Having started reading comics in the 70s and experiencing the Silver Age through reprints, I am wondering what you guys who read them when they first came out felt about certain occurances. My reactions were in hindsight, sometimes already knowing what was going to happen and how they were resolved. So in no order, how DID you feel about....

  • the death of Ferro Lad (or Lightning Lad or Triplicate Girl)
  • the New Avengers of 1964
  • the New Look Batman
  • Ditko leaving Spider-Man
  • the Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl
  • Steranko
  • Adams
  • the Marvel Expansion
  • the DC collapse
  • Galactus and the Silver Surfer
  • Black Canary joining the JLA
  • The Vision
  • the new Green Arrow
  • the weddings of the Flash & Iris, Aquaman & Mera, Reed & Sue and Hank & Jan
  • the deceit of Professor X

You can comment on whichever you like or add something that strongly effected you.

 

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I commented on that Whirlwind story here!!

Some responses:

  • It was hard to care about Proty since Proty II showed up the next month in a Jimmy Olsen story, IIRC.
  • When I did the research, I was puzzled why Giant-Man and the Wasp had to leave the Avengers since their own feature was cancelled two months after Avengers #16.
  • I enjoyed the 50s Batman reprints far more than the 60s Batman reprints!
  • Even as a child, I knew that Steranko and Adams were near-mythic figures, to be spoken about in hushed, respectful tones!
  • Yellowjacket is my favorite Hank Pym identity! I was thrilled when they finally made a YJ action figure!
  •  Green Arrow? I got no opinion about him.
  • Professor X is a cruel, cruel man!
  • I'm pretty sure that my first Kirby was in Marvel's Greatest Comics where the FF fought the Mad Thinker's Super-Android!

 

You ask a lot of questions! I imagine a lot of the reaction depends on how old we were when we read it and if we were talking about comics with other kids or experiencing it on its own. Hoy and I are about the same age, so we probably experienced a lot of the things (at least the ones we knew about) in the same way.

The death of Ferro Lad (or Lightning Lad or Triplicate Girl)

Ferro Lad hadn't been so intrinsic to the group that I considered it that big of a deal. Especially since they'd revived Lightning Lad, who HAD been a big deal. I thought using Proty was a pretty cheap way to avoid the big cover implication that a member just as big was going to die, but it was par for the course. One of Triplicate Girl's bodies dying wasn't that big of a deal. It did indicate there were repercussions, but she was not that big of a part of things to matter so much.

the New Avengers of 1964

I pretty much lost interest in the team at that point, because a bunch of underpowered former villains was not all that interesting (especially with the bland artwork). There were too many other good comics and teams out there. I didn't really pay attention again until Roy Thomas and John Buscema asserted themselves.

the New Look Batman

I was not a fan. All the gadgets and changes made me roll my eyes--like Dick getting involved with a hootenanny group. Did these people have any contact with the real world? The first cover was confusing, because it dealt with a problem with Batman's mask, and I thought THAT was the new look. Plus, half the art (the Infantino) half made the other half look really bad, which made Batman less of a draw for me. I still seem to have bought all of the issues, but they were not my favorites. Like Hoy, I'd had no problems with Batman as an athletic super-hero, which worked fine (except in WF, where he seemed to be pretty underwhelming). So turning him into a detective who palled around with the cops seemed strange.

Ditko leaving Spider-Man

It was a shock, but Ditko's characters were so bland and plain looking that Romita was a step up in terms of the civilian stuff, which is where a lot of my interest in Spidey was. But Ditko drew an excellent Spider-Man. Romita says he tried to draw the first year or so to look as much like Ditko as it could, but it was miles different. I agree with Hoy--Romita coming in on the issue that introduced Mary Jane probably was as good a time as any, because he could draw the supporting cast well. He ultimately made Peter way too handsome and attractive, but he made everyone look good.

the Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl

Meh. I don't remember thinking it was great or really awful. I liked the idea of adding a woman into the mix, but there were a lot of bat-people running around. Some of the stories they created were so incredibly dumb, too.

Steranko

By the time he came on, he was one more ring in the circus. Things were falling apart, and they were trying anything to get some attention for comics. He was part of the wheat rather than the chaff, and his tricks were pretty amazing. But they also could be distracting and not work. Still, considering that my interest was fading by the time he arrived, he was certainly interesting to follow, even if he failed.

