It might be a bit presumptive of me to 'start' a discussion on only my first full day as a member here...but.... here goes...

Avengers 202 saw the end of Perez style 'clean' art and the beginning of a dull period before the big shake-ups of 211 and in my mind was never the same again....anyone any thoughts?

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Sadly, not the case, according to Stern.  This is from a 2006 interview:

GK: All right, how did you end up at DC?  Were you a little disillusioned with Marvel after a while?

RS: I wound up at DC because I was fired from the Avengers and no Marvel editor was returning my calls.

No, I take that back, I did get one call.  Jim Salicrup had become the editor of the Spider-Man titles and he called me up and offered me work on Spectacular Spider-Man.  But this was right after Spider-Man - well, Peter Parker - had gotten married to Mary Jane Watson, which I thought was a huge mistake for both characters.  So I thanked Jim and asked him to give me a call if and when that fell apart.

But I wasn't disillusioned with Marvel, so much as I was disappointed in the place.  I'd been working steadily for them for nearly twelve years, turning out stories that I thought were pretty good.  The readership seemed to agree, and I'd never gotten any complaints from any of my editors.  But then, suddenly, it was all over.

I'd disagreed with one editorial suggestion about the Avengers line-up.  My editor wanted a change that I thought distasteful, and I sent him a memo to that effect.  I would have liked to have discussed the matter further, but I was never given a chance.  Instead, I received a message that I was fired.

 

Here's a link to the full interview, Stern giving an overview on his long career.  Highly recommended read: http://www.marvelmasterworks.com/features/int_stern_1006_1.html

Quite possibly he did spin it differently another time.  The editor in question was the late Mark Gruenwald.  As is the case with many who die too early, Gru was and is often discussed with a lot of reverence.  Stern is a class guy and would probably never speak ill of the departed, but you can tell he was pretty hurt by how his tenure at Marvel ended.  If Stern's version is accurate, it was pretty unprofessional, imo.

I think that Stern's objection was around Monica Rambeau.  I'm going purely on recollection here, but I think the storyline of Avengers 291-300 was the destruction (and eventual rebirth) of the team.  Captain Marvel was team leader and the team fell apart on her watch.  She was portrayed pretty badly, and was written out of the series.  Monica, of course, was created by Stern, and she was an obvious pet character.


Ah Philip!  I at least see what you did there!!

(Gilgamesh the 'Forgotten')..... (!)


Philip Portelli said:

Sadly, no!

I know they added a new Avenger at that time but I've forgotten who it was! ;-)

They already had the Wasp "fail" as team leader so to have Captain Marvel not only "fail" but be branded as "Incompetent" was really a huge step backwards. Not only was she written out of the book, she was potentially crippled for life! I was surprised that they didn't kill her off outright!

My theory, sad to say, was that some people just did not want a female Captain Marvel and they certainly didn't want to be equally as important as Cap and Thor.

So the #300 "New" Avengers were Thor, Cap (as the black, white 'n red Captain), Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman (for a coffee break) and Gilgamu.....Galgomi...Now I forgot again!

Jeff of Earth-J said:
"Getting back to Roger Stern’s run, from what I understand, Mark Gruenwald kept a tight hand on Avengers editorially. He chose the direction (plot), and, as editor, hired and artist to draw it and a writer to script it. That;s not to say Roger Stern had no creative input at all, but when a disagreement arose between the editor and the writer, the editor won. I don’t think it’s accurate to say that Stern was fired, per se. The way I heard it, the decision for him to leave was mutually agreed upon. (Perhaps I’m splitting hairs.)"


The way I understood it, from an article in Back issue, it revolved around Monica Rambeau. Stern had created and shaped the character of the, then, new Captain Marvel. He created the character in the Spider-Man Annual, had her become an Avenger in training, then a full member and finally leader of The Avengers. Up until that last one, things were going okay but the powers that be realized that in another year or so, the Avengers would be coming to an anniversary. It was decided that Captain Avenger…er, sorry, Captain America had to be leader again. The way that it was to be done was that CM would make a mistake, due to which, another member would be injured, CM would doubt herself and ask CA to take over leadership again. Stern said it wasn’t in character for CM & he wouldn’t do it. I don’t blame him. I loved & still love the character . She was a powerful black female character leading Marvel’s flagship team and had earned the right by the story that had been told to that point. So, for me, the Avengers ended with the point where they decided to shoot the character ½ way across the galaxy & she uses up a good chunk of her bodies resources, disabling her, just so Captain America can become leader again.

