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Author
thuggernaut


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,435


It's a meme that comics sucked in the 90s, but I don't think it's totally accurate.

The meme is really a shorthand that Image comics, and it all it represented, sucked. Secondly, it reflects that Marvel was pretty terrible in the 90s after a stellar 1980s. Avengers and FF were moribund, Spider-Man was bogged down in the Clone Saga and X-Men, while still uber popular, was a franchise that was about to be milked to death.

The only immediate greatness that I can think of for Marvel in the 90s was MARVELS and the successful 1998 relaunch of Avengers (both by Kurt Busiek).

As for DC, it certainly wasn't perfect. It had gimmick covers and was dominated by the mega-event and "death of" syndrome. DC went over the cliff in the 90s with the Electro Superman arc, IMO.


BUT. . .to my recollection there was still a baseline quality and vitality to DC comics in the 90s and it's not ANYWHERE as bad as Image and Marvel were at the time.

Whadya think?


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America's Captain 

Maintainer

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139



    Quote:
    It's a meme that comics sucked in the 90s, but I don't think it's totally accurate.


Me either.


    Quote:
    The meme is really a shorthand that Image comics, and it all it represented, sucked. Secondly, it reflects that Marvel was pretty terrible in the 90s after a stellar 1980s. Avengers and FF were moribund, Spider-Man was bogged down in the Clone Saga and X-Men, while still uber popular, was a franchise that was about to be milked to death.


There were some bright spots in Marvel if we take the decade as a whole. Mark Waid's Captain America, for example, both before and after Heroes Reborn. Also Force Works, Darkhawk, New Warriors, Dan Jurgens's Thor, Thunderstrike - there was a lot of good stuff.


    Quote:
    The only immediate greatness that I can think of for Marvel in the 90s was MARVELS and the successful 1998 relaunch of Avengers (both by Kurt Busiek).


I didn't like Busiek's Avengers - although I liked George Perez's art.


    Quote:
    As for DC, it certainly wasn't perfect. It had gimmick covers and was dominated by the mega-event and "death of" syndrome. DC went over the cliff in the 90s with the Electro Superman arc, IMO.


A lot of people think that era of Superman was especially good, oddly enough.


    Quote:

    BUT. . .to my recollection there was still a baseline quality and vitality to DC comics in the 90s and it's not ANYWHERE as bad as Image and Marvel were at the time.


What DC books from the 90s did you like?


    Quote:
    Whadya think?


Hawkworld was published mostly in the 90s. I was a big fan of that book.

More generally, though, I think the main difference between the Big Two was this:

Marvel in the 90s was heavily influenced by Image, whereas DC wasn't. (Image was influenced by Marvel also, of course.) People who remember 90s Marvel with distaste tend to also remember 90s Image with distaste. DC was chasing a different aesthetic.








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Iron Man Unit 007

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,929


Saying that 90's DC was better then marvel or image really isn't saying much.

They all had th ir problems, including the holo-foil covers, and the so called whock and awe events.

Death of Superman
Reign of the Supermen
Knightfall also called Knightfall
Azrael as batman....
And of course the worst of them all.....Emerald Twilight


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Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 11,689




    Quote:
    It's a meme that comics sucked in the 90s, but I don't think it's totally accurate.


I thought Flash, Robin and Superboy were pretty good.



    Quote:
    The meme is really a shorthand that Image comics, and it all it represented, sucked. Secondly, it reflects that Marvel was pretty terrible in the 90s after a stellar 1980s. Avengers and FF were moribund, Spider-Man was bogged down in the Clone Saga and X-Men, while still uber popular, was a franchise that was about to be milked to death.



    Quote:
    The only immediate greatness that I can think of for Marvel in the 90s was MARVELS and the successful 1998 relaunch of Avengers (both by Kurt Busiek).


I was a big fan of New Warriors and Thunderbolts. Oh and X-Men 2099 even though I dislike most X-books.



    Quote:
    As for DC, it certainly wasn't perfect. It had gimmick covers and was dominated by the mega-event and "death of" syndrome. DC went over the cliff in the 90s with the Electro Superman arc, IMO.



    Quote:

    BUT. . .to my recollection there was still a baseline quality and vitality to DC comics in the 90s and it's not ANYWHERE as bad as Image and Marvel were at the time.


I think DC made unpopular decisions in the 90's. Marvel made BAD decisions.






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Reverend Meteor


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 11,689




    Quote:
    Saying that 90's DC was better then marvel or image really isn't saying much.



    Quote:
    They all had th ir problems, including the holo-foil covers, and the so called whock and awe events.



    Quote:
    Death of Superman
    Reign of the Supermen
    Knightfall also called Knightfall
    Azrael as batman....
    And of course the worst of them all.....Emerald Twilight


With the exception of that last one I don't see any of these as horrible storylines. (overly long and milking the fans of their money...yes. Bad...no)

Azrael was made Batman to show the weird fanboys WHY Batman doesn't work as a murderous vigilante. There was a method to the madness.

And I liked the death/reign of Superman because we got Superboy out of it.





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Superman's Pal

Moderator

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,730


It's interesting. The Death of Superman is really the comic that made me a collector, and I started following all of DC's stuff to some extent after that, I didn't follow Marvel much at the time, although my brother bought most of the Clone Saga and I read it. Still, even though the 90s were my primary DC reading phase, I'm not sure it was all that great. Just my opinion, of course.

