What "A Decade of Diversions Week" is all about:
This week, Ol' Groove is sharing lists his favorite comic mag from each year of the 1970s (1970-1979), along with four runners-up. Guess you could actually call that sharing lists of my top five mags of each year, huh? Two years per day, five days--yep that's ten years!
Lemme tell ya, it was not easy to make these lists. I had to comb through every comic, each month, each year--okay, Mike's Amazing World of Comics' Newsstand made that mucho easier (thanks, Mike! The Diversions couldn't make it without your site, man!), but still, that's a lot. Then I had to whittle each year's gi-normous list down to five. To keep it from becoming too stressful, I had to make myself a few rules:
1) No reprints (reprints are awesome and some of my fave comics are reprints, but...)
2) Single issues. The mags have to stand (or at least be able to stand) alone. That knocked out a lot of great mags whose best stories were multi-issue epics. (They'll get their own lists someday.) And yes, there are exceptions to this rule. Especially first issues and/or first chapters of sagas.
3) The mag had to be memorable to me. My idea of comicbook perfection (or something close to it). Something I read 'til the cover fell off.
4) I tried (really, really tried) to keep my list free of using the same mag more than once per year. That was TOUGH.
5) The rules were to help me decide, not bind me--so there might be exceptions to any or all of these rules.
Now, this is Ol' Groove's list of faves. I'm not saying these were the best comics of the year (or even the month), but they're my favorites. You have your favorites, too, I'm sure, so you know what I mean. Please comment and leave lists of your faves, but don't knock mine (or anyone else's list), please. After all, if we all loved exactly the same 50 Groovy Age mags, there really wouldn't be a need for this blog, would there?
Ol' Groove's Top 5 of 1976:
1976 kicked off with one of the biggest super-hero team-ups fandom could have ever dreamed of. Naturally, it's Ol' Groove's fave comic of 1976. Marvel and DC didn't skimp on this event, either! 100 tabloid-sized pages featuring not only our beloved heroes, but their supporting cast and arch enemies (Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus), to boot. And in a supremely inspired move, they got Gerry Conway, former Spider-Man and "present" Superman author and Ross Andru, former Superman artist and "present" Spider-Man artist to write and draw it. Add inks by the likes of Dick Giordano and a young Terry Austin and how many more reasons does Ol' Groove have'ta give to explain why I picked Superman vs Spider-Man as my #1 comic of 1976?
My other faves: The final issue of Amazing Adventures, in which Don McGregor and P. Craig Russell wrapped up one of the greatest series of the 1970s, War of the Worlds/Killraven, and left us (almost literally) crying for more; Green Lantern #90 which re-united GL with Green Arrow in fun, sci-fi-centric adventures by Denny O'Neil and Mike Grell; Marvel Premiere #32 with Howard Chaykin's sublime western/sci-fi/mystery mash-up Monarch Starstalker; and of course (it WAS 1976 after all) Captain America's Bi-Centennial Battles by Jack Kirby and a host of superior inkers that includes John Romita Sr. and Barry Windsor-Smith.
Ol' Groove's Top 5 of 1977:
The best comic mag of 1977? Without a doubt, for Ol' Groove it's Marvel Preview #11, the return of Star-Lord by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Terry Austin, and Tom Orzechowski. The team that would become the X-Men dream team got it all together right here in a 52 page sci-fi epic (a graphic novel before we knew what a graphic novel was!) that is so action-packed, far-out, and memorable that, not only is it my favorite comic of 1977, it's veeeery close to my favorite comic of all time. And on some days, it IS my favorite comic of all time. (It's even got a Jim Starlin frontispiece, so there's another of my Mt. Rushmore of comicbook creators in this mag!)
Yep, it beat out some heavy, heavy competition. Ol' Groove'll hazard a guess that the other four mags in my Top 5 of 1977 are quite possibly your number ones! DC Special #29 with the awesome (and I do mean awesome) double-length origin of the Justice Society by Paul Levitz, Joe Staton, and Bob Layton (the regular JSA creative team at the time); Five Star Super-Spectacular with stories and art by Adams, O'Neil, Staton, Nasser, Dillin, Conway, and more featuring solo stories of some of our fave JLA members; Ol' Groove's favorite ish of What If...? with a stunning story by Jim Shooter and even more stunning art by Gil Kane and Klaus Janson. It even beat out Marvel Super Special #1 featuring KISS (printed in real KISS blood) with story and art by titans like Steve Gerber, Alan Weiss, and the Brothers Buscema! Five mags to truly treasure, Groove-ophiles!