Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Comic Events When They Actually Meant Something!

Karen: I have to 'fess up -originally this post was going to be a piece of shameless self-promotion. It was going to be a 'Bronze Age Babies Bulletin' that plugged the new (and super-cool) Back Issue! # 82 featuring Bronze Age Events, on sale soon from Twomorrows Publications in print and digital format (you can get it here). In this issue, I get to discuss the glory of the Avengers-Defenders War (or Clash, if you prefer) with such greats as Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema, and most of all, Stainless Steve Englehart! It is always a blast to have the chance to interview folks who had such a tremendous impact on my youth. As the theme of the issue is events, there are also articles on the great JLA/JSA  team-ups, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Secret Wars, the Infinity Gauntlet, and more.

Karen: But thinking about all those great old Bronze Age comic events made me want to do more than just a plug for the issue. It made me want to discuss what made events so much more special and exciting back in those days. It seems like now, all we have are events. Certainly the Big Two shape their entire comics line around a major event (or two) that typically lasts the entire year, and this happens every year, and has for some time now. The Event unfolds in its own book, touches most of the other titles in the line, and also gives birth to ancillary titles. Look at  Civil War - according to an article on IGN, it encompassed 93 individual comics. 93! This wasn't an event, it was a major financial commitment.
Avengerin' and Defenderin' cover by John Byrne

Karen: It seems to me there are a couple of things that really distinguish the events of old from today's "mega-events." One is that events used to actually feel significant. It's like that saying -"when everyone's special, no one's special." The same could be said for comic events. They used to be something that happened occasionally, and in a more organic way. 

Karen: I know when I worked on my article on the Avengers-Defenders War, I recalled that at the time the books came out, it felt really important -a cross-over like that, between two team titles, was a real first. Also, like the JLA/JSA extravaganzas, it  was a summer event, unfolding over the school vacation months of 1973, which lent it even more of a special air. In fact, writer Steve Englehart wanted to do something special for that summer, since Marvel wasn't producing any annuals that year. So as a young reader, it was a great treat while you were on school break -assuming you could find all the issues on the newstand!

Karen: The other thing that makes the earliest events stand out is that they were put together with a sense of sincerity -there was a desire to do something extra-special, something that would thrill the fans, something that would be fun. Certainly that was the case with the JLA/JSA meet-ups each year. Those annual events were eagerly awaited by comics fans each year, initially featuring just the two teams, later expanding to sometimes include other groups like the Legion of Super-Heroes, the Freedom Fighters, the Seven Soldiers of Victory - hey, the more the merrier! These issues really gave fans some bang for their buck -or 15 cents, whatever the case might be. Likewise, the Avengers-Defenders War took Marvel's two biggest teams at the time and pitted them against each other in one-on-one (or two-on-one) match ups, just because it would be a hoot. There really wasn't an ulterior motive at work. Similarly, the Marvel annuals, while hit or miss, sometimes fell into this category as well, providing fun and sometimes important events, like Fantastic Four Annual #6, with a battle against Annihilus and the birth of Franklin Richards; or the one-two combo of Avengers Annual #7 and Marvel Two-In-One Annual #2, with the huge smack-down of the Avengers, Captain Marvel, Warlock, The Thing, and Spider-Man versus Thanos. Now those were events -and they only lasted an issue or two!

 Karen: We can see the seeds of today's bloated mega-events in the later Bronze Age events. Crisis on Infinite Earths was not only a 12 issue series but it crossed-over to numerous titles (don't forget the red skies!), and of course, had a massive (some might even say devastating) impact on the entire DC line. Secret Wars had less of an impact on titles and characters -the black Spider-Man costume which later became Venom was probably the most lasting effect -but of course, the mini-series genesis was in a toy tie-in, not exactly the most noble of purposes. At this point, the events became bigger and also began to serve purposes other than just being a cool thing to do for the fans. The companies soon realized that the fans would dutifully buy up all the issues connected to the event, and before long, we were plagued with things like The Mutant Massacre and Invasion! With few exceptions, the event became more about money and less about someone coming up with a neat story idea.

