I was thinking big leagues only so no Strange or LSH but yeah, FF and Spidey definitely count. I’m not as familiar with either but I thought Byrne with FF and a number of creators on Spidey have left close to as big a mark as Lee, Kirby, and Ditko.
Would it be considered blasphemous if I say I never read any X-men comic?
Ab out old comics, I am very thrilled about upcoming DC’s reprint of Steve Ditko’s work on The Question and Blue Beetle.
Yes. This is a near banning offense.
I don’t care that much for X-Men comics either. I never read them when I was younger so no attachment to them like a lot of people. I did enjoy Morrison’s run and Whedon’s.
So close to a banning.
Only this saved you.
I’m a DC kid, I basically moved from The Beano to Marvel UK Transformers to Grant/Breyfogle Batman and post Crisis Superman.
Most of it was availability of comics in the UK, I think. I just had more exposure to DC stuff in late eighties.
It is funny how regional this is. The US comics were distributed very randomly in the UK in newsagents and I bought as much as I could but 90% of that was Marvel, Millar reports the opposite.
Weird thing is I’ve been a Superman fan since I was very little but my first comics were X-Men comics in high school. So while I love Superman comics and am a bigger fan of that character, I would kill for a dynamite X-Men comic.
You’re right, it was that hit and miss. US comics in Hull were few and far between so I absorbed a lot of UK reprints, mostly London Edition/Fleetway Batman and Superman comics.
I would note that I completely missed out 2000ad, never read it as a kid.
Growing up the in pretty much the same time as yourself, my transition was Secret Wars (Marvel UK reprint series), Transformers UK, Batman (UK reprints), 2000AD, Batman (DC), and from there to pretty much everything else.
I only really started reading Batman because Grant/ Breyfogle were on it too, who I knew from the Batman reprints and Grant from 2000AD.
I read somewhere recently that has been cancelled, unfortunately.
I’m reading through the comics I took from my parents’ house now that they’re moving. I finished PAD’s 2000s X-Factor run and went on to Jason Aaron’s Wolverine and the X-Men, which is a lot of fun but very much Disneyfied Marvel only with blood and stabbing. The highlight is the art, which is bold, cartoony, and colorful, the standouts being the two main artists, Chris Bachalo and Nick Bradshaw, as well as Ramon Perez, who draws the best arc, “Savage Learning” (in which Wolverine takes the kids most in danger of failing or turning bad to the Savage Land for some tough love).
Now I’m reading Wolverine: Origins, which I bought back in the days when I couldn’t imagine missing a comic with Wolverine in it. It’s… well, it’s not a great comic, although I’m gonna keep reading because I remember there being some good stuff in the second half and I like the character of Daken a lot.
Overall, it’s an odd series. You’d think that Marvel would want to put a star writer on the book that finally revealed Wolverine’s history in full, and have that book be front and center. Instead, they gave it to a midlevel writer and then quickly forgot about it, with very little from the book impacting the X-Men or the Marvel universe or even other Wolverine books in any way, aside from Daken. Daniel Way’s approach of turning Wolverine’s entire pre-Weapon X history into one century-long conspiracy is overkill, although individually I like some of the ideas a lot (like how he incorporates Cyber).
Way’s writing is very decompressed, with 2 or 3 issues worth of story stretched out to 5-issue arcs. I don’t mind decompression–Bendis/Maleev Daredevil is a Top 10 Marvel book imo–but individual issues have to make up for what they lack in plot with mood and good character work, and that’s just not the case here. Often Wolverine is either standing around talking to someone or fighting an enemy for most of an issue, the worst offender being the first arc when he stays in the same small field in Vietnam for three issues straight, fighting but mostly gabbing with Captain America. It’s split up by flashbacks but even so, there’s far too much time spent in that field.
He does have a good handle on Wolverine’s voice, though. As someone who’s read a lot of Wolverine comics, it’s harder to get right than you’d think. It can too easily slip into parody, but Way avoids that. And he also utilizes Wolverine’s spy training more than probably any other writer has, which I appreciate. The cool stuff I remember from the second half of the run (I’m on #21 of 50) leaned into the spycraft, and I’ve already seen some of that in a post-Death of Cap story-arc (#16-20) about Wolverine reminiscing on his time with Cap, Bucky, and Nick Fury fighting Hydra in North Africa during WWII.
