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  1. #1
    "filthy n'wah" pakehafulla's Avatar
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    Default Who is your greatest Icon by decade ?

    I've been wondering lately about who(or what) best sums up each of the decades in comicbookdom, for you personally.
    I know that this is all very subjective but I"m interested in peoples opinions.

    I dont have extensive knowledge of earlier decades so will start with

    The 50's The EC comics line. With the super-hero books in a massive slide I think that these books with their graphic stories across a wide range of genres, and with superior creators best sums up the decade. I have gone for these because of the effect of Seduction of the Innocent, which seems to have been directly inspired by a number of their books, and how it led to many publishers cancelling many titles and the creation of the CCA. The only other work I considered were the Disney titles(unsure of actual popularity) or the creation of TinTin(but was unsure of when the characters popularity really began.

    The 60's Easily Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Marvel explosion of heroes with lives, loves, and drama was essentially down to these 2 giants. Whether Stans dialogue still works today or not there is no denying the immense effect he had on the business at the time. Being partnered(for the most part) with the genius of Jack Kirby helps of course. While others like Ditko, and later in the decade Steranko and Adams, had influence I think without these 2 our beloved hobby would be immensely poorer.

    The 70'sNeil Adams. While he may have produced more work in the 60's, my personal recollection is of EVERY new artist being compared to him, and of the amount of new artists emulating his style. (Anyone remember Bill Sienkiewicz starting on Moonknight etc) I feel that in general most titles from the big two were suffering from severe averageness(like that word...could have tried averagnessity lol). On a personal note the British weeklies Action and 2000AD were huge features in my life, and I also think that the explosion of horror titles like Swamp-Thing, Werewolf by Night, and Tomb of Dracula were close runners but without a clear strong individual title didnt win. There is also plenty to like in Goodwin and Simonsons Manhunter, Rogers run on Detective, Thomas's Conan(came close), and the emergence of a George Perez on the Avengers, but ultimately I believe that the industry was still in the thrall of Neil Adams(much as 20-30 years later they were all trying to get their artists to emulate Jim Lee et al).

    The 80's Uncanny X-Men. Mainly the Claremont and Byrne run. Despite my personal preferences, I think that the influence the title had on the business for the next 20-25 years far outways Alan Moore blowing our minds with Swamp Thing, V for Vendetta, and Miracleman amongst others. God this was THE era for me and there are so many titles I would love to offer up on the altar of greatness...Daredevil, Legion, American Flagg, Sable, Grimjack, Love and Rockets, TMNT, Byrnes FF, etc etc... BUT those bloody mutants just wouldnt stop.

    The 90'sTodd MacFarlane/Jim Lee. Like it or not but Image shook things up and changed how everything looked. Again there are some great and worthy titles and creators, Authority, Planetary, Preacher, Ellis, Ennis, and Millar being personal favourites.

    The 00's.Brian Bendis. No character seems to have especially stood out over the decade, but he seems to be the one creator to have portrayed a consistent vision in his work at Marvel. From revitalising Luke Cage and family, through to taking the Avengers to the top of the charts, he has become the guiding force to the Marvel Universe. Like him or loath him (there is NO in-between) he has dominated the decade.

    The Teens Geoff Johns. Taking his reign on Green Lantern to even higher levels by becoming one of the guiding lights for the entire DC Universe whilst writing(seemingly) every book they publish. While the decade is new he fits for what we have experienced of it.

    Thoughts anyone.
    Last edited by pakehafulla; 04-12-2012 at 02:49 AM. Reason: Clarification and expansion
    kalorama :Take your reason and logic and begone! We don't cotton to your like 'round here!

  2. #2
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Not entirely sure I understand the criteria (character, title, publisher, or creator?), but I'll give it a shot:

    1930s -- I think you pretty much have to go with Superman, though I'm tempted to choose The Shadow for being a tremendously popular character in that decade providing the hero/mild-mannered alter ego template. Granted, Zorro was the first to do this, but I don't believe he was particularly big in the 1930s (I suspect the 1940 film sparked a resurgence in his notoriety).

    1940s -- Captain Marvel. The top selling title of the top selling genre of the decade.

    1950s -- Uncle Scrooge. We tend to favor the EC output these days, but I'm reasonably sure this was the top selling title of the decade, as well as the flagship for the top selling franchise in the top selling genre of the decade.

    1960s -- How do you not go with The Marvel Universe?

