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Comics 411: Things We Don’t Miss About Comics From the 90s

May 1, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Web of Venom: Cult of Carnage #1, Avengers: No Road Home #10, and more!

Now, on with the show!

Last week we discussed our Favorite Comic Book Documentaries. Here’s what some of you had to say:

Mr.Greed: “I really enjoyed the Ditko documentary. I must watch it again.

Another great documentary is the rise and fall of the comic book industry by SFdbris. It is a detailed examination of fall of the comic book industry in the 90s and his it slowly came back in the late 90s/early 00s. You can watch on YouTube. It is a great watch”

Jeremy Thomas: “It’s not flawless by any measure, but I really love Chris Claremont’s X-Men. Great little feature on his legendary run on the book.”

To read last week’s column go HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we discuss our…

Things We Don’t Miss About Comic Books in the 90s!

In a recent interview, Rob Liefeld shared that the Major X character at Marvel has been in his drawer for decades.

Seems like we could have seen him make an appearance back in the 90s. He certainly has the popularity down. Following the sell-outs of Major X #1 Major X #2 ahead of their releases, Marvel announced that ahead of its release, Major X #3 has sold out and will return for a second printing. Not only that, Major X #1 has sold out its second printing and will return for a third printing.

“In over 30 years of producing comic books, I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve never had three books completely sell out before fans get a chance to experience them! The fan reaction to Major X has been nothing short of the most overwhelming experience in my career. They inundate me with their enjoyment and enthusiasm of the book and the new characters. I’ve never seen so many fan sketches as I have for Major X. I am humbled and inspired by this reception. I promise you, with three issues left, the best is yet to come. The work on issue #3 by my long time friend and peer, Whilce Portacio, underscores the excitement we are all having bring Major X to you! We are celebrating by giving you brand new covers on our additional printings! “

Looks like Liefeld has his pulse on what fans want and that goes all the way back to the 90s. While there is plenty to celebrate about that period,I thought we’d go the other direction.

The 90s were an interesting and dark time to be a fan. Every week was an endless parade of variant, hologram, and foil covers that littered the racks.

If you had invested in holofoil in the 90s, you would be a millionaire today.

Not really but it was that kind of speculating that drew in casual fans and, specifically, speculators. Everyone was buying up as much as they can, with dreams of reselling it to make a pretty penny.

Which is pretty much what everything from the 90s is worth today.

Comic stories were filled with big superheroes with big guns, big shoulder pads, and big pouches. Mullets and midriffs were a favored look while women were drawn in the most unrealistic portrayal ever, usually in a bikini.

Oh, and everything popular had to be extreme! Like Extreme Justice. The less said about that book the better.

Perhaps one of the worst (best?) examples of this is Adam X aka The X-Treme! Created by Fabian Nicieza, Greg Capullo and Jeff Johnson, Adam X first appeared in X-Force Annual # 2 back in 1993. Originally the plan was for Adam X was intended to be the third Summers brother. This was throw to the side, thankfully, when a change of writers brought a change of plans.

Adam X’s costume was about what you’d think it would be and had some blades and a backwards turned hat.

What it was missing was armor. Which the 90s seemed to relish.

While Wolverine went feral with his look, plenty of other heroes went all in with the armor.

Booster Gold
Captain America

And who can forget when Azrael took over Batman and armored himself with armor on top of armor.

Invisible Woman put a “window” on her costume and Wonder Woman wore a kind of black spandex…actually, I’m still not sure what they were going for there.

The 90s gave us different versions of familiar characters, like Thor and Thunderstrike. Eric Masterson started as a supporting character and then merged with Thor. While creator Tom DeFalco claimed that Thunderstrike outsold Thor and The Avengers combined at the time of its cancellation; that was very doubtful.

We also got Heroes Reborn. The idea behind this was Marvel would outsource the production of several of its flagship books to the studios of Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. The changes they made to the characters drew mixed reactions from the fans, with some books doing better than others. Sales for the series were impressive, and still are, but the quality is still being debated today.

We were introduced to such characters like Bloodwulf and Warchild. We got titles with every variation of blood in the title. We also were overexposed to the adventures of Wolverine, Spider-Man, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Batman, and a host of others.

The 90s were filled with everyone jumping into the publishing game. One of the standouts was Chaos! Comics, which mostly focused on horror comics. Their titles included Lady Death, Purgatori, Evil Ernie, Chastity, Jade, Bad Kitty, and Lady Demon.

Doom, death, and big boobs were their bread and butter.

Speaking of death, perhaps the biggest event from that time that exemplified all that was wrong was The Death of Superman. I know it has its fans but it was a moment that brought just as much bad as it did good. The moment Superman came back, the backlash swelled as Superman fans felt cheated and the speculators saw their collectible devalue.

Overexposure, gimmick story, changing costumes, multiple covers, it’s a checklist of 90s cliches.

What don’t you miss about comic books in the 90s?

That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!