SPOTLIGHT ON

KULL, GODZILLA & THE THING

BACK TO BACK IN A

FEBRUARY 1978 MARVEL MULTI-MAGS

 

 
 

 
  Even in the early 1960s, the comic book industry realized that in spite of the hugely successful comeback of the superhero genre (which had been clinically dead for most of the 1950s) and the subsequent streak of new creativity and the enthusiasm it generated, its traditional sales points were fading away. Small stores which had carried comic books were pushed out of business by larger stores and supermarkets, and newsagents started to view the low cover prices and therefore tiny profit margins comics had to offer as a nuisance.
 
Many ideas on how to turn these developments around were put forward by different publishers, but the most successful concepts strived to open up new sales opportunities and markets and thus tap into a new customer base. And one place these potential buyers could be found was the growing number of supermarkets and chain stores. But in order to be able to sell comic books at supermarkets, the product would have to be adjusted.
 
Handling individual issues clearly was no option for these outlets, but by looking at their logistics and display characteristics, DC Comics (who came up with the Comicpac concept in 1961) found that the answer to breaking into this promising new market was to simply package several comic books together in a transparent plastic bag. This resulted in a higher price per unit on sale, which made the whole business of stocking them much more worthwhile for the seller. The simple packaging was also rather nifty because it clearly showed the items were new and untouched, while at the same time blending in with most other goods sold at supermarkets which were also conveniently packaged.  
 
Outlets were even supplied with dedicated Comicpac racks, which enhanced the product appeal even more since the bags containing the comic books could be displayed on rack hooks in an orderly and neat fashion.
 

  DC's "comicpacks" were a success - so much so that other publishers quickly started to copy it. Marvel produced a series of Marvel Multi-Mags in 1968/69 but then seems to have dropped the idea again. However, by the mid-1970s, the House of Ideas had once again fully embraced the marketing concept of selling multiple comic books packaged in a sealed plastic bag to a customer base which comic books could hardly reach otherwise: people shopping at supermarkets and large grocery stores.

It didn't really matter therefore that buying these three comic books in a comicpack for say 89 (rather than from a newsagent for 90 in that case) clearly presented no real bargain - it was the opportunity and convenience to pick up a few comics at the same time parents and adults did their general shopping. Neatly packaged, it almost became an entirely different class of commodity.

 

 
The MARVEL MULTI-MAGS we are looking at here features three titles - Kull the Destroyer #25, Godzilla #7, and Marvel Two-In-One #36, all from the February 1978 cover date run, which meant they were actually on sale at newsagents in November 1977 - although there could be quite a delay in terms of actual availability at some sales points, resulting in Multi-Mags on display which contained "semi-recent books (typically about nine months old)" (Brevoort, 2007). Considering the packaging and distribution process, this doesn't really seem too surprising.
 
There is no general rule to state what shape/grade the comic books in a MARVEL MULTI-MAGS (or any other comic pack for that matter) will be in. After all, a lot of things can go wrong during their 40+ years of storage.

Some of these potential mishaps will only affect the plastic bag, others might not harm the packaging as much as the contents. As a result, almost any combination is possible: you can have a polybag displaying lots of wear but perfect comic books inside (meaning it was mostly stored in a dark and cool place but at some time took some external soiling or slight mechanical abrasion), but you can just as well have a near pristine polybag holding comic books showing substantial paper degradation (indicating the bag was stored well but exposed to light and excessive warmth for an extended period of time).

  Given its age, the polybag of this February 1978 MARVEL MULTI-MAGS is fairly clean, with only some slight dulling of the plastic. It did, however, suffer some minor physical damage at one point in time - a small tear on one side of the bag.

As no part of the plastic had actually been ripped away, the damage remained minor and did not affect the integrity of the bag. The three comic books contained in this polybag were therefore not exposed to any physical damage as a result.

No titles had permanent slots in the MARVEL MULTI-MAGS, although Marvel Two-In-One featured often and regularly over many years. Godzilla only made it into Multi-Mags regularly once it reached double digit issue numbers, and while a few issues of Kull could be found now and then in Marvel's comicpacks as well, it was a more elusive title.

