Thursday, August 16, 2012

Bracketology: Final Thoughts

Doug:  To close out the consolation/correction poll that had been running over the past four days, I thought we'd revisit the eight stories that comprised our "Elite 8".  Late last night (for me, anyway) I tossed out a question in yesterday's comments section.  I'll move that over to this new post, along with the replies that had already come in.  We'll move forward with the topic here.  I said:

Shifting gears:

The Bracketology "fix that screwed up final poll" exercise is now over. Any thoughts on any of the arcs in the final 8 combatants?


There have been two replies, and we'll use these comments that follow as our "writing prompt" for today's conversation.  Thanks for chiming in on these points.

Edo Bosnar said:

Doug: the new poll results certainly seem to correspond more to what one would expect.

William Preston said:


Regarding the latest version of the poll, I think there needs to be a discussion of "great stories that crapped out in the third act." For my money, the Kree-Skrull war has a lot of great build-up but a disastrous, deus ex machina–filled ending. And the Korvac saga ends with poor artwork--and a whole lot of deuses going around! In fact, the Korvac saga made me think, at the time, that the Avengers was no longer a good comic. The whole Gwen Stacy clone/Jackal storyline is more coherent and has a more satisfying ending (was that ever on the list); ditto the Defenders' "Whatever Happened to Scorpio," which features some of the best artwork ever. I'm wondering if people are remember the K-S war and Korvac as better than they really were. 



Anonymous said...

Final Thoughts? Just that this is obviously a very subjective exercise. Doug, I note that the title of the vote is GREATEST Story of the Bronze Age. But, back when you were soliciting entries did you ask for our FAVORITES? I don't remember exactly. I personally tended to vote for my favorites. I'm sure there were some greater or more impactful stories in the brackets that I never even heard of, much less read.

In any event, enjoy the votes and everything BAB.


Doug said...

Tom --

We can have that conversation: why wouldn't one of the greatest stories of the Bronze Age be someone's favorite? After all, it's great, isn't it?

I found myself giving some serious consideration throughout the brackets as to what a great story was, what a favorite of mine was, how did it impact me when I read it, did I read it off the racks or later, how has it "held up", etc. So you are right absolutely when you say this is subjective -- I'm sure no two people would use the same qualifiers to make a vote.

Now that order has been restored in the BAB voting universe, I'm considering taking nominations for the best costumes of the Bronze Age. I don't want nominees put forth now, but is there interest in such a thing? This is the bracket exercise I mentioned a few days ago, when Karen and I were thinking that all future voting would have to be done away with.


david_b said...

The 'greatest vs favorite' merits comparison was my point on the few times I chimed in....

Edo Bosnar said...

For me, greatest and favorite pretty much overlap. As noted, it's all subjective, but I saw from other people's suggestions that we largely agreed on what we considered greatest.
William Preston's comment, quoted in this post, is quite interesting fodder for discussion, i.e. did some of these stories fizzle out, were they perhaps overrated, or saved by great art, etc. However, to address one specific point he made, that Avengers was no longer a good comic by the end of the Korvac saga - I certainly don't agree with that assessment, as the next roughly two dozen issues up to 200 are my personal favorites.

William said...

Although the "Death of Gwen Stacy" was only a 2-parter, it certainly is the story on the list that is the most controversial and has had the longest lasting impact on the industry. So, all-in-all I would say it definitely could be considered the "Greatest" story of the Bronze Age.

William Preston said...


I went back to look at the post-Korvac Avengers issues. (Well, the covers, at; I think I actually still have all those issues up in the attic.) Obviously, my memory on this time in my life is spotty. (It was all the Ring Dings, man!) I see that the next three issues after Korvac are pretty weak. (How about that Bloodhawk cover??) But, yeah, then it recovered with Byrne on the art. Later, it retanked.

But I distinctly remember my disappointment with the Korvac saga, starting with the distractingly poor art. (I think the conclusion was also badly printed, with muddy color.) It was one of my first exposures to the big buildup/big letdown so prevalent in "genre fiction."

Doug said...

I would agree with what's been said about both the Korvac Saga and the Kree/Skrull War in terms of starting way better than they finished. Even though I feel that way, I'd still rank both stories among the epics. But, had they finished with as big a pay-off as was their build-up, they'd be on the pinnacle.

Dark Phoenix delivered all the way through.

Crisis on Infinite Earths is best known for two issues in the middle of the story.

As to ASM #121-22, I'll say again that I think the first clone saga was a decent coda that for me did not diminish the original impact. Now, I do say this coming from the perspective of someone who read the clone stories first. However, I do place ASM #121-22 as among the finest stories of all time and fully grasp its importance.

