Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Open Forum: It's All You!

While Karen and Doug are on vacation in January, our readers have been entrusted with carrying on the daily conversations.  Today's Open Forum is a do-it-yourselfer.  As we've done in the past, the first commenter gets to pick today's topic of conversation.

Generally speaking, the Open Forum is for broader topics.  For example, in the past we've started conversations such as "The Role of Inkers" and "What's So Great About the Bronze Age?"  Start with a topic that is broad enough to elicit an ongoing conversation, and that even might lend itself to tangential musings.

Thanks for holding it down for us!


david_b said...

Here's one I posted on the Suggestion Box a few weeks ago..:

{Drum roll, please..?}

Favorite Comic 'Substitute Teacher'..

This is where a new artist or writer walked in for an issue and throws everything on it's side, just for an issue or two.

Continuity, pah, 'Who needs Continuity..?'

A fav of mine was Cap and Falc 164, where Alan Weiss drew some impressive art, which also introduced the deadly Nightshade (?). Steve Englehart wrote some pretty uncharacteristic 'craving danger' narrative here as well, which seemed more befitting of Conan or Thor's title.

By the way, love the hip Fury clothes; I don't think Kirby or Steranko originally had this look in mind..:

Any other Bronze nominees, good, bad, indifferent..?

J.A. Morris said...

One of my favorite subs was Michael Golden in Star Wars #38:

Not a great story, but damn it looks good.

And I always liked Captain America #184, with guest art by Herb Trimpe. He was a nice change of pace from Frenetic Frank Robbins.

david_b said...


Great mention on Cap. I remember first reading ish 184 very well. Not a Hulk reader, I wasn't familiar with Herb's work, but definitely a welcomed break from Frank.

'Course Sal popped back in for ish 188, reminding everyone WHY he was painfully missed.

Anonymous said...

Hi David, great topic.

Well, speaking of Alan Weiss, during the Avengers Dark Ages (200 – 254), there’s a neat little story in 215/216 with Alan Weiss pencils starring the Surfer and the Molecule Man. Complete left field, the identities of Thor & Iron Man are revealed, big cosmic stakes, all out of nowhere in a done-in-two.

I guess other contenders would be those Harlan Ellison oddities, Avengers #88 and #101, Hulk #140 and DD #208.

And while I’m here, Barry Smith’s three night stand on Avengers 98-100. Wonderful issues, very different to everything and let’s face it, if there was ever an act you didn’t want to follow, it was T/A/P on the K/S war, but those Olympian issues are great.

Ditko’s Hulk always freaked me out.

Tempted to say Gerber’s only Avengers issue #178, but that was more of a filler than a change of direction.

That Rudy Nebres issue of Doc Strange. Is there more than one? Great art for the Doc.

In terms of dropping in and de-railing everything, I guess the king has to be Jim Starlin, threading his Thanos narrative through Iron Man, Marvel Feature, the Avengers, Daredevil, Captain Marvel, 2 in 1, Team Up and then those 2 classic annuals.


Edo Bosnar said...

Darn, I was also going to say Star Wars #38, probably my favorite single issue of that series.
Another issue that I think fits this category is Amazing Spider-man #187: definitely a filler issue, co-plotted (with regular series writer Marv Wolfman) and drawn by Jim Starlin and guest-starring Captain America. It doesn't turn regular series continuity on its head or anything, but it just seems so out of place, like it should have been featured in Marvel Team-up instead. Either way, it's great fun.
Since both david_b and Richard mentioned Alan Weiss, another example of him coming in and shaking things up, at least artistically, is Shazam #34 - a real change of pace from that very tame and cartoony art by Kurt Schaffenberger that preceded it, and even the story seemed a bit darker than normal.

Edo Bosnar said...

And I just remembered another one that fits David's criteria pretty much across the board: Fantastic Four #219, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Bill Sienkiewicz - both in sharp contrast to the main creative team up to that point, Marv Wolfman and the Byrne/Sinnott art team. In it, Capt. Barracuda sets Namor's leviathan on a rampage through Manhattan so he can rob banks. Really. Meanwhile, the characterization of the FF themselves is kind of off, with Reed acting more like a jerk than usual and yelling at the other team members at the start of the issue. And then a few issues later Moench and Sienkiewicz became the book's regular creative team for about a dozen issues...

david_b said...

Barry Smith was the 'Substitute Teacher' Supreme..!?!

I've shared my early Smith love, some shrug it off as a wonky search for style and identity; I call it his 'Kirby-Steranko Love Child' phase, with issues like DD 52 (GREAT underrated cover..), the surreal Mar-Vell 11 cover, and Avengers 66-67 depicting the best brooding Vision ever.

Seriously, if you're going to ape other styles, might as well go with the BEST.

Anonymous said...

This is almost the opposite of a substitute teacher, but Xmen 64 is a corker. The Xmen having been all over the shop for quite some time by this point, this story introduces Sunfire as rogue mutant with an agenda. It’s a sudden and unexpected return to page one of the Xmen story book, with surprisingly good art from Don Heck (well, after Tom Palmer erased his pencils and started from scratch, that is). (Sorry Doug).


Inkstained Wretch said...

Here's a favorite of mine: Thor #356. It was a done-in-one that happened deep inside the classic run by Walt Simonson. Ordinarily, I hate it when classic runs are interrupted but this one didn't interrupt the run so much as simply pause it for an issue. It doesn't mess with continuity at all and is really funny.

Bob Harris (writer) and Jackson Guice and Bob Layton (art). It features Hercules and Jarvis out grocery shopping(!) whereupon Herc relates a highly suspect story about how he totally proved that he was way bigger and tougher than Thor to a group of kids ... that is, until Herc realizes he's just being a big jerk. Good fun.

Here's a write-up on it:

Garett said...

Since I mentioned it a few days back, here's Garcia Lopez on Superman 347. He never did a big run on Superman, just issues here and there:

8th picture down. Superman and Lois, just before their flying dance together.

Doug said...

Good topic, David!

My nominee is the substitute teacher you had when you walked in the room and just groaned. Of course I'm speaking of Avengers #'s 145-46 with Don Heck dropping smack into the middle of the Serpent Crown/Wild West/Kang arc. Ugh...

Richard, don't know why you're apologizing about the Heck/Palmer X-Men issue -- I've felt the same as you for years!


Anonymous said...

The only one that comes to mind right now (and I realize it's LATE Bronze Age) is Web of Spider-Man #49 by Peter David/Val Mayerik. It was an interesting look at the drug problem which didn't feature any super-villains, but was a cool story with good characters.

Mike W.

Rip Jagger said...

One that came to mind was Avengers #87 which featured the origin of the Black Panther and featured the exceedingly rare pencils of longtime Marvel inker Frank Giacoia. I found Giacoia's work here quite powerful and even innovative in the development of the panel design. I can't think of another issue he pencilled. This one though was a dandy.

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