The Big Picture: Comics in The 90s: What Happened?

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After the artists failed at being writers, you get Geoff Johns who has changed the DC universe 3 times. That's some nice writing power on the level of Jack Kirby. Is that our big thing for next week, or have I just speculated too far?

Captcha: Make it so

image

I didn't get into the whole Comic Book till around 2000, It blows my mind to think Marvel filed bankruptcy.

you know, I started collecting comics in 1995 (I was only 10) when I found out that archie comics had put out a Sonic the Hedgehog comic. Though the series has had it's low points to be sure it's recently entered it's 20th year as it rapidly approaches it's 250th issue, making it the longest running licensed comic in the industry's history. In a decade driven by cheap event comics and pandering to "mature" audiences it's nice to know that one of the greatest success stories was a kid friendly cartoon comic.

Oh lord Image comics. I only remember two things from Image, and both infuriated me. One was Rob Leifield's unending stream of new characters and teams, all of which were horrible and his art was being emulated across comics, even though he was awful at anatomy. And two, their release schedules were non-existant. I remember comics like Maxx and The Pitt taking months between volumes. I seem to remember at one point Maxx had a 9 month window between like volumes 3 and 4. =\

Redem:
90's sucked meme...huh bob for it to be a meme you need more than one person that use it.

You don't get around the internet much, do you?

faefrost:

SonOfVoorhees:
There was awesome Image comics. Savage Dragon, Maxx, Supreme, Prophet to name a few. While some were great, others were great ideas with zero writing ability. Supreme was a superman character who came back to earth and found tons of superheroes taking his place. He was awesome, violent and egotistical. Just no real background or writers of calibre to make him awesome.

Now Image release stuff like The Walking Dead and other creator owned stuff so im glad they are still going.

Heck isn't Kirkman pretty much the largest principle owner of Image these days? I'll give Image credit. They stuck it out through the awful years, and evolved from the art driven abomination of the 90's to a much more writer driven company today. And it has paid off. At least as well as anything can in today's comic industry. (News flash. The comics industry as we know it is doomed. As the big bookstore chains die so to die the main discoverable courses of their product. Until they figure out on how to truly capitalize on digital markets, they are all screwed. The writing is on the wall for Diamond and the independent comic shops.)

Pretty much this. Image started as an ego soaked bonfire sacrifice to guys who were, at best, good artists, and after the virgin sacrifices ran dry they managed to put a pretty good house together.

But yes, the current print comics market is a dinosaur. Something needs to change drastically or all we'll really have to enjoy is Movies and the like.

Redd the Sock:
Looking back at the speculator boom, it wasn't all bad in concept. Oh, financially it was stupid, but it produced something most people crave for today: creativity. All those number 1s and new characters had to come from somewhere, which lead to new creations, nostalgic revisits, and second stringers getting a fair amount of page time.

Um..... no, just no.

Okay, maybe i need more then no as an answer. Creativity is what you get when you are being creative, its quality over quantity. What it isn't is just copying something your competition is doing & then adding in some spikes, chains, ripped denim, giant guns/swords & the word blood, death, shadow, dark, hell, or some stupid deliberate mispeling to the cover name.

90% of the 90's comics are a creativity wasteland, empty of intelligent life, or anything capable of sustaining intelligent life.

faefrost:
(News flash. The comics industry as we know it is doomed. As the big bookstore chains die so to die the main discoverable courses of their product.

I've said it before, i'll say it again: News Agency Trades. Anthology trades sold on an ongoing monthly basis, containing 1 issue of 5 currently available ongoing books, set 3 months after the single issues. It saves room on news agency shelves, gives them only one product to purchase & they don't need to try to figure out what book they are going to get the most out of.

faefrost:
Until they figure out on how to truly capitalize on digital markets, they are all screwed.

There is no capatlising on the digital market. The digital market is fools gold. Everyone thinks that digital is the way of the future, but more and more its becoming obvious that people do not want, by and large to read their comics on a digital device. It has something to do with the permancy of print over digital.

