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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That is how I remember it being to more or less. It was covered in an issue of Back Issue a number of years back. Issue 35 to be exact I just looked it up.

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

According to Roger Stern, Hobgoblin was always supposed to be Roderick Kingsley, right from his debut in ASM 238.  Tom Defalco followed Stern on ASM, and he wanted Richard Fisk to be Hobgoblin and Roderick Kingsley to be the Rose.  I can't find a link to it, but I'm about 90% sure Stern didn't tell Defalco it was Kingsley.  At some point during Defalco's run on ASM, Christopher Priest - then known as Jim Owsley - became ASM editor.  At some point, Owsley fired Defalco and the clustermuck that was ASM 289 - Hobgoblin revealed to be Ned Leeds - was foisted.  Like the infamous Avengers 200, those who have their names attached to it all disavow it - Owsley, EIC Jim Shooter, and credited writer Peter David. 

This was late in Shooter's reign as E.I.C., and according to Owsley, he was coming down on the editors to come down on the creators for lateness and who knows what else.  Unfortunately, Defalco was also editorial in his day job, and Shooter was piling work on him, interfering with his freelance work.  A lot of office politics here and a lot of different versions; all in all, an unfortunate situation.

John Dunbar:

"Peter David at the behest of editor Jim Owsley"

Huh. 2 of the guys who helped ROYALLY SCREW OVER Hal Jordan in ACTION COMICS WEEKLY.

The only one missing is Denny O'Neil... who, I've read in gruesome detail, was one of the targets of Jim Shooter's wrath of REPEATEDLY screwing up on the job while an editor at Marvel.  (And O'Neil's run as writer on ASM is notoriously hated by most Spidey fans.)

I didn't enjoy the few issues of O'Neil's ASM run that I've read.  I found them boring and dreary.  I avoided his runs on Daredevil and Iron Man because of that. 

O'Neil arrived at Marvel in the early 80s, after a long stint with DC, primarily writing Batman and Green Lantern.  I have always found his work to lose a lot without Neal Adams on art, but I enjoyed his Batman work overall much more than his ASM stories.  One issue in particular than annoyed me was ASM Annual 14.  The cover promises a Pier Six brawl between Spidey and Dr. Strange versus Dr. Doom and Dormammu.  As I recall it, what the reader actually got was some flunky of Doom's using some mystical something or other to mentally enslave a bunch of people; Spidey don't even cross paths with Doom.  I can't remember what Dormammu's part was in all this, but I don't think it amounted to much.

According to what I've read on Shooter's now defunct blog, there were only three occasions where an Assistant Editor came to Shooter to complain that their Editor was making them do all of their work - twice it was O'Neil, on two separate occasions with two different assistant.  The accusation was that while Denny was being paid to be an editor, he was actually closing his door and doing his freelance work on company time.  Apparently, even after being let go at Marvel, he went to DC to edit the Bat books and others, and the same accusations came up  Brett Breeding, who worked on Superman in those days, has said that was a persistent rumour at DC at that time.

I haven't read the GL stories in ACW, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.  I will say that I have loved the majority of Owsley and David's work. 

Shooter admits on the blog he chewed out O'Neil many times because books that Denny was okaying contained several errors or were, in Shooter's view, amateurish and unacceptable.



John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

I didn't enjoy the few issues of O'Neil's ASM run that I've read.  I found them boring and dreary.  I avoided his runs on Daredevil and Iron Man because of that. 

O'Neil arrived at Marvel in the early 80s, after a long stint with DC, primarily writing Batman and Green Lantern.  I have always found his work to lose a lot without Neal Adams on art, but I enjoyed his Batman work overall much more than his ASM stories.  One issue in particular than annoyed me was ASM Annual 14.  The cover promises a Pier Six brawl between Spidey and Dr. Strange versus Dr. Doom and Dormammu.  As I recall it, what the reader actually got was some flunky of Doom's using some mystical something or other to mentally enslave a bunch of people; Spidey don't even cross paths with Doom.  I can't remember what Dormammu's part was in all this, but I don't think it amounted to much.

