Sunday, November 17, 2013

The All-Day Face-Off

Doug:  It's been awhile since we've done a Face-Off post.  Today, how about if we just run a collaborative discussion, where anyone who wants to comment can leave a thought or two on a previous suggestion, and then leave a little food-for-thought of his/her own.  You can expound on your Face-Off suggestion if you want to, or just leave a topic behind as you leave.  Hopefully we generate a nice, organic conversation with many either-or considerations to carry us through our Sunday.

Doug:  I'll start by tossing out several topics, some of which we've previously dealt with.  You can give your two cents on my list, and then be sure to give a query of your own.  We ran a Face-Off a long time ago on the Inhumans sisters, Crystal and Medusa.  Of course the focus of that one was "who was the better substitute for Sue Richards during her time away from the Fantastic Four?"  I'm personally still partial to the Crystal/Johnny romance, but will readily admit that Medusa was on the team when I became a regular reader.

Doug:  We've run posts recently on the Lone Ranger and on Zorro.  Who ya got?

Doug:  Lastly, Neal Adams at Marvel or at DC?  For me, this one comes down to what I consider outstanding storylines at the House of Ideas, but pretty pictures inside some occasionally ham-handed tales over at the Distinguished Competition.  While I love looking at his GL/GA stories and of course his Batman work, it's the grandeur of the "Kree-Skrull" War and the last-gasp awesomeness of his run with Roy Thomas on the X-Men that put Adam's Marvel work over the top for me.

Doug:  So, feel free to give a thought on any or all of my topics, and then be sure to leave one or two of your own.  Thanks!


MattComix said...

On replacement's for Sue I would have to go with Crystal, though really I hate any of the team being replaced at all. If I'm reading the Fantastic Four I want the Fantastic Four.

You did Lone Ranger and Zorro, how about Green Hornet?

I really, really like Neal Adams on DC characters but I am forced to agree with you that Marvel overall gave him better storylines to put his art to. But his Batman run really paved the way for guys like Jim Aparo.

Rip Jagger said...

On the matter of Neal Adams, I think his work at DC edges out his Marvel efforts if only because of Deadman, a character he wrote with great passion and a character he can still render with great aplomb.

As for the great Crystal-Medusa debate, I side with Crystal. Her time on the team was more organic, a natural outgrowth of Sue's need for a replacement during her pregnancy. Crystal's powers were sufficiently ephemeral enough, much like Sue's that her turn seem less startling in many ways. Medusa is a great character, and I loved the look of the team during her tenure, but she's a completely different heroine.

As for the Lone Ranger or Zorro, I'm a confirmed Lone Ranger fan all the way, keeping an image of the classic Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels combo on my desk to remind that doing the right thing is the right thing to do. Zorro's a fun character, and has appeared in some dandy tales, but he doesn't have that charisma that the Ranger does somehow. (The recent movie exempted of course.)

For my two cents let me offer up this dichotomy.

Who did a better job with their Bronze Age pulp adaptation - Marvel with Doc Savage or DC with The Shadow.

I give the nod to Marvel because of the black and white magazine which followed on the color book, but if we're only comparing color to color, then The Shadow gets the nod. More authentic through and through.

Rip Off

david_b said...

Mostly likely due to my timing of entry into Zumvembie-dom, I still prefer Medusa to Crystal.

Despite spending my childhood strongly admiring Reed's integrity and leadership, I'll admit to a wafer-thin contemplation of whether he and Medusa actually got cozy for a few months there, 'round ish 142.

Not a big of Aparo fan as most here, I still primarily see Adams first and foremost a DC artist, with a few nice visits to both X-Men and our Avengers.

Nothing more to add at this point. Still on my first cup of coffee.

MattComix said...

@Rip. That's interesting because I've always liked Zorro a little better. He just has more mystique for me I guess. Probably the costume has something to do with it. I also like that he's a brilliant swordsman with a whip who can take down guys with muskets.

Also that he humiliates his enemies and leaves his mark so you know who did it. I enjoy a good guy who pops the villains balloon in addition to thwarting their plots. ..and I like that he's the hero of the people of old California. I guess it's something that relates to another character I like, Robin Hood.

I think Zorro is really where that whole "laughing daredevil" thing comes from that they were going for with Robin in the Batman comics and that later Spidey would really bring to bear.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to go with Crystal as a better fit for the FF...I also thought she worked well as an Avenger in the early 90s.

I'd take Lone Ranger over Zorro, since I loved the LR show as a kid.

Neal Adams always seemed like more of a DC guy to me...he did more work there, after all. And he did tons of covers for DC, in different genres, but relatively few at Marvel.

Mike W.

Anonymous said...

I prefer Medusa to Crystal. I think she has a more interesting back story and more of a personality (even if that personality is cold).

