Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I Really Wish I Had ----- More in the Bronze Age

Doug: If you're in your mid- to late 40s, you may associate today's title with that often bawdy game show hosted by Gene Rayburn -- Match Game! Laughed myself silly, even as a kid. Once we got the Game Show Network several years ago, my wife and I laughed again at repeats of this program. But today we might keep it a bit tamer than some Charles Nelson Reilly answer, and focus more on the following --

An example: "I really wish I had appreciated Gil Kane's work more in the Bronze Age."
Another: "I really wish I had read Swamp Thing more in the Bronze Age."

Get the idea? I guess in some way today is about regrets. But don't feel badly about that... if nothing else, someone will probably be along to either confirm your statement or encourage you to make it right after all these years. As Karen has said, we are living in the Golden Age of comic book reprints.

I wish I'd read more Steve Gerber-penned books in the Bronze Age!


Edo Bosnar said...

If you'd posed this question about 10 years ago, I would have probably also echoed your sentiment about Gerber, as back then I'd only read his work on Defenders, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Phantom Zone mini and a few other things. Now, thanks to that Golden Age of Reprints that Karen talks about, I've actually gone back and read (and also re-read) tons of Gerber stuff.

So otherwise, I'll say I really wish I had read Rom regularly and all the way through - even though I liked Mantlo's writing well enough back then, and loved Sal's art, I only read Rom for about the first two years of its run, and even then I didn't have every single issue. And since it probably won't be reprinted any time soon, it's something I regret missing out on.

Another one is that I really wish I had read more of all those new indie titles coming out in the '80s, especially Starlin's Dreadstar and Love & Rockets. I have a few of the L&R collections now, but I wish I had discovered it back then when it was new.

Anonymous said...

We had that show on British TV too - ours was called Blankety Blank but it was the same format with two rows of three celebrities (UK ones obviously). I just wish I'd been able to find more imported U.S. Marvel comics in the period 1975-79. I could only get them sporadically and it was always an exciting moment when I found some. From about 1980 onwards it became much easier - if I visit a specialist comic shop these days I'm overwhelmed by the sheer amount, what a difference from the 1970's !!

Abe Lucas said...

I wish I'd picked up Master of Kung Fu years before I did. In 1985 I found issue #108 in a $0.25 bin and was blown away by the story and art. Before that, I figured MoKF was simply a martial arts mag. I now have all but a few of the earliest issues of the book and it is among my favorite comics ever.

Edo: Count me among the would-be ROM readers! I only had issue #42 and liked the world Mantlo created. The Wraiths were truly frightening in their X-Men appearance (#187) but I didn't have the financially back then to add ROM to my limited kid budget. I recently got the entire run (annuals included) for $100.00 on Ebay last year. I appreciate ROM a *lot* more now than I would have then; same with MoKF, actually, so maybe it's best that I missed out then!

As for things I wish I had done *less* of in the Bronze Age, I could have done without following Alpha Flight and latter-period Defenders; what a waste of time and money.

dbutler16 said...

I have to echo the Master of Kung Fu thought. I was strictly into superhero comics back in the day, so I totaly overlooked this gem. Of course, it's not available in reprint due to licensing issues, so it's tough to make up for lost time with this one, though I've picked up a bunch of back issues, including a few in the dollar bin.

Humanbelly said...

Hmm-- Kirby's Fourth World stuff is really considered Late Silver Age, isn't it?

Let's see-- "I really wish I had stuck with the New X-Men more in the Bronze Age". For some unfathomable reason (well, economics), I dropped them after issue #122, and never actually started buying the book again until around #172. And of COURSE there are some key issues in that run that I've yet to replace (Proteus Saga's a particular regretful loss).

Big one, though: "I really wish I had paid attention to the entirety of the DC Universe more in the Bronze Age." I was about as Marvel Zuvembie'd as a fanboy can get, and it turns out there was plenty of solid goings-on over at the House of Steel.

In a way, though, there's very little to carry in the way of regret for us BABs, y'know? The state of the current comics industry being what it is, in regard to the nature and quality of the product, I think the main joy to be found in our hobby is almost certainly being able to go back and rediscover and/or begin collecting (via reprints or back-issues)all the gems that weren't on our radar the first time around. 'Zat ring true for anyone else?

