I know many are looking at this thread and going....how bad will this be ? I did a version of this on the Marvel Boards last year and it was kinda good since I became a comic book fan in the 1990's. I had came on as a fan and would stay.
Many will say , Super there is little to no Good from Marvel in the 1990's. But its a decade that gave us Marvelution , Onslaught and Marvels. There was good , there was bad and there was the funny ugly you can look back and ask "why ?"
Lets start this off with the Ugly. I believe we should get some laughs 1st.
Marvelution means IMPLOSION !
Its been called the Marvel Implosion. And really almost like the DC Version from the 1970's you saw countless books just cancelled and ended. By the mid 90's , Marvel was publishing over 125 books a month at some point. The world of Marvel had far outgrew the Shooter era of 45 books a month when he had became EIC.
You didn't miss much in this rush to cancel and end books like Spirits of Vengence or Secret Defenders. Because Marvel had discovered over exposure by this point. Take Ghost Rider who came back in 1990 with Dan Ketch as the spirit of vengence. It was MASSIVELY POPULAR , so Marvel decided that he needed countless spin-off titles like Spirits of Vengence , Blaze and Nightstalkers. Pretty much over doing the character. This happened with the Punisher as well.
The Punisher had also became a "hot" character in the late 80's and got a movie due to this. Marvel seeing as how hot Castle as a character was gave us a spin-off called War Journal. This had awesome damn art by Jim Lee when it launched. So after Punisher:WJ , out came Punisher:Warzone and countless books called Punisher:Armory , Punisher:Year One , Punisher:Hide the Bacon.....ect ect (you get the point).
By the time Marvel limped to this Implosion period its hard to believe it was less about Marvel's publishing but more about their disastorous business decisions to buy trading card companies and Heroes World. By expanding beyond themselves they had pretty much cost themselves millions in debt and the effect was to pare down the comics line and lay off many.
But its a funny statement when Marvel would say: "Readership on these titles have fallen so that no one should really miss them." Swear to god , Marvel released this as a statement. It begs the question....why not do this sooner then ? And why did it take the other parts of the company to go to hell to make this happen ?
After 2 years of countless books ending (60+ ) we saw a more streamlined Marvel. Of course by this point Ghost Rider and Punisher were never the same popular characters again as Ghost Rider would be cancelled in 1998 and Marvel didn't even inform the creative team and pulled the final issue after sales had gotten so low. Punisher had all 3 monthlies cancelled , he came back in a awesome series by Tom Lyle and Ostrander where he worked as a mob boss , but the series was cancelled at #18. It took Garth Ennis to finally save the character as I will choose to forget the immortally bad MK Punisher mini-series that saw him as an angel hunting down demons.
Marvel buys Hero World: Frank Miller revolts!
In the pure funny catagory , Marvel decided to buy Heroes World distribution. This would pretty much set off fireworks inside the industry as Cronin detailed in the weekly column by CSBG . One of those most offended was Frank Miller.
I'd pull Hero Illustrated and Miller would show up at Conventions and give speeches on how Marvel was trying to start a war in the industry and how much a great Satan they were being. The Marvel people would be there and wanna hide as this happened.
It was funny. Looking back perhaps Miller was too worried then. Because Marvel really had screwed up buying HW. They as Cronin pointed out had no clue about the hassles of running a comics distribution business.
Marvel publishes some good books !:
Lost in this whole Marvel Implosion , Marvel buiying HW was the fact there was some great books put out by Marvel in the 1990's. Heres a run down of some good work and if your a comic book fan I'd hunt these down.
Marvels: You can get this awesome mini-series in TPB. Written by Kurt Busiek with art by Alex Ross , this puppy gets universial praise. It put both men on the map and it was released in 1994.
X-Factor : The Peter David run is a high mark on this series. When the original X-Factor left after #70 , David came on and gave us a New X-Factor led by Havok featuring countless good moments. The scenes with Quicksilver and why he's such an asshole were always awesome. I'd pull David's run starting at #71 . I've heard this has came out in TPB form so hunt it down.
Maximum Carnage: Pretty much the last bullet Marvel had left in the Spiderman 1990's era. This crossed over in all the titles and featured Carnage leading his murdous Charles Manson like super villain family of Shriek,Carrion and Demo-Goblin on a killing spree. Spiderman is forced to unite with his enemy Venom to hunt Carnage while battleing to not sell his ideals out. An awesome read in TPB form and it features tons of super villain fights.
Mark Waid's 1st Captain America run: 1995-1996 : After a decade of writing the adventures of the star spangled hero , Mark Gruenwald handed the title to Mark Waid. What happened was a 10 issue run where Waid and Ron Garney pulled a 911 save on the character.
This from what I remember isn't in TPB form so your gonna have to hunt these down. But its a great read and we see the return of Sharon Carter who had died years earlier. Waid pretty much should get praise for this because the book had sadly went to hell by the time he came on board. The only sad thing was....the series ended with Marvel's "Heroes Reborn" deal.
end of part 1# 2 more parts coming ok....hold off replying ok. :)