Saturday, July 5, 2014

All Kinds of Wrong Going on Here...




Doug: Welcome to the 1990s, kids! As some of you know, I've been taking inventory of my comics collection, and secretly wishing someone had committed me to "completist rehab" during the 1990s-2000s. What in God's name was I thinking?!? I have no excuses to offer... Anyway, I came across this gem and had to laugh that the Overstreet Guide suggests that it could be worth even its cover price. Pfah! I'd not give you 2 for a $1 on this one! So I thought we'd have some fun with it, and maybe ourselves today. Osvaldo and I already had a laugh on Twitter this past Tuesday, discussing bomber jackets, shredded hoodies, and belt pouches. Floor's open -- you take this wherever you wish to take it (and away from me for a shekel or two would be nice!).

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

I look through my listings and I had such a run of Fantastic Four. Starting with 232 up to 416, I may have missed a few here and there but no more than 20 issues tops. You were a Skrull, no, wait I'm a Skrull, you're the New Fantastic Four, wait, there's six people in the Fantastic Four. And yeah, the FF had jackets and Ben was missing some chunks but there was a guy hoping for the magic to come back.

Anyhoo, there's nothing like jackets and big guns to make anything hip. Or a ponytail and a gotee.

The Prowler (you know what sucks.....STRAWS).

C.K. Dexter Haven said...

Other than Moench-Jones-Beatty's BATMAN and Morrison's JLA, I was absent from comics in the 1990s, and as bad as that cover is--and its representation of our heroes--John Byrne giving Susan Richards that hideous mullet hairstyle actually tops this in terms of bad taste.

Humanbelly said...

Wow, there's a landmark issue. . .
(as in "I'd turn back if I wuz you-!").

It took me a minute to even recognize the cover, since that holo-foil thingy reads a little different in-hand. It's been many years since I've read this for the second time (maybe 10?), and I honestly can't tell you exactly what the immediate plot for this issue was-- although some of the subplots we see indicated may have had some merit.

I'm assuming this was after the whole interminable "Reed-is-dead-for-real-this-time-we-mean-it-no-takebacksies" plotline fiasco, 'cause Reed's on the cover, but we still have Sue's horrifying SuperHooker outfit. Completely, COMPLETELY counter to pretty much every established aspect of her character, even with the later "growth" that Byrne put her through. She's someone's Mom, for god's sake.

I see we have Lyja on-hand, so maybe this was when the whole complex relationship w/ Johnny was going on? I was sort of okay w/ Johnny & Alycia getting together. . . then HATED the retcon that Alycia had actually been this Skrull imposter for quite a long time. . . but then actually kind of liked the possibility of a reluctant, budding relationship between she & Johnny. And it was always on the edge of being handled pretty well. . . but just kept getting sidetracked by stupid gimmicks until the idea withered and died (and the characters lost any remaining depth forever). Honestly, the M2 Universe (remember that?) gave us a much more satisfying take on that storyline.

Ben's helmet mask-- hunh. Again, a stupid contrivance, and seemingly out of character. He & Wolverine had some scrap, and Logan did a wicked slash-up of Ben's face-- which was deemed too horrible to look at. That's a rather archaic conceit in this day and age, and even moreso for a character whose primary issue has always been how disfigured he is. Also, like it was for so long with Jonah Hex, the "hidden" disfigurement only holds its power for as us long as it's left to our imagination. As soon as we're shown Ben's wounds (which we were), then the mask is pointless, and just makes Ben seem immature and ridiculously vain. And then it eventually healed anyway-- making the exercise even more pointless.

