Friday, 9 October 2009

70 Years of Marvel - 1977

Alas, the Champions. They never get the love. Everyone's all "X-Men this" or "Avengers that". People get all nostalgic for the Defenders. But the Champions? Even the members of this particular team don't seem to talk about those days. They were a bit of an odd mix, to be fair: ex-X-Men Iceman and Angel, ex-Avenger and current spy, Black Widow, the demigod Hercules, and the flaming-skulled Ghost Rider, all brought together by an invasion by Hercules' godly brethren. The Champions hung out in LA, fighting all the bad guys who preferred a sunnier climate than New York. Eventually they added Darkstar, a former bad guy, to their line-up, but that wouldn't be enough to save their book from cancellation. There was talk recently of a new Champions book, before someone pointed out to Marvel that they don't actually own the rights to that title anymore. Doh.

Elsewhere in 1977, Jack Kirby continued his revival, with the introduction of Machine Man, a new series of Black Panther, and the introduction of such foes as Arnim Zola in the pages of Captain America. Meanwhile, the Star Wars comic was wowing audiences. Dr Druid, a character from the pre-FF Marvel Universe, showed up to fight the Hulk. Film-star Godzilla was being featured in his own comic, while longtime Avengers foe, Ultron, was making himself a bride, Jocasta, who would, like all robots turn on her creator. The X-Men's universe was being expanded with the introduction of the Starjammers. Jessica Drew was making her first appearance as Spider-Woman, whilst long-time supporting character, Carol Danvers, finally got her turn in the spotlight, as Ms. Marvel. And the worlds of infinite possibility were explored for the first time, with the launch of What If?

In the real world, Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, died on the toilet. We also lost Groucho Marx. On television, the Hulk was starring in his own tv show. And at the pictures, George Lucas was releasing his adaptation of the Star Wars comic (shurely shum mishtake? - ed).

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