The way individual issues were selected for inclusion in MARVEL MULTI-MAGS does at times seem somewhat haphazard, and there was certainly no guarantee of an uninterrupted flow of consecutive issues even with regular titles such as, for example, Marvel Two-In-One. Missing out on parts of a storyline was therefore a distinct possibility. On top of this, the continuity of the Marvel Universe of the 1970s was such that plots and storylines usually evolved over more than one issue.

This didn't exactly make the MULTI-MAGS an ideal way of getting your Marvel comic book fix. However, one needs to bear in mind that this was a common fate of the average comic book reader in the 1970s Bronze Age, whether his or her comic books came packaged in a plastic bag or as single issues from a display or spinner rack. Back in those days, an uninterrupted supply of specific titles simply was not guaranteed. Not worrying too much about possible gaps in storylines became something of a routine - besides, you would usually get a recap of what had happened so far on the first page.

All in all it simply was a part of being a comic book fan in the 1970s - just as the monthly Bullpen Bulletins (which were the responsibility of the editor-in-chief) and the in-house advertising were. The famous alliterative and somewhat nonsensical titles for the Bullpen Bulletins had stopped after the end of the alphabet had been reached with the June 1977 cover date production cycle (Cronin, 2018), but the typical house style remained.

Stan Lee's "cosmos spanning" (his own words) Soapbox column featured a verbose admission of a planning mishap which had seen Lee make a big mystery of Marvel's new magazine Pizzaz while the same issues carried a full page ad revealing it all.

 

 
But such was the avuncular tone of his monthly ramblings that Stan "the Man" could turn an editorial gaffe into simply another opportunity to plug each and any Marvel product (in this case a made-for-TV Hulk movie), just like that.

"[Stan Lee] simultaneously bragged about the greatness of Marvel and expressed such humility that when they screwed up, as they occasionally did, you were willing to cut them a lot of slack." (Evanier, 2003)

 

  As for the actual Bullpen Bulletins' various ITEM! bullet points, they were mostly concerned with Marvel's continuous launch of new titles (while others might get cancelled, of course), and the spotlight in this Bullpen Bulletin was on two new Jack Kirby titles, Devil Dinosaur and Machine Man (who had actually featured, albeit it as Mister Machine, in Kirby's by then cancelled 2001: A Space Odyssey).

One specific ITEM! bullet point, however, stood out.

"You know, one of the things we're most often asked in the jillions of letters you people are good enough to send to us is usually something like: "Hey! If Thor is trapped by the Cosmic Hairdresser's Rinse-and-Set machine in his own book, how is he able to fight side-by-side with the Vision, Iron Man, and the Scarlet Witch against the Giant Won-Tons of Fu Manchu in the latest AVENGERS?" Vexing as this type of dilemma is to all continuity buffs - and most of the bullpen counts itself in the forefront of those ranks - there's a reasonably simple explanation, one put forward by STAN THE MAN himself in this very column several years back, which bears repeating every now and then for those of you who dropped in late to the Marvel Universe. Obviously, all of the adventures taking place in all of our various titles are not happening at the same time. What the mighty Thor is doing in his own book - to stick with our example - maybe happening before or after what's going on in the AVENGERS."

"Also, Marvel Time is not the same as real time. Showing four hours of the Thundergod's admittedly hectic life may take four issues and four months of regular time, so that adds to the continuity confusion and creates situations like, having Peter Parker sunning himself in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN while having a snowball fight in the same month's TEAM-UP or SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN. What we try to do is to occasionally leave time gaps between the end of one adventure and the start of another, so that an imaginative and industrious Marvelite can figure "Ah! the Hulk was in Hohokus, New Jersey, when he polished off Orloff the Orthodontist last issue, but this month's mag opens with him kicking sand in a bully's face on Pismo Beach! Getting there probably took him several days. That could explain why he had time to help Nighthawk and Hellcat in the bean-eating contest several issues ago in DEFENDERS! We think it's one of really fun fringe benefits of being a Marvel fan, and judging from some of the well-worked-out theses that a lot of you keep sending our way, you're in agreement."

