Friday, July 27, 2012
October of 1984 began with Conan the Destroyer #1. It was more enjoyable than the movie for me, thanks to the apropos creative team of Michael Fleisher and John Buscema. That said, the movie sucked, as did compressing it into two issues, of which I only bought the one. I remember this was sitting prominently on the local 7-11 comic rack located below and to the right of the cash register. I suppose I recall it so vividly because of the coloring and the simple waist-up figure.
A few years late, I randomly ended up with New Teen Titans #4. I either picked it up off the scratch & ding rack at one of the local Third Planet outlets (my first ever neighborhood comic shop,) or I fished it out of the quarter bin long boxes at Marauder Books (my second shop, two-plus years apart.) Trigon impressed the hell out of me, and it was some of George Perez's finest art. The story had a real sense of horror at a world gone completely wrong, intensified by the externalization of the angsty young heroes' inner turmoil. Unfortunately, I picked up the other issues in the arc many years later, past the proper age for them to be affective. Aside from Perez's failed washes, the art was even better than in the early issues, but Marv Wolfman's story started slow, sagged, and whimpered at the end. This was not how I wanted their pairing as a creative team to end, and I found I wanted Wolfman even less on full plots with other artists.
G.I. Joe a Real American Hero #31 had a sweet cover by the usually bad interior artist Frank Springer, enhanced by Klaus Janson. Perhaps he was spent upping his game, because I enjoyed the battle action under guest artist Rod Whigham more than usual. It amuses me that this book was the title to pick up in my 'hood (more so than even the X-Men,) we were all big fans, and yet the stories failed to seep into my memory and are now virtual blind spots in my recollection of these times.
Anyone who slags on Kitty Pryde and Wolverine must have forgotten the part where Ogun brainwashed Kitty into a ninja assassin retroactively from birth, including her performing kung-fu as a toddler, then raised her as his own daughter through magic/mind@#$%ery. That was rad! In #3, we had the reverse phallic symbolism of Wolverine skewered in his man-womb on Kitty's katana blade. Gender equality, the high hard way! I was really regretting missing #1, because by this point I was totally sucked into the mini-series.
I didn't read Robotech Defenders #1 until the summer of 1988, when a friend was given a grocery sack full of comics. Still, I felt the need to mention now how badly it sucked. It had all sorts of behind the scenes drama, like having to be rewritten after the fact to accomodate shrinking to two issues, and an untried coloring process saturating the page with Crayola subtlety. I mean, who looks at the delicate art of Judith Hunt and says "I see mech desert battles here." In a similar vein, we never got Ted McKeever's Silverhawks. That would have been... something... or other.
Unlike the the rest of the series so far, I remember Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #10 very well. Under that killer Mike Zeck cover is a story to match. Doctor Doom flips the script by challenging the quasi-deity the Beyonder, getting torn to ribbons with appropriately overwrought descriptive captions, before emerging victorious and whole. If there was any doubt about the majesty of Doom in the mind of the Bronze Age reader, this dispelled it. As a young reader, I don't believe that I had ever been confronted with a battle so grisly and seemingly full of consequence. I expect I had the same feeling of awe then that Dragonball fans got from watching martial arts battles that spanned seasons and destroyed worlds. As usual though, my experience was better, because I got all that satisfaction in one sitting without cartoonish excesses that recalled Tex Avery. Why, of course my childhood-fu is superior to your weaksauce lives, otaku!