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Tim O Neill
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Joined: 16 April 2004
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Posted: 28 September 2022 at 11:56pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply


I think the trade collection of Dark Phoenix Saga made JB's work on the title
both iconic and ever-present during the time it gained popularity, so it's
definitely part of the fabric of how the title gained in awareness and notoriety. I
don't think we can trace the popularity of the X-Men during those years
without factoring in the trade paperback sales.

The first JB X-Men I bought was #136, and then I got the rest of JB's run, up to
#143. While my brother had a smattering of Cockrum and JB issues, I was
missing the lead up to the big finish of #137. This was my first foray into buying
back issues, and they were out of my price range. So I snapped up that trade
paperback the moment I saw it.

So while the sales on JB's run were comparatively low to what it later became,
it's those issues that generated the most excitement and caused the
groundswell.

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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 01 October 2022 at 7:04pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I see a disconnect between sales and actual readers starting in the early '80s where speculators began to appear buying as many as 100 copies of something they thought might increase in value in the near future. I would say the fuel to that was mainly '70s X-Men issues, but also Miller Daredevil and New Teen Titans. So purchasing X-Men comics with no intention of reading (lest they be damaged) would seem obvious odds-on 'bet' or investment. Not to dis Paul Smith or anyone else, just a lot of those sales were more readerless than earlier issues. Plus more direct distribution (non-returnable) shops feeling a need to have a back stock of major titles. Smith was definitely a specifically collected artist though.
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Vinny Valenti
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Posted: 03 October 2022 at 4:54pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

"I think the trade collection of Dark Phoenix Saga made JB's work on the title
both iconic and ever-present during the time it gained popularity, so it's
definitely part of the fabric of how the title gained in awareness and notoriety. I
don't think we can trace the popularity of the X-Men during those years
without factoring in the trade paperback sales."

--

This is true. I didn't start buying comics until 1983, and my first exposure to the Dark Phoenex saga was the TPB that released a year later.
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John Byrne
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Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 03 October 2022 at 5:51pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Have I mentioned enough times how much I wish Dark Phoenix had NEVER BEEN REPRINTED?
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Joe Smith
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Posted: 03 October 2022 at 6:08pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

My whole life would be so different.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 03 October 2022 at 6:41pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The whole comicbook industry would be different.

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Wilson Mui
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Posted: 05 October 2022 at 12:46pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Link to auction pieces
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 05 October 2022 at 1:40pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

The comic industry would be different if Dark Phoenix hadn't become a road map for "events," not to mention leading to the overuse of heroes-going-bad. 

Marvel has always been more morally gray than DC, but then others came along where you can only tell the "heroes" by who's left standing after a battle (usually). 

I'm not laying this at anyone's feet, except maybe Marvel's, but I agree with JB that if DP hadn't been reprinted--maybe because Chris C wouldn't let the story go?--then things might have taken a different path.


Edited by Andrew Bitner on 05 October 2022 at 1:42pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 05 October 2022 at 4:19pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

What has been largely forgotten is that the Death of Phoenix was not planned as an “event”. For Chris and me it was, in its original form, merely the conclusion of a story that had been building, in one form or another, for something like four years. Just one more story in a marginal “cult book” that barely kept ahead of the cancellation axe.

Even in its radically altered form, the story did not generate the massive sales that have become part of the myth. How could it? Because of the rushed nature of the revisions, there was no opportunity to solicit the “event”.

But that, as much as anything, redefined the collector mentality, effectively creating the speculators. Buyers who had “missed” the Death of Phoenix became consumed with fears that they would miss the next “big one”.

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Paul Wills
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Posted: 10 October 2022 at 3:15pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

For some reason, late last night the Sabretooth scene from this series popped into my head. I'm curious what was in store for him down the line. I really despise him after JB's story arc. 
It's funny how in the Marvel universe he later appears to be somewhat of an ally with the X-men? I could never see that happening with this back story.
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Scott Barnett
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Posted: 10 October 2022 at 3:23pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I don't like the fact that they ultimately turned all the X-Men's major villains into allies of a sort- Magneto, Sabretooth, Juggernaut, Mystique, Emma Frost...

These were great VILLAINS.
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Dean Munday
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Posted: 10 October 2022 at 8:53pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

"These were great VILLAINS."

*******************************************

So true. I can not immediately bring to mind who was the first villain to have a 'redemptive arc' - but no doubt that first occasion was novel and impactful. But when it becomes a regular occurrence, it is massively diluted to the point of becoming a joke, undermining that character's entire published history.

I guess writers today feel free to do these things as they feel there will be no fundamental backlash, since the readership changes with a generational cycle of every so many years. Society changes, consumption changes and just as we accept whatever poor movie or tv series is presented to us as the next big thing, so too in comics. The vast majority of printed comics these days, compared to what I grew up with, are (IHMO) vastly inferior, because the standards they are held to are comparatively far less exacting. I am just glad I got to grow up in the  60s & 70s.
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