Friday, April 3, 2009

Welcome to the 80s!

Comicbooks of the 1980s! When the decade started, Marvel and DC were the undisputed rulers of the comicbook kingdom. Archie Comics was still jogging along while Harvey and Charlton were on their last legs. Comic Shops were starting to spread across the country, and new publishers like Eclipse and Pacific started wooing top talent away from the "Big 2" with incentives like creator ownership and royalties. And although Comics Shops were popping up, comicbook sales, which still depended on newsstand sales, were in the dumper.

As the decade got rolling, things began to rapidly change. More new publishers began popping up, bringing out characters who would, for a time, actually give the heroes of the Big 2 a run for their money. Besides Eclipse and Pacific, Capital, Comico, and Fantagraphics would produce comics and turn out new stars the likes of which the newsstand-friendly, comics code-approved Marvel and DC could not. Of course, the folks who ran the Big 2 weren't total fools. They dipped their toes into the Direct Sales (Comics Shops only) market, liked how the water felt, and dove in with abandon, creating new formats, imprints, and a flurry of reprint material in an effort to claim all the shelf-space in every comics shop.

While the Big 2 grabbed and held on to the lion's share of the shelf space, what seemed like hundreds of "independent" or "indy" (non-Marvel/DC) companies followed Eclipse and the other indy pioneers' lead and began producing not only super-heroes, but sci-fi, horror, high-adventure, satire, funny animals, and much more. Even underground publisher Kitchen Sink "went straight" and began mixing comics like The Spirit, Steve Canyon, and the super-hero parody Megaton Man in with their sex and dope fare. Fans who had been growing bored with comics from 1978 to 1980 started finding comics that excited them again.

It was the publishers from "across the pond" who really shook things up. 2000A.D. with Judge Dredd and Warrior with Marvelman turned superhero comics on their ear and had fans who'd grown tired of the DC and Marvel formulas gobbling them up like E.T. with a pack of Reeces' Pieces.

And then--

Have I gotten your attention yet? Are you interested in the details? Want to know more about the comics of the 1980s? Then you've come to the right place! Blinded Me with Comics will pull back the curtain on the comics, characters, and creators of the MTV decade. From the most famous (Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, Secret Wars) to the most obscure (Neil the Horse, Big Ben, Thriller), BMwC will attempt to cover it all Friday after Friday.

It all begins next Friday with "A Ballet of Violence: Frank Miller and Daredevil's Greatest Hits". Be here!

11 comments:

pete doree said...

Guess I'm the first one here...looks like it's gonna be fun, groovy. Let's party like it's....

Chris said...

I gave the 80s an honest-to-goodness try.....and made it through the entire decade still collecting. I quit buying "new stuff" around 1993.....

At first I was very excited by the Independent publishers, particularly Pacific and First. Trouble was, there were no comic shops in my area at the time, and I had to order direct sale titles by mail, making it very difficult to collect them.

Being a Kirby nut, I bought Captain Victory and Silver Star. I gave Warp, Sabre, Nexus, Twisted Tales and others a shot. I tried the Archie superhero revival, too. But in the end, I found that once I got past the two Kirby titles, most of the independent stuff was too adult-oriented for my tastes. What I was hoping for was another mainstream publisher, which I felt would've been a good thing....

Ah well. The 80s still was a very interesting decade. I look forward to seeing some Bob Layton in these hallowed blog halls!

Daniel Graves said...

I love it already...

I turned 10 in 1980, so 1975-1985 is my "golden age". Love your other site so I know I'll be an eager follower of this one.

Fr. Dan

Allan said...

This is gonna be good..! 1981 was the year I first had access to a comic shop, having moved from the wilds of semi-rural Wales to the smoke-filled haze of London.

One minor point: Marvelman is one word.

The Groovy Agent said...

Thanks for stopping by and posting the encouragement, fellas! Special thanks for those of you who've already subscribed. I'll do my best to make this blog as exciting and informative as possible.

Oh, and I'll try not to make any more bonehead mistakes like the one you caught, Allan. Fixed it! Thanks!!

Scott said...

yay! Looking forward to all sorts of 80's goodness. Don't forget to cover the wonderful world of Roy Thomas, whose All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc brought me back to comics after a several year hiatus during the last part of high school, and beginning of college.

joe bloke said...

hurrah!!!

see, I knew I'd get here, in the end. where's me Rocketeer?!!! where's me Starslayer?!!!! and where, oh, where is me Detectives Inc?!!!!! gotta get me some of that 'eighties independance!!

( just remember: the 'nineties never happened. repeat after me: " the 'nineties never happened. . . " ).

The Groovy Agent said...

All-Star Squadron, Infinity Inc., Arak--the'll be here, Scott, never fear!

Rocketeer, Starslayer, Detectives Inc., are coming, Joe! For every Marvel or DC post, I have at least three Indy posts planned.

90s? We don' need no steenkeeng 90s!

Thelonious_Nick said...

Awesome. I started reading comics at the age of 7, was lucky enough to start with Roger Stern's Amazing Spider-Man. Got out in 1990 and skipped that whole decade before I got back into the hobby.

Looking forward to what you have to say! Hope you talk about: Simonson's Thor, Booster Gold, Roger Stern, the New Universe, 80s Batman (both pre- and post- Year 1). I'd love to learn about some indies too.

The Groovy Agent said...

Every comic and creator you listed is on my agenda, T_N! I have mucho love for the work of Roger Stern!

Mike Mitchell said...

The 80's was strange for me because in one sense my interest in collecting dropped way, way off... and yet I found myself with a sweet gig as manager of a comicbook store nights and weekends. I actually got accepted to the Kubert school, ( sadly was not able to attend ) in the 80's and was drawing lots of small press comics. The decade had some impressive gems, but mostly a lot of let downs for this stuck in the 70's collector.... still I look forward to the look backward. Thanks Groovy one~

Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

All other commentary and insanity copyright GroovyAge, Ltd.

As for the rest of ya, the purpose of this blog is to (re)introduce you to the great comics of the 1980s. If you like what you see, do what I do--go to a comics shop, bookstore, e-Bay or whatever and BUY YOUR OWN!