Saturday, June 13, 2015

Guest Post - If I Had a Buck... George Perez Edition

Doug: That rascal Martinex1 is back today with another challenge for the Bronze Age Babies. Pack your quarters and come along for the ride!

Mike S: I am back with my game of riches, “If I Had A Buck…” A little reminder on how it works: you visit my other worldly comic shop and on the spinner rack sit nine comics. These comics may be from different eras and at different price points. You have a choice to make with the single dollar you have in your hand, so choose wisely and share your opinions.

Last time, we explored the artwork on the Ms. Marvel series from the late 1970s. The challenge was choosing amongst nine cover creators for the same character and title. Today I have a little twist, there will be nine different team titles but with one cover creator. 
George Perez is considered by many to be a modern comic art legend. He is ranked up there with all of the greats in the field; and perhaps he is most known for his prolific output, detailed layouts and backgrounds, and handling of multiple characters and teams. I dare say he has drawn nearly every Marvel and DC character over the years, and sometimes they all appeared in a single panel, cover, or poster.  In my purchasing history, his comic covers always drew my eye. There was a level of excitement in the artwork that few matched.

So here is the challenge. I have assembled nine comics, with nine teams and titles, with all nine covers drawn by George Perez. Note that the interiors may have been handled by other artists. Enter the store with only one dollar and make you choices (just as we sometimes had to do as kids by considering the covers closely). Share your decisions, thoughts about Perez, your memories, the cover dynamics, and his handling of the teams. So without further ado, have at it…

Avengers #149; Cover Price $0.25 (Still Only…)
X Men # 128; Cover Price $0.40
Fantastic Four #184; Cover Price $0.30
New Teen Titans #19; Cover Price $0.60
Justice League of America #192: Cover Price $0.50
Legion of Super Heroes #268; Cover Price $0.50
Star Trek #1; Cover Price $0.75
Defenders #53; Cover Price $0.35
Adventure Comics presents "Dial “H” For Hero" #485; Cover Price $0.50


Edo Bosnar said...

If we have to pay the actual cover price, a buck really isn't much is it? Back in the day, I had Avengers #149, X-men #128, JLA #192 and New Teen Titans #19 - and if faced with your hypothetical conundrum, those would still be my picks, based on the covers alone and the fact that I was really into all those titles at the time. However, as noted, a buck isn't enough, so my choice is either a) X-men #128 and New Teen Titans #19 for an even dollar, or b) X-men #128 and JLA #192 for 90 cents (if you had included Fantastic Four #1 in your selection, I would've bought that with the remaining 10 cents ... :P)

Humanbelly said...

This is uncanny, edo. Again. . . AGAIN. . . we've independently had exactly the same response to the topic of the moment. In this case, even down to the a) AND b) choices-!

By any chance are you a 6'-2" George Clooney double, who hold several advanced degrees in the sciences and the arts, owns numerous patents for ground-breaking cancer therapies, and builds orphanages as a hobby?? Oh. . . wow. . . neither am I!!!

What're the odds???


Redartz said...

Boy, that dollar reallllly has to stretch. I will join our friends Edo and HB in purchasing New Teen Titans #19; based upon the cover alone. That snow theme grabs my notice inmediately; contrasting so brightly with the many costumes romping through it!

Secondly, I will choose Defenders #53. The Red Guardian rising from that nuclear blast pulls that bill out of my pocket. She looked great, and even Namor was recoiling from the burst (incidentally, Perez draws a fabulous Sub-Mariner, starting with an incredible splash - ha, ha- page in an Avengers issue which escapes me)!.

Thus, I trudge home flipping my remaining nickel to decide between X-Men and JLA for next week's purchases...

Anonymous said...

Aargh! I can only get two comics! There's no way I could pass up New Teen Titans 19, with that action packed cover! All those super-heroes, and Hawkman too? Irresistible! (Okay, maybe not for Hawkman...)

With my remaining $0.40 I'll buy X-Men because...

Star Trek looks well-drawn, but regular people over super-heroes? Pass.
FF and Avengers feature really dumb looking villains.
The Legion issue costs too much. I reeeeally want that one but it's either Legion or Titans and Titans has some characters I recognize.
The Defenders cover looks good and it has the Hulk (my favorite!) but the X-Men cover suggests a more interesting story.

- Mike Loughlin

William said...

I'll take New Teen Titans #19, and X-Men #128. The decision was somewhat easy since I originally bought those books when they came out (and would do so again).

The NTT was probably the first DC book that I read on a regular (never miss an issue) basis.

And the X-Men was at the height of their greatness around that time with John Byrne doing the artwork on the interiors. I still don't know why Byrne didn't do more of his own covers back then.

I also loved the Perez era Avengers, but that's not my favorite cover of his, as it looked like he was channeling Kirby a little too much. Not that that's a bad thing, but Perez has his own unique style that stands on its own merits just fine. So, he doesn't need to mimic any other artist's style (even Kirby).

Humanbelly said...

I also have to admit that my interest kept drifting back to Dial H For Hero, of all things. A whole bunch of interesting-looking folks that I had no knowledge of whatsoever.

