Friday, August 24, 2018

Beyond the Groovy Age: August 1981

What it is, Groove-ophiles! Actually, what it is is Ol' Groove's birthday is this coming Sunday, so IIIIII just wanna celebraaaate (celebraaate) with y'all by doing something different: by taking a look at some of the magnificent post-Groovy Age mags I got during my birthday month in 1981 A.G.A. (After Groovy Age). (What? You thought Ol' Groove dropped comics when the Groovy Age ended? Don't be ridiculous!) These weren't all the mags I got the month I turned 18 and started college, but they were (and most still are) my faves. Remember any of these?


Gerry Conway and George Perez were doing some fun stuff in JLA. This edition of the annual JLA/JSA meeting was fun and then some!

Hidden under this "eh" Al Milgrom cover is a magnificent Ms. Marvel story by Chris Claremont and Michael Golden (it addresses the mess left in the infamous Avengers #200's wake). Oh, it features the Avengers, the X-Men and Spider-Woman, and introduces Rogue, too!

Marv Wolfman and George Perez were KILLING IT in the New Teen Titans, melding the best comicbook-ish-ness of the 60s with the best comicbook-ish-ness of the 70s and creating a fresh new comic mag for the 1980s. And this one features the return of Robotman, too!


Similar to what Wolfman and Perez were doing in NTT, John Byrne had taken full control of the FF and returned it to its Silver Age roots--while making it totally (fer sure) 80s! This Twilight Zone-ish tale featuring a superior plot by Dr. Doom is an all-time FF classic!

The criminally underrated team of Mary Jo Duffy and Kerry Gammill was giving us a delightful buddy super-hero comic that was also criminally underrated. It was hip, smart, and downright charming. This one takes our Heroes for Hire to K'un-Lun and ties into the Sons of the Dragon

Roy Thomas set out to top his Marvel Invaders series at DC with his favorite heroes of the Golden Age--and then some! Aided and abetted by artists like Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway, Roy accomplished his mission. All-Star Squadron is the best WW II super-hero comic ever!

Hey, that was fun! Maybe we'll go Beyond the Groovy Age again sometime!

SCINTILLATING SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! Ol' Groove is taking Monday off for his birthday, but don't worry, man! I'll be back on Tuesday with a birthday tribute to Jack "King" Kirby!

18 comments:

  1. Groove, the happiest of birthdays to you. I loved all of your choices, and found my reasons for loving them to be pretty much the same as yours. Naturally, I feel compelled to offer an alternative list just as a little "birthday tribute".
    Brave and Bold 180 (a terrific Aparo Batman/Spectre yarn, along with a Nemesis story featuring art by Dan Spiegle), Moon Knight 13 (one of my all-time favorite series, and this one has Daredevil in it, and it's drawn by Sienkiewicz!), Detective 508 (Newton on Batman, Gerry Conway wrote some great stuff in that run as well), Captain America 263 (DeMatteis and Zeck's run on Cap is a well-loved one; this one is terrific-the Red Skull, Cap vs Fake Cap violence, and so on), and lastly, Daredevil 177 (one of the best issues of the whole run by Miller-Stick helps Matt get his radar sense back, corrupt NY politicians and the Kingpin, oh, and there's this gal named Elektra).
    Groove, here's wishing you all the best!

    John

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  2. Man these covers bring back the memories. I was in college, a married man and brand new father, and loving life. I had a few professors who were comics fans, one for a long time and another who was just discovering them, and there was much of the predictable esoteric chat about the vagaries of these comic tales. Ms. Marvel's accusations, the ultimate fate of the word "New" on the Teen Titans, just how the heck did All-Star Squadron fit into the scheme of things, and on and on. Yammering about comics is fun, because it is so ultimately unimportant. No lives lost and no hearts broken -- pure escapism.

    Rip Off

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  3. I was wondering whether '81 really counts as after the Groovy Age, but then I caught that FF cover - unlike maybe some of those books, Byrne's FF really does seem like a different era.
    And very good it was too, at least for the first few years - suddenly the "worlds greatest comic magazine" tagline wasn't quite the embarassing claim it had been for most of the '70s.
    That small town/Doom story from #236 was a good one (although boo to Marvel for removing Kirby from the upper right corner of the cover).

