I too noticed the real drop in quality shortly after DeFalco took the reins. He seemed too backward thinking to be the EIC, in my opinion.
What surprised me most was that DeFalco won the post. To me, it seemed like Mark Gruenwald should have gotten the job. Why? Well, he shepherded the "Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe" with amazing care. What could have been a totally forgettable catalog of characters was instead ridiculously detailed, informative and filled with great art (both new and old.)
Beyond that, his "Mark's Remarks" columns was a fantastic PR piece for Marvel. It offered advice to wannabes. It helped explain the basics of comics. It was required reading in every Avengers book.
Then add some really spectacular runs on Captain America, and you've got some great stuff. Really, I mean that. If we look back, I bet we'd find that Gruenwald's best runs were Pre-DeFalco EIC. And I'd also bet that the really goofy ones (Cap Wolf, Femizon Cap) hit afterward. (Just guessing on that, mind you.)
Ah, we'll definitely have to disagree then, Rich. I was pretty much hooked on Cap through the 1980s. I can't seem to find a list of the Gruenwald's Cap storylines in a date-order but thanks to the horribly slow Comics.Org, I would pinpoint that Gruenwald's run goes off the tracks somewhere in the 380s (cover dates of 1991). Before that, I stand by my man Mark!
Here, by the way, is a fairly spirited defense of Gruenwald's Cap issues, and his "Cap No More" stories.
That's pretty interesting information, and a good example of why there's a need of such a policy. Man, DeFalco's F.F. was horrid. Didn't he write Thor, too? Boy, that was a bad title too.
But that first DeFalco issue after Simonson's run ended -- the first three pages of that first DeFalco issue -- threw aside all that was innovative and creative and interesting about what Simonson did, for second-rate imitation Jack Kirby riffs, the very thing that never interested me.