It's bittersweet, yet oddly amusing that the Silver Age was at its "Twilight" by the time I started getting into comics. There are many who believe that the death of Phoenix (X-Men #137; I'll never forget it!) which was towards the end that Claremont-Byrne run was the end of the Silver Age. An interesting choice; I thought it may have ended with the death of Gwen Stacy or something. I don't know. I'd be interested in reading some of your opinions on when the Silver Age "ended", if it can even be pinpointed. It would be fun to discuss.
The link below is a brief interview with John Byrne for some 1994 kids show. In the intro to the clip, note how the guy dressed like a park ranger says "look at a comic book", rather than "read a comic book." Wouldn't want to imply that kids read! Ah, the dumbing down of society, vintage '94.
Nice of Byrne to mention Claremont and Cockrum in the piece.
I finished X-Men #137 last night and I'm not surprised at how fresh that story was in my memory. There were a few subtle plot elements that I hadn't noticed as a kid, that added more enjoyment to the story. It was also nice to notice the foreshadowing from issues well before this one that hinted at things to come. When I finish the coda, #138 I'll move on to the Daredevil Elektra Saga, digging out my old floppy comics for that.
Also, my big project for the rest of the year (and beyond!) will be collecting the entire Lee-Kirby Fantastic Four run via the Marvel Masterworks collection. I'm intrigued by the middle of that period, as I've never read those books but Kirby's amazing concepts and Lee's energetic storytelling look amazing! I'm floored by how many things came from these two guys and will be great to read them as they happened. I love how Kirby's art explodes on the page, huge overlapping spreads and HUGE sci-fi concepts! My God, were they brilliant! And to think as a kid I thought his artwork "ugly"!
I own a ragged copy of Fantastic Four #89--the Mole Man's the villain--and though I've had the book for over twenty years, I only recently read the darn thing! Looking inside this masterpiece was like opening an old trunk in the attic and finding treasure! Kirby's images explode all over the page! There's a single-panel shot--and it looks like a movie--of the Human Torch flying towards the reader and it's truly amazing. Kirby drew in 3-D but there's no need for the silly glasses! And Stan "The Man" Lee's dialogue gets a bad rap, but to me it's every bit as energetic and alive as Kirby's art. It's easy to see how Marvel was revolutionary back in 1961--there's nothing quite like it! Comics since the mid-1980s are so blah, with their "dark", "moody", and "intense" imagery and say absolutely nothing. Give me epic, vibrant, life-affirming storytelling of Lee-Kirby!!!
One more thing: I love the artistic leeway given to Stan the Man in those 1970s "In-House" ads for Marvel books - Lee's ever-present plaid shirt and ripped physique! Was he really like that then? His words were jacked full of strength, that's for sure!
Afore We Address a Particularly Intriguing Query Ypu Posed re Smilin’ Stan, Jim Department:
First off, guess wot we accidentally-on-Purpose came across re a recent publication of no small intriquing interest?
Now then, now then (now then, now then. Now … about THEN.
Mind you, the following has been public knowledge for eons so nothing we’re sharing is exactly news but … after years of being the obedient company man (professional nepotism definitely didn’t damage his career), by the early 60s Smiley was feeling at the end of his creative rope; after all, coming up with the latest opus spotlighting “Fin Fang Foom” and his colorful monster cousins isn’t exactly something that’ll inflame your artistic fires.
Although hoping to write that mythical Great American Novel, it was his wife Joan who encouraged him to throw caution to the winds and just do what HE’D always wanted to do; he had to nothing to lose, he was looking for a way to permanently bail himself out of the then-underwhelming comic un-merry-go-round, so he decided to heed her wisdom and do exactly that.
Hence throwing away the rules that had prevailed – and stifled – the industry for years. It’s not that his spirited vernacular resurrected itself with the fabulous style that so distinguished The Marvel Age (and later his Soapbox, but that he gave HIMSELF the freedom to flourish and let loose everything that had been stifled, caged, repressed and ignored since he first began in the 40s.
Then again, given that The King was just starting his monumental output himself – doing virtually EVERY Marvel cover each month, to say nothing of the ones he was actually penciling inside –
it’s not surprising Ol’ Smiley found himself invigorated and inspired beyond his wildest (previously unexplored) dreams.
[ Actually, we’ve always suspected Stan saw himself as Mr. Fantastic and Jack as Ben Grimm (and since the latter was always puffin’ his obligatory stogie, it’s a suspicion almost a substantiated certainty). ]
(We’ll share the one-and-only-comics convention we’ve ever attended where we actually had the chance to shake Mr. Kirby’s hand anon).
As to your belated appreciation of the grandeur behind his art, just 'cause we wuv ya, here’s an early Christmas present for yer eager peepers:
Still, it’s one of the most danged ASTONISHING creative runs
and Olympian artistic marriages rarely equaled before or since.
We’ll get around to yer “When did The Silver Age” end Mona Lisa query next tyme, but we also plan to spotlight a suitable tribute to the other impressive artist whose inking elevated Mr. Kirby’s drawings to even more magisterial levels, the impeccable Joltin’ Joe Sinnott:
We’d say in 1974 when this little dittie, courtesy of Len Wein
and Dave Cockrum
We dunno if anyone ever christened this noo period one way or the other, but we’d say it lasted until the industry took the nose-dive it’s never quite recovered from when the be-all and end-all became rice krispies Image (and not Substance) …
As I've mentioned previously, I grew up during the Archie Goodwin and then Jim Shooter reigns of Marvel and always got the sense that the so-called "Bronze Age" comics I was reading lacked the energy, spirit, and vitality of those 1960s books--except for that beloved and still-treasured Giant-Size X-Men #1 and subsequent run...truly the last gasp of greatness from Marvel.
Having said that, I look back on some previous posts in this thread and see that I was quite happy back in June...
I look back on some previous posts in this thread and see that I was quite happy back in June ...
And you will be again, Friend Jim. Just keep this in mind:
Healing doesn’t take a long time; it just takes as long as it takes.
So then who's scared that Disney's planning to buy Marvel? I know I am.
You probably aren’t alone, amigo. It may not be the barbarians finally plundering the honor that was Rome, but the analogy ain’t all that far-fetched (now if it was PIXAR, that’d be a whole other unique unicorn) ...
Thanks, Neo--I tell ya, grief processes itself through the darnedest means...
I couldn't help but notice how the audiences for comic books and comic book movies are vastly different. There's an ongoing FF thread here and I don't think any of them have even posted here! Wait'll they hear this on Yancey Street!
This has long been a favorite of mine, when Professor Xavier was young and travelling the world. He encountered his first malevolent mutant, the sinister Amahl Farouk. The two have a battle of minds in an astral projection sort of way. The story is reminscent of a novel by Peter Saxon, THE KILLING BONE. Brilliant artwork by John Byrne (natch!; though that's Dave Cockrum's cover art, baby!) and a tale that has improved through these many years.
This may have been the first comic book I ever owned. I must've been about four years old, so perhaps it was purchased at a used bin or given to me by my older cousin not too long after its publication, perhaps mid-1976 which would've made me five.