Blah Blah Blog – Bad Comics I Bought, Part One

A post from my old Marvel blog detailing early Marvel comics I sampled that didn’t hook me.

Bad Comics I Bought pt. 1

April 28, 2007 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General

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.

More later.

Tom B

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3 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – Bad Comics I Bought, Part One

  1. Weird timing for me for this to come up right now. Less than a week ago I brought up Roscoe when someone used USAgent as the first published Cap replacement and I reminded them of this poor doomed character…


  2. I stopped buying Captain America for a few issues because of the Robbins marionette poses and Caniff style (though nowhere near as good as Caniff) faces. After the long run of Sal Buscema on the book Robbins was too much of a change for my teenage sensibilities. I said as much to Archie Goodwin at one of the local conventions and suggested John Byrne to replace him. This was before Iron fist w as released.


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