Costumes? Well, Colin, I really did always like the Byrne re-design. It certainly kept the idea of the original costumes, but with a sleeker, updated color scheme-- a nice, sharp, highly-contrasting look. Aaaaaaand I always put my neck right out there and say unashamedly that I LIKED when the AVENGERS donned those (conventional, non-shoulderpadded, un-augmented) bomber jackets-- but that was because it gave the disparate-looking members of that team a unified look. On the FF, it's just STUPID! Why on earth do they need them?? Especially, OMG, the Torch??? Poor Paul Ryan-- I've always had a genuine respect for him, and appreciate the the sense of reality he brings to his pencils. I'm sure he was not at all happy to have to Liefeld/Larson-ize the characters' looks during his time on Marvel's landmark title. Ohhh, it's just the worst sort of pandering to fast-dollars available from the "Kewl" crowd at the time.

I. . . have no memory whatsoever of who the red-haired lady is.

And, on ebay? Easily found for $1. Shipping is of course, like, $3 more. . . which explains why NOBODY is bidding on this landmarkanniversaryrarecollector'sitemvintageclassichardtofind issue.

So. . . Doom? They were fighting Doom, right?

HB

Murray said...

I wasn't absent from comics in the 90's, but it probably marks the time I was the most embarrassed ever to admit I read the things. Finding anything worth the having was akin to panning for gold. A lot of crud to sort thru to find the valuable sparkles.

That cover just makes me throw up a little in my mouth. For so many reasons. And I don't want to ruin my blood pressure by enumerating all of them.

I think the red-haired woman is Ms. Marvel XIII aka "She-Thing".

I always thought Ben wore that spittoon on his head because the slash wounds left a nasty vulnerable spot on his orange armoured body. To find out it was to hide his hideous scars just puts another tic mark in the "Idiotically Stupid Column" for the time period.

Talk about needing some brain bleach...

Anonymous said...

The horror...the horror.

Martinex1 said...

As HB mentioned the Torch wearing a jacket (because he's cold???) is odd. But Reed wearing a fishing vest or whatever that is seems even more over the top. Guess he has to have somewhere to store all of his devices or he has taken up a new hobby with the Submariner. Yes - as the masthead actually states this is not your parent's comic book. At least there was truth in advertising in the 90s.

Karen said...

It just makes me want to barf...the worst of it is, I think I also have this in my collection...

Doug said...

Can any of you fashionistas explain the purpose of the blue straps around Sue's thighs? Of which, there is more material there than... ahem... where she might need it.

Doug

Humanbelly said...

Doug, this may be just assuming that my lowest of expectations are the case, but I think those blue thigh bands have no other purpose than to visually "look" like garter-belts w/out actually "being" garter-belts. They exist to look racy for the sake of looking racy. I suspect that her obscured (here) heels are probably at least 4" to 6" stilettos. I mean, yes, comics have always, always, always been overtly guilty of that kind of blatant, illogical sexualizing. . . but this is simply beyond the pale, given the character and her long, established history. I mean, referring back to the earlier TV Series post-- would you put Elizabeth Montgomery in an outfit like this-??? Seriously?

Murray, you're thinking that's Sharon Ventura, then? You may be right. This would have been long after her She-Thing stint. . . but all I remember after that is she eventually mutated into a truly horrible brute-type beast, and was then kind of "taken away" to be looked after. (This is a character that Ben was going to marry at one point.)

HB

Pat Henry said...

> chuckle < ...so much wrong, so much wrong. I think the big "fantastic" guns are what really throws it over the top and makes it truly 90s. But where are all the myriad and oddly placed tiny little useless ammo pockets? Without those, it is just short of a masterpiece.

Edo Bosnar said...

Yeah, I think Sue's 4-shaped boob window and this cover specifically came up a few months ago as well. Yeesh.
I have nothing much to add to the above comments, really. And sorry, C.K., but as bad as that mullet was (and it was pretty bad), it really doesn't come close to that boob-windowed, bomber-jacketed monstrosity, and the god-awful gun - seriously, she projects force fields, what the hell does she need a gun for?!

Pat Henry said...

"what the hell does she need a gun for?!"

Same reason as blue-eyed Benjy, I guess. Poor Johnny, going into combat with only the powers that had served him since 1961!

