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Old Comics Thread


#402

I’m still working through the Silvestri run on Uncanny - it’s slow going; I can’t really get through much in each sitting (I’m reading it on MU before going to sleep) because it’s very wordy in a dull way, but I do love the art.

This is all well before my time reading UXM (or comics in general, really) - Storm is powerless and looking for Forge, Longshot is on the team, Wolverine’s the leader, and Mystique is leading Freedom Force.


#403

That’s the lead up to Fall of the Mutants, isn’t it?


#404

Yeah, I think I just started the first issue (double-sized) with the “Fall of the Mutants” banner atop last night.

I only know this era of X-lore through flashbacks and whatnot, so it’s still interesting. But I still prefer Lobdell and Nicieza’s scripts to Claremont; maybe it’s just of the era, but there’s no humour and little charm to the characters.


#405

Ya. I was trying to do a read through from Dark Phoenix to just before Mutant Massacre. It was hard to get through many issues in a night due to Claremont being so wordy. His work is generally more enjoyable one issue at a time instead of trying to binge a bunch in a row.

I’ve already read Uncanny X-Men from sometime during Silvestri’s tenure to the point where I originally came in at #275. There is some really great work in there but there are some duds too. The stories after the X-Men walk through the Siege Perilous are pretty horrible for a while.


#406

Oddly, I got into X-Men in the post-Siege Perilous era, the first issues I bought being the arc where Forge and Banshee team up with Jean Grey and are fighting Masque in the Morlock tunnels, who’s stalking Callisto and a mind-wiped Colossus. I really liked that extended story of the pair trying to track down the X-Men once they realised they were alive.


#407

I liked the chaos of that period too but I think it helped reading it at the time. CC was known for throwing out the status quo and we had no idea what would happen or where the team would end up.
If you read it in retrospect knowing how editorial took it all back to the standard setup it probably seems more of a diversion.


#408

Reading it at the time, I assumed they’d reform the team eventually, and as it happened it was quite quick after that arc, with Storm even rejoining the team in that year’s annual rather than a regular issue of Uncanny to get her back quicker. But the idea that they’d tear the team apart for more than a year was really exciting to teenage Lorcan.


#409

I assumed they would too but not in such a conservative way. Of course we know now that was never Claremont’s plan but Bob Harass’
I genuinely thought the Muir Isle temp team could have been where he was going.


#410

Adventure Comics #317

‘The Menace of Dream Girl’

By Edmond Hamilton and John Forte

This is a really strange story. From the cover (featuring a group of Legionnaires de-aged to babies) onwards, everything about this story is basically just nonsensical.

The antagonist, Dream Girl, is introduced on the cover, and again on the opening splash page:

We’re supposed to believe that this woman is so beautiful that a group of otherwise sensible male Legionnaires go completely daft over her, showering her with gifts. Immediately I smell a rat (helped by the clue that the story title calls her a ‘menace’). She might be a new member of the Legion, but she’s clearly a villain who has infiltrated them using her super-power to control men’s hormones!

As the story progresses, she does act more villain-like, but her power is revealed to be foretelling the future, not mind control. So we are left to assume that she really is so beautiful that the male members of the Legion cannot resist her. Sorry, it’s hard to swallow. Ok, yes, the Legionnaires are supposed to be teenagers still, but come on, this is ridiculous:

Then there’s Dream Girl’s plot, which is to manipulate certain Legionnaires into violations of the Legion constitution and get them expelled because of it. It makes the Legion look incredibly stupid. Yes, their devotion to the rules is very commendable, but at what point do you stop blindly following rules and start thinking for yourself, ‘This woman is screwing us all over?’ (Probably when your teenage hormones stop running wild.) Again, I could accept the plot if her power was some kind of mind control, but it clearly isn’t.

Then there’s the twist, which is that Dream Girl isn’t evil, she’s expelling specific Legionnaires to foil a prophecy that says they will all die in an explosion in the near future. There are a number of problems with this.
First, it’s basically a re-tread of Adventure Comics #304, ‘The Stolen Super Powers!’, by Jerry Siegel, in which Saturn Girl steals all the Legionnaires’ powers in order to prevent a prophesy of them dying. Dream Girl has slightly more excuse than Saturn Girl (being an outsider, she couldn’t be sure that just explaining to Legion would work), but it’s still a really dumb plan.

Second, we’re told that Dream Girl’s predictions always come true:

…so her plan isn’t going to prevent anyone dying, is it? Unless she’s lying about it always coming true, which she might be I suppose. It’s still pretty silly, though. And in the end, lifeless dummies made to look like the Legionnaires are blown up, so her prophesy does come true (sort of) – and she could have avoided all the convoluted plot by going to the Legion, proving her power, and saying ‘But if you make a set of lifeless dummies…’ (‘Oh, here’s some we prepared earlier!’)

Along the way, though, it’s the classic SF touches that Edmond Hamilton always introduces that make this comic worth reading. As always, he packs the story with exotic worlds and creatures and imaginative ideas, so there’s some fresh new wonder on every page, all of it rendered in John Forte’s uniquely whimsical style. For that alone I would highly recommend this issue, as always, but first I would have to caution you to leave your critical faculties at the door before thinking too much about the basic plot.

Oh, but one final point I must raise before ending this review. And it’s these panels:

Who is the Time Trapper? No idea! And I’ve read every comic to feature the Legion of Super-Heroes so far! Edmond Hamilton is introducing a mysterious new threat by referring to past things we haven’t even seen yet! And does this plot get resolved in this story? No! It’s a complete mystery!

This has nothing to with the main plot. You could almost call it a … ‘sub-plot’! And maybe it will be picked up again in a future issue? A continuing story, giving the comic a sense of something we might call … ‘continuity’!

