Back in the 90s, I was horrified by the bombastic spectacle that became Marvel, as epitomized by Ghost Rider, Punisher, and Wolverine, along with Cable and Deadpool (who weren't partners yet). Big guns, foil covers, snarling faces. It just wasn't anything I recognized.
Fast forward to 2017, and I find I gravitate to the kind of stories epitomized by the forementioned. I'm buying Cable, All-New Wolverine, and Punisher, along with Weapon X, and will probably buy the upcoming Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider one-shot. I may at some point go back to buying Deadpool. (I just don't like the current story line.) And I am chomping at the bit to buy Weapon H! Also I'll probably buy the classic Wolverine comic when it starts again.
I don't exactly know what changed about me. I know that 20-25 years ago I was in many ways a different person. But also I've seen so many superhero movies now. What seemed absurdly bombastic 20-25 years ago no longer seems like that any more, because I've seen and heard such incredible spectacles. Also I think the art nowadays is a little toned down compared to the wildest of the 90s. They aren't going for neon any more. I think the neon aesthetic would still bug me even today. (Although today we have lenticular covers - which I don't buy if I can help it.)
But also I've been subjected to the 21st century writers and been so disillusioned by what actually sells. So much nauseating egocentric writing. At least back in the 90s, the hero of the book was supposed to be impressive both inside and out and have some sort of code that was diligently followed. The Punisher would die himself before allowing an innocent to die and would surrender rather than lift a finger against a cop or soldier. That's a code. I could rely on that. I knew who this guy was. And you know what? He still has that same code. Back in the 90s, Spider-Man was still Spider-Man as I'd known him for 20+ years. Doctor Strange was still Doctor Strange. I still recognized these guys. Today I don't recognize them. Thor was still worthy back then. Nobody back then thought making Cap a Nazi was a great idea.
So give me big guns, long metal claws, fiery infernos, penance stares. Just be true to the characters. Don't change them to fit your story. Change your story instead.
My brother read Punisher and I would leaf through it. I was okay with a hero who kills but I found the stories a little dry sometimes. Not enough superhero silliness for me.
My friend read Ghost Rider and I would read some of those, I liked the mystical stuff but still never became a huge fan. O liked the art.
I did collect Wolverine for a while I'm the 90s, when his sidekick was Jubilee. Great Kubert art. I think Fatal Attractions when he lost the Adamantium was my entry point, but I backfilled some of that run.
I didn't think there was anything wrong with these guys, but then I was a Lobo fan too. To me the worse stuff was the Clone Saga, Heroes Reborn, DC junk like Extreme Justice.