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  1. #1

    Do you remember when comics didn't stink?

    In response to a turn a thread in another forum was taking (one about what you collected when the vintage Star Wars figure lines ended, before POTF2 arrived on the scene), I am starting a thread about comics from about the 70's to the 80's (when the industry began a seeming decline in quality and content). Who amoungst us recalls those days when most of the comics were story-driven and still (usually) had great art. Before the dark times, before Image.

    Not to bash Image too much, as their emergence onto the comic market may well have helped ensure that the industry and the medium survived to this day. But they also ushered in the age of the art-driven, storyline poor comic that prevailed for many years. I've been too jaded to persue much in comics these days (except perhaps Top 10 by Alan Moore, though it has come too a conclusion all too soon at only 12 issues in the regular series). There are still gems amoung the stones, but there was a time when there were far more gems, much more for a READER of comics. A lot of the joy and wonder is gone and it is a shame. What are the feelings of those of you out there who collected comics (or still do to this day)? Another issue that was brought up was the demise of the collectability of comics due to collector/speculator "scalpers" in the 80's and 90's. That is an issue I will address in this thread when I have more time (don't get me started on that one, I was very close to the industry during the emergence of Image and the "value inflation" that nearly killed the market).
    "Does the name "Dingo" mean anything to you?" - Jedi Boulton to DingoDad at the October Dallas ComiCon.

  2. #2
    Lets take score:

    BI (before Image) we had storylines like:

    The Watchmen
    The Dark Knight Returns
    Death of Robin Storyline from Batman books
    X-Men: Days of Future Past
    X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga

    AI (after Image) we got:

    The Spider Clone Saga
    Mullet Superman
    Azrael as Batman
    Homicidal Maniac Green Lantern

    Of course, in a round about sort of way, you could blame the downfall of comics on the success of Watchmen and The Dark Knight. Two books that started the "grim and gritty" trend. Watchmen and Dark Knight showed how to do gritty, realistic comics the right way; 99% of the copycat stories that followed showed how not to do grim and gritty comics.

    In fact "grim and gritty for the 90s" became one of the most overused phrases when publishers tried to explain their updated characters. It usually meant, "all we did was give him a Rob Liefeld-esque costume, give him a bunch of ridiculously oversized guns and make him squint a whole lot."

  3. #3
    Comics comics comics...

    Marvel and DC

    Yep, b4 image we have the stories mentioned above by BB...plus we have the Secret Wars, Crisis on Infinite Earths, The GL corps and Hal Jordan, the Flash...(Barry Alen), The Batman and his magnificent stories...(who remembers "10 nights of the beast"??) or the killing joke.

    Spidey and his adventures against the green goblin and the Hobgoblin...Daredevil and the kingpin...the X-men (Chris Claremont and John Byrne run) etc...Then VENOM...Todd Mcfarlane started drawing Amazing spidey then he got a brand new mag for himself called just Spiderman...then the rest is history...

    Now after image emerged with Spawn, Superman died, Hal Jordan went insane, The x-men started having more titles than all the image titles combined...spidey found out he was a clone...then he wasnt, then the green goblin was alive...etc.. Total chaos...

    I quit collecting cuzz there were so many titles and all the stories seemed alike...now i occasionally grab a copy of bats or even supes, just to find out whats happening...i was surprised to find that Lex Luthor is president now!!

    hehehe...thats comics...i still love them, but i agree that they were better before the dark times...before Image.
    As always...........L

  4. #4
    Here's another pre-Image great (if oft overlooked) title, Master of Kung-Fu (actually Deadly Hands of Shang Chi Master of Kung-Fu). I have nearly every copy of this title (which took over a Marvel "anthology" title so has no #1 issue) and, after the initial storylines of Shang Chi as a Bruce Lee clone with over the top enemies, the book is actually quite good almost to then end (when Jim Shooter went insane and wanted to cash in on "Ninja-mania" and demanded Shang Chi become a Ninja, not realizing that Shang Chi was Chineese and Ninjas are from Japan, also the artist at that time, Gene Day passed away, making it easier to just end the title outright). In its glory days (with masterful scripts by Doug Moench coupled with the two best artists to work on the series, Mike Zecc and later Gene Day) it was one of the most mature and engaging comics ever to emerge from the house of Marvel.
    "Does the name "Dingo" mean anything to you?" - Jedi Boulton to DingoDad at the October Dallas ComiCon.

