Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Just Thinking Back"

I collect a lot of different comics, but there's specific sets that I'm always hunting to complete. Some of the stuff that mostly interests me are silver and bronze age "Giants", and not just the 25 cent Giants, but later items on into the mid 1970's.

And of these Giants of the 1970's, the DC 100 Pagers are probably the most interesting to me. There began in 1971 and ran until 1975 when the page count got cut back. And even though there were still "giant-sort-of" issues after that, they simply weren't "100 pagers".

As DC did with their 80 Page Giant series in the 1960's, the 100 Pagers began as a seperate title, but later became inner-mixed with the regular DC titles such as Detective, Wonder Woman, House of Mystery, Shazam!, Unexpected, Tarzan, World's Finest, (etc.). They even did several with a couple of their romance titles (which are actually the more scarce ones to find).

And a lot of there Giants contained Silver-Age reprints, but there were also many which contained Golden-Age reprints. DC had just reintroduced the Quality Comics' characters back into their own line around then (i.e., JLA #107), so they had plenty of inventory to use.

Probably the best thing to come out of there was the introduction of a new character, "The Manhunter" by Walt Simonson, which ran in several issues of Detective Comics(#'s 437-443). But by 1975 they were pretty much over with, dropping back to around 68 pages or so and with a lot more advertisements.

(I figured about 100 different ones of these were published, or which I have around 1/4 of that, so...that quest ever continues to complete.)

The early 1970's were a rather strange time for the main stream companies. At DC were had these Giants, and at Marvel it seemed like al they could do was create yet another new title every month that reprinted horror and fantasy stories from the 1950's Atlas titles, or from pre-hero issues of Tales to Astonish, Tales of Suspense, Strange Tales and Journey Into Mystery. The cover prices kept driving collectors looney changing from 15 cents, to 25 cents, to fifty cents, and then eventually settling on a standard 20 cents eventually. For a couple of years in the mid-1970's nothing much was going on in comics at all, really, or at least, not in DC and Marvel. But it was the beginnings of the "independent" comic book movement, and then Marvel began the new X-Men series and things seemed to progress again.

In fact, the 1970's should have several different notations rather than simply "Bronze". There could be "The Kirby Era" , "The fantasy reprint era", "the 100 Pager" era, the "Giant-Size" era, "The New X-Men" era. Frankly, the 1970's had just as much going on in comics as did the 1960's.

But, there's a LOT of "other eras' I could mention, like the "treasury-size" era of DC & Marvel, the "digest-size" era (first beginning with Archie Comics but followed suit by other companies), or the decline of Warren Publications (which by the mid 1970's the bloom had faded).

DC introduced some of the more interesting characters in that decade. We got titles such as "Swamp Thing", a revived version of "The Shadow", "Hercules Unbound", the reintroduction of the original "Captain Marvel", and "The LOSHs" finally got their own title,etc., where at Marvel they introduced some of the biggest characters ever, "Wolverine", "Ghost Rider", and "The Punisher".

So---the 70's was a fun time with comics, even if perhaps, not as impressive as the decade before it. Every decade with comics has something good to offer. You just gotta dig thru the trash for the treasures.


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