As much as I hate to say it, the art by Steve Dillon is way below the high standards of his work with Garth Ennis. Some of it’s the flashy coloring, which clashes with his simple linework, but his figures are often stiff and unexpressive and his backgrounds are perfunctory across the board. (His facial expressions remain on point.)
Even though Wolverine: Origins is a spy book for the most part, it does have a strong superhero element that doesn’t jive with Dillon’s grounded style. Unless he was making fun of them, Dillon’s style never really worked on superheroes (with a notable exception being the Daredevil cameo in “Welcome Back, Frank”). You can almost imagine him sitting at the drawing table thinking “wait, you want me to draw Omega Red but we’re not gonna take the piss out of him?”
I’m gonna have to go reread Dillon’s Punisher book with Becky Cloonan because that book proves he kept evolving and creating beautiful work right up until his death.
I don’t remember the comics I read in my youth very well, but I have a suspicion that if I were to re-read them they’d be a bit cringe. A lot of old comics are just not very good.
Maybe the real golden age of comics started in the late 80s with Alan Moore and Frank Miller and Neil Gaiman.
I adored Wolverine and the X-Men. Well. Aaron’s version at least. Mostly for the art, but the characters were great too. The Iceman/ Kitty Pryde relationship was sweet, Toad as the janitor, Rachel, Quentin and the rest of the kids. I’m just a sucker for the X-Men as a school environment, I guess.
Yeah, it’s a super-fun series. The students are the best part, Quentin Quire is always a joy but I really like Broo, Genesis, Shark Girl, and Eye Boy too. And I’m always happy when an X-team has Rachel on it.
The Avengers vs X-Men tie-ins were surprisingly well done, too. I’ve never read AvX and probably never will but I really don’t need to. A few character beats are missing if you just read WatXM but I was able to follow along pretty clearly. And Aaron’s choice of using each issue as a standalone character piece is a good one because it keeps the book from getting derailed–there’s still a lot of forward progression for the characters.
I loved this when it came out. it was a promotion for the series and did its job well because it made me more eager for the book to come out.
Promo piece from the mid nineties for a proposed Punisher/Deaths Heads 2 mini series, art by Hitchy and Andy Lanning
This is a great example of why it’s good to visit your LCS and buy comics in person.
Last week, when I went in to mine, I picked up the latest issue of Criminal and chatted with the guy serving about how great the series was, and how Bad Weekend was out that week too, and how good all the Brubaker/Philips collaborations have been.
Then I mentioned the new Brubaker TV series on Amazon, Too Old To Die Young, which he hadn’t heard of. And in return, he told me about something great that I’d never heard of: Hawkman #27, a bona fide Brubaker/Philips story that had somehow completely passed me by, but which I immediately grabbed on ebay after our conversation (the store didn’t have a copy).
This one-shot fill-in from 2004 came sandwiched between two larger runs, but stands alone and tells a great, accessible flashback story that’s framed by a very brief present-day scene. (I know virtually nothing about Hawkman and I wasn’t lost.)
The flashback story is a noir-ish Sam-Spade-type adventure that riffs on The Maltese Falcon while telling a story that feels like it straddles the superhero and crime genres perfectly.
It’s closer to pastiche than their later work like Criminal ever gets, and there’s a supernatural undercurrent that evoked their Fatale a little for me. And it’s a bit more plot-heavy and reliant on archetypes than their later, more character-oriented work would prove to be.
But this is still a great little noir romp with some lovely art by Phillips, a decent twist at the end, a lovely little meta wink at the reader (that can be read a couple of ways), and some wonderfully overwrought hard-boiled narration. Well worth checking out.
He uses a very particular technique, I think, where you get the feeling that there is a lot going on between the characters, but we aren’t shown this. What we actually see is like a highlight reel of longer developments. That allows for a lot of speed in the storytelling. Morrison has done something similar in some of his DC books.