Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bracketology: Semi-finals -- the Final Four!

Doug: So it comes down to this: two events from the Amazing Spider-Man versus two events involving our Merry Mutants, the Uncanny X-Men. Has this gone the way you would have predicted? I think this is going to be very interesting, and perhaps the key thing on your mind is how you'll interpret our question: Which event was most significant in the Bronze Age? More than one commenter has remarked that if the question were to read "to" rather than "in", votes might have gone differently in several cases (and no, I'm not interested in doing this again :) ). But as they say, it is what it is, so we are sticking to the original, ongoing question. As always, comments about your vote or the voting trends are welcome!


Anonymous said...

Spidey vs the Xmen both times!! Not a showdown I would have predicted. I went for the death of Gwen over GS 1 really because I think her death was a big sea change in & of itself, whereas GS #1 wasn’t really the key moment of the X men’s resurgence, it was the Claremont/Byrne/Austin partnership that really catapulted them into the forefront.

With the same logic, I voted for Claremont/Byrne/Austin ahead of the drugs issue as I think the drugs issue was part of a growing up that was going on at the time and though it was momentous, I can remember talking about C&B era Xmen with complete strangers in comic shops. They were a ‘water-cooler’ moment and picked up a gauntlet that had been lying on the ground since Thomas/Adams/Palmer threw it there.

Also – is it just me, or does Terry Austin not get enough credit for that era? Byrne inked by Marcos, Green, anybody (including Byrne) is not as good. On his forum (Byrne Victim....nice one), even Byrne himself emphasises the importance of the inking on his pencils.


J.A. Morris said...

I'd say it's Gwen's death. It happened in an era when things that like "just didn't happen" to characters like Gwen. And she's stayed dead too. It's THE defining moment of the Bronze Age.

And I haven't read too many Spider-Man titles in years, but her death was referenced for at least 20 years by Peter.

How many times in 70s/80s X-men stories did Cyclops,Storm or Wolverine say "remember that time we blew up Krakoa? That was awesome!" They never talked about it.

GSXM #1 is an extremely important issue, but beyond the introduction of the new team, it's not a great story.

david_b said...


As always, you bring up great points.. I was still scratchin' my head that the GS X-Men would be more important than the drugs issue since to me, remembering the late Silver Age era, it was a huge step, much like J.A.'s mention of Gwen's death 'just not happening'. I saw the new X-team more as being more lucrative for Marvel many years later.

But you're right in knowing that it did swing open the doors to a lot of new readers in the early 80s, effectively exploding into the major mutant storylines we've discussed before.

A lot of it started there, whether it's a direct result of 'that issue' or the team during that creative team tenure is still up for some debate.

Also agreed that Marcos was never a favorite inker. His inks were just too dark, perhaps heavy-handed ruining what others would have allowed to florish.

Doug said...

I voted for both Spider-Man events, as the question asks "in" rather than "to". As others have stated, the influence of the X-Men extends into the 1980's. While I agree that I was blown away right from my first X-issue (#95), the Spider-events "made" the Bronze Age, well... Bronze.


Anonymous said...

Thanks David.
I always found Marcos a bit ‘wobbly’. His lines were never smooth, like his hand was shaking a bit. Also, I always felt he obliterated all but the strongest artists. You can look at something inked by him and say ‘well, Marcos inked it, but who drew it?’.

The same is true of Janson, Giacoia, Giordano and others...but in their case it’s usually a good thing. The only time I’d ever be happy to see Pablo Marcos ride into town was if he was trampling over Frank Robbins on the way in.

GSXM 1 is so ‘knowing’, isn’t it? The fact that the new team ride to the rescue of the old, that they’re ethnically diverse where the old team were basically the cast of 90210, that they have history and back-story and pre-ordained issues with each-other (and themselves), exactly half of them are existing characters and half are new. You can see Wein & Thomas thinking ‘right, this is where the old X men fell down....let’s not make those mistakes again’. Have you ever seen Kane’s original cover sketch? It’s just a burst through of the new team, the originals aren’t there. A last minute addition (maybe just by Dave? Look closely at them!) that saved the day. The same cannot be said of Roy’s (wisely discarded) idea to have them live on a orbital sky platform (no, really).


Anonymous said...

Well Doug, about interpeting the question: I think for this round I answered the question as "Which event was more significant in the Bronze Age TO ME?" Though I'm not sure that's how I interpreted it before(?)

ASM #121 was one of the first Marvel comics I remember buying and it almost single handedly dragged me into the Marvel Universe. And the Claremont/Byrne run was probably the only thing that kept me buying comics into the 80s for a while.

This is lots of fun, thanks. And love the holiday greeting.


Fred W. Hill said...

I had to go with the death of Gwen Stacy. Although I didn't start collecting Spider-Man regularly until issue 120 (the conclusion of the Hulk story), I had enough previous issues, including the previous Goblin epic, as well as the Marvel Tales reprints, that I knew how important Gwen was to Peter and her significance as a character in the series. In retrospect, while there were many previous signposts, perhaps starting with Kirby's move to DC in 1970, that a shift in comics' eras was taking place, "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" was the most dramatic indicator that the glittery Silver Age was dead as well, overtaken by the grittier Bronze Age.

humanbelly said...

I'm actually pleased that my early prediction in the top bracket isn't playing out (although I think this was indeed the likely pairing I saw coming down the tracks). Gwen's a personal sentimental favorite, but I just assumed any pairing with the later-occurring Wolverine/X-Men tsunami would leave her kicked to the side of the path. The upcoming final pairing does have an element of apples/oranges comparison though, yes? Very different points in time; single transformative event vs. a measured, deliberate change in art & story-telling standards; ring out the old vs. ring in the new, etc, etc--


Redartz said...

Interesting that the final four features a competition between what were likely Marvel's most popular titles in the 70's and 80's. They were certainly my favorites.

Gwen's death was the most outstanding event of the Bronze Age in Marvel's signature title. It's significance was felt immediately at the time it was published, and the influence continues to this day.

Giant size X-Men was noteworthy in 1075, but it's importance lay in the introduction it have for what came later ( as seen in bracket two).

Spider-man's drug books were powerful, dramatic and emblematic of the changes underway in the comics industry. In terms of influence, though, I'd have to go with Claremont and Byrne's X-men. I recall references , imitations and satires of that run throughout the early 80's.

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