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Friday, 5 January 2018

Up-Date: AVENGERS ASSEMBLE! The NEVER To Be Beaten Mega-Post!

All images are (c)2018 Marvel comics







Up-Date!
Realised I had left out the German editions of Avengers cover gallery so just added them in!
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I ain't kidding.  Apologies for any not-so-sharp cover scans but most of these are from Marvel.com -really!  Others from various sources.

I started this at Mid-day and it is now...22:00 hrs.

Oy, my eyes!!

When I first saw The Avengers it was like a big treat -the big Marvel heroes -Giant-Man and the Wasp, Iron-Man, Thor and the Hulk -the Hulk!!- in one book. I read this in black and white reprints as that was how a lot of us got our introduction to American comics in the 1960s when there were still import-expert problems after that "tiff" with Germany (no, well before Brexit, obviously).


How could this get any better? Wait -Captain America?  The real one not The Acrobat who dressed up as him and got beaten up by the Human Torch?  Wow! And the Sub-Mariner? But weren't Cap and Subby allies during the war -The All Winners Squad?  Still love this issue.

  
The villains! The Masters of Evil, which included the Black Knight who had been a medieval hero...now he was a villain?! Kang The Conqueror! And the betrayal, sort of, by their new member Wonder Man.  How could this go wrong?


What? The Avengers were splitting up?  Captain America was going to be in charge and the new members were....Hawkeye..but he was a villain, right?  Whoa! Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch -they were members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants -villains!  What?


Okay, I calmed down. All explained though it looked like Hawkeye could be a pain in the arse. The Swordsman...what? He joined the Avengers to betray them...okay.  You all remember how that turned out, right. He certaqinly will never get into Avengers Mansion again!

Yes!  Giant-Man returned!  What? He was called Goliath now?  What the hell -he was back.

Do not get fooled because this was not just Goliath but this issue featured the appearance of a certain intergalactic collector known as...the Collector!  He was also involved with the Korvac Saga. Remember that.




The hunt to find the Hulk and bring him back into the Avengers failed somewhat so there was no real power-house in the team...until Hercules!  Oh yeah, Mythology Boy was happy -a Greek demi God was now in the Avengers and he came complete with a bad case of vanity...and being a ladies man and wanting to live the high life....like all of the characters Hercules had his flaws but knew what it meant to be an Avenger.

There were the arguments, squabbles, bragging, Hawkeye thinking that he would make a better -younger- leader than Cap and trying it on with the Scarlet Witch...which created problems with her brother, Quicksilver.  Ahh, family life!

Oh, and the Black Knight was back but this was not the Masters of Evil Black Knight this was Dane Whitman who was...a hero....the writers on Avengers really knew how to flip brains!


The villains continued, whether Attuma or the Grim Reaper who went on to become a major Marvel villain and sworn enemy of the Avengers.

 Avengers v X-Men...great idea!






Lack of comic distribution in the UK meant that we missed huge patches of storyline so the appearance of the Vision we saw mainly in Alan Class b&w reprints but I never saw him until I saw and grabbed issue 61 and I've posted on that already -http://hoopercomicart.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/avengers-or-justice-league-of-america.html

I also got to see some Avengers stories in German first and so why not show a gallery of covers from German editions (I no longer have my copies which makes me sad...but this is an Avengers post so--)










Lovely.  I take comic book donations you know!


 Yeah, most of us even missed that character...the Black Panther but we never caught on to the fact he might be called that because he was "black" -we thought they meant his costume because we all knew black leopards were called black panthers  (and we were not really interested in US politics so the other Black Panthers kind of slipped past us!)

 This cover for no. 57 has become iconic and "hommaged" so many times I've lost count! And this cover for 61...still love it (though my copy was stolen).


It was good to see that Hawkeye was more a team player but still quipping away even if the Avengers seemed to be more diminished as a team. The period from no. 16 on had been almost a dark period for the Avengers with the occasional return of one of the original team but it was also a period when the Avengers were tested and writers showed DC writers how it should be done.  The JLA was still good but it seemed very preachy whereas the Avengers never rammed sociology down your throat with a concrete block -it was very subtle.

And when Hawkeye's bow failed him on returning from Wakanda it looked bleak.  Henry (Hank) Pym announced that he was giving up being Goliath and guessed who nabbed his formula to use when the Black Widow was kidnapped by Egg-Head?  Guess.....

