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Thread: Western Comics thread

  1. #5781
    Cautionary Tale Mr. Hide's Avatar
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    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    I hear ya on Lee/Ditko. I too was trying to read every Spidey comic in chronological order, but gave up around #50 to just focus on noteworthy runs, stories, and issues. And even then, the damage had been done that now I just read stuff from whatever character and whatever writer with no order or structure. Thanks, Stan.

    Oh, and how many god damn times do I have to read about Aunt May being sick, about Peter worrying about her, about no one deciding to put this physically and emotionally frail 80 year old into a home where she can be looked after?

    Oh, and MJ being the most superficial idiot on the planet back in the day? Soon as I met her in the comics my first thought was, "I hate her and I don't want to read anything about her."

    Oh god damn, I just remembered when Peter first went to college; he's mentally out of it all the time. And every other student hates him for this; assumes he thinks he's too good to talk to them. Never occurs to them that maybe he's just tired because, you know, they're in college. You'd think a fellow college student would understand that, but when they're written by a 40 year old man...

    You know what, now that I think about it, I really hate Lee's work in the 60s.

    Lee had one story in his head, and he wrote it a thousand times over. From what I've hear, he really shined with Thor, but everything else is certified pointless.
    Last edited by Mr. Hide; April 4th, 2021 at 09:47 AM.

  2. #5782

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    Oh, I loved MJ from the start. She was wild and crazy and she delivered some absolute zingers to Gwen. And I do think the stories turned less repetitive when Romita became co-plotter and it became much more about romantic entanglements and adolescence than teenage angst. So you had Peter move in with Harry and Aunt May move in with Aunt Anna, because they stopped relying on the elderly aunt crutch.

  3. #5783
    Cautionary Tale Mr. Hide's Avatar
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    I tried reading All-Star Superman today. I really tried; gave up part way through issue 6. The problems? 1) I'm biased against the silver age, and 2) Grant Morrison wastes a brilliant premise of what would Superman do if he had a year left to live because Grant is biased *in favor of* the silver age.

    I know I'm hating this for not being what I want it to be and am ignoring what it's trying to be, I know I'm overlooking some truly great small moments, but for such a great premise to be repeatedly swept under the rug for an old fanboy's obsessions, yeah, no. Fuck this sad shit.

  4. #5784

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    I don't dislike Romita, well beyond those toothpaste commercial smiles, but Ditko is my single favorite artist of all time so something unique was lost when he left. Dude draws like nobody else, crack open a Ditko issue of anything and you can tell right away. Stan Lee is eh, complicated, on one hand i like his absurd purple prose and hackneyd plots, but the man fills literally every space with a long speech bubble and it is a bit repetitive. But him and Ditko together made some serious magic on Spiderman and Strange. I get how people don't like it, but for me it is as good as it gets

  5. #5785
    Discovered Stowaway andre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiolino View Post
    Over the past couple months, I’ve read every 616 Spider-Man comic from Amazing Fantasy #15 to One More Day (I’ve read everything that comes after). I thought I’d give my thoughts on the various eras and writers.

    Hidden:
    I’ll come out straight with a controversial opinion by saying that the Lee/Ditko wasn’t really doing it for me, despite introducing all the best villains and themes (which is why I still rank it highly). But it is much more formulaic than the Romita stuff or the Lee/Kirby comics. Every issue follows the same pattern without much change. And, importantly, Betty Brant and Liz Allen are not Gwen Stacy, Harry Osborn and Mary Jane Watson. So in the debate between Ditko or Romita era, I’m firmly Romita. Those late ‘60s comics are fantastic and stand the test of time. The issue where they go dancing is deservedly so iconic that it’s since been retconned both in the comics and the readers’ consciousnesses that the gang went dancing all the time in that era even though it really was only one issue! I agree with the consensus that Gwen was dull as dirt by the time she became Peter’s girlfriend (although MJ would suffer from this as well, though not nearly as bad). She was better when she was uptight and snippy. I should also say that Marvel is wrong in thinking that Peter should always be in high school, because he in fact should always be in college, be that as a student or TA or going for his PhD or whatever (which is actually how the writers handled it until Roger Stern had him drop out due to money issues even though the money issue was solved an issue later but then he never returned to college). There’s plenty of late-20 somethings still in college and by keeping him in that setting you can always introduce new characters, the lack of which is a real problem with the Spider-Man books, but which writers and editorial wrongfully blame on the Spider-Marriage.

