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What did YOU like about the 90s?

Old 06-04-11, 01:08 AM
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What did YOU like about the 90s?

The 90s has a bad rep for comics with all the extreme characters, bad costume designs, endless #1's with holo-foil, embossed covers, polybagged with a collector card inside, and bad stories.

But there had to be some good moments during that time. Anyone have any?

For me, it was like another golden age, especially with Image coming out with all these new and colorful characters and teams such as Spawn, Cyberforce, Youngblood, etc.

Just before that Marvel had the ultimate combination of art, story, and production values with X-Men #1.

Comic book stores were all over the place, and it seemed like you could buy comics EVERYWHERE.

Wizard was a great magazine, and introduced me to independents and books like Sandman, not to mention they really drove the collector craze up with their "what's-soon-to-be-hot" speculator articles. I remember an obscure issue of Spectacular Spider-man became worth $$, because Wizard said it contained Venom's VERY, VERY first appearance (which consisted of a regular hand pushing Spider-man on some subway tracks).
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Old 06-04-11, 01:53 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Wizard was very fun to read in those early years, before they decided they liked covering pop culture and movies more than comics.
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Old 06-04-11, 06:07 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Comics in the 90s were awesome. People just have selective memories, especially if they fell victim to the bullshit that the 90s brought along with the awesome.

For me, the books were fantastic. You had true "events" like Spawn or X-men 1, which to my young self were awesome. Or crossovers like Infinity Gauntlet and Age of Apacolypse which were the shit. You had great superhero books, like Morrison's JLA, Hitman, Peter David's Hulk, Astro City, and Generation X to name a few.

You had the arrival of Alex Ross, with Kingdom Come and Marvels.

You had the beginning of some of the greatest comics ever in Preacher, Transmet, Strangers in Paradise, Bone, and Sandman.

You had comics shops everywhere, at least in the early 90s. Wizard was awesome to me, as a younger reader. You still had letters pages in a lot of books.

The 90s were the shit!
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Old 06-04-11, 03:12 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

I forgot about Infinity Gauntlet. That was my first big event comic. It was so cool to see Adam Warlock gathering the heroes for this big cosmic battle. I remember actually wondering if there would be superheroes that wouldn't it make it back.

Comic cards were also cool. DC series I was cool even though Batman wasn't featured in them. Marvel series I and II were also nice and introduced me to more characters I hadn't known of. The craze peaked when Jim Lee did all the cards for X-Men series I.
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Old 06-05-11, 12:51 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

I guess it depends somewhat on whether you're looking at it through nostalgia or looking back at it with modern sensibilities. Plus a decade is a really long time. The problem with the Image era is that, looking back on it without the hype, you can see what a bad idea it was for these artists to set up shop and think they could run everything. Some did it better than others, and certainly it ushered in an era of creator-owned series, but the lateness of the books, the proliferation of "copycat" artists to fill out the b-books, and, perhaps most tragically to me, the disappearance of the main creators from actually doing their own art (Larsen aside) were all disappointments.

But I apologize, you asked for what I liked about the 90's.

Sandman and the rise of Vertigo
Shooter-era Valiant
Milestone
Mark Waid's Flash (with the late 'Ringo)
Peter David's Hulk (McFarlane, Keown, Frank), X-Factor (Quesada... sometimes), Young Justice and Supergirl
Nicieza's New Warriors
Robinson's Golden Age and then Starman, perhaps the only good thing to come out of Zero Hour
The last 90's Wildstorm run of Stormwatch, Authority, Planetary, etc.
Travis Charest
Joe Mad, before we lost him to videogames
Tom Strong, Top Ten, etc.
Age of Apocalypse (doesn't seem to hold up when I re-read it recently, but it was a bold move and I loved it as a kid. Heroes Reborn was also a bold move and even then I didn't like it)
Generation X, back when I could actually comprehend Bachalo's layouts)
JSA brought back (early series by the late Parobeck, later series by Johns/Robinson)
Morrison's JLA
Ordway's Power of Shazam
Batman Adventures, especially Mad Love
Alex Ross on Marvels, then Kingdom Come
Ostrander/Mandrake on a lengthy Spectre run (and a not-so-lengthy Martian Manhunter run)
Bone
Busiek/Perez Avengers
Hellboy
L.E.G.I.O.N. and Giffen/Bierbaum's Legion of Super Heroes until Earth blows up. As a Legion fan, I'd even admit I enjoyed post Zero Hour Legion, though I prefer the former.
Astro City
Death of Superman: the actual issue wasn't that great, but the follow-up with the four replacements was. It got me collecting Superman comics, which was the point.
Marvel Knights: hate Quesada all you want, but he brought in some talent that Marvel sorely needed. I loved Jae Lee on Inhumans, for instance.
Walt Simonson's Orion and the New Gods.

