Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Old Dr. Strange storiesm But what do you think?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Old Dr. Strange storiesm But what do you think?

    I live in a big town/small city area, but we only have one comic book store. Its been here for 30 years. Anyhow, the owner not only gets the new stuff from the big 2, but also a lot of the smaller companies and has a large selection of DE's comics. He even goes through a lot of trouble to wrangle up older comics.

    Lately I've been sporadically buying late 60's Dr. Strange stories. To me, these are some of the finest examples of comic books being true art.

    Now I know a lot of members here are fans of the Golden age, and are so jaded they refuse to enjoy anything but stories from the 30's and 40's, but i'm going to say this because it needs saying. Most older comic books were complete garbage. The ideas for the characters themselves were good, that is why companies like DE have been able to do good things with the shadow, the spider, Peter cannon ect. But my god, what a dark age of ability.

    The artwork was often embarrassingly two dimensional and bland with very simple story lines that could have been written by 5th graders. Now obviously a concept such as "quality" is subjective, and this is only my opinion.

    It wasn't until marvel began making stories that comic books became more mature, And while early Avengers were superior superman stories, it was still rather lowbrow and juvenile.

    Dr. Strange on the other hand. Wow. I just read issue #170 "To Dream...Perchance To Die". The story itself and the dialogue is amazing, it has a certain flair and showmanship that I think has always been rare in comic books. The Narration boxes and Strange's dialogue have almost a lyrical quality to them, and reading them is a joy, excellent story telling.

    Dan Adkins artwork was out of this world! It this issue Strange has a pretty epic Battle with Nightmare inside the ancient one's mind. The "landscape" is absolutely fantastic. I would put Adkins work on par with Kirby's..
    Now, I know that many artist of the era, and to this day were reusing techniques pioneered by Kirby, but adkins work is amazing, and not a Kirby rip off.

    This story is a great example of a Comic book that was clearly not meant to be read by small kids who lack the mental abilities to process complex ideas. It was a mature story, with mature storytelling, and truely exceptional artwork, and again, in my opinion, some of the best the medium of comic books has to offer.

    A lot of people here don't seem to like to discuss anything. However, in an effort to stir up some actual conversation, I would like to know what some of you think are examples of early comic books being exception pieces of art, and why do you think that?

    P.S. Sorry for the typo in the title

    P.S.S I'm sorry if my comments about old comic books offended anybody, I know that a lot of people hold those stories very close to their hearts. However, I alone am right, and I alone have all the answers, and know everything about anything everywhere! (this is sarcasm)
    Last edited by James; 12-13-2012, 04:09 PM.

  • #2
    James, I am a passionate fan of Dr. Strange--so much so that I have almost a complete collection of his solo titles, from the original Strange Tales, which then spun off into Dr. Strange. When that title folded, he came back for 6 issues in Marvel Premiere, which then spun him off back into a Dr. Strange title. When it finally folded, he was in a revival of Strange Tales and, when it folded, he went off to "Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme." Have them all. And also bought the five hardback reprint volumes that Marvel put out, just to save wear-and-tear on my issues from repeated re-reading.

    The period you are reading is the first run with Roy Thomas as a writer, and it is very good. The artwork was inventive--following the lead of Doc's original artist, Steve Ditko, who practically invented how to depict mystic battle in a comic book.

    A few years later on, Doc's adventures would be written by Roger Stern--I don't think that I am alone in thinking that he came close to writing the definitive Dr. Strange. If you can, catch his graphic novel: "Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment." I am not wild about the art on that, but the story is fabulous.

    For many, many years, Doctor Strange was considered one of the "class acts" in the comic book industry. It seemed that whoever got the title (either writer or artist) improved their game for the title--really outdid themselves. Sadly, near the end of its run, this magic ran out and Sorcerer Supreme had a couple incompetent writers botching things up badly. But the period that you are reading--I fully agree with you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by James View Post
      Now I know a lot of members here are fans of the Golden age, and are so jaded they refuse to enjoy anything but stories from the 30's and 40's,
      Well, that's a load of crap. And pretty ridiculous on the face of it, if you stop to think about it for only a second. The only thing that DE has ever reprinted from that era is GREEN HORNET GOLDEN AGE REMASTERED. And I don't remember much discussion here about it at the time. If what you say is true, then why would those people even be reading DE titles and posting here? I'm sure there are plenty of forums out there on the internet devoted to discussions of Golden Age comics and reprints of same.

