Wednesday, November 16, 2011
I haven't had time to blog much lately, but here's a recent book review I wrote for the Comics Buyer's Guide. If, like me, you grew up reading Marvel comics (I read more DC than Marvel, but loved and read a ton from both companies), you'll enjoy this book:
Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue by Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon
$27.95, b&w, 224 pgs.
Writer: Pierre Comtois
Grade: 3.5 Stars (out of 4)
The follow-up to Marvel Comics in the 1960s, this book covers the “Twilight Years” at Marvel, which saw the departure of Jack Kirby, the diminishing role of Stan Lee as a writer, the rise of Roy Thomas as an editor, and the introduction of a new stable of creative talent, including Gene Colan, Marv Wolfman, and Steve Gerber.
Comtois waxes eloquent about the good and the bad of the decade, referring to the “rise of imaginative new features and professionals” as well as the “growing lethargy among the company’s established titles.” Comtois is highly opinionated, and True Believers may cringe at some of his harsher criticisms, but it’s obvious from page one that he has a great deal of respect for the House of Ideas.
To tell the story of Marvel in the ’70s, Comtois adroitly breaks down key issues, such as Avengers #68 (Sal Buscema takes over as penciller), Conan the Barbarian #1 (a distinct departure from super-heroes), and Dracula Lives #1 (Marvel’s new line of black-and-white magazines begins). Key creators are spotlighted as well.