The only people really getting into digital comics are the people who have 30 long boxes of comics, that they never reread. It just does not bring in a new readership. In fact libraries with graphic novel collecitons do a better job of introducing new readers to the medium then digital does.

Add into that the nonsense we currently have with giving up our doctrine of first sale rights & the trouble that inevitably causes (and has caused, just last week), an its really a bit of a trap. Not to forget the competing & superior black market for digital comics. Digital comics are one of those wierd sectors of the market in which the bootleg pirate version is actually superior to the paid for version of the same product.

Riff Moonraker:
I dont need to watch the video to tell you what happened to comics in the '90's. They sucked because all they did was focus on gimmicks and artwork, and forgot what makes them truly great... the story.

*Looks at every comic produced by DC since the reboot & every comic by Marvel for the last 4 years*

Oh god, which one of you arseholes transported me back to 1991?

Oh wait, its still 2013? Dear god, what happened to you Marvel & DC? Why are you so suddenly crap?

Riff Moonraker:
Chromium covers, multiple "collectible" covers, bagged comics with cards and such (which, by the way, those baggies they came in are acidic and will eventually destroy your comic.. not that most of those are really worth squat, anyway) and the list goes on. It was a bad time to be a comic collector back then. Anyone remember Valiant? /sigh, my wallet does.

Apparently its not much better a time now: Constant crossovers, chromium covers, multiple "collectible" covers, bagged comics with digital download codes (which, by the way, those baggies they came in are acidic and will eventually destroy your comic.. not that most of those are really worth squat, anyway), augmented reality (that never work right), constant reboots, issue zeroes 6 issues in to a series and the list goes on.

It always saddens me that Marvel & DC comics weren't really available when I was growing up (during 90s). Few years back we could buy Ultimate Spider-Man/Ultimate X-Men, but they were kinda overpriced. As for the 90s comics, I'm far from expert on the subject but I think Hellblazer and Preacher were pretty damn good (Garth Ennis) as was Transmetropolitan (although it came out in late 90s)

Because American.

Simply put, you should expand your comic horizons to the scary outside world if you don't want to read crap that ages really bad and sells purely on hype.

Rossco64:
Really Bob? F.R.I.E.N.D.S? You don't have to like it but I'm pretty sure there is a whole list bad shows you could have put in it's place. Then again...

Snip

Perhaps the 90s wasn't a bad decade for television.

Yep, keep in mind this is Bob's opinions.
For us children of the 80s the 90s suck.

80s kids are hitting their awkward teenage years, shows 90s kids love are considered beneath the 80s kids.
As those 80s kids grew out of that cultural group or really tried to leave it behind as kiddy stuff.

And if you grew up as a geek in the 90s this is especially a bad time, as the 90s was not geek friendly as popular culture is now. So many 80s kids like me or Bob whole 90s experience is so badly tainted that there very little redeemable qualities the way Queen Ceres in the Game of Thrones only good quality is that she actually loved her children no matter how much of a evil, manipulative whore she actually was.

DVS BSTrD:
Welcome to March is 90's month,
where bad comics burn.
MovieBob's gonna teach you all
a lesson you won't learn.
Liefeld, you're not the smartest.
Image, needs more than artists.
Any artists who had a comic published,
fame gave them a turn.
Movie Bob
Dark Age! Merch! Making blood go splat!
Movie Bob!
Speculator boom! Gotta purchase that!
Linkara!
Egos, bankruptcy, scarceness disappeared!
Movie Bob!
COMICS. ARE, WEIRD!
MOVIE BOB!

I like how Rob Liefeld is still a focal point. Because, well...Yeah....He kinda deserves it.

matthew_lane:

Redd the Sock:
Looking back at the speculator boom, it wasn't all bad in concept. Oh, financially it was stupid, but it produced something most people crave for today: creativity. All those number 1s and new characters had to come from somewhere, which lead to new creations, nostalgic revisits, and second stringers getting a fair amount of page time.