      Originally posted by James View Post
      but i'm going to say this because it needs saying. Most older comic books were complete garbage.
      What do you mean, most "older" comics were complete garbage? Most comics are garbage, period. ("Sturgeon's Law: 90% of everything is crap.") That goes for Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, Whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-this Age. The fact that you or I have warm fuzzy feelings for different things doesn't make your warm fuzzies superior to anyone else's. The fact of the matter is, it's easy to remember the good, and forget the bad. And it's even easier to cast a casual glance back to an era before your experience and see ONLY the bad. That being the case, why should you look any further, right? The examples you've probably seen reprinted are likely to be the crudest, too, since most series started out with the crudest of artwork, then got better (although occasionally it's the opposite). It has to be noted, however, that sometimes it's that very crudity and lack of polish that gives the early Golden Age stories a kind of rawness, a vigor and energy, and a certain charm. Their very lack of sophistication allows them to tap into an area of the unconscious mind. By the mid-to-late '40s, there are plenty of examples of good work being done. The stories themselves often fall short of the art. The best comic art of the period is more often found in newspaper comic strips, not comic books. But what we mostly get reprinted are the earliest examples of comic books, because they're reprinting according to the historical significance of the characters, not purely on the merits of the creators.

      Then we get into the matter of formation of tastes, which for most people will be likely to be tied up with what they experienced growing up. Only an ignoramus will draw lines in the sand and say, on this side ALL GOOD, on the other side, ALL BAD.

      Originally posted by James View Post
      P.S.S I'm sorry if my comments about old comic books offended anybody, I know that a lot of people hold those stories very close to their hearts. However, I alone am right, and I alone have all the answers, and know everything about anything everywhere! (this is sarcasm)
      Oh. Nevermind, then. I have to admit that many of the characters from the Golden Age have been done better by later creators. But not all. Plastic Man comes to mind, and The Spirit, and Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, and Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk (a work of mad genius, if ever there was one).

      I like Doctor Strange. Well, the Steve Ditko, Dan Adkins, Gene Colan, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Frank Brunner Doctor Stranges, anyway. Come to think of it, there was a 1980s run that was pretty good too. In the '90s and beyond, not so much.
      Last edited by positronic; 12-14-2012, 04:27 AM.
      DE pull list: Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse Makers, ERB's The Greatest Adventure, Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit, PSP: Herokillers, KISS/Vampirella, Mighty Mouse

      Comment


      • #4
        Fair points, pos. I think the threshold question to be asked is WHAT you are looking for when you read comics from prior decades. I like to read them for the historical perspective they give--watching the medium develop and change over the decades. DC put out the Archive Editions of Esiner's "The Spirit" and they are fascinating. Reading and seeing Eisner experiment with the comics medium--with narrative techniques and art techniques, is amazing.

        Comics today seem generally geared toward the 5 to 6 issue story arc. Why? Because that is what fits best for the subsequent trade paperback edition. Unfortunately, what that tends to me that the story does not dictate the story, but rather the issue count dictates the story. If you need to add an issue, add padding! However, by the same token, stories from the 40s usually felt constrained to tell a full story in a single issue--or, often, just in five or six pages of a single issue. That also added artificial constraints to the story. In the 1960s through 1980s, neither of thse constraints were really in place. The writer could write the story for as long (and as many issues) as he felt needed to tell the story. See, for example, Don McGregor's great Panther's Rage. However, the downside was that sometimes an author would be taken off a book in mid-storyline and the new author would come in and try to wrap up the story without really knowing what the original author intended. Dr. Strange suffered from this on occasion when the Steve Englehart run on the book ended and two or three subsequent authors tried to tie up the loose ends. Not very satisfactorily.

