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CSBG Archive

Comics were better in the Seventies

At least that’s what Greg Hatcher tells us!  Let’s examine the evidence!

Why, in the 1970s …

Batman was so bad-ass he would leap from one World War I biplane to another!

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Kinky robot-human love was all the rage!

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Batman actually knew what a sense of humor was, and employed it occasionally!

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People actually went out in public dressed like this!

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Batman didn’t scare the bejeesus out of children!

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A big purple guy could threaten you with a Time-Mind Sync-Warp!

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(And, of course, you could actually find out what it does to you!)

 

A hero could have such a life-altering experience that it would turn his hair from white … to blond!

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Comics creators could actually drop acid and draw comics … and no one would notice!

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Two single women could take in an unrelated adolescent orphan … and no one would think it’s strange!

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Wolverine was still mysterious!

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Wolverine still had his cute little anger management problem, threatening his teammates with his razor-sharp claws at the drop of a hat!

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Characters had backstories that actually incorporated real-life events!

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(Of course, this would make Ororo 51 years old today [Edit: Whoops!  I mean 56], but it’s still kind of cool.)

 

Jean Grey and Misty Knight were roommates!

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(You know you’d buy a series about their zany adventures in the Big City.  Gail Simone or Dan Slott could write it!)

 

All super-villains really wanted was a cold Schlitz! 

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Someone could walk around dressed like this, call himself the Foolkiller, and nobody would call the Village People to come pick him up!

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Women were really smart!

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Batman was so smooth with the ladies, he would just show up in a woman’s hotel room while she was wearing a towel!

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Scott Summers was a whiny dick.  Oh, wait a minute … he still is!

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Denny O’Neil and Marshall Rogers’ illustrated prose Batman story was much better than Grant Morrison and John van Fleet’s!

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Superman got out of airplanes by … going through the toilet! 

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(Seriously, the next panel shows him outside of the plane.  How else did he get out?)

 

Among Superman’s many superpowers, one was super-math skills! 

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Batman actually used detecting skills!

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You could light up a cigarette in a science/medical laboratory.  Good times! 

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Oh, and Captain America was still alive!  Imagine what that must have been like!

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I guess Greg was right – comics were better in the Seventies!

Key: (1) Detective Comics #404, October 1970.  Written by Denny O’Neil, drawn by Neal Adams, inked by Dick Giordano.  Reprinted in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told (original edition, 1988).  (2) Avengers #91, August 1971.  Written by Roy Thomas, art by Sal Buscema.  Reprinted in The Kree-Skrull War trade paperback, among other places.  (3) Batman #234, August 1971.  Written by Denny O’Neil, drawn by Neal Adams, inked by Dick Giordano.  Reprinted in The Greatest Batman Storeis Ever Told.  (4) Avengers #92, September 1971.  Written by Roy Thomas, art by Sal Buscema.  Reprinted in The Kree-Skrull War trade paperback.  (5) Batman #250, July 1973.  Written by Frank Robbins, art by Dick Giordano.  Reprinted in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told.  (6) Captain Marvel #28, September 1973.  Written and drawn by Jim Starlin, with script possibly by Mike Friedrich (or Steve Englehart, even).  Reprinted in The Life and Death of Captain Marvel trade paperback.  (7) & (8) Captain Marvel #29, November 1973, and Captain Marvel #30, January 1974.  Written and drawn by Jim Starlin.  Reprinted in The Life and Death of Captain Marvel.  (9) & (10) Captain Marvel #29 and Captain Marvel #33, July 1974.  Reprinted in The Life and Death of Captain Marvel.  (11) Omega the Unknown #1, March 1976.  Written by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, art by Jim Mooney.  Reprinted in the Omega the Unknown trade paperback.  (12) X-Men (before it was Uncanny) #98, April 1976.  Written by Chris Claremont, drawn by Dave Cockrum, inked by Sam Grainger.  Reprinted in Marvel Masterworks vol. 11.  (13) & (14) X-Men #101, October 1976.  Written by Chris Claremont, drawn by Dave Cockrum, inked by Frank Chiaramonte and #102, December 1976.  Written by Claremont, drawn by Cockrum, inked by Sam Grainger.  Reprinted in Marvel Masterworks vol. 12.  (15) X-Men #102.  (16) X-Men #102.  (17) The Defenders #48.  June, 1977.  Written by David Kraft, drawn by Keith Giffen, inked by Dan Green.  (18) Omega the Unknown #9, July 1977.  Written by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes, art by Jim Mooney.  Reprinted in the Omega the Unknown trade paperback.  (19) Detective Comics #474, January 1978.  Written by Steve Englehart, drawn by Marshall Rogers, inked by Terry Austin.  Reprinted in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told.  (20) Detective Comics #475, February 1978.  Written by Steve Englehart, drawn by Marshall Rogers, inked by Terry Austin.  Reprinted in The Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told (original edition, 1988).  (21) & (22) X-Men #109, February 1978.  Written by Chris Claremont, drawn by John Byrne, inked by Terry Austin.  X-Men #114, October 1978.  Written by Claremont, drawn by Byrne, inked by Austin.  Reprinted in Marvel Masterworks vol. 12 and vol. 24.  (23) DC Special Series #15, Summer 1978.  Written by Denny O’Neil, art by Marshall Rogers.  (24) DC Comics Presents #4, December 1978.  Written by Len Wein, art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.  Reprinted in the Superman: Back in Action trade paperback.  (25) DC Comics Presents #4.  (26) Batman #312, June 1979.  Written by Len Wein, drawn by Walt Simonson, inked by Dick Giordano.  Reprinted in The Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told.  (27) DC Comics Presents #24, August 1980.  Written by Len Wein, art by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.  Reprinted in the Superman: Back in Action trade paperback.  Yes, I know the date.  Anything prior to Reagan’s election is technically the 1970s!  (28) Avengers #95, January 1972.  Written by Roy Thomas, art by Neal Adams.  Reprinted in The Kree-Skrull War trade paperback.