"I really wish I had practiced my trombone more in the Bronze Age". . . . man, I would be AWESOME by now! (Hmm. . . maybe I'd better go pull the thing out at some point this summer. . . )

HB (also wishing he'd done a few more sit-ups & push-ups during the bronze age. . .)

david_b said...

Hmmm, whaaat a broad stretch of time to contemplate what I wished I would have done more from what, 1970-1985..?? Did a LOT of growing up during that time.

Stepping in the way-back machine, let's make a few stops here...:

1970-76, played more backyard baseball, and JUST SAT AROUND absorbing what it was like not to have much responsibilities. Also attend more grass-root Star Trek conventions, where you got autographs for FREE back then.

1977-80, robbed a bank and bought up cases and cases of first issue Kenner Star Wars figures and dug a hole out back to bury 'em..

1980-85, not going NSFW here, but frankly 'enjoyed more college coeds'. They were all young, limber, dreamy and I certainly had good grades and nights to spare. Luckily I wasn't collecting much by way of comics, thus saving $$$$ of what meager pocket change I did manage for more Silver Age, like once getting my pick of a dozen NM Cardy Teen Titans for $5/each from this LCS down the street.

Edo Bosnar said...

David reminded me of another one: I wish I had gone to at least one: a) comics convention, and/or b) Star Trek convention and/or c) general SF convention in the US. If I ever get a chance, I still like to go to one of these cons, but I really regret never having attended one of those back in the '80s, when I was in HS or college, before so many of them became these super-crowded mega-events.

david_b said...

Edo, totally agreed. I love any convention if it's grassroots-styled. I attended the 1978 Trek con in Milwaukee here, got to meet/shake hands with George Takei and Walter Koenig, lots of opportunities to talk with them, free autographs, it was awesome.

As mush as I love what you can see/buy nowadays since the franchises all became 'corporate mega-events' (and there's plenty of merchandise we never would have dreamed of as kids..), I still yearn for the more-informal 'old days'..

I attended the 1998 Galactica 20th Yarhen con in LA and it was super to grab multiple autographs and selfies with all the stars who clearly just wanted to mingle with all the attendees up and down the hallways, luckily John Colicos was there, shortly before he passed on. No long autograph lines, one-signature only, stuff. It was awesome.

A few years later I went to a Space:1999 con down in Tampa, where I spent half my money on a bar tab for the stars who came. I was 'quite popular' with all the VIPs, to say the least.

Hey, you get them drinking and you'll be surprised with what tidbits they reveal.

Karen said...

Sign me up for the Master of Kung Fu group. I don't know why I never bought that title. I loved Bruce Lee and martial arts but for some reason it never grabbed me.

I also wish I'd got more Marvel mags -although considering how many boxes of comics I have now, maybe that wouldn't have been such a good idea!

Anonymous said...

Great topic! I really wish I had...stayed more like the "reader" I was in the mid-70s and not tried to be so much the "collector" that I morphed into in the late 70s. I think it the attempt to collect every new title while also trying to buy back issues overwhelmed me to the point where I wasn't taking the time to stop and appreciate what appeared on the spinner rack right in front of me each week. So that obsession, along with the changing priorities of teen life, led me to a perhaps pre-mature comic book burnout.

But on the positive side, yes HB, going back and being able to re-discover and collect those gems does indeed ring true.

Case in point: just yesterday I was re-reading Master of Kung Fu #42-43 (small world this BAB community), a great two parter featuring a villain called Shockwave, a martial arts guy who wore a suit that electrocuted people. These issues were the prelude to the Moench/Gulacy magnum opus that ran until #50 so I am heading for those issues next and obviously echoing the comments of C.K. and dbutler - MOKF was great and still holds up for me.

And loved the Match Game. As a kid I like to play the game. As an adult I'm sure I'd have a greater appreciation for some of those Charles Nelson Reilly innuendos.


Dr. Oyola said...

Edo, I wish I could duplicate my ROM collection and send it to you. . . I have been considering getting a second set - since I got the first set so cheap - cover price or less except for the X-Men appearance issue) - though at least half of those I got right off the rack.

I am going to join the Master of Kung-Fu bandwagon (in fact, one of my favorite two-part ROM stories features Shang-chi and his crew), but also wish I had 1) started collecting X-Men earlier and 2) gotten in Power Man & Iron Fist.

Humanbelly said...

