Or – “This Is the Greatest And Best Comic Book Character In The World… Tribute. When I was a kid, I was confused by the episode of the Brady Bunch where the actual Bradys don’t appear, instead focusing the whole show on their next door neighbor and his three adoptive kids. In this day and age, I’m now aware of what was obviously a pilot for another show, but then, I was just annoyed that Jan didn’t show up. (It was late in the last seasons, when Eve Plumb had been hit by the puberty stick… You got your sexy
Or – “Wha HUH?” The 1980’s were a watershed for comics as we know them, and most of what we love (and a majority of what we HATE) about the modern comics industry sprang from that well. Shooter’s Marvel and Giordano’s DC were wildly divergent places in terms of output and characters, but what they shared was often much more fun than what they clashed on. After Superman met Spider-Man, and Wonder Woman met the Hulk, where else could the intercompany crossover train stop? How about Westchester by way of Manhattan, Apokalips and CUC–
Or – “Crisis On Infinite Oddities…” As we’ve mentioned previously, the comics publishing world has developed a “Big Event” mentality, and crossovers have become the norm for the big publishers. In the ’80s, in the wake of ‘Secret Wars’ and ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths,’ a number of publishers created their own universal opus to cash in on the crossover craze. One of the weirdest was Total Eclipse, from Eclipse Comics, publisher of titles as diverse as Miracleman, Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, Tales of the Beanworld and more. The big question going into this book wasn’t what the threat was, it
Or – “Because *I* Demanded It! Again!” These days, getting a comic book published seems to require excessive amounts of money, computer coloring, money, some sort of gimmick, money, corporate backing, money, and more money. But there was a time, waaaaaay back in the 1980’s, when three guys with a photocopier and a dream could become comic superstars. Those were the days of Eastman and Laird, of Dave Sim, of the endless horror that was Solson Publications… Among the most fondly remembered relics of this era for me is a little book that initially tried to call itself ‘The Crusaders.’
Or – “I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This…” Recent discussions in the Major Spoilers forums have touched on the topic of anthology series, and why it’s difficult to sell a book where the main selling point is that there are different selling points from month to month. This discussion reminded me of some of my favorite anthologies (DC’s Wasteland, Marvel Comics Presents in the pre-Ghost Rider era, Negative Burn) and this issue, which I believe to be one of the finest and most balanced anthology issues ever produced, right up there with some of the best that Rod Serling
Or – “War Against The Zodiac! (Also: DOO DAH! DOO DAH!)” In the classic Marvel Universe, there was always a superhero team pecking order. The Avengers with the first line of defense against criminal conspiracies and schmucks trying to, say, kill everyone in New York born under the sign of Gemini. The X-Men were mostly dormant, but still showed up here and there to fight the odd mutant menace or guy with a funny head. The Fantastic Four were the ones who dealt with all the cosmic menaces, like when Galactus mistook the Roman Coloseum for a Port-A-John. And when
Or – “DETROIT ROCK CITAAAY!” For those of you who don’t remember the far-flung 1970’s, I’ll give you a rundown of how it went: Chevy Chase was funny then. Big lapels were in. Nobody knew what the hell a cellular phone was. Elvis was alive, part of the time anyway. There was a gas crisis and people freaked out at paying more than a dollar for petroleum. Steve was not yet bald, and George Lucas still knew what he was doing. There’s pretty much all ya need to know for free… Also big during the late 70’s was a band
Or – “The 1970’s Called, And They Wanted Me To Show You Something…” Recent events in the Marvel Universe have made many of us yearn for days past, when heroic figures strode like giants across the streets of Manhattan, and legendary artists created comic works that tower over the hackery of today’s fan-fiction scribblers. In those heady days, the heroes of the Marvel Universe were formed from the basest clay into world-famous icons whose every move was that of latter-demigods. And then, this one time, Peter Parker got beat up by his car. So, he has that going for him.
Or – “What The Publishers These Days Call A Great Jumping-On Point…” I’ve commented many times on my great dislike of both the 90’s Ghost Rider revamp and the “Elvis-As-Hipster-Doofus” take that was the Nick Cage movie. As with many of my dislikes, it’s not out of sheer bastardry that I rage against the corporate machine, but because of my deep love of a DIFFERENT version of the character. I came into Johnny Blaze’s run as Ghost Rider late (with the last issue of that run, #81, actually) and worked my way backwards through his character history until I now
Or – “Bwah Ha Ha HAAA!” These days, it seems that the 80’s ‘Bwah Ha Ha’ Justice League is a pretty devalued commodity, what with the multiple deaths, several heel turns, at least one brutal rape, and a general undercurrent of unpleasantness. If these weren’t the actual stories taking place on a parallel Earth, one might even conclude that SOMEONE in power is embarrassed by these stories… Settle in and get ready to decide whether or not they should be!
Or – “Because Someone Demanded It! (Though Since The Crash, I Don’t Recall Whom…) One of the saddest stories in comics has to be that of Bill Mantlo, one of Marvel’s more prolific writers of the 1970’s and 80’s. Responsible for many memorable tales (including turning the Micronauts and this title into long-running stories despite being essentially toy tie-in books), Bill has been in a coma since the mid-90’s, victim of a hit and run accident. Bill’s body of work includes many excellent tales (I highly recommend tracking down Vision and The Scarlet Witch) but a recent unofficial Spoilerite poll
Or – “The Seventies Really WERE A Different Time…” It’s sometimes difficult to remember that most of the things that we complain about (the economy, foreign conflicts, gas prices, government policices) are the same things people have been complaining about for decades. 40 years ago, a legendary creator returned to DC Comics after decades away and captured the zeitgeist of those tumultuous times and channeled it into his creative devices to create a lasting, viable, and affecting piece of work, which tragically was unfinished. That book was called.. …The New Gods. This book was written by that legend’s ex-partner the same
Or – “You Always Hurt The Ones You Love…” There is a common misconception amongst those who listen to the podcast that Rodrigo is the only one who really knows the X-Men. There are a number of stories (Morrison’s New X-Men, Days of Future Past, the 1991 relaunch, the original appearance of Juggernaut, the Mimic/Super-Adaptoid battle) that are among my favorites, and I’m passing familiar with the team in all it’s iterations (otherwise I wouldn’t be able to manage my back issue bins at work.) There are even X-Men stories that I think are absolutely amazing, and beyond reproach awesome.