In case you never guessed...HAWKEYE!!  Honestly.  But that old enemy of the Avengers popped up again and this time his arrogance and lust for revenge might doom the Earth itself as he entered into a game with none other than....The Games Master!

This lead to the appearance of a group of villains that will forever live on...The Squadron Sinister. This got very confusing when their counterparts turned up as the Squadron Supreme and that led to a 12 issue maxi-series many of us oldies still cherish and shed a tear over the fate of Tom Thumb....
Oh yeah, Vision, Panther and Yellow Jacket get sent back to Nazi occupied Paris where they are confronted by three (pre-Invaders) Timely super stars....guess who?  Go on -guess!





Hey you SJWers and Anti SJWers...Feminism was a thing back in the day before all this phoney noodle noggin going on.  Yeah, the ladies once took over!

Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch was back and that entailed a certain barbarian warlord who, again, has reappeared many times over the years (in Busiek & Perez's  Avengers vs JLA he and his world were destroyed for convenience -has he returned since?).  You know I'm talking about Arkon -right?

There were so many good stories including the Avengers trying to help the parallel Earth Squadron Supreme stop their planet getting  all burnt up.  Then the new Captain Marvel, bonded to Rick Jones by those cosmic bracelets, turns up and we had no idea that this was to lead to more than just grabbing him before he exploded!



 ohhh, yeah.  A trip to Ka-Zar's Savage Land, turning into primitives...a Sentry and much, much more.  You know what this is leading up to, right?  Am I the only one here old enough to remember?



 Yes, political interference and a secret abuse of political power, near torturing of witnesses to the Savage Land events and sweeping xenophobia toward aliens it....hang on...let me check the dates on these books...definitely 1971 not 2018.  Wow.  Anyway, run ragged by a crooked politician and his alien xenophobia and with S.H.I.E.L.D. (that's Supreme Headquarters International Espionage Law Division and not that lame thing they have now -Strategic Homeland whatever) on its heels...things were bad.

Then the Big Three turn up and kick out the new team for their actions.  Grim.
 

And then...oh feck I am getting goose pimples!  The Avengers facing execution by the Mandroids for betraying Earth.  At this point I needed to use the asthma inhaler.  I don't have asthma but that kid did and at this point I needed his inhaler more than he did!


 We even got to see Ant-Man (Henry Pym Ant-Man) journey to the centre of the Vision's body after the Vision was "shot by a cow" -old timers might, at that point, have realised just what was going on.


Ohhh yeah, baby -it was the.....

KREE -SKRULL WAR!!!!

Deep breath....deeeep breath....look at that Gil Kane cover.....

We find the Supreme Intelligence of the Kree helping Rick Jones unlock the massive potential of his mind -the reason future Humanity is seen as a threat-  and Jones conjures up heroes of the past, some real and some he only read about in comic books at the orphanage he was in. I really needed dry underpants reading this!  And massive Kree and Skrull space fleets hurtling through space, heroes battling onboard Skrull ships and...hang on...need a deep breath again. Whew.

It was no wonder that in his introduction to the original 1983 2 part Kree -Skrull War books Stan Lee pointed out to the reader that this sort of thing was only possible in comics -it would cost millions if it were a movie!


THESE were THE days of The Avengers, my friend. From Loki being mischievous and the problems caused by the Space Phantom, Kang, Zemo and the Masters of Evil -even Ultron- none of us could have expected that in ten years or so this would be the real first major intergalactic event for the Avengers.

Action and adventure and story-telling that left Justice League of America so far behind that even Superman could not see where the Avengers were. And at no point was the reader ever spoken down to no preachy stuff and we were never made to feel dumb and ask - "What?" It was all explained unobtrusively so that the story flowed.

Stan Lee and then Roy Thomas had guided Marvel Comics and its flagship title (love the Fantastic Four but I was always an Avenger-boy!) while always respecting the readers.  The people who bought the books and kept them in their jobs.  Yes, Marvel Comics were there to make money but Stan and Roy knew that engaging with the readers was the best way to maintain that support and keep titles like The Avengers going strong.

But as the Kree-Skrull War concluded and the heroes were back on Earth, it was Nick Fury (white guy with an eye-patch and cigar) who was left asking "Whatever happened to the Avenger known as Hawkeye?"  As far as we knew, Hawkeye had paid the ultimate price in protecting Earth.