Really, when I saw the photo I first assumed that this post was going to be literally about the Match Game alone-! I think it may have been on in the 3 or 3:30 slot in our area, and my buddy & I would watch it before cartoons came on at 4.

Of the six panelists in that shot, five are immediately identifiable. Alan Ludden (LOOOONGtime Password host & husband of Betty White); Bret Somers (mainstay of the show; wife of Jack Klugman); Charles Nelson Reilly (also a mainstay; replaced later by Gary Burghoff); Dolly somebody?-- her I don't know; poor old Richard Dawson who eventually found a permanent gameshow gig of his own on Family Feud; and the STILL-rambunctious Betty White, god bless 'er!

Boy, "celebrity"-panel game shows could be a whole topic of their own, couldn't they? Since the majority of the time what the celebrities end up being remembered for is. . . being a celebrity panelist. (Who remembers Kitty Carlisle for her early movie/stage career more than for her forever-stint on To Tell the Truth, hmm?) Whatcha think Doug & Karen? Ya gotcher What's My Line, yer Password, yer Hollywood Squares and I'm sure at least a couple of others, eh?

HB (The real one. . . please-standing-up. . . )

Edo Bosnar said...

Aw, thanks, Osvaldo. And yeah, for a while there PM & IF was a pretty good series.
I guess I should also jump on the Shang Chi bandwagon - I followed it for a while when Mike Zeck was the main artist. However, I only had a few issues of the earlier stuff, and frankly, as with Rom, I wish I had (or had read at least) the whole thing.

david_b said...

Nice topic, HB..!!

Watching those Match Game episodes now, ALL the celebs look drunker than snot. I always thought of 'em as some big conglomerate that lurched and slurred their way from one daytime gameshow to another, propped up in their chairs, sort christened as the 'Not-Ready-For-Hollywood-Squares' players.

I remember Robert Reed once in his leather coat/black turtleneck ensemble, dark sunglasses and big man-perm. Ewww.

Ahhh, and just think, 'Love Boat' would soon set sail. It sure rescued Charo's magnificent career.

Doug said...

I do not at all mind if this thread becomes a two-headed monster between what we wished we'd done in the Bronze Age and a specific conversation in the direction of HB's request.

Have at it!


Anonymous said...

Let's see...Charlie Weaver, Paul Lynde, Nipsey Russell... HB, I don't know who Dolly is either.


Anonymous said...

Looking back, three things come quickly to mind:

A) Drawn more, a lot more. And kept what I drew. For not reading his title, I drew Captain America the most.

Secondly) Left my room more and talked about comics. I'm sure there were more people in my town that read comics. When I look back at the number of stores that stocked comics, someone had to have been buying them.

Lastly) and this is speaking as a fellow Marvelite, read more Justice Society and Legion of Super Heroes.

The Prowler ("young dreamy and limber" Amen david, amen).

J.A. Morris said...

Dolly=Dolly Martin:

J.A. Morris said...

I was a big Rom & MOKF reader, but I really wish I'd read 'Power Man and Iron Fist' more often during the Bronze Age.

No, they weren't classics, but they generally had fun, down to earth storylines. Their villains were always entertaining, if not world-conquering threats.

I love cosmic epics like the Kree-Skrull war, but I generally prefer stories that take place in New York City and use the city as a character in the story. Cage & Fist's tales usually fit that bill.
But I only picked up the series sporadically, usually when I was visiting grandparents & finished reading what I brought with me.

Edo Bosnar said...

Hmmm, I thought I had another comment in there after Osvaldo's, but it looks like it got chewed up by the internet ether. Oh, well.
Anyway, I wanted to thank Osvaldo for the sentiment - and I've noticed that you can sometimes score a good deal on the whole run of Rom on eBay, but once you factor in postage to Europe it becomes really expensive again.

Also, I agree about Shang Chi: I followed it for a few years when Zeck was the main artist, but I also wish I had read the entire series.

And HB, when you mentioned a celebrity known pretty only for being a celebrity panelist, the first person I thought of immediately was Soupy Sales - I remember he appeared in "What's My Line?" and that's it. I only found out later that he had a pretty long broadcast career before that gig.

Anonymous said...

There's a Canadian version of Match Game currently running on the Comedy Network up here; mostly Canadian panelists, with a token American every week:

As for the original question...I wish I'd stopped my parents from throwing out most of my Bronze Age comics!

Mike W.

Dr. Oyola said...

