Friday, July 3, 2015

True or False: Concerning the Bronze Age, I Miss Marvel's Giant-Size Titles the Most.


Doug: True or False: Concerning the Bronze Age, I Miss Marvel's Giant-Size Titles the Most.



28 comments:

Colin Jones said...

For some reason those Giant Sized issues weren't available in the UK and neither were the annuals (or if they were then I certainly never saw any) - regular U.S. Marvel comics yes, Treasury Editions yes (I had lots of those), even the Marvel Classics Comics yes (Tom Sawyer etc) but no Giant-Sized or annuals so I missed out on those.

J.A. Morris said...

False. There were some good Giant-Size comics, but there were also a bunch that featured mediocre art and stories that weren't that great either. They were a mixed bag at best.

On a positive note, they gave us one of the greatest comic book titles ever:

GIANT-SIZE MAN-THING!

William said...

Even though I do miss some of the "Giant-Size" titles, I will have to say FALSE, because what I really miss most about the Bronze-Age is good writing, (with exciting stories and consistent characterizations). And I miss REALl comic art that's fun and dynamic. (Not the stiff, and over-worked, computer generated junk they put out today).

As far as I'm concerned, what passes for so-called Comic Books these days is pretty much mostly garbage. So, I guess I'm saying that I really wouldn't want a Giant-Sized piece of garbage. lol

Redartz said...

False; although it does beg the question: "What do you miss most about the Bronze Age of comics?". That's a big question with a lot of area to consider; such as what differentiates the Bronze Age from other comics eras (time frame notwithstanding). For today's discussion, however, I'd say no, there are other Bronze Age elements that had a higher priority for me. That said, I did and still do love those Giant-Size books. How can you not love extra pages, and a price of 50 cents? As J.A. noted, some issues were certainly better than others. Giant-Size Avengers were always good; of course Giant-Size X-Men was a blockbuster. I also liked the Defenders giants, and numerous others. Wasn't that taken with the Spider-man giants at the time, other than the first (Giant-Size Superheros with Man-Wolf and Morbius) and the fifth (Man-Thing and the Lizard). Speaking of Man-Thing, Steve Gerber made the most of those issues, did he not? With Howard the Duck backups by Brunner, to boot...

Rip Jagger said...

TRUE!!!!!!

One of the things about the Bronze Age which I most value was the multitude of formats they played around with to try and find one which maximized value for the customer and gave profit to the company. DC in particular was playing with this with different giants and 100-pagers and eventually the dollar format. Marvel to a lesser degree, but the era of the Giant-Size is one that I loved. The one month they were all giants, with extra new story content was a splendid display. It was brief moment but very very shiny.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

I'm almost at a loss as to how to answer this question; I had just started getting into comics as Marvel's Giant-Size era was closing, so the only two I had at the time was Giant-Size Iron Man and Giant-Size FF (both featuring reprints from the 1960s). I later read a bunch of the GS Avengers, Defenders and, yes, Man-Things, all of which I liked quite a bit. But I can't say it's what I miss most about the period. I would be closer to saying true if you had included all "big" books, like annuals, treasury editions and DC's 100-page spectaculars and later dollar comics. I always loved all those extra-sized books, especially since they seemed to come out in a higher volume in the summertime.
So I guess I'll have to say 'false' if we're just talking about the Marvel Giant-Size books.

Anonymous said...

False. I can't say "miss" because I wasn't born until '77, but it he thing I wish we saw more of was creators willing to take more chances in mainstream titles. Steve Gerber, Steve Englehart, and Jim Starlin bent comic book writing into new shape. Neal Adams, Berni Wrightson, Jim Steranko, BWS, Jeffrey Jones, Mike Kaluta, and others redefined how comics could be drawn. Jack Kirby's 4th World books were a fever dream made real. The explosion of creativity is what drew me to Bronze Age comics in the 1st place, and I would love to see that spirit return to Marvel & DC.

- Mike Loughlin

Humanbelly said...

I do think I'm goin' with the majority, here.
I too loved them and miss them. . . but I wouldn't say I miss them "the most". And it was a short-lived phenomenon, wasn't it? Maybe a year and a half, all told?

What I loved is that, at their best, they represented first-rate, humdinger, page-turnin' comic book production at its finest. Giant Size Defenders is probably my favorite run of all the ones I have-- even w/ #1 being a "clip" issue and #5 having less-than-stellar art. There was a lot of wild envelope-pushing in that short run. The FF and Avengers titles were pretty darned good, as well. But I suspect that it was too hard to keep up that pace for the A-listers involved (John Buscema's splash page on GSMan-Thing #2 is pretty much a stand-alone work of art, to my memory-hazed eyes-), and in the latter books the art chores seemed to diminish across the board. I'll tell you, though, even some of the reprint issues they ended with were well worth the cover price-- GSX-Men #2 and GSFF #6 (I think) and GSHulk #1 in particular.

