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Location: St. Louis, MO
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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Subj: Re: Thirty Years Ago Today....
Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 at 03:44:20 am EDT (Viewed 244 times)
Reply Subj: Thirty Years Ago Today....
Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2015 at 05:01:50 pm EDT (Viewed 336 times)

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August 1985, and if like me you were an avid comics reader here is a sample of what you might find on the news stands back then...

While the Crisis on Infinite Earths reaches the three-quarters mark At Marvel Secret Wars II was also well underway and reaching issue #5, both of these events were supported across the publishing line with a surfeit of crossovers, but looking past the Crisis and Secret Wars the output of Marvel and DC comics makes for very interesting reading. One very noteworthy feature was the sheer weight of team-books, from DC in particular we were being served with the usual JLA, Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, but joining those mainstay features were newcomers The Omega Men, The Outsiders, Infinity Inc., The All-Star Squadron, and to a limited extend Jack Kirby's Super Powers mini series. Conglomerates were all the rage it appears. But this was a publisher about to undergo a monumental overhaul, not that we necessarily realised it back then in those pre-internet days of isolation and blissful ignorance.

Marvel on the other hand were much more focused on licenced properties - GI Joe, Conan, and Star Wars had been features on the schedules for a number of years, but by August '85 we also had The Get Along Gang, Misty, Planet Terry, Thundercats, Strawberry Shortcake, Doctor Who, and The Transformers, and Fraggle Rock among others. One thing that was also hard to miss was the sheer weight of titles now aimed exclusively at the direct market, that this was 1985 and the Newstand system of distribution seemingly as strong as ever makes the weight of these speciality titles all the more sad to see...
A glance at the publishers output for this month shows a wealth of dazzling up and coming talent - Peter David making his break-thru push on Spectacular Spider-Man, John Romita jr on The Uncanny X-Men, Walt Simonson On Thor, John Byrne on Fantastic Four, Mike Mignola helping Bill Mantlo bow out of The Incredible Hulk, DC Comics were still slow to adapt to progress at this time, but come 1986 the hard lessons taught by Marvel would finally be acted upon and a whole new era in terms of quality and creative talent would be assembled to redress the balance once and for all.... well, for a while at least. \(euh\)

On the shelves in August from Marvel Comics:

*In The Avengers the team are confronted by a new super-hero wanting to show his worth and usefulness to the community - The Beyonder! Roger Stern and John Buscema at the height of their powers and make a ludicrous premise actually quite acceptable....

*Moon Knight: Fist of Khonshu, a title that arrived and dissapeared virtually overnight. Here it reached issue #5 and evokes some sense of... well, curiosity I suppose. I remember liking the book, the character was mysterious and hard to get a grip on, but it was most certainly an oddity in the Marvel stable. It was difficult to understand just what this characters role in the broader MU was at the time.

*Bill Mantlo's Rom Spaceknight is nearing the end of its memorable run with issue 72 - A Secret Wars II crossover it finds Rick Jones and Brandy Knight are transformed into Super-Heroes and.... No, Never mind.

*Power Man & Iron Fist was Marvel's underdog title in many ways, the shame of the series is that is featured a terrific partnership between Jim (Spider-Man) Owlsley and Mark (Iron Man) Bright, always an exciting read the end is unfortunately nigh with issue #120 here, not that we knew it then of course.

*Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man faces The Sin-eater and attempting to find justice for old aquaintance Jean DeWolf. A great storyline and an interesting one to look back on given the writer would end up taking on Justice and then The Incredible Hulk just over a year later. Peter Davids early writing style in these mid-to-late 80s years has an energy and tauntness to it that really stands out from the work he produces come the 90s. Finding massive success with The Incredible Hulk would alter his style forever... as by the early 90s he had nothing left to prove, unlike here in Spectacular Spider-Man.

*After watching Bruce Banner enduring a harrowing plunge into depression ending in suicide the now mindless Hulk banished to a limbo dimension. Gradually brought back to conciousness the recovering Bruce Banner's liberation and return to earth is imminent in The Incredible Hulk #313, thanks to Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola. Unfortunately after a years worth of mindlessness and absolutely no direction we were then served with another years worth of mindlessness, and absolutely no direction. These two years mark one of the lowest ebbs the character has ever endured...

*Glossy and for the Direct Market Marvel Fanfare was a book I myself was only aware through reprints, here Ken Steacy writes and paints an unseen-till-now crushing meeting of Iron Man and an Adamantium tentacled Doctor Octopus! Mighty Fine stuff!