        So each era has its strengths and weaknesses. But if you are reading from an historical perspective, you can accept each on its own terms.

        Yes, positronic, the 1990s Strange was awful. That would be the incompetents that I mentioned.

        Comment


        • #5
          Actually, I poked around and there seem to have been some Dr. Strange comics from the 1990s by Roy Thomas, who has never disappointed me yet... might be worth checking out.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ChastMastr View Post
            Actually, I poked around and there seem to have been some Dr. Strange comics from the 1990s by Roy Thomas, who has never disappointed me yet... might be worth checking out.
            You must mean Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme which began in 1988. Thomas took over the book with #5 and wrote most issues until #56 (Aug. 1993). As I flip through the cover images, I'm sure I must have bought many, if not most, of these and read them, since they look mostly familiar. Yet I can't remember a single storyline. Less than memorable artwork in those issues by Jackson 'Butch' Guice (he's gotten somewhat better over the years) and Geoff Isherwood, among others.

            Lots of "Infinity" crossovers in the last half of that run. To be absolutely fair, I don't remember a lot of storylines from Thomas' run on West Coast Avengers from the same period, which he took over from Steve Englehart, either. I wouldn't rank either of these series as up there with Thomas' better work. Not to say he didn't still have some good stuff left in him during this era -- I loved his work on Topps Comics' various Dracula series.
            Last edited by positronic; 12-16-2012, 02:15 AM.
            DE pull list: Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse Makers, ERB's The Greatest Adventure, Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit, PSP: Herokillers, KISS/Vampirella, Mighty Mouse

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by James View Post
              I live in a big town/small city area, but we only have one comic book store. Its been here for 30 years. Anyhow, the owner not only gets the new stuff from the big 2, but also a lot of the smaller companies and has a large selection of DE's comics. He even goes through a lot of trouble to wrangle up older comics.

              Lately I've been sporadically buying late 60's Dr. Strange stories. To me, these are some of the finest examples of comic books being true art.

              Now I know a lot of members here are fans of the Golden age, and are so jaded they refuse to enjoy anything but stories from the 30's and 40's, but i'm going to say this because it needs saying. Most older comic books were complete garbage.
              ...and after this, I pretty much stopped reading. Anyone who thinks like this has nothing to say that I consider worth hearing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tulku View Post
                If you can, catch his graphic novel: "Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment." I am not wild about the art on that, but the story is fabulous.
                Thank you Tulku, This is what I was looking for, a reccomendation of something. Is this graphic novel still in print? I'll look around online, but If I can, I would prefer to get the owner of the store to order it for me, even though I would pay a little more. The small hidden away comic store is an institution I want to support. Especially since its the only one around me.

                Originally posted by positronic View Post
                [1*.]Well, that's a load of crap. And pretty ridiculous on the face of it...

                2....And it's even easier to cast a casual glance back to an era before your experience and see ONLY the bad. That being the case, why should you look any further, right?

                [3*.]By the mid-to-late '40s, there are plenty of examples of good work being done. .
                I'll Respond to 1 and 3 below along with some others.
                As far as 2: Yes, it is easy to look back on an era I haven't experienced and only see the bad. However, I did look further. I wasn't born until '84, and didn't start reading comics until '91, So When I'm able to pick up these late 60's issues of Dr. Strange (What I can get depends on what the owner gets from conventions and trades) I consider that well before my time, an entirely different generation, and yet I'm fascinated by them.
                That being said I still consider modern artwork and stories to be light years ahead of that stuff.

                Now. In any technical area, future generations build on the knowledge and foundations of the past, In my day to day life I see that every day, I'm a former navy electronics tech, I work as a technician in a factory fixing machines, and I'm in school for industrial engineering, I can see how modern technology is a direct result of what came before it.

                I consider comics to be both art and a science. Therefor I can intellectually understand that when I see stories or art from past generations, even though I don't care for them, I know they were neccessary, and if not for them, I likely wouldn't have the ones that I enjoy today.