Karen: And that's how we got where we are today, with the perma-event situation. Since I'm no longer a regular comics reader, I don't feel the pain like I once did, but I still sympathize with those who try to keep up with it all. I can't help but think that the impact of these events is far less when something huge and universe-shattering occurs every single year. Me, I still get a thrill when I see the Avengers and Defenders go at it, or Spider-Man working up his nerve to face Thanos. And I didn't have to buy 32 issues to understand the whole story.

26 comments:

Edo Bosnar said...

I think the modern event-driven stories done by the big 2 have their direct origins in Secret Wars and DC's first Crisis.
As to those halcyon days when 'events' meant something, I like(d) all of those you mentioned: the Avengers-Defenders war/clash/dust-up/whatever, the conclusion of the Warlock saga in Avengers & M 2-in-1 annuals, and the JLA/JSA annual meet-ups. Of the latter, my absolute favorites were when they joined the New Gods for a big tussle against Darkseid on Apokalips, and the one from JLA #s 195-197 that our own Mike W. reviewed here earlier this year. The one that crossed over with All Star Squadron was also quite good.

And your shameless plug worked: I just pre-ordered a copy of the digital edition.

Redartz said...

A great topic today. Karen, I hope to pick up that Back Issue and scour it cover to cover (print version; I'm old school).

The preponderance of mega-events in comics today is one of the reasons I buy very few new comics. Indeed, the ones I do purchase aren't usually part of any event; currently this includes Howard the Duck and Squirrel Girl. As you say, big events are no longer anything special when that is all you can read.

In the case of Civil War, I did follow the main series (thought it was an interesting story, with some interesting tangents). However I didn't buy any of the affiliated regular titles, except Amazing Spider-Man (which was still on my pull list at the time anyway). Otherwise, none of the modern events have attracted me.

As for our Bronze age events, their scarcity made them a huge treat! Avengers/Defenders remains an all-time favorite. The last maxi-series I bought was Crisis on Infinite Earths; and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Yet I only got the main series, none of the affiliated tie-ins (even back then, I refused to follow the Corporate lead. The art was obviously great, although the printing left a lot to be desired. And though I didn't care for all the changes the series made in DC continuity, I applauded their attempt to clarify things a bit.

After CoIE, though, the cynicism level seemed to rise exponentially. The big company events were more frequent, bigger and frankly, less attractive. Even the summer annuals were drafted into multi-issue crossovers, when so many of the best annuals of the past had been done-in-ones (Avengers annual 7 excepted, of course). Oh well, you know what they say about too much of anything...

Martinex1 said...

This is a great topic. I think the combination of “events” and “gratuitous death” ended much of my devotion to comic collecting.

I suppose it is a natural progression that entertainment gets bigger and bigger until it collapses and reinvents itself (which in and of itself is another big move). All along in comics there were “events” but the size of the event escalated to proportions that could not be backed off of. In the early days, Spider Man meeting another hero was an event. The forming of the Avengers and teaming up already established heroes was an event. As was the formation of the JLA. Any type of crossover across titles (like the MTIO and Avengers Annuals) was an event.

I think these stories which seem relatively minor in retrospect were events because the monthly titles at the time were relatively small, compact, insulated, and personal. Most solo titles in early Marvel were packed with supporting characters and personal relationships and uncostumed stress. How much of the early Spider Man, Daredevil, and Iron Man issues focused on relationships with friends, romantic interests, family, and work? The page count dedicated to those normal life conflicts was tremendous. And I feel those pages were appreciated, because no matter how melodramatic they were they established the characters and the motivations. This made the ultimate superhero action more laden with risk. In addition, the villain’s actions were of small scope, more personally motivated, and controllable. Often the threat was at the street level (a thuggish brute or robbery) or an attack on an individual (the “I hate Tony Stark!” type of motivation). The fact is these still made for good and sometimes great stories.
I believe that slowly disappeared.

