There was a mart at The National yesterday, but I couldn't make it. This left me blue, because the need to shove my fingers into disintegrating boxes of tat is strong.
To be fair, I did get a mini-mart fix on Saturday. I'd planned to look in on the Dalston car boot sale anyway, but when friend of LLC, Mr John Bishop sent me a text to tell me that he'd already got there and that there were comics, I was out the door instantly.
John mentioned that there wasn't anything special to be had, so I was slightly surprised to pitch up to the comic stall and see this staring back at me...
Yup, in a plastic ring binder envelope, its colours gradually bleaching in the Hackney sun, a pretty damned decent looking copy of Amazing #39! Now, let's be honest chums, this is the kind of shit we saddos dream about. My heart jumped into my gob, I yelped, I grabbed...and then I saw the sticker on the envelope - £85!
The old man on the stall smiled at me
"Yeah, I looked all of the comics up in a book" he said, "I know what they're worth and I'm still selling them cheap!"
A quick look at his other "cheap" comics revealed various late Micronauts issues at £3 a pop, some early Defenders for a tenner apiece and a beat up old copy of Tomb of Dracula #7 at the "bargain price" of £7. I couldn't be arsed/had no right to tell him that he had no chance of selling any of them, but I did ask him to take Spidey #39 out of the shitty plastic and keep it away from the sun. He nodded sagely and stuck it right back on top of the pile.
Anyway, it turned out that John had missed this stall entirely. The one he'd visited was nearby and a good deal more reasonable. I picked up all six parts of Kraven's Last Hunt, Emerald Dawn and Marvel: The End. Eighteen issues for £9. Hardly the bargain of the century, but some solid comics that I'll enjoy reading.
I ploughed through Marvel: The End yesterday afternoon. What to say? 2003 bumpf from Jim Starlin. It's part cheesy shitfest, part high Starlin cosmic magnificence.
I enjoyed it.
Here's what it's about...
There's this source of energy called "The Heart of The Universe" which these alien dudes keep in a big spaceship. An old pharoah gets zapped up to their ship and is filled with the heart of the universe. This turns him into a bonkers Space Pharaoh...
He pitches up on present day earth, KILLS most of the superheroes, nailing them up on floating pink force field crucifixes...
He then transports all the World leaders to his space pyramid...
and, emerging from what appears to be an Egyptian ladies public toilet...
...informs everybody that he now rules the earth.
It's not all bad though...
Not nice enough for Doctor Doom though, or Thanos, both of whom want the heart of the universe for themselves! Doom sets out to fuck up da pharaoh by travelling back in time to shoot him...
while Thanos recruits the Defenders to launch a raid on the spaceship that contains the heart of the universe...
It's all a bit mad. Mad, but beautiful, because this is where the Starlin magnificence comes in! My shitty scanner can't do that double page spread justice, but when you've got it in your hands! WOW! It's truly, truly gobsmacking - all that spaceship, all those stars, the beams of energy shooting out the various funnels. Topola!!! And it's one of a TON of gorgeous cosmic splashes in this six-parter. Gold baby, GOLD!
Anyway, while Thanos and Doom are plotting their attacks, the various gods of the Marvel Universe get together to form a plan to stop Space Pharaoh. It's at this moment that we realise just how powerful the dude is, because he gets wind of this and fucks all the gods up on the spot!
I say total, but he's not completely successful as Thor and Zeus escape to recruit Infinity and Eternity.
Told you it was mental.
Meanwhile, Thanos and The Defenders get scrapping with the aliens on the big phallic Starlin spaceship. While The Defenders are all busy smashing aliens and robots, sneaky Thanos dives into the heart of the universe, absorbing its power and becoming numero fucking uno power in the whole Marvel U!
He travels back in time to where Doom is about to get fucked over by the Space Pharoah (who, it turns out, knew Doom was coming and has travelled back in time to stop Doom from assassinating him by assassinating Doom - headfuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!!!!!!), and, after a classic no-but-yeah-but-no moment...
...new improved omnipotent Thanos whips Space Pharoah off and turns him into a butterfly, (honestly), before travelling even further back in time to track down the aliens who originally tracked down the heart of the universe and destroy them before they could find it, thus ensuring his place as the unquestionable, all-powerful king of everything.
It's very confusing and, to be honest, once the Space Pharaoh's out of the picture it all gets a bit slow and metaphysical. Which is fine I suppose, but the fun sort of withers away. There's still time for a couple of awesome Starlin double page splashes of Thanos getting ready to engage EVERYONE in the Marvel U, (they all come back to life once Thanos changes history you see?). Then Adam Warlock turns up in the void and (blah-de-blah) convinces Thanos to see the error of his ways. Thanos destroys himself and woop-de-do, everything's back to normal.
Like I say, quite a fun little mini series, even if it does disappear up its own trippy arse towards the end. Worth picking up (if you see it cheap) for the Starlin art which is spectacular in places. Plus, you know - SPACE PHAROAH!
Oh, and it's got Hulk Smash in it too, which is always infinitely preferable to intelligent talky-talky Hulk as we all jolly well know.