Monster of the Day #1337

Off to Houston; see some of you in Dallas this weekend. Ta!

Consider this an open thread.

Always liked this issue. The Abomination turns out to actually be afraid of the Hulk, which makes sense as he’s utterly whipped his ass time after time. You’d think you’d avoid one of the only two or three guys in the world that could do that, but there you go.

  • Beckoning Chasm

    I always wondered why they toned down the Abomination’s look in the Hulk movie. He definitely had a name that fit.

  • Gamera977

    I hope to God Abomination didn’t rip the Hulk’s pants off. The poor folks show up at the amusement park for a day of fun and the last thing they see before plunging to their death is the great green moon…

  • Sometimes you write something thinking, “Hey! this is hilarious!” and then you realize you are so very wrong. Which would be me. Here. Now.

  • Flangepart

    Oh, I don’t know. Looks like your average giant humanoid mutant monster to me. Now if he looked like a gigantic purple Heidi with electric power pigtails, in an outfit from a Japanese school girl…then, yeah you got yer Abomination.

  • Rock Baker

    Looks kinda like a cross between Ben Grimm and Gorgo…

  • Eric Hinkle

    Ah, the Abomination. A Communist spy from Czechoslovakia turned gamma-powered Hulk-monsters, but retaining his intellect, and the best idea Marvel came up with for him was, ‘let;s make him a neurotic wuss!’

    Sometimes I wonder if my memories of the magnificent Roy Thomas-John Buscema Conan the Barbarian and Wolfman-Colan Tomb of Dracula runs just blinded me to a lot of the junk Marvel was putting out in the 70’s.

  • Fair’s fair: Most Marvel characters are neurotic, even before the Seventies.

    Not that the Seventies were a great time for Marvel comics, mind.

  • Eric Hinkle

    Well, you got me on the neurotic thing. And just asking, were there any particularly bad ideas from Marvel in the 70’s that stand out in your mind? What little I remember of them from the time was mostly the aforementioned Conan and Dracula, and a few other horror titles from them.

  • Beckoning Chasm

    “Hulk’s not happy.” –Mr. K. Dilkington.

  • Outside of having the writers be their own editors? Nothing leaps to mind. Most this is hearsay, anyways; I wasn’t exactly a critical comic reader back then. However as I hit that period in the various collections I have, there seems to me to be a lull in good stories that doesn’t go away until the Eighties.

    It should be said that all of this could easily be Mr. Waters having a bit of bias.

  • Luke Blanchard

    Marvel’s worst output in the 70s was shoddy. Its best stuff was solidly entertaining, and sometimes personal and inspired. Some guys produced very good and very shoddy work, depending on what they were doing and who they were working with.

    Marvel also published many reprint titles, including titles reprinting Western or horror stories from the 50s and 60s behind new covers. Styles had changed, so I imagine readers were sometimes let down.
    The creators also often had deadline problems, so the non-reprint titles sometimes had to run emergency reprints. There are several cases where there wasn’t time to change the cover.

    But for a lot of the decade the top characters were kept in holding patterns, so the weaker stuff mostly didn’t do lasting damage.

    The story page count shrank and reached 17 pages by 1976.

    Jim Shooter became Marvel’s editor-in-chief in 1978 and raised the company’s standards, and the page counts went up again in 1980.

  • Eric Hinkle

    Thanks for that very informative response there, Mister Blanchard.

  • Eric Hinkle

    I don’t know if anyone here wants to see them, but tonight TCM is running German expressionist horror and fantasy films. Cabinet of Caligari, Nosferatu, Murnau’s Faust, and the Adventures of Prince Achmed for the lineup.

  • Luke Blanchard

    It’s my pleasure. There are a few other points to note:

    There was a generational change in the industry coming out of the 60s. Partly the older guys retired, partly they were left behind by changes in style. So many 70s comics were done by young guys with fan backgrounds.
    Also, Filipino artists began to work in US comics in the 70s. There were a number who were amazingly good artists. They tended to be used on stuff other than the mainstream superhero titles.

    In the 70s the mature stuff stood apart from the mainstream superhero stuff. Marvel also published B&W magazines modelled after Warren’s, theoretically aimed at older readers. In the 80s the mainstream heroes began to be handled at a more mature level. This was probably partly due to changed editorial policies, partly due to the following factor.

    Originally the industry distributed comics on a returnable basis through newsstands, drugstores etc. Comics specialty stores that buy comics on a non-returnable basis began to appear in the 70s, and became important coming into the 80s. This meant (i) the industry survived; reportedly it really struggled in the 70s (ii) the industry lost its ability to reach little kids (Gold Key, Charlton and Harvey all died coming into the 80s) (iii) comics with smaller readerships became economically viable (so new companies that specialised in direct market comics emerged) (iv) Marvel’s and DC’s comics were increasingly aimed at the long-term, fan audience.

  • Luke Blanchard

    And (v) top creators made a lot more money.