The history of Marvel reads like a series of epic story arcs. There's the Big Bang of the 'sixties; the rudderless 'seventies; the Jim Shooter era, with an editor-in-chief seemingly dedicated to sabotaging Marvel's entire line of books; the boom and bust years of the early to mid 'nineties, in which the Heroes World distribution debacle and the mass defection of artists from Marvel to Image (who, once there, were incapable of releasing their books on time) helped to put thousands of comic shops out of business, just as Marvel, the former industry leader, declared bankruptcy.And it caught me in that, as many bad '70's books as there were (and YES, there were some terrible 1970's Marvel Comics), there were a significant handful of truly amazing Marvel Comics that came out in that decade which may be glossed over by that simple phrase in the review above.
I've prepared a number of times, and scrapped, posts about using someone else's properties to make a meaningful personal comment, and just how difficult and, yes, strange it is to think of using someone else's character for that. And yet, with no other venues available, that is exactly what those 1970's arteurs did.
Shall we see the rudderless '70's as a company with no over arching vision? Of course, because if someone was really watching, and Jim Shooter would soon be, we would never have had Steve Englehart doing his own personal take on Watergate with his Secret Empire storyline in Captain America, or Jim Starlin exercising his personal Viet Nam and Catholic upbringings in Captain Marvel and Warlock. Don McGregor wouldn't have been able to make Jungle Action: Starring the Black Panther into a personal forum to battle racism and social injustice, nor made Killraven less a derivative science fiction story than a mediation on the rising and advancing of the last free people traversing North America. Would P. Craig Russell have had the chance to develop his singularly lyrical art elsewhere under a DC house style? Starlin wouldn't have given us Thanos. And Gerber, yes, Gerber would have never breathed life into the Man-Thing, let alone Howard the Duck.
Oh, and have we forgotten that, in 1975, a little book called the All New, All Different X-Man would come along and basically save the industry?
I can't wait to read more on this book.
Having my local bookseller, as always, order it for me, not on Amazon.