What was MURDER, of course, was the relentless economic pressure on one's meager adolescent cash-flow. That was RIGHT when I had jumped back into comics-buying in earnest, and suddenly half the books I loved were effectively asking me, every third month, to spend an extra TWO months' worth of shekels for yet another issue. It was our Dollar Challenge. . . but in agonizing real life.

HB

Dr. Oyola said...

I can't say I miss what I never had access to (before my time), though I did love stumbling upon an old "Giant Size" at a yard sale back in the day.

But I'll agree with Rip, that what I would like is a greater range of formats and styles for comics. that is happening to some degree in terms of style (we're finally turning the corner on the self-serious grimdark comics era with lots of serious but self-aware comics with a hint of humor), but want to see more variety on how trades are packaged or mini-series are organized, etc. . . ad more variety in what superhero stories can do - superhero noir, superhero romance, superhero horror, superhero satire, etc. . .

In my ongoing series of posts about Howard the Duck (comparing the new series to the old series one issue at a time) the conclusion I have come to so far (and I am only 4 issues in - 4th installment going live on Tuessday) is that while the 2015 series is a better comic in terms of dialog and pacing and humor (you can't really compare the art, though I'd say it is great in both), but the 1976 original version tries to to do and say something different even if it fails, which I can't help but admire.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to go with false, if only because I didn't really differentiate much between the Marvel Giant-Size titles and the annuals (where I grew up a Marvel annual was a hardback book that came out in winter).

Mind you, if we were talking about the longer books more generally - annuals and DC 80/100 page giants and spectaculars and whatnot - then I might reconsider. Those kind of things were hard to find round my way, which of course made them that much exciting to me as a kid when they turned up.
But the same was true of, say, the Marvel black and white magazines so... I think I have to stick with false.

I agree with Rip above about varied formats, but I miss a larger page size more than I do a longer page count. A collected edition will always beat a double size floppy on length, but these days where can you read US comics that allow you to really appreciate the artwork? I probably miss magazine size comics the most....

-sean

Colin Bray said...

With my fellow British Colin here, I don't think I saw a Bronze Age GS book until I got back into comics in 2000.

I love the idea of them but less so the reality. Of the examples I've read most just left me feeling let down - too many reprints and rushed work.

Did any GS book lead to lasting ramifications for the characters?

Overall I miss the sense of social history, variety and creativity in the BA more than anything else. Especially American social history - my understanding of the counterculture, Nixon and the oil crisis, punk, new wave and Reagan's 80s is increasingly understood through reading comics - including the Bullpen Bullpens and ad pages.

Humanbelly said...

To answer you question, Colin-- in a few cases, man, you bet there were lasting ramifications! GS AVENGERS # 2,3 & 4 were all inextricably intertwined with the whole Kang/Immortus/Celestial Madonna/Vision Origin/andthekitchensink arc. You honestly couldn't buy only the monthly title during that run and have a prayer of being on top of the story (although editorial made a herculean effort to keep everyone footnoted as best they could--). GS X-MEN #1, of course, was the launch of the decades-long Mutant dynasty. And GS DEFENDERS #3 put the obscure Korvac on our radar, who would later go on to become "Michael" in that particular Avengers epic. Great stand-alone story,too, for that matter.

The comparison to annuals is an apt one, since the stories did tend to be bigger, grander, done-in-ones for the most part-- albeit tenuously connected to ongoing continuity. And by that point, annuals were but a memory anyhow-- and themselves had been given over to reprint material "Special Editions" before being abandoned completely. Honestly, for those few years in the Modern Era when they re-introduced the summer annual, they would have been MUCH better served by sticking with that GS mix of original/rare-reprint material rather than a lot of the schlocky third-rate filler they subjected us wide-eyed fans to. . .

HB

Redartz said...

Colin- as for GS books that had lasting impact, I'd say Giant Size Avengers 2-4 might qualify. With Kang, Celestial Madonna and Vision/Scarlet Witch wedding, they were pretty full. Of course, much of that has been overturned since, but Englehart sure gave us our 50 cents worth...

Redartz said...

Beat me to it HB! Often your take on things is so close to mine its scary...

Doug said...

Well, you both beat me to it! I'd read Colin's comment on my way to the showers after some outside work. Say, did anyone know that a power washer will remove mildew from a patio rug? News you can use!

HB, Thor Annual #6 also featured Korvac, along with the Guardians of the Galaxy. I believe it lead into the Korvac Saga -- maybe not directly, but that epic was not long after.

I loved the G-S issues, and as I remarked last week I would certainly be interested in an Omnibus collecting all of those gems. Sure, some were more miss than hit, but overall I have a deep fondness for them.

But more than the Treasuries? Hmmm...

Doug

Humanbelly said...

Heh-- I know whatcha mean, Redartz. Sometimes I think a few of us here are the unknowing middle-aged remnants of an early "Orphan Black"-type experiment, and our common interests (apparently driven at the DNA level) have slowly, slowly drawn us together-- collecting us here at this little blog as it sends out its subtle-yet-irresistable siren-song into the inter-ether. . .