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what the hell the Human Torch needs with a jacket with what I assume are pockets.
What, is he gonna carry his wallet in there? A list of things he's gotta pick up from the store?
Parking validation?
Are these things all made out of fireproof material?
Is he expecting it to get chilly later and just thinking ahead?

Anonymous said...

Big thanks to Mother Nature!!! I was posting a comment that was one razor's edge away from not only making sense, but being both erudite, concise and topical. Then the power went out and BOOM!!! Gone into the ether.

The only part I remember is it was something about .... Dang, I can't remember what it was about.

But I do have a question from Karen's post about our collections. How do you, the blog people here, keep track of your collection? I did the old fashioned thing, went through my boxes, wrote everything down in a notebook, lost the notebook, started another notebook, found the first notebook and then scanned those into my computer and typed everything into a word document. I may (or may not) go back and put my collection in some sort of order.

I did find that I had purchased about six or seven Essentials, lost 'em, purchased some more, Half Priced Books and Amazon, and ended up rebuying about four of them!!! I LOVE LIFE!!!!

"4-shaped boob window", makes me laugh every time I read it.

I do have a Johnny Storm pocket question? Don't they have a credit card sized communicator? Much like the Avengers ID card? Where do any of them, including Johnny, keep it? I mean, you can't hide much in those costumes?

And if you have a "4-shaped boob window" you ain't hiding nothing!!!


The Prowler (is hiding the soul of a romantic in the body of a cynic).

J.A. Morris said...

I don't recall reading this one, I quit FF sometime before this. Is it possible this is meant to be a joke about 1990s comic cliches?

Doug said...

Prowler --

I am currently (like as soon as I'm done typing this) putting all of my collection into an Excel spreadsheet with columns for issue #, condition, and 2013 price. In the past I used a 3-ring binder, but found that adding was easy, subtracting made it look unruly. Then I started to go to 3x5 index cards and found that I'd need a lot of index cards. Then I went to nothing at all -- consequently I am coming across comics I didn't realize I still had.

Case in point -- I loaned a friend my copies of the 3-issue series JLA: The Nail. He gave them back some time ago and I just set them atop the longboxes, unfiled. Earlier today I got about bagging them and adding them to the inventory. However, when I went to put them away, well lo and behold -- The Nail was in the longbox! So I'll be taking those three books back to him, because they aren't mine!

Doug

Gary said...

The worst-Sue dressed like a whore and a dude that catches on fire wearing a jacket. With the sleeves pushed. Because he's oh so cool.

Anonymous said...

Hmm apparently someone at Marvel in the 1990s decided it would be a good idea to sex up old Sue Storm a bit, change her uniform to what I call a FF stripper outfit and yes, inexplicably have her carry around a very large gun. Sheesh. Good thing I dropped out of buying comics before this period.

To me the 1990s were a blur in terms of my interest in comics. While this period ushered in the rise of new talents like Rob Liefeld, I consider this era a low point in comics history (Tin Age?).


- Mike 'hope 4-shaped boob window doesn't become a trending topic' from Trinidad & Tobago.

B Smith said...

Glad to see Sue got her hair back after John Byrne cut it off, but really....

Have a look over at the latest entry in the Peerless Power Of Comics blog - now *that* is the Sue Richards I remember; she may have been the Invisible Girl then, but was more woman than the invisible Woman ever was.

Humanbelly said...

Did anyone want to touch on the foolishness of the preponderance of "collectible" special-effect, holographic and/or foil covers and/or embossed covers during the 90's and aughts, as well? This particular one is a good example of how the effect honestly made the cover image itself harder to view. It fills every non-drawn space with an enormous amount of non-specific, non-defined clutter, as it had color, texture, depth, holographic "movement". . . and yet not a bit of actual FORM! It's the equivalent of visual static, drowning out the subject of the picture itself. The monochromatic embossed covers were maybe the worst, though, since they were clearly an exercise in how much image they thought they could convey w/out the use of color OR drawn line. Absolutely ridiculous. At the time, I found myself wondering if there was NO ONE with any cajones (or at least sense) in the room during the proposal(s) for these absurd gimmicks that could speak up and simply say, "Y'know, it's probably a pretty good idea for our customers to be able to SEE and RECOGNIZE our product simply by looking at the cover, y'know?"

