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  1. #1
    14 Time Rita's Champion SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Default DC Comics in the 1990's: The Good, Bad and the Ugly !

    Compared to Marvel in the 1990's , DC seemed to really have a defined focus and kept their shit togethor. There was instances where DC had dropped the ball at times on certain characters but its not like DC had a Marvel decade. They seemingly managed to keep their comics pretty solid thru much of the decade and a lotta big events helped.

    The Failure to IMPACT !

    Since we started the Marvel thread with a silly instance , we'll do the same for DC. In the early 1990's DC had decided that what they needed was a kids line or young adults line of comics. This would be the Impact line. Of course in no time DC sabaotoged the line themselves...as the link below will tell.

    DC had licensed the characters from Archie and they included the Web, the Comet , the Shield , the Jaguar and Fly. The Archie heroes had last been seen in the early 80's and now DC was attempting to revive them here.

    Whats really scary is that the people behind this were in fact scouring old heroes to introduce to kids in this line. One of them looked at was Solar , Magnus and the old Gold Key line . They decided against that (I'm sure Jim Shooter/Vallient was happy looking back) and kept searching. DC's luck had them land on the MLJ heroes ..or Archie Universe heroes for short.

    The line faced problems as it was envisioned to be released on the newsstand . After 2 years and falling sales , DC decided to pull the plug at the last minute in the Crucible mini-series to wrap up the line and not do a 3rd year. This link gives a history of Impact Comics and how it sadly died.

    http://forum.newsarama.com/showthrea...threadid=10093

    The saving grace of Impact was that it helped get Mark Waid exposed and Waid would go on to bigger fame somehow. :p

    Mike Carlin doesn't like geratric superheroes !

    In one of the bad displays of the 1990's DC VP Mike Carlin had pretty much put the hammer down on the Justice Society. Its said Carlin didn't like the older generation of heroes and decided they needed to be put out to pasture.

    This was coming off a series that many have contended sold very well from the 10 issues done. The JSA were then 2 years later nearly all slaughtered by Extent (Monarch-Hank Hall-Hawk). Dr.Midnite , Hourman and the Atom all die and the rest are super aged to retirement.

    The only one saved was Alan Scott who became young and was saved the JSA's fate then. He became Sentinal. But the hammer had fallen and many of these older heroes were replaced. Some very well like Starman (Jack Knight) and some comically bad on levels that many fans laughed hard like Fate (Jared Stevens).

    The Big Events ERA !

    It all began in 1992 really. DC had decided to throw the 1st volley at Marvel and decided that shaking up the Universe was more fun than staying pat. So what kicked it off..... The DEATH OF SUPERMAN !

    Supes death was a huge event as many already know. This didn't stop the rest of the hammer falling as soon Batman had himself get exhuasted and have his back broke . Then we saw Hal Jordan angry and over the edge destroy the Green Lantern Corps , as a new Green Lantern would emerge.

    Wonder Woman would lose the right to call herself WW. Green Arrow would die and be replaced by his long lost son , then Zero Hour would happen ...whew. This all happened in a 2 to 3 year span of reading.

    DC had on many cases did very well with the events. They of course suffered critics who bashed them for daring to replace a popular hero like Hal Jordan with a young guy like Kyle Rayner. But 9 times outta 10....they'd keep the course and push on. Eventually finishing a highly debated turn like Knightfall/Knightquest and putting out good comics.

    The shakeups also gave fans something to do in the 1990's. Because Marvel was a pit except for a few things and at least DC was trying to fire out something. They had clunkers as you'll read ahead. Any company will....but 9 times outta 10....they had something good with the risks taken like Starman or Green Lantern.


    (please wait til all 3 to 4 parts are posted to reply guys..working on it all ok)
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  2. #2
    14 Time Rita's Champion SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Default Part #2

    The Hawkman/LSH Problem

    It really all began with Crisis on Infinite Earth's really. Thats where the cracks in the faults lines of failure started for 2 of DC's key characters or franchises. The biggest problem was Legion of Superheroes as that series was pretty much decimated following Crisis.