"Marvel Time" - which for instance begged the question why Peter Parker hadn't aged that much in 15+ real time years of being Spider-Man - was at the time a hot topic amongst editors and writers at Marvel, along with how much change could or should be brought to certain characters (Stan Lee back in his editorial days had always advocated a mere "illusion of change"), and it almost seems as though this discussion spilled over into this (rather lengthy) Bullpen Bulletins bullet point.

Apart from being informative, though, it also highlighted the Marvel house style of it being totally okay to poke fun at their own characters. It was, of course, an echo and a legacy of Stan Lee's approach - we're amongst friends here, we can have a good laugh together and know we're only joking.

The fact that comic books and real time were always in somewhat of a flux was also made clear by a short by-the-way plug in this Bullpen Bulletin reminding "younger readers and cartoon aficionados that this month sees the appearance of the all-new, all original FLINTSTONES CHRISTMAS PARTY (...) gift-size Treasury Book!" - a clear indication of the three month gap between cover date (February 1978, in this case) and actual on-sale date (November 1977). That last snippet also illustrated how much Marvel was still expanding its range of titles, now even stretching the borders of the Marvel publishing Universe to previously unimaginable genres through licensed characters..

 
 
And finally, no 1970s Marvel comic book was, of course, complete without the advertising for in-house and/or licensed products - in this case the "fireside" books published by Simon & Schuster and a whole range of items from reprint pocket books to 8" action figures (surprisingly enough called "dolls"...) and puzzle books, whilst not forgetting the omni-present subscription ad with its usually hugely impressive list of titles - cut short a bit here as the usually full-page ad was cut down to half a page.
 

 

 

KULL THE DESTROYER #25

February 1978
(bi-monthly)
On Sale: 1 November 1977

Editor - Roy Thomas
Cover - Ernie Chan (pencils) & Rudy Nebres (inks)

"A Lizard's Throne"
(17 pages)

Story - Don Glut
Pencils - Ernie Chan
Inks - Rudy Nebres
Lettering - Carolyn Lay
Colouring - Petra Goldberg


STORY OVERVIEW - Contrary to what the cover would have you think, the woman named Laralei and Kull are actually the rescuers here, trying to free Ridondo from a dungeon where a giant snake-like monster with an impenetrable hide has been summoned by the three wizards who abducted the minstrel.


 
Kull was created by Robert E. Howard and preceded his popular sword and sorcery hero Conan the Barbarian - in fact, Conan's first appearance was a rewriting of an earlier Kull story (Byrne, 2019). It was, of course, the other way round with Marvel Comics, where Conan paved the way for sword and sorcery and gave the House of Ideas one of its major success stories of the 1970s (and, indeed, 1980s): Conan the Barbarian (launched in October 1970) ultimately ran for a total 275 issues until December 1993.
 
Kull was introduced to readers of marvel comic books as "King Kull" in Creatures on the Loose #10 (March 1971) before getting his own title, Kull the Conqueror, in June 1971. Preceding the third major Marvel sword and sorcery fantasy figure, Red Sonja (who made her debut in Conan the Barbarian #23 in February 1973), Kull ended up with a publishing history at Marvel which was far less successful and far more complicated than Conan's.

During a hiatus from October 1971 to June 1972 (between issues #2 and #3 of Kull the Conqueror), he featured (again as "King Kull") in Monsters on the Prowl #16 (April 1972). Once the title picked up again, Kull the Conqueror changed its name to Kull the Destroyer as of issue #11 (November 1973) and ran up to issue #29 (October 1978) - but not without yet another publishing hiatus from September 1974 to July 1976, between issues #15 and #16.

