim some measure of relevance as POTA is back on the radar in the form of the current licensed comic from Boom!, so there’s that and also the UK comic had, aside from the early issues, back ups that maybe(?) represent some of the more varied and perhaps under loved strips Marvel published. I was going to say overlooked but since the advent of the Internet I guess there’s no such thing as an overlooked strip anymore. (Personally I think Atlas’ POLICE ACTION FEATURING LOMAX should get more attention. Get right on that, Internet!). Should worse comes to worse (i.e. I remain true to form) and I never actually say anything of interest or relevance about the ‘70s I can promise you that we will at least have covered a great many creators and bizarre series. Some of which you may never have heard of! (Gullivar Jones, anyone?) I think you’ll like it! And if you don’t I imagine you’ll tell me about it! Possibly using inventive invective. The kind that back in the ‘70s you would have had to deliver in person and probably got a pop on the nose for your troubles. Because things were different back then. They were better. (Of course they weren’t, they were Godawful but for a second you thought I was serious and I, personally, found that second hilarious. Oh, your face!).

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Taylor (AKA “Bright-Eyes”) was my first hero what with his smoking in a pressurised oxygen environment, heroin addiction and misanthropic attitude. The ideal role model for four year olds everywhere!
(Art by George Tuska)

(Oh, who am I kidding, my actual reasons for this are selfish as a bloke at work lent me these comics about two years ago and I imagine he’ll be wanting them back soon. So if I have to tell you lot about them I guess I’ll have to read ‘em!)

I’ll still be posting about other stuff but this should be a nice regular thing I can try and build some consistency around. It’s a little bit ambitious but I’ll see how I go with it. Trust me, no one will lose out because If all else fails I can just post stuff like this:

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EXCELSIOR!

So why not join us next time on Planet of the Nostalgics (aside from the fact it will be sh**) when we hear:
APES! Apes On Horseback!” or
PLANET OF THE APES WEEKLY #1 (w/e Oct. 26th 1974)
In which I say, “Look, I’m sure George Tuska was a boon to the lives of all who knew him BUT…

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5 Responses to “ “…There Must be A Creature Superior To Man.” COMICS! Sometimes Hasslein Was RIGHT! ”

  1. Ummm… is that a picture of The President Of The America shooting dope?

    Even the funnybooks can’t stay out of the election.

    I am also pretty sure that Tuska was busy withholding penicillin from sharecroppers around that time and so could be charitably forgiven for unvaried line weight. He has enough on his conscience.

  2. Now, this – THIS is the kind of mighty (and mightily eccentric?! Heh) undertaking that Savage Critics and the Interwebs was made for! And all from the Mystical Mind of Kane, John Kane, Licensed to Fill Posts With His Comics-Based Musings, too. But, oh the potential perils as you enter this Forbidden Zone of Comics – namely the “Tuska-ishness (not to be confused with Tusk-ishness which has something to do with Fleetwood Mac, and Christine McVie singing “Over and Over” I believe), no offence to old George but when he turned up on ’70s Avengers mine eyes did weep. Um, John I fear for you my friend, heed the (misquoted for “comic” effect) words of Doctor Zaius, “Don’t do it, Kanelor. You might not like what you find there!”.
    Terrible “jokes” apart, this should be good. That image of Taylor activating the Doomsday Device (Almighty Bomb) takes me back to watching Beneath the Planet of the Aped in my early teens (for some reason this seems connected to seeing Amanda Donohoe’s absolutely “non-gratuitous” – just the way they *should* be – in Nic Roeg’s Castaway) and the impact of that nihilistic final scene in which Taylor ends the world and almost everyone is a bastard or a loony. Now, it seems not inaccurate, ha! Back on topic, this will surely be a fascinating (oh yes) look at reading British variants of US in that turbulent and interesting decade (one mustn’t forget all the *great* art and entertainment, even some of the dross has its charms). As another boring aside, this reminds me of the variety of comic boiks one could get from newsagents in England in the mid-eighties and through to the early nineties, both British reprint/originals and newstand copies of the *real* American stuff, before things mostly shifted to Comics stores. Npt only did you have the adventure of *maybe* getting originsl issues from a newstand – be it Peter David’s Incredible Hulk, Englehart’s West Coast Avengers, or Morrison’s Animal Man, etc) but you also had the chance to read magazine-size reprints featuring Batman (Grant/Breyfogle, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, Aparo, etc) or short-lived anthologies with Swamp Thing, Animal Man, and even, dah-dah-DAH!, Howard Chaykin’s Shadow! Oh yeah, the good, the *real* “nostalgia”! Well, enough of my scrambled wittering, I’m really going ape (forgive meeeee!) for your idea. Excelsior, indeed!

  3. “You’ll see man against beast – but, which is truly the beast?” Dah-dah-DAH indeed! Did the television series really electrify Britain or was Stan the usual kidder?

    Even if I am a serious fan of the b/w Marvel Magazines and of the Doug Moench scripts of this time, not to mention the Bob Larkin covers, POTA never interested me at all. I like the first movie (for all its preachiness, but its ending was rarely topped) Didn´t read even one issue, though.

    So this will be interesting.

  4. Oops, not that it matters but I made a boo-boo in my comment, it should read “(…)Amanda Donohoe’s entirely “non-gratuitous – just as they *should* be! [Sid Jamesian dirty laugh] – nude scenes in Nic Roeg’s Castaway(…)”. Wow, *that* was worth it, “obviously”. Hah, I held off correcting that for *days*, but then the OCD became too strong! (The Sid James bit disappeared because I used the “wrong” kind of parentheses apparently, my you learn something new every week…)

  5. Hola! The POTA weekly stuff has had to be delayed due to leaves on the tracks. Or something. After all, did The Lawgiver not say that “Man shall not write about Ape!” Probably.He was a real buzz-kill.

    @mateor: I, too, have always found it amusing that POTA also works for President Of The Americas. As for that last bit, son, well, I say, you lost me there, son, I say you lost me, son.

    @Hal: Ah, misty watercolour mem-ooorIES. I’ll just cut and paste all that for my first paragraph, cheers! I’m feeling bad about being hard on George Tuska, I’ll try and ameliorate it, I think.

    @AndyD: Well it wass Britain in 1974 so, you know, it didn’t take much to electrify us. All sat round the piano singing hymns bby candlelight it was. I hope you aren’t suggesting the Multi-Millionaire Stan Lee was prone to exagerration, you might hurt his feelings! It’ll take a bit to get to it but some of the POTA stuff is well mental.

    @Hal: Fret not, Hal. I’d got the gist, sir!

    Thaks as ever for your interest and have a nice weekend all!

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