Adams

I first saw him on Deadman, and I thought he was pretty amazing. He really made things look more realistic, and on that series, it worked pretty well. After awhile, it became apparent he had a style just like everybody—not everyone in the world has such high cheek bones—but his stuff was definitely worth seeking out.

the Marvel Expansion

I think the Marvel expansion was the beginning of the end. It became hard to follow all the comics, and some of them seemed pretty padded. I didn’t have much interest in a lot of the double comics, but I had even less interest in those heroes by themselves. I followed Cap, but I never much got into Iron Man, Hulk or Sub-Mariner after they split.

the DC collapse

It wasn’t so much a collapse as a substitution. By this point, it was obvious that the excitement was winding down (it was for me, too, as I was getting into high school and was less interested in comics). There was a huge amount of new introductions--Secret Six, Hawk & Dove, Bat Lash, Creeper--but they were such bizarre stuff that it was hard to see how they could be maintained for very long. I bought all that stuff, to see if it would be good, but it didn't last long.

And the stuff that followed was really bad, and I lost a lot of interest. But again, by then I was an upperclassman in high school, and comics were losing their hold on me.

I definitely had a feeling by 1969 that the best stuff was in the past and that the new stuff didn’t measure up. There was a little bit of a rebound in 1970 as stuff like GL/GA, Conan and Marvel’s monster books came out. But it didn’t last very long until a lot of that stuff faded away, too (except for Conan and TOD).

Then by the mid-1970s, I was in college, and only the really great stuff (like Captain Marvel, Conan, Adams’ Batman, Swamp Thing, Weird Worlds, Black Orchid) rose high enough to get my attention. I think the bulk of the stuff at that time was pretty underwhelming, but that could be at least partly because I'd seen better and had other things to do.

Someone who had their Golden Age in 1973 may feel entirely different. I know Dave Blanchard, who's about five years younger than me, love-love-loved the Batman comics and the TV show. He also loves (at least parts of) Kirby's Jimmy Olsen, which I thought was bizarre beyond words. So mileage will vary, and a lot of it will depend on how old we were when we saw any of it.

-- MSA

 

 

Thanks for the answers, MSA & Hoy, because that was what I was looking for: how readers felt when these books came out!

The New Avengers of 1964

It's funny because I grew up on the Marvel Triple Actions that featured Cap's Quartet. From Power Man to the Swordsman, Attuma to the Collector and Goliath to Hercules, I loved those issues. And bizarrely I was never overly fond of the stories showcasing the original members when I read them later!

The Death of Ferro Lad

The most important thing was, though he was mentioned and alluded to afterwards, he stayed dead!

The New Look Batman

Again I have fonder memories of some of the non-Infantino stories like "The Seven Wonder Crimes of Gotham City" or "The Riddle-less Robberies of the Riddler!"

The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl

All fondness for Yvonne Craig aside, this Batgirl was way better and tougher than Batwoman and Bat-Girl combined! Hair-nets and powder puffs! I mean really!

 

...What's " TOD " , MSA ?

  TALES OF-?

  Philip: the " The Ghost Of Ferro Lad " circa '67 LEGION story did have what was pretty clearly presented as a real spirit of FL make an " appropriate " appearance .

  I never could find this ish at the time and I never read it for years ! <sob> !

To Emerkeith: Yes the ghost of Ferro Lad does save the day but there is some wiggle room if he actually showed up, was imagined or manifested through artificial means. The telling thing is that no other writer decided to bring him back either alive or as a spirit! An ironclad phantom is a real oxymoron!

I presume "TOD" means Tomb of Dracula.

Tales of Disco. It was a horror title.

 

It only ran one issue. It had a Bernie Wrightson-ish cover that depicted a young woman dancing on a disco floor with a living cadaver, with the captions "Ultimate Freak Out Issue!" and "GLITTERBALL GORE to get your heart racing!" The story was titled "Singin' in the Hard Rain" and involved a post-nuclear society that murdered passersby by making them take part in gruelling all-night dance contests. The Bee Gees hosted.

LOL!!!

Luke Blanchard said:

Tales of Disco. It was a horror title.