   
 
Sword and sorcery was one of Marvel's first forays into a genre outside of superheroes and sci-fi/horror as the House of Ideas sought to diversify and expand its market reach at the outset of the 1970s, and it proved a successful one (although thanks mainly to Conan and less so to Kull). Despite the rather chequered publication history, a number of Kull titles made it into some MARVEL MULTI-MAGS (although nowhere near as many as Conan the Barbarian) towards the end of the titel's run. It was therefore even possible to assemble a short continuous run of Kull titles through MARVEL MULTI-MAGS - Kull the Destroyer #24 was included in a December 1977 pack.
 
And if readers of this MARVEL MULTI-MAGS's Kull the Destroyer #25 were to be lucky enough to get hold of the right Multi-Mags two months later, they would even be able to read the story's next segment...  
 
This was the fifth consecutive issue of Kull the Destroyer pencilled by Ernesto "Ernie" Chan, and he would stay on the title until its cancellation after issue #29. Born Ernesto Chua on July 27th 1940 in the Philippines, he had taken up drawing and inking comics when he was twenty and emigrated to the United States in 1970 when both Marvel and DC were looking to the Philippine talent pool in order to recruit artists for the growing number of titles both publishers were putting out.
 


Typically ornate Ernie Chan (EC) and Rudy Nebres (RN) signature on the cover of Kull #25


Ernie Chan in 2009

  His first US pencil work was published in DC's Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion #4 (March/April 1972). Initially credited as Ernesto Chua or Ernie Chua, this changed quickly to the more familiar Ernie Chan (which he then officially adopted when becoming a US citizen in 1976). The quality of his work both as penciller and inker quickly established him at DC in a variety of genres, and his artwork for Batman throughout 1975 and 1976 played a substantial part in shaping the visuals of Batman during the mid-1970s as Chan was putting out covers and interior artwork that have remained fresh and dynamic to this day and represent some of the best Bronze Age Batman.

From early 1977 on Chan worked mostly for Marvel where he drew and inked a whole range of characters such as Dr. Strange, Dracula, Daredevil, Doc Savage, Thor, Fantastic Four (including the Thing's team-up adventures, see Marvel Two-In-One #36 below), Hulk, Powerman & Iron Fist, Kull, John Carter of Mars, and of course, Conan (Chan had an amazingly extended run on Savage Sword of Conan from 1978 up to 1994). His work on Marvel's fantasy and sword & sorcery titles reflects both the genre he is best remembered for and the one he liked most, establishing him as one of the finest and most respected artists on titles such as Conan the Barbarian, Savage Sword of Conan and Kull the Destroyer.

Like most of his fellow Philippine artists who broke into the US comic book industry in the early to mid 1970s Ernie Chan was always spot on the money with his work. Both his pencil work as well as his inking were characterized by a steady yet very dynamic line with an unfaltering quality - Chan knew what he was doing, and he had the talent to do it well each and every time he turned to a blank art board. The perspective and composition he put into each and every panel breathed life into the pages he was producing, and his artwork was always solid and exciting at the same time - just as his covers more often than not were absolute eye-catchers in the best of movie poster tradition - of which Kull #25 is an excellent example.

 
Chan gradually shifted his work focus during the 1990s to television and movie animation projects and officially retired in 2002. He passed away on May 16th 2012 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
 
 

 

 

GODZILLA #7

February 1978
(monthly)
On Sale:
1 November 1977

Editor - Archie Goodwin
Cover - Herb Trimpe (pencils) & Ernie Chan (inks)

"Birth of a Warrior"
(17 pages)
Story - Doug Moench
Pencils - Herb Trimpe
Inks - Fred Kida
Lettering -
Glenn Simek
Colouring - Janice Cohen


STORY OVERVIEW - Godzilla is on a rampage at a San Diego military base and is getting dangerously close to the base's nuclear missile stockpile before Red Ronin arrives - a mechanized fighter (i.e. a giant robot) developed for S.H.I.E.L.D. to bring Godzilla down but now actually stolen by one of the Japanese engineer's twelve year old grandson whose intention it is to help Godzilla...