I mean, the Beatles White Album really is only gonna work once-- and that gimmick was LAMBASTED at the time in the broader press, to boot.

Cataloging my collection? Yeesh, I tend to do it by hand, just jotting it all down on many, many notebook pages. And I get around to it, like, once every 6 or 7 years, at best---- lordy, and it's well-past time at this point. I do have a heck of a lot of comics in about, maybe, 30(?) longboxes-- and solidly 2/3 of those aren't bagged-- so the boxes are holding a LOT of books each. At that point, filling in major gaps creates the logistical problem of where-the-heck do you put the newly-acquired back issues?? It's a lower-back-intensive domino effect of book-shifting, but. . . geeze, ya REALLY want to keep things in order, y'know?

HB

Gary said...

About cataloging comics: I have over 10,000 comics. I keep them cataloged in 3 ring binders alphabetically. As I read each comic I jot down notes on it (artist, major villain, storyline, etc.) and then put it in the notebooks later. That way I know exactly what I have and if I want to know in what issues was the Evolutionary War I can look it up and find out. I also list condition and current price of each comic. I know it's anal but I enjoy cataloging them.

Dr. Oyola said...

I'm in the middle of writing an over-long blog post about my personal collecting practice (which I hope to post on Tuesday), and in it I write about how collectors set their own criteria for what is "valuable" to their collection and that that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with monetary value.

I give as an example, someone who might want to create a collection around the low-points and excesses of the comics industry - stuff that is so bad and so unbelievable, it becomes necessary to know it exists. . . I did not know this issue exists when I gave that example, but it would DEFINITELY be a jewel in such a collection.

I don't collect "bad" comics on purpose, but even I almost feel that I must own this comic.

Anonymous said...

It's become almost "a car wreck" of comics. You can't imagine owning it but you can't stop thinking about owning it. Almost like Monk and a lamp. You know it's gonna burn but you have to touch it anyway.

The Prowler (have it in my collection).

j said...

Wasn't Sue Richards being possessed by Malice at the time and it was causing her to dress and act differently? Of course it's out of character...that was the intent.

Doug said...

J --

Wasn't the Malice storyline earlier, under Byrne? I think Sue dressed like this, or variations of this outfit, during this period whey Paul Ryan was the penciler.

Any help?

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

Hey Doug, will you share a link to your auctions when you figure out what is going on eBay? Either here on via Twitter? I am curious.

Thanks!

Doug said...

Osvaldo --

I can do better than that. I can email the spreadsheet to anyone who wants to see it. But be warned: I am most likely going to attempt to sell to a dealer (yes, I know I can only expect to receive a max. value of 50% of guide) for the simple reason that I do not want to get stuck with the sorts of books we've been discussing this weekend; I want to sell the whole thing as a lot. I know I could get more money via eBay, but I don't want to incur that time and hassle for shipping 100s of individual sales, etc.

I have a 10-day business trip approaching mid-week. It's unlikely that I'll have my inventory done before I leave but I'll be sure to let anyone who is interested know, if they'd like to see the list.

Thanks,

Doug

j said...

Doug - I think that Malice possessed her again post Byrne. From the wiki:

"During the Infinity War, Susan was forced to face off against Malice, who had reemerged in Sue's subconscious. After defeating Malice, Susan absorbed Malice into her own consciousness. Subsequently, Susan's personality was influenced by Malice, causing her to become more aggressive in battle, even creating invisible razor-like force fields she used to slice enemies. She also took to wearing a more revealing costume, which included a cut-out "4" in the chest, showing her cleavage. Her son Franklin, who had traveled forward and back in time, had become the adult hero Psi-Lord, and he was able to free his mother and absorb the influence of Malice into himself. He eventually defeated Malice by projecting her into the mind of the Dark Raider, an insane alternate universe counterpart of Reed Richards who later died in the Negative Zone."

