Monday, 13 February 2012



I sometimes feel that I've lived at least two different lives - and it's all down to reprints of certain MARVEL COMICS making an impression on me at various stages when I was growing up.  There are myriad examples I could mention, but I'll restrict myself mainly to one for the moment, that being the back-up tale in the nearly four decades-old issue of the U.K.'s very own best-selling SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY #7.

As related in an earlier post, I bought a copy of FANTASTIC #7 back in March 1967, probably around mid-week.  I never forgot the comic and the stories therein, and whenever I look at the comic nowadays, I'm back in the house I lived in at the time and still going to primary school just down the road from me.  Time travel, pure and simple.

Fast-forward to another house, almost six years later to the very day.  (Fantastic was cover-dated ahead to April 1st, but as I said, I got my copy halfway through the last week in March, more or less.)  SMCW was dated ahead to March 31st, but - for some strange reason - never appeared in my local newsagent 'til the Wednesday after the Saturday it was due.  That was when I bought it, on the Wednesday.  Funny how some things stick in one's mind.

Just like Fantastic #7, it also contained The MIGHTY THOR tale, "The THUNDER GOD And The THUG!"  (Unlike Fantastic, it printed the full story, not just the first half.)  I was only fourteen at the time SMCW #7 came out, so six years was almost half my life away.  It was certainly more than half my remember-ed life, so proportionately it seemed far longer than the same period would seem to me today.  (Six years nowadays seems like a fortnight back then.)

SMCW trimmed the panels of the stories they featured, and because of that and the two-tone grey on some pages, plus the red spot-colour on others, the strips had an individual aspect that distinguished them from earlier incarnations.  That's probably why, today, I can look at the Thor adventure in Fantastic and immediately recall that particular time back in 1967, and look at the same story in SMCW and be reminded of that halcyon period back in 1973.

Each printing has its own distinct identity, enabling me to associate it with two separate times in my life. That would explain why, depending on what presentation of the tale I'm looking at, it sometimes feel as if I've lived two different, but parallel lives around it, daft as it may sound.

As I said earlier, there are other Marvel stories that have the same effect on me.  The FANTASTIC FOUR tale, "KURRGO, MASTER Of PLANET X!" also has two sets of memories associated with it.  When I look at the reprints of the story in WHAM! from 1967, all sorts of images pertaining to the time swirl through my head, and when I look at its later printing in The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL from 1972/'73, a whole set of different images and recollections spring forth.  Same story, two sets of memories, two different eras.  It snaps my cap.

Now, will somebody please tell me what the hell I'm talking about.

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