Saturday, May 21, 2011

Because You Demanded It! The Return of the Do-It-Yourself Open Forum!

Doug: Yep, it's been about a month since you, our adoring public, got to choose the subject du jour. So here we are -- have at it!

As always, the following process will be followed and rules apply: 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.

As always, have fun!


Edo Bosnar said...

What’s your favorite annual/special of the Bronze Age?
This is a post/discussion I’ve been wanting to see for some time now, and I’m dedicating the proposal to Andrew Wahl of the now sadly on-indefinite-hiatus Comics Bronze Age, since I suggested it on his blog once and he thought it was great idea, but –alas – he never got around to it.
Anyway, to elaborate, here’s what I think a good annual should be: a solid, done-in-one story, with nice art. It should epitomize the series to which it belongs, but shouldn’t necessarily be directly tied to any story in that series. Incidentally, that means it could have served as a ‘gateway drug’ for those who aren’t regular readers of a given series.
Here’s a few ground rules: stick with the maximum range for the Bronze Age, i.e., roughly 1970 to 1985; besides annuals, this category can include the Marvel giant-sizes, those DC specials of the early 80s, and any other separately released stand-alone special issues. I’d exclude those big anniversary issues, even though some do fit this criteria (esp. on the various DC titles), just because I think that would merit a separate post.
To start off, here’s a few of my favorites (it’s by no means an exhaustive list):
X-men Annual #3: I recall mentioning in the comments when Karen & Doug reviewed it that I simply think this is probably the best annual of any series, ever.
Amazing Spider-man Annual #10 (first annual I ever bought, I think), and #s 13, 14, & 15 – back-to-back awesomeness.
Batman Annual #8: contains a really great and, it seems to me anyway, largely forgotten Ra’s al Ghul story by Mike Barr, beautifully drawn by Trevor von Eeden.
Avengers Annual #9: basically an enjoyable “monster in the basement” story, ably written by Bill Mantlo and featuring some rare (perhaps the only?) Marvel artwork by Don Newton.
Batman Special (1984): the Wrath story by Mike Barr (I’m beginning to realize that he’s written some of my favorite Bat stories), beautifully drawn by and Michael Golden.
Other favorites: FF Annual #17, Giant-size Man-thing #4…
Let’s hear it, what are your favorites and why?

J.A. Morris said...

Okay, I'm first in(probably because I'm the only "regular" who has to work today)

There's debate here about what year the Bronze Age ended('85,'80,'79 being the usual years mentioned).

But I can tell you when I realized comics as I knew them were gone for good when Mark Gruenwald died. Yes, by the time he passed, we had already gotten 'The Age Of Apocalypse' and 'The Ben Reilly/Spider-man Clone Saga'.

He was Marvel's continuity cop and seemingly the only one who remember the best aspects of Bronze Age storytelling.

Here's a link to his 'Mark's Remarks' columns, from Marvel Age Magazine:

I bet the guys running Marvel & DC could learn a thing or two about writing Superheroes from these old columns.

J.A. Morris said...

So Edo beat me by 10 minutes, his is a great topic.

My favorite Annuals/Giant-Sized comics:
I'm in agreement with Edo about FF Annual #
'Amazing Spider-man Annuals #14 & 15.
Both feature great stories by O'Neil & Miller.

Avengers Anuual #10, 11, most of the Annuals/Giant-Size Avengers from the 70s are excellent.

starfoxxx said...

Avengers is my favorite all-time, so of course Annual #10 and #16 (probably not considered Bronze Age though)

As I've written before X-men Ann #7, "Scavenger Hunt" w/ the Impossible Man is classic, with an X-baseball game, multiple cameos, and the team at their apex, IMO. Highly recommended and fun, fun, fun.

And three Annuals from 1984 really stuck with me (it was when i first started reading comics, but these are really good), also recommended:

Amazing Spider-man Ann #18, just a classic one-and-done story.

FF Annual #18, with a cool Kree-Skrull-X-men flashback, and nice Byrne art.

and Hulk Ann #13, this was one of those comics that felt like REAL literature when you read it as a kid, high-brow stuff about symbiotic relationships, wrapped around a touching story. A comic book that had depth, something I would seek out, and rarely, (but sometimes) find again.

Nice Topic, EDO.

starfoxxx said...

BTW, thanks to comic vine, for helping my ever-escaping memory.

Inkstained Wretch said...

Let's see ... Avengers Annual #10 was a favorite, thanks to the Michael Golden art. I think we've already discussed it here a bit, but it is just a good, fun story.

Marvel Two-in-One Annual @2, in which the Thing and Spiderman rescue the Avengers and the world from Thanos. It's some of Jim Starlin's best art and - I'm not sure why - but I love Thor's line, "Surrender villain, thy cause is lost!" as he and Thing lay into Thanos.

Batman Annual #11 includes a genuinely creepy tale by Alan Moore told entirely from the perspective of Clayface.

All-Star Squadron Annual #3 features an all-star cast of artists: Jerry Ordway, George Perez, Keith Giffen, Richard Buckler, Carmine Infanto. Matt Nodell and Wayne Boring. It captures the nostalgic aspect of the series perfectly.