To me FF replacements is part of the tradition of the series, and as long as it is not happening too often I am all for. She-Hulk in place of the Thing during Byrne's run is what led to She-Hulk becoming one of my all-time favorite characters.

The current FF series (Future Foundation) has the team entirely replaced while the family is out in space.

I don't care for either Lone Ranger or Zorro much, but I'd definitely go wit Zorro.

I think I'd go DC over Marvel when it comes to Adams, but I am not really informed enough.

I am blanking on a head to head offer.

How about floppies vs. trades? :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Medusa was a more interesting character, a smart, reserved authority type, but her superpower always seemed pretty goofy to me. Do you need somebody with long hair that can grab people when you already got a stretchy guy?
On the other hand, Crystal seemed to be usually portrayed as a ditzy teenybopper, and it got annoying.

Edo Bosnar said...

Replacements for Sue: basically on the fence here, but kind of leaning toward Medusa.

Lone Ranger or Zorro: like Osvaldo, I'm not the biggest fan of either, but I'll pick Zorro, for the reasons MattComix mentioned, and because I'm an unashamed fan of the movie Zorro: The Gay Blade.

DC or Marvel Neal Adams: I'm with Rip, in that I think the DC material, just barely, edges out the Marvel work, mainly on the strength of the Deadman stories Rip mentioned, as well as the Batman stories (not just the R'as al Ghul saga, but also the Joker and Two Face stories and others) and the shorts he did for the various horror anthologies.

As for Rip's suggestion, I'll have to say Marvel's Doc Savage, because I haven't yet read the DC Shadow from the '70s, although I really want to.

And finally, Osvaldo's face off between floppies and trades: trades (or HCs) for me. They take up less space, they're easier to shelf or store, and in so many cases I just love having something like, say, the Project Pegasus saga or the complete Sword of the Atom or Goodwin & Simonson's Manhunter or MacGregor's Black Panther from Jungle Action between the covers of a single book.

My own suggestion for a face-off? One that's apparently topical since the new Thor movie is out: Sif or Jane Foster? (I've made my preference clear in the comments to the movie post a few days ago.)

Humanbelly said...

I think I've liked nearly all of the FF-Replacement folks better than either Medusa or Crystal, I'm afraid. I've never found either of them a particularly sympathetic character-- although I have to say that Crystal's shockingly fickle romantic escapades over the years has made her rather interesting to watch from a distance.

Definitely Lone Ranger over Zorro-- but I agree w/ Matt that the Green Hornet would be a much better match-up for LR, since both characters exist in the same continuity. Both radio adventures were first-rate fun, but I think I give the edge to GH in that venue on the strength of his entertaining supporting cast.

Marvel for Adams (mostly on the strength of X-MEN, AVENGERS, and CONAN #37. . . ).

Oh, floppies, dude. Ha! I can't even begin to imagine my oldster preferences going the other way-!

And, say, have we ever had a face-off between Man-Thing and Swamp Thing? Almost painfully obvious, yes?


Anonymous said...

My own view of floppies vs trades (and to be honest, I hate referring to them as "floppies") is still kind of up in the air. I do like the convenience of trades, but I like individual issues (esp of older stuff) as artifacts of their time and for their covers that are not always reproduced inside.

What kind of powers does Crystal have again? Weather control or something? I honestly can't remember one instance of her using powers that matters.

Event though Man-Thing and Swamp Thing are obviously so similar I have a hard time thinking of them as comparable these days. I like Man-Thing (a lot more these days than when I was a kid), but Alan Moore's Swamp-Thing run is up there with the best comics of all time - so I have to go Swamp Thing.

Edo Bosnar said...

HB, re: Swamp-Thing and Man-Thing. Yes. Here's the link:

Doug said...

Osvaldo, the first time someone used the term "floppies" on this blog, I seriously thought they were talking about the old computer disks! It's not a term I've ever warmed to in terms of using it myself. But to answer the question, I am much more in the tpb/hardcover camp. That being said, like others I miss the covers, letters pages, Bullpen Bulletins, house ads, etc.

I can count on one hand the number of Man-Thing/Swamp Thing stories I've ever read. It's another area of my comics appreciation that I need to get after.

Crystal is an elemental, and as such should have been the most powerful member of the FF. However, as we've seen with Sue, with Storm, with the Scarlet Witch, male writers often find ways to keep these incredibly powerful women in check.

Sif. Comics or film.

I can't speak to either Doc Savage or to the Shadow, in any incarnation. Sketchy on Green Hornet as well. Sigh...