The advent of the limited series offered opportunity for stories with more “impactful and lasting ramifications”. That idea that anything can go, that there are no limitations, in my opinion leads to bombastic storytelling and overblown conflict. There is no time for character development, the world is going to blow up. In timing, this freedom of scope and desire for impact led to stories around the death of characters (and not supporting characters like Gwen Stacy but more mainline characters) like the Phoenix, Supergirl, and the Flash. Those initial stories may have been good, but the success of that combination of big world threats and dying heroes soon was replicated again and again and again. But to me the real death was the slow death of the minor story, the increased absence of true supporting cast conflict, and the elimination of the C Level villain. No more alleyway fights that really seemed consequential, less stress between the civilian characters, and surely no more love for Trapster, Jester, Whirlwind, Living Laser and countless others. For a while, if you weren’t an A lister you were surely on the list for cannon fodder.

Martinex1 said...

I think that Marvel Cinema has quickly fallen into this trap. They jumped too quickly to events and it will be hard to rebalance. The Avengers movies, and though I loved seeing the heroes on the screen, are very big with world threatening events. I feel the heroes have quickly become just the action figures and not really the well developed characters under the costume. Even Iron Man, with great acting by Robert Downey Jr, has become more of a caricature than a character. It will be really hard to back off the action. We will jump from Ultron Unlimited to Civil War to Infinity Gauntlet, etc. Big, bigger, (bust?). . It is like it cannot contain itself. Can it go back to simpler character driven stories that ultimately make those events more meaningful?

I have to say that the Ant Man movie surprised me so maybe I am wrong and lightning can be put back in the bottle (and I am sure we will talk about the film further at some point). This movie is small (pun intended). There is a threat, but it is more personal and separate. There is a lot of character development and it still feels fun. It reminded me of a Bronze Age two issue Spider Man arc with no great world bending impact but a lot of humor, character interaction, and a good fight.

The promise of modern comics is that something big is always going to happen, but the problem is that the promise is rarely delivered upon. The result is forced. I think story writing has become driven by a marketing premise and a desired ending; the path and all of the steps in between have been neglected. It becomes: “wouldn’t it be cool if all of the heroes fought and in the end Cap dies?” or “wouldn’t it be cool if the all of the heroes fought and in the end there were no more mutants?” or “wouldn’t it be cool if all of the heroes teamed up to fight a world threat and in the end …?” And in the end nothing really changes and the path to get there was really no fun at all and nobody ever really seemed involved.
If you are going to create an event, give me the small elements.

Give me the Wanda and Vision love story in the Kree Skrull War. That is more important than the fight.

I will definitely pick up Back Issue!

Sorry for my ramblings.

Rip Jagger said...

I agree with the comment above that Crisis On Infinite Earths is the spark. It was a gigantic multiverse concept story which built on the earlier JLA-JSA events but to the max. Secret Wars was too, but to a much less potent extent since its consequences seemed relatively limited, unlike the depth and scale of the DC event.

That said, the subsequent events all lost steam as the sameness set in. But it was that same desire to eliminate the staleness of the vintage big events which gave us the ever-larger extravaganzas. Ultimately we end up with the Valiant Universe and other such experiments where they whole thing feels like an event, fully conceived from beginning to end.

But the truism of "less is more" is totally on point here. The little specials were like candy, a beautiful rush of excitement, but not so much sugar sweetness that it lost its fun or flash.

The first FF annual is a perfect example, an extravaganza with the FF facing off against the Sub-Mariner in a story the regular comic could not hold. Beautiful. Later I landed in comics atop the first Avengers annual, a special story which featured all of the team when that was not so commonplace. Teams had easier times with these events because the creative team could effect real changes whereas in a Spidey or DD annual the status quo was pretty much going to still be in effect by story's end.

The Avengers-Defenders Clash was a total blast, though reading it today it feels rather light in its scale and scope. But back then it was a real test whether the issues were going to drop as they had to do to keep the story moving. (To that point Dynamite has driven me away from their new comics pretty much for all time because they could not deliver their King Features event in a timely fashion, even with the advantages of the direct sales market. Sad, truly sad.) The Clash gave us a big gang of heroes, many who had not crossed paths in a while or at all. The defection of Hawkeye was especially fun.