According to what I've read on Shooter's now defunct blog, there were only three occasions where an Assistant Editor came to Shooter to complain that their Editor was making them do all of their work - twice it was O'Neil, on two separate occasions with two different assistant.  The accusation was that while Denny was being paid to be an editor, he was actually closing his door and doing his freelance work on company time.  Apparently, even after being let go at Marvel, he went to DC to edit the Bat books and others, and the same accusations came up  Brett Breeding, who worked on Superman in those days, has said that was a persistent rumour at DC at that time.

I haven't read the GL stories in ACW, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.  I will say that I have loved the majority of Owsley and David's work. 

I remember that issue, the menace was something called the 'Bend Sinister' and it never came about and when Spider-Man asked what it was Dr. Strange said something to the effect of 'it's best you don't know' and Peter got really mad. The thing I remember most about it though was that when Dr. Strange was attacked he sent out a mystical SOS and they spent a page tracking it around the mu explaining that everyone was away until it found Spider-Man. That and one of the center pieces of the issue was a band called "Scrapnel" that I never heard of again.

I think one of the yoga classes I used to take had a "bend sinister" in there somewhere.

Some nice Miller/Palmer art on that one though.  I was never a Spider-Man fan but I remember getting that one just for the art.

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

 One issue in particular than annoyed me was ASM Annual 14. 

John Dunbar:

"Brett Breeding, who worked on Superman in those days, has said that was a persistent rumour at DC at that time."

I met Brett Breeding at a show in Philly back in the 80's.  He struck me as a really nice guy!  He also seemed too young to have possibly been a pro as long as I knew he had been.  (What did he do, get hired at 13?  Heh) He told me a story of how, while working on ASM, the editor on the book kept letting pages sit on his desk for weeks on end, instead of checking them over and passing them on to the next person in the assembly-line ASAP like he was supposed to.  As a result, repeatedly, by the time Breeding got the pages to ink, they were LATE-- so late, he had 2 choices.  1)do a proper job, hand them in late, piss off his editor and never work for Marvel again, or 2)do a CRAPPY job, turn them in on time, make his editor happy, but PISS OFF the fans and develop a rep as a "lousy inker".  He chose the latter.  (Dick Ayers used to do this ALL the time in the 60's!  If you ever see a REALLY lousy Ayers ink job, check the credits on the book the month before, to see who the regular inker was who BLEW the deadline Ayers was trying to make under impossible circumstances.)

Decades later, I read a description on Jim Shooter's blog of this EXACT sort of behavior.  I'm not sure if both guys were talking about the same editor-- or 2 different ones!

"I haven't read the GL stories in ACW, so I'm not sure what you mean by that.  I will say that I have loved the majority of Owsley and David's work. "

Andy Helfer & Steve Englehart did such a good job on GREEN LANTERN sales doubled-- something that apparently never happened before.  When Mike Gold decided to do ACTION COMICS WEEKLY, the only "major" character they could find to "anchor" the book was GREEN LANTERN.  This meant cancelling a now-successful book just to help sell a questionable experiment (which, in the long run, was cancelled after one year due to poor sales).  Neither Helfer or Englehart was interested in the 8-pages a week format, and so both left GL.

In comes Denny O'Neil as editor (where have I seen that name before?) and Jim Owsley as writer. The very FIRST thing they did was bring back an INSANE Carol Ferris (as Star Saphire), who MURDERED John Stewart's wife Katma Tui by literally SLICING HER TO RIBBONS (off-panel of course).  This was in the first 8 pages of their run.  It went DOWNHILL from there!!!!

I didn't care for Gil Kane's art, either. Especially as half the time, he was inking himself (with a Flair pen, of course).

By the time Peter David came in (not sure if he was supposed to be filling in or just got tired of it and left real quick), Hal's personal and professional life was a total shambles.  David then did a story in which he revealed that the reason Hal Jordan allegedly had "no fear" was that when it originally sought him out, his GL ring LOBOTOMIZED him, removing ALL fear.  David apparently felt this might make some sense of some of the senseless actions we'd seen Hal do over the years, in which he repeatedly allowed his entire personal and professional life to go to hell (over and over, thanks to writers like Denny O'Neil).  (This was ignored after the reboot, of course.)