Sorry if any of these are not actually in the 90's...

Last edited by fujishig; 06-05-11 at 01:03 PM.
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Old 06-05-11, 01:58 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Death of Superman: the actual issue wasn't that great, but the follow-up with the four replacements was. It got me collecting Superman comics, which was the point.
Same here, but only because I hoped they would end up being worth millions. Reading a story was just a side benefit.
World Without a Superman was actually kind of good but I didn't buy all of them. I stopped buying when he had Fabio hair.
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Old 06-05-11, 05:43 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Death of Superman: the actual issue wasn't that great, but the follow-up with the four replacements was. It got me collecting Superman comics, which was the point.
My only real complaint about the "Death of Superman" story was that the Justice League were third-stringers. It just wasn't all that impressive that Doomsday wiped out Fire and Ice and Guy Gardner. In fact, Guy was the only JL member I even really knew prior to that storyline. Part of me wishes that it had been a real Justice League, to attest to just how much more powerful Superman is than his colleagues. Part of me wishes they'd not even bothered with any other heroes being there for the fight. That's one thing I really liked about the animated movie adaptation: it was just Superman vs. Doomsday.

As for the thread topic, what I liked most about the 90s at the time was that I was old enough to really know how to explore comic books and it was the first time I really had regular access to a LCS. My parents were divorced and my mom and grandmother had gone into business together. On mom's weekends, her dad would come out and pick up my brother and me and we'd spend the day with him. Well, we'd go to a comic book shop not far from his house and he'd turn me loose with $20. My brother often just pocketed the cash, not being into comics. Then the old man would pick up some booze for when his brother came over later in the day, he'd make sure his horse racing bets were placed, we'd grab some grub and go back to his house. After we ate, I'd just sit at his kitchen table gorging on my haul of comics.

I learned how important it was to read Wizard as well as Previews to stay aware of what was going on in comics I wasn't reading but might want to read later. One year ('94, I believe), Previews serialized a Sin City yarn, "The Babe Who Wore Red." It was my first real exposure to Sin City and I bought Previews every month to get those two pages. From there I became a reader and fan of the rest of Miller's Sin City work.

Looking back, what I dig most about the 90s are things that I didn't even really explore fully at the time. Bone and Strangers in Paradise were always on my radar, but I was so stretched with my regular reading I just couldn't make myself drop anything to begin exploring those titles at the time. In the last few years, though, I've delved into both and adore them.

The rise of Dark Horse Comics (which began in the 1980s, I know), the success of Image Comics (problematic though it was) and other indie books and publishers really stands out to me as the crowning achievement of the 90s, though. I have tremendous admiration for creative work and as a reader I appreciate the difference between a creator-owned title and one run by DC or Marvel.

If I read Bone, I know that it's either by Jeff Smith personally, or that it at the very least exists because he wished it to exist. There's no danger of being swarmed by a gluttony of Sin City crossovers and nonsense because no one can do anything with that property without Frank Miller's approval. And you know what? There've never been a Bone or Sin City reboot, because they're not perpetually pimped out to a revolving door of writers and artists playing with someone else's toys. I respect that.

One last thing I liked about the 90s: The Batman Adventures, which I feel may just be the finest overall Bat-title I've read. It had the advantage of being part of what is now called the "Timmverse," but had the luxury of being able to tell its own stories. DC could have made it a weak comic in an attempt to procure dollars from parents with young children, but instead they allowed the writers to really tell thoughtful stories. In fact, I dare say that several of those issues were better than many episodes of Batman: The Animated Series. ...And it managed to be great without months-long story arcs involving every character ever created.
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Old 06-05-11, 10:02 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

I did the majority of my comic reading during the mid 90's to early '00s. Sure, the whole speculator's market with all the chrome variant covers was pure hype and somewhat annoying, and a lot of books certainly didn't live up to that hype. 20 years on, I doubt anyone cares about Stephen Platt's debut on Moon Knight.

I was drawn in to Image Comics due to their very high production standard. They were WAY ahead of what Marvel and DC were doing at the time when it came to color and paper stock. Image certainly gave the industry a kick in the ass in that regard.

Their concept of creator owned material was also a huge step in the right direction for "mainstream" comics. It's pretty crazy to think that it wasn't until 1991 where an artist / writer could create a character for a fairly major company and completely own the rights to it.

Overall, I look at the early 90's this way: If the "Silver Age" Marvel/DC was equivalent to The Beatles and early Rock music, then the Image era was akin to the Punk/New Wave movement. While it's hard to top "The Beatles," credit is due to the younger generation for taking something, making it their own (literally), and inspiring countless others to at least attempt it. And it was exciting to be there for something new that was happening.

Personal highlights of the 90s:

Neil Gaiman's Sandman (started in late 80s)
Preacher
Bone
Inhumans
Astro City
Marvels
The Avengers reboot in the late 90's with Busiek and Perez.
Sin City
Hellboy
From Hell
Grant Morrison's Justice League
Mark Waid's Justice League "Year One" miniseries
Daredevil "The Man Without Fear" (origin by Miller and Romita Jr.)
Kevin Smith's Daredevil reboot (David Mack and Bendis' takes as well)
Concrete (Dark Horse, Paul Chadwick)
The World Below (also Chadwick)
100 Bullets
Batman: The Long Halloween and Dark Victory
Warren Ellis, in general
The early "Ultimate" Marvel line.

So yeah, I think the 90's has a bad reputation just for the early "boom" of the arrival of Image and the whole Death of Superman / crippled Batman thing. Look past the big, headline grabbing titles and you'll find just as many great reads as just about any other decade. I seem to favor miniseries and limited series. To me, comics just work better having a more established beginning and ending.
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Old 06-05-11, 10:29 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by brayzie View Post
But there had to be some good moments during that time. Anyone have any?
The big ones for me:

* Bone
* Scud: The Disposable Assassin
* The Legion of Super-Heroes reboot in the wake of Zero Hour

A lot of the best stuff from the tail-end of the '90s I didn't start reading until the '00s, so I don't always do the best job remembering what came out when.
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Old 06-05-11, 10:40 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by Poink View Post
Their concept of creator owned material was also a huge step in the right direction for "mainstream" comics. It's pretty crazy to think that it wasn't until 1991 where an artist / writer could create a character for a fairly major company and completely own the rights to it.
I sort have an issue with that. If the person is working for a company, the company should 'own' it. I can't claim ownership of a website I designed for a company. I have no problem with them getting a "By___" credit or them getting $$ off its use but not owning it that they can refuse to have the character used. Thats the whole issue with Superman. The heirs can potentially make Superman dissapear as he appears today. They own some elements, DC owns others. If they don't work together, fans/public is left without the whole character. Superman is coming up first since he's the first major hero. I imagine other heroes will come up with the same ownership thing. DC could cease to exist within a few decades since all the heroes are now being kept out.

If writers want to 'own' their own work, work go to a smaller company or start their own company (mcfarland) that doens't have all the characters in one big continuity.
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Old 06-06-11, 12:05 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

I agree. It's work for hire. If not, then it gets hard to reprint the work if the creator of one character chooses not to let the company use the work.

For example, alot of shows from the 80s and 90s aren't being put on DVD because either the music they used can't be cleared now, or it's WAY too expensive to get the rights again. Instead, shows now just use their own music.

That said, there are some shady dealings with the big two when a writer/artist works under the agreement that they will get some kind of monetary compensation from a new character being used in tv, cartoons, etc, and then the big company not paying them any royalties.
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Old 06-06-11, 01:36 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

I really dug the 2099 line of books as a whole. There was a lot of quality stories in those.
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Old 06-06-11, 01:47 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I guess it depends somewhat on whether you're looking at it through nostalgia or looking back at it with modern sensibilities...
Wow. It's like you read my mind. I JUST reread the entire run of Starman last week. It's spectacular.
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Old 06-06-11, 02:13 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by resinrats View Post
I sort have an issue with that. If the person is working for a company, the company should 'own' it.
I could not disagree more. A company would have nothing to publish without the creation of writers and artists. I recognize the importance of connecting the work with an audience, and I'm not anti-company. But unless you've actually created something yourself I'm not sure you're qualified to pass judgment on whether it's right for a company whose only role in the creative process was as middleman between your work and the public to assert ownership.

If writers want to 'own' their own work, work go to a smaller company or start their own company (mcfarland) that doens't have all the characters in one big continuity.
Superman should belonged to Siegel and Shuster from Day #1, Batman to Bob Kane (and, one could rightly argue, Bill Finger), and nearly everything of any interest at Marvel should have belonged to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Had this been the case, those big continuities that frequently force publishers to stage these company-wide reboot events wouldn't happen because the properties wouldn't co-mingle nearly as much.

Furthermore, you act as if Siegel and Shuster were unimportant to Superman once he went to print, that they were mere midwives rather than his parents. Just because DC and Marvel have, for decades, handed over one creator's work to an endless parade of successors doesn't mean that's how it should have been. For God's sake, this is a forum in which fans worship director's cuts for preserving the original artistic intention, but we just assume that whomever agrees to publish a newly minted character should have unlimited rights to do with that character as they see fit?

And yes, I would gladly sacrifice Frank Miller's work on The Dark Knight Returns if it meant guaranteeing that Bob Kane's ownership of Batman had been recognized in 1939 the way it would have been today. Kane created Batman and Kane should have been the one to decide what became of him. Period.

Originally Posted by brayzie View Post
I agree. It's work for hire. If not, then it gets hard to reprint the work if the creator of one character chooses not to let the company use the work.

For example, alot of shows from the 80s and 90s aren't being put on DVD because either the music they used can't be cleared now, or it's WAY too expensive to get the rights again. Instead, shows now just use their own music.
Your arguments rest on the "It makes it more fun/convenient for me as a fan" premise. I cannot think of a more specious, narcissistic position you could take. No recording artist needs to allow the use of their work just so you can have a WKRP in Cincinnati DVD box set. And George Lucas doesn't owe you a Blu-ray release of the theatrical cuts of the original movies.
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Old 06-06-11, 06:43 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post

Your arguments rest on the "It makes it more fun/convenient for me as a fan" premise. I cannot think of a more specious, narcissistic position you could take. No recording artist needs to allow the use of their work just so you can have a WKRP in Cincinnati DVD box set. And George Lucas doesn't owe you a Blu-ray release of the theatrical cuts of the original movies.
Ouch.

No, I'm just saying that's why companies do it. There in the business to sell things. If Tales from the Darkside can never come out on DVD with the original music intact, that sucks for me, but I understand why.

You're right that recording artists, film makers, comic creators don't owe me anything, but no one forced comic creators to sell the rights away to their creations either.

I don't think DC is in the right though in their treatment of Siegel and Shuster, and I know there are many, many instances of those two companies engaging in dishonest practices with the creative people who actually created their comic universes.

Also, in 1991 Image, if that's who Poink is referring to, was getting all the hot artists from the big two and giving them fat paychecks for putting out new comics and that was mostly due to the speculator market. Image's business practice for putting out creator owned work is very different now. I think that if you want to put something out through Image, you don't get paid from anyone, unless the comic breaks a certain number for Image to recoup the publishing costs.

Besides, didn't Marvel put out Epic Comics which was an avenue for creator owned projects, as early as 1982?
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Old 06-06-11, 11:44 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

I liked a lot of what's been mentioned in this thread, but by far my favorite work out of the '90s had to be Alan Davis writing and drawing Excalibur #s 42-67.

I also liked a lot of the early Valiant stuff too.
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Old 06-06-11, 12:02 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

About the creator-owned thing: I have no problem with either side, as long as it's clearly stated in the contract. I also think peripheral appearances should be covered by some kind of reasonable one-time payment thing (so that, say, if someone owned a member of the Justice League, issues of that could still be reprinted). In this respect, I'm actually curious how the Japanese do it, since they usually only have the creator work on the series, so it doesn't seem like the publishing company could just farm out the characters to another creator; but the editors of the publishing company have heavy input into the direction of each series.

In the early days of Image, I think the creator-owned thing really hampered some of the early continuity. They tried to tie the various properties into each other (notably having Chapel be the guy to off the-guy-who-became-Spawn), which I assume became a bit dicey when the creators started having issues with each other. There's still that big debate over those two issues that Dave Sims and Neil Gaiman did of Spawn... did they ever reprint those? And Gaiman's characters also had a pretty large part in those early Spawn mythos as well.

