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Cross-Hatchings for January 2011

Busy week here, so it’s a lot of small stuff. Some pulps, some Marvel, some old DC television. And something any parents of imaginative twelve-year-old girls might be interested to know.

Pulp Art: Whenever I mention the old pulps around here — which is, okay, fairly often — it gives me an excuse to run some of those amazing pulp-magazine cover paintings, and invariably someone mentions how awesome they are to look at.


Speaking of, let's run a few more, just for fun.

As it happens, I’ve run across two books and a movie on that very subject that I wanted to mention here.

Pulp Art by Robert Lesser is a coffee-table art book that came out a few years ago. Lesser is a pulp historian and art collector, and the book has a nice collection of essays on the old pulp magazines as well as biographies of the various pulp cover artists like Virgil Finlay, Margaret Brundage, Hannes Bok, and many others.

There are two editions of this; earlier one's on the left. Apart from the cover I don't think there's any difference, though.

There are two different editions, both of which have been remaindered in hardcover and are available for pennies on the dollar. As far as I am aware, there’s no difference between the two other than the cover. (I opted for the earlier edition because I found it for two dollars, rather than five for the later one.) The essays are affectionate and well-researched … but the real treat is page after page of glossy full-color reproductions of pulp cover art, many of which are taken from the original paintings in Lesser’s own collection.

Even better than the book, though, is the marvelous documentary film that was made from it. Pulp Fiction Art: Cheap Thrills and Painted Nightmares is now available on DVD and I can’t recommend it strongly enough. In addition to funny and insightful interviews with Lesser and other pulp historians, you also get interviews with several of the surviving artists themselves.

What I really like about this documentary is that it’s organized by genre. Director (and narrator) Jamie McDonald walks us through the adventure pulps, westerns, science fiction, hard-boiled mystery, “weird menace,” the Spicys, and the hero pulps like Doc Savage and the Shadow, making sure that the star painters of each genre are given their due…. and interviewed, if possible. I’m embarrassed that it’s taken me five years to find out about this — it was made in 2006. Truthfully, if you’re on a budget, I’d put this ahead of the Pulp Art book it’s adapting… it’s got almost all of the same eye candy, and it’s a more comprehensive and valuable historical piece. I know a fair amount about pulp history, but there was a remarkable amount of stuff I never knew that’s included here. The nice thing is, you can get it at Amazon for not a whole lot of money.

And finally, because I bought the other two, Amazon thought I also should have this book, and since it had been remaindered in hardcover as well, I went for it.

Savage Art is edited by Tim Underwood (of Underwood Press — the folks that bring you the annual Spectrum collections and a whole bunch of other nifty SF and fantasy art books.) The book itself is staggeringly gorgeous, with over a hundred full-page cover paintings showcased; all of which are presented with the cover text removed, so you see just the raw art. Despite the title, it’s not exclusively Doc Savage covers — there are all sorts of genres represented.

There’s also a knowledgeable and informative introduction by Frank Robinson. My only caveat is that so many of the paintings are uncredited. I can see signatures on quite a few of them and can identify a few more just on style, and Robinson’s intro makes it clear that the knowledge was there to do the job, but for whatever reason, they just didn’t. Still, it’s a gorgeous book and I think it would make a fine addition to any fan’s library… it’s just not worth much as a reference. Fortunately, I’m the kind of freak that carries most of that knowledge in my head already, so I’m happy just to look at the pretty pictures.

Speaking of collections: I’m very much enjoying Marvel’s new program of collecting short runs of comics that are a little off the beaten path, but nevertheless historically interesting, in a nice hardcover edition.

However, I’m really starting to wonder who the editor is that makes the decisions about which stories rate the hardcover collection treatment.

