Welcome to unstablemolecules.com, the discussion home for mightyavengers.net, uncanon.com and uncannyxmen.net!

Mid '90s Bright Spots

Level 08: If you want to converse about anything Marvel related like the Fantastic Four or the Avengers charter then try this level.
Post Reply
User avatar
Tessa1984
Posts: 44
Joined: 18 Sep 2019, 15:04

Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Tessa1984 » 24 Feb 2020, 22:59

I just read this amazing article:
https://continuitynod.com/2019/12/24/in ... ssion=true

It really took me back. I started reading X-Men comics in the early '90s and rode out the entire turbulent history detailed in that article. It included new details I hadn't heard before from Marvel insiders at the time but also reminded me of some awful practices from that time that I'd forgotten (all that branding on the Onslaught covers!).

This got me thinking, what were some bright spots for Marvel amidst all this awfulness? The article mentions Waid's Captain America just before Onslaught. Shortly after Onslaught, we got Ka-Zar and Thunderbolts, both of which I enjoyed. They gave me an escape from X-Men. This period, 1995-1997, is when I first branched out to titles outside of X-Men (and Marvel even).

User avatar
Nu-D
Posts: 2790
Joined: 18 Dec 2013, 00:22
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Nu-D » 25 Feb 2020, 19:03

It’s a little tough to follow the author’s reasoning. I’m not sure if he’s trying to explain how the Onslaught plot developed based on what happened behind the scenes, or if he’s trying to use the Onslought plot as a metaphor for how Marvel was operating. It ends up kind of a mess.

But as someone who was out of comics at that time, there are tidbits of interesting behind-the-scenes information. But all-in-all, Marvel comics from about 1994 to about 2002 are best left forgotten, IMO.
He/him/his

User avatar
Tessa1984
Posts: 44
Joined: 18 Sep 2019, 15:04

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Tessa1984 » 25 Feb 2020, 20:16

Nu-D wrote:
25 Feb 2020, 19:03
It’s a little tough to follow the author’s reasoning. I’m not sure if he’s trying to explain how the Onslaught plot developed based on what happened behind the scenes, or if he’s trying to use the Onslought plot as a metaphor for how Marvel was operating.
I think it's the former. The Onslaught "plot," so to speak, seemed to take a backseat to the need to bring in more revenue (which was the case for a whole lot of Marvel plots in the '90s).

User avatar
Anna Raven
Posts: 4625
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 22:53

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Anna Raven » 25 Feb 2020, 20:50

There were a lot of good artists, who, even if they were just beginning to hone their craft, you could see what they were going to become once the digital tools and equipment caught up to their skill. I am thinking of Joe Mad, Chris Bacchalo, Mark Bagley, the younger Kuberts, and David Finch. You also had the back end of Mark Silvestri. You even had Greg Land, before he started tracing and drawing porn faces. Everyone thinks of Rob Liefeld as the epitome of 90's art, but I think he was just one of many styles and new faces.
Avengers Editorial Draft: Goliath | Ares | Prowler | Lady Mastermind | Iron Lad | Moonstone | Loki
X-Men Editorial Draft 2: Wolverine | Shadowcat | Beast | Deadpool | Sabretooth | Puck | Pixie | Toad | Prodigy | Eques | Vange Whedon |Snowbird | Wolfsbane

User avatar
Magik84
Posts: 712
Joined: 17 May 2008, 16:54
Contact:

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Magik84 » 26 Feb 2020, 12:28

We also got some good characters that have stood the test of time. Dr Cecelia Reyes still seems to be a favorite, Marrow has done quite well too, and the whole Generation X team.
X-Editorial Draft: Prodigy, Vange Whedon, lil' Iceman, Wallflower, Cecelia Reyes, Mimic, U-Go Girl, Doc Samson, Nature Girl

User avatar
Nu-D
Posts: 2790
Joined: 18 Dec 2013, 00:22
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Nu-D » 26 Feb 2020, 12:40

Anna Raven wrote:
25 Feb 2020, 20:50
There were a lot of good artists, who, even if they were just beginning to hone their craft, you could see what they were going to become once the digital tools and equipment caught up to their skill. I am thinking of Joe Mad, Chris Bacchalo, Mark Bagley, the younger Kuberts, and David Finch. You also had the back end of Mark Silvestri. You even had Greg Land, before he started tracing and drawing porn faces. Everyone thinks of Rob Liefeld as the epitome of 90's art, but I think he was just one of many styles and new faces.
While some of those mid-90’s artists have gone on to do some work I find appealing, the bulk of what they did on the X-books at that time I think is repulsive. A lot of that may be related to the colorists’ pallettes of the time, not the pencillers.

Liefield was an earlier generation of 90’s artist than the others you mention. His work was always repulsive, but it carried over some of the basics from Marvel’s ‘80’s house-style, but added a kind of dynamism we all bought into for a couple of years. The others came in later, and were wholly divorced from that ‘80’s style.
Magik84 wrote:
26 Feb 2020, 12:28
We also got some good characters that have stood the test of time. Dr Cecelia Reyes still seems to be a favorite, Marrow has done quite well too, and the whole Generation X team.
Granted, though for the life of me I don’t understand the appeal of Marrow. But then again, I don’t understand the appeal of Cable, either. So I’m an outlier.
He/him/his

User avatar
Blackcyclops
Posts: 20221
Joined: 12 Apr 2007, 21:03

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Blackcyclops » 26 Feb 2020, 13:45

To be fair to Anna Raven and Magik, the thread is about highlighting personal bright spots, so they’re just making their taste known. I don’t think they’re trying to convince anyone to agree lol
Morrison Era 2001-2005, Decimation Era from 2005-2012, Bendis Era 2012-2016, M-Pox era 2016-2017, and Resurrxion 2017-2019, Hickman Era 2019-?

User avatar
Spectral Knight
Posts: 1513
Joined: 14 Apr 2007, 21:00

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Spectral Knight » 26 Feb 2020, 14:08

X-Men #54 is still one of my all-time favourite issues of all time... I don't know why, but that reveal of Xavier as Onslaught was shocking. I still think they made a clanger by making Onslaught not 'be Xavier' but be a fuse of Xavier/Mags as a third entity was wrong. All that trauma Charles had faced, all those demons we knew about then, and know even more about now... of course he'd crack under the strain, and lose it.

There was lots of highlights of the mid 90s for me as an X-fan... the AoA was a HUGE publishing risk at the time if you think logically about renaming your titles, putting whole new casts in and trying to tell one complete crossover story in the midst of this, yet overall was a massive hit. Gen X, whilst never being a favourite book of mine (I wasn't a big Bachalo art fan) certainly introduced brilliant characters, and I loved (at the time) what Joe Mad, Bagley and the Kuberts were doing fab work. Technically, the print quality + paper stocks were such a leap forward from just a few years earlier. Everything felt super sharp. Whilst in retrospect, the colouring was often super-bright with little subtlety and often lacking in tonal management, it felt light years ahead of even the Liefeld/Lee days.

Were there problems? Of course - the Clone Saga, while interesting as a concept, stagnated and died as it went on for FAR too long, with no real idea of if it would ever end. Not helped by Peter being on a think emotional tether and being pretty insufferable for large parts of it. I don't recall much of what was going on over in the Avengers side, but I recall from the crossovers that the costume design for some of those characters was horrific. And Heroes Reborn was an unmitigated disaster. The Busiek / Perez series as Heroes Return as an outcome was pretty gold though, and when I started taking an interest in the Avengers titles.

User avatar
Anna Raven
Posts: 4625
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 22:53

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Anna Raven » 26 Feb 2020, 14:52

Nu-D wrote:
26 Feb 2020, 12:40
Anna Raven wrote:
25 Feb 2020, 20:50
There were a lot of good artists, who, even if they were just beginning to hone their craft, you could see what they were going to become once the digital tools and equipment caught up to their skill. I am thinking of Joe Mad, Chris Bacchalo, Mark Bagley, the younger Kuberts, and David Finch. You also had the back end of Mark Silvestri. You even had Greg Land, before he started tracing and drawing porn faces. Everyone thinks of Rob Liefeld as the epitome of 90's art, but I think he was just one of many styles and new faces.

While some of those mid-90’s artists have gone on to do some work I find appealing, the bulk of what they did on the X-books at that time I think is repulsive. A lot of that may be related to the colorists’ pallettes of the time, not the pencillers.
The palettes were the big problem. Comic book publishing had not caught up to the world of digital coloring methods. And likewise digital coloring methods were in their infant stages. Also I stated it in my original post, these guys (except for Silvestri) were young and just starting out. They would definitely hone their craft over the years.

Also, for some crazy reason I left out Jim Lee.
Last edited by Anna Raven on 26 Feb 2020, 15:29, edited 1 time in total.
Avengers Editorial Draft: Goliath | Ares | Prowler | Lady Mastermind | Iron Lad | Moonstone | Loki
X-Men Editorial Draft 2: Wolverine | Shadowcat | Beast | Deadpool | Sabretooth | Puck | Pixie | Toad | Prodigy | Eques | Vange Whedon |Snowbird | Wolfsbane

User avatar
tokenBG1009
Posts: 5905
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 20:34

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by tokenBG1009 » 26 Feb 2020, 15:16

I'm a Liefeld fan. I always have been and probably always will be. I know his art is, honestly, terrible but it will always appeal to me. It's just so freaking comic booky and nostalgic. I see it and I can literally feel the newspaper print in my hands again.

The look of 90's comics is honestly something I miss. Not so much the EXTREME styles and such, but I actually liked the color and style of many of them. Maybe the "palettes" argument means something different, but I look at some books and I'm just smiling because of how much I enjoy them visually.
"Sometimes I do feel like I'm a failure. Like there's no hope for me. But even so, I'm not gonna give up. Ever!" -Izuku Midoriya

User avatar
Anna Raven
Posts: 4625
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 22:53

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Anna Raven » 26 Feb 2020, 15:40

Palette simply means what colors you have at your disposal.

Computers and digital added a ton more colors to the palette that colorists could use in the 90s. It also made it possible to add "gradients" meaning you had a natural blend from one shade or color into another. It's most commonly used for shading, but can be used for rainbow effects as well.

Marvel, even with the leap to digital, continued to use the traditional coloring process of "bright" colors, greens, blues, reds yellows, because it fit the style of their comics. Also, they were still using traditional publishing methods, which didn't use fancy inks and papers. (Not until later anyhow)

Image Comics really revolutionized coloring in the 90s. They bucked the trend of the RGB palette for CMYK. They added in dark shadows, subtle gradients, entire pages of earth-tones or dark blues. A lot of the guys I mentioned above, as well as guys like MacFarlane, Michael Turner, Wilce Portacio, Erik Larsen really benefited from having their comics colored the "Image Way".

So when you say you are nostalgic for the look of 90s comics, it kind of makes a big difference if you are talking about Marvel/DC or Image, because the coloring processes were very different. (The pencillers were the same guys however).
Avengers Editorial Draft: Goliath | Ares | Prowler | Lady Mastermind | Iron Lad | Moonstone | Loki
X-Men Editorial Draft 2: Wolverine | Shadowcat | Beast | Deadpool | Sabretooth | Puck | Pixie | Toad | Prodigy | Eques | Vange Whedon |Snowbird | Wolfsbane

User avatar
tokenBG1009
Posts: 5905
Joined: 19 Jun 2007, 20:34

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by tokenBG1009 » 26 Feb 2020, 15:47

I'll use the book I always do for talking about the 90s, and I promise I've read more. X-Force 19 with pencils by Greg Capullo. That book is just fantastic to me. There's a panel that has always appealed to me in that issue. It's when Siryn is sitting in the leaves. It's just such a beautiful image to me.
"Sometimes I do feel like I'm a failure. Like there's no hope for me. But even so, I'm not gonna give up. Ever!" -Izuku Midoriya

User avatar
Tessa1984
Posts: 44
Joined: 18 Sep 2019, 15:04

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Tessa1984 » 26 Feb 2020, 15:58

Spectral Knight wrote:
26 Feb 2020, 14:08
Technically, the print quality + paper stocks were such a leap forward from just a few years earlier. Everything felt super sharp.
I loved this! I think it was referred to as "deluxe" or something like that? Whatever it was, it didn't last long. I'm pretty sure its demise coincided with the bankruptcy.
Spectral Knight wrote:
26 Feb 2020, 14:08
The Busiek / Perez series as Heroes Return as an outcome was pretty gold though, and when I started taking an interest in the Avengers titles.
Busiek's & Perez's Avengers quickly became my favorite title. Heroes Return in general restored my faith in Marvel after that rough patch in the mid '90s. I didn't regularly read any X-titles again until Morrison came along.

User avatar
Blackcyclops
Posts: 20221
Joined: 12 Apr 2007, 21:03

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Blackcyclops » 26 Feb 2020, 16:10

If we’re going Mid90s, so everything after 95...then it’s some clear bright spots:

The Thunderbolts and Ka-Zar were both books I loved!

The Heroes Return Era of the Avengers was my favorite until recently...same with Thor. This was the best Thor until it got rough again before Disassembled. Iron Man and Cap were also great then too...

I am one of those people who liked Ben Reilly, so his time as Spidey is a soft spot for me.

I didn’t read the Midnight Sons corner of the MU so I missed that.
Morrison Era 2001-2005, Decimation Era from 2005-2012, Bendis Era 2012-2016, M-Pox era 2016-2017, and Resurrxion 2017-2019, Hickman Era 2019-?

User avatar
Nu-D
Posts: 2790
Joined: 18 Dec 2013, 00:22
Location: Durham, NC
Contact:

Re: Mid '90s Bright Spots

Post by Nu-D » 26 Feb 2020, 21:13

tokenBG1009 wrote:
26 Feb 2020, 15:47
I'll use the book I always do for talking about the 90s, and I promise I've read more. X-Force 19 with pencils by Greg Capullo. That book is just fantastic to me. There's a panel that has always appealed to me in that issue. It's when Siryn is sitting in the leaves. It's just such a beautiful image to me.
That Capullo run is just about the last comic book I liked visually during that decade. Capullo falls squarely in the Jim Lee school of pencilers. And whoever did the colors didn’t oversaturate everything.
Blackcyclops wrote:
26 Feb 2020, 13:45
To be fair to Anna Raven and Magik, the thread is about highlighting personal bright spots, so they’re just making their taste known. I don’t think they’re trying to convince anyone to agree lol
Ditto. Just stating my taste.
He/him/his

Post Reply