    Moving on to the ‘70s, you get Gerry Conway, who is my favourite Spider-Man writer and who of course killed Gwen etc, I don’t need to get into that. But his stuff feels like a natural progression of the decade Lee wrote the book and he tells some great stories, including the introduction of the Punisher and the whole Jackal saga (which imo succeeds much better at the identity reveal than the Green Goblin did). Obviously, I’m a huge MJ mark but that’s entirely because Lee and Conway imbued her with a deep well of charisma without even having to fall back on a dramatic backstory (that came way later). Conway’s run ends way too soon (there was a lot of behind the scenes drama going on, read Marvel Comics: The Untold Story), but the Clone Saga almost has a natural end point, with Peter returning to MJ and realizing he’s in love with her now.

    Another reason why that works as a natural endpoint is because the next ~7 tears of Spider-Man comics is baaaaaad. Like, extremely bad. Len Wein’s run is extremely mediocre and goes back to the formulaic villain of the week storytelling of the early ‘60s. I think he tries to make Peter and MJ’s relationship more complex, but it’s mostly just them bickering every issue. Other characters don’t get much attention. The fact that Wein is ranked so high among my writer rankings sadly says enough about the general quality of Spidey comics. But things don’t really fall of a cliff until Marv Wolfman, who is an overrated hack, don’t read New Teen Titans, it’s a trap. Anyway, Wolfman turns MJ into a monster (she mocks Peter for proposing to her, dumps him and says he was just a quick lay) and gets her kicked out of the books for half a decade because he considers her a party girl too good for Peter (a view upheld internally by Marvel virtually since they started dating in Conway’s run and that would of course never really go away). Wolfman also brought married Betty Brant back and she started having an affair with Peter. So scandalous! I guess that’s better than dating a party girl. Wolfman also did the first fake Aunt May death. He also brought the burglar back as a main antagonist and explained why he was at the Parker house. It was actually a pretty good story, but I’m of the view the Spider-Man origin story should remain untouched. Wolfman was succeeded on Amazing Spider-Man by Denny O’Neil, an incredible writer, but his Spider-Man sucked ass and so there's another meandering run that last 2 years.

    At this point it’s around 1982, 7 years since Conway quit, when Roger Stern leaves the Spectacular Spider-Man book (which was mostly okay and better than Amazing) for Amazing Spider-Man, while Spectacular is taken over by Bill Mantlo, who had done a pretty long run on the book already before Stern. Here starts a splendid two year-run of Spidey comics as both writers knock it out of the park on their respective books, supported by John Romita Jr’s first Spidey tenure among other great artists. Hobgoblin! Cloak and Dagger! The return of MJ! The only good Juggernaut story! I only wish they stayed on longer, but they were scared of by the editorially mandated black suit, which many writers expected to be such a flop that they wanted to be as far away from it as possible.

    So Stern and Mantlo leave and are replaced with Tom DeFalco and [fill-in writers] by the time the Secret Wars fracas comes and goes. So I’ll throw in a couple more hot takes. Tom DeFalco is bad and the beloved Symbiote Saga is also just kind of okay at best. I had already endured DeFalco’s stint on Fantastic Four, but I always assumed that was just a result of ‘90s editorial expectations. Sadly, that is not the case. DeFalco has an overreliance on masked villains and other mystery plots that he has no real intention of solving that get worse and worse the longer any of his runs go on. Indeed, DeFalco’s run starts off well and he’s the one that finally gives MJ that tragic backstory and reveals she’s always known Peter is Spider-Man (a retcon that doesn’t make much sense in continuity, but it is a GOOD retcon so the former shouldn’t matter). It’s only until about halfway through that things fall apart.