If I ever travel to Croatia, I am bringing ROMs. :)

William said...

I'll go with wishing I had read "Master of Kung-Fu" when it was originally published as well. I could probably track down most of the back issues on eBay and such, but I'm still holding out hope that they will eventually be allowed to reprint them in TBP or Omnibus format. I would even buy them in the "Essential Marvel" format, because they don't really need to be in color.

Doug said...

Edo --

My apologies, on behalf of the Blogger gremlins, for you phantom comment. I just went to delete a spam comment (may those people rot in... maybe that's too harsh. On the other hand...) and found your missing comment in the spam folder. I have no idea why! So it's been restored to it's rightful place in the conversation.


Fred W. Hill said...

I didn't get into MOKF until it was up to issue 61 or so; eventually I got all the back issues. Really, one of the best Bronze Age series. I also wish I'd not gotten so many of the below average Marvel Comics and instead gotten some of the better DC comics of the period. As it was, I was a total Marvel zombie and didn't start getting any DC comics until about 1983. By the time I discovered Alan Moore on Swamp Thing, I was totally done with basing my picks on the name of the publisher.

Doug said...

Karen, when you said you wish you'd have gotten more "Marvel mags", did you mean the black & white magazines?

I wish I had bought some of those. Every time I went to the grocery store with my mom I'd steal away to the magazine aisle and look through all of the B&W's and the Hollywood monster magazines. I think ultimately I stayed away from those books because a) they were pricey and b) no way was my mom going to buy some of those -- the covers! Egad! But I sure wish I'd have read the Planet of the Apes mag at the least.


Redartz said...

Have never read Master of Kung Fun, but based on today's posts I must do so!

As for today's question, I really wish I'd read more non-superhero comics in the Bronze Age. Missed out on a lot of fine material; such as MoKF, Kubert's war comics, and the DC horror/mystery titles.

Redartz (holding his answer card upside down)

Redartz said...

Kung Fun? Auto correct; aaaargggh!

Karen said...

Yeah, "marvel mags" = those big black and white magazines Marvel put out in the 70s, and I guess beyond. I had a couple of Planet of the Apes, and one Savage Tales, I think a couple of monster mags, but that was about it. As you say, they were expensive, but also, as a kid, they just felt too adult for me, and the monster ones were just too scary!

Eric C said...

I wish that I had read more Legion of Super-Heroes and Superman Family. At the time, most of my reading was from Marvel, so I only had a couple issues of LoSH and Superman Family. Plus I wish that I had more Dollar Comics from around the time of the DC Implosion. Thanks to a Dollar Comics version of Detective Comics I became aware of Dead man and the Marvel Family.

Doug said...

Sheesh! Eric C., I just rescued your comment from our spam folder, too! Not sure what is going on with Blogger today. I'll try to stay vigilant tomorrow and see if any of this monkey business (everything's better with gorillas) happens then.

Great suggestion on the Dollar Comics!


Graham said...

I really wish I had gotten into Marvel a lot quicker than I did. Like most everyone here, I regret not staying up with MOKF, especially when Moench and Gulacy really hit their stride, but I just wasn't able to keep up with it. I was able to come back for most of the Zeck/Day issues though, thank goodness.

It just seems like I was usually a day late and a dollar short on all things Marvel.

Vintage Bob said...

Pertaining to MOKF,I had a similar wish, with a different title. I always collected MOKF, as I was really into Bruce Lee. However, the shocking thing is that I never got into Tomb of Dracula, considering I am a major, major horror fan. Weird!

Abe Lucas said...

The mentioning of Tomb of Dracula sets off a thought association for me. MoKF I've already stated is the book I should have read from the start. Yes, ToD, MoKF, and I would also add Marvel's Planet of the Apes series. I even passed on the series before the putrid 2001 Tim Burton movie made those Apes comics impossible to find , because they were gone forever more in every comic shop I ever visited.

Those three series have another thing in common: they all began a bit before my time and even then, I would have been too young to appreciate them in the mid-to-late-seventies (I'll be 43 in August). Still, I've managed to grab up nearly every MoKF and a dozen or so amount of ToD--I never got into the book like I thought I would had I been younger--but not a single copy of Apes.

Ace Hamilton said...

Glad I am not the only one who missed out on MOKF originally. If only ONE person had told me to check it out...

Why didn't they tell me?

I have all the issues now except the Return special from 1990 or 91.

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