But. . . "The Evil Eight"-??

Oy. Even given that that was one of the earliest issues to choose from here, it was awwwwwwwfully late in the game to be coming up with that kind of alliterative/numerical team name--ESPECIALLY one that still resorts to trumpeting its "Evil"-ness. I think the cornball hokiness of that convention had thoroughly lived its life by the time the X-Men had wrapped up their original run. . . and certainly by the time the true Bronze Age had commenced-!


Anonymous said...

I suppose I'm a bit of a heretic in that I don't worship at the altar of George Perez quite as much as most Bronze Age Babies. There was a bit too much uniformity to his work for my tastes; you can see it in that collection of covers - they all have a similar compositional approach, the same head on, mid-distance point of view.
But he was certainly better average, and his approach was well suited to superhero team books, so I'd probably have gone for all of these back then if I had the cash.

While I still haven't quite figured out the dollar thing yet - exchange rates, relative value and all that - I guess the bottom line is I have to pick three, right?
So - that X-Men definitely; but the title was a must at that point, and I'd have gone for it whatever was on the cover.
If in doubt, the Defenders was generally a safe bet. I had a bit of a soft spot for the Red Guardian for some reason, and that cover looks suspiciously like the one from which ever X-Men issue marked the first appearance of Phoenix (looks like Marvel were already riffing on the X formula quite early on) so yeah - that Defenders would have been appealing.
Third.... Hard to decide, but I never quite know what the Red Tornado was about, so maybe I'd have got that JLA to find out. Although I suspect I'd have been none the wiser.


Martinex1 said...

HB it is funny you mention the "Dial H" because after assembling these for consideration that is one I chose based on the cover alone. The interior I believe was handled by Carmine Infantino not at the height of his career. So if I flipped through it I may have changed my mind. Also, I think the characters were all suggestions from fans; did anybody follow this title? I am honestly more of a Marvel follower so I don't ever remember seeing this on the rack. But it caught my attention here. As far as the Evil Eight go, I agree with you but wonder if those teams might benefit from a bit of irony as they express their names. Maybe it is more like a rebellious band in the punk, rock, or heavy metal category...Violent Femmes, Black Flag, The Stranglers, etc.

As for my second choice I went with Legion of Super Heroes. Unlike many here, I never read that book. I am very curious about the characters but know as close to nothing as possible. Maybe not the best cover, but I am a sucker for the head lineup ( or floating heads). I'm not sure about that villain. Looks like Rip Taylor crossed with an octopus and Reed Richards. But I will give it a shot. And that's my dollar.

There are many covers I love and own here, and I was glad to see the Titans' issue get so much attention. One of my all time favorites but was curious if people saw it the same way.

Sean and all of our friends from overseas, an easy way to look at it is a dollar is 100 cents. No need to worry about conversion if you just add up the listed cover prices.

Sean you picked my second set with Defenders and Red Tornado JLA. I like both of the "red" characters. Underused in my opinion. Both have great costume designs. The FF also had my attention simply because of the rubble; that had to take so long to draw.

Edo Bosnar said...

Martinex, I was reading both the Dial H stories in Adventure and Legion (on and off) at the time; to answer your question about the former, yes, all of the characters were submitted by fans, and the only reason I followed it was because I had submitted a few character proposals myself and wanted to see if they ever got used (they didn't). I wouldn't have read it otherwise, because I wasn't the biggest fan of Infantino's work during that period (although toward the end of the Dial H run, there were a few back-up stories drawn by Trevor von Eeden that were really, really nice).
As for the Legion, Perez did quite a few outstanding covers for that title in 1980/81, but never the interior art. Also during that period (basically leading into the fan-favorite Levitz/Giffen run), Steve Ditko quite often did the interior art, including the issue you posted here. Much as I like Ditko, I couldn't stand the Legion issues he did - his style just wasn't suited to them.

Martinex1 said...

Edo. Thanks for the info on both titles. I had no idea Ditko worked on Legion. I wonder how DC chose characters for Dial H.

Anonymous said...

Its not that I'm unaware of how may cents there were in a dollar, Mike/Martinex - its more that I was trying to get into the spirit of your idea. Like, how much money was I likely to have back then, and how did I actually decide what to buy.
You know, as opposed to just picking what looks like the best of the selection.

I doubt the appearance of the Red Tornado would be enough to get me buying a comic now, but back then.... next to Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, he seemed a bit of a mystery. Probably its just because the character wasn't really thought through that much - wasn't he just a bit of a knock-off Vision really? - so I don't know that I'd agree he was under used exactly.
But I didn't think about it like that as a kid - all I knew was that he was a robot and a... erm...wasn't he actually a tornado or something?

The Red Guardian was much cooler, and definitely under used. Even in the Defenders I seem to recall she spent quite a few issues in a radioactive coma in Siberia. I think maybe having created a Russian superhero Marvel weren't quite sure what to do with her given the changing climate of the late 70s.


Anonymous said...