                What astounded be by these Strange stories is the fact that it seemed to transcend generations, at least for me. When the owner brought the box containing them into the store after he got it at a local convention he was very happy about his "score", now he is in his early 70's, i'm nearly 29, we do not have the same taste in anything, much less comics. I only looked through the collection to humor him because I could tell how happy he was about it. When I found a few of these issues, #170 being the first, I had a wierd...almost religious moment, I flipped the pages of it (carefully, it was a 15 dollar comic..) I felt like I held a piece of history in my hand. Looking at it, I could tell that it was something awesome and amazing, something that could be admired no matter what generation of comics you grew up reading, or enjoyed. After buying it and reading it, that idea was solidified.

                I have more to say about this but I will put it with some more responses to Tulku and Tony Ingram. Please bear with me Positronic.*

                Originally posted by Tulku View Post
                [4*.] I think the threshold question to be asked is WHAT you are looking for when you read comics from prior decades?

                [5*.]Yes, positronic, the 1990s Strange was awful. That would be the incompetents that I mentioned.
                Originally posted by tony ingram View Post
                [6*]...and after this, I pretty much stopped reading. Anyone who thinks like this has nothing to say that I consider worth hearing.
                Ok, my post didn't exactly have the effect I thought it would, So i'm going to handle this piecemeal.

                1. Yes Positronic, it is, Its kind of what I was going for and I'm about to explain why (not saying you'll think its a good reason)

                2. (see above)

                3. That is what I'm curious about, Is it possible you can give me some examples of work from the late 40's that you find to be exemplary? My posted ended (before the p.s's) with wanting to know what some of the members here felt were outstanding works. If it is something that Is reprinted and available today, I am more then willing to buy some copies and read them, If I don't like them, then oh well, it certainly won't bother you, and didn't hurt me any, and If I do, Then I've learned something and been enriched at the same time.

                4.Tulku. I don't read many comics from prior generations, but when I do, I look for the same thing I look in a modern comic, a good story. Good art is important, but the techniques for drawing comics, and the technology for it at the time was so new and primitive that I consider bad art to be much more tolerable then bad story. For modern books i'm not as forgiving of bad art unless the story is really good.

                As I said, Usually i'm not impressed, but in the example that I gave of Dr. Strange, I was, very much so. I don't have a vast knowledge of comics before the 90's, but I'm willing to bet that lightning can strike twice, if not many more times, If I just know what to look for.

                5. Tulku. Haha, the early to late-mid 90's is when I read comics first, and to me that time was a wonderful period. However, older souls, and even middle age souls at the store, Nostalgia Newsstand, Love to rile me up by saying the 90's was a dark age of comic books. Looking back on them, To a degree I can agree, especially after '96, I stopped reading in them for years in '97, The art was great..but you can paint a shiny finish on a turd...its still a turd.

                6!!! To all, especially Positronic and Tony Ingram. After reading the responses I am a little upset, mostly with myself. Not because I feel bad about anything I said. I actually thought I was being pretty funny, I was being intentionally derisive in what I felt was a playful matter to encourage discussion and perhaps some debate, instead of a just a post saying something..then nothing.

                What I feel bad for is not exercising some judgement in my understanding of the environment. Friends of mine, and my group of associates at Nostalgia would have understood that I was teasing for the sake of teasing.As I am teased by them on occasion for my love of 90's comics, or, to some, the fact I read comics period. but they know me. I didn't consider that
                A. I'm new here
                B. No one here knows me from Adam. and
                C. Its hard to convey a humorous tone in typed word, especially when you are new somewhere and nobody knows you from Adam.

                I actually wanted to hear some responses on older works that people felt I should look into, and since from what I've seen so far conversations tend to die quickly, I thought some wry humor to get people a little riled up would the thing to do. and maybe create a higher post count and draw even more people into it.