I'm getting that Back Issue, looking forward to it.

Rip Off

William said...

First of all, Karen, congrats on the article. I'll definitely check it out.

Second, I love the Byrne cover art for that issue.

Thirdly, I totally agree with your post . The endless "major event" status of both Marvel and DC these days was one of the major factors that turned me off of reading new comics. You have to have some regular, non-cataclysmic issues in between the universe shattering story-lines.

Big events in a character's life should happen organically in the course of the monthly title. (Like they used to). A major turning point has much more impact on the the reader if it just suddenly happens. Nowadays they announce well in advance that "after this nothing will ever be the same!!" It just all seems so forced and "planned" to shock and amaze! But it has the opposite effect, because the reader sees it coming a mile away.

Could you imagine a story like the "Death of Gwen Stacy" happening in today's market? The shock and surprise that readers must have felt when suddenly a major (and I mean MAJOR) supporting character is killed off with no warning or fanfare. It was quite literally earth-shattering. That's why it had the impact it did, and why it is still talked about today. Because nobody saw it coming. (Not even Stan Lee apparently).

Nowadays, it would be a major crossover event and span 20 issues, and it would be hyped and advertised for 6 months, and then leaked on the internet before the actual story ever saw print. And by then no one would be either shocked, or surprised, or probably even care much at that point. Then a year later Gwen would be brought back anyway, (and not as a clone).

Bottom line is, comics need to get back to the business of telling good stories month in and month out, and let the writers and artists decide what happens. These days comics are created by committee in a board room, which totally stifles individual creativity and organic storytelling.

Colin Bray said...

I have always preferred my comics as soap opera, rather than widescreen action. A soap opera never ends - yes, the writing can be shaky, the acting can be flaky - but it never ends, and provides a steady platform for character development and day to day life that a movie just doesn't have the patience for.

This soap operatic continuity brought me to comics and the occasional annual or crossover was merely the bonus, the equivalent of a Christmas episode.

It is part of the mystery and magic of comics that through the Silver and Bronze Ages the editorial assumption was that each reading 'generation' passed through comics every half dozen years or so, and yet the creative teams continued to build universes organically, building on the work of others for 10, 15, 20 or more years. Constant events militate against this organic process making comics less like real life and more like a series of standalone movies.

But as readers we had a good run, better than we had any right to expect, and I am thankful for that.

Humanbelly said...

Boy, John Byrne needs to research his basics of swordplay a bit. Even w/ her super-strength, Val's parry is not going to ward off that particular blow from Dane. He's either comin' down on her face or on the shoulder of her sword arm. . .

But, anyhoo----!

I don't think I can add too much to the very well-put observations made above (or below, depending on your preferred viewing format). The whole Bigger-Is-Better addiction as a way to generate quick dollars is something that the entirety of the popular entertainment industry (of which comics are certainly a part)has historically been absurdly susceptible to. It's just that comics have ALWAYS seemed to be all-too-ready travel that route, without even a shadow of a thought as to how that perpetually escalating upward spiral could possibly resolve itself. Ohhhhhh, I've complained about this for years. The villain's gonna blow up the city, then the nation, then the world, then the solar system, then the galaxy, then the universe, then the time-stream, then the multi-verse and IT'S time streams, then all of any possible infinite multi/omniversal timespace realities EVER. . . plus ONE!!! Omigod, that level of hyper-bloated, hyperbolic cosmic puffery is just so impossibly stupid, stupid, STUPID. As well as boring, boring, BORING. It's an amazingly poor storytelling device, because the consequences became completely impersonal to the reader in their vastness. We are all individuals in our own bodies, and we relate and sympathize as individuals. Thor as a frog, fighting for the sake of other oppressed frogs in a Central Park pond carries far more emotional weight and significance than does a massive elimination of unknown alternate realities and futures. Just about the largest-scale events I can think of in the MU that still carried honest emotional weight with me was the Dark Phoenix killing the poor Broccoli People planet on a whim, and Galactus eating the Skrull Throne World. And that's because with both we glimpsed individuals perishing, not just an abstract planetary ball.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER suffered from this problem.
The whole genre of disaster films of COURSE was rife with topping-syndrome.
I suspect that whole of professional wrestling entertainment struggles along these lines.
Circuses, Evel Knieval--anything stunt-based has to perpetually top itself.
The Harry Dresden series was weakened by the expanding of its scope, scale, and universe-- losing a lot of its street-level charm.
The Animorphs series of youth fiction got really tangled in larger-universe distractions in its later years, and completely lost its sense of fun.
I suspect WALKING DEAD is walking in that direction (HBGirl and I are about to start the fourth season. . . ).
The current DR WHO (well, through Matt Smith) MASSIVELY fell into the trap of trying to serve up impossibly large arcs-- to the point of re-booting the entire universe. That is just impossibly stupid and incomprehensible-- not clever at all; just "big".