  5. #5

    Thumbs up

    Comics used to be awesome. I stopped buying a while ago, a few years now. Everyonce and a while i have the urge to go out and buy a couple but am afraid for two reasons:

    1. They will suck, and i will be dissapointed,
    2. I will love them and start buying again, when i don't have anymore room.
    "It can't rain all the time."

    "Quote the Raven, Nevermore."

  6. #6
    I quit shortly afer Image, but I still occasionally get re-hooked on Batman (which has incredible epic storylines, like A Death In the Family/Year Three/A Lonely Place of Dying, Knightfall, and No Man's Land, worked in between long periods of stagnation).

    Marvel put out a few great, but terribly underrated, books during the period when everyone got Liefeldian--check out Sleepwalker or later issues of Morbius: The Living Vampire if you get a chance. But for the most part, they sucked. Take Infinity Gauntlet, for instance. A crazed villain who worships Death gets a device that gives him (pretty much) omnipotence. So, of course, Marvel sends Cyclops and Spidey to deal with him. And he's beaten. Ridiculous. Nice art by George Perez, though.

    As for underrated old comics, check out ROM: Spaceknight (a highly successful late 70s/early 80s comic based on a toy that failed quickly and miserably, from what I've heard) and Power Man & Iron Fist. And Transformers, particularly issues 56 and up (when Marvel realized the toy line was pretty much dead and gave free reign to Mark Furman to create an epic sci-fi tale--excellent art by Andrew Wildman and Geoff Senior in most of these issues, too). And never let us forget GIJoe. Larry Hama gave us the greatest army comic ever, period. I thumbed through the new GIJoe #1 by Image in a comic shop last weekend, and it couldn't compare--it's like a semi-literate high school dropout trying to continue a Shakespeare play. Very sad indeed.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  7. #7

    Thumbs up

    The Infinity Gauntlet was ok by me, it went all the way to the Thanos quest...then the silver surfer mag...(Ron Lim and ....aghh i forgot the writer) then finally the I.Gauntlet.

    This storyline continued in the Infinity War and ended in the Infinity Crusade. (6 part storylines which crossed over with nearly all the marvel heroes mags)

    But of the three Infinity series the one that was worth reading was the Infinity Gauntlet...(Spidey and Cyclops beat the dust quite easily...as every other heroe in the marvel universe) pick it up if u can to see how they defeat Thanos.

    Batman:...yep the First years storylines were awesome also...Specially year one and two.
    As always...........L

  8. #8
    Originally posted by El Chuxter
    As for underrated old comics, check out ROM: Spaceknight (a highly successful late 70s/early 80s comic based on a toy that failed quickly and miserably, from what I've heard)

    And never let us forget GIJoe. Larry Hama gave us the greatest army comic ever, period. I thumbed through the new GIJoe #1 by Image in a comic shop last weekend, and it couldn't compare--it's like a semi-literate high school dropout trying to continue a Shakespeare play. Very sad indeed.
    Good choice with ROM, Chuxter! My best friend collected ROM, probably the single best spin-off of a toy ever! Because there was only one figure in the ROM "line", and it was inarticulate and poorly realized (little more than a stick-figure of a robot with lots of light up accessories and sounds), it seems the creators of ROM had free reign to make something of the character. Mattel seemed to have no plans to develop the figure further, so there was no competion with cartoon plot lines. Over the years the cast of characters grew and ROM interacted with much of the Marvel Universe (even teaming up with Shang-Chi in a haunted house story, if memory serves). ROM was pitted against the evil Dire Wraiths, shape-shifting aliens which were the sworn enemies of the Space Knights. In some ways ROM was kind of a techno-Green Lantern type, but it was a good read.
    G.I. Joe was quite another matter in my opinion. I felt it was written down to kids in some ways (the worst example was the plotline involving the Arbco Bros. Circus - Cobra spelled backward - as a cover for Cobra opperations. And in other ways it was almost a vehicle to showcase Hamma's encyclopedic knowledge of weapons and firearms. It seemed like any time anyone pulled a gun or drove up in a tank, they had to rattle off the technical name of said ordanance as if they were reading from a munitions catalog! I never really followed that one much, but even still, it was far better than Dark Horse's endeavor, featuring a punky, EXTREME! GI Joe team.
    Other old marvel licensing gems were Shogun Warriors (a kind of precursor to todays Macross and other giant robo comics) and Godzilla, a surprisingly well written title with lots of monsters for big G to fight and intense interweaving with the Marvel Universe. Unfortunatly it had a running "hunt down Godzilla like I'm Captain Ahab" plotline featuring Marvel's own Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D.