And lastly, if any among our readers are praying people, there are thousands of folks along a line from central Illinois up through the city, and into northern Indiana, who could use a kind thought. This afternoon we had a line of storms go through our state that contained at least 10 tornadoes on the ground, some as close as 20 miles west of where I live. There are small towns in central Illinois that were completely wiped off the map. The town of Washington, which is near Peoria and only 10 miles from where I went to college, lost around 300 homes on the NW side of town, most ripped down to the foundations. Horrible pictures across social media and on the news. Crazy weather for November, to be sure.



MattComix said...

Gonna throw in on floppies vs. trades. Sincerely I love the traditional comicbook format as much as anyone (even that old newsprint smell) but I'm gonna have to say trades. Or digital first then trades.

In your average modern floppy to have 22 pages plus tons of obnoxious ads. With the current pacing and the current pricing you might as well be paying evening show prices to see ten minutes of a movie that you are then told to come back next month to see the next 10 minutes of and so on.

Between ever rising paper and printing costs plus Diamond stranglehold (I.E.relatively unchecked monopoly) on distribution I don't know why anyone would go the "floppy" route for publishing. The big two mainly just do it because it's what they've always done. I love how they'll think it's ok to recklessly monkey around with their time honored characters yet they won't touch their publishing practices some of which date back to the 30s!

Perhaps in the future monthly "issues" will be digital and then have trades as the print arm.

I also like trades because it means for older stuff I don't have to screw around with bags, boards, and longboxes. It can sit on a shelf and not be damaged by someone breathing on it wrong.

Garett said...

I like Adams at DC. I keep returning to the Batman stories, and also I like Giordano's inks more than Palmer's.

For a face about writer/artists? I've always gravitated to creators who can do everything themselves, and there were a good number during the bronze age. How about John Byrne vs. Jim Starlin... and Howard Chaykin vs. Mike Grell.

I like Byrne's art better than his stories, so I'll go with Starlin, especially for the fun and adventurous Dreadstar. Chaykin is always intelligent and has sharp dialogue, but his plotting isn't always as good, so I'll go with Grell for his enjoyable storytelling. In the last dozen years, Chaykin's been more active though, so for recent stuff I'd go Chaykin.

Fred W. Hill said...

Re Neal Adams, I think he set the artistic template for DC for the late Silver and entire Bronze ages much as Kirby set the template for Marvel for the entire Silver and most of the Bronze ages. His work at Marvel was rather paltry compared to his DC output, but those runs on the Avengers and X-Men were still very significant and although it didn't save the original X-Men from going into limbo, Claremont, Cockrum & Byrne were clearly inspired by Thomas & Adams in not only bringing the X-Men back to life but in making them the biggest hit of the late Bronze Age.
As to Crystal or Medusa, seems to me that Lee/Kirby never fully integrated Crystal into the FF as more than an occasionally highlighted supporting character to the same degree that Conway made Medusa a full-fledged replacement member during his run, never mind in the manner of She-Hulk's membership during Byrne's. I think the main reason is that while Crystal was a standby during and just after Sue's pregnancy, Sue was still a regular member of the cast. At the end of one issue, Reed stated he and Sue were both leaving for the sake of the as yet unborn baby, but in short order they were both back, and later they went looking for a new house, far from New York and all the danger they kept getting into there, but, of course, that didn't work out either! So, for a while it was sort of the Fantastic Five with both Sue & Crystal underused. On the other hand, Medusa stepped when Sue seperated from Reed and took an extended absense from the team, so although Medusa's powers didn't really add much, during her brief tenure she seemed much more of a team member than Crystal ever did.

Edo Bosnar said...

Garett, the Byrne v. Starlin face off almost makes my brain explode. Byrne is pretty much my favorite artist, and I think he's a rather good storyteller/writer as well, but I hold Starlin in incredibly high esteem for the Warlock saga alone, to say nothing of his all-too-brief run on Captain Marvel and so many other things.
Chaykin v. Grell is easy: Chaykin all the way.

And Doug, that's just horrible news. This past week or so has been really devastating in that regard worldwide: first that typhoon in the Philippines, now this. And I just saw the news that plane crashed on a runway in Russia - no survivors. What a crappy day...

Greg said...

Crystal for me, although I have some fondness for Medusa in the FF as well. Crystal though I just like better, cool powers and the Johnny/ Crystal relationship was kinda cool too. I also liked her in the Avengers circa 90's, although when I look back at those stories now I sometimes cringe.

My topic? Smart Hulk or dumb Hulk? I'll take dumb Hulk- I still remember Val and some other Defenders infuriating him to get him to follow them and he trashed half of NYC (well not half) back in Defenders 48-50- that always cracked me up.

Greg said...

Sorry to reply twice- should have read all the entries before doing so. Someone commented on Crystal's amorous past, I had not thought of that but yes she did have some interesting romantic entanglements didn't she? :) Let's see- Johnny, Quicksilver, Black Knight, and most lately Ronan the Accuser (huh?).