HB

PS--Oo, Doug, no question that I personally have far greater love for the GS books than the Treasuries. Original material would always trump reprint for me, regardless of format. . .

Anonymous said...

False...there were plenty of better comics around back then that I miss more (Master of Kung Fu comes to mind).

Mike Wilson

Logan Marcum said...

Absolutely true!

Because writers like Englehart used the format very efficiently, tying in the quarterly book into the storyline, I used to be so excited to find these in the spinner racks. And reading some of the back-up reprints allowed me to get some Marvel history that I couldn't find prior to comic shops. These were my favorite and fondest memories of the '70s...finding any GS on the store.

But it's a thing of the past. Wouldn't work today, of course...unless I would somehow get my wish and Marvel would reboot all continuity back to the early 80's and pretend that everything that's happened since then were just imaginary stories.

david_b said...

Sort of 'False'..

I'll say I missed the Giant Sized issues of the Silver Age (King Size issues, they were called) more. They had that hip Marvel Bullpen zaniness in extras (still love DD's 1st King Size).

The Bronze Giant Sized issues were spotty. Best were that great Super Stars issue (the FF one with Benjy and the Hulk in the boxing ring issue..) and Avengers issues (my favs already mentioned above..), others simply new main stories and a few backup Strange Tales stories. I liked the concept, but by the time the 70s progressed on, the ad pages removed most of any residual cool extras I mentioned above.

IMHO.., DC 100-page issues actually had more fun and flair than the Marvel versions; they just seemed more novel than Marvel's occasional ploy to carry a regular title Marvel story over for guaranteed sales, and a few vintage extras phoned in.

Anonymous said...

Generally speaking, false. Like my buddies William, JA, Colin and Edo, what I really miss is the excellent writing and classic Bronze Age artwork rather than the large format issues. Of course, some were great, some were not. As William said, most of the artwork today looks all the same, as if a 5 year old drew them. While there are a few exceptions, most modern comics today lack that magical quality that made fans of all of us back then.

The only real area where modern comics shine is in the area of colouring; computer graphics give you a depth of shading and colour which was not possible 40 years ago, but even so some fans (like me) still prefer the old four colour format.


- Mike 'what's magenta?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Colin Bray said...

Fabulous, thank you everybody. I have some of the GS issues you reference in my 'to read' long boxes and now look forward to them hugely.

Colin Bray said...

Fabulous, thank you everybody. I have some of the GS issues you reference in my 'to read' long boxes and now look forward to them hugely.

Martinex1 said...

I don't have much to add. The GS issues are not the thing I miss most but they are up there. There was something about those longer formats that was fun. As a kid it would take so long to get through the book. It seemed like it took all afternoon to pour over GS Defenders especially with the text pages. I'm sure it was probably only an hour but it was cheap entertainment on a rainy day I've always had a fondness for Specials, Annuals, Double Sized Issues and compilations like early Marvel Tales.

I'd love to measure how many words per cent books had in those days. Today it seems a $4 book has about 5% of the content.

What I miss most about the Bronze Age is finding comics in many stores and not just in the LCS. And heroes being heroes; complex and challenged and flawed but not killers and brutes.

Graham said...

I started out with DC via their 100-Pagers, and the first few Marvels I got were Giant-Sizes. I figured that since the DC 100-Pagers got me up to date, then the Marvels should do that, too, and they worked pretty well. You had a mix of new and old stories in them. I really liked the all-reprints ones that Marvel did just before they discontinued them and went back to their Annuals.

dbutler16 said...

Giant Size Marvels are wonderful, and one of those quintessentially Bronze Age things (like DC's 100 page spectaculars and dollar comics) but I can't say it's the thing I miss the most about the Bronze Age. I don't know what is, though, though the tight continuity between the many Marvel titles (oh, not to mention the great art and writing) might be it.

Ozone said...

Woah! Who drew and inked that CHILLERS Giant-Size cover? That's a superb piece of comic art. It made me think perhaps Marvel missed an opportunity at a character with staying power, considering the success of the Gargoyles cartoon some years later. -JJ

R. Lloyd said...

I miss them for the art and writing and you'll never see the likes of a Gil Kane, Jack Kirby or John or Sal Buscema ever again. I loved those books because the writers were given more of a free rein to work without having to worry about what their corporate masters would think. When Marvel became a corporate brand the individuality and distinct voice of it's creators jumped the shark. I find myself looking more at comics that don't have the Marvel or DC brand name. I find that if I do read any Marvel or DC, it's the reprints and omnibus editions of the comics from the 1970's.

Richard Guion said...

Of course the answer is TRUE! I miss the Giant-Size Marvels so much I created a blog with that title. :-)

Beyond the Giant-Sized issues, I miss the King-Size annuals and the Marvel Treasury editions!

On the DC side, the 100 page Super Spectaculars were amazing and a great education in DC's Golden and Silver Age characters. I do think for the money you spent on those it was well worth it, I spent hours reading 1 of those 100 page things. Also when I could find them, the 80 page DC giants and specials, especially anything with Superman, Batman, and the Justice League.

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