 
Superheroes were still Marvel's bread and butter by the end of the 1960s, but it became clear to editors (and most prominently so to Roy Thomas) that the dropping profit margins per single comic book could only be offset by higher sales, and practically the only way to accomplish this was to diversify the content of the titles published. As a result, the 1970s saw Marvel Comics sweep up the rights to seemingly as many outside properties as possible, and in many cases these would be integrated into the existing Marvel Universe. One such example is Godzilla, the "King of Monsters".

Godzilla has a huge recognition factor, as lots of people of all ages know the name and have a general idea of a city stomping monster, possibly even without ever having seen a Godzilla movie (although recent big dollar films featuring the prehistoric sea monster awakened and empowered by nuclear radiation may have changed that a bit). The original Godzilla movie was made in 1954 by Toho Studios of Tokyo, and became such a success that it spawned an entire franchise of further Godzilla movies (which increasingly also introduced other giant monsters). A heavily altered version of the film was released in the United States and worldwide as Godzilla, King of the Monsters! in 1956, featuring additional footage shot with actor Raymond Burr.

An anecdotal piece of trivia concerning the original Godzilla movie is the fact that - rather than using the classic stop-motion technique employed by other studios at the time - the producers had an actor play the monster wearing a latex costume. In any case, Godzilla movies are a matter of taste - people seem to either like them a lot and or not at all.

 
 
Since Marvel's interest in licensing characters was obvious by the mid-1970s, they would even sometimes be approached by owners who felt their property could be turned into a profitable comic book series. Such, it would seem, was the case with Toho Studios, who organized a special screening for Marvel of their Godzilla on Monster Island prior to the film's U.S. theatrical release in 1977 which turned out to be rather special indeed.

"It was a piece of crap, [Doug] Moench recalls, but Stan [Lee] was sitting next to me hooting and hollering and clapping. He went crazy during the fight scenes, shouting, 'Go get 'em, Godzy!' (...) Roger Stern, a Marvel editor at the time, was also at the screening. "Stan was trying to show enthusiasm in front of the Toho execs." (Greenberg, 2019)

The consensus among the Marvel editorial staff present at the screening was that they had just watched a "terrible movie with these awful special effects" (Roger Stern, in Greenberg 2019), but the top brass saw a sales potential and a deal was struck. It was not the first time that the creative talent at the House of Ideas was left to figure out how to make a licensed character work (the Human Fly was another example).

 
And so, Marvel launched Godzilla - King of Monsters in August 1977. The title would run for a total of 24 issues before bowing out in July 1979, with the writing chores falling to Doug Moench while all but two issues were pencilled by Herb Trimpe.

Moench had a soft spot for the classic movie monsters (reflected by his work on Marvel's Dracula Lives!, Werewolf by Night and Frankenstein Monster), but this did not include Godzilla (Greenberg, 2019). At the time, Moench - like many of his writing colleagues at the House of Ideas - was pushing characters and plots aimed at an older, more mature readership, but Godzilla would be headed in an entirely different direction.

"[The neighborhood kids] were crazy about Godzilla (...) so I told Stan that I would want to put more emphasis on the kid angle, do things that I thought kids would really want to see, in a way that adults would enjoy it too." (Moench, in Greenberg 2019)

   
 
In a way, Moench simply made the best of the assignment, and together with Trimpe basically portrayed Godzilla as a force for good - the misunderstood outcast you can root for. For added reader identification, he added 12-year-old Rob Takiguchi whose grandfather, a scientist, is called in to assist S.H.I.E.L.D. in bringing Godzilla under control as rhe creature goes on a rampage across the United States (a first, since he had previously been confined to smashing Japanese cities in the movies).

The licensing contract only included Godzilla but none of the other Toho movie monsters which would often fight the "original" - for financial reasons.