 

It only ran one issue. It had a Bernie Wrightson-ish cover that depicted a young woman dancing on a disco floor with a living cadaver, with the captions "Ultimate Freak Out Issue!" and "GLITTERBALL GORE to get your heart racing!" The story was titled "Singin' in the Hard Rain" and involved a post-nuclear society that murdered passersby by making them take part in gruelling all-night dance contests. The Bee Gees hosted.

Henry wrote:

In reading ESSENTIAL AVENEGERS, it struck me that the issue where The Vision debuted was the exact point where Roy finally GOT GOOD. (Up to then, he'd only been barely tolerable.) Also, George Klein brought out the best in Buscema. Too bad the team didn't last long.

 

I dunno... I guess it depends on how you define "good." I'm also reading through ESSENTIAL AVENGERS, and it struck me that with that Vision story, Roy stopped writing Avengers stories and instead started writing single-character stories (Vision, Yellowjacket, Black Panther, Hawkeye/Goliath II... I'm not really sure how to describe that "fire and ice" story since it didn't really seem to have any point to it at all, other than to squeeze Dr. Strange into the comic to no discernible effect). I haven't yet reached the point where Roy, as you say, gets good, although I'm only up to about issue # 63 in my re-reading of the entire Silver Age AVENGERS. Certainly, the John Buscema artwork goes a long way to helping Roy's stuff look better, although Buscema seemed to play to Roy's weaknesses rather than strengths, by narrowing the focus and scope of the stories down almost to the point where there wasn't actually a story there at all. Nice pictures to look at, though.

 

Flipping forward in ESSENTIAL AVENGERS vol. 3, from issue # 63 onward, I can see that other artists come onboard, such as Colan, Smith and Sal Buscema, so it'll be interesting to see whether Roy adapts his writing style to suit his co-plotters' art styles.

It's funny because I grew up on the Marvel Triple Actions that featured Cap's Quartet.

My guess is that you read those MTA issues when you were 10 to 12, during your Golden Age. Lots of comics we read as the first ones we see really stick with us, even if they weren't the peak of all the comics. That even can be true with reprints, which aren't actually from the period we're reading them in. Lots of fans have fond memories of much older stories, because they read them in those 80-Page Giants and 100-Pagers. You never forget your first comic!

FERRO LAD: The most important thing was, though he was mentioned and alluded to afterwards, he stayed dead!

We didn't know that at the time, so the guy who could turn to steel and didn't show up that much being made dead was an interesting solution to the huge dilemma they faced but not that big of a loss, at least to me. There are several tiers of Legionnaires, although we may disagree on who's in each. But FL was definitely in about the third level or so.

Again I have fonder memories of some of the non-Infantino stories like "The Seven Wonder Crimes of Gotham City" or "The Riddle-less Robberies of the Riddler!"

Nope, not me. Especially when I was buying Detective at the same time, the difference in quailty between the two titles was drastic. In one you get Infantino Batman and Elongated Man, and in the other we got "Bob Kane" art and Bats hanging around with the Mystery Analysts and Pat Powell. Night and day.

-- MSA

With my very first comic book being Action Comics #434 (cover dated May 1974), as to what I can comment on of your list:

 

*Neal Adams

My first experience with his work was the Superman versus Muhammad Ali tabloid, but knew just from the front cover alone that I was looking at a quality artist. Back issues, reprints, and future projects confirmed this.

*The DC Collapse

If you mean the mid-1970s implosion, I was sorely disappointed. The backup features disappeared. Titles I was reading were canceled left and right and new ones that were supposed to come were never released. Granted, some of that material was reused over the years in other ways, like part of the next issue of Steel, the Indestructible Man being incorporated into an issue of All Star Squadron, but it's just not the same. Know what I mean?

I sincerely wish DC would release the two volumes of Canceled Comics Cavalcade, which reprinted all that unused material just for copyright purposes, in a more mass market edition, like maybe an issue or two of Showcase Presents?

*Black Canary joining the JLA.

For me, it was a much later issue of Justice League that retconned Black Canary into being her daughter and not the original, in part to explain the attraction between BC and Green Arrow, as well as the origin of the Canary Cry. But still an interesting tale nonetheless.

*The "new" Green Arrow.

Wasn't there for Oliver Queen's initial fall into bankruptcy, growing the beard, and becoming more socially conscious; but I do like that version of the character better than the "Batman clone" I saw in reprints and back issues.