    1970s -- Conan ushered in a return to non-superhero genres and, while not an independent title itself, laid the groundwork for influential independent fantasy titles like Cerebus and Elfquest.

    1980s -- Crisis on Infinite Earths. Some will go with DKR or Watchmen for its darker approach to superheroes, but if you read enough works from just before their 1986 release, the move to darker anti-hero storytelling was already in progress. Instead, I think COIE was the most influential title of the decade, laying groundwork for company-wide events and company-mandated publicity stunts that are still (unfortunately) with us today.

    1990s -- While I'd love to point to Valiant Comics, the sad fact is that it didn't have the impact upon the industry that it should have. I'd say Image Comics' artist is king/writing doesn't count/what's a deadline?/let's make everyone look Asian and impossibly muscular approach to comics truly established and reflected the zeitgeist of the era better than anything else.

    2000s -- The Marvel Ultimate Universe. When sales are low, just discard the past and start over. This approach is still widely popular and successful today, reflected most recently in DC's nu52. I personally hate the approach, but it sells.

    2010s -- Way too early to tell.

  3. #3
    Elder Member Shellhead's Avatar
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    I'm going to focus on characters, specifically American superhero comics characters, and skip the '30s and the current decade due to limited data.

    '40s: Superman and Wonder Woman were all iconic characters that were powerful, decent, and innocent. They were like America during and immediately after World War II: heroic, unstoppable, dominant and benevolent. The way America helped Germany and especially Japan rebuild after the war was amazing. Captain Marvel was a similar character, but also a fine proxy for the fanbase back then, kids who looked forward to being adults.

    '50s: This was a tough decade for superhero comics, but towards the end of the decade, DC came back strong with new heroes using old names and powers. Many of these heroes had a science or science-fiction aspect, at a time when science and technology were starting to have a huge impact on popular culture. The new Flash was a forensic scientist for the police, and he liked to spout off Flash Facts, which were brief and relevant science lessons. The new Green Lantern captured the spirit of the space race and what author Tom Wolfe called The Right Stuff.

    '60s: I wanted to say Spider-man, but that didn't really fit the '60s in my opinion. Instead, Green Arrow started the decade as this really square and generic crimefighter with a boring costume. By the end of the decade, he was a fiery liberal with a strange beard and more distinctive costume, going through the same kinds of major changes that swept through the youth of America. Meanwhile, Iron Man was involved in the Cold War more than any other superhero, starting with his explosive origin. His technology underwent radical improvements from year to year, becoming sleek, efficient and powerful. Oddly, Iron Man's armor in modern times has become more bulky and cluttered in appearance.

    '70s: The idealism of the '60s gave way to the self-absorbed '70s, and that's where I see Spider-man really hitting his stride, going from one monthly title to four during the '70s. Always one of the great heroes of the Marvel Universe, Spider-man's extensive personal problems left him perpetually operating mostly in New York City. Thanks to the writing of Steve Englehart, Captain America went through the same trauma as the United States during the early and mid-'70s. After Watergate and a similar fictional scandal involving the Secret Empire, Cap even ditched the costume for a while to become Nomad, the Man Without a Country.

    '80s: Although Batman has a timeless and classic appeal, he definitely fit the zeitgeist of the '80s. Confident, wealthy, aggressive and decisive. And though I lost interest in the X-Men soon after the Byrne/Claremont team broke up, I noticed that the X-titles really took off during the '80s. I'm not exactly sure why, but maybe there is some connection with MTV, which made a huge impact on pop culture of the day. Maybe that's because MTV shifted the focus somewhat away from the music and more towards the video aspect, and the X-Men were so visually interesting and diverse despite their common origin.

    '90s: I ditched comics for most of the '90s, but it seemed like this Spawn fellow was popular. Like many other characters of the day, Spawn was visually arresting, but shallow and given to an awful lot of dramatic posing. Whatever he had going for him didn't seem to translate on the big screen, and Spawn eventually faded, like so many other aspects of '90s comics. His grim and gritty adventures and overall kewlness reminded me of the popular World of Darkness setting from White Wolf games.

    '00s: I'm not a fan, but Deadpool seemed like the epitome of modern comics: smirking, over-exposed, and self-referential. This decade also saw the rise and utter domination of reality tv shows, in fulfillment of Andy Warhol's famous prediction that someday everybody would be famous for 15 minutes. Deserving or not, Deadpool certainly got his 15 minutes.
    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
    Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963

  4. #4
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    Ok so here's my take-

    30's-Superman-the dawn of comics ushered in by the Man of Steel.