"We would have had to pay Toho the same amount for each one [but] it was such a shoestring profit margin that there was no way Marvel could afford them." (Moench, in Greenberg 2019)

Moench therefore simply created his own XXL monsters for Godzilla to battle (such as the bat mutation Batragon) as well as original villains (such as the deranged geneticist calling himself Doctor Demonicus) and weaved all of this into parts of the fabric of the Marvel Universe by having S.H.I.E.L.D. and Dum Dum Dugan play key roles. It was a decision made by the top editorial staff even before signing the contract, but Moench did foresee a problem.

 

  "Toho owns Godzilla and we own the Marvel characters and now we're going to mix them together - when the agreement expires, what's going to happen? (...) It did delay the series being reprinted for a long time." (Moench, in Greenberg 2019)
 
As with many similar titles, it was soon suggested to Moench that he include superhero guest-stars, leading to the Champions, Hank Pym (Ant-Man), the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and even Jack Kirby's very recent creation Devil Dinosaur showing up. But what would in many ways have been the most logical guest appearance never happened - Godzilla never faced off with the Hulk.

"It's a wonder why we never thought of it at the time or pushed to do it (...) I would have loved to have drawn that!" (Trimpe, in Greenberg 2019)

The end of Marvel's Godzilla came about after 24 issues not due to low sales but rather because Toho decided they wanted to double the licensing fee when the contract for the publishing rights came up for renewal, and as a consequence, Marvel pulled the plug.

 
 

 

 

MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #36

February 1978
(monthly)
On Sale: 1 November 1977

Editor - Marv Wolfman
Cover - Ernie Chan (pencils & inks)

"Turmoil in the Time-Stream!"
(18 pages)

Story - Marv Wolfman
Pencils - Ernie Chan
Inks - Ernie Chan
Lettering -
Joe Rosen
Colouring - Michelle Wolfman


STORY OVERVIEW - Wrapping up things from Marvel Two-In-One #35, where Ben Grimm ended up trapped in a strange prehistoric world after flying a new experimental aircraft over the Bermuda Triangle, where he finds James "Skull" Scully who has been trapped there for some time. They manage to escape back via the Bermuda Triangle but are followed by the Jaguar Priest and his pterodactyl-riding followers. Mr. Fantastic helps fight off the threat.


 
An often overlooked and sometimes outright forgotten fact of Marvel's range of 1970s titles and characters is the huge popularity of the Thing at the time.

"It can’t be overstated just how popular the Thing was during the 1970s. He was just behind Spider-Man in terms of his draw power, the Wolverine of his era. And unlike Wolverine over the past few decades, if you wanted to read a story with the Thing in it, you generally needed to be buying FANTASTIC FOUR. There’d be an occasional guest-appearance in another title here and there, but nothing like the world tour that Wolverine has been on since the 1980s." (Brevoort, 2021)

In order to tap into this popularity, Marvel tried out teaming up the Thing with a different character for a done-in-one story in each issue of Marvel Feature #11-12 (September and November 1973). It was a concept well and successfully established by Spider-Man's team-up title since Marvel Team-Up #1 launched in March 1972. Not surprisingly, given the popularity of the character, it worked with the Thing too. Since the obvious title was already taken, the House of Ideas launched the Thing's team-up adventures as Marvel Two-in-One in January 1974.

 
Ultimately locking up a total of 100 issues between then and June 1983 (plus seven Annuals along the way), it was a steady fan favourite (bi-monthly at first, monthly as of issue #15). Marvel Two-in-One was also a title to be found in many MARVEL MULTI-MAGS throughout the late 1970s and very early 1980s.

Initially, it was actually ideally suited for the comcipack since the revolving door formula of changing guest characters resulted in a new storyline every issue.

The downside of the single issue "done-in-one" stories was their volatility. Somewhat reminiscent of DC's titles of the 1970s, heroes and foes would meet, things would happen, and then everybody just went home. None of what took place mattered to the next issue, which would just start the procedural formula all over again. Marvel readers weren't used to this, and it caused some irritation, as the letterspage would at times show.

