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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:29am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

In my "unsalvageable" topic, I asked about heroes/lead characters who weren't very usable without massive changes.

Let's take a look at the other side of that coin. What characters were perfectly represented? I'd prefer it to be over a span of time, not a single issue (e.g., "Captain Marvel was great when he wore that big armor in Captain Marvel 14" or "Superman-Red was excellent!') That span could be current, could be twenty years ago...hell, it could be Golden Age. Whatever you like.

For an example - and these are my perceptions of what others think, not necessarily my choices - you might say Superman at the time of "Man of Steel" #6, or Daredevil in "Daredevil" #7, or The Thing in "Marvel Two-In-One" #50.

Yes, those aren't quite what I'm looking for, because - as I noted - they're specific issues. Give me a run or a creator team or some such. (Incidentally, the eras above are fine... just not the individual books.)

I think there was no improving on the Legion of Super-Heroes during the Jim Shooter/Curt Swan era. Shooter made them a little more relatable to a younger audience, and he seemed to be able to get the best "flavor" out of the characters. And Curt Swan... because Curt Swan. If ya have ta ask, ya'll never know!

And Stern/Byrne's Captain America just plain got him right. Showing his beliefs without being either dreary or preachy, showing his abilities as he should be presented ("Not a god... not a super-man! Just a man!") Characterization was right on, supporting characters were interesting and three dimensional, and the adventures were non-generic. I've read a story or two where the lead could have been Spider-Man, or Daredevil, or The Falcon... not really specific. There is no way to think that with the S/B run.

Give me two or three choices tops, and please explain why.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:51am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Sadly, at this stage of the game, if there are "pristine" characters out there, it's only because they've been forgotten.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:59am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Yes sir, I believe you're correct. (That's why I left it open to any era.)

I think that there are unquestionably some pristine heroes being printed now who are not from the big two - I'm minded to think of Kurt Busiek's Astro City heroes, who have been good, and consistent as the North Star - but when I think of, say, the Justice League or the Avengers, I just feel like yelling. Or weeping. Or both.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Our host's run on Superman is an obvious choice. Fantastic Four, too.

Another obvious choice: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby on the Fantastic Four.



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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 11:18am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo

*lunch break*
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 12:28pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Mr. Sellars injects a point: creator owned charcters who have remained in the creator's control.
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Neil Lindholm
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 4:35pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

In that same vein, Paul Chadwick's Concrete. 
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 5:30pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

1. For me, the Steve Englehart/Sal Buscema CAPTAIN AMERICA is my all-time favorite character.  BUT the Roger Stern/John Byrne (and let's not forget Joe Rubinstein's wonderful inks!) came very close!  (If only it had lasted longer!)

2. The John Byrne/Chris Claremont X-MEN is still the most nearly perfect comic though, and the version by which all other iterations must be judged.

3. And, of course, the Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams BATMAN is about as good as it gets.

Quick mention: Frank Miller's DAREDEVIL, Jim Starlin's MAR-VELL and WARLOCK, Lee and Kirby's THOR (Sorry, Walt!), Michelinie/Romita Jr./Layton on IRON MAN, Gerber & Colan's HOWARD THE DUCK, Wein & Wrightson's SWAMP THING, Bates & Novick's (that's right!) FLASH--all of these remain unmatched!

Special mention: A lot of people have done great versions of SUPERMAN, but nobody even comes close to Curt Swan's CLARK KENT (preferably written by Elliot S. Maggin).


Edited by Eric Jansen on 11 January 2018 at 5:31pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 5:53pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

How could I forget Frank Miller's DAREDEVIL?
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 7:47pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

As a Curt Swan fan, I'd like to offer an internet hug to both of the Erics who have posted in this thread...

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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 8:16pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I'd also saaay… the first four volumes of ELFQUEST.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 8:34pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

3. And, of course, the Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams BATMAN is about as good as it gets.

•••

Denny and Neal were happening just as I was coming back to comics. What a run -- albeit a definite case of "now you see 'em...". Their version of Batman so perfectly captured the character. Hard to believe what followed.

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Robert Shepherd
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 10:31pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I'd say Captain Mar-Vell was pretty much pristine for his entire life span. Way too short, but still.

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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 11 January 2018 at 11:14pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

John Byrne on NAMOR. No one had written him better in a series, before or since. 
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 11:33am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I'll play myself off of a technicality... I didn't specify comics. And I can NEVER imagine a better Batman than the first three or four seasons of "Batman: The Animated Series."
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 3:56pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

THE FANTASTIC FOUR 1965-1968 (the height of the Lee/Kirby/Sinnott run)

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1966-1969 (the beginning of the Lee/Romita run - although I'm sure many would prefer the Lee/Ditko issues)

THE AVENGERS 1976-1978 (Englehart/Perez and Shooter/Perez, with some wonderful Shooter/Byrne issues thrown in)

X-MEN 1975-1981 (The Cockrum and Byrne art is consistently excellent, and the writing hadn't gotten self-indulgent at this point)


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Paul Reis
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Posted: 12 January 2018 at 4:33pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

not sure if i am answering correctly but there is a stretch of The Avengers that started, for me,from #43 and went through to #97 that will forever hold a special place for me in my comic collecting life where each and every hero (and villain) was "perfectly represented" to me by Roy Thomas and John & Sal Buscema (basically, but there were many, many others).

true, that span dealt mostly with the hero and minimally with their secret identities, but i was a kid then and didn't care about secret identities at that time, i wanted action, and fun ! 


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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 13 January 2018 at 11:37am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Paul R. - sounds as if you answered just fine to me! It's an interesting observation because the heroes might change... but the nature of the team remains the same with no big changes. I felt the same about the Legion, save that none of the Legionnaires had their own series*, while several of the Avengers did. But if you liked that run - and it was an awfully good run - then you're right.

*Well, except for the obvious two... although as I think about it, they didn't much change over that span either.
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