Fear not -Hawkeye was not dead but crash landed an alien space buggy and took up with a travelling circus -he was back where he began: performing in a circus.  Then he realised that the circus strongman...could it be?  Yes. It was Hercules -but with his memory swiped and as things became more violent in the US so the duo returned to the Avenging fold.  But Hercules was being persued...and the God of Power was....terrified!!


Oh yeah, those Greek gods -Ares God of War in particular were upsetting things again. I look at these covers and the memories flood back -the art and stories, the twists and turns, the lack of pocket money and then...really, old time readers will tell you that there is a lot of emotional investment in characters just as there might be with a favourite play or movie or even TV series.  Ink on paper but so much characterisation (these days if I read Iron Man dialogue it is always in Robert Downey Jnrs voice dammit!).

Anyway there was more twisted intrigue to come as Cap tried to make sense of the images flashing into his head -had he attacked Hydra along with Rick Jones or was he going bonkers?  There there was the Grim Reaper.  He was becoming a pest since he laernt that his brother, Simon Williams (aka Wonder Man) had his brain patterns recorded before death and these were used by Ultron to become the Vision's mind.  This is almost as bad and complicated as a TV soap.

 

Would the Vision betray the Avengers and join in on Grim Reaper's scheme?  He said "Yes"..why you will need to read the comics to find out.  And Cap was not going bonkers in case you are wondering.


And Hawkeye quit the Avengers.  He'd tussle with Daredevil while trying to get back with the Black Widow who had "moved on" with her life. He then ended up trying to take on the Hulk.  Seriously. That led to his joining...The Defenders!

 Also the Swordsman asked to join the Avengers....WAIT A MINUTE!!  Did we not establish in issue 19 that was not a good idea?  Was I the only one who read that?  Oh...he's a good guy now...yeah...


....also, he has some funky lady called Mantis with him. Okay, let them both join and see if I care.  Well, issue to issue it seemed that something was going on but...well, Swordsman had reformed and he was back in time to take part in another majopr cross-over.

You see, the Black Knight had been turned to stone and his old pal, Dr Strange (without the blue face mask now -you remember issue 61 don't you?), is trying to return his soul to it.  Now, as head honcho supreme of the Defenders he happens to be trying to do this while they are gathered -now the Defenders were dysfunctional!  However, the blinded Loki -no, I am not going to explain-  'teams up' with the Dreaded Dormammu and they hatch a plot ...a plot leading to....

THE AVENGERS -DEFENDERS WAR!!

Shh! Just look at the covers, baby!









There then followed a comic book hiatus as I got on with very serious things.  One day, taking my younger brother to the local newsagents I saw comics...Avengers...and...whoa...it started again. And there were even a few Kirby covers.

Anyone heard of this "Thanos" fella?  Seriously, has anyone heard of this...oh.  Thanos Warlord of Titan.  Someone could have said.  Who would have guessed that a villain would become so important and develop over the years under, mainly, Jim Starlin (who recently quit Marvel but you've probably all read that?).  I write that remembering that there was an Artificial Intelligence who caused many problems for the Avengers and has gone on to become a movie star: Ultron. Or Ultron II...or Ultron III...six, seven, whatever!

The longest running for of the Avengers has been Kang The Conqueror who drifted into TV via the best animated Avengers TV series -Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.  He, and another Time guy by the name of Immortus I'll get around to soon.  Promise.


Never was purple and green so well worn by a masked time villain -Immortus was more green, you know?

Oooh look. All battle issue!


When I saw this Gil Kane cover I had no idea the Beast in question was going to be Hank McCoy of X-Men fame -it was a Marvel Comic in a newsagents on a sunny day in Lockleaze (Bristol).

Could a former X-man become an Avenger?  Yeah, I asked that dumb-ass a question.  In case you are wondering...yes.  Yes he could.  See....



Okay, that does not look good does it?  Seriously, though: he did not kill Iron Man.  Too soon for spoilers?  If you are still in any doubt -proof:

The Stranger first appeared in the May, 1965 issue of the X-Men (that's issue 11) and then no. 18 (December, 1965) then Tales To Astonish 89 (April, 1967) and Silver Surfer 5 (April , 1969) not to mention Fantastic Four 113-116 (August to November, 1971) and...oh, Avengers 138!


