Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Malibu Comics

Launched in 1986, Malibu's original lineup was predominantly licensed black-and-white work. After acquiring Aircel and Eternity - companies which had straddled the line between mainstream action and small-press independents with titles like Ex-Mutants and Dinosaurs for Hire - Malibu tried a little superheroing before the 90s boom hit and it went huge. Launching its "Ultraverse" line and a creator-owned imprint "Bravura," the company seemed to be on the fast track to threaten the market dominance - until Marvel bought it and slowly gutted its IP for the sake of acquiring its color production equipment. There's a metaphor in that somewhere.

Darkseid/Galactus: The Hunger
It’s a crossover predicated on a simple question: What if Galactus, a giant dude from Marvel Comics best known for eating whole planets, tried to eat Apokalips, a grim and wretched world ruled by DC big-baddie Darkseid? The answer is “nothing much,” unfortunately, as by the end Galactus has realized that Apokalips – a noxious sphere which resembles a smouldering pile of ash chucked aimlessly into the contents of a split-open 1975 Sylvania television – ain’t edible. You would’ve thought that Galactus’ herald, the Silver Surfer, might’ve noticed it before now, but at least barely any other characters from the DC or Marvel Universes even get involved, so it’s not inconveniencing too many people, whatever the case.

With the Death of Superman breaking records, DC decided to assist the Caped Crusader's sales similarily by breaking his back.

Targeted by drug-frenzied luchador Bane “Macho Man” Savage, Batman's career is seemingly ended by a severed spine. Well, bullshit, of course it isn’t – whose name is on the masthead, folks? Still, he ends up hiring an obviously imbalanced religious zealot to don the bat-costume, which itself promptly becomes amped-up into a weird, ridiculous orgy of Hot Wheels paintjobs as “Bat-Azrael.” He then spends some time ruining Batman’s rep and spending his goodwill among Gotham’s law enforcement. It ends up with Batman back in the driver’s seat, and becomes the proto-model for the huge event comic which just puts the status quo back in place after all the fun and festivities. Hooray?

Erik Larsen
One of the original seven founders of Image Comics, Larsen has been most notable for breaking the mold of ceaseless infighting which typified the core group. Instead, he fought endlessly with people outside the company, as not only his lettercolumns but actual storylines attested. With John Byrne and Peter David being his most common targets, he chose not only to dedicate large chunks of the letters pages in every issue of Savage Dragon to drawing out the fight, but introduced villains clearly intended to represent his opponents. Which, in some ways, has outshadowed the actual storyline of his long-running book ...

It's tempting to lay the burden of representing a while decade on a single book, but doing so would require splitting the representation around. The insipid violence and endless creaming of Youngblood, the navel-gazing self-seriousness of Sandman, the grade-school genre inversion in The Authority - these are all contenders. If Gen13 represents anything in particular, though, it's that it is actually a youth-oriented comic which was written by, drawn by and marketed to a youthful audience and starring a youthful set of heroes.

I mean, they got a ton of it wrong,but at least it existed in and for the market it represented. 

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