Um..... no, just no.

Okay, maybe i need more then no as an answer. Creativity is what you get when you are being creative, its quality over quantity. What it isn't is just copying something your competition is doing & then adding in some spikes, chains, ripped denim, giant guns/swords & the word blood, death, shadow, dark, hell, or some stupid deliberate mispeling to the cover name.

90% of the 90's comics are a creativity wasteland, empty of intelligent life, or anything capable of sustaining intelligent life.

faefrost:
(News flash. The comics industry as we know it is doomed. As the big bookstore chains die so to die the main discoverable courses of their product.

I've said it before, i'll say it again: News Agency Trades. Anthology trades sold on an ongoing monthly basis, containing 1 issue of 5 currently available ongoing books, set 3 months after the single issues. It saves room on news agency shelves, gives them only one product to purchase & they don't need to try to figure out what book they are going to get the most out of.

faefrost:
Until they figure out on how to truly capitalize on digital markets, they are all screwed.

There is no capatlising on the digital market. The digital market is fools gold. Everyone thinks that digital is the way of the future, but more and more its becoming obvious that people do not want, by and large to read their comics on a digital device. It has something to do with the permancy of print over digital.

The only people really getting into digital comics are the people who have 30 long boxes of comics, that they never reread. It just does not bring in a new readership. In fact libraries with graphic novel collecitons do a better job of introducing new readers to the medium then digital does.

Add into that the nonsense we currently have with giving up our doctrine of first sale rights & the trouble that inevitably causes (and has caused, just last week), an its really a bit of a trap. Not to forget the competing & superior black market for digital comics. Digital comics are one of those wierd sectors of the market in which the bootleg pirate version is actually superior to the paid for version of the same product.

Riff Moonraker:
I dont need to watch the video to tell you what happened to comics in the '90's. They sucked because all they did was focus on gimmicks and artwork, and forgot what makes them truly great... the story.

*Looks at every comic produced by DC since the reboot & every comic by Marvel for the last 4 years*

Oh god, which one of you arseholes transported me back to 1991?

Oh wait, its still 2013? Dear god, what happened to you Marvel & DC? Why are you so suddenly crap?

Riff Moonraker:
Chromium covers, multiple "collectible" covers, bagged comics with cards and such (which, by the way, those baggies they came in are acidic and will eventually destroy your comic.. not that most of those are really worth squat, anyway) and the list goes on. It was a bad time to be a comic collector back then. Anyone remember Valiant? /sigh, my wallet does.

Apparently its not much better a time now: Constant crossovers, chromium covers, multiple "collectible" covers, bagged comics with digital download codes (which, by the way, those baggies they came in are acidic and will eventually destroy your comic.. not that most of those are really worth squat, anyway), augmented reality (that never work right), constant reboots, issue zeroes 6 issues in to a series and the list goes on.

I honestly quit buying comics altogether, except for The Walking Dead. I stopped roughly 3 or 4 years ago, and yeah, I agree with you that it doesnt look like they learned their lesson from the '90's.

darksakul:

And if you grew up as a geek in the 90s this is especially a bad time, as the 90s was not geek friendly as popular culture is now.

How so? Pop culture was certainly still more centralized than it is now, so if you look at the popularity of any single major franchise, you're looking at something that would have been a cultural reference that worked outside of geek circles. To use a single example, look at The X-Files - that was something that had a currency in general culture, and it wasn't alone in that.

The Spectator bumble was lol worthy though. I'm still amazed that no one figured out that if 'everyone' is saving a mint edition of issue #34 then who's going to buy an issue of #34 in 30year.

The other thing that seemed to change for comics in the nineties was the rise of the intra franchise crossover. I dunno how many of you could remember back when you could read an entire story from start to finish by buying just one title. N90's changed that. From the 90's onward it got harder and harder to follow a story arc because you bloody well had to buy Avengers, Xmen, Spider, Man Captain America and at least 1 issue of Doctor Strange just to follow one story arc. Heaven help you if your bookstore doesn't carry one of those titles.

