Friday, May 22, 2015

This Cover Made Me Buy This Comic Book -No, Really

Karen: It was such a great idea, I decided to try it too. How about this beauty from John Byrne and Tom Palmer in 1978? Could you turn this down if you saw it on the spinner rack? I know I couldn't.



28 comments:

Redartz said...

Marvel Team-Up was a must buy anyway during this period. That said, who could resist the blurb touting "This month's outstanding achievement in comics art"? I couldn't; had to open it up and see what they were talking about. They weren't lying...

William said...

Ahhhh, the Byrne / Claremont issues of MTU. One of my favorite comic runs of all time! (If only it could have lasted longer). I still have all the original issues as well as the trade paperback that collects the entire run (except, frustratingly, the Red Sonja issue).

So many great two-part stories came out of that run. Spidey, Yellowjacket, Wasp vs. Equinox, Spidey, Human Torch, Ms. Marvel vs. Super Skrull, Spidey and Captain Britain vs. Arcade, and of course this one. (Which is probably my favorite of the bunch). Comics just don't get much better. The awesomeness level was definitely turned up to 11.

Edo Bosnar said...

If I had seen this cover at the time, I would have snapped it right up. It's completely awesome. But unfortunately, the notoriously spotty distribution in my neck of the woods meant I never saw this one on the spinner racks.

Dr. Oyola said...

I want it now.

J.A. Morris said...

Nope, I bought this because of the great cliffhanger ending at the end of the previous issue:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Gp2H-rZWW5M/TknSJgvErQI/AAAAAAAAEA0/xEnxvYGDPVE/s1600/MTU69-4.jpg

Martinex1 said...

Yes. I would buy this. And did buy it and would again.

I know Byrne is not everybody's cup of tea (or Dandelion & Burdock), but I always liked his art. I was a big fan of this run of his and for the most part really enjoyed his cover layouts and sense of action. It was always exciting.

For some reason around this era, Perez and Byrne seemed to trade off on cover duties. The Captain Britain Team Up had the first issue cover by Perez and then the second by Byrne. The same was going on at Two In One, where both were on covers here and there.

So this era was particularly exciting. Loved this cover. And I always liked the old Thor logo, with the bite out of the "O".

Cheers.

Garett said...

I like this cover! Menacing looking villain, and great action with one hero on offence and the other on defence. I also like how the background is mostly green, and makes the main scene and the title letters pop out.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I had this back then (although it's possible, since I loved everything Spidey), but I agree that those Claremont/Byrne issues were classics; Claremont seemed to use MTU to address dangling plots from his other comics (Ms. Marvel and the cavourite crystal, Iron Fist and Steel Serpent, etc.)

Mike Wilson

Karen said...

Edo, due to "notoriously spotty distribution" I missed the previous issue when it came out. So I grabbed this one, read it, loved it, and had to go hunting everywhere for the previous issue. It was nowhere to be found in my little town. I did buy it a few years later, and it didn't disappoint.

This really was a great run. I think I was buying Team-Up pretty regularly by then but that cover still blew me away.

Mark Sweeney said...

I've got the Captain Britain issues from around this time, but these comments have got me intrigued! Sounds like I'm missing out on some great comics . . .

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

This cover did get the comic off the rack and into my hands, but Claremont and Byrne got it to the cash register.

I guess one of the reasons why I like this era so much was that both of the individuals creating these works were still learning, still willing to compromise (insert joke here), willing to make mistakes to tell their stories. A lot of energy and vitality can keep someone from noticing the gaps in the story line or the fact that logic got off the train two stops ago.

Thanks for the memories . . .

pfgavigan

Humanbelly said...

How to put this?
We were still seeing the Claremont/Byrne duo at an early enough point where their work was fresh and exciting and invigorated by their clear confidence in their own abilities-- but still well before either of them had fallen in love with their own legend (so to speak). Artistic hubris was still quite a long ways down the road-- which was very much to our benefit!

It was indeed one of those runs where it caught your attention a couple of issues in-- "Whoa-- this book is awfully good alluva sudden!".
(Very similar to our CHAMPIONS discussion a short time back)

HB

Anonymous said...

Osvaldo,not only did I want it too, I actually got it! Yeah, great cover,and we get a knock-down drag-out battle between Thor and the Living Monolith in this story. As I recall, Thor whips up a mini hurricane - and he still couldn't defeat the Monolith; Spidey makes a comment about the Monolith tapping into cosmic rays, a near infinite power source.