I will say the end-run, by Owsley (who came back) and Mark Bright (doing "Neal Adams-LITE") was a huge, VAST improvement.  Hal began going back into space, and fighting aliens again. There was also that story about the really bizarre renegade GL nobody knew about, "Malvolio".  I could never understand why Andy Helfer refused to allow Gerard Jones to touch that character later on.  It was the BEST story they'd done in ACW, and deserved a sequel.

Agreed on the art, but not even that art team could save that story for me.

Detective 445 said:

Some nice Miller/Palmer art on that one though.  I was never a Spider-Man fan but I remember getting that one just for the art.

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

 One issue in particular than annoyed me was ASM Annual 14. 

If that was Owsley (Christopher Priest), he shouldn't have let pages sit on the desk for weeks like that.  But I feel for the guy, getting what seems like a dream job at age 24, and it turns out to be a nightmare.  Shooter at his most tyrant-y, and Defalco being habitually late due to an ever increasing workload that he could or would not say no to.  There were a fair number of fill-ins on ASM around this time.  According to Priest, he offered to take Defalco and Frenz off ASM and create a quarterly Spider-Man book for them, to let them do as much Spidey as they wanted.  Defalco flew into a rage for being taken off ASM.  As Executive Editor, he outranked Priest in the office - and yet Editor Owsley was technically his boss.  As I said before, just a lot of messy office politics.
 
Henry R. Kujawa said:

John Dunbar:

"Brett Breeding, who worked on Superman in those days, has said that was a persistent rumour at DC at that time."

I met Brett Breeding at a show in Philly back in the 80's.  He struck me as a really nice guy!  He also seemed too young to have possibly been a pro as long as I knew he had been.  (What did he do, get hired at 13?  Heh) He told me a story of how, while working on ASM, the editor on the book kept letting pages sit on his desk for weeks on end, instead of checking them over and passing them on to the next person in the assembly-line ASAP like he was supposed to.  As a result, repeatedly, by the time Breeding got the pages to ink, they were LATE-- so late, he had 2 choices.  1)do a proper job, hand them in late, piss off his editor and never work for Marvel again, or 2)do a CRAPPY job, turn them in on time, make his editor happy, but PISS OFF the fans and develop a rep as a "lousy inker".  He chose the latter.  

John Dunbar:

"If that was Owsley (Christopher Priest), he shouldn't have let pages sit on the desk for weeks like that.  But I feel for the guy, getting what seems like a dream job at age 24, and it turns out to be a nightmare.  Shooter at his most tyrant-y, and Defalco being habitually late due to an ever increasing workload that he could or would not say no to.  There were a fair number of fill-ins on ASM around this time.  According to Priest, he offered to take Defalco and Frenz off ASM and create a quarterly Spider-Man book for them, to let them do as much Spidey as they wanted.  Defalco flew into a rage for being taken off ASM.  As Executive Editor, he outranked Priest in the office - and yet Editor Owsley was technically his boss.  As I said before, just a lot of messy office politics."

Now that's interesting.  I hadn't connected Tom DeFalco as possibly being part of the problem.  (Apart from the fact that ever since MACHINE MAN, I thought he was a TERRIBLE writer!)

I don't suppose Jim Shooter's editor on AVENGERS would have had the nerve to tell him, "Sorry, Jim, you CAN'T write that in this book."  (Even though somebody really F***ing should have.)

Yeah, I didn't think O'Neil was involved, I just couldn't recall who was editing ASM at the time.

It does seem to me a number of people who left character destruction and chaos in their wake at Marvel then went over to DC and dumped it all on Batman and Green Lantern.

It continues to amaze me how the more time goes by, and the more I read about things, the more complete of a "big picture" I see forming. (When I re-read all my 60's Marvels in chronological sequence, I saw a lot of "connections" about behind-the-scenes stuff I never noticed before, or could have, any other way.)

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