    40's-Captain America-the explosion of the super-hero and the WWII zeitgeist all rolled into one.

    50's Cryptkeeper-the emergence of EC and the elements that brought about Wertham's crusade

    60's the FF-the dawn of the MArvel Age, the nod to the space race in their origin and the Lee Kirby essence distilled into a single group

    70's Spidey-he was ubiquitous in the 70's from Electric COmpany to CBS prime-time and epitomized super-heroes to the mind of the general public, pop culture trends were reflected in his book form fashions worn by Gwen, MJ et. al. to things like the Spider-Buggy reflecting the dune buggy craze

    80's-Batman-the resurgence of DC; the trend towards grim and gritty and the revolution in comics epitomized by Miller's Dark Knight, and the Batman phenomenon at the end of the decade with the release of Burton's Batman film

    90's X-Men-exploded into kid's pop culture with the Saturday morning cartoon on Fox, was the standard by which Diamond and others measured comic sales (+/- of sales of the current issue of X-Men determined the % of sales on charts), the explosion of X-books at Marvel, many of which were the proving grounds for the Image guys who then split to form Image, whose early offerings often resembled the X-Men (Youngblood and WildC.A.T.S> I'm looking at you). Culminating with the release of the X-Men movie in 2000 which launched the current superhero summer blockbuster era.

    The Otts (2001-2010)-Here the Icon is tough to distill into a single character or team because the dominating aspect of mainstream comics is the company wide cross-over event and of comic culture in general is the summer blockbuster. So if I were to put forward an icon it would be a movie poster style promo of "THE EVENT FEATURING EVERY SUPER-HERO EVER CREATED" ad nauseum and make it an infinity image repeating itself.

    The present (2011 forward) still defining itself but with the emergence of DC's 52 and Justice League's early dominance of sales charts and the the trending of the Avengers movie-an early candidate for Icon of the decade is the super-her superstar team. We'll have to see how it plays out.

    -M
    A lunatic is easily recognized...You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense...and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
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  5. #5
    "filthy n'wah" pakehafulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaxper View Post
    Not entirely sure I understand the criteria (character, title, publisher, or creator?), but I'll give it a shot:

    1930s -- I think you pretty much have to go with Superman, though I'm tempted to choose The Shadow for being a tremendously popular character in that decade providing the hero/mild-mannered alter ego template. Granted, Zorro was the first to do this, but I don't believe he was particularly big in the 1930s (I suspect the 1940 film sparked a resurgence in his notoriety).

    1940s -- Captain Marvel. The top selling title of the top selling genre of the decade.

    1950s -- Uncle Scrooge. We tend to favor the EC output these days, but I'm reasonably sure this was the top selling title of the decade, as well as the flagship for the top selling franchise in the top selling genre of the decade.

    1960s -- How do you not go with The Marvel Universe?

    1970s -- Conan ushered in a return to non-superhero genres and, while not an independent title itself, laid the groundwork for influential independent fantasy titles like Cerebus and Elfquest.

    1980s -- Crisis on Infinite Earths. Some will go with DKR or Watchmen for its darker approach to superheroes, but if you read enough works from just before their 1986 release, the move to darker anti-hero storytelling was already in progress. Instead, I think COIE was the most influential title of the decade, laying groundwork for company-wide events and company-mandated publicity stunts that are still (unfortunately) with us today.

    1990s -- While I'd love to point to Valiant Comics, the sad fact is that it didn't have the impact upon the industry that it should have. I'd say Image Comics' artist is king/writing doesn't count/what's a deadline?/let's make everyone look Asian and impossibly muscular approach to comics truly established and reflected the zeitgeist of the era better than anything else.

    2000s -- The Marvel Ultimate Universe. When sales are low, just discard the past and start over. This approach is still widely popular and successful today, reflected most recently in DC's nu52. I personally hate the approach, but it sells.

    2010s -- Way too early to tell.
    I like your suggestions for the 30's and 40's, close to what I contemplated posting.
    Your other suggestions were for me just not quite...iconic ? enough for their respective decades.
    kalorama :Take your reason and logic and begone! We don't cotton to your like 'round here!