The Stranger, if you believe him, is a composite being possessing the combined strength and intellect of the billions of beings who had once lived on the planet Gigantus, an ancient world in the Andromeda Galaxy whose size approached the limit at which a planet can exist before "fissioning into a sun".  Okay, I'm just going with him having been in Avengers 138.

Look, he got about okay...





See?

Remember when I mentioned Hank Pym's Ant-Man entering the Vision's body (scroll back up the page if you have forgotten...I almost did) ?  Well, in Avengers 140 the Vision enters Hank Pym's Yellow Jacket (and if you are making dirty double entendres out of that -shame on you!).


Now who was it returned to be a pain in the Avengers' collective quinjets? oh, yes...the Squadron Sinister.  NOT the Squadron Supreme but Squadron Sinister.  Remember that.

Will any true Avengers fan ever forget when the Avengers went back to the Wild West (no, not Knowle West, the American West) and met up with Marvel Comics greatest Western Heroes?  How could you have missed it -and if you say "I wasn't even born then" so help me I'll crush your grapes!!

Note the nose on Iron Man's face mask?  Roy Thomas tells how Stan Lee saw the character one time and said it did not look right -the mask needed a nose.  A while later, Lee saw the now "nosed" Iron man mask and said "Whose idea was that -it looks awful!"

Take a rather minor Marvel character, get her involved in some shennanigans and bring in the Avengers and...voila! Hell Cat is born -and becomes an Avenger (things start getting really complicated with the character after a while so I am not going there!).


Oh, look. The Squadron Supreme.  Yes, not the Squadron Sinister but the Squadron Supreme...I wrote all of this above.  I know you probably want this all to end by now but it is not. These are the good guys who eventually get their own series -12 issue limited and they had appeared in earlier issues of Avengers as goodies....I'm getting confused now.

Lovely cover by a certain King...
I almost blew a gasket when I saw the Kirby covers and the Whizzer was on the front cover and facing off against Cap and the Avengers...it took thirty minutes for someone to bring me round -apparently I was just staring repeating the words "good....sooo good....good..." which is why they were slapping my face.  Why they continued slapping my face when I came around I have no idea.


Kirby cover. Vision facing off against Attuma. This time I waited until I left the shop to faint.  This was like picking up one of the early issues of  the series.  I really got hooked and pulled back into the Avengers world.
 Do I need to explain this one?  Dr Doom has captured Iron Man and Captain America and the Avengers are fighting the Sunk-Mariner...I mean "Sub-Mariner".  Does make you wonder why Dr Doom was ticked off at the Avengers instead of the Fantastic Four -maybe he needed a bit of a change?
 There was history with Doom and Subby after they first met in Fantastic Four no. 6 waaaay back when. Remember?



Not forgetting.....







But this is about the Avengers, right?  I get distracted.  Lovely covers and memories.  Anyway, you know that whole Wonder Man came back from the dead?  No?  Oh, well, yes, Wonder Man back from the dead and temporarily zombified!  LOOK at this Kirby cover......

Well, there was "bad blood" (so to speak) between him and the Vision who was thought to have his brain patterns and Vision was married to Wanda and Wonder Man had the hots for her and...over to Kirby!


 We also got introduced to a lot of new characters such as Graviton  and much more began to go on behind the scenes that would affect the Avengers and their roster in future issues.  The stories still pulled the reader in and I remember re-reading this one several times in one day!!  The art helped!

I'm guessing that we all knew "big bro" would turn up at some point.  He is quite mad you know. Like,  seriously, he just will not give up and his solution this time is that either the Vision (with his brother's brain patterns) dies or the re-animated corpse that was his brother dies.  To him it's a win-win situation.

Considering some ex-Avengers were members of The Champions trouble was bound to kick off at some point.  And as an ex-X-Man was also a member of the Champions an ex-X-Man who was now an Avenger needed to do something.  If that makes any sense....

Masters of Evil were very Zemo and 1960s.  Ultron had created the Lethal Legion and guess what? Yes. They kept turning up to cause havoc, mayhem and a lot of jolly anti-social stuff.  LOVELY cover!
 Anyone remember Avengers 13 and a certain member of a criminal organisation by the name of Count Nefaria?  No?  This fella...