*The Weddings

The first comic book weddings I had the privilege to "attend" were the Superman/Lois Lane nuptials on Earth 2 for the 40th anniversary issue of Action Comics, and the Saturn Girl/Lightning Lad marriage in a Superboy and the Legion tabloid.

But my pro-marriage stance is very well documented.

 

I would love to add a few thoughts to this thread concerning all that wonderful reprint material DC released between the 80 page giants and other formats that I discovered either first run or via back issues, but considering a lot of my comments are circa Bronze Age to begin with...

 

 

 

"I dunno... I guess it depends on how you define "good.""

 

Now, I'm trying to remember if it was the plots or just the dialogue I was thinking of.  Maybe the latter.

For every story of Roy's I've enjoyed over the years, there's probably twice as many issues where his dialogue has made me wince in pain. Between that and his incessant "fanboy" obsessions with trivia, history, character origins, etc., sometimes I feel like he's never gotten past his own "origins" (and that includes the part about being an English tracher).

 

I find it sad that Roy kicked Don Heck off the book because he liked Buscema's work better, but then he lost Buscema because STAN liked his work and wanted to work with him instead. Which is how we got 3 issues of Colan, 3 issues of Smith, and a PILE of issues of Sal. Sal & Sam Grainger may be the best Sal ever looked, though I still prefer his work on CAPTAIN AMERICA.  I wonder how things might have gone if Roy had gotten Buscema on X-MEN instead?

Mr. Age wrote:

Someone who had their Golden Age in 1973 may feel entirely different. I know Dave Blanchard, who's about five years younger than me, love-love-loved the Batman comics and the TV show. He also loves (at least parts of) Kirby's Jimmy Olsen, which I thought was bizarre beyond words. So mileage will vary, and a lot of it will depend on how old we were when we saw any of it.

 

For the record, Mr. Age is 38 years old (just kidding, though I wish I wasn't).

 

I didn't actually love the Batman comics of my youth, other than the 80-PAGE GIANTs since those were the only ones that somewhat resembled the manic craziness of the TV show, which I did indeed love and have been waiting way, wayyyyyy too long for the DVD collections to ever show up. I liked the Kirby JIMMY OLSEN, but loved the Goody Rickels two-parter. Curiously, though, I never bought another issue of JIMMY OLSEN after # 141, until the title became SUPERMAN FAMILY.

 

I started reading comics in 1966, but on my extremely limited budget (I was in the 2nd and 3rd grade back then), I was very picky about what comics to buy, and rarely did I ever get lucky enough to buy more than 2 consecutive issues of any title. I very much remember the big shakeup at DC circa 1968-69, which did a lot to kill my interest in comic books for a while. Even though I didn't know the names of any of the artists and writers, it was clear that a lot of the "good creators" had moved on, and their replacements just weren't as interesting. Why oh why was Andru & Esposito drawing THE FLASH and SUPERMAN and WORLD'S FINEST? That just didn't make any sense, since they were so perfect for the METAL MEN... which they weren't drawing any more. Why was the Legion, which might have been my favorite title during my early comics reading years, booted out of ADVENTURE into a back-up slot in ACTION? Where was Curt Swan, anyways? He wasn't doing JIMMY OLSEN anymore (Pete Costanza? eek!), he wasn't doing SUPERMAN or WORLD'S FINEST (or at least, not regularly), and even when he did draw Superman, he didn't have George Klein inking him any more. BATMAN was a mess, not that I was a great fan of the title even during the Go-Go Checks days, but now it was all dark and gloomy with Bob Brown and Frank Robbins and Irv Novick backpedaling as fast as they could from the TV show, whereas I always thought the comic book should've been MORE like the TV show.  The JLA, the very first comic I ever bought, no longer was about superheroes and supercatastrophes and supervillains --  now it was about social causes. Yawn!

 

Plus, the worst indignity of all was when comics went to 15 cents. Where in the world was I going to come up with an extra three cents -- PER ISSUE?!?

 

So I sort of watched from the sidelines, still buying an occasional FLASH or ACTION, but not getting a whole lot of payoff for my hard-earned 15 cents. It wouldn't be until 1971, when I was in middle school, had more disposable income, and DC completely revamped their entire lineup -- both in terms of content and creators -- that I would regain my passion for comic books, and in fact, that was my "golden age" since that was when I was 12.

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