Seriously, if anything hurt the industry it was that. I know many rabid fan boys that just got tired of the fetchquest that was following story arcs.

Now as for Image, You talk about Image, anyone remeber the Ultraverse from I think Malibu Comics or something like that. Image wasn't terribad but I think what happened is they got supplanted by the better organized Dark Horse COmics.

Raikas:

darksakul:

And if you grew up as a geek in the 90s this is especially a bad time, as the 90s was not geek friendly as popular culture is now.

How so? Pop culture was certainly still more centralized than it is now, so if you look at the popularity of any single major franchise, you're looking at something that would have been a cultural reference that worked outside of geek circles. To use a single example, look at The X-Files - that was something that had a currency in general culture, and it wasn't alone in that.

X-files, Meh.

Seriously how good the decade is is relevant to your own experiences.

The X-Files was okay but mot nearly as good as other "Actual Sci-Fi" shows. Do not confuse Popular with good.
Any one who grew up in the 80's and when back to watch any old 80's cartoon would have told you that.

If you are a geek and you grew up as a 80's kid the 90s did have much for you other than lame shows and bad memories.
Now if you really wanted for me to change my mind you would have brought up Batman: The Animated Series instead of the X-files.

darksakul:
Do not confuse Popular with good.

No confusion here. You specifically used the words "pop culture" - pop is short for popular, so by definition we'd need to talk about things that were popular.

As I said upthread, some of my favourite comic series (and favourite arcs in ongoing series) came out in the 1990s - but I didn't mention them in response to your comment because they weren't part of the wider culture at the time. Only comic book readers would have understood the references.

If you are a geek and you grew up as a 80's kid the 90s did have much for you other than lame shows and bad memories.

Based on your profile, I'm actually only slightly older than you, so all that says to me is that we have different tastes - are the grand sweeping comments on generation and subculture really necessary?

Now if you really wanted for me to change my mind you would have brought up Batman: The Animated Series instead of the X-files.

I'm not trying to change your mind - I was asking for your perspective, since it's obviously quite different from mine.

Sure, I actually enjoyed X-Files, but that's not really even relevant since I wasn't talking taste as choice of an example was specifically because it's something that had mainstream popularity - taste or quality isn't terribly relevant when we're talking about whatever happens to exist in the popular consciousness.

These days popular culture is much more fractured than it was in the 90s (of course in the 90s it was more fractured than it was in the past as well), so references carried farther in those days than they do now. If you make a reference to a genre show (whether it's one that you think is good or bad) it's just not going to be as widely recognized.

Oh Bobby good watch. only you forgot to mention Todd really, really, really (and self admittedly) sucked as a writer.
And i'm a fan lol. I don't think he turned his back on his comic he went on to continue to push it well after interest had left. he intended to finish his product.

But yeah pretty much spot on. And you forgot to mention image sucked cause alot of times it took for God damn ever to put out a comic in alot cases. young blood is pretty good... but it.. took.. For God damn ever to put out a new issue.

Or jim leea and wild cats, etc, etc.

Can`t agree with Bob here.
If you`re reading only superhero books it`s your own loss. Like others allready pointed out there was alot of genius stuff comming up in the 90s. The best of all "Transmetropolitan" is a 90s release. As for superhero stuff and Image i had lots of fun with "the Darkness" and Erik Larsens Savage Dragon. Sure alot of points are valid if you look only at the superhero stuff in that time period but the ignoring of all other genres besides the hero comics makes it wrong. This market is way bigger than Movie Bob makes it out to be by just saying "90s: What happened?" and then going on a rant about the super heroes.

Otherwise good watch, please make it longer and explore it a bit more. Just because i`m not on your side doesn`t mean i didn`t enjoyed it.

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