Well he returned and began almost all-powerful and knocking the crapout of the Avengers toughest members as he strove for power and to stop aging.  But he was a back-stabbing two-faced crook who betrayed those around him.  Guess how it ended for him.....


...badly.

The Guardians of the Galaxy turned up for another long running saga that had been developing over the issues as a back plot.  These were the real Guardians not those movie wannabes.
These far, far better characters were in the 20th century to deal with someone called Korvac.  The Korvac Saga is a legendary (amongst fans) story to Avengers fans and rightly so. 

Mentioning the Korvac Saga remember how I mentioned the Collector and his connection with this...scroll back up to issue 28 if you are mad.  Well, he was baaack!

Things got a bit grimmer....would any of the Avengers survive?!!  Spoiler -yes.
 Finally, after the security breaches and the Nefaria attack the US Government appoints Peter Gyrich to clip their wings -waaaaaay before any of those 'ground-breaking' story-lines of the 2000s such as Civil War.  Just great old concepts and stories rechurned and not done as well...story-wise.

So what happened to Wanda and Pietro?  Well, the Whizzer and Miss America were their real parents...or was it Magneto...or could it have been....gods know how they stayed sane but they pushed on looking for the truth


Issue 200 brought about changes but the Avengers were still a comic you could not ignore and look at this cover gallery!

Yeah, you knew I was going to have to include an Ultron cover sooner or later so here you go!

One of my favourite villains of the Golden -Silver ages was the Yellow Claw.  He began re-emerging in Captain America's title and then trapped the Avengers.  This was a true villain who, in now very over the top politically correct times could no longer be an "oriental" villain.  Agents of A.T.L.A.S. totally castrated the character.


See the Resurrection Stone?  Are you reading this post? Then -SPOILER- it never destroyed the universe.  If you didn't know that...

Fist of Khonshu, ex-X-Man, ex-Avenger/ex-Champion/ex-Defender and disco performer- they all wanted to be Avengers!  Only Disco Duck never turned up.  Disco Duck was a song.  He was not real.
Before she was a West Coast Avenger, Tigra was a member of the original team.  She was the Avengers -controllable?- version of Wolverine.  Again, dead Avengers? Nah.  Will she avenge them..you really need to buy these comics or see if you can buy the bulky black and white Marvel Essentials Avengers.

War against the gods?  Count me in.  Stuck up buggers. Anyone not see the (yuck) Guardians of the Galaxy movie connection in this cover?  If you can't then I guess you only go to movies and do not read comics!

Black Knight was back.  Same guy but slightly different look that came from, if I remember correctly, a Marvel UK Captain Britain back-up strip.  Like this look a lot!

The cover above and the one below -this is how comic covers are supposed to look. Gorgeously lovely to infinity and...better watch the (c) there!




Oh look, SJWs... way back when there was a "black" female Captain Marvel and this is one of my favourite incarnations.  Loved the character.  And they are not kidding: the Wasp had lunch!!



Visiting Earth from Titan...Starfox. Initially I thought he looked a little too similar to Archie Comics Silver Age Jaguar.  This is another character who added new breath and fun to the series.  Everything was going from strength to strength and I was loving it!

At this time local newsagents and even supermarkets began stocking monthly comics....and they were only 50p back then.


This cover is simplicity but crams in action and mystery.  Just what was "the Barrier"???

Secret Invasion.  The Skrulls shape-shifting and replacing humans preparing to take over the world. Well, young ones, let me tell you how, in the 1980s, the Dire Wraiths did the same thing and almost succeeded.  It is what brought Rom -Space Knight to Earth (I mean the real Rom not what's going on now or the toy -which was fun!).

Another 1980s story-line pilfered for "new readers".


For this one...I need say ...nothing!


Anyone old enough to remember when the Vision decided to start running things? All very innocent until...well, until the Vision went off his tits bonkers!  The repercussions from this story-line would rumble on long after it had concluded.  These were great stories.



By 279 we were in the Walt Simonson run and the art ...oh the art.  If I could draw even a quarter of a quarter as well as Big John Buscema did I would be happy.

The bald guy?  Dr Druid.  No?  Well, he first appeared in Amazing Adventures 1 in June, 1961 as Dr. Droom.  Then he popped up as Dr Druid in Weird Wonder Tales 19 (December, 1976


Below: not a mug of coffee or sandwiches in sight.  What kind of meeting is this??  And Thor in that outfit (if you do not know the story behind it you REALLY missed out!

We loved Dr Druid.  He was a great character and even had a sense of humour and there were hints that he and She Hulk were, uh, "seeing each other".  

Time and again he proved his worth but then things started happening and...



uh-oh. Yeah, that is one of the Council of Kangs -the story-line here on the Kangs' side alone was incredible.


Like the Vision, before -Druid goes off his cat-nip crazy.

If you want to know, well the Marvel Wikia explains it all:



"...(Druid's)  arrogance and weakness for women led him to be seduced and manipulated by Ravonna in her guise as Kang Nebula, or the Temptress. Believing he was acting to preserve the Avengers against a future threat only he could stop, Druid continually underminded the Avengers' chairwoman, Captain Marvel, until she suffered serious injuries in battle. He then psychically influenced the Captain and remaining team members into naming him the replacement chairman. Soon all of the Avengers fell under Nebula's control, and she guided them in a quest to find the Dreaming Celestial's ultimate weapon by piercing the future Time Bubble. Instead, rival Kangs attacked Kang Nebula and her Avengers. The lovesick Druid and Ravonna were sucked out into the wild timestream, left adrift for months.Druid and Ravonna eventually found their way back into the regular timestream. Anthony finally managed to shake Ravonna's control over him, and even received a new lease on life, restored to a younger and fitter body."

And there you have it.



 Earlier, way, way and way back earlier in this blog I gave a link to a previous Avengers post and if you search the blog you'll find a long piece I wrote on Gilgamesh -one of issue 300's new Avengers which included two former Fantastic Four members.  Just roll with it.

The Avengers had gone through two major internal crises -first the Vision and then Dr Druid.  Changes were needed.

 

 There was no problem with the art and I was still an avid reader.  Hey, I was a veteran Avengers reader by then so there.

tut tut tut! SJW attack alert!!  LOL!
Oh...it was her...who knew....oh -spoiler!


 You might all notice a slight invaders from space theme going on here? And Serses of the Eternals looked good though I was not sure about the reconstructed Vision's look.

Not the most inspiring cover -but it was the Wasp.

 
And come 350 it had to be an anniversary issue...cue aliens!



Hey -the Panther was back and that was cool by me.  This was the real Panther by the way!


The covers were still cool though I note a few readers in recent years complaining that the Avengers went through a whole leather jacket wearing phase!  Hey, it was the time, Man.  Don't knock it...but Black Knight in a leather jacket...nah.





 Mike Deodata has always been hit-or-miss with me.  The stories were not as good and at times I did wonder if the writers knew the characters.  There is one factor that was a major part in Marvel Comics decline and in the decline of the Avengers stories: Jim Shooter had left Marvel.  The result was noticed straight away.

Like Lee and Thomas, Shooter knew the comics industry and business inside-out and bitching creators did not like him because, of all things, he was doing his job -that Marvel's popularity had soared once more under his leadership was no fluke.  He kept an eye on stories and made sure editors did their jobs.

Shooter went and the editors began letting anything through. Poorer writers were the big problem and I was not too impressed by Mark Waid when he jumped onto the Avengers at one point.
The Crossing storline I am going to have to re-read.  I was totally unimpressed when I first read it what with Tony Stark becoming a murdering mad man.  I am not kidding.

Still, that is a good cover. The next one, however, I had to keep staring at to make sure that it was Marvel -feckin awful is the best thing I can write.

 Again, this next cover did not sell the comic to me or many others.  I just waited til I could buy it dirt cheap from someone desperate to get rid of the comic!

 Before you ask, yes, that is the Wasp with those wings and antenna. I really need to re-read this. Cover was an improvement though.

It culminated here.  The final issue of The Avengers.  Sadly, the 1990s was not good for the whole Marvel Comics line but when such a great series as this goes out in such a bad way you gotta feel bad but not for the poor editing jobs nor for the creators doing shabby work -some are still working in comics I believe -how??

Volume 2 of The Avengers was awful but luckily only 12 issues that were so bad, despite the hype then and now, it had to be cancelled.   Volume 3 was a return to greatness for a short while as Kurt Busiek and George Perez revived the mean and Busiek did even more for the Avengers.

Remember years back when you got to the halfway point in this post and I mentioned Kang and Immortus and Space Phantom?  Well... Avengers Forever was a series written by Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern and drawn by the amazing Carlos Pacheco and inked by by the wondrous Jesus Merino. The series ran from December ,1998  to November, 1999 and in it so many continuity problems were cleverly explained as was the importance of the Avengers in history -past and future.

I read the series so many times that I had to buy the trade to stop them from falling apart.  It was incredible work by all involved and we were set to see Avengers greatness again.

Marvel kicked Busiek off the book and we got -Avengers Disassembled. Everything thrown out the window with just one issue under the new writer who obviously did not give a damn about the characters or fan reaction.  

I have volume 2-6 (volume 6 was one issue!) and I kept up-to-date via very cheap trades up to Time Runs Out .  The current run of Avengers I ignore.  To be honest, for me, the Avengers stopped the moment Busiek left and Disassembled started and all the mess that followed (never buy Avengers Stand Off!!).

So this has been my day.  Hours of work so let's finish with some covers of Avengers volume 3 #1 and then Avengers Forever.  I don't get paid for this you know!
























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6 comments:

  1. That's a terrific spread, featuring the Time Keepers vs. the Avengers, from Avengers Forever #12.
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Finally reached the spot where the scrolling stopped. Eye drops! I need eye drops!!

    Fine article, Terry. I remember the first two-thirds from my own collection.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Think what MY eyes were like! Never again!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Okay, I see what you are trying to do here : now that I have decided to write shorter posts you think you can become the blog writer with the longest posts. We´ll see about that ......

    Anyway, a few comments :

    a. ) I didn´t know you no longer have your german issues by Williams Verlag of DIE RÄCHER. I was going to write you lost them but I´m not so sure if that is how it happened. I also have a few issues of them somewhere in my collection and while I have gotten the original version of them in the form of MARVEL MASTERWORKS or now the EPIC COLLECTIONS I still kept the german issues. They are just a lot of fun. Which issues did you have ?

    b. ) I still get emotional over Tom Thumb. I know it´s heresy but for all WATCHMEN has done for the comic medium if I had to choose between both of them I always liked SQUADRON SUPREME better because it was written inside of an already existing continuity and you could spin stories out of it. Which did not work with WATCHMEN which was practically the be - all of that universe. DC even proved that in a way with BEFORE WATCHMEN as the only new stories from that particular universe took place BEFORE the events of the mini series ( I almost wrote graphic novel ). Although I don´t know if DC can change this in the current THE BUTTON crossover.

    c .) ah, yes AVENGERS 83. John Buscema at the art was epic and women took over the Earth´s Mightiest Heroes. What´s so embarrassing is not how ham - fisted they tried to bring feminism across but that it took them 45 years to remember the idea of an all female Avengers team. If I had been a writer at Marvel that would have been the first thing I would have done. Put as many hot chicks on the team. But no, it took the SJWs to get Marvel to do A - FORCE and I don´t think that the sales numbers are very good on that since the trades are always in the bargain book section at amazon. Knowing the SJW writing it´s probably just a lot of women standing around and talking about their problems which are all caused by white caucasian males. Which in the hands of a good artist like Frank Cho - no, forget it, Marvel and the SJWs have castrated him. Or maybe Adam Hughes - nah, after what I saw in his issues of BETTY & VERONICA he has lost his gusto for drawing women. What about Jerry Ordway - oh, I forgot, his style is too old school for comic companies. And who knows what the hell Bart Sears or George Perez are doing now ? I mean, SIRENS wrapped up a year ago or so.

    Anyway, even though we might get an all female Avengers team now they are probably drawn like Squirrel Girl whom they had to make chubby and who looks like a Dyke with Graves´ Disease.

    d. ) the Kree / Skrull War. I watched the review video you posted and what I found very telling is how much the guy talked about the problems he had with reading the story because it did not only run from plot point to plot point. It also had a lot of characterization and different people with different personalities and a very big cast. Readers of Today are not used to stories that are not only there to serve for the big payoff and they also don´t know how to handle a large cast. The guy even complained that he lost track of what the Avenger members were doing at times. So in a way the low grading he gave the story spoke more about his own inadequacies as a reader and not so much about the quality of the work.

    Also, nice wraparound cover. I never knew the story was reprinted. Now I have to look for the other covers too.

    e. )loved the black Captain Marvel. As I have written on my blog AVENGERS 227 might have been the first american comic I bought at a newsstand in Ludwigsburg.

    f. ) John Buscema´s second run on AVENGERS. My next post is probably going to be a DC post but after reading your post I realize that I have to return to my TOP THREE AVENGERS COVERS BY JOHN BUSCEMA series ( it started out as top ten but I have only three left to go ).

    There were some other things I wanted to mention but I have to stop now because my laptop is rebooting in a few seco

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  5. I just checked the Williams Avengers. I have nr.4 -the Return of Captain America. A copy of a badly ripped and taped up..I cannot even read the number ...89 or 99 "Gerichstag" -where they go to the Savage Land and Hank turns ape-man. That's it? I used to have a good few. Condor Verlag's Nr. 25 with Starfox...wow. Now I go through my German comics box I see how badly my books were pilfered! But I find I have Super Comics Metall-Menschen nr. 24 -hey...75 Pfennig!!!! 75 pf. Those were the days and that Condor issue cost me DM 3-!

    Although I loved Watchmen before it got hyped out of existence (liked the movie, too) I have to say that Squadron Supreme over Watchmen every time. I mean, it is still a very good read and none of us thought genius Tom Thumb would croak. Great writing and characterisation.

    Perez I'm hoping makes a full recovery and gets back on projects soon. Bart Sears is running IDW I think. Two losses to drawing team books (they had talent and that don't cut it in comics today).

    The Female take-over of Avengers. One of the UK hardback annuals (I think 1976) has that story. Pointless for UK kids at the time. They then put Part 1 and Part 2 of the three part story in which the Avengers try to help stop the Squadron Supreme burning the Earth into a molten mass. No part 3!!! Take out the feminist story and put all three parts of the main contents in? Nah!

    Kree-Skrull War. A classic but people cannot read comics. I had a very bad review off someone back in the late 1990s who could not deal with more than five characters and a storyline. I knew it was all doomed then. But, seriously, if it is not a movie then forget it. People do not know how to or want to read! I'll post the front cover to K-S War

    John Buscema and Tom Palmer working together just blew me away. And the black Captain Marvel ...I need to check what they did to her!

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  6. Well, my laptop is functioning again but I had to do a few things in the meantime. Also, there seems to be a limit to how much you can write in a comment ( maybe I should continue this as a post ). Anyway, initially I thought I could write a new post Today but it´s already too late for that so let´s continue with my comments on YOUR post :

    g. ) I really read the title religiously up to issue 300 ( about which I have written a few posts ) and came back when Paul Ryan did the art but I had already jumped ship at issue 380. I did enjoy THE GATHERERS saga ( yep, did various posts about that too ) but I was horrified by THE CROSSING which I only read because my younger brother was still buying the issues. I have mixed feeling about Rob Liefeld´s AVENGERS REBORN but I jumped back with both feet when Busiek and Perez did AVENGERS ASSEMBLE. I thought about getting the omnibus version but I have the entire series in hardcover. I heard that the omnibus books have better printing but I´m not made out of money and the thinner books are easier to read anyway. Marvel realized that they made those hardcovers too cheap so they will probably not reprint them at that price again.

    h. ) AVENGERS FOREVER - what can I say ? It´s the best. It´s huge. There is a hardcover but I never bothered with it because all copies I have seen were misprinted and the spanish hardcover costs only 18 € ( which is why I have two copies ).

    The last somewhat readable AVENGERS period was the Bendis era although he doesn´t know how to write people with a brain and AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED is one of the biggest crapfests I have read. At least until Hickman took over. The problem with him is not so much that he did not have an idea for a story, it was rather that he had no idea who the Avengers are because those were definitely not AVENGERS stories.

    Currently the only AVENGERS stuff I read are the occassional reprint of John Buscema´s second run with Roger Stern ( it´s a shame that it still is not completely available in hardcover ) in omnibus form as MARVEL MASTERWORKS or EPIC COLLECTIONS. Which I can only afford when it´s half priced at amazon or another online shop.

    In any case your post brought back a lot of memories ( or feels like the hip people say Today ) and it makes me sad what has become of earth´s Once Mightiest Heroes.

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