November 14, 2008

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How Bad Were Comics in the 90s?

So bad I wonder why I ever managed to stay a fan of the genre. No wonder so many people claim to "grow up" out of comics--it's really that the comics they bought were bad, and they bought them (me, too!) knowing they were bad...but we kept on buying!

I'm so glad I don't do that anymore--well, not as much as I used to, anyway.

My poster child for this today, though it really could be any other comic, is Nomad.

Here's the Nomad of the 90s, for those who don't know:

Yes, he's gone from being an aid to Captain America, poster child (along with Spider-Man) for how to do things the heroic way, to a almost-criminal drifter, complete with non-costume, a gun, long, rebellious hair (never see Cap with a pony tail, oh no), and of course sun glasses.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the bastard child of Oliver Queen via Mike Grell and the Punisher. A loner who hates his government meanders the countryside meting out rough justice to those who deserve it, complete with unbearable inner monologue, a BABY (yes, this series is based on a man shooting and fighting people while he frequently has a BABY on his back), and various adult references designed to make the teen readers get mildly aroused.

This picture really doesn't do justice to the badness that is these comics. A Daredevil "team up" has Matt Murdock just letting the Punisher kill people right under his nose and not trying to stop him. US Agent, who normally looks like an ass, actually comes off normal compared to the rest of the people Nomad encounters--or Nomad himself, for that matter.

Bad art, even from Pat Oliffe, rules the day as characters tend to be recognizable only by their costume and bend in all the wrong places. People's muscles seem stretched wrong and dialog baloons come out of their nether regions as the poor letterer has to try and find a way to squeeze the dialog into panels not meant to be discernable without a map.

In short, I am beginning to think there's nothing good to say about 1990s Marvel comics other than if you're a completist, they're cheap. Or if you're a former completist like me, perhaps reading some more of these will cure you and free up space for other, better comics.