Monday, August 27, 2018

Stan Lee, you just got five marvellous stars

Marvellous. I found the Swedish version of this Marvel Comics Super Special in my closet yesterday. It really is a comic book adaptation of "Meteor", a classical disaster film from 1979, starring Sean Connery and Natalie Wood. The comic suited me perfectly, since the film was considered unsuitable for children by the Swedish censors. Meanwhile, the local supermarket was selling the Marvel Super Special to...well, children. (They sold candy, too.) Clearly, some marketing guru in Hollywood knew exactly what he was doing! (Thanks, by the way.)

The plot of "Meteor" is pretty basic stuff. A super-sized asteroid, known as Orpheus, is on a collision course with Earth. The United States and Soviet Union have to cooperate to blast it sky high, using top notch nuclear weapons already placed in orbit as part of the Cold War. Unfortunately, several smaller asteroids remain undetected and destroy Hong Kong and Innsbruck (sic). The grand finale is set on Manhattan (where else?), where one of the mini-asteroids crash into the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center, after which it none-to-gently lands in Central Park. However, the heroes and heroines manage to destroy Orpheus at the very end, saving most of world civilization...for now.

I recently saw the original film, and realized that the comic book version is somewhat different and actually better! However, it does contain one curious gaffe (or at least the Swedish translation does), placing Hong Kong in Japan. Hardly surprising, since the amateur astronomer in Hong Kong who discovers Orpheus in Marvel's version, has a Japanese name. Presumably, a Japanese business executive living in the British crown colony? Or a ridiculous mistake from the Marvel script writers? This was 1979, remember...

The most entertaining part of the comic album is a long list of short reviews of *other* disaster films. Most of the reviews are pretty scathing, which is hardly surprising, as the Marvel Comics editors tell us their honest opinions of "Dawn of the Dead", "Robot Monster" or Roger Corman's "Teenage Caveman". LOL. The somewhat idiosyncratic list also includes classics like "Barbarella", "Zardoz" and "Star Wars"...

"Meteor" ends with an interview with Bill Cruse from the special effects department, and an article about real disasters, including the Black Death in Europe during the 14th century.

We can't say we haven't been warned.

Five stars!

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