HB (busy days ahead-- may be out o' touch for a bit-!)

J.A. Morris said...

Karen, thanks for telling us about the article, I'm looking forward to reading it in the digital edition.

If I haven't made it clear before, my primary comic-buying years were 1978 to '88. I continued into the 90s, but my heart wasn't really in it. But what a great time it was to collect comics. I got a front row seat to Dark Phoenix, Days of Future Past, Spider-man's black costume, Wolverine's 1st solo miniseries, Daredevil by Miller/Janson, New Teen Titans formed, Hobgoblin's 1st appearance, Original Brood saga, Crisis on Earth Prime and so on.
With the exception of Jean Grey, most of the Bronze Age events changed things forever and stayed that way. Gwen Stacy and her father were DEAD. Same goes for Thunderbird, even if he wasn't around very long. Norman Osbourn came back 20 years after he "died", but he remained dead for the rest of the Bronze Age.

One of the first extended stories I ever read was the "New Goblin" story that ran in Amazing Spider-Man #175-180. It ended with the new Green Goblin dead, and he never returned either.

I don't read modern comics very often, but I follow them blogs like CBR and Comics Alliance. I find that comics keep revisiting "my" era, which makes me feel good my "comic book years."

I have a feeling people will be talking about the Dark Phoenix Saga and Days Of Future Past a lot longer than this year's version of Secret Wars and whatever DC is doing.

Anonymous said...

Karen, I think you hit the nail on the head. I remember reading an interview with Louise Simonson where she talked about the first X-Men x-over (the Mutant Massacre); it was just meant as a way to get rid of some of the excess mutants (and plotlines) floating around at the time, but when the"corporate" types at Marvel saw the sales figures, they said there had to be an X-Men x-over every year. So I think a lot of it is money-driven...if these events didn't sell so well, maybe they'd stop doing them.

This topic reminded me of this cartoon from Our Valued Customers.

Mike Wilson

pfgavigan said...

Hiya,

For me the wonderful thing about the 'mega crossover' events was how much money I would save. The storyline for me was almost always a nonstarter, something I was just not interested in. But to understand everything I had to buy everything.

So here's how I saved money. I quickly realized that the storyline that held everything together was going to dominate only the core issues of the books that it revolved around. With everything else it would be shoe horned in. A one month event that would be referenced once in the next months issue and then forgotten.

So, unless I was really, really interested in the crossover story itself, I bought nothing. And when the next month rolled around those books that were on the borderline of not being bought anymore had gotten their passports stamped and were on their way to the remainders bins as far as I was concerned.

Was this the case with anyone else? Did you see the shoe event horizon . . . I'm sorry, the mega comic crossover as a good reason to drop some books from your pickup list? In my case I think it was one of the devices that led me to most drop comics in general.

Yours in inquiry,

pfgavigan

Anonymous said...

Karen, great topic, great comments all and the shameless plug worked on me too. :-)

Tom

Colin Bray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Prowler said...

I think there is a time when we all want to look in the mirror and see the person we always wanted to be, yet are faced with the person we are......