  6. #6
    We Crossed The Line Brother Justin Crowe's Avatar
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    1930s - Superman
    1940s - Captain America
    1950s - EC Comics
    1960s - The Fantastic Four
    1970s - Captain America
    1980s - The worlds of Alan Moore (Watchmen, Future Shocks, V for Vendetta, Swamp Thing, From Hell, various DC books, etc.)
    1990s - The X-Men
    2000s - Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Pride of Baghdad), Warren Ellis (Planetary, Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, Black Summer, Nextwave, Red, etc.) and the Avengers line
    2010s - BKV (Saga), Jonathan Hickman (SHIELD, Pax Romana, FF, Fantastic Four, Ultimates, Transhuman, Red Mass for Mars, etc.), Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, The Nobody, Frankenstein, Animal Man, Essex County, The Underwater Welder) and the Avengers line
    I rule me.

  7. #7

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    Not MY greatest icons, necessarily, but what I think were icons for their time.

    1930s: Flash Gordon
    1940s: Superman
    1950s: Bob Hope
    1960s: Batman
    1970s: Vampirella
    1980s: Wolverine
    1990s: Spawn
    2000s: Spider-Man

  8. #8
    "filthy n'wah" pakehafulla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by An Ear In The Fireplace View Post
    Not MY greatest icons, necessarily, but what I think were icons for their time.

    1930s: Flash Gordon
    Interesting choice. I seriously considered The Phantom for one of the early decades, as it has featured some incredible artists (Wilson McCoy and Sy Barry seem to spring to mind in my sleep ravaged brain) and especially here in NZ(and over the ditch in Oz) has been published fortnightly i think since the 40's and is still incredibly popular and widely known.
    kalorama :Take your reason and logic and begone! We don't cotton to your like 'round here!

  9. #9

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    It seems like Alex Raymond was a huge influence on the early artists doing comic books. And Flash Gordon had his own movie serial. So I thought he was a more dominant icon in the 30s than Superman who wasn't introduced until 1938.

  10. #10
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    I was trying to do this and realised that I can't come up with a definitive answer for any decade after the 70s, even limiting myself to American comics. The field became too fragmented to narrow it down to one selection. The 80s, for example: for me, you'd have to include both Alan Moore and the Hernandez brothers. And it only gets worse in the 90s with the explosion of independents and the many good Vertigo series.

  11. #11
    Boycott Marvel. Francis Dawson's Avatar
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    I've done this in the context of significant, decade-defining individuals:

    30s - W.M. Gaines - The Johnny Appleseed of the early comic book industry.
    40s - Walt Disney - Massive pop-cultural influence. Has probably directly influenced more comic books than Jack Kirby.
    50s - Frederic Wertham - Infantilised the medium.
    60s - King Kirby - Honourable mention R. Crumb (I suspect Zap outsold any Marvel comic in the 60s).
    70s - Gary Groth - Our Frost.
    80s - Alan Moore - Knows the score.
    90s - Peter Bagge - Of all the nineties comics in the world Hate was the ninetiest. RIP the alternative pamphlet.
    00s - Sam Rami - Started the current cycle of superhero blockbusters that keep the lamestream on life support.
    Last edited by Francis Dawson; 04-16-2012 at 03:23 AM.
    Boycott Marvel. Make Mine Kirby.

  12. #12
    Welcome to Bleeker Street MRP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Francis Dawson View Post
    I've done this in the context of significant, decade-defining individuals:

    30s - W.M. Gaines - The Johnny Appleseed of the early comic book industry.
    40s - Walt Disney - Massive pop-cultural influence. Has probably directly influenced more comic books than Jack Kirby.
    50s - Frederic Wertham - Infantilised the medium.
    60s - King Kirby - Honourable mention R. Crumb (I suspect Zap outsold any Marvel comic in the 60s).
    70s - Gary Groth - Our Frost.
    80s - Alan Moore - Knows the score.
    90s - Peter Bagge - Of all the nineties comics in the world Hate was the ninetiest. RIP the alternative pamphlet.
    00s - Sam Rami - Started the current cycle of superhero blockbusters that keep the lamestream on life support.
    I would point to Bryan Singer's X-Men rather than Raimi's Spider-Man as the start of that cycle, plus Singer then doing Superman Returns and wallowing in what came before rather than breaking new ground for DC movies as representative of that moribound vibe you are pointing to.

    -M
    A lunatic is easily recognized...You can tell him by the liberties he takes with common sense...and by the fact that sooner or later he brings up the Templars.
    -Umberto Eco

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