This month's Ask Mr. Silver Age column, in Comics Buyer's Guide  #1678, is a look at the key comics events of 1971, the year CBG started. It helps celebrate the magazine's 40th anniversary issue. To read what I considered the biggest events, go here:

 

http://cbgxtra.com/columnists/craig-shutt-ask-mr-silver-age/1971-a-...

 

See if you agree or think of any that should have been included. Also consider if there was a year in which more major changes were occurring with the impact that some of these had!

 

-- MSA

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Mister SA:

Having not started reading/collecting comics until Action Comics #434, May 1974; I obviously came in late to this party.

But if I may comment from hindsight...

01. Kirby

Given the trend now to follow specific creative personnel, he was certainly ahead of his time with the moves from Marvel to DC, and then his later move back to Marvel, before going independent and then later back to DC again. Personnel flip-flopped back and forth between companies before then without anyone noticing, especially in the days when a lot of material was produced by shops and sold to various companies.

I own very little of the original Fourth World issues, but have read a lot of the reprints, and am constantly in awe of his work. While I hope I am not stepping on any toes by saying that Kirby could have used a text editor at times, the main thing he lacked during his early 1970s DC tenure was apparently support from the rest of the editorial board of the day.

02. The Code

As you stated, much has been said about it already. The only comment I will make is to repeat something I said before: I hope there does not come an instance where suddenly some "concerned" parent starts questioning the contents of an issue and starts the whole mess all over again.

03. Was Bigger Better?

In hindsight, I like to think so. By the time I came on the scene, the 100 page books were nearing their end, especially in light of the fact that wasn't a true story page count since they were running ads in them.

But I loved all those old reprint issues (52/48, 80, 100 pagers), giving me a chance to read material I've never seen before and still hunt for them whenever I can.

We in fandom definitely have E. Nelson Bridwell to thank for most (if not all) of the reprints, and it is my sincere hope that someone of his dedication takes over the Archivist position at DC (if there is not someone there I am unaware of) who does their best to preserve the Golden/Silver/Bronze/Whatever Age material.

04. "Kryptonite Nevermore!"

As discussed elsewhere in this forum, probably the biggest "Change Without Change" storyline done back then. Wish I could have afforded the recent hardcover reprint so I could read this story in its entirety. 

05. Marvel Made Magazines

The ones I came across towards the end of the 1970s were apparently not as good as the originals. But I'm aware of what I've missed and am always keeping an eye out for back issues on the ones I want. We've recently discussed whether or not "The Big Two" might not do well experimenting with a magazine format again, akin to Life With Archie. Now I'm wondering how such an experiment would progress using the original template.

06. Infantino Took Over

I'm afraid more informed people other than myself will have to comment on this one.

07. Kree Versus Skrull

A true big event that did not require a major crossover between multiple titles and a bunch of tie in minis and specials to tell the story. While multiple issue stories are still told today, can anyone name the last big major one of such magnitude confined to a single ongoing series?

08. Face Front!

Have never seen that specific issue before the cover image, and have never read the article. But given the mulit-media driven market we have today, you do have to admit that Stan Lee was ahead of his time in some respects back then.

Is it just me, or is today's media campaigns though driven in regards to promoting specific characters, especially when they have a new movie out; instead of comic books in general and a specific company (Marvel in your 1971 example) as the case seems to be here?

09. Kirby's Magazines

10. Air Pirates Attacked

Alas, while I know of them, I have never seen any of this material for myself, so more knowledgeable people will have to comment on these.

 

Overall, I do agree with your position of 1971 being a pivotal year for comic books. Hope you don't mind the long response.

reason.com/archives/2004/12/01/disneys-war-against-the-counte

 

Here's much more on the Air Pirates case. (Warning: some rough language)

 

Dan O'Neill said that when Disney initially didn't take the bait, he had someone smuggle the comics into a meeting of Disney's board of directors. The X-rated comics were put in front of each board member like notepads. "Why have a fight," O'Neill said, "if nobody comes?"

