The “were 70s comics crap or complete total crap” meme continues to go around. [email protected] sums up all the blogospheric pressure with a post entitled If loving Killkraven is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Not surprisingly, hate-fueled Dirk hates all 70s comics except HOWARD THE DUCK. Tom also jumps into the melee, but he, to us, deflects the point, by reducing the argument to this:
I find the first notion odd, because obviously the decade of the 1970s was important to modern superhero comics
We didn’t say the 70s were important to modern superhero comics, we said they were important to COMICS. The Marvel comics most under discussion WEREN’T superhero comics, necessarily. In the 70s, Marvel published lots of none-superhero things — horror, humor, SF, Westerns, even the last dregs of romance. Not all of them were great of course. But to say HOWARD THE DUCK was superhero is to miss the point — it was satire. KILLRAVEN was SF. MASTER OF KUNG FU was … kung fu. We’ve heard it argued that these books are superhero books because the characters wore costumes, but do do Tintin and Charlie Brown. We prefer to call them “hero” books.
Anyway, that still isn’t why the 70s mattered. It was the birth of true creator ownership. Gil Kane’s early graphic novel BLACK MARK was published in 1971. A CONTRACT WITH GOD. The Comics Journal. CEREBUS. ELFQUEST. This was something that mainstream creators like Neal Adams had been fighting for throughout the decade, and it continued to fuel the business, especially as underground comics proved that complete creative freedom could work.
If the argument is about comics quality, we think a strong one can be made for the 70s, perhaps not as the GREATEST decade ever, but not as a complete cultural wasteland. In terms of historical significance, it was as important as any other, and definitely planted the seeds of today’s industry in sometimes oblique ways.
And if you don’t believe us, here’s the definite PROOF 70s comics rocked:
and of course: