Friday, 2 October 2009

70 Years of Marvel - 1971

1971 saw the start of one of Marvel's most famous sagas, the cosmos-spanning Kree-Skrull War, in which the Avengers - aided by the Kree exile, Captain Marvel, learned of a centuries-long conflict between the two most prominent alien races in the Marvel Universe, and, in their efforts to avoid Earth being devastated by the war, found themselves being drawn deeply into it. On the way, Roy Thomas got to bring back (albeit briefly) a number of golden age heroes:

Clockwise, from Captain America, we have the Fin, the Human Torch, the Angel, the Blazing Skull, perpetual sidekick Rick Jones, the Patriot, the original Vision, and of course the Sub-Mariner, all serving as a reminder of the glorious (by this time 32 year) history of the Marvel Universe.

Elsewhere in comics, 1971 saw the introduction of super-psychiatriast, Doc Samson, who would spend the next few years hunting the Hulk. It would also see Spider-Man briefly transformed into a literal man-spider, and the debut of the not-quite-a-vampire, Morbius and the not-quite-Swamp-Thing, Man-Thing, as Marvel chanced their arm to see what the Comics Code Authority would allow. But possibly most earth-shattering of all, 1971 saw the arrival of the world's greatest non-team, the Defenders, as the Hulk teamed up with the Sub-Mariner and Dr Strange to face Yandroth's greatest challenge: the Omegatron! Ooh, scary!

In the real 1971, Britain dropped the old pounds-shilling-pence system, in favour of something which people could actually understand. The World Trade Center, then the tallest building in the world, was completed. The UK government launched Operation Demetrius, interring people suspected of being members of the IRA. And DB Cooper became a legend.

Entertainment-wise, one could pick from buying Led Zeppelin IV, reading The Day of the Jackal, watching The Two Ronnies on the telly, or, if one was quick, catch A Clockwork Orange at the pictures.

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