And on that bright note, allow me to expand. The events I own, just off the top of my head:

Spider-Man, Maximum Clonage. Marvel Onslaught. All thirteen issues of the four different Marvel Reborn titles (and I HATE Leifeld), X-Men X-Terminator, Days of Future Present, The Terminus Factor, Operation Galactic Storm, Image's Fire From Heaven And Wildstorm Rising. Somewhere in there is a cry for help. And my most favorite was the non event event: The tying up of the Iron Fist story line in Marvel Team Up that leads to the launching of Power Man and Iron Fist!!! I know! Right?

And I was the opposite of pfgavigan. In buying all the "units" of Operation Galactic Storm, I was buying titles I had no interest in.

Shout out to Groovy: Isn't there a four part Daredevil Ghost Rider story somewhere? Matt goes to Los Angeles to look for Karen Page and she's in a movie with Ghost Rider?

And I agree with Colin Bray, comics as soap opera; Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow!!!

And a blatant topic takeover wrapped in a question for J.A. Morris; In animated Marvel, I was very excited how The Avengers Earth's Mightiest Heroes was handled. They closely followed "our" Marvel. The founders, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man and Wasp, had solo adventures and then the series launched with the Break Out At The Vault and the heroes had to band together to face a threat that none could face alone. Long story short, the member that stayed through out was the Wasp.
The relaunch, after The Avengers movie, had the founders as Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Cap, Hawkeye, Black Widow and The Falcon. I know!!! Right? But the subsequent stories have been developing Ultron, Cap and Iron Man's conflict. Secret Avengers, No Avengers, Non Avengers........blah blah blah. Wait, what was my question? Oh, does this ret-conning bother you as much as it bothers me?

(Now, I don't mind chopping wood
And I don't care if the money's no good
You take what you need
And you leave the rest
But they should never
Have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down
And the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down
And all the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, la, na, na, la")

Graham said...

The JLA/JSA team-up was always the "Big Event" to me when I first started reading. It was sort of hard for me initially to keep up with Marvel events because distribution was so spotty with Marvel comics when I first started reading, so I was later to the game with them than most of you (around '76-77).

I think the main thing that was cool about the JLA/JSA events was that these couple of issues were really the only time we got to see any of the JSA during the year, barring a Wildcat appearance in Brave & Bold, or Doctor Fate in World's Finest, or the Golden Age Flash making an appearance in Flash. Once they restarted All-Star Comics, it didn't seem to have the same "event" status to me, though it was cool to see the other guest stars from other "Worlds" appearing.

Karen said...

Thanks to all for your comments (I know our pal Mike from T&T must be headed along soon). To some extent I feel like an old curmudgeon, waving my cane angrily at the kids on my lawn, but all the event-driven comics really did have a part in my exit from regular new comics reading. My husband picked up the first couple of issues of the new Secret Wars and it was just so beyond the pale - entire multiverses having been destroyed, and essentially our "heroes" having jumped ship and left everyone behind to save their own hides. No thanks. I know they're trying to use this tremendous scale to evoke awe or wonder or whatever, but as several of you said, it just becomes something I cannot relate to -cold, inhuman even. I much prefer a story where I can feel lives in the balance -lives of people I actually recognize, not weird abstract concepts.

I do agree, the Marvel films are headed into this "too big" direction what with the Infinity War -even Civil War concerns me. Ant-Man was refreshing in that the story was still focused on the small scale (no pun intended). Speaking of which, we'll be talking about the Ant-Man film tomorrow!

BK said...

The event comics are really a product of the Direct Market era (post Bronze-Age, really) and the maturing of the teen/adult fandom/collector audience who followed series. In the previous 4-plus decades of the U.S. comics market, such events were impossible because the mantras were "every comic is someone's first" and "the audience turns over every 3 years." Nobody was going to follow every issue and until the universe-altering climax, let alone follow a series over a number of different titles. Nor would the Comics Code necessarily allow all that we have come to expect from such events. (Tv miniseries of the 70s-80s must have had an effect on comics writers as well.)