For example, recently I picked up Fantastic Four: In Search of Galactus on a whim, largely because I never did get caught up with Marv Wolfman’s epic Nova/Fantastic Four crossover way back when, and writing about 1978 last week had gotten me all misty for bronze-age Marvel again. I was glad to have the book, of course, but like the Thor and Warriors Three collections that came before it that I so adored, I was a little baffled as to why it existed. Was anyone — anyone at all?– asking for this book? When people talk about memorable FF stories, is this on anyone’s list of the top twenty? I know damned well that when people talk about the great FF artists, no one mentions Keith Pollard (although, to be fair, he turned in a really nice job on these, and clearly he was doing his best to give the proceedings that epic Jack Kirby scope. )

The point is, the run of stories collected here is just, well, “meh.” I was glad to see them because it was scratching a nostalgic itch for me… but that’s all. Lest you think I’m being unduly harsh, let the record show that even Marv Wolfman himself disavows his Fantastic Four days, often saying that the only time he felt he really got it right was the confrontation between Reed Richards and Doctor Doom in #200.

And yet… here now is this collection. In hardcover.

And then I noticed that it’s now possible to get– wait for it– Rob Liefeld’s X-Force in the same format.

No, really.

A book that, I am certain, is just a reprint of the incomprehensible trade-paperback mess Cable and the New Mutants –a book that, as it happened, essentially chased me off the X-titles once and for all when it came out, because trying to make sense of it persuaded me that even just picking up the occasional trade paperback, it was no longer worth making the effort to understand X-Men continuity.

Seriously? No, really, SERIOUSLY?

What’s more, it’s reprinting a book drawn by an artist almost universally reviled in the industry– whether it’s for his lack of actual drawing chops, his habit of copying other artists’ work and calling it a ‘tribute,’ or his role in promoting the speculator craze of twenty years ago, almost no one reading comics today talks about Rob Liefeld’s 1990s Marvel work without a sneer or a shudder.

…So naturally, let’s bring back the worst of it in a prestige hardcover edition. Because everyone’s clamoring for that.

Honestly, if the Marvel editorial guys are that stuck for ideas about what books should get the ‘classic hardcover’ treatment, I can give you a list of better possibilities in about two minutes without really thinking hard. The Steve Gerber “Headmen” saga from The Defenders. Claremont/Byrne Marvel Team-Up. Best of the Peter David Spectacular Spider-Man. Shadow Line Saga from Epic Comics. The complete Star-Lord. The complete Sons of the Tiger/White Tiger. Jones and Anderson Ka-Zar. And so on. I’m sure commenters here could come up with similar lists of their own.

The point being, if you’re going to start a line of prestige hardcover reprint editions, the work being reprinted should be, y’know, prestigious. Or at least, not an embarrassment. I think you can do better than this, Marvel.

Public Service Announcement for Parents of Pre-Teen Girls: One of the reasons I’ve been so jammed up the last couple of weeks is that, in addition to trying to get my cartooning students ready for Emerald City Comic-Con, I also have been shepherding the “Young Authors” anthology book toward publication.

“Young Authors” is another after-school arts thing I’m doing at Madison Middle School, that we just started this year. It was something they used to offer there five years ago or so, and they did produce one really nice book, but for whatever reason the instructor left and the program died on the vine. I had been grousing to my bosses about it ever since, because I knew from my experience in Cartooning that if you can offer kids real publication, they’ll move mountains for you, and anyway I hated to see any writing class go away.

Finally Katie offered it to me, I suspect just to shut me up. So I devised a class whereby kids would each pitch me a piece and then go do a draft, we’d look at it and hammer out a final, and then the students picked the best ones to publish in our end-of-semester anthology. I thought we could push it from one book a year to doing two — it was more immediate gratification and, incidentally, forced them to write more — and one book per semester just makes more sense.

The Young Authors on publication day. As you can see, it's an estrogen festival. We had two boys to start, and only Kevin stuck it out to the end.

