Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Senses-Shattering Return of... the Do-It-Yourself Open Forum!

Doug: Hey, we're going to give the Do-It-Yourself Open Forum another whirl. A few weeks ago we tried this for the first time, and Terence Stewart queried "What is Your All-Time Favorite Bronze Age Marvel Cover?" Many stopped by to check it out, and 19 comments were left -- a good discussion ensued, and we'd venture to say that a swell time was had by all!

So, here we go again, and you'll remember the rules:
Whoever is the first to comment can post a question, posit, or general gibberish in the hopes of starting a conversation. Everyone who piles on later -- that's what we're talking about today! So, if you are reading this and no one else has commented, then it's all you! If you're coming along later and the comments are rolling in, please don't hijack the thread.

See if you can come up with a topic that would even give the Dark Knight Detective pause... Have fun!


Inkstained Wretch said...

Here's a suggestion: Is there a comic that you regularly collected back in the day that, looking back on it, you ask yourself: "What was I thinking?"

In my case it was G.I. Joe, which I bought every month in the 80s. It made being a soldier seem like such a great, colorful adventure.

Today those comics seem even more dated than those old John Wayne movies. If the post-9/11 world has taught us anything it is that G.I. Joe's view of warfare was far too simple and bloodless.

I am by no means a pacifist, but I look at those old comics and wince.

So, anybody else look at stuff they once liked and say, "Geez, I was really unsophisticated back then"?

Redartz said...

Not quite the same thing, but I never missed an issue of any of the Spider-Man titles. He remains my favorite character and I still buy the title currently. However, in the spirit of this discussion, many issues in the late 70's and early 80's were pretty lame. Rocket Racer, Big Wheel, Will-O-the-Wisp, Razorback seemed iffy to me then, and even more so today. This could make an argument for selectively choosing issues to keep rather than completing the run!

Terence Stewart said...

Not sure if there are any comics I read and collected regularly in the 70s that I regret doing so now; but there is one Marvel title/concept I actively hate 30 years later - step forward the X-Men. I just don't get that band of stinkin' muties any more - once the writer/writers ostensibly divorced the X-Men from superheroics and made them so incredibly insular, I stopped caring and started hating. I can't get my head around the concept that the citizens of the MU are able to differentiate between born mutants, and those who have been mutated. It makes no sense, and that particular direction has well and truly run its course.

Doug said...

Hey, great topic -- I'm sure we can all relate to it!

I wonder now why I bought all of those stupid mini-series back in the 1980's. Coming immediately to mind are DC's Millenium and Gilgamesh II (never even read the latter). Whenever the marketing boys got together to worry over a particular strategy, they could rest assured that I was making it successful!

I also followed series as a completist, and bought an awful lot of awful books along the way. The Avengers is my favorite team, but man -- you can have #200-around 250, and then after Buscema left the book until volume III. But I own 'em all! Ugh...


david_b said...

In the '80s I was in college and getting pretty bored with other hobbies, so I went back to comic collecting.. It started with vintage Cap and Teen Titans, then moved into collecting the current Titans, FF and Avengers.

I kept collecting WCA (being a big Hawkeye fan..), but the Milgrom art and stories were getting increasingly insipid and banal. Definitly kept collecting it in hopes it would improve. The Buscema art in the regular Avengers title was good, but once he left, so did I..

Same was true for the New Titans. After Perez left, I soldiered on for another 2 dozen issues, but it was actually dire and depressing with all the Dick Grayson brainwashing under Brother Blood's secret regime, etc. If the story arcs are bad, you can typically hold my attention if the art is good..

For both Titans and WCA, it wasn't the case.

Doug said...

David --

I think I got through the first year or so of WCA and dropped it. The Master Pandemonium stuff, coupled with the aforementioned Al Milgrom art was enough for me. To this day, I've not read the Avengers issues in the early #200's when he was on the book. Just fork-in-my-eye painful stuff.

Speaking of art, why oh why did I put myself through the second Vision and Scarlet Witch mini- with the 3rd-grade Richard Howell art? He actually made Milgrom look like he had half a clue!

I am being mean this morning. Really, I'm not in a bad mood. This question just makes me think of all the prized pennies I've wasted through the years. And how that junk isn't even worth cover price now.


Edo Bosnar said...

Great topic, Inkstained (hmmm, that looks kind of wrong all typed out, but I think "Mr. Wretch" would be even worse...)
There were quite a few series I followed for a while just out of loyalty to past greatness before finally giving up, like X-men, Avengers after issue 200, etc.
But one that specifically fits into the "what was I thinking" category is Team America: I had every single issue of that series, although even at the time I didn't really like it that much. But for some reason I soldiered through the whole thing (someone looking from the side would even think I was a diehard loyalist, as I also had the issue of Captain America in which they were introduced, and the follow-up story in New Mutants after the title was cancelled - but that's because I was regularly reading both titles at the time).