I hold Bride of Ultron as among the best Avengers stories. I think, too, that part of it uniqueness is the fact that it began and ended almost a year apart. And, having experienced it off the racks, it has that new and impactful memory for me. Yet, if you scroll down the left side to the link to our review of this arc, you'll find not a single reader comment on our last issue. Very curious to me.


Karen said...

I've never understood all the praise for the Korvac saga. It turned the Avengers into a bunch of pawns and bit players in their own book. The ending was pure baloney and as mentioned, the art was not the best.

I'll admit that the K/S War also suffers from a weak ending, but the story was otherwise strong and truly of epic proportions, putting the Avengers in the Big League of teams.

But for pure emotional impact, the death of Gwen Stacy is the winner hands down. The Dark Phoenix saga is close but definitely in second place in my book.

david_b said...

Ditto's and full agreement on Korvac, K-S War, and ASM 121-122. Like most other story-telling mediums, great stories are made by great endings..

To actually shudder when you read a saga's ending (twice with Gobby's and Gwen's separate deaths..), you couldn't pay enough $$ to ever duplicate that.

It's priceless.

humanbelly said...

To kind of return to the practical subject at hand (keeping upcoming Bracketology events runnin' smoothly), would I be presumptuous to toss out a few thoughts?

(Well, heck, you KNOW I'm gonna anyway. . . heh. . . )

1) There's probably no such thing as being TOO specific with the parameters. Find a defined time-frame to work within-- even if it's earlier and/or later than what we consider the legitimate Bronze Age. Literally, month/year to month/year.

2) Even if it's arbitrary on your part, go ahead and set definitions and limitations on the issue/event/characters/etc that we might be voting for. Story arcs of 3+ issues. Characters created after 1968 only. All mutants. Non-mutants. Great vs. Favorite. It's just fine for you to lay that out-- then up to us to work within that framework.

3) This may be too horrendous a burden of work on your part, but-- is it possible (for something like a costume or character tourney) to include an image somehow of the relevant participants? Just a thought (and totally understand if that's out of the question).

4) Vandalism may happen now and then-- but it's not the end o' the world. FAR outweighed, I think, by how much we seem to enjoy hashing out our preferences and staunchly defending our favorites.

Love this blog, Doug & Karen. I guess I still consider the AA Boards my "home" (although I joined there about 20 minutes after the bulk of regulars left), but this is very much turning into the vacation spot that I look forward to visiting more & more often. Great group of fun-thinking, well-spoken folks and fans. And first-rate moderators, natch.


Doug said...

HB --

Thanks for the compliments. We appreciate that!

As to pictures of the costumes (should we go that route), I'd just be capturing images off the 'net. I'd just suggest to our readers/voters that if there were any uncertainty to do likewise.

Your other suggestions are well-taken. Thank you.

School's starting next week -- time will be less plentiful for all things BAB. But we'll keep the quality high for everyone, you can bet on it!


Fred W. Hill said...

I didn't think the Korvac story was all that great -- sure, it was a unique and epic, but I just didn't find Korvac all that compelling as a character. I also agree that the Kree-Skrull story fell flat after those fantastic issues drawn by Neil Adams. I understand that apparently Adams wasn't able to complete that last issue and Roy got John Buscema to whip up a quick conclusion. As far as my favorite Bronze Age epic stories (at least 3 issues long) with great art & story from start to finish, my personal 3 contenders are the Warlock vs. Magus; Master of Kung Fu issues 40-50, the "Oriental Expiditers" story; and the Defenders/Headmen/Nebulon story.

Chris said...

The greatest stories, which more often than not are our favourites, have a beginning, a middle and an end.

I agree with previous comments that some of the contenders were certainly let down by the later.

I voted for Dark Phoenix and I don't think the impact of the end was in any way reduced by Jean's resurection years later.

For me it just beats ASM 121-122 because the build-up was longer, we cared more for Jean (Gwen was a bit one-dimensional if we are honest) and thus the tragedy was greater.

As for the final 8. Well then..

I was surprised to see the Death of Captain Marvel represented instead of Starlin's original CM run or Warlock stories. A powerful story no-doubt but not a favourite.

It also occured to me how 1970's biased the nominations were. Not much love for the 1980's?

Speaking of which, I'm glad you're looking at John Byrne's Man of Steel.This was the series that brought me to DC after being a Marvel Zombie for 10+ years. Just in time for Batman Year One, Justice League, Perez Wonder Woman, the end of Moore's Swanp Thing (the best thing he's ever done IMHO) and the Vertigo line. All great stuff from the 1980s.

And a classic Avengers story from the 1980s too! I think Roger Stern's Seige of the Mansion is a far better story Avengers story than Korvac or K-S war.But will the other BAB's agree?

So Doug & Karen..much to look forward too! Keep up the good work.

Related Posts with Thumbnails