 

Ah, for the heady days of revolution!

Lee, thanks for the long response! Considering some of the ones I've posted, on topics that didn't cover 10 items, I can hardly complain about lengthy replies. I think they give people more jumping-off points to find something to discuss.

George, I'd read that about O'Neill getting in Disney's face, so to speak. He definitely was doing as much as he could to provoke them and the courts, completely defying court orders and being held in contempt. 

O'Neill thought it was great to thumb his nose at The Man, but he mostly dared a major corporation and the judicial system to slam him into the ground, so they did. That left a wake of judicial issues that hurt fair use and made corporations' ownership of characters stronger.

He thought he did great, because they ultimately gave up and didn't force their punishments of him, when he actually did the opposite of what he wanted. Not too many other people were fooled.

-- MSA

Jack Kirby coming to DC was probably the most game-changing move that could have been done at the time (except for Stan Lee, of course!). Infantino, Kane, Sekowsky and Andru all left DC for Marvel at various points of the 70s without the same impact.

Better yet, it gave us the opportunity to see Kirby's Golden Age DC work.

When Steve Dikto worked for DC in the late 60s on Beware the Creeper and The Hawk and the Dove, it had little of the fanfare Kirby's arrival had and less success.

The magazines were an interesting experiment with different genres. I fondly remember Planet of the Apes, though the longest lasting one was Savage Sword of Conan. Of more significance, I think, were the Tabliod Size editions, first reprints then new stories which gave artists room to work and collectors with these bulky things to store!

...I've never read that Rolling Stone article , though I've heard of it , of course , and seen that cover...I was a couple years away from reading RS in 1971 , and I suppose it could have - maybe - still had the " counterculture " tag applied to it in Sven-'Ought-'One .

  As an article about comics , was it any more imporatant than any other ?

  The NEW YORK Sunday newspaper magazine/issue about comics from 1965 ( which I've never read either ) might claim to be the most important of all , if only because it is credited w/being rather " the snake in the Garden of Eden " , commencing resentment on Jack Kirby's part towards Stan Lee's for what Jack felt was the ovely sized attention and credit the article gace in apportioning the credit for Marvel's product between Stan and Jack , but that's not the first in 3 of the years that didn't have a Stooges song named after it , of course...

...I noted that the article cited Wally Wood . Was he doing much work at Marvel , especially on DD or any other mainstream underwear dudes , then ?????????

  Wally is an AllTimeGreat , of course , and perhaps the article's author was a comics fan , and wished to mention him some , give him a chance/plug . He certainly , well , myabe he received chances in his life , but ,...:-(...........

  I was just searching through the New York Times' archive to see if I could at least find the date of the 1971 article about the dropped code seal ASM #96 that I remember seeing , and reading , on the front cover of the second section of a daily ish of the Grey Lady , a parental copy , back then ( I am from the suburbs of the area . ) .

  Now , obviously , that would have tended to be little seen outside of the NYC metroplex , and it was just an adjunct to the #96-8 kerfluffle anyway , so I will not say...Well , I dunno.........

  For mainstream media articles about comics ( A subject I've meant to bring up here . ) , about that timeframe , I remember 1970 articles about " relevance " in " Newsweek " and " New York " the stand-alone magazine ( Again , yes , obviously , regionally...) , and I remember a " New York Times Sunday Magazine " cover story about relevance ( A My Lai-inspired Sgt. Rock cover was used as the illustration . ) that may have appeared in calender year 1971 , okay...

...My spelling correction of my first reply did got go through , alas...and odds bodkins...

In regards to the Kirby move.

I know comic books back then didn't have the specialized media attention (Captain Comics, Comics Buyers Guide, etc) that they do today; yet why didn't the assorted transfers of Ditko, Kane, and company warrant the same attention of Kirby's move? Dick Giordano and others left Charlton for DC and nothing much was publicized about it that I can remember.