That being said, there are plenty of precursors to the modern "event" that are important and even better reads, including the Monster Society of Evil and various other serial tales from the Golden/Atom Age, several of the Superman novels (epics like "Superman Under the Red Sun" and the Imaginary Stories) and attempts to radically update the character, and of course the annual cross-dimensional Crisis stories in the JLA. Kirby's Galactus Trilogy and Fourth World were events, as were the Treasury team-ups. Of all these, maybe the death issues (Gwen Stacy in Spidey and the Phoenix saga in X-men) count as real capital E events since they had lasting impacts. Maybe the Legion stories were the first place life and death cosmic epics were tried out in Silver Age superhero comics (?) leading to the Darkness Saga (based on Kirby ideas) etc in the Bronze Age. Certainly 70s anniversary issues (i.e. FF 200) seemed to be trying to capture the spirit of the blockbuster Lee/Kirby events and annuals of the SA. Hard-pressed to name 10 Bronze Age "event" comics that marked a major change in a universe or even important series.

Humanbelly said...

Well, darn!
I stopped by my LCS, and according to them Back Issue #82 hasn't shipped yet. Way behind schedule, in fact, and doesn't seem to be on the horizon for at least a couple of weeks. They. . . were not kind about the book's publication/distribution punctuality, I must say. . . ! But, I'll keep checking in on 'em. These days, years pass between my LCS purchases, so I'll hold out to throw them this one, at least.

Hmm-- should I brag that I'm acquainted with the primary article's author? Think that'll give me some local comics community cred-?? (The guys in this store, PLANET COMICS in College Park, MD, have always been unfailingly nice and friendly and helpful, I should add. Very much the opposite of the crew in that AMC series. . . )

HB

Karen said...

HB, I just read this morning on the Back Issue Facebook page that publication has been delayed until July 29. Sorry for the confusion. I will change the post once I get to a computer.

Edo Bosnar said...

Just a heads up, for any of you who are interested in getting the digital (.pdf) version of Back Issue #82, it's now available: I just got an e-mail notice from TwoMorrows and downloaded it about a minute ago.

Doug said...

I just read Karen's article -- well done, Partner!

For those of you on the fence about purchasing the digital edition (I've been doing that for my last two subscriptions -- I miss the actual magazines, but the price point difference is tremendous), I think you'll like not only Karen's thoughts (she includes comments from Roy Thomas, Steve Englehart, and Sal Buscema -- and you thought she only rubbed elbows with Joe Biden!), but the rest of the issue sits squarely in the midst of this period we all love. Lots and lots of 1970s-'80s "big events". Check it out!

Doug

Karen said...

Thanks a bunch, Doug. I just got my PDF copy by email and the whole issue looks like very interesting reading. I glanced over my article and as usual, there's that feeling that I could have done many things better, but hopefully it will be entertaining. As always, Michael Eury and his crew did a great job with the graphics!

Anonymous said...

I love Back Issue....it's the ONLY thing that gets me motivated enough to take the 50 mile trek to my LCS as soon as it hits my bin!

starfoxxx

Edo Bosnar said...

Yep, just finished reading Karen's article, so I can second Doug's warm recommendation. I liked both your thoughts on the story and the comments from the guys involved, esp. Englehart. It does just what a good review should, i.e., it has me on the verge of pulling out my Avengers-Defenders War tpb and to give it another read.
Also, Doug's right about something else: the whole issue is packed with interesting articles.

Karen said...

Thanks Edo! Englehart was a real pleasure to interview, and it was clear he really thought out every detail of the story. I wish I had been able to include more of his comments about plotting the story but I had to cut it down to about 5,000 words. My first draft was well over 6,000! Sal and Roy was also very gracious with their time, although less involved with the story, and they perhaps did not recall it quite so clearly as Steve did, he being the architect and all. But if the article makes you want to re-read those issues, I feel I did my job!

I read the JLA/JSA article and now I want to buy some more of those TPBs. I only have a couple of them. Those early Denny O'Neill stories sound intriguing.

Edo Bosnar said...

Ha! Karen, funny that you mention the review of the JLA/JSA crossovers. I got about half-way through it before other obligations interfered (damn work!), but I was just thinking the same thing: I really want the TPBs now, from no. 3 onward especially (I have none of them...)

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