I was worried that I couldn’t get the kids to dig in, but they did me proud. (When I told them no genre was off limits, it was on rails. I said, “Look, I don’t care if you want to do a post-apocalypse zombie epic. I teach form– content is your department. There’s a fine old tradition of brilliant zombie epics…. Richard Matheson, George Romero, Robert Kirkman, those guys. Zombie epics are great, if that’s what you want to do. Whatever. My job is to get you to do a good job writing one.” )

The book premiered last week to great success, and is available as a giveaway chapbook in finer indie bookstores and hippie beatnik coffeehouses all over west Seattle.

Anyway. All that is preamble. The point is, I had almost all girls, and as a result I got a lot of stories about teen girls with magical powers kicking ass. So when it came time for our pizza-and-a-movie-end-of-semester publication party, I brought in Birds of Prey.

Comics fans may sneer-- and well they might-- but to a twelve-year-old girl, this is the pinnacle of American television.

I had shown it to my cartooning students before and the girls, especially, always liked it– but it absolutely enthralled my Young Authors crew. They were hypnotized.

I’d never really thought about it before, but this really is a great adventure show for pre-teen girls, it incorporates all the elements that speak to them. You’ve got Dina Meyer as Oracle, who embodies the ‘cool Mom’ archetype. Ashley Scott’s Huntress is the asskicking older-sister type that younger sister Dinah (Rachel Skarsten) admires and wants to emulate, and unlike real life, Huntress actually acknowledges her and lets her tag along.

When this aired, we were all so peevish about how they screwed up the comic adaptation that no one noticed that it was actually a pretty great kids' show.

There’s troubled romance full of heartfelt sighs. And the girls are always smarter than the boys…. Shemar Moore as Gotham detective Reese is certainly noble, smart, and often shirtless and swoon-worthy, but the Huntress is invariably one up on him. The stories are relatively simple and have a moral obvious enough for the kids to spot, but not so painfully blatant that it ever gets into After-School Special territory. And the Batman angle both grounds it for them and intrigues them at the same time.

Watching my youthful female authors glomp onto this show like they’d been waiting for it their whole lives, it occurred to me once again that just because something’s not working for fans, that doesn’t mean it’s not for anyone.

Really, whatever the intent might have been, the result is that this short-lived show ended up being a great next step for girls who love the Powerpuff Girls and Sailor Moon. If you have a twelve-year-old girl who’s in that demographic, you might Netflix this and screen it for her sometime. She’ll love you for it.

*

And that’s all I’ve got time for. I’m up to my ass in pre-press for the Cartooning alumni fundraising comic we’re rolling out at Emerald City Comic-Con this year… the work that is coming in continues to be staggeringly good. (No ordering information yet, sorry — when I know, you’ll know, I promise.) Here’s a pin-up from Nadine, just to give you a taste.

Man, do I have a great job or what?

See you next week.

31 Comments

Both the Pulp Art book (we have the one with the Shadow cover) and Pulp Fiction Art DVD are great. I’m really glad to see the resurgence in Pulp interest over the last few years.

I can give you a list of better possibilities in about two minutes without really thinking hard. The Steve Gerber “Headmen” saga from The Defenders. Claremont/Byrne Marvel Team-Up. Best of the Peter David Spectacular Spider-Man. Shadow Line Saga from Epic Comics. The complete Star-Lord. The complete Sons of the Tiger/White Tiger. Jones and Anderson Ka-Zar.

I don’t know if anyone else is clamoring for a return of the ShadowLine books – I mean, I liked them, but sometimes I think I’m the only one who did – but everything else you listed is damned good stuff, and would probably sell fairly well (with all the love for the Clairmont/Byrne run of X-Men, I sometimes wonder why their run on MTU is so completely forgotten).

To be fair, Rob Liefeld has his fans. I’m certainly not one of them (I’ll buy any other New Mutants collection, but this stuff I’m staying away from), but there is a market for his work.

As for the choice of material for the Fantastic Four hardback–well, “Fantastic Four” quite probably gets more recognition and sales than “Defenders” of “Star-Lord”, and I’m wondering… between the Essentials, Masterworks and Visionaries collections, so much of that series has been collected, perhaps these are the stories they’re left with?