Claremont and Byrne really clicked here,no question about it.


- Mike 'monolithic hunger'from Trinidad & Tobago.

William said...

I can't believe anyone, that is a long time comics fan, could not love John Byrne's art. In his heyday he was head and shoulders above any other artist at the time. At least IMO, (and a lot of other people too).

In fact, Byrne is so far and away my favorite comic artist, that I really don't even have a second favorite. I mean I love Kirby, Ditko, Perez, Romita (Sr. & Jr.), and a personal favorite of mine Ron Frenz. But all of them come in behind Byrne.

I guess if I had to pick another artist that came close to my admiration of JB, it would have to be Bruce Timm. Even though he's by far more associated with animation than comics, he is still a cartoonist, and he has done quite a bit of comic work, (of which I have every issue).

But John will always be the man in my book. The first comic creator that ever made me buy a series (or a book) just because he was the artist (and/or writer).

Edo Bosnar said...

William, I share your fondness for Byrne's art, as I believe I've mentioned here so many times. And as in your case, he was the first guy to make me pick up any book with his work in it.
I'd just add that over the years I've grown to appreciate Walt Simonson's art in the same way, to the point that he's my 1A to Byrne's 1 (as discussed in a post here a few years ago).

Having said that, however, I have no trouble believing that there are those who don't like his art (I may not understand it, but I believe it) - after all, tastes simply vary.

keythd23 said...

The issue had the unusual and as far as I know one time art team of Byrne/DeZuniga.

keythd23 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William said...

Edo, oh I can accept the fact that there are people who don't care for Byrne's work, but I can't "believe" it, if you know what I mean?

What I find hard to understand is what anyone can specifically find fault with about Byrne's art (especially his stuff around this time).

His linework was so clean and dynamic, and his anatomy and perspective was always just spot on.

He was also one of the first artists I can recall to give every character a unique body type. Captain America was always buffer than Spider-Man, and Thor was bigger than Cap, etc. Whereas artists like Romitia and even Kirby tended to draw a stock "male" body and a "female" body for pretty much every character (except guys like The Hulk and Thing).

Humanbelly said...

Ohhhh I think even a non-artist fan like myself (who's very much in the solid "Likes Byrne's Art" camp, btw) can spot some notable weaknesses, there, William. His inability to differentiate women's faces at all is a big one that comes to mind. And while I very much enjoy his figures, he really does have a tendency to elongate limbs more than even the industry standard mandated, which I don't think always served him very well.

Just a couple of quick observations, there, mind you.

HB (the hardest adjudicator)

William Preston said...

When Byrne was suddenly everywhere for Marvel--and doing their promotional art as well--I realized that he could convincingly draw anyone in the Marvel Universe. The only other people who came close, in that regard, were Sal and John: Sal could draw anyone, but not always with great dynamism; John could draw anyone convincingly . . . except, for some reason, Spider-man, who never looked right for JB.

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

Several years ago Mr. Byrne made several contributions to the Buffyverse in the form of a mini-series and a couple of one-shots of the Angel character. I do own them all, but I really want to talk briefly about the series.

Set during WW1 it revolves around the main character still coming to grips with the return of his soul and the on rush of centuries of guilt regarding all of his vampiric activities. It's a solid story with a sting in the tail ending that was probably not one of Mr. Byrne's best ideas.

But it was the artwork that really stood out. Reproduced directly from his pencils it was a wonder. Clear, sharp, dynamic; everything that I had associated with him during the best of his Marvel years.

The man is talented, incredibly so. I may not agree with all of his views or purchase his works, but I will always take a look.

Which is the most anyone can ask.

pfgavigan

Martinex1 said...

I agree with the Byrne fans. Not only did he define much of the Marvel character style in the late 70s and early 80s, he was so prolific. Iron Fist, X-Men, Avengers, MTU, MTIO, AlphaFlight, She-Hulk, WCA, FF all in rapid succession if not overlapping. All with consistency and timely monthly output, avoiding fill ins and delays. There were times he was on three books at once plus covers and specials and house ads. His story telling technique was top notch; flip through one of his books and don't read just look, and it is easy to follow the mood and interaction and trajectory of the story. Plus he was involved in a lot of great story lines that he contributed to as co-plotter or full writer. So many great X-Men with Claremont, involved in Project Pegasus, the MTU already discussed, etc. His work is easily recognizable as a style that is his own. He impacted Marvel obviously, but also DC and even Charlton. He has to be among the greats... Kirby, Buscema brothers, Perez, Romita, Colan, and Ditko...doesn't he?