    The sad fact was DC in one fall swoop had taken Superboy away from the Legion's history. In John Byrne's version he never existed and with that he couldn't be involved or have influenced the LSH . This put a huge hole within the Legion's continuty and for years its like they at DC would try and fill his role or explain the Superboy problem.

    By the mid 90's however the Legion of Superheroes had pretty much screwed themselves into a hole. The 5 Years Later storyline had made a darker time in Legion history but after some success the series was facing some hurdles as Giffen has said those within DC always asked when he would blow things up and start it over from scratch.

    To his credit he tried. He honestly tried to keep the series running forward and felt it would be a slap in the face to those who had followed the Legion all those years.But the biggest error was introducing the SW6 Legion. In this one it sorta confused readers but Giffen has contended he wanted to say that the SW6 Legion were in fact the real LSH and somehow they had been moved forward in time and the older counterparts would have became a new Omega Men series and left Earth.

    It never happened. The powers that be at DC decided that with 2 of every Legion of Superheroes member around that things had gone to far and long. So the decision was made to ultimately start it all over from scratch. And in the sad scenes of Legion of Superheroes #60 the Legion said goodbye for the final time .

    Waid has said the Legion that emerged post Zero Hour should be considered the Earth #2 counterparts from a Wizard column awhile back.

    Hawkman didn't fare any better either. In 1986-1987 DC launched a new Hawkman title and it was written by Tony Isabella. This however didn't last long and DC went back to the drawing board and revamped Hawkman in the series Hawkworld by Tim Truman and later John Ostrander. The series featured a dark take on Hawkman and created tons of continuty errors to explain away the mid 80's Hawkman series and how he joined the JLA in this time !

    Then DC cancceled Hawkworld as a series and 2 years later tried another relaunch of it again as Hawkman. Then in 1994 DC decided that with so many continuty errors they would use Zero Hour to fix Hawkman .

    So they merged all the prior versions and said that chronol problems were causing them all to bleed into our Universe. This merged one became a HAWKGOD and became the Ultimate Hawkman. It too died a year or 2 later as fans had to wonder....what the f-ck is up with Hawkman ?

    It would take Geoff Johns in 2003 to finally steamline the entire thing and DC's sticking with his version pretty much. But the 1990's were a time when you'd wonder who in the blue hell Hawkman should or was .

    The Good comics of the 1990's

    Flash: Mark Waid:

    All Waid did was come onto a series and pretty much pull a 911 save on the character of Wally West. The series under Mark Waid explored Wally's growth to accept he was THE FLASH now and to get outta Barry's shadow. We saw good stories like the Terminal Velocity and Chain Lightening by Waid too.

    Is it worth a pick up ? Hell yes. If Johns defined the rogues of the Flash , Waid defined Wally West.

    Starman: James Robinson:

    If Waid defined West as the Flash , all James Robinson did was create such an intriquing character in Jack Knight you enjoyed his relunctance to be a super hero but took on his father's mantle. Knight's look and Robinson's stories are worth it. The 1st few TPB's are avliable and I recommend them .

    Green Lantern : The Ron Marz years:

    When Marz came on he had a mandate from DC: Get Rid of Hal Jordan. So Marz had 3 issues to detail the quick fall of a long time hero (its said Marz wanted to build a longer arc to Hal's fall from grace but DC's Powers wanted it to happen at GL #50) and create a new hero to take his mantle.

    Marz was up to the task even while battling the hot heat of Hal Jordan fans. The stories showed a young man who had no training and had to learn as he went along. There was setbacks and sadness as Rayner suffered a loss close to him , but the character became one that you cheered for at the end as he would save the day at the end.

    Batman : Knightfall/Knightquest/Knightsend/Prodgical:

    Its hard to believe how awesome a series could be. But as a fan Knightfall ranks up there. Proposed by a writer during a lunch awhile before the actual meeting happened that did this , the series would examine the basic concept of "What if the wrong man became Batman ?"