Not to slight everyone else involved, but is it because Jack Kirby is/was a much bigger name, or because DC/National's Powers That Were back then went out of their way to promote the situation?

Whatever the answer, it definitely was the first publisher acknowledgement that sometimes it was the creators that attracted readers.

"Savage Tales" No. 1 was a memorable event for me at age 12. Couldn't believe I was seeing what Roy Thomas called "tasteful nudity" in a Marvel mag (although the word "Marvel" was absent from the cover, probably by design).

 

There are lots of conspiracy theories about why "ST" was cancelled after one issue -- stories about Canadian censors seizing bundles of magazines, about stores in Middle America refusing to display it. (The severed head on the cover probably didn't help.) Thomas said publisher Martin Goodman didn't want to buck the Code, didn't want to enter the B&W magazine field, and was looking for any excuse to kill it. When Goodman was gone, Stan revived it, although the title was soon changed to "The Savage Sword of Conan."



Lee Houston, Junior said:

In regards to the Kirby move.

I know comic books back then didn't have the specialized media attention (Captain Comics, Comics Buyers Guide, etc) that they do today; yet why didn't the assorted transfers of Ditko, Kane, and company warrant the same attention of Kirby's move? Dick Giordano and others left Charlton for DC and nothing much was publicized about it that I can remember.

Not to slight everyone else involved, but is it because Jack Kirby is/was a much bigger name, or because DC/National's Powers That Were back then went out of their way to promote the situation?

Whatever the answer, it definitely was the first publisher acknowledgement that sometimes it was the creators that attracted readers.

 

...Kirby was The Name . And one half of the Famed Team , too . You said it yourself .

  Now , it's interesting you pointed to the concept that DC's by-then Warner Brothers ownership may have helped , too:-) !.........

  A comment about Rolling Stone magazine .

  I read Wenner's brainchild some to this day , and have thought of subscribing to it even now .

  However , I never had a ": it was my magazine " feeling toward it , as I believe many people who bought it regularly in its , oh , first 5-7 years of existence do .

  The fact that a lot of people ( I am not referring to anyone here . ) have tended to rosily remember earlier years of RS , and find themself rather disappointed/let down by the magazine's later-years development , is something that has interested me , and that I have discussed before (Elsewhere . ) .

  To be blunt , I am too young , I guess , to have been involved w/the mag , just as a regular consumer , in its " glory years " .

...I was hoping that could I suggest once again that Charlton's picking up of the Hanna-Barbera account relating to their " old guard " characters ( Huck , Yogs...) was a 1971 Notable but , alas and alack...

...It Would Not Be True to say that ( and Non-Truthfulness is a Bad Thing...:-(...) , as the search for truth , and the proximity of Comics.Org , revealed that the first issues to crawl out from under the Derby of YOGI BEAR and HUCKLEBERRY HOUND of the New Sensational Seventies type were cover-dated the " I Feel Alright " year , even !!! ( Pixie & Dixie crossover cover on Huck ! )

  I do think that the fact that Hanna-Barbera's , the then undisputed king of TV animation , tranfers of their O.G. properties to The Little Company With Wheezing Printing Presses marked the end of the near-decade that Gold Key ( /Western/Whitman ) had essentially had a monopoly on major animation properties ( Ummm...The " Harvey World " characters are---comic book---characters , not Famous/Paramount/de-Maxed Fleisher Studios characters , right ???Right !!!!! ) , shaking up the cozy stasis of the Silver Age that had prevailed for so long in another major ( then ) part of comic books , though granted not the suited/Spandex'ed ones ( Say...Spandex(C) didn't exist then , did it ??? ) ones .

  Plus , at least maybe , it marked recognition of how bloody awful Gold Key's distribution had gotten by then ??? Altho' , yes , they were to trudge along for 13-12 years more or so...

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