    The Symbiote Saga is fine, it only really flops because fans hold it up as one of the all-time great stories. Can’t believe the iconic church tower scene was preceded by 17 pages of Peter fighting some Vulture rip-offs that would never appear again. This also happens in the first issue of the THIRD non-team up Spider-Man ongoing, which lasted for 129 issues and did not manage to hold on to an ongoing writer once. The real good shit comes right after the Symbiote Saga, with Peter David writing a fantastic Spectacular run that sadly only lasted 20 or so issues. I did really love Jean DeWolff so I wished PAD just killed off Liz Allen or something (but then again, I also love modern semi-amoral girlboss CEO Liz, which is such a great progression over 60 years of storytelling). David's little run is a godsend, because ASM completely falls apart with DeFalco quitting the book with multiple plotlines left unanswered and having them haphazardly resolved by David and Christopher Priest in a couple issues.

    So by this point we’re at the mid to late ‘80s and to my gobsmacking surprise, Peter and MJ still haven’t started dating again ever since she so cruelly rejected him in 1978! Of course, Stan Lee came to the rescue, because according to Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, it was in the middle of a convention panel that he learned MJ had learned Peter’s identity in the comics a couple years ago, so he asked the fans at the panel if it would not make sense if they got married as well. Fans were so enthused about it that editorial haphazardly rushed them into the marriage as well (over John Romita’s opposition) and Marvel would spend the next 20 years trying to undo it. The enduring ambivalence about Peter and MJ is apparent in the marriage issue in which the marriage only takes up 3 pages (compare it to any other A-list superhero marriage and they always spend the full issue on the proceedings). Also they spend a whole three issues in ASM having them go from not dating at all to being engaged. All this yammering makes me sound like a Spider-Marriage anti but I actually am really fond of it and am glad it happened. I'm just sad that it didn't feel like a true progression of their relationship but I blame Wolfman for that (who married himself to a college-aged superheroine lest we forget).

    Anyway, got bored of writing for now, will just say that Kraven’s Last Hunt sucks ass BUT J.M. DeMatteis will return with a spectacular Spectacular run later on, that follows up on KLH so it’s fine.
    Pretty good read, but also, I enjoy Kraven's Last Hunt a lot. It's not a perfect story, but I think it's a really good and really memorable one. To each their own, I suppose.
    edit: Also I just realized we can do a "best spider-man stories" episode on my podcast!
    Last edited by andre; April 6th, 2021 at 01:46 PM.
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  6. #5786

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    I didnít know the Peter-Mart Jane was thrown together on a whim.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Hide View Post

    Oh, and how many god damn times do I have to read about Aunt May being sick, about Peter worrying about her, about no one deciding to put this physically and emotionally frail 80 year old into a home where she can be looked after?
    Even at the time this story was happening I think that would been messed up
    Quote Originally Posted by Ubiq View Post
    I've often wondered about that myself; seems like being supported by people who only want you there so the world can end in fire (with you going to Hell in the process) would be somewhat off-putting
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  7. #5787

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    Quote Originally Posted by pariston_hill View Post
    But I thought King in Black was over already.
    The Final Issue of King In Black Event will be out tomorrow

    Kamen Rider OOOs



  8. #5788

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    Weekly X
    Spoiler:

    Oh how the might have fallen, Mask shedding of his own masque.
    Malice backstory. Interesting.

  9. #5789

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    I always love a Marrow appearance. Such a underutilized character.

    Excalibur was awful awful awful

  10. #5790

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    When has this Excalibur run been anything than mediocre?

    And they are hyping soo much the Hellfire Galla that will end up being another disappointing event.

  11. #5791

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    Weekly X
    Spoiler:
    Finally back to the vampire plot.

  12. #5792

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiolino View Post
    I always love a Marrow appearance. Such a underutilized character.

