Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Comic Reader Résumé: December, 1984

Part of the point of this series is to chronicle my reading of new comics in relatively chronological order, looking at the early books that shaped my tastes, or simply reminiscing. I do tend to break here and there to cover books I read around the same time as the stated span of months (and occasionally years,) if only to not seem like a total Marvel Zombie, and shake the monotony as I get old enough to stick to the same titles from month to month. For instance, I pulled Funny Stuff Stocking Stuffer #1 out of a quarter box at the long-defunct Marauder Comics in 1989. I've skipped mentioning a lot of other series I collected from out of there (especially all those Grimjack issues) because it would bog things down and run contrary to spirit. Here though was a follow-up to a digest I had bought in my early days of collecting, and I think it's worth remarking on how completely disconnected I found myself from this type of material with five years remove. It meant absolutely nothing to me. Then again, this one was all one story by two writers, and the script was by nice guy/baneful author Paul Kupperberg. That could have had an impact on the solar plexus of my potential enjoyment.

Moving on to books published in December of 1984 that I actually purchased new, G.I. Joe a Real American Hero #33 had Cobra Commander's kid draw a gun on him in an assassination bid. Man, that touched a nerve. Billy was like the anti-Wesley Crusher, the kid who could not stop falling face forward into one sorry situation after another. We gutter rats related to him, so he was the rare exception to the Cousin Oliver rule.

I didn't buy Amazing Spider-Man #262, but only because I never saw it on the newsstand. I loved photo covers, and bought most on sight. This was a one-off story about Peter Parker's secret identity being compromised, which happened often enough that the details escape me. A copy of this was at a barber shop in the neighborhood where my father's family grew up, and I fixated on the cover more than the content I tossed through.

Uncanny X-Men #191 came out of a three-pack bought for this comic, because I was sick of only ever getting to look at X-Men comics instead of glancing through them. Also, it was the friggin' s#!+! The second part of the greatest non-What If...? "what if" involving Kulan Gath turning Manhatten Island back to the Hyborian Age, leaving Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Avengers to play out a life more Conan. Spider's bloody crucifiction alone was enough to sear this story into a young psyche, but there was so much more awesome to take in, I'm set adrift on memory bliss. Today, this would be a dull months long mega-event, but as a two-parter, it was all killer, no filler. I didn't know John Romita Junior (or really any artist) by name yet, but I definitely became an ignorant fan with this issue.

Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #5 saw the heroine finally coming into her own in the new identity (still ill-costumed) of Shadowcat, confronting Ogun. Of course, she was totally out of her depth, and Wolverine got his ass kicked besides, which made for good drama.

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #12 was appropriately epic, as the remains of the Beyonder acting through Klaw planted the seed of doubt in Doom's subconscious mind that allowed for the resurrection of Earth's heroes. It was double-sized fun, with some classic moments, like Cap fearing alien science can't repair his shattered shield. I think Art Adams did some uncredited fill-in work, which was neat but super noticeable.

I'd gotten enough of a kick out of a previous issue, I jumped right into The Thing #22, the last with Ben Grimm on Beyonder-World. It was a sad story that had me interested in more, but the rest of the series was nothing but stupid villains, the justifiably forgotten second Ms. Marvel, and attempts to cash in on the wrestling fad.

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