Couldn’t help but start looking. This is a very uncomplete list of FF already collected:

Essentials: #1-183
In Search of Galactus: #204-214
Visionaries: John Byrne: #232-295
Visionaries: Walter Simonson: #334-354
Heroes Reborn: vol.2 #1-12
And let’s say anything from Waid/Wieringo onward: vol.3 #60/#489 and up

How long until the DeFalco run from the nineties appears in the sollicits?

According to a top-50 list Brian did recently, Cable is actually one of the more popular X-characters. (Don’t ask me why.) I assume the Liefeld collections are for the Cable fans who’d like to have his original stories, even if they did suck. Deadpool fans might like having his first few appearances, too, even though the character was quite a bit different back then.

I never knew there was a Birds Of Prey show. When was it on? Was it on some cable channel I don’t have?

Manga-style art can be so confusing. Is it a lesbian picture or not? I guessing not.

I never knew there was a Birds Of Prey show. When was it on? Was it on some cable channel I don’t have?

On the CW a few years ago, back when it was the WB.

Wow, those covers are great proof of why Pulp Art is considered ART. My favorite is the Captain Future one, it’s so retro it feels silly yet it’s so wonderfully drawn it looks better than most modern comic book covers! I think the best part is how dynamic they are- they aren’t just posters, they feel like they (almost) tell a story by themselves!

Actually, I’m one fan who wouldn’t mind reading the Wolfman-era Fantastic Four collection; I actually followed the Sphix/Galactus saga (from the just-canceled Nova, a titled I really liked, he was my generation’s Peter Parker) but somehow missed the last issue with the big showdown between the two cosmic villains. Wolfman may think poorly of it now, but it was inventive and fun (in particular, I loved how Nova’s background was expanded into a full space mythology with concepts like the Xandarian World-Mind.) Is it me or did comics back then have more room for that? Rom and Micronauts -both also from Marvel- were also examples of comics from that period that created their own little corners of the Marvel Universe.

I never got to see Birds of Prey- I don’t even recall what network it was on; By the time I heard about it it was off the air. I heard bad things about it but unlike most fans, didn’t just assume it sucked just because it didn’t have the costumes or other conventions from the comics. Sometimes an adaptation to another medium ends up creating its own great take on a concept- the TEEN TITANS cartoon was NOTHING like the Wolfman period of the comic (him again!) it was based on but it was both funny and creative on its own, and even when it adapted storylines from the comic (like Terra’s or Raven’s) it felt fresh on their part. (And you’re right, we tend to forget that a whole new generation is growing with these alternate versions of old characters as THEIR official versions- and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.)

Good luck to you and your class with your projects!! :)

Coming soon from Marvel: NFL SuperPro, the Remastered Prestige Hardbound Edition! Relive the title that the writer only worked on for free Super Bowl tickets!

Oh, and congratulations to Nadine for producing such an excellent piece.

Yeah, from a business perspective, those Cable/X-force books make quite a bit more sense than most of the suggestions. Those stories are from back when the X-family was the best-selling franchise in comics, and if even ten percent of their audience feels nostalgic enough to pick one up, I’m guessing that’s still a far bigger number than if half the White Tiger readers felt the urge.

Artistically, it’s obviously another matter, but I understand why Marvel can’t think that way about 90% of their product.

I’m one of maybe 5 people who’d love to see a hardcover of the insane 1980s Marvel series US-1. I first heard of it over on ComicsAlliance. It was written by Al Milgrom and drawn by Herb Trimpe and Michael Golden, for part, and it’s loaded with purposely stupid that plays it off with a straight face. I tracked down all but the last issue. It’s hilarious and I wouldn’t mind being to pull it off a shelf, rather than dig it out of a box when I want to read it.