I liked the Death of Superman, it was a death story that showed the effects the death had on the world and also had a return already in mind when it was written. The Reign was great, created new characters and told a fun story and brought back Superman without it feeling too cheap. Still, although this run started my Superman buying habit, I don't think anything that came after it in the 90s was all that memorable. When I went back and filled in issues between Man of Steel and Death of Superman, I enjoyed those books much more.

Green Lantern, which had been my favorite comic mythos until then, had the unfortunate Emerald Twilight and then I just never got into Kyle Rayner. He has his fans, of course, but that was kind of the end of GL for me. I was also a big Guy Gardner fan but maybe he never should have had his own book. Anyway, the dissolution of the GLC caused him to become Warrior which was also trash, and seemed quasi Image-inspired. They came out with the Darkstars in the 90s and it seemed like more mediocre space opera. LEGION was great the first couple of years but then it started to suck as the 90s rolled on and eventually became the awful REBELS and tanked the franchise.

Wonder Woman wasn't doing much with her book and then of course they replaced her with Artemis who seemed like an Image clone.

The Justice League kept going downhill. Extreme Justice being the final nail and the most Imagey of DC's efforts (well, and maybe Sovereign Seven). At least Extreme Justice and Warrior for all their suckitude were more constructive than destructive, bringing characters back or inventing new ones rather than killing them off. Luckily it got the reboot as JLA.

The Flash was okay until they invented the Speed Force, that really killed it for me. Everything after that was diminishing returns.

Hawkman kept getting repackaged, that's still a problem I guess. Hawkworld started the 90s strong for him but the ongoing series was not as good as the mini. The Zero Hour version was not good. His next series didn't kick off til 2002.

The Titans also became a mess. With most of the original team leaving you got the ad-hoc team of Martix Supergirl, Kyle Rayner, Darkstar Donna Troy, Impulse and Damage. More mediocrity.

So I tend to think of that stuff when I think of '90s DC, and it's not good.

HOWEVER ... the Bat titles certainly flourished with Batman having 4 or 5 books, Robin, Nightwing, Azrael etc. I just didn't read many of them. I couldn't get into reading the Bat titles on a regular basis, probably because there were so many of them.

Impulse, Superboy and Robin were all pretty solid titles from what I read.

The Legion reboot was debatably a good idea. Recently I read the 5 Years Later stuff for the first time and I actually liked it, but I can see why people didn't, and why they wanted to go back to a version of the classic Legion.

Kingdom Come was a big event and while it was pretty, and it was a decent Elseworlds glimpse into a future that we shouldn't want our heroes to end up in, I . could never understand why they kept trying to steer the DCU towards it as an actual future for DC. All subsequent mentions of this story were bad. Marvel probably went back to the well on Days of Future Past too often as well.

And the decade capped off with the reboots of JLA and JSA which both enjoyed good runs for a while.

I tend to think of 90s DC as crap but maybe I should revise that thought to mid-90s DC. The decade started and finished strong in spite of a weak middle.



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Menshevik


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 5,073



    Quote:
    It's a meme that comics sucked in the 90s, but I don't think it's totally accurate.



    Quote:
    The meme is really a shorthand that Image comics, and it all it represented, sucked. Secondly, it reflects that Marvel was pretty terrible in the 90s after a stellar 1980s. Avengers and FF were moribund, Spider-Man was bogged down in the Clone Saga and X-Men, while still uber popular, was a franchise that was about to be milked to death.



    Quote:
    The only immediate greatness that I can think of for Marvel in the 90s was MARVELS and the successful 1998 relaunch of Avengers (both by Kurt Busiek).


I really was underwhelmed by MARVELs (the POV character clearly was Busiek's mouthpiece and especially with regards to the death of Gwen Stacy) talked like a disgruntled old fan who thinks comics have gone to heck ever since he's no longer a teenager. And I disliked Busiek's Avengers storylines so much that I stopped buying the title despite Perez' art (not that I wa impressed by the somewhat fanservice-y "gypsy" costume he gave Wanda).

But there were some things Marvel produced about which I grew enthusiastic, for instance the Age of Apocalypse, early Generation X, the true Spider-Girl, and Peter David's X-Factor.


    Quote:
    As for DC, it certainly wasn't perfect. It had gimmick covers and was dominated by the mega-event and "death of" syndrome. DC went over the cliff in the 90s with the Electro Superman arc, IMO.



    Quote:

    BUT. . .to my recollection there was still a baseline quality and vitality to DC comics in the 90s and it's not ANYWHERE as bad as Image and Marvel were at the time.



    Quote:
    Whadya think?


I actually enjoyed a lot of the Superman stuff in the 1990s, in fact I think this was the only time when I bought the Superman books regularly. I also loved Kon-El, the new Superboy, and PAD's take on Supergirl. At the time I also liked the Flash a lot (Wally West is my Flash) and its spin-off, Impulse. So it won't come as any surprise to you that PAD's Young Justice is one of my all-time favourite series. And I still shed a tear for Hawk & Dove when I angrily recall Armageddon 2001. Then there was Batman: The Animated Series, my all-time animated adaptation of a superhero series. Which introduced Harley Quinn, one of the greatest breakout characters of the decade, who then appeared in the comics too, especially in the wonderful graphic novel Mad Love. I think all in all the 1990s was the time when I read DC comics the most (normally I'm more of a Marvel Zombie).



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