Doug said...

Sheesh, J -- shows how memorable this story was to me...

Thanks for the info!

Doug

Humanbelly said...

Man, I have all of this run AND Infinity War. . . and not a single scrap of memory of Malice being part of this equation at the time. And even accepting that it was, I still staunchly maintain that it served as nothing more than an illegitimate gimmick to enable them to write Sue as more "Edgy" and dark, and to give them an excuse to drastically sexualize her in order to boost sales. It's. . . not good writing at all. It's arbitrary change for a perceived short-term gain. (Good research there, though, j--!)

HB

Redartz said...

This book resides in a generally bypassed section of one of my long boxes. Took it out last year to re-read it, and was reminded why it doesn't get pulled often. Byrne's Malice storyline was, to me, memorable and enjoyable. It led, soon thereafter, to Sue donning the name "Invisible Woman"; a reflection of the maturity she usually displayed. There were many issues in the Paul Ryan run I liked, but this issue: not so much.

Then there is the holographic cover effect; as noted so eloquently by HB above, these proved detrimental to clean cover design. First lesson we learned on Design school was to make your focus easily recognizable. So many 90's era covers (and, often, today) are a messy plethora of colors, writhing figures and illogical viewpoints. The result is an image you must struggle to decipher, trying to seperate individual characters from their surroundings. Such covers probably won't reach the level of classic recognizability as, say, Romita Sr.'s cover for Amazing Spider-Man 68 (simple composition, dramatic pose for the main character, clean white background).

And regarding collecting habits: all my books are on computer, stored alphabetically by title. Yes, i'm a bit OCD...

Doug said...

On a positive note, I just learned that my NM copy of John Byrne's Next Men #21 is "worth" $60 due to a very early (2nd, maybe) Hellboy appearance. I don't even really care for Hellboy, but if someone offered me 50% of that I'd sure be tickled.

Doug

Dr. Oyola said...

It's like someone paid me $35 for a VG/F copy of X-Factor #6 (and a handful of other basically worthless copies of X-Factor), b/c it has the first appearance of Apocalypse. It is bad story and a boring comic - happy to be rid of it for that price, or really any!

david_b said...

Sorry, some weird technical issues prevented me from commenting earlier. Seems my laptop's running something in IE that prevents me from clicking on anything after this site loads.. Either it's an SSL or TLS issue on my gov't laptop, dunno. I played around clicking stuff on/off, but essentially got nowhere.

Ah, the '90s. With all the insipid showy glitter or 3D-hologram covers, I mainly consider it all like layers of frosty, obnoxious tripe on a cake of artistic arrogance.

The rise of the corporate comic dealers playing 'comic futures' with these stupid notions of 'Oh, this'll be yet another collectors item, let's hoard a hundred of 'em..'. Or as outlined in 'Untold Stories', having folks at Marvel or DC do these expensive covers one month for big sales, then ponder how relatively dismal next month's comic will do.

I can at least say I was smart to keep my focus on filling Silver and early Bronze holes.

Anywho, FF with huge guns..? Did they really remember who this team was or is supposed to represent..? Seriously..?

If the editorial staffs want to be trendy with covers of bomber jackets and a 'MILF Sue', at least provide some meat in the stories to make them memorable.

Suffice to say..? The editiorial staff was asleep at the wheel.

As for cataloging my collection..? Naaah, way too efficient for me. I know what I have, or I'll spend a day with a nice cuppa java and enjoy discovering where my collection holes are. I've whittled down my collection once or twice a decade ago, getting rid of some stupid '80s/90s comics that aren't of any value (and I wouldn't read 'em again anyways...), but I should still be around 2000-3000, I believe.

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