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Marvel Comics in the 1970s: An Issue by Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Pierre Comtois

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4. Oktober 2011
By popular demand, TwoMorrows Publishing presents Marvel Comics in the 1970s, the sequel to Pierre Comtois' heralded first volume on the 1960s! This book covers the company's final historical phase: the twilight years of the 1970s, after the initial '60s wave of popularity pushed them to the forefront of the comics industry, and made many of their characters household names. This full decade of pop-culture history saw Stan Lee's role as writer diminish as he ascended to Publisher, the stunning departure of Jack Kirby to DC (and later return to Marvel), the rise of Roy Thomas as editor (and eventual Editor In Chief), and the introduction of a new wave of writers and artists who would expand the boundaries of comics beyond super-heroes, while planting the seeds for the industry's eventual self-destruction. The Spider-Man "drug" issues, Conan the Barbarian, Tomb of Dracula, Master of Kung Fu, Howard the Duck, Star Wars, the new X-Men, and more are covered in detail-along with the creators who wrote and drew them, including Chris Claremont, Barry Windsor-Smith, Gene Colan, Marv Wolfman, Steve Gerber, John Romita, Gil Kane, Sal Buscema, and others. So don't be satisfied with only half the story! Check out Marvel Comics in the 1970s and find out why Marvel was once hailed as The House of Ideas!

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Amazon.com: 4.8 von 5 Sternen  32 Rezensionen
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3.0 von 5 Sternen An ambitious project, deeply marred by the author's insensitive comments. 16. Januar 2013
Von Derek - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
When I first began reading, I was pleasantly surprised that this was more than just an expanded checklist of Marvel comics published in the 1970's. The author, before providing a synopsis of the issue(s) of the relevant comic book, often gives background on what might have motivated the publisher, editors, writers and artists to explore a particular theme or choose to go with a certain storyline.

Most of the background appears to be the author's opinions and conclusions, only occasionally based on quotes from the creators, apparently sourced from published interviews (sources are generally not quoted). From what I've read, there is little evidence of attempts to contact surviving creators or other professionals who might have personal knowledge of the circumstances - something that could have transformed and deepened this into a publication with a credible historical perspective.

If however, the publication's objective was simply to document the author's personal remembrances and opinions of the comic books and creators, for readers' enjoyment, then the manner of expressing those opinions is often so insensitive that it negates anything positive that the author might later say about the creator. Here are some examples:

"...Tuska's style would later become even more bland than it already was...Like Tuska, Goodwin would never generate too much excitement with fans, but he did manage to ape Lee's writing styles sufficiently well..."

"Not that his drawing was bad, it was just...dull. Sal also had maybe two facial expressions in his repertoire: grim and agonized." The author also comments that Sal arrived at Marvel on the `coattails' of his brother, John Buscema.

"...at DC (Neal Adams) was seldom served by the best scripts or inkers... the serviceable but lackluster work of Dick Giordano..."

By far the most pervasive criticism is of Mr. Kirby (the `Kirby bashing' referred to by another reviewer). Jack's drawing style in the years leading up to his departure from Marvel is characterized as outdated and uninspired; his Fourth World titles at DC are casually dismissed - even `though this is a book dealing with Marvel comics; he is criticized for sourcing story ideas from other popular media at the time (something that his contemporaries were also doing); and at one point, Jack is summarily dismissed by the comment that: "...as the years passed, Kirby became all but irrelevant."

Other creators so unfavorably categorized include Marie Severin, Herb Trimpe, Gil Kane and Jim Mooney.

For anyone who might be unfamiliar with the work of the above gentlemen, please allow me to add a few of my own comments and opinions:

-George Tuska: Roy Thomas has said that at Marvel in the 70's, George was one of two artists who could draw any book and it would sell (the other was John Romita). I can clearly remember George's work on Iron Man #104, published in 1977. I would have been about 16 years old at the time, and even now, can still remember the atmosphere that George brought to this issue - the tenderness between Iron Man and Madame Masque, the frustration of Jasper Sitwell, the inevitability of the approaching conflict, and some well-choreographed and dynamic action sequences. And this is just one example of George's immense body of work in the field.

-Archie Goodwin was, simply put, one of the most respected and talented editors and writers in comics. His work at Warren, Marvel, the Epic Line, and DC, speaks for itself.

-Sal Buscema: The issue of The Incredible Hulk in which Jarella dies is one of only 2 comic books that almost brought a tear to my eye. And it's Len Wein, Sal Buscema and Joe Staton combining words and pictures to show the Defenders comforting a grief-stricken Hulk that did it. Sal and Joe's depiction of Valkyrie putting her arms around Hulk to comfort him, is heartbreaking.

-Dick Giordano is generally acknowledged as one of the finest inkers to have worked in comics. This is in addition to his countless contributions to the field as an editor, a developer of new talent (like Archie Goodwin), a proponent of creators' rights, and a founding member of Continuity Associates with, yes, Neal Adams.

-Jack Kirby was perhaps one of the 2 most creative forces to ever work in comics (the other, IMHO, being Will Eisner). Dozens, if not hundreds, of his creations and co-creations continue to live on in comics, animation, and films.

Like another reviewer, I had difficulty getting past the first sixty or so pages of this book. I really believe that creators who contributed so much to so many readers' enjoyment of comics deserve more courtesy. I eventually made it past the first hundred pages, and decided that I would stop (the text is not broken up into paragraphs, which also makes the print physically difficult to read). It's hard to believe that this is a TwoMorrows Publication, since their books are usually so professionally done.

Why did I still rate it 3 stars? Well...
-It was a very ambitious and I believe, well-intentioned, project.
-Despite the harsh criticisms leveled at several creators, I don't get a sense that the remarks were intended to be cruel. It seemed more like an inherent insensitivity in the author's writing style.
- Creators such as Stan Lee, Steranko, Neal Adams, Barry Smith, etc., come in for high praise from the author.
-Finally, as stated by another reviewer, the author has a right to his opinions; I simply choose to disagree with some of them and to not read his work further.

Having not actually purchased this book (a friend shared their copy with me), I initially hesitated about posting this review - my first online review, by the way. Still, I felt strongly enough about it to at least alert others going in about the aspects with which I disagreed. For anyone who might have read this, thanks.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Stupendous Publication 10. November 2011
Von Karen A. Glogowski - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
"Marvel Comics in The 1970's" is a very thorough compendium of comic book knowledge. The attention to detail that Comtois put into the manuscript and comic book pages really made it shine. If you're looking for an excellent history on the subject of Marvel Comics, then this is the book for you.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen what a great book 23. November 2011
Von joebean - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
I have to say this is the best Marvel Comic Guides out there to date. after reading the book i learned so much more about the history. this is a great book for any real marvel comic fans. ITS A MUST HAVE 5 stars.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Getting up to speed 22. November 2011
Von Robert M. Price - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
I was an avid Marvel fan, big-time, from the start, from the early 60s through 1971,when I dropped comics for other things I erroneously imagined more important. Years later, in the early 80s, I looked at Marvel again and was shocked, dismayed. It has taken me these many years to develop any appreciation for this missed (by me) era, largely through Brian Michael Bendis's integration of these characters into a "unified Marvel mythos" in recent years.

Pierre Comtois's meticulous documentation of what he aptly calls "the Twilight Years" of Marvel (their "Bronze Age") helped fill me in on what I had missed. Comtois unabashedly speaks of Marvel's decline and collapse, its self-destruction, for the period did witness the death of the Marvel that so captivated me as well as the awkward coming to birth of a Marvel that was as different from 60s Marvel as that was from the earlier Timely and Atlas eras. The admittedly creative new experiments (some of them) floundered around with the gaucheness of pop culture and stupid politics in the chagrin-provoking 70s. Comtois demonstrates this with his issue-by-issue exposition. He summarizes only as much as necessary to make his point, and his judgments are balanced, frank, and nuanced.

This book is exactly what I needed! I hope the author will treat us to more volumes! I have to know who thought Moon Dragon and Razorback were good ideas!
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A decade in the life of Marvel 8. Mai 2012
Von mrliteral - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Pierre Comtois's Marvel Comics in the 1970s is a follow-up to (as you might expect) Marvel Comics in the 1960s. In the previous book, Comtois celebrated an era when Marvel was becoming the House of Ideas, changing the face of superhero comics with energy and imagination. In the later book, he refers to the 1970s as the "Twilight Years". It's an interesting, but not really appropriate, nickname.

The term "twilight" connotes the dying of something; in this case, Comtois seems to refer not to the dying of Marvel the company but rather its creativity. The problem is that this wasn't really the case, something he seems to often point out himself; while certain artists and writers waned (most notably Jack Kirby, whose talents didn't seem to move with the times and Stan Lee, whose interests began to move elsewhere), others would rise, including Barry Windsor-Smith, Frank Miller and John Byrne. If certain comics began to be less creative, others took their place. Just as on the Earth, if it's twilight somewhere, it's dawn somewhere else.

The book itself (like its predecessor) offers essays on specific comic book issues, showing how they indicated larger trends at Marvel. During the 1960s, Marvel only had a small number of titles, so Comtois spent most of his writing with those; in this volume, Marvel has expanded and so has the number of comics Comtois discusses. Stalwart books such as Thor, The Avengers and The Fantastic Four make way for The Man Thing, The Master of Kung Fu and Captain Marvel.

Comtois is certainly entitled to his opinions, just as I'm entitled to mine: just because I thought the Killraven comics (almost forgotten nowadays) were just so-so doesn't mean that he can't praise them. On the other hand, he also seems to assert as fact things that just aren't so: he may have not liked Omega the Unknown, but it has a following as one of the great underappreciated comics, so he shouldn't refer to it as a forgettable effort.

There are definite flaws in this book (including the lack of an index and many titles that are either omitted or hardly mentioned), but Marvel Comics in the 1970s does give a detailed history of the Marvel decade. Despite my griping, this book is still entertaining and informative. Comtois's ideas may be problematic at times, but the book overall is still a treat.
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