Thursday, March 22, 2007

Viva La '70's: Part Two

An interesting debate rages over the blogosphere over the quality of the '70's comic, with some popular players weighing in. Here are a few bits to catch you up:

Over at Dick Hates Your Blog is a rehash of the 1970's era books, and, lets face it, he doesn't think very much of the them. In particular is his comment that nothing very good came along during the decade.
Marvel and DC were likewise rehashing the previous decade until Claremont and Cockrum (with much help from Len Wein) reinvigorated the superhero team comic. But again, the new X-Men are often lumped in with the comics of the 80s, perhaps because it was so influential on the comics of that decade.
and Heidi MacDonald retorts, quite correctly:
Come on now! Is Dick trying to be silly? As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, the current comics biz is mostly run by post-boomers who all came of age reading 70s comics... Marvel in particular, had a great run that is still being strip-mined to death.
and Journalista at the Comics Journal, the vanguard of comics criticism, weighs in with this deep thought:
But let’s face it: 1970s superhero comics sucked pig balls.
To which many pigs, said "Yeah!" But the rest of us who were picking up the rapidly escalating 20 cent comics of the decade probably have a more informed take on the work. Our friends over at Journalista have their view, now here is mine.

The '70's, which have been labeled by Dick to be a decade without an identity had their high and low moments, but that was all against the backdrop of a huge shift in business and distribution that certainly had an effect upon the content in the books. The traditional newsstand distribution that existed, and thus a particular audience was starting to shift in the '70's, and you would soon see books that were selling on a fraction of the numbers that prior decades had seen.
Marvel, which has a ton of low points, although many of them not as low as DC's in the same decade, also had some very interesting high points. Want to look at Jim Starlin's Captain Marvel and Warlock? The prototype for the giant universe ending crossover. Don McGregor's Killraven and Black Panther were almost of a lyrical bent, with metaphysical leanings, and certainly were the most literary comics prior to Alan Moore's arrival. Steve Gerber's acerbic wit lent Howard the Duck and Man-Thing a bite that would be hard to imagine in today's corporate driven properties. Moench and Gulacy's Master Of Kung Fu was an artistic delight to read (Doug's final story arc of multiple first person narratives in MOKF from #40 - 50 was certainly something that Marvel in the '60's would never have tried). Heidi had it right: Marvel is still mining the second generation of artistic talent that came in after Kirby, Ditko and Steranko.

Do I even need to mention the All New, All Different X-Men? I doubt that we would have comics today without them. As I mentioned in an older post on Dave Cockrum's death, we should be kissing the feet of Claremont, Byrne, Austin, Wein, and Cockrum that we have an industry to blog about.

That was Marvel in the '70's. It didn't need to establish one single identity to have some great high points.

DC? Put this in your pig testicles: Kirby's Third World is modern mythological foundation for the DC universe, started in the '70's. Do we have the Batman of today without Rogers and Adams' versions? Nope.

Your turn!

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