One of the rumors surrounding the line-wide DC reboot and the changing of Superman's iconic costume is to get around that lawsuit...
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Old 06-17-11, 03:19 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Superhero comics in the 1990s were mostly awful. What WAS great was the flourishing independent market -- I miss when I could go in a shop and get new issues of Eightball, HATE!, Yummy Fur, Love & Rockets, Naughty Bits, Cerebus, Minimum Wage and many more at a go. Oddly these days I get next to no independent stuff (all the 90s creators do graphic novels now) and I do buy superhero books again.
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Old 06-17-11, 04:11 AM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

To address the orginal question, during the 90s (?) I think I only read Shade and The Invisibles. I don't really have time for comics these days and am way behind what is happening both in the mainstream and elsewhere.
Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
A company would have nothing to publish without the creation of writers and artists. I recognize the importance of connecting the work with an audience, and I'm not anti-company. But unless you've actually created something yourself I'm not sure you're qualified to pass judgment on whether it's right for a company whose only role in the creative process was as middleman between your work and the public to assert ownership.
Any company producing something needs the people on the shop-floor. I don't think that should give the workers a stranglehold over output, although there probably needs to be a balance between the rights of the creator and the rights of the people (usually the publisher) taking the main financial risk.

As for the special pleading that only creative types can comment with authority on the topic... I must respectfully disagree. 'Nuff said
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Old 06-17-11, 01:56 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

The art. I looked saw a preview for an upcoming issue off one of the X-Men titles and couldn't believe what I was seeing. If they're putting that on what should be one of their lead titles then I can only imagine what's going on on the lesser titles.

I also miss Claremont writing at what I think was the top of his game in the early 90's.
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Old 06-17-11, 02:09 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by Timber View Post
The art. I looked saw a preview for an upcoming issue off one of the X-Men titles and couldn't believe what I was seeing. If they're putting that on what should be one of their lead titles then I can only imagine what's going on on the lesser titles.
The 90s were really the final years for clean, accessible art in comics. It started with a handful of artists showing every vein on Cable's forearms and by the end of the decade it seemed you couldn't find a single panel in a mainstream issue of anything that wasn't in the comic equivalent of HD. Then, too, we saw the rise of CG coloring and the death of white borders on pages.

It's a generational thing, I think, as to whether one views this as a positive or negative. I personally find it somewhat off-putting. I don't like to be visually overwhelmed on every page, but I do appreciate a nice splash page. For younger readers who grew up in an era of TV shows buried under network logos, running tickers and ad pop-ups, it's probably something to which they're oblivious. What I call "too busy," they likely call "sophisticated."

When we discuss cover art in particular, though, I don't know that I could give the nod to the 90s over the present. At least when I was in my LCS recently and took a gander at the new release wall, I wasn't presented with a ton of holographic, die-cut, foil-embossed, polybagged special collector's editions. Plenty of variant covers, yes, but none of those aforementioned gimmicks. 90s variant covers were simply garish.
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Old 06-17-11, 02:20 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

X-Men "Legacy" #251


vs. X-Men #3


Which is probably my favorite image of Magneto ever.
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Old 06-17-11, 02:29 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by Timber View Post
X-Men "Legacy" #251

vs. X-Men #3

Which is probably my favorite image of Magneto ever.
I have to say, that X-Men Legacy page is actually pretty inviting to my eyes relative to some of the contemporary stuff I've seen. It's very clean and not overwhelming at all. I dig that. As for the Magneto image you favor, I see the appeal there, too. It's hard to really pick between a standard layout and a full sized, singular image because of course they're trying to fulfill entirely different objectives. I will say that, for me, the coloring of the X-Men #3 is far more appealing to me. It feels organic to me, rather than the artificial digital work of the other image.
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Old 06-17-11, 02:38 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by MinLShaw View Post
I have to say, that X-Men Legacy page is actually pretty inviting to my eyes relative to some of the contemporary stuff I've seen. It's very clean and not overwhelming at all. I dig that. As for the Magneto image you favor, I see the appeal there, too. It's hard to really pick between a standard layout and a full sized, singular image because of course they're trying to fulfill entirely different objectives. I will say that, for me, the coloring of the X-Men #3 is far more appealing to me. It feels organic to me, rather than the artificial digital work of the other image.
You're right, it's not a fair comparison but I just wanted an excuse to post the Magneto splash page.

To me the Legacy page looks like work Paul Smith was doing in the mid 80's. Seems like a de-evolution in style more then moving forward.
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Old 06-17-11, 02:47 PM
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Re: What did YOU like about the 90s?

Originally Posted by Timber View Post
You're right, it's not a fair comparison but I just wanted an excuse to post the Magneto splash page.
Good enough for me!

To me the Legacy page looks like work Paul Smith was doing in the mid 80's. Seems like a de-evolution in style more then moving forward.
I dunno about this. I wouldn't call it a step back, but I would agree it hasn't taken the same step forward as other current artists. Personally, I think that level of art is perfectly acceptable.
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