    Excalibur was awful awful awful
    Very. One of my favorite runs was the brief period around 97 where the lineup consisted of Marrow, Cannonball, Maggot, and (no codename) Celia Reeves, along with staples Beast, Wolvie, Cyclops, Storm, Rogue. I don't particularly remember *anything* from that run in terms of actual stories or moments (it's been 24 years since I read them!) but I liked that it had weird, NEW, or underused characters that STUFF could actually be done with, and not just the iconic ones that can't really change without dying or doing heel turns. .

    I understand why no one liked Maggot or Celia, I get it (Maggot probably should have had a different codename. Wyrm or something maybe) but it was nice to see them TRYING to make new characters that played off the old in interesting ways. Particularly in how well Wolverine and Marrow mirrored each other.

    Then Cannobal, Maggot, and Celia they all got shunted off REAL FAST in a single issue when the writers changed, and they dragged the Excalibur cast members back in, murdering the Excalibur title in the process.

    (They knew that if they moved Nightcrawler, Kitty and Colossus back to main X-Book Excalibur would die shortly after anyway so they just... ended it.)

    I like ALL of Excalibur in its original run. Yes even Pete Wisdom.
    Last edited by Robby; April 14th, 2021 at 06:05 PM.
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  13. #5793

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Robby View Post
    Very. One of my favorite runs was the brief period around 97 where the lineup consisted of Marrow, Cannonball, Maggot, and (no codename) Celia Reeves, along with staples Beast, Wolvie, Cyclops, Storm, Rogue. I don't particularly remember *anything* from that run in terms of actual stories or moments (it's been 24 years since I read them!) but I liked that it had weird, NEW, or underused characters that STUFF could actually be done with, and not just the iconic ones that can't really change without dying or doing heel turns. .

    I understand why no one liked Maggot or Celia, I get it (Maggot probably should have had a different codename. Wyrm or something maybe) but it was nice to see them TRYING to make new characters that played off the old in interesting ways. Particularly in how well Wolverine and Marrow mirrored each other.

    Then Cannobal, Maggot, and Celia they all got shunted off REAL FAST in a single issue when the writers changed, and they dragged the Excalibur cast members back in, murdering the Excalibur title in the process.

    (They knew that if they moved Nightcrawler, Kitty and Colossus back to main X-Book Excalibur would die shortly after anyway so they just... ended it.)

    I like ALL of Excalibur in its original run. Yes even Pete Wisdom.
    Late '90s X-Men was a lot of fun. It had some good writers in Joe Kelly and Steven T. Seagle, and great artists in Chris Bachalo and Carlos Pacheco, and it's a shame they weren't allowed to do some of their story ideas (like Jean being pregnant with Rachel) forcing them to leave the title after a little over a year (though obviously they went on to do much more lucrative things). Even the Excalibur insertion didn't feel too much like a retread since Kitty and Nightcrawler hadn't interacted with the X-Men for over a decade by that point (and they booted out the Original 5 X-Men, the biggest dead weight in the franchise when they're together). Alan Davis's run that came after is infamous for leading into The Twelve, but I'm a sucker for anything with Alan Davis art and it has so bad it's good vibes.

    The original Excalibur is a gem (MOSTLY) and I own the omnibus that came out a couple months ago, I was actually just complaining about the current Excalibur issue that came out that day lol. Sux that Warren Ellis is a creepy sex pest tho, since Pete Wisdom is Kitty's only tolerable male love interest.

    Cecelia is good, even though I wish writers wouldn't ignore that she dislikes the X-Men.

  14. #5794

    Default Re: Western Comics thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiolino View Post
    Cecelia is good, even though I wish writers wouldn't ignore that she dislikes the X-Men.
    It's kind of the same as the Civil War bias. "I as a comic reader like and enjoy these characters, so I can't imagine why in-universe someone else wouldn't."

    Which in Civil War's case led to the sides not being fair and balanced, but basically every title except Iron Man making Tony the straight up villain.

    And with Cecelia... well, fans never took to her because she didn't like being there. I don't understand why Maggot frquently tops the most hated lists though, given he wasn't around for long and had some actually interesting things going on. I really do thing its the codename that doomed him... and that he might have been more accepted for his gross power on a villain team.
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