*Iron Man #200 sees the rebirth of Tony Stark, as Iron Man! Denny O'Neil's work on the character for the last two+ years was a rewarding one. With the once pampered and jaded Multi-Millionaire reduced to absolute ruin thanks to Obadiah Stane, and his own weakness laid bare, Tony Stark we were finally told would either Sober or Dead by Morning... With iron Man #200 O'Neil rewards the loyal reader handsomely with a well executed rebirth and a suit of armour that would go on to be a benchmark for the rest to some - the So called Silver Centurion Suit!

*Over in Thor the Odinson enters Hel, in THOR #361, thanks to Walt Simonson.

*The Uncanny X-Men reaches issue #199, and the Pheonix comes to power in Rachel Summers.

*John Byrne having sent the Fantastic Four into the Microverse to face The Psycho Man ends the quest with #284 by reasserting the power of Sue Richards and updating her for the modernday. Call her The Invisible Woman from henceforth.


As The Beyonder bumbled about in the MU, over at DC, though we didn't know it, truly enormous change was in the air. The Anti-Monitor rallies his power and The Crisis on Infinite Earths finally reaches its high point as The Fastest Man Alive faces his final, greatest, challenge...

DC Comics you could pick up this month:

*This is the month that sees the debut of DC Challenge, a maxi-series revolving around a set of quests with which the heroes must solve and the reader look on in bemusement... it is difficult to know how well thise series was received, but in this year the hype it receives gives it an importance that it never actually had...

*Infinity Inc reaches #20, and a run of the mill Crisis tie-in sees the arrival of the new Hourman and Doctor Mid-nite. Being of The Justice Society's lineage I liked Infinity Inc a lot, largely due to elements which the Crisis would delete forevermore alas.

*John Stewart and Katma-Tui meet Harbinger in Green lantern #194, Joe Staton and Steve Englehart deliver one of the best Lantern runs there has ever been in my humble view.

*In a long running and drawn out storyline Batman faces the ongoing challenge of Nocturna and The Night-Slayer. Doug Moench and Gene Colan deliver a classic underappreciated run as they inject personal suspense and pressures in Batman's life.

*From the Wild West to the Mad Max dystopia of the far future - Jonah Hex finds himself trapped in a world as alien to him as the 5th Dimension is to us, and caught up in conflicts he barely comprehends he is forced to adapt and reinvent himself.

*Firestorm at issue #41 meets Harbinger. I loved Firestorm, still do, and yet this is a title that has reached a crossroads, Gerry Conway's writing had begun to lose its way by this point and the decline in its substance and pacing is seen well underway right here.

*Issue #16 of the direct market version of Legion of Super-Heroes and we have Brainiac mourning the loss of the only Woman he really loved - Supergirl. Paul Levitz' Legion series was always readable, if not necessarily filled with action and incindent...

*While also direct market The New Teen Titans #12 sees the arrival of a ship from Tamaran to take Koriand'r home, the Titans will face inner turmoil like never before in the coming two years, and George Perez' influence on the pacing and content is much missed.

*DC Comics Presents - Superman and Superboy, an odd issue to read all things considered...

*Justice League of America #244 and Steel Versus Steel! This issue is a personal favourite thanks to it being an unofficial JLA/JSA team-up, and what turns out to be the final time they will ever meet.
So very sad to think that those great days of the two teams meeting end forever with this issue and the Crisis... one of the great DC traditions comes to an end right here.

*Blue Devil #18 and Dan Cassidy meets Dan Cassidy, thanks to a Crisis Crossover... this book was quite a minor hit for DC, though not one I ever warmed to myself.

*Sgt Rock hits issue 406, and superb as always Joe Kubert coverage.

*Who's Who arrives at #9, and 'G' means Green Lanterns!

*Mike W Barr's The Outsiders arrives for the Direct Market with a 1st issue. Seemingly a group inspired by the succes of Wolfman & Perez' Teen Titans this was never a book or cast with any appeal to me, Batman or no Batman. Alan Davis' later arrival certainly raised the quality and worthiness but much like The Omega Men and Doom Patrol The Outsiders was always a book with no great hook to it and little reason to even exist.

*Lex Luthors war against Superman reaches its conclusion in #413 as the Man of Steel sees the world around him dissapear... Klaus Janson delivers the memorable cover.

*And the DC Universe will never be the same again....

Were you there when The Flash Died...?

These posts should become regular features on the GSBA and 80's Boards! \:\)

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