Super Types

January 15, 2012

Marvel Snapshot: My Pantheon of Creators

Hello and welcome to another week in Marvel Snapshot! This week I’ll be writing briefly about my pantheon of comic book creators! I hope to get lots of response from you guys out there on this one, as I know there are such varied opinions! Whether it’s Golden, Silver, Bronze, or Modern Age, I want to know who is in your pantheon as well! Let’s begin, shall we?

First I’d like to start off by saying that my Pantheon includes for the most part creators that rose to prominence in the Bronze Age (1970-1985). I can’t really explain why that is, but it certainly is fact. The one thing I do know is that for the most part I love the Bronze Age work of these creators, and sometimes not the work after that time period. It was their “prime,” I guess, and that’s not to say they were washed up or put out terrible work after the Bronze Age, but I think most creators have a short window to perform magic in a book (or books), and it closes rather quickly.

First and foremost (and for anybody that knows me), I have Gene Colan and Marv Wolfman on my list. I can’t get enough of Tomb of Dracula, and that’s my reason for them being first on the list. I’ve read the first two volumes of Essentials four or five times easily, and now that I’m thinking about it, I’m going to go read it again! The work they did on that, then the Epic series in the 90s (and yes, even Nightforce), is reason enough to put them up there. Now, if you want to add all of Gene’s artwork just to put them even further ahead, be my guest. And by the way, rest in peace, Gentleman Gene.

Next up is Roy Thomas. What hasn’t this guy done? From The Avengers, to Conan, to The Defenders, his influence cannot be denied. He helped create Iron Fist, Brother Voodoo, and Ghost Rider. All this not withstanding, he did awesome work on Thor and wrote some fantastic horror stories in Vampire Tales, as well!

Speaking of Vampire Tales, I’ve got to reserve a place for those incredible people who worked on those books. Doug Moench, Tony Isabella, Don McGregor, Steve Gerber, Gerry Conway, Gary Friedrich, Tom Palmer, Don Heck, and all the other contributors as well. I’d just recently bought the reprints and have been blown away at the amount of depth and artwork these short stories have in them. I feel as though I’ve read a mini-series after paging through them. All of those guys were good before and did some good things after, too, but I can honestly say that they were magnificent during that period.

I have a favorite of many people next, with the team of Roger Stern and John Byrne. These two men single-handedly made Captain America a bona fide superstar. He was always a great character, but when they ran him for President, that sealed it! Seriously, buy the tpb (trade paperback) War and Remembrance, and you’ll agree with me. Stern also helped create the Hobgoblin and the female Captain Marvel. He had great runs with The Avengers and Doctor Strange. Byrne was just as busy with credits like Marvel Preview, and of course teamed up with Chris Claremont on Uncanny X-Men!

My final quartet of men of the Pantheon are Walt Simonson, John Buscema, Jim Starlin, and Steve Englehart. Simonson took over The Mighty Thor and never looked back. He brought us Beta Ray Bill, and made Thor be humbled by turning him into a frog! He also had a great run on X-Factor, back when that book consisted of the original X-Men cast. John Buscema was a consummate pro (check the cover below). I dare you to find a poorly drawn piece by him. He did things with visuals that made other artist look like hacks. He started to gain momentum in the 1950s, but really hit his stride in the 1960s and 70s. His work included The Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man, Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, and Thor. Pretty good list, huh? That’s right, he did all the A-list books at one time or another. Who else can say that?

Next, I’ll take a minute to say, all hail Jim Starlin! This guy rewrote the standards for what’s expected in a Marvel Cosmic story. Let me rephrase that – he is Marvel Cosmic. Suffice to say that when you can take characters like Thanos, Captain Marvel, and Warlock, and turn them into characters of great importance in the Marvel Universe, you’ve exceeded expectations. His Death of Captain Marvel, Infinity Gauntlet, and Marvel: The End are required reading for every comic book fan. Last but not least, I’ll say a few words about Steve Englehart. Steve Englehart is responsible for my favorite Avengers stories. Celestial Madonna tells a story of love, life, death, and everything in between. It showcases one of my favorite villains, as well, in Kang the Conqueror. He also penned Avengers/Defenders War, and The Serpent Crown, as well. He had an amazing run on Doctor Strange, too. He killed off the Doc’s mentor, The Ancient One, and later had a nice run on West Coast Avengers.

Well, there you have it. Yeah, I know there are a multitude of other creators that did some great things, too, and I hope you’ll lend me your opinions on them. Present day, I have a few guys that I think are on their way to this pantheon for some admirable work. Abnett and Lanning , for their cosmic contributions; Ed Brubaker for his phenomenal run on Captain America; and Bendis, for his revival of The Avengers. Artwork is a whole other conversation, too. Deodato, Sejic, Cheung, and a host of others are killing right now. These guys cannot be denied for their stories and beautiful artwork, but for now, they’ll have to look skyward at my Pantheon of Creators! See you next week!

Special thanks to http://kirbymuseum.net/blogs/dynamics/ for the great images! Enjoy!

Billy Dunleavy
billy@comicattack.net

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