    Knightfall was a dark piece as Bruce Wayne exhausted himself to limits never before. Kicking a flu and other ailments , Wayne became so weak as the villain Bane had forced Batman to run a gauntlet of his former excaped Arkham rogues. The conclusion shocked fans as the Batman was broken by a villain for the 1st time.

    The series continued as a psychotic hero named Azrael became Batman (Jean Paul Valley) and had gotten more and more voilent. Bruce who had been healed by magic returned and had to relearn his old fighting instinct to beat Az-Bats. Then knowing he had to learn more ..he handed the mantle to his old sidekick Dick Grayson awhile.

    All 4 arcs are awesomingly good though Knightquest goes on too long. But the end effect is that by the end when its all over you can remember the good periods.

    JLA : By Grant Morrison :

    By 1996 the Justice League of America had pretty much crawled to a sputter. The 3 books out ; Extreme Justice , Justice League America , and Justice League Taskforce were less than good. What DC needed was a revamp. What they got was a savior.

    Morrison came onto the team book with his vision of the big 7. Under his watch the JLA would face invading Martians, Heaven and Hell and a new Injustice League led by Lex Luthor. The end of the run may not be so....good but the result was an explosive opening that blew the doors wide open as the JLA revamp worked and lasted 125 issues before it was ended last year.


    end of #2 (part #3 coming SOON )
    "Heads up-- If Havok's position in UA #5 really upset you, it's time to drown yourself hobo piss. Seriously, do it. It's the only solution." - Rick Remender

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  3. #3
    14 Time Rita's Champion SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Default More Good reads....

    Zero Hour:

    Yeah , yeah I suppose many will question why this puppy is a good read. But you gotta at least admit DC had some balls here. They tried to fix Hawkman and the Legion of Superheroes in this , teased Wally West's death and turned Hal Jordan evil.

    The most emotional scenes belong to Oliver Queen (Green Arrow). Who prior to this was kept sorta away from the mainstream DCU til DC decided to have Chuck Dixon take over and all. In short he took part in this and the result was that DC had the hero share some big scenes near the end.

    In the finale a time displaced Batgirl ends up dying in his arms. Wishing she could have lived as Queen breaks down. Eying his old friend he decides that no more should die. Hal explains that in his Universe she would live. Ollie fires an arrow thinking he killed his best friend.

    Its a good read abd its solidifies DC's timeline at that point.

    Green Arrow : Crossroads:

    Mike Grell's run on Green Arrow is legendary. He had taken an aging hero and kept him away to grow and showcase him as a street vigilante. But by 1993 DC decided this needed to change and after 80 issues , Grell was allowed to leave and Dixon came on.

    CROSSROADS is often overlooked a lot. But it has some of the best themes running thru it. Ollie feels he's grown too far from his old days and after a fight with Dinah the hard travelin hero hits the road to find his purpose again. Along the way he finds horrible bad crimes and commits his worst act.

    CROSSROADS would lead into the end of Ollie's run as GA on this series. He would be replaced by his son Conner Hawke (another good decision). Hawke was pretty much a fleshed out character ala Rayner. The new GA would go on to last 30+ issues til DC wanted to lure Kevin Smith to Green Arrow and a promise to revive Oliver Queen.

    Kingdom Come :

    No other series gets the praise in the 1990's that Kingdom Come gets . Its the most widely regarded work at DC In this time beyond the Vertigo books and line like Sandman and all. But this series was just beautiful.

    Alex Ross and Mark Waid would unite and tell a story of a DC Future where the older heroes felt phased out by the angry young heroes. Superman had retired after people had said his ways were too old and he lived on his farm in Kansas not caring anymore. Lois was dead and Clark had lost his way.

    It would take an event of a nuke blast triggered by these young heroes to bring the old guard back. Its a beautiful story and one DC really were up and down on. One moment they would do things that made Kingdom Come a possible DC future , the next they'd forget about it.