                I had actually counted on Positronic responding, but I was thinking it would be more along the lines of "Older comics are garbage? You have no idea what you are talking about, have you ever read [insert whatever here] No? then read that and get yourself an education".

                I thought my "P.s.s" message would convey my meaning, but yeah..it is at the _end_ of a message where I come across as arrogant and insulting. So again, I didn't survey the situation very well.

                I apologize to T. Ingram, Positronic, and anybody else reading that post who was offended, That wasn't my motivation, but hindsight is 20/20.

                Now, In the hopes of salvaging something from this, I want to thank Tulku for recommending Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment, which I am certainly going to look into.

                I would also like to point out a work from my early days in comics that I think to this day is extraordinary, the 1995 marvel x-men miniseries event known as "The Age of Apocalypse".

                The artwork was not exceptional, but it did a great job of setting the atmosphere, an atmosphere coupled with a very heavy story that still resonates with me to this day. Its much more then "Oh its an alternate reality where Xavier dies and Apocalypse rules the world". The strength of the story lies in the uncertainty and fear all the characters must live with with constantly. While some are truly evil, and some are truly altruistic, its more a world where people on both sides of the struggle live in constant fear of their life, and as a result, are simply trying to do what they think needs to be done to see another day. Many of the Heroes know that the world they live in is broken beyond repair, but they fight on even though they are all to aware of the futility of their situation. It conjures images of the holocaust, with Apocalypses breeding pens, extermination camps and mass "cullings". With people being used as scientific lab rats. Not only that but the threat of impending nuclear war is always there as the human high council operating in western Europe considers a nuclear attack more and more as time goes on.

                Its a story of death, despair and little hope, but what littler there is fought for with passion since they know that regardless of who wins or looses..they'll still likely be dead the next day.

                Anyhow, Because of its dark and dystopian setting, and powerful character dialogue and interactions, I think that its is a work that was not only good by the standards of the day, but will be remember for many many years into the future.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by James View Post
                  I had actually counted on Positronic responding, but I was thinking it would be more along the lines of "Older comics are garbage? You have no idea what you are talking about, have you ever read [insert whatever here] No? then read that and get yourself an education".

                  That is what I'm curious about, Is it possible you can give me some examples of work from the late 40's that you find to be exemplary? My posted ended (before the p.s's) with wanting to know what some of the members here felt were outstanding works. If it is something that Is reprinted and available today, I am more then willing to buy some copies and read them, If I don't like them, then oh well, it certainly won't bother you, and didn't hurt me any, and If I do, Then I've learned something and been enriched at the same time.
                  James, you need to read more carefully.

                  "Plastic Man comes to mind, and The Spirit, and Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, and Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk (a work of mad genius, if ever there was one)."

                  You can add most stuff by Simon & Kirby to that list. Also pretty much anything from E.C. Comics (which technically is the early 1950s, but why split hairs). Also Carl Barks' Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comic books, Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse newspaper comic strip, E.C. Segar's Popeye newspaper strip (and Bud Sagendorf's Popeye comic book -- currently being reprinted in regular comic book format by IDW), V.T. Hamlin's Alley Oop, Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon, Al Capp's Li'l Abner, Walt Kelly's Pogo... I could go on, but that's just the stuff that's been reprinted, and recently (except for Alley Oop... somebody needs to rectify that).

                  That said, why go into detail trying to convince you of what you should like or not like? If you tell me you are a huge fan of movies, and I start to tell you about some old movies from the 1930s-1940s, and then you tell me you only like modern movies from the 1990s and 2000s, but recently discovered some ones you like from the 1960s, I'm not going to convince you.

                  I get the feeling that what you are asking here is "show me some comics from the 1940s where the art and stories are like comics from the late 1960s". Well, it's not going to happen. First, you've got to accept the thing for what it is, before you can see the difference between good examples and bad examples. We might both like fruit, but if one of us likes apples and bananas, and the other doesn't like bananas at all, no amount of persuasion on my part is going to make any banana taste like an apple.