He has quirks, as have been mentioned, like female faces and expressions, but that evolved over the years as well. I think his Scarlet Witch, and Phoenix, and Invisible Woman do have different personalities coming through. I do think he is at his best with Austin inking, but he looks great with many other inkers as well. Perhaps his biggest weakness is inking himself

Edo Bosnar said...

Martinex, I'd say Byrne's biggest weakness is his ego, but that's a whole 'nother discussion. I, for one, like his art pretty much across the board, regardless of who's inking (including himself, and even Vince Colletta).
And yes, he has his artistic quirks and faults, but that goes for any artist. The criticism about faces looking too uniform, whether on female or male, characters, is one that can be leveled at quite a few much-loved comic-book artists.

William P., I totally agree with you about how Byrne can draw pretty much any character "on spec" - not just for the Marvel U., but also DC. I think he's one of only a handful of artists about whom that can be said - I'd say the others are George Perez and Alan Davis (I think Neal Adams and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez probably belong to that select company, except Adams can't really draw the Thing very well, while I haven't seen many Marvel characters drawn by Garcia-Lopez).

Edo Bosnar said...

William P., yep, Byrne is one of the few artists who seems to be able to draw any character (from the Marvel and DC universes, and beyond) "on spec." I think there's only a few others who can do that, among them George Perez and Alan Davis, Neal Adams almost (he just doesn't draw the Thing very well, does he?), and, I suspect, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (he draws any DC character perfectly, but besides the Hulk and one or two others in that cross-over book, I haven't seen any other examples of him drawing anyone from Marvel).

By the way, Martinex, I don't mind it when Byrne inks himself - his art looked great in say, the FF, and then later in the Next Men. Otherwise, I'd say his greatest weakness is his ego, but that's a whole 'nother discussion...

Humanbelly said...

Does anyone else remember an interview where John Byrne admitted that he doesn't (or didn't) actually do any "pencils" at all? And that's why he was able to produce pages so quickly? He said something to the effect that he never, ever erased anything at all- every line, every drawing was set the moment it touched the page- so he simply started "drawing" in ink, and cut the whole process down by more than half, really.

Yeesh-- ya wanna kill the guy. . .

HB

Anonymous said...

I like Byrne's earlier work - he's virtually untouchable from the late '70s to the mid-'80s- but I think he loses a step after that. His faces, as noted earlier, are often similar. His storytelling is good but basic. I think he stops innovating and his layouts become conventional. His writing can be decent but also pretty rough. Putting his superior art skills toward lesser stories doesn't help; no wonder his best work is his usually-impressive commissions.

I like artists who take more chances and do work that's a little more unconventional. While a lot of comic book artists stop innovating at some point, many don't. Kirby kept pushing and inventing. Joe Kubert published comics dealing with more mature topics. George Perez never tires of shifting his panel layouts around. Byrne is still very good but not as interesting, at least to me.

Also, and this is 100% my subjective opinion, I think his art has gotten rougher and uglier. I like a lot of rougher, uglier art (waaaay uglier than Byrne at his worst, especially great indy artists like Dan Clowes and Gilbert Hernandez) but Byrne benefits from slickness. The Byrne/ Austin team was dynamite, and I like Bob Layton's inking as well. Again, just my opinion.

William & everyone else, if you love Byrne's current output, that's awesome. I'm glad he's producing work that gives people genuine enjoyment.

Hey, plenty of people don't like the art of my all-time favorite, Bill Sienkiewicz. Different strokes and all that...

- Mike Loughlin

Edo Bosnar said...

Hm, weird. That first comment seemed to disappear initially, which is why I posted the second one a few hours later. Sorry for the redundancy, everyone.

Doug said...

Sorry, Edo -- that's me working behind the scenes. As most know, Karen and I are emailed every comment that's posted here, including our own. When I logged online this morning, we had a spam comment from some idiot promoting his furnace business (it's summer, bro). So when I went into the comments command center of the blog, I noticed that your reply to Martinex had somehow been logged by Google as spam. Not so, I say! So I released it.

Long-winded explanation (HB would be proud) to say we're all good now.

Doug

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