    Anyhow its an awesome read. One I'd recommend to anyone . Marvel or DC fan alike.
    Last edited by SUPERECWFAN1; 06-09-2007 at 04:20 PM. Reason: More to come
    "Heads up-- If Havok's position in UA #5 really upset you, it's time to drown yourself hobo piss. Seriously, do it. It's the only solution." - Rick Remender

    Sucks 200 character limit.

  4. #4
    sKZa! SKETCHSANCHEZ's Avatar
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    One thing I'd like to mention about the 90's, which what made me a DC fan for life, was the introduction of new young heroes/sidekicks.

    Impulse, Robin (Tim Drake) and Superboy are the characters I fell in love with and were the first books I bought with my own money (before that I would read whatever my brother would buy). i believe the Star Spangeled Kid was introduced in the 90's as well.

    Impulse #1-25 is a run I think people should seek out, those were some great comics.
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  5. #5
    Cheering the apocalypse DWEarhart's Avatar
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    I'd like to add the oughtta be a law cause it was so good - Major Bummer.

    And apparently there was a law, and it was cancelled. Bastiches.
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  6. #6
    Ben L FunkyGreenJerusalem's Avatar
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    You are missing a few books from a really interesting DC period - when the market crashed and Marvel was cutting down and doing 'safe' business (nothing new!), DC went a bit nuts and just started throwing stuff at the wall.
    Young Heroes In Love, The Creeper, Chase, Scare Tactics, Chronos, Major Bummer etc were all short lived series, but showed a real sense of creativity and trying to do something new.
    It may have been short lived, but I found it quite exciting at the time, and mixed in with Starman I thought DC would be set to own the world.
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  7. #7
    14 Time Rita's Champion SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    I actually was gonna post more ...I had plans to do it today but I saw the replies. Hell I still had "The Bad" DC Comics of the 1990's. There was some that were horrific.

    But yeah I had plans to bring up "Hitman" , "Sandman" and other good books Funky today. But I suppose everyone knows em. ;)
    "Heads up-- If Havok's position in UA #5 really upset you, it's time to drown yourself hobo piss. Seriously, do it. It's the only solution." - Rick Remender

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  8. #8
    Lailoni Prime Vespa Stressfactor's Avatar
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    Interesting.... although your bit on Ron Marz and Hal Jordan is only half the story.

    Some enterprising comics historians have managed to prove that this actually began with Gerard Jones. It was Jones who was originally supposed to get Hal out of the way and he planned on doing it a different way -- one that would leave Hal a kind of rogue hero no longer needing the ring for a power source. Jones was then going to intorduce the required new, young, hero to replace Hal while Hal went off to do other things. It would have been DC's choice to either go ahead and get a creative team to pursue Hal's new adventures or to just leave the character off in galactic limbo.

    Jones was pulled from the title and Marz was given the job and it was then that DC decided to seal Jordan's fate by having him go supervillain-y.
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  9. #9
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    Off the top of my head, I'd add Andy Lanning's Resurrection Man and Roger Stern's ongoing 'Lex Luthor II' arc in the Superman comics, culminating with the "Fall Of Metropolis." A lot of the other stuff I like from the DC 90s era, such as Sandman, Robinson's Starman, Morrison's JLA, and Kingdom Come, have already been mentioned. I'm sure some other gems from that period will come to mind later, though.
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  10. #10
    Registration Withdrawn TROUBLEZ's Avatar
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    Even though Marvel started out strong I began abandoning their titles in favor of DC.
    The GOOD for me was:

    Jones and Moench on BATMAN. It was like reading the golden age stories, where Batman is this big eerie character and alot of atmosphere on the page.

    THE FLASH and IMPULSE
    I liked the Flash family (Max, Jesse, Johnny Quik, etc) The Flash had great art (Wieringo [sp?] and Jimenez), the Speed Force was a nice new addition, and Impulse was a great character and book.

    Sandman Mystery Theatre was cool.