If this is the future of how comic stories will be told, we are in for exciting times indeed!


#411

Just did a re-read of Wednesday Comics. Better than I remembered at the time. If I had to rank the stories I’d go:

Kamandi - Gibbons & Sook - There are no word balloons here and instead Gibbons utilises caption boxes. It works so well to evoke that old time srial feel and Sook’s art is sensational.
Adam Strange - Pope - Wow, terrific stuff.
The Flash - Kerschl & Fletcher - I care nothing for Barry Allen but this is brilliant use of him and includes time travel, multiple Flashes and some wonderful panel construction. Great stuff.
Metamorpho - Gaiman & Allred - Brilliant stuff, especially the romp through the periodic table which is very inventive.
Superman - Arcudi & Bermejo - Amazing visuals, some of the best Bermejo has ever done, and although the story is thin it was an enjoyable ride.
Hawkman - Baker - A story of two halves. Hawkman fisrt fights intergalactic aliens and then a T-Rex (with help from Aquaman). Really fun.
Metal Men - Didio & Garcia-Lopez - This is so superherory. Nothing inventive happens at all but when the visuals look this good it takes it up a notch.
Deadman - Bullock & Heuk - The plot gets a bit convoluted but it looks lovely.
Sgt. Rock & Easy Co. - Kubert & Kubert - Adam writes, and it’s okay, and Joe draws and it’s great. A by-th-numbers Rock story.
The Demon & Catwoman - Simonson & Stelfreeze - Looks great but I lost track of what was actually happening. Perfectly acceptable but not amazing.
Green Lantern - Busiek & Quinones - Meh.
Batman - Azzarello & Risso - Meh.
Supergirl - Palmiotti & Connor - Wow, Connor’s art, which I’m not a massive fan of, can’t save this form the awful plot/script.
Wonder Woman - Caldwell - I like Caldwell’s art but here’s it way too cramped to the point where I was completely lost about how the panels should be read. also, he is not a good writer. Shame.
Teen Titans - Berganza & Galloway - Completely throw away with a dull uninspired plot that I lost interest in after about 2 issues.

Quick question. I think there is enough good stuff here to warrant me upgrading to the collected edition but are the stories in story order or in issue order? I’m hoping they have grouped all story parts together.

Lastly, check out this Flash page. Love it! (although I can’t name all the old strips)


#412

The collection has all the stories grouped together.

Be warned though, even though the collection is giant-sized, it’s still slightly smaller in page size than the original newspaper issues, so the Wonder Woman story is even more cramped (for example). However the paper and printing quality is much better so it is more legible in that way. Also, double-page designs like the periodic table in Metal Men work much better with both pages together.

There is also a bonus Plastic Man story in the HC that I think was originally conceived as a fill-in (that ultimately wasn’t needed).


#413

Pretty much what @DaveWallace said. I replaced my issues with the trade a while back and don’t regret it. I think the stories read better fully collected though it was fun reading them as they came out. It’s also much easier to access on my shelf and read if I like. It’s a really fantastic collection.


#414

Right, don’t all hate me but I’ve been reading American comics for 25 years and have never read a comic by Jack Kirby. That old stuff has almost zero appeal to me. However, in a bid to broaden my horizons and to have an opinion on it, whether that is positive or negative, I’d like to try some.

I guess it’s easy to recommend FF and the like but is that the best place to start for a non-Kirby reader? What books should I at least give a go?


#415

I don’t care for Kirby at all, but if you’re going to go in, you may as well go all in. Try and track down his 2001: A Space Odyssey adaptation.


#416

DC’s New Gods.

FF is the obvious choice, but at the start it’s not Kirby at his best. His layouts are simplistic (very little effort put into backgrounds, for example) and the drawing fairly primitive compared to what we know he could do. Maybe he was simply stretched too thinly and rushed too much at that point. Later FF get immeasurably better, but then it becomes hard to pin down where you should start. With New Gods he’s at his artistic peak right from the start, so all you need to do is pick up the first trade (in whatever format you prefer) and the very first page you see will be awesome.


#417

It’s a cliché, but I’d try some of the old Stan and Jack silver-age stuff to see his best work. Maybe some early Fantastic Four (although probably not the very first issues - maybe somewhere a few dozen issues later when they’ve started to hit their stride - the Galactus saga is an obvious choice). Ditto the Thor stuff.

I love some of the design elements (and the sheer ambition) of Kirby’s later DC stuff like the Fourth World/New Gods books, Kamandi or The Demon, but to be honest there are clunky sections of writing that make it a bit of an unsatisfying read, especially as a place to start.

Maybe as a way to get into Kirby, the best place to start would be the big Kirby: King of Comics book by Mark Evanier that came out some years ago. It’s a relatively brisk biography of Kirby that’s filled with loads of great art (at giant size), as well as a few complete short stories and other pieces. It would help to place his work in the right historical context and give you a taste of a lot of his best work, without plunging you into countless issues of impenetrable Kirby craziness.

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#418

Or for Marvel work, his Tales of Asgard back-ups from Thor have been collected into a handy trade, and they are far, far better than his work on the main Thor strip at the time. Possibly his best work from those early Marvel years:

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#419

If you’re getting that old Kirby Thor stuff, though, make sure to get the original colouring rather than the recent recoloured reprints.


#420

I second Dave’s book recommendation. It’s a great read from a historical perspective (though you have to read it with the knowledge that Evanier was a close friend and may not be completely impartial) and full of jaw-dropping pages of art.


#421

Oh, absolutely. Evanier is one of those people who obviously loves and was very close to a great comics creator and as a result is completely biased, loves everything he does and cheerleads for him at all times. It makes it hard to really trust anything he says that isn’t based on clear fact.

Lovely pictures, though. :slight_smile: