A post from my old Marvel blog detailing early Marvel comics I sampled that didn’t hook me.
This is looking to be a busy week, so I need to do something a little bit easier for the blog this time out. And so, I thought I’d delve back into history, and talk about the books that didn’t make me a Marvel fan.
I started reading comics in 1973, primarily the DC titles edited by Julie Schwartz. I liked the fact that they were very basic, told-in-one kinds of tales, with clean, open artwork. Consequently, I found all of the Marvel comics of the era I sampled to be harsh and off-putting–partially because they were aiming at an older reader than my seven-year-old self, and partially because most of the best stuff at Marvel during this period was happening around the outer fringes, with a certain amount of stagnation taking place within the core titles themselves.
So this week, we’ll be studying some of the comics that made me a Marvel nay-sayer for most of my early comic book buying years.
Here’s what I wrote about our first entry, CAPTAIN AMERICA #183, a couple of years ago:
Captain America #183 is a great comic book, the concluding chapter in Steve Englehart’s Nomad saga. But when it was first published, it was one of a couple of comics that completely put me off Marvel as a company. (Thor #233 and Marvel Team-Up #16 were two others…)
As a new, young reader coming in, I was totally confused. In the course of the story, Captain America is killed and crucified, and then this Nomad guy becomes Cap. I didn’t have the background with the character to understand that Roscoe, the guy in the Cap costume who’s killed by the Red Skull, was only a substitute. The book utterly baffled me.
On top of that, the artwork by Frank Robbins and Frank Giacoia was scratchy and harsh, so unlike the clean, friendly style I was used to in the Schwartz-edited DC books. And worst of all, the story was continued next issue (which was a major concern at a time when I could never be assured of getting the following issue.)
For years thereafter, I actively denounced Marvel Comics as being lousy.
But it really is a very good comic book…
This particular issue is a good place to start, as it was recently reprinted as part of the CAPTAIN AMERICA: NOMAD trade paperback, so it’s readily available for any interested party to check out.