ChrisPV said...

I own the entirety of the Clone Saga. I wasn't looking forward to it as it happened, I didn't enjoy it as I read it, and I find very little good about it in retrospect, and I regret having all of that money tied into the bloody thing.

Of course, that didn't stop. I am well and truly addicted.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, I bought all four issues of this weird Limited Series, Steelgrip Starkey, who was this super-powered construction worker. WTF? I have some weird stuff in my collection that was bought FOR me, but I definitely picked these up, I have no idea why.


Kid A said...

I was a teenager in the early 90s so I was susceptible to all the stupid special covers and flashy artists of the time. I bought all 5 issues of X-force #1 because of the trading cards. I cringe just having to write that out as I think about how horrendous Rob Liefield's art truly was and still is. I think I bought all of those initial Image books that came too. I wound up dumping all that stuff years ago and boy did I take a bath on those! I do wish I kept all the early Valiants, though, as they were good from what I remember.

Inkstained Wretch said...


I never bought the Team America series itself but I bought those New Mutants issues where they guest-star and, yeah, that was a pretty dire concept.

It was so bad in fact that it put me off New Mutants entirely. I remember thinking: "If the creators are really going to include these commercial tie-in jokes that tells me all I need to know about how seriously they take this series as a whole."

As a consequence, I missed the whole Bill Sienkiewicz era at that title.

As for my moniker, it's an old-fashioned term for newspaper reporter.

Karen said...

The eighties are kind of a blur, comics-wise. I stopped buying comics in the mid to late eighties, except for an occasional book here or there. But I did buy those multiple cover X-Mens, to my eternal regret. I've still got some bagged "Death of Superman" issues too. What a sucker.


Hoosier X said...


jefsview said...

You mean I was the only one who bought Crystar, hoping it would be another Rom the Spaceknight or Micronauts?

Or the Human Fly?

Team America, I believe I had a few of those. Atari Force, just because I loved Garcia-Lopez, and not for the gaming cred.

I still love me some Super-Villain Team-up, although re-reading the entirety of the Essential collection, they were very cheesy. But that's why I love comic books.

Freedom Fighters -- oh, the 70's series is bad, so very bad. The team should have remained on Earth X. I did love the FF versus "The Invaders," but the series is just awful.

he-he. Dazzler.

Hoosier X said...

I have no regrets about Super-Villain Team-Up.

That probably says more about me than it does about Super-Villain Team-Up.

Dougie said...

I enjoyed many of the books mentioned here, West Coast Avengers and Vizh/Witch in particular. But then, I liked the idea of Gilgamesh the Forgotten One as an Avenger...
It seems to me that 1986-88 was a really bad time for DC, with the exception of Byrne's Superman and Secret Origins. The Titans run without Perez was awful: the Hybrid, Twister, Wildebeest...brrr! Even on his return, the interminable Troia story was a rehash of tropes we'd seen before.
Although I bought every issue, Greg LaRocque's art was such a letdown on LSH after Giffen and Lightle.
Anyway, is there any love for Batman and the Outsiders?

Rip Jagger said...

The truth is I don't regret anything about the 70's or the 80's except trading away some very cool stuff.

Marvel completism is what made me pick up books like ROM which turn out to be rather awesome on reflection.

It's not until the 90's and advent of Image that I find comics in my boxes that make me wince that I considered them worth paying for.

Rip Off

Hoosier X said...

Jim Aparo art for days and days and days made "Batman and the Outsiders" worthwhile. Can't say as I regret reading it as long as I did.

david_b said...

Great question, Inkstained..!! I was going to leave a lengthy reply again this morning, but 'course, after I hit 'Publish', I lost it due to cookies.. (and I didn't hit 'Save', etc..).

Anywho, "STEELGRIP STARKEY"..!! I collected that with furvor myself.., the first brave excursion outside the realm of the 'two-party' system.. I ended a bit trite, but the art and relationships were good fodder.

Karen, yes, the 80s were indeed a blur. Weird to say, but it's probably the era to go back to for me..

(All the college babes... I miss 'em..)

I think we're all guilty of soldiering on with certain series..: You fall in love with them as kids, and you sort of carry on collecting them, either being a completist or just lingering hope that issues will get better.

(TOTALLY agreed on the waste of $$ for Avengers 200-250..).

Anonymous said...

Let’s be clear: SVTU has no place on this list.

The Human Fly: wow. I think I might actually have the whole set despite never having read them. Wasn’t it Frank Robbins art as well? Well, at least it kept him off other books!

