Every era of publishing has had awful comics. Though we live in a golden age, they walk among us even now. But horrible comic combined with dated inking techniques and fashion sense…now those are gold.

Michael Carlyle’s The Crapbox of Son Of Cthulhu blog goes through some awful comics of the 80s, such as Rayne #4 by Richard Moore. Although Moore would go on to have more recognition with Boneyard, and he’s not a bad artist, this is to comics what Simon & Simon is to TV. Something that just looks old and wack, horseheaded fur bikini wearing babes and all.


Even more instructive is the case of Of Myths and Men #2 which looks like a very simple webcomic but was actually typical of “the black and white boom” of the 80s that followed the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Hundreds of comics like this were published, leading to speculation and the eventual market crash. But I’m guessing that they probably sold more than a typical IDW comic does now—there were a lot more comics shops and they tended to order everything.

Blackthorne Publishing came about after the breakup of Pacific Comics. The brainchild of Bill and Steve Schanes, Blackthorne was named after the street Steve lived on. It originally published cost effective comic reprints of things like Dick Tracy and Sheena, Queen of the Jungle. Many of these titles were over a quarter of a century old and in the public domain when Blackthorne put them out. The money garnered from these titles allowed the small publishing shop to branch out into 3D titles and original series. Legal loopholes allowed them to put out 3D titles for properties held by Marvel, like a successful Star Wars 3D series, by creating a new product category that the licensing contracts didn’t cover. The creator-driven black and white comics were a very mixed bag, but mostly low quality rip-offs of current trends. An example would be TMNT clone Pre-Teen Dirty Jean Kung Fu Kangaroos. Or this issue of Of Myths and Men.

The book is drawn in a classic generic 80s style that one might call “unshaded post Foglio”—sketchy characters with visors and boots and musculature defined by bubble shapes, close set eyes indicated as ovals with pinpoint pupils. This is one of the “Seven Types of Bad Comics Art” which I will get around to writing some day when I don’t want friends any more.

While the comic is random, it’s also very very typical…and so unremarkable that the name of the artist isn’t even listed on ComicsVine. This era of comics is defined as “The Copper Age” by some, and like copper, the value is counted in pennies.


  1. These look good compared to the panels from Marvel’s “Ravage 2099,” included on the site. It’s from the early ’90s and reminds us of that awful time when all men in comic books had ponytails, while the women had a strange combination of mullet and Mohawk.

    Hard to believe something so awful ran for 33 issues. I guess it appealed to someone’s power fantasies.


  2. As someone who worked in a comic store in the 1980s, and saw a lot of this crap, I actually kind of need to defend these two. Rayne is crude, yeah, but Richard Moore had some basic chops. And at least the guy who was creating Of Myths And Men drew inspiration from Phil Foglio, instead of Eastman and Laird or Frank Miller. (And that Kangaroo comic was by Lee Marrs, IIRC!) You want bad? Try Time Out Of Mind, which was the only comic ever printed in purple duo-tone. Or Zwanna, Son of Zulu (it burns!). Or anything published by Solson Comics.

  3. Mr. Dahlen,
    If you could spare your copies for review, I’d trade in my eye-teeth to have them. And as for bad comics, I will lay my copy of Rabid Rachel against any book ever rolled off a copy machine as possibly the worst (and most entertaining) comic of all time. Check back in a week or so for all the wonderfully horrid details.

  4. Sorry, guys, butI’m afraid, the germans beats you all. Or, in other words: this crap beats the crap out of your crap:



    Here is the official website for the project:


    It was published around 2000, with a print-run of 12.000 copies, of which they sold probably one or two hundred. It was self-published.

    Currently it holds position as the biggest flop in german comic publishing and as the most bizarre comic ever published by a german comic artist.

  5. Regan’s Raiders #1 is upcoming. I remember enjoying that one on some level. Surely Teenage Super Foxes sounds like it would be right at home in the crapbox. I will begin combing ebay for a reasonable copy.

    That Power Freaks book looks insane. I love the thick black lines that outline all the characters. Makes me wish I spoke German.

    And as for the Ellison fake out, there was a book called “Greenhouse Warriors” that I’ve gotten my hot little hands on where it was five superheroes who were actually anthropomorphic plantmen (and women).


  6. Here’s the deal, Jim: Your comic was *good*. Maybe not Love & Rockets good, but better than anything on Michael’s site. (Though I have to admit I was thinking the same thing!)

    Michael, let me see what I can do. I’m not sure I have most of the comics I referred to, and I know I purged a big chunk of my collection when I moved last year, but I’ll dig into my boxes when I get time.

  7. I want to emphatically state something here:

    My garage is filled with a lot of comics, all in long boxes. If a fire broke out in my house, I would save the short box containing the 100 or so comics I’ve written reviews for first.

    That’s right, I’d save the Crapbox before my Spider-man, X-Men, Batman and Superman books. Because I love them. Not always are they bad comics, sometimes they are books that didn’t find an audience. And even the ones that are terrible and awful, I feel degrees of affection for because they taught me valuable lessons on what comic writers and artists do right in the books I love so much.

    So i would save them, all of them, even the worst of the lot and let my valuable comics burn. Because likely I can find a trade of Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns, but where on Earth am I going to find another copy of Dracula in Hell #2 or Sectaurs #8 or Judge #1?

    So Jim and Robert, if you find one of your books in my Crapbox just remember that to me they are worth more than a mint Action Comics #1.

  8. I think “crap” is a fairly relative term. I think most of the TMNT copycats never found an audience and so the creators didn’t develop the stories further. Many mainstream comics have been more horrible, like most of the Midnight Sons comics from Marvel, or many of the last Charlton horror comics. Persistence and vision in a marginal art field has allowed such 80’s bits like TMNT and Usagi Yojimbo to develop into classic comics that still attract readers today.
    I think any comic, no matter how poor its origins can be remade into a good story. Alan Moore’s Supreme reboot is a good example. Pre-Moore Supreme is a mess of muscles and sound effects. Maybe if someone worked at it Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters could be a hit? I smell a Turtles crossover!

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