   
 
Readers also started to comment negatively on the (rather obviously) repetitive formula of single issue guest appearances and the resulting done-in-one storylines. They were increasingly asking for overarching plots and storylines that continued over more than one issue, and that change started with a two issue story involving Thor in Marvel Two-in-One #22-23 (December 1976, January 1977) and would soon also include storylines spread out over multiple issues, while still featuring the occasional done-in-one issues.
 
  Ron Wilson was the regular penciller for the Thing's adventures in Marvel Two-in-One, but in this case Ernie Chan took over for this and the preceding issue.

The final panels even had a humorous Godzilla reference (actually refering to the pterodactyls of this story), but it seems highly unlikely that editorial did not know who was going to be the next guest in MTIO (as it was sometimes refered to by way of its acronym).

It certainly tickled the curiosity of readers and was no doubt a great plug. And since you can't just get the next issue in 30 days, here's who it was (if you feel you just need to know).

 
A closer look at this page also reveals some of the flaws and shortcomings of the printing techniques employed for comic books in the 1970s on cheap newsprint paper, including partially obliterated word balloons. Sometimes you just had to fill in the gaps yourself...
 
 

 
No 1970's Marvel comic book was, of course, without (a lot of) third party advertising, some of which was "okay" (mostly if it featured Marvel characters, such as the frequent and somewhat famous "Twinkies" ads) and some of which was nothing but a dismal swamp of the cheapest form of advertising you could find - such as the flea market ads promising anything and everything, along with the infamous "Sea Monkeys". All three titles included in this February 1978 Multi-Mag carried almost exactly the same ads, some of which are illustrated here.
 
 

 
 
  Today, any MARVEL MULTI-MAGS is a time capsule; opening this plastic bag right here offers a nostalgic glimpse into what it was like to be a comic book reader in February 1978.

So what else was going on back then?

 
  The Bee Gees were at the top of the US Billboard Chart throughout all of February 1978 with "Stayin' Alive", while the UK saw three top singles that month: Althea & Donna ("Uptown Top Ranking") were followed by Brotherhood of Man ("Figaro") for one week at the top each before ABBA settled in at number one with "Take a Chance on Me" for the rest of the month.
 
  The New York Times Bestseller list for February 1978 was topped by J.R.R. Tolkien's posthumously published "The Silmarillion" all month (as it had been all throughout January too).
 
  In February 1978 "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was the most popular movie in the US. Overall, "Superman" was the US top-grossing movie while "Grease" (a close second to Superman in the States) topped the 1978 list in the UK.
 
  In the US, all of the five most popular TV shows came from ABC, with "Laverne & Shirley" taking the top spot, while the UK's television show with the highest number of viewers that year was ITV's "Sale of the Century".
 
 
 

 
FURTHER READING ON THE THOUGHT BALLOON
 
 
  "Comic packs" not only sold well for more than two decades, they also offer some interesting insight into the comic book industry's history from the 1960s through to the 1990s. There's more on their general history here.
 
  There's more on the background and the history of the Marvel Multi Mags here.
 
  There's more on Ernie Chan's artwork for Batman in the mid-1970s here.
 
 

 
BIBLIOGRAPHY
 
 
BREVOORT Tom (2007) "Marvel Multi-Mags", Blah Blah Blog, originally published online 28 April 2007, reposted 18 April 2020

BREVOORT Tom (2021) "BHOC: Marvel Two-In-One #30", The Tom Brevoort Experience, published online 22 May 2021

BYRNE Bob (2019) "Hither Came Conan: Ruminations of "The Phoenix on the Sword", Black Gate, published online 22 January 2019

CRONIN Brian (2018) "Marvel's Bullpen Bulletins, from A to Z!", CBR.com, published online 18 February 2018

EVANIER Mark (2003) "Notes from Me Archives", POVonline.com, published online 31 October 2003 (archived at web.archive.org

GREENBERG Glenn (2019) "When Godzilla battled the Avengers: A History of the Epic Crossover", Syfy Wire, published online 7 May 2019

 
 

 


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uploaded to the web 22 July 2021