And finally Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1, in which Brainiac 5 tries to learn who is killing the descendants of the Justice League. Some great Keith Giffen art, from just before the Crisis started mucking things up in the DCU for the Legion.

Doug said...

My favorite Annual is Thor Annual #5. Check it out if you can -- it was reprinted in the recent Thor/Hercules tpb.


Karen said...

Great topic Edo. My faves would be:

Avengers Annual 7 and Marvel Two In One #2: the wrap-up to Warlock's saga. I know this is not exactly done in one but they don't infringe on any regular series.

Thor Annual 5, as Doug said, a fun story with great Buscema art

Thor Annual 7:Eternals and Celestials and Thor, woo hoo!

Hulk Annual 7: guest-starring Angel and Ice Man

Amazing Spider-Man Annual 15: The main story with the Punisher was very good, but the back feature where Spidey classifies the Marvel heroes by strength is what I really remember this issue for.

I also have a soft spot for DC Super-Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas #1 (was there ever a #2?). I mean, it's got GORILLAS!!!


Stephen T. Harper said...

Which was the one where the X-men go to Hell? Was that the #3 Annual you mentioned? I don't remember the numbers because my collection is in a basement on the other coast ( at least I hope it is). But I remember really liking that story. Also an annual from the new teen Titans run in the early 80s when they wrapped up their space saga.

Anyone know what I'm talking about? Or am I remembering wrong?

Joseph said...

The first thing I thought of when I read Edo's excellent questions: the two-parter of Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two In One Annual #2. I had the MTIO when it first came out as a lad and cherished it (though my cat clearly didn't as he pee'd on my copy) and picked up the Avengers portion as an adult just a few years ago. A great story with some of the great characters of the day - I'm so glad that others have mentioned this one as well.

Additional points awarded to the writers/artists who made the spaceship in the story look like a gigantic Tie Fighter.

Edo Bosnar said...

Good picks so far, everyone, keep 'em coming...
Stephen, you're thinking of X-men annual #4, with the Dante's Inferno homage. Also, incidentally, another annual I thoroughly enjoyed (one of those rare cases where I don't mind magic in an X-story). X-men annual #3, by the way, is that action-packed masterpiece featuring Arkon - and X-men annual #5, another favorite, is kind of sequel to it.
I would have mentioned those in my original post (along with Hulk annual #7 - good call, Karen!), but it's long enough as it is and I wanted to give everyone an opportunity to list their own favorites. It's interesting that so far most of those mentioned are from latter half of the 70s and 80s - my main interest in suggesting this topic was in fact to see what some of the 'older' fans would pick from the earlier Bronze Age.

david_b said...

The Starlin Avengers/TIO pair were GREAT art.. just bought the TIO conclusion a month ago.., and actually just bought the Avengers Annual 9 two weeks ago, excellent dark, moody art.

But my favs were the early 70s ones, the pair I think of (and pined the most for..) were the 1973 Spiderman and FF Specials (the reprinted Goblin Lives and Reed/Sue Wedding). I only had the money to buy one, so I bought Spidey and LOVED IT (then 'course lost it a few months later..), so I finally rebought them a few years ago.

The first couple of GS Avengers were awesome as well, the first with Nuklo, then the Death of my favorite Swordsman.. Those are where my memories lie.

Redartz said...

Great topic! I've loved annuals and giants going back to the days when 25 cents bought you one.
One of my favorite giants was Giant Size Super Stars #1, featuring a fun Thing/Hulk battle. This also featured a "Rogue's Gallery" of pin ups; such special features always made an annual that much more memorable (Yes, it's Silver Age, but Spiderman Annual 1 is a perfect example; loaded with features).
Giant Size Avengers #2 was another great one; actually most of the Avengers giants were enjoyable.
Also, I must second what Edo said about Giant Size Man-Thing #4. Aside from the Howard the Duck back-up, it featured a dramatic story from Steve Gerber that pointedly addressed issues of acceptance. This really hit home to me at the time, with high school looming large in the months ahead.

William said...

Nice choice of topic Edo.

Hands down my all-time favorite annual is Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2. In fact, it's one of my favorite comics period. I originally bought and read it without having read the first part of the story (in Avengers Annual #7), but I still loved it. The way they did the recap of part 1 by having Moondragon talk to Peter Parker in a dream was just so incredibly awesome to me at the time. I didn't feel I even needed to read part one, because I was coming into the story the same time as Spider-Man, so I only knew as much as he did, and it made everything all the more exciting in my young mind.

I eventually read part 1, of course. However, to this day when I occasionally re-read the story, I still prefer reading just MTIO Ann. #2 by itself.

Some of my other faves are Amazing Spider-Man Ann. #10, 11, 13, 15 and 18.

david_b said...


Nice mention of all the 'extras'.. I forgot to mention that before.

I also loved GSSS#1 with the Hulk/Thing battle, with all the cool reprinted pinups in the back, as well as updated issue appearances. It was an early treat that I expected all Specials and Annuals from then on to have.

That was another nice annual treat I wish we all could have become used to in the 70s.

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