Sif. All the way.

Mattcomix had a good point about floppies (hate that term too)- for about three comics you can see a movie at $10 a pop. I'll take the movie, these days. :)

Doug, so sorry to hear about the devastation down there. We got the tail end of what you got come through here but nothing like that. Our thoughts and prayers are definetly with those people.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya about comics being overpriced. But that is not the case for most old issues. I get most of my back issue collections for CHEAP on eBay or from Midtown Comics warehouse (with in-store pick up you don't even have to pay shipping!). Then again, I am not concerned with their condition or resale potential. I get most of my comics in "fine" condition on purpose just to save a buck.

Also, I like comics more than movies (of any kind), so there's a face off for you. . . Movies vs. Comics (cross-genre). You must choose one. I choose comics with no hesitation.

I can't choose between Sif and Jane Foster. It really depends on which Thor era you are discussing.

Oh, and I'll take trades over digital any time. I need to turn pages.

Anonymous said...

Oh and "dumb" Hulk - if by "dumb" you mean the child-like version

Anonymous said...

Doug, sorry to hear about all the destruction in your area. Hope you and your family are OK.

- Mike from Trinidad & Tobago.

MattComix said...

Dumb Hulk all the way.

I like when the Banner/Hulk dynamic is less Jekyl/Hyde than it is that he's his own Frankenstein monster.

He can have his intellect or he can have the power but he can't have both at once and the tether between the two entities is his conscience which acts as somewhat of a compass for the childlike Hulk.

I don't like smart Hulk or having Banner in the drivers seat but I don't necessarily mind the thing the recent movies put forth where Banner has the potential to "aim" the Hulk. Anything more than that just needlessly cuts the nose off the basic premise to spite its face.

Anonymous said...

A vote for the dumb, childlike Hulk.
To me, that's what makes the character interesting. It's the hook. He's essentially a small child who is confused and angered by a world he doesn't understand, compounded by the fact that the world doesn't accept him.
Without that he's just another 100-class strength goon.

Anonymous said...

Welp, it's kind of an open forum, so I'll say I prefer Neal Adam's D.C. work over the Marvel stuff, not that that wasn't great too.
When I was a kid I was blown away by his take on Batman, actually finding him scary for the first time. And I've a big fan of Ollie Queen since the early 70's, and it was Adam's take on the character (as well as a couple of writers named O'Neil and Maggin) that made Green Arrow cool.
Speaking of which, I was a big fan of the Justice League Unlimited series, in which ol' Ollie played a prominent part. I'm not really into animation, generally, but I thought that series was pretty amazing. Does anybody have any thoughts on that?

MattComix said...

I really enjoy the DCAU stuff but I have a bit of a love/hate thing when it comes to the JL/JLU series.

Mainly because I think Superman was not handled very well in the absence of Paul Dini. ..and also if people like to say that Superman was the "do anything guy" on Super friends that role was filled to over-flowing by Batman in JLU.

But I agree that Green Arrow was cool.

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm beginning to feel like the thread police or something here, but I have to note that BAB already hosted a smart Hulk/dumb Hulk discussion about a year and a half ago.
Like I said in those comments, the "dumb" (I prefer the term child-like) Hulk is "my" Hulk.

Osvaldo's movies/comics face-off is quite a challenge. If it's comics-related movies vs. comics, then comics all the way, no question. However, if it's movies in general, that's a little tougher. I really, really enjoy both forms. For nostalgia's sake I'm tempted to say comics, just based on how much pleasure I remember they gave me as youngster, but then I recall how many films there are that I think are masterpieces, which I enjoy watching again and again. Final verdict: it's a draw.
As for digital vs. trades (or hard copy in general), I always prefer having the book, comic, magazine or whatever in my hands. Even so, I'll readily acknowledge the many advantages of digital, especially in terms of easy storage that occupies virtually no physical space.

Edo Bosnar said...

By the way, this story is an another example of why I picked DC Adams over Marvel Adams.

Anonymous said...

I like both Crystal and Medusa very much and I find it almost impossible to choose between the two. Each of them have made excellent replacements for Sue in the past and still would be superb replacements today, if Marvel ever decides to break up the Reed Richards-Sue Storm marriage and send Sue to Atlantis. As others have said, Crystal has the better power, while Medusa has a more interesting history. Crystal also has the advantage of being a romantic interest for Johnny Storm. I will admit that on balance, Crystal makes more sense and adds more to the team. However, I will still cast my vote for Medusa, as I fell for her when she was first introduced as the female member of the Frightful Four and a rival to Sue Storm in Fantastic Four #36.

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