Monday, March 9, 2009

10 Things That Made 80's Comics Awesome: Part Five

2. CHRIS CLAREMONT

Say what you will about how bad this man's writing has become or the fact that he never met an idea he wouldn't ride the coattails of (Aliens/The Brood, Star Wars/Starjammers,) but when this man was on, WE were on.

Whether it was his regular work on Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants, Excalibur or Wolverine, the man was a plot machine (and later, a dangling plotline machine.)

X-Men: Inferno. The Mutant Massacre. The Asgardian Wars. Rachel Gray. That one issue where Storm whups Cyclops' ass and takes over leadership of The X-Men, these were just some of the things that kept wanting to come back for more and built The X-Men into the franchise it is today.

1. G.I. JOE AND HECK, LICENSED PRODUCT COMICS, IN GENERAL

I would not be reading comic today if it weren't for G.I. Joe.

G.I. Joe was the first comics series I ever sought out and attempted to collect. Why because the tv told me to do so. For those that don't remember, before the launch of the comics series, Marvel and G.I. Joe's owner, Hasbro ran commercials announcing its publication as a comic. These commercials had a profound effect on me as to this day, I still wonder why I can't have one effin' jetpack just for me and I use the word "poppinjay" constantly in polite conversation.

Say what you will about, TV "manipulating" us but really, were we any different than the kids huddled up to the radio listening to "Little Orphan Annie" to learn how many boxtops it took to get a crappy "secret decoder?"

Yes, we were. We were part of the greatest generation.

We had ninjas in our military, dammit! We had ninjas in our comics, dammit!

We had Rom The Spaceknight. Transformers. Crystar. Sectaurs. Masters of The Universe. Thundercats. M.A.S.K. Super Powers. Team America.

And you know how they more often than not hooked us in.

Masters of the Universe were introduced in the pages of a Superman comic. Team America were introduced in the pages of Captain America. Rom's sidekick was Rick Jones, who was also sidekick to Captain America, The Hulk, Captain Mar-Vell and quite possibly any Marvel character with "The" or a vowel in their name.

They came to us because of our comics. Yes, they were oft-times crappy comics but hey, they planted the seed and we, the readers, continue to take from its tree.

4 comments:

ChrisM said...

Ha! and where Claremont was concerned..one of my favorites? The X-Men/Micronauts crossover by Claremont and Butch Guice (when he still tried to draw like Pat Broderick). ha!! I miss those days...

kingbeauregard said...

Oh dear, you missed the best part of the 1980s altogether: the casual, sensible continuity that pervaded Marvel comics. If demons from limbo were invading one part of NYC, you'd better believe that it would have impact on Daredevil's turf. If Dire Wraiths were a persistent and perennial foe in that one comic based on a toy, you'd better believe the government would pay Forge to come up with a weapon to neutralize them.

I came from a DC background, and it was this practical sense of connectedness -- not event-driven, just consistent -- that I loved most about the 1980s and Marvel.

Speaking of nullification, my word-verification nullifies itself: "explog".

Adj said...

Chris Claremont and Alan Davis' Excalibur was pretty much the entire reason I got back into comics when I was 17. I still hold the first 15 (or so) issues of it as one of my all time favourite runs of a comic.

Siskoid said...

I won't let you get away with not naming the Starriors mini-series!

Anyway, yes, Claremont all the way. Like many, he would go on to become a parody of himself, but it really took a while. Certainly one of the people responsible for my obsession with the hobby from my pre-teen years on.