I’d like to see these kinds of collections printed on the same kind of paper DC used on the Fourth World Omnibus books. These older stories always look best when printed on a flatter stock paper. In fact, that’s been an issue I’ve always held against Marvel’s archival reprint divisions… Certain classic 60’s and 70’s and 80’s material doesn’t look right on glossy paper.

I think that, business aside, showcasing Liefeld’s Cable really does more to detract from the prestige of the hardcovers in Marvel’s output and also emphasizes that they have difficulty in actually identifying what’s good or not, to the point where it’s honestly not worth the money they might make from it.

“I know damned well that when people talk about the great FF artists, no one mentions Keith Pollard”

Which is a damn shame, because Pollard is one of the most criminally underrated/under-appreciated artists of that era. His stuff wasn’t flashy or ornate, but it was solid in all phases. And on the rare occasions when he did full pencils (as opposed to layouts, which were common in the day) and/or inked his own stuff, it really shined. (That said, however, I will say that his Thor and Spider-Man work was probably better than his FF stuff.)

Pete– I’ve never read US-1, but the nearest store has the first issue for 99 cents. I’ve come very close to picking it up a few times. After reading your recommendation, I think I will get it the next time I’m there.

And as a male, long-time comics fan who really liked the Chuck Dixon BoP and who stopped giving a rat’s ass about “canon” and “continuity” well over a decade ago, I enjoyed the Birds of Prey tremendously. I own it on DVD, watched it not too long ago, and it still works just fine. It was good, solid, action-packed fun with no baggage or subtext. It was what it was and had no illusions about being anything grander. I often miss that about sci-fi/action genre shows.

I would gladly buy compendiums of NFL SuperPro, US-1, The Human Fly, Ravage 2099, and other “ugly baby” comics that no one but crazy folks like me would want. Sleepwalker should also be put back in print– though I’ve got all the issues of that one.

If you put it in hardback, they will come.

I went on twitter and checked rob liefeld’s messages a week ago, just to see what kind of feedback he got. I was shocked at the level of fan support he still gets. There were a surprising amount of people sucking up to him and calling him one of the all-time greats. So you never know…

Those stories are from back when the X-family was the best-selling franchise in comics, and if even ten percent of their audience feels nostalgic enough to pick one up, I’m guessing that’s still a far bigger number than if half the White Tiger readers felt the urge.

That White Tiger “it’s just a cult thing” idea was actually the argument against doing a Tomb of Dracula Essential for the longest time, and look how that turned out.

It’s also the argument against doing Deathlok, Guardians of the Galaxy, 1970s Black Widow, and a bunch of other obscure books that have gotten the high-end hardcover treatment. So clearly the market for the obscure stuff is there. I think an Origin of the White Tiger hardcover would move, especially since it was George Perez in the beginning, and also since you don’t have to pay for interior color and could lowball it. Nineteen dollars, say.

But Rob Liefeld’s X-Force? The poster child for “bad X-Men comics” for the last twenty years? If Liefeld has fans, I guess I can sort of see it… it would be smart business. I dunno which is sadder, that Marvel’s doing a high-end 90s Liefeld hardcover or that it is selling well for them.

I enjoyed the Birds of Prey tremendously. I own it on DVD, watched it not too long ago, and it still works just fine.

Shucks, I own it on DVD too. It’s a fun show. But I was moderating CBR’s TV and Film forum back in the day when it premiered and the rage on display there was a palpable thing. The pissy things people said about Smallville were nothing compared to the animus against BoP…. and this was back when the most recent Bat-movie was Batman and Robin. Today, if I do a column snarking off about Smallville a bunch of people will show up to yell at me. Fan entitlement syndrome is a fickle animal.

I happened to read some New Mutants/XForce issues recently (because I was getting to reading Deadpoolmax, still gotta comment on Sonia’s column on it), and yeah, Liefeld is…ugh. But he still does stuff for Marvel, and Cable and Deadpool are still “important” X characters, so…

I hate in that ’90s stuff the sideways page layout for no apparently good reason. I don’t like reading my comics then suddenly have to turn the book sideways. When it doesn’t improve the storytelling, either, especially.