                  Sometimes it's just a question of "you're not ready for this yet". Check back when you pass your 50th birthday.
                  Last edited by positronic; 12-17-2012, 03:59 AM. Reason: spelling
                  DE pull list: Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse Makers, ERB's The Greatest Adventure, Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit, PSP: Herokillers, KISS/Vampirella, Mighty Mouse

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by positronic View Post
                    James, you need to read more carefully.

                    "Plastic Man comes to mind, and The Spirit, and Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family, and Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk (a work of mad genius, if ever there was one)."

                    That said, why go into detail trying to convince you of what you should like or not like? If you tell me you are a huge fan of movies, and I start to tell you about some old movies from the 1930s-1940s, and then you tell me you only like modern movies from the 1990s and 2000s, but recently discovered some ones you like from the 1960s, I'm not going to convince you.

                    I get the feeling that what you are asking here is "show me some comics from the 1940s where the art and stories are like comics from the late 1960s". Well, it's not going to happen. First, you've got to accept the thing for what it is, before you can see the difference between good examples and bad examples. We might both like fruit, but if one of us likes apples and bananas, and the other doesn't like bananas at all, no amount of persuasion on my part is going to make any banana taste like an apple.

                    I wasn't saying convince me of what I should or shouldn't like, and I wasn't saying "show me some comics from the 40's that look like the 60's. I was asking for works that were/are considered masterpieces from different ages. I gave the example of Age of Apocalypse because it something that I knew.

                    I didn't see your reccomendations. It doesn't matter if I like it or not really, I'm curious is all, Like I said I don't know comics before the 90's, so was just asking what some stuff was that for its time was considered amazing.

                    You say Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk is a work of mad genius? Awesome, I've never even heard of it, But now I have, and I can try to check it out.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by James View Post
                      You say Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk is a work of mad genius? Awesome, I've never even heard of it, But now I have, and I can try to check it out.
                      Ask your LCS if he got any of the minicomics from Diamond designed to be given away last Halloween. There was a free Spacehawk sampler comic (from Fantagraphics Books just-released trade paperback collection of the complete Spacehawk). Failing that, Dark Horse Comics did a regular comic book sized 5-issue miniseries (in black and white) back in the late '80s/early '90s. If you can find them, they should still be cheap.
                      Last edited by positronic; 12-17-2012, 04:17 AM.
                      DE pull list: Will Eisner's The Spirit: The Corpse Makers, ERB's The Greatest Adventure, Green Hornet '66 Meets The Spirit, PSP: Herokillers, KISS/Vampirella, Mighty Mouse

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        James, thank you so much for this thread! In an earlier note, I said that I had all 5 of the Marvel Masterworks collections of the early Doctor Strange stories. Then I checked. In fact, I only had volumes 1, 2, 3 & 5. I had missed 4. So today I was in my local comic book supplier and found he still had a copy of volume 4 on his shelves. NOW I have all 5, thanks to your thread!

                        Also, after recommending Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment, I decided I had better re-read it to make sure that you didn't need to have special knowledge to enjoy it. You don't! Roger Stern did a great job of weaving background info into the tale. But thank you for making me re-read it! It was as great as I remembered! Thank you for giving me a reason to re-read it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tulku View Post
                          James, thank you so much for this thread! In an earlier note, I said that I had all 5 of the Marvel Masterworks collections of the early Doctor Strange stories. Then I checked. In fact, I only had volumes 1, 2, 3 & 5. I had missed 4. So today I was in my local comic book supplier and found he still had a copy of volume 4 on his shelves. NOW I have all 5, thanks to your thread!

                          Also, after recommending Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment, I decided I had better re-read it to make sure that you didn't need to have special knowledge to enjoy it. You don't! Roger Stern did a great job of weaving background info into the tale. But thank you for making me re-read it! It was as great as I remembered! Thank you for giving me a reason to re-read it!
                          lol, glad I could help Tulku, I still haven't gotten triump and torment yet, unfortunately my friends and family decided to buy me gifts this year like a bunch of jerks, so i had to go spend money on them too. Its on my list though.

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X