    JLA by Morrison

    Zero Hour, for me was good. I never read Crisis on Infinite Earths, so this was a good introduction for me, to the entire DCU, although I didn't think it wrapped anything up or fixed much.

    Elseworlds comics were fun.

    Kingdome Come was the ish.

    I thought that the newly youthful Golden Age Green Lantern was the coolest looking GL.

    THE BAD:

    Knightfall. It got me interested in Batman again because the comic guy told me Batman was going to die so I thought I would buy up some issues thinking they would be valuable. The issues I got had average art and story and Batman getting whuped on was not cool. Once the Robo Batman took over I dropped it. I mean, BATMAN without Batman?

    Their version of gimmick covers sucked. The issue where Batman gets his back broken just had a quarter of a page xeroxed and stapled to the cover.

    and I didn't know Mike Carlin didn't like the JSA. I remember an issue of them in the BATMAN animated style art, because it came in those 20 comics for 15$ bundles at Costco. It was actually a cool read. You suck Mike Carlin.

    The UGLY

    Of course, the Super-mullet. I didn't like it, and it actually made me stop buying Superman. I also noticed during this time that his jaw got really big, maybe to match his long hair (kinda like Fabio, Conan, etc.)

  11. #11
    14 Time Rita's Champion SUPERECWFAN1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stressfactor View Post
    Interesting.... although your bit on Ron Marz and Hal Jordan is only half the story.

    Some enterprising comics historians have managed to prove that this actually began with Gerard Jones. It was Jones who was originally supposed to get Hal out of the way and he planned on doing it a different way -- one that would leave Hal a kind of rogue hero no longer needing the ring for a power source. Jones was then going to intorduce the required new, young, hero to replace Hal while Hal went off to do other things. It would have been DC's choice to either go ahead and get a creative team to pursue Hal's new adventures or to just leave the character off in galactic limbo.

    Jones was pulled from the title and Marz was given the job and it was then that DC decided to seal Jordan's fate by having him go supervillain-y.
    I believe your part right because as some GL Fans will tell , DC even advertised the next big story arc to #50 and it featured Hal Jordan and the Guardians in some way. A better Green Lantern fan can explain more but it featured the Guardians in some big storyline. I believed they would retire or something along those lines.

    DC saw this and decided....nope. Not gonna fly after the events of the Superman books. So they scrapped that planned storyline.
    "Heads up-- If Havok's position in UA #5 really upset you, it's time to drown yourself hobo piss. Seriously, do it. It's the only solution." - Rick Remender

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  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Lailoni Prime Vespa Stressfactor's Avatar
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    And here's more on the subject from an interview with Gerard Jones reposted on the DCMB's.

    http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/t...011&tstart=150
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  14. #14
    Elder Member Shellhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TROUBLEZ View Post
    The UGLY

    Of course, the Super-mullet. I didn't like it, and it actually made me stop buying Superman. I also noticed during this time that his jaw got really big, maybe to match his long hair (kinda like Fabio, Conan, etc.)
    The big jaw was probably necessary to offset the girlishness of the mullet. Marvel's Quasar got a big mullet before Superman, but his artist drew him with a dainty little chin, leaving Quasar looking like an androgynous poof. The pregnancy issue was damning evidence of the problem.

    Overall, I agree with your other points. In particular, it seemed like DC was trying to kill and/or replace most of their classic golden and silver age heroes except maybe the younger ones like Dick Grayson and Roy Harper. Why else would they take down Hal Jordan, Oliver Queen, and most of the JSA so quickly? And there were the complex continuity problems associated with Katar Hol, Power Girl, and Donna Troy. Btw, who is Donna Troy?
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  15. #15
    More Donald than Charlie stealthwise's Avatar
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    I know why you're separating it from the DCU, but the Vertigo books represent the vast majority of good books that DC was publishing during the 90s. Sandman, Preacher, Hellblazer, Morrison's Doom Patrol, Human Target, The Invisibles, and even 100 Bullets and Transmetropolitan debuted in the late 90s as well.
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