I will say that New Mutants 87 (first appearance Cable) has art that isn’t totally horrible, but Bob Wiacek inked it, so I ASSUME that’s the deciding factor.

Sadly, I probably WOULD buy most of those collections that Bill mentions. Although I’m not sure about the love for Ravage 2099…

That is a nice pinup.

Greg asked: “Was anyone — anyone at all?– asking for this book? When people talk about memorable FF stories, is this on anyone’s list of the top twenty?”
Well, yes, actually. Me. I have fond memories of that big FF/Galactus/Sphinx story that sprawled over about a dozen issues, and have mentioned it a few times in the comments here and elsewhere that I would love a collection (before this one was actually published). And yes, it’s definitely in my top 10 favorite FF stories, and it was high on my list of top 10 Marv Wolfman stories for that poll Brian conducted on the blog last year. This book is definitely on my want-list, but I’m still holding out for a reasonably cheap used copy…
As for your suggestions, agree with most of them, esp. the Jones/Anderson Ka-zar and Claremont/Byrne MTU (although copyright problems would prevent the single best issue of that run, featuring Red Sonja, from being included).
And you really brought a smile to my face when you said “…the girls are always smarter than the boys…. ” That’s pretty much the case in general in grade school or high school (at least), isn’t it? Not that I ever would have admitted back when I was in that age bracket…
By the way, many, many thanks for the tip on those pulp art titles.

Birds of Prey’s biggest foe- the timing of it’s release. Had it come out in the last 5 years or so, it would have been a hit it deserved to be. There are many, many reasons the show failed, some internal, some external, and some quite justified, but it vitriol and hatred that was present was somewhat misplaced and misdirected- the landscape for a show like that just wasn’t in place yet. Sure, it came to San Diego Comic Con, but in 2002 Hollywood was just starting to see what SDCC was like, and the demographic of attendees was quite different- the haters took over and controlled the conversation, leaving little else left for those of us who liked the show to say.

Myself, I had never read comics, and what I knew about Batman was limited having seen Batman Forever several times. I heard about Birds of Prey, and despite the Batman mythology, not because of it, I was drawn to a great story about three strong, smart women who overcame major adversities and tragedies to live and love and serve a higher cause. I loved the show when it aired, and have continued to adore it in the years since. I’ve re-watched the series many times in the ensuing years, and each time I find it moving and awesome, and then I am just so sad to think of what might have been had the situation been different.

Thanks for sharing this with your students- I firmly believe the little bit of cult status this show now enjoys will continue to gain momentum in years to come- too late for those of us who loved it, but just in time to share its magic with others.

A final thought- after forcing myself to sit through NBC’s abysmal “The Cape”, it made me wonder why the haters and the fury can’t be brought to good use when it’s deserved. Aside from terrible scrips, and a truly laughable premise, it shamelessly steals from the obvious source material of the heroes of the comics universe. Lets see, a beautiful woman who helps to fight crime through her cyber/computer expertise and high-tech gadgets? Sorry Summer Glau, but I liked the idea a whole lot more the first time around- and you’re no Oracle.

it made me wonder why the haters and the fury can’t be brought to good use when it’s deserved

The Cape is terrible, yes, and almost certainly not long for this world, but it’s also the funniest show on TV. It may be awful, but it’s rarely dull, which would be a worse crime. The Cape is excitingly bad, and I can’t get enough of it.

A final thought- after forcing myself to sit through NBC’s abysmal “The Cape”, it made me wonder why the haters and the fury can’t be brought to good use when it’s deserved.

Sorry, but as a former CBR forums moderator who did the job of virtual bar-bouncer here for over a decade, I can say with complete assurance that there is never, ever a time or a place where “the haters and the fury” ever improve anything. When they show up, no matter the subject, the entire conversation instantly spirals downward into such forehead-smacking stupid that there’s no point in continuing to take part.