29 Comments

re #11: After James-Michael found out what the “Bum’s Rush” was, he immediately wished he hadn’t.

Oh 70′s Comics, you so crazy.

And you are right, I would totally buy the hypothetical Gail Simone/Dan Slott “Gals About Town” Jean Grey/Misty Knight team-up book, especially if it were set in the 70s.

Come to think of it, that is the best “What If?” idea ever.

“Of course, this would make Ororo 51 years old today, but it’s still kind of cool.”

Why’d you put that in? I was going to complain about the problem with putting real-life events in origin stories, and you had to take the wind right out of sails.

What’s doubly amazing about comics being so great in the 70s is that almost nothing else was — the music, TV, movies, clothes, hair, interior and exterior design are horrible. How did comics escape the sucking black hole of the 70s?

Shucks, I have no comment… except that, God help me, I bought every last one of those when they came out except the Kree-Skrull War. That was just a teensy bit before my Marvel-junkie years.

You left out Robin’s sideburns and Rick Jones being a rock star, though.

And you left out that Shazam finally escaped from that damned Suspendium. Hate that stuff.

Yeah, well, I actually don’t OWN a lot of 1970s comics, so I left out a lot! But that’s why there’s more to discover!

There was loads of good music in the 70s and it holds up. Sure there was plenty of bad stuff, too, there always has been and always will be.

Most people consider the 70s to be the highpoint of American cinema.

“There was loads of good music in the 70s and it holds up. Sure there was plenty of bad stuff, too, there always has been and always will be.

Most people consider the 70s to be the highpoint of American cinema.”

Yep, and there was good television, too. Also cool clothes, and attractive interior and extreior design. Just because the popular mainstream stuff had some crap, doesn’t mean everything stunk. Do American Idol and the Pussycat Dolls mean that nothing good ever came out of the 2000′s?

Of course not.

Flush it all away

March 14, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Don’t knock the Foolkiller! He had a cool gimmick. He was a vigilante before vigilantism was “kewl.”

And yes, it does appear that Jim Starlin MADE the ’70s. Rock on.

SIGH

Also you forgot about the greatest character ever created in the 70s or of all time–Deathlok the Demolisher–the original killer cyborg with guns that all other killer cybords with guns aspire to be done ina real fashion!

Astonishing Tales #31 Cover
http://www.diamondgalleries.com/product_images/1/1184/001_big.jpg

SIGH

Zoombaboom Babies!
Dwight R. Vlahos

Now, on the one hand, Mingus’ “Let My Children Hear Music” (1971) is pretty much my favorite album of all time.

But, in general, I’d say that the pop (Read: Western, non-experimental) music of the seventies was based more on responding to what had come before than in brilliant inovation. A lot of it just seems like folks tryin’ to come to terms with the Beatles, Bitches Brew, Fun House,
San Fransisco Psychadelics, Dylan, the earlyearly heavey metal bands…

Or maybe that’s a bit too narrow. Come to think. I’d certainly call the post-Motown stuff by dudes like Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, and various Parliaments and Funkadelic as innovative as any recent pop music in history.

But other’n that… Or do we have enough qualifiers that I don’t have an argument anymore? I’m not sure.

I like how bad math is enough to blow Superman’s cool.

The man loves his math.

The absence of Spider-man’s sideburns is disappointing.

