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Silver Age is the Best Age
April 28, 2010 11:20 AM   Subscribe

February 1966 was the best month in comics ever
posted by Artw (42 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I like goofy DC comics as the next nrrd, but the mid sixties was all about Marvel.
posted by Scoo at 11:26 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


This does nothing to prove it as the best month ever. It does prove that comics from DC in the 60s were NUTS.
posted by graventy at 11:39 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile:

- Three agents from outer space who are sent to Earth to determine whether the planet, a potential threat to the universe, should be destroyed. The series tackles a number of issues which were surprisingly progressive for an animated cartoon of that period; particularly ecological concerns and poverty.

- Taking place in a medieval fairy-tale setting, Princess Knight is the story of young Princess Sapphire who must pretend to be a male prince so she can inherit the throne (as women are not eligible to do so).
posted by shii at 11:41 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Look out, Robin. They've got nose-guns.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:42 AM on April 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


Marvel comics for February 1966
posted by Artw at 11:42 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love how The Spectre and whoever he's fighting are using their godlike powers to have what amounts to a pillow fight with fire or energy or whatever.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:46 AM on April 28, 2010


And as described by Stan himself... or some un-named lowly subeditor.
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love how The Spectre and whoever he's fighting are using their godlike powers to have what amounts to a pillow fight with fire or energy or whatever.

Comets! Duh! (Are comets miracles? How do they work?)
posted by Naberius at 11:50 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Marvel comics for February 1966

Wow. The quality difference is night and day. That timeframe contains one of the best Spider-Man issues of all time, plus Kirby and Ditko art. Amazing that the DC characters are even still around at all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:52 AM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


And Galactus doesn't even debut till March 1966!
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on April 28, 2010


Hey thanks Artw and all!
posted by Legomancer at 11:58 AM on April 28, 2010


That wasn't a bad month for Marvel. They just had a different market from DC then. You can practically hear the dismissive 14-year-old sneering that Superman's for kids.
posted by klangklangston at 12:01 PM on April 28, 2010


I respect the Marvel offerings, but suspect I would enjoy the DC madness more. The ridiculous always tickles me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: my brain is not in my head as with you carbon people.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking of which, the movie The Losers is completely made by Jason Patrick's batshit performance. Somebody needs to make a movie with that character battling the boneheaded, hair-brained villain of DC.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:06 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


This does nothing to prove it as the best month ever. It does prove that comics from DC in the 60s were NUTS.

Your point being?
posted by Legomancer at 12:06 PM on April 28, 2010


respect the Marvel offerings, but suspect I would enjoy the DC madness more. The ridiculous always tickles me.

I agree, Astro Zombie. DC was genius. While Marvel was laboring to establish a line of superheros with boring personal problems, DC was stepping up and producing what one commentator in the early 90s described as "a brilliant series of children's books." 1966 was one of the last years that comics could be read for pleasure, before Marvel poisoned the well with its grim seriousness and self-conscious artiness.
posted by Faze at 12:28 PM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Best DC panel ever.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:40 PM on April 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well, heck, TV's Batman debuted in mid-January of that year. Those were the campy years, for sure.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:49 PM on April 28, 2010


As other posters hinted to, but didn't directly point to, that month's Spider-Man featured one of the most iconic stories in that book's run.

That said, I wonder if these books were really on the newsstands alongside one another. Admittedly, I grew up in the 80s, but back then newsstand distribution was spotty at best. Who knows if these books would have appeared concurrently?

And aren't comics "forward dated"?
posted by gern at 12:55 PM on April 28, 2010


While Marvel was laboring to establish a line of superheros with boring personal problems, DC was stepping up and producing what one commentator in the early 90s described as "a brilliant series of children's books." 1966 was one of the last years that comics could be read for pleasure, before Marvel poisoned the well with its grim seriousness and self-conscious artiness.

Whatever.

IIRC, the real grimness and artiness happened over at DC with Watchmen and the The Dark Knight Returns, then poorly emulated by a generation of Todd McFarlanes and Rob Liefelds. I don't know what DC is doing now, but the so-called grim and gritty has had a lasting effect at Marvel, while DC has had to reboot their entire universe at least three times.

/Lifelong Marvel Adherent
posted by vhsiv at 1:00 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Quoth Superman, "Hey, what goes on here?"
posted by bstreep at 1:22 PM on April 28, 2010


Thanks Artw. That's some cool shit, but I don't think it is a case for the best month of comics ever. I'm not sure what that month would be, but we all know if would involve Berni Wrighson, and 1966 is too early for that.
posted by marxchivist at 1:22 PM on April 28, 2010


The real grimness and artiness happened over at DC with Watchmen and the The Dark Knight Returns

Agreed. Horrible stuff. Produced long after Marvel had poisoned the well.
posted by Faze at 1:56 PM on April 28, 2010


Am I dr-dreaming?
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:59 PM on April 28, 2010


Whatever.

Thatever!

A bit of grimness and artiness are okay. It's when it came to infest the entire comics industry that it became something of a laughing stock, and need I remind you as a lifelong Marvel adherent, both those artists you mention were in the Marvel stable.

By the way, generally I'd say that video games are right now where comics were in the GRIMDARK age. The light-hearted early fare has given way to a thousand ham-fisted attempts to prove relevance and artistry.
posted by JHarris at 2:00 PM on April 28, 2010


The general videogame aesthetic seems to have been locked in angry teenager mode for a good, what, ten, fifteen years? Maybe twenty?
posted by Artw at 2:09 PM on April 28, 2010


The general videogame aesthetic seems to have been locked in angry teenager mode for a good, what, ten, fifteen years? Maybe twenty?

I guess it sucks to live in that mirror universe where Nintendo is not poised to sell a bajillion copies of Mario Galaxy 2.

But then I guess Archie probably sold more comics than Batman the month Dark Knight Returns came out. Neither of which really negates your point except to say there's a lot more out there than Gears of War and Angstonishing X-Men.
posted by straight at 2:28 PM on April 28, 2010


What the hell did Superboy do in school that he was made to write 'ecstasy' 100 times?
posted by mazola at 2:50 PM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a cookbook!
posted by Artw at 3:49 PM on April 28, 2010


Why is Lois Lane a skeleton?
posted by kirkaracha at 3:59 PM on April 28, 2010


Atkins.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:08 PM on April 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Really, at just about any point after the '60s, it doesn't make a lot of sense to pledge one's allegiance to Marvel or DC Comics exclusively...I tend to like the DC characters better, but neither company has had much of a house style for a pretty long time, and the quality of the books has more to do with who's creating them (and how much freedom the creators have) than anything else, and very, very few creators stay with one company forever.

Still, there's not much question that the companies were doing slightly different things in the '60s (though I don't think the difference is as monumental as people would have you believe). The major difference was that Marvel introduced a much stronger kind of continuity (which, ironically, has been something that DC has never stopped having problems with since they adopted it, too). A hipster's yen for the pop culture of the moment made them seem more relevant. But the best of the Marvels were just as trippy and bizarre as the DC books; their trippiness was just much less random.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:12 PM on April 28, 2010


I think I just inadvertently Alanis Morrisetted my own post; I of course meant to say "incidentally."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:13 PM on April 28, 2010


Thanks for the links shii. I just LOVED the Pricess Knight anime --Mom and I would watch it together when I was a kid. Great story and beautiful animation.
posted by pushing paper and bottoming chairs at 4:19 PM on April 28, 2010


Why is Lois Lane a skeleton?

The other ingredient to Superboy's Ecstacy Stew.
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on April 28, 2010


That page takes me back. One thing I remember about reading comic books in the '70s is that they would frequently pad out issues with reprints of great comics from the '50 and '60s... Plastic Man, the Spectre.
posted by puny human at 7:40 PM on April 28, 2010


I guess it sucks to live in that mirror universe where Nintendo is not poised to sell a bajillion copies of Mario Galaxy 2.

Nintendo is difficult to use here as a counter-argument, because they've held onto that strong toymaker aesthetic from the early days. They're obviously going in a completely different direction than nearly everyone else.
posted by JHarris at 7:49 PM on April 28, 2010


For you Marvel fans, my pal Bully shows us what was happening over there: Feb 66, Marvel Style.

The conclusion? As I said: February 1966 was the best month in comics, ever.
posted by Legomancer at 5:36 AM on April 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Comets! Duh! (Are comets miracles? How do they work?)

I thought they were giant ear-cleaners.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:09 AM on April 29, 2010


the so-called grim and gritty has had a lasting effect at Marvel

I enjoy the juxtaposition of Bendis' Ultimate titles -- light-hearted, funny, a pleasure to read and something to look forward to each month, even if they don't do anything revolutionary with the format -- and Millar's, which seem to be nothing more than the violent masturbation I've come to expect from him. Most of mainstream Marvel, though -- and DC too -- doesn't seem to be particularly grimdark right now, just boring; they managed to write Green Goblin: Director of SHIELD as a series of dull punch-em-ups, which I would have thought impossible if I hadn't seen what they'd done with the Sentry.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 7:01 AM on April 29, 2010


A Look Back at Superman Public Service Announcements
posted by Artw at 9:38 AM on May 8, 2010


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