Especially since the level of venom often on display– which, judging from the language, is roughly the same level of fury that it would take to survive naked in the jungle for six weeks– is never brought to bear on actual issues that affect real people, like, say, the inequities of Diamond’s policies that hurt small publishers, or the adolescent and arbitrary employment practices of the big publishers, or superhero comics’ continued vaguely-fearful misogyny disguised as titillation. Instead that fury gets saved for insanity like Hal vs. Kyle, or whether or not Cyclops should be with Emma Frost.

Not that I’m suggesting it would do any good if it was aimed at a legitimate cause, because it wouldn’t. It’s always detrimental to any grown-up conversation. Idiotic nerd fury is not confined to comics, certainly, but comics fans are famously good at it. The spit-spraying “DIAF” fan rage you see all over the internet is easily the single most embarrassing thing about being on the internet. If you ever had to preface anything you posted with “Hey, I’m not one of those guys that….” then I think you know what I mean.

The complete Sons of the Tiger/White Tiger.

Oh sweet jeebus yes, I would love a collection of any of Marvel’s kung fu books of the 70’s. Good guilty pleasure kind of comics…

And as an anime fan, I have to say that is a GREAT drawing by Nadine. Very well done all around.

Call me a Net Noob, but I have no idea what “DIAF” stands for. Should I be grateful?

Man, the mention of White Tiger always saddens me. As a Puerto Rican, imagine my joy over learning that Marvel had its own Boricua Superhero!! …Except soon after I discovered him, the character wasn’t only forced to retire, HIS ENTIRE FAMILY WAS MASSACRED. To this day I don’t understand what that was about. I get that if you’re not selling enough you get canceled, but what’s with the kill-him-afterwards mentality? Why not just put the character in mothballs until someone years later finds a way to make him sell? Just look at the Batman of Many Nations, who would ever think that concept would be used again, much less be interesting?? (Grant Morrison apparently.)

(To be fair, there was an attempt to revive the series (using Tiger’s niece) a few years ago, and though it didn’t took off, at least it showed that the current Marvel respected his legacy enough to give it a try.)

You know what, guys? All this talk about the Birds of Prey show has got me convinced to give it a try, I’m going to start looking for it now.

Call me a Net Noob, but I have no idea what “DIAF” stands for. Should I be grateful?

Yes, you should. It means “Die In A Fire.” The fact that it’s become common enough to get an acronym speaks for itself.

I love that FF storyline. It introduced Terrax, it contains Byrne’s intro to the book, it’s inked by Joe Sinnott… it’s a superlative run.

As for the Cable run, I think you’re underplaying its importance today. Liefeld’s writing is almost certainly the number one influence on Bendis and most current Marvel books. Somewhere else on this site, I broke down the first issue of Bendis’s recent Nick Fury book and pointed out how it was, sadly, hugely derivative of X-Force and Youngblood. Liefeld re-wrote the rules for what was “cool”, and nobody has yet managed to set things right.

I did really enjoy Wolfman’s FF run. It was fun to see all the stuff he brought in from his other books–Sphinx from Nova, Dr. Sun from Tomb of Dracula, etc.–and the Galactus story was particularly awesome.

Shame Birds of Prey died out so early–
It’s always a hit with preteen girls! xD
Thanks for copying it for me by the way.

My daughter is 11 and loved it when I showed it to her last year. (The boys did too.) There are some moments that just feel wrong (like the fight with Shiva), but that had more to do with the production than the premise. I’d have liked to have seen less emphasis on freak-of-the-week, but overall, I thought it had a lot of promise.

You remember Shadow Line!?
I was an occassional reader of those books, but it was a little above me at the time/age I was at.
If they were going to collect that stuff, I think it could generate interest based on the creators more then the concepts.
I think . . . Jim Lee or one of the other early Image guys did some work for those books . . . maybe it was Mark Silvestri?
Plus, Archie Goodwin! He’s got some fans, right? He did some fine, often over looked work.

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