    I'm glad to see this thread is making folks nostalgic for the tail end of the "newsprint" period of comics. Today NOTHING is printed on newsprint, the publishers long-standing excuse being that the better papers cost just as much as the cheap ones, but I think that is only partially true. Keep those nostalgic recollections pouring in!
    "Does the name "Dingo" mean anything to you?" - Jedi Boulton to DingoDad at the October Dallas ComiCon.

  9. #9
    I started out with G.I Joe and Transformers. Then I picked up Punisher #14 and was hooked on the Marvel Universe. I soon started in with the X-Titles. The period between X-Men #200 and Inferno is the best IMO. The group lost and wayward, without the leadership of prof. X and the three crossovers starting with Mutant Massacre, and ending with Inferno where they are crossing over, but don't actually meet. X-Factor vs X-Men was awesome. The original Teams"Mutant Hunters" vs the new recruits....anyway, after that I read Spidey and then got into the Avengers titles. The Armor Wars in IronMan and the whole stretch where Captain America lost his unifirm to John Walker (USAgent) the first time were great. I also think Titan Hunt in the New Titans series was awesome. Slade killing his son at the climax. Great stuff.

    But then Image came along and ruined everything. Someone should have told those guys that just because you are good artists doesn't mean you know shinola about story telling, plot and character development. Well, I tried collecting after that, but all the fun had gone out of it with the perpetual crossovers and variant covers and superdeluxe anniversary issues. How does one have 3 anniversary issues in one year? And with the royalty rules changing, any new writer or artist would come in and create all new characters that he was earning money on rather than developing existing ones. The X-men's ranks swelled to 400 and everybody looked the same with all their belts and buckles and pockets. And they all sounded the same thanks to drawers trying to write. SO I gave up and started collecting Star Wars again. So here I am.

  10. #10
    I remember Mark Silvestri's excellent artwork during the Fall of the Mutants storyline (in which I actually believed all the mutants were going to get killed off) combined with Chris Claremont's excellent storytelling. When I really started picking up X-Men religiously was after Jim Lee began doing the artwork. I remember my first two issues: the X-Men had just been thrown through the Siege Perilous, Wolverine was going by the name of Patch, Psylocke woke up to discover she had turned Mandarin Chinese, and Jubilee made her smashing debut (for better or worse). I actually liked how Jubilee played against Wolverine, but always thought she was a rip off of Frank Millers's Robin from The Dark Knight Returns.

    When it became known that all the artists I loved (McFarlane, Lee, Silvestri, Keown, Keith) were "rising-up" against the establishment and going it on their own, it seemed like a dawning of a new age. Which is actually what it was, just not the new age anyone wanted.

    Not to be totally anti-Image, if anyone hasn't read Kurt Busiek's Astro-City then you are really missing out. Of course I can only vouch for the first six issues, as they are the only ones I have read. Also, is you've never read Marvels and Kingdom Come then get offline and go buy them right now!!!!

    Anybody remember Marvel's New Universe? I used to love Star Brand, probably the only really worthwhile title until John Byrne took over and did what he does best. Ruin everything!
    Last edited by bigbarada; 10-19-2001 at 08:46 PM.

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