    Happy Birthday Groove - hope you enjoyed the comics you got this month too!

    -sean

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  4. 81 was when I first started to get serious about comics so it's nice to see you cover the early 80's. I have an immense fondness for that particular period.

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  5. It's criminal that solid artists like Kerry Gammill cannot even get work in mainstream comics these days due to age-ism & other biases. A real shame. This happened to Jerry Ordway & a number of others, too.

    Regards,
    Chris A.

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    1. I really doubt it is because of agism that older artists can't get work (the terms people love to toss around these days. smh). After all Eisner continued to create lauded work into his 80s. What happens to comics creators is the same thing that besets many in the creative fields: tastes change and the public is fickle. Comics fans, in particular, seem to have no sense of history or loyalty. I've gone to conventions where yesterday's hot artist (the one you had to stand in long lines for) is sitting at a booth all alone with no visitors. In 1991, when Todd McFarlane was super hot and there was a minimum 2 hour long line, I opted instead to go to Marshall Rogers' table, an artist I liked better anyway, where there was no waiting. I not only got my books signed but picked up an original page of Batman from Secret Origins for $20. The good old days.

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    2. Ask Tom Palmer about ageism. It's quite real in today's comics industry. Creators who stayed in for life like Eisner & Kubert are increasingly rate.

      I have personally spoken to Palmer, Gammill, & Ordway about this, as well as many others. An old friend of mine worked for Marvel & DC for 20 years was let go by both companies in a single year. "We no longer need your services," he was told. A 'polite' form of blacklisting. He inked John Byrne's She-Hulk over at Marvel & Swamp Thing at DC/Vertigo, besides many, many other top books. Now...nothing---and still in great shape artistically, so he has moved onto other artistic venues.

      In the early '80s many of the top Filipino talents could no longer find steady work in U.S. comics when the horror, war, & romance books died out, so they headed over to schlock Saturday morning animation where they disappeared in an assembly line of mediocrity. Nestor Redondo was one of these. "A colossal waste of talent," was what COMIC BOOK ARYIST magazine had to say about it in its special Filipino Invasion issue, published by Two Morrowa.

      "Comics will break your heart." --Jack Kirby

      "Comics will chew you up & spit you out." --Al Williamson

      They were speaking to pros, not fans.

      Regards,
      Chris A.

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  6. Happy Birthday next week, Groove. I had every one of these back in the day. All are among my all time favorites. You are so right about the PM/IF series....what fun.....but ALL of these were fun. I started college in Fall of 1981 and the stories that year kept me involved with comics for another couple of years.

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  7. Happy birthday, Groove!

    I bought all these comics and enjoyed them all. I had been collecting comics since 1977, but 1981 was when I really starting buying a lot. I finally had a weekly allowance -- enough for five comics a week, which was about $2.50 in those days! I was 11 at the time.

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  8. I had read or owned all but Power Man & Iron Fist back then. I was actively reading/collecting Titans, JLA, & All-Star Squadron. Oh, the memories.

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  9. As much as we hear about the comics that came out in 1986, MAN there were some AWESOME comics that came out in 1981. Great post Groove and happy birthday sir.

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  10. Happy birthday groove! This brings back some good memories.
    Hope you do more 80's "Beyond the Groovy Age" post.
    There's a lot of great 80s comics !

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  11. Best wishes for your birthday! May you realize a couple of dreams and above all...GROOVE ON!

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  12. I prefer the printing quality of comics from the '30s until the mid '70s. After that it was strictly the magazine material for me until the Baxter paper in certain '80s comics lured me back in. Now the printing is superb, but most colourists overrender (and ruin) the art. Less is more!

    Unfortunately a lot of mainstream books are ugly, immoral, & certainly not all-ages material.

    Regards,
    Chris A.

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  13. Wow! I read all of these fresh off the spinner racks in August 1981, except for Power Man/Iron Fist. (My allowance could only stretch so far!) Almost unbelievable, looking back, that all of this great stuff came out almost simultaneously. There were many, many great months like that in the Groovy Age! So glad to have been a young fan then.

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