Recently I re-read Ms. Marvel, which I never liked at the time. Having realised that Claremont wrote them, I thought they must be a lot better than I remembered.

They’re not.

Given the feminist concept, I think he must have been under orders to write all the male characters as cardboard chauvinists....that’s the only explanation I can come up with for some the worst dialogue he ever wrote. Seriously, the male characters are just straw men who exist merely to patronise and insult Carole Danvers so she can comment justifiably on how girls are much better than boys nyah nyah nyah. They so clearly should have a got a woman to write it....or the dialogue at least. What is really hilarious is that throughout, the ridiculously sexist males comment on how J. Jonah should come to his senses and get a MAN to edit ‘Woman’ magazine. This surely (please God) must be Claremont satirising himself, or Marvel for giving him the gig. Either way, it ain’t good. And any father who comments on his daughter’s body in a sexual manner should be on a government register.


Doug said...

Um, Richard --

While SVTU was high on my cool-o-meter as a waif, it's fallen onto the lame-o-meter as an adult. Check out our reviews of the 3-parter that introduced the Shroud:

We were sad to have to tell our faithful readers that, by and large, this story sucked. Time clouds the memory...

But I'm still not sorry that I bought this way-back-when, so I'll halfway agree with your posit that SVTU should not be on this list.



Karen said...

I don't think that all of SVTU sucked, but the story we reviewed certainly felt sub-par. I'd like to go back to this series and maybe we can review the multi-parter with Doom and Magneto, which crossed over with Champions. As I recall, that was a good story - but then as we've discovered, sometimes our sense of nostalgia makes things better than they actually were.

Doug said...

Karen and Richard --

No, I don't think the whole series was bad, either. We've also reviewed G-S SVTU #1, and thought that despite the two reprints it was a pretty good issue, and certainly a capable introduction to the series.

Karen, I have the issues of which you speak, as well as G-S #2. You game??


Karen said...

What the heck, let's add them to "The List"!!

We keep adding so many comics to review, you and I better hope we live to be a hundred!


Anonymous said...

For me, one of the big things that Marvel had over DC was, apart from their heroes seeming more 3 dimensional and real, their villains were far more real. Most of the DC villains might as well have been carrying a bag marked swag, twiddling a waxed moustache and laughing “ Mwahahahahaha!” over their shoulder as they did evil deeds. (Yeah, I know, but the Joker’s an exception).

For that reason, I thought SVTU had a lot of legs, and I thought they actually picked some interesting villains. Subby’s not really a villain at all, despite frequent attempts to destroy the human race. Doom is the ultimate villain, but much more complex than many, esp. that whole gypsy thing, whereby he’s as much a product of mysticism as science (is there actually any facet of Darth Vader that is not ripped off Doc Doom?). Magneto....again, no moustache twiddler, he. I fairly rippled with delight when the Beyonder decided that actually Magneto counted as one of the heroes, because he fought for a cause, not for his own selfish ends. And the Red Skull....well, that scenery won’t chew itself.

So maybe my point is that it gets an A for effort more than attainment, and the fact that you have heroic villains like Doom and Magneto faced with perceptually villainous heroes like Subby and the Shroud, really blurs the lines in an interesting way.

I’ll read your reviews tonight and let you put me straight !

Edo Bosnar said...

Agree with Richard that SVTU doesn't belong on the list. I only had a few issues back at the time, but read the Essentials volume about 2 years ago. While I agree that there were some clunker stories (like the one you reviewed), there were also some pretty good ones as well: the GS issues and Champions cross-over you guys mentioned, as well as the story that crossed over with the Avengers. And even though the last two issues involved a complete change in concept with the Red Skull as the main baddy, I liked that story as well (despite the Carmine Infantino art!)

Inkstained Wretch said...

Ah, SVTU. What could be more Bronze Age than that nutty concoction?

I don't think that fits with this discussion either. No, it wasn't great and was oftentimes quite clunky. But on the other hand it was a lot of fun if only because it has such a crazy, ramshackle quality.

The concept made no sense because the protagonists could never succeed, because they were, you know, the bad guys. Yet Marvel kept putting it out anyway, which created this great tension in the storylines.

I like to imagine the writer hunched over his typewriter, coffee and cigarette nearby, mumbling, "Yet another month of Doom not pulling off his evil plans? Egaad, how do I manage to keep this soap opera going?" before taking a puff and typing out something like: "Synopsis: Doom has his ass handed to him by the Shroud, a blind guy with no superpowers on his first outing as a hero ..." Then the writer looks at the words he wrote and says, "Yeah, go with that!"

Art? No. Entertaining pulp? Oh, yes.

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