[quote]What’s doubly amazing about comics being so great in the 70s is that almost nothing else was — the music, TV, movies, clothes, hair, interior and exterior design are horrible. How did comics escape the sucking black hole of the 70s?[/quote]

Are you for real? If so … Wow, you’re trippin. Even lots of mainstream ’70s culture was tremendous. American TV grew up and gave us sitcoms with a brain (like All in the Family and Maude). TV also started to give equal time to folks who weren’t white (you go, Good Times!) and women began to hold their own (hellooo, Charlie’s Angels) as more than just maids or moms or girlfriends. Mainstream 70s radio chart-toppers had some far more decent rock (eg, Fleetwood Mac), funk (Sly and the Family Stone) than most later decades. And (as has already been pointed out) the ’70s are a high point in American cinema. And it even gave us, just before the decade closed out, the first really good superhero film in Superman.

And you don’t have to look any further than the Dreamgirls’ recent recreations of ’70s fashion and interior design in Dreamgirls to see how awesome the ’70s were. In fact, the ’70s were so awesome, when the universe asserted its cosmic law of balance, we naturally were plunged into the most dreadful decade possible: The Reagan ’80s. Dallas and Dynasty? Miami Vice? Duran Duran? Rambo? [shudder]

Oh, hey Greg — here’s another piece of comicdom’s ’70s awesomness:

The Legionnaire’s new costumes! All those colors! All that flesh peeking through! All those thigh-high boots! And Cosmic Boy baring almost as much skin as Wonder Woman (his top barely covers his nips, too!). I believe we have Mike Grell to thank for these. Or are they the genius of the work of the recently departed Dave Cockrum?

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=30571&zoom=4

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=33828&zoom=4

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=32834&zoom=4

Grant: I was thinking the same thing. The situation is so dire that Superman has to race the beam to the sun, but he manages to find the time for a sarcastic insult.
He really IS super!

Hey – the current Batman could still jump from one biplane to another, but the current Batman would realise that when travelling at that sort of speed the plane he’s jumping from would have to be significantly ahead of the one he’s jumping to. And just maybe his cape would flow in a way that reflects the speed he’s travelling at!

Comics creators could actually drop acid and draw comics … and no one would notice!

Well, Morrison drops acid and writes comics.

All Adam wants is a cold Schlitz….

Hey – the current Batman could still jump from one biplane to another, but the current Batman would realise that when travelling at that sort of speed the plane he’s jumping from would have to be significantly ahead of the one he’s jumping to. And just maybe his cape would flow in a way that reflects the speed he’s travelling at!

Yet, strangely, he’d still never work out that a man in a bat costume isn’t actually all that scary, nor deduce that the drag from his cape would whip him off unpredictably, insuring his death-plunge.

Isn’t “realism” grand?

Also, Julie Schwartz started editing Superman, and Neal Adams drew ‘Superman vs Muhammed Ali’.

“You could light up a cigarette in a science/medical laboratory. Good times!” (27)

Oh man, I lmao when I read that. So very true. That’s the kind of embedded culture that makes reading the old stuff so worthwhile.

So… much… awesome…. *gasp* *choke* …

Do you ever buy back issues? If you’re relying on TPBs for your knowledge of ’70s comics, then you’re missing out on things like E-Man, Master of Kung Fu, Fleisher and Aparo’s Spectre, and most of Elliot S! Maggin’s Superman stories.

And if there’s one thing I learned from reading and working for Comic Book Artist, it’s that mainstream comics were far, far better in the ’70s then they are today. At that time, Marvel and DC were willing to take risks and try new things, and multiple other publishers (Charlton, Warren, Archie, even Atlas/Seaboard) were publishing commercial comics that were excellent or at least readable. Nowadays, Marvel and DC are caught up in a race to the bottom, and the better publishers are no longer interested in the so-called “mainstream” audience.

I used to buy back issues more often, but now I simply don’t have the time. When the kids are older and in school, and if I’m still not working, maybe, but it’s very difficult digging through back issue boxes when you have two kids hanging all over you (and pawing through the boxes themselves, messing everything up). I actually like back issues more than trades, but trades certainly are easier!

“Whatever else it proves…the Batman’s frightening image scares the guilty……not the innocent!”

So how come Bats didn’t ever uses this to make his detective work easier, huh?

Commissioner Gordon: “Batman, we know one of the five men behind that door was the assassin who shot the mayor…we just don’t know which one.”

Batman: “I’ll handle this, Commissioner.”

(Batman enters the room to face the five suspects.)

Batman: “Bwaa! I’m Batman!”

(Four of the men remain nonchalant. The fifth shrieks in terror.)

Batman: “There’s your killer, Commissioner. I’m going back to bed.”

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 23, 2007 at 3:23 am

You left out doctors standing aside so that Superman could do surgery… on the Metal Men!

(and then coming out and not knowing wether it had worked or not).

I love seventies comics, especially the creme de la creme, Howard the Duck -which is missing from your list. Criminal!

Oh, and another great thing about seventies comics (to tie-in to your Starlin references): epic crossovers that ACTUALLY MADE SENSE! Hoo boy, gotta tell ya I miss those.

Wonderful blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

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