I'm tempted to go with JLA and LSH, but I seem to remember that Legion story not being all that great; so, I'll pick NTT and X-Men, even though I didn't read X-Men back then. I think that's the last chapter of the Proteus saga, and it's pretty good (though the next issue would've been even better, with the first appearance of Kitty Pryde).

Mike Wilson

Martinex1 said...

Sean, i apologize. I misunderstood what you were saying on the dollar. On Red Tornado, what is weird is that I think the first silver age appearance of the Tornado arrived on shelves a couple months before the Vision. And I believe it was a similar concept in terms of: golden age reboot, android/ robot, designed by a villain to take down the heroes, ends up being a hero himself. I may have some of those facts wrong, but they came out in rapid succession. At a very young age I read a couple Tornado JLAs and liked them. But ultimately Vision was handled so much better. RT underused in the sense that he had so much potential in my eyes, but DC tended to go different paths thematically I think than Marvel. For whatever reason I gravitated to Marvel, there was something undefinable for me in DC that I liked less... Maybe the heroes were less flawed??? But I liked the Wolfman/ Perez Titans. Maybe they brought some Marvel to the mood.

Tornado is one of those DC characters that I'd like to read more of, like Adam Strange, and Mr. Miracle, and Metamorpho, ans LSH.

Mike W. That is indeed the last issue of the Proteus battle. It. Is great. Really a great issue in terms of character and action.

Anonymous said...

There was a golden age Red Tornado? And the whole thing with the Vision was a Swamp Thing/Man-Thing situation? Well, well.... you learn something every day. Thanks Martinex. I suppose I assumed that the Vision came first because, like you, I'm more familiar with Marvel.

In my case that has a lot to do with the British reprints being easier - and cheaper - to get regularly rather than an automatic preference for the Marvel approach. One of my favourite comic stories as a kid was also the first I read with the Red Tornado in it - the JLA/JSA crossover on Earth X. Mainly I liked it for the multiple earth thing, but I've had a soft spot for the character ever since.
Even so, he still seems like a cut price Vision to me, even if he isn't:)


Martinex1 said...

Yes definitely a Swamp Thing / Man Thing or Doom Patrol / X-Men situation for Red Tornado / Vision. I did some research and RT appeared just two mere months prior to the Vision in 1968. That is the same year that "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was published. RT first appeared claiming to be the GA character, but that was quickly dismissed as the original was a female named Ma Hunkel who appeared as RT wearing a pot on her head in comedic stories. She kind of looked like Forbush Man! Anyhow, silver age Rt was created by T.O. Morrow (ugh) using future technology to attack the heroes in a Trojan Horse ploy. Eventulally RT also falls in love with a human woman.

It's weird how similar the two companies' characters are. Red skinned android, villainous creator, etc. in later stories it was discovered that RT was infused with the consciousness of a sentient tornado!! The Tornado Champion / Tornado Tyrant somehow share the android's body.

Definitely simultaneous stuff going on with both characters.

Anonymous said...

Well Martinex, Marvel and DC operate in the same market,(presumably) persuing the same trends and a lot of the same freelancers work for both of them. It would be surprising if there wasn't any overlap between them - apparently Dave Cockrum once accidentally sold the same character to both companies!
Funny, eh?


JJ said...

An excellent topic (and selection of covers), Martinex1. Being a total Perez nut (who isn't?) I was surprised how easy it was to make my choices. X-Men 128 goes first. While perhaps not the best Perez cover featured here, it nonetheless features Cyclops (my favorite X-Man) front and center and looking fantastic. With Byrne and Austin doing the interior art, that's an unbeatable combination for me. Also, I think the Proteus arc was the best story in the entire fabled Claremont/Byrne/Austin run. Yes, many will cite Dark Phoenix, but I feel Proteus best captured the true essence of the X-Men, i.e. protecting the world (that fears them) from evil mutants. Plus, it takes place in Scotland and involves Muir Island and Moira McTaggert. I really loved that. It was all so exotic and mutant-centric.

Second would be JLA 192. Now, I bought this particular issue when it was originally published and it totally enthralled me. I still have it. Yes, Red Tornado going rogue was a big part of that, but there's a scene early in the story showing the Leaguers out socializing in their civilian identities. This scene made an indelible impression on my young mind. I just loved the idea that these dynamic super heroes also took the time to sit down and enjoy dinner with each other away from the satellite, away from the trappings of super heroics. The entire scene really gave the JLA a family feel. Very appealing. Of course, Red Tornado is a superb character. I really loved him then and still do. Perez drew him better than anyone. -JJ

Martinex1 said...

Ozone I agree with you on the Proteus saga. There were some great elements: the way the villain used his victims' bodies, Moira's decisions around her son and ex, Colossus' confrontation in the final and coming to terms with the only solution, and all of the characters really at their best. They were an interesting team at the time, not totally in synch with a myriad of personalities and inconsistent goals but pulling it together when need be.

I am less aware of the JLA but I hear 192 and 193 is a good read. And what you said about the interaction interests me; I was not as in tune with DC personalities.

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