Friday, February 23, 2018

Making a Splash: John Byrne's Groovy Age FF

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! We all know that in the 1980s, John Byne rocked the Fantastic Four (issues 232-293). Did'ja know that he drew several issues during the Groovy Age? Even wrote a couple! It's true (Issues 209-218, 220-221, May 1979-February 1980; March-April 1980)! Byrne joined writer Marv Wolfman as layout artist with FF mainstay Joe Sinnott finishing the pencils and inking (except for a fill-in by Pablo Marcos). Byrne helped Wolfman finish a pretty cool storyline featuring Galactus, the Nova Corps, and Nova's arch-foe The Sphinx--oh, and the comicbook debut of H.E.R.B.I.E.) then went on to do a few more storylines before writing and laying out issues 220-221. Although Sinnott's slick inks kept the FF looking consistently Marvel-ous, you could see Byrne's style come shining through, especially in the layouts and storytelling. Fun stuff that only gave us a glimpse of the glory that was to come in the 80s! Take a peek!


  1. "Did'ja know that he drew several issues during the Groovy Age?" Oh, heck yeah, I did. Loved his "pre-run" run as main artist on FF, and I loved the space opera penned by Wolfman.
    These images really hit me in my nostalgia sweet-spot. It was right around the time that started to recognize Byrne's art across a number of titles (FF, X-men, occasionally MTU...) and he soon became my favorite artist.

  2. Is the bearded man ("You ask him! Me, I'm gettin' outta here!") in the lower right corner of 'Where There Be Gods' Mr. Byrne himself (with more hair than current photos show)?


  3. Byrne's art always looked strained, boxy, full of stock poses, but this selection of splashes looks, well, boring. You can see that he is trying to be conventional, but he does not come into his own until he starts to write his own work which lead to his artwork becoming more inspired.

  4. Are you saying the Byrne/Austin artwork in X-Men, which was running concurrently with these FF stories, wasn't awe-inspiring? I think it was one of the highlights of the Groovy or any age. The blandness of these FF pages derives from the homogenizing effect of Joe Sinnott's inks. He was apparently enforcing a house style on the World's Greatest Comic Magazine. You are right. Once Byrne was unleashed as the triple threat writer/penciller/inker starting with FF # 232 we saw 5 years worth of brilliance on a monthly basis.



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