Monday, August 18, 2008

Marvel's Olympics of 1980

For our final look at the Groovy Age of Marvel Olympics, we go to 1980 Moscow, where--what? Excuse me, sir? Say hello to President Jimmy Carter, Groovophiles! What's that, Mr. President? Yes, I know that the United States boycotted the 1980 Olympics due to Russia's invasion of Afghanistan. And boy, did that ever teach them a lesson. I mean, look at them in Georgia right n--no sir, the country, not the state. No sir, it's not funny, I was just being ironi--yes, sir. Thank you, sir. Have a nice day, too, sir.



Is he gone? Okay, let's take a look at what would've been the winners had we been allowed to go to Moscow...

The Bronze Medal for the Bronze Age comic that ended the Groovy Age goes to...X-Men #137! Yes, the infamous Death of the Phoenix issue. Chris Claremont and John Byrne being forced to kill founding X-Men member Jean Grey because of her crimes as Dark Phoenix effectively ended the last flickering light of the Groovy Age. Gone was the freewheeling fun of the Groovy Age, replaced forever by Editorial Edict. Claremont and Byrne had the last laugh, though, because they were able to craft a story so beautiful and moving that it went down in comicbook history.

The Silver Medal for best silver-skinned superhero who wasn't the Silver Surfer goes to...ROM, Spaceknight! Who would have thought that a comicbook based on a little-seen toy could become one of the best comics of the twilight of the Groovy Age? Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema, evidently, who put as much energy, originality, and slam-bang fun into this comic as any comic Marvel published at the time. And those bee-yoooteeful Michael Golden covers didn't hurt one tiny bit, either!

And finally, the Gold Medal for best Golden Age superhero to survive in an iceberg and almost run for President of the United States...Captain America in Captain America #250! Writer Roger Stern (with a plot suggested by Roger McKenzie and Don Perlin) and artist John Byrne (who was on quite a roll, here!) crafted a wonderful tale in which Cap had to search his very soul in an effort to decide whether he would do the most good as a superhero or as president. Naturally, he chose being a superhero, as the comic didn't change its name to President America that fall, but Stern and Byrne gave us an up-close personal look at what makes Cap so special; not just from Cap's own perspective, but from the outlooks of characters as varied as Jarvis, the Avengers, Spidey, Daredevil, Nick Fury, Dr. Strange, and J. Jonah Jameson. A thoughtful, insightful comic, the likes of which there are far too few.


  1. Enjoy your blog. The Golden Rom covers are the best.

  2. Thanks, Chris! You're right about Golden's covers--they are definitely far-out! I'll talk a lot more about Mr. Golden and his awesome art in the near future!

    You have a cool blog, too! Love that Kamandi!



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