John Dunbar:

"Quite possibly he did spin it differently another time.  The editor in question was the late Mark Gruenwald.  As is the case with many who die too early, Gru was and is often discussed with a lot of reverence. "

I have never Roger Stern describe it any differently.  For quite a lot of years in the 80's, Roger Stern had become my favorite writer at Marvel, so to have him FIRED off a book he had, and it felt like it was almost single-handedly, saved from year after year of chaos and plunging quality, was a slap in the face to good writers (and their fans) in general. I'm quite aware of Gruenwald's reputation, even before he suddenly kicked off without warning, but I had personally gotten fed up and sickened by the general tone, attitude and arrogance I kept sensing every time I read one of his letters-page editorials.  I may be one of the few who has a long habit of NOT speaking of him with reverence... but I have to be careful how I say what I feel around here, so I'll just stop now.

Kevin Dooley-- formerly a "nice guy" (when he worked on AMAZING HEROES) went thru a simlar "character arc" as Gruenwald. The self-named "Green Lantern's Number One Fan", years before he got the heck out of the comics biz, annoyed me to such an immense degree that at one point I decided to never buy another new comic with his name on it, no matter who was doing it and good it might otherwise be.  (Dooley fired Gerard Jones off GL under similar circumstances as Gruenwald & Stern on AVENGERS.  It was history repeating itself.)

Found another interview:

Mania: I'm sorry to have to ask you this because Lord knows you've rehashed it many times.  But why were you fired from Avengers?  Word is you and your editor disagreed over storylines.  One rumor is he wanted you to make Captain America team leader, replacing Monica as someone who is incompetent.

RS: Something like that.  I was asked to replace Captain Marvel with Captain America.  And while I like Captain America a lot, I thought that unwise.  I sent editorial a memo pointing out dumping Captain Marvel at that point would look both racist and sexist.  I suggested that we rethink that particular idea.  Instead, I received a message that I was fired.

 

Link:  http://www.mania.com/comic-book-legends-roger-stern_article_116982....

Monica had only become team leader after Under Seige in #279, and Stern was off the book less than a year later.  Gruenwald was Avengers editor and writing Captain America when Stern was fired.  A bit of a conflict of interest on Gru's part if you ask me for pushing CA like that almost right after CM being made team leader.  And pretty disrespectful to the guy who had been writing the book for nearly 5 years.

That's why my Avengers ends with # 285, Stern's last full storyline.  In the next 5 part storyline, Stern is first credited as writer, then plotter, then is gone before the storyline concludes.

Richard Mantle said:


Ah Philip!  I at least see what you did there!!

(Gilgamesh the 'Forgotten')..... (!)
Philip Portelli said:

Sadly, no!

I know they added a new Avenger at that time but I've forgotten who it was! ;-)

Oh, fer...!

I am so embarrassed!

Don't be, Jeff. It's not a big deal. You just...I mean...It was...Wait! What were we talking about?
 
Jeff of Earth-J said:

Richard Mantle said:


Ah Philip!  I at least see what you did there!!

(Gilgamesh the 'Forgotten')..... (!)
Philip Portelli said:

Sadly, no!

I know they added a new Avenger at that time but I've forgotten who it was! ;-)

Oh, fer...!

I am so embarrassed!

So the #300 "New" Avengers were Thor, Cap (as the black, white 'n red Captain), Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman (for a coffee break) and Gilgamu.....Galgomi...Now I forgot again!

The most forgettable part of that was the line-up! <rimshot!>. Non-Cap Cap, Thor, old what's-his-name, and two members of the FF. If wanted to read about those two I would have actually picked up the Fantastic Four. I didn't, so I didn't.

I do remember hating that line-up - but also being a bit disappointed that it was built up into such a major 're-launch' and then the line-up was changed again in only a few issues. Also, #300 was an extended issue but a really dull story!

Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

If wanted to read about those two I would have actually picked up the Fantastic Four. I didn't, so I didn't.

If memory serves, Mark Gruenwald in turn was FIRED off the book, after writing a few issues (fill-ins?).  I suppose one could say he got what he deserved...

I think it's a shame (now that I think about it) that Roger Stern's long and consistent run on the book was bracketed by 2 different periods where you had editors totally out of control (one of whom was the EIC).

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