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#1229760 - Sun Sep 22 2019 06:13 PM Marvel Graphic Novel series, 1981-1992, and other graphic novels of the era
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

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Here's every last one of them online available to read:

https://readcomiconline.to/Comic/Marvel-Graphic-Novel



They were an outgrowth of European graphic novels, and of a few similar projects in the U.S., such as McGregor/Gulacy's SABRE (1978), the first publication of Eclipse, that soon after grew into a line of comics, McGregor/Rogers' DETECTIVES INC (1980), and Will Eisner's A CONTRACT WITH GOD (1978).

In the early years they offered innovative material and new genres outside of mainstream superhero comics, and increasingly after 1989 presented more sporadic bits of greatness, mixed in with a lot more mediocre bad art and colors, unworthy of the higher quality format, many of those latter releases just another superhero comic in an unnecessarily high quality format.

I started tuning out with the HERCULES graphic novel (Marvel Graphic Novel 37) since after that point they ceased to have a numbered Marvel Graphic Novel series order, and were just random non-numbered one-shots released sporadically. But even among those there were some great ones, such as Charles Vess' SPIRITS OF THE EARTH (number 63), and CONAN: THE SKULL OF SET by Moench and Gulacy (number 53).

I like how this web-page not only gives you all of them to read in their entirety, but also gives them a numerical sequential order that they previously didn't have after 1-37.

Some of my favorites are:
ELRIC by Thomas and Russell (number 2, 1982),
DREADSTAR by Starlin (number 3, 1982),
X-MEN: GOD LOVES MAN KILLS by Claremont and Brent Anderson (number 5, 1983),
KILLRAVEN by McGregor/Russell (number 7, 1983, concluding the series),
HEARTBURST by Rick Veitch (number 10, 1984),
RAVEN BANNER by Zelentz and Vess (number 15, 1985),
and MARADA by Claremont and Bolton (number 21, 1986).

As I've said elsewhere, I like the 8" X 11" magazine size, the larger format allows you to see the art better, as compared to the larger 11" X 14" size, which is a bit too oversized and bulky, to the point that they are difficult to store, and many begin to be easily damaged under their own weight. Magazine size is the perfect mid size in between, slightly larger than 7" X 10" comics, but still in a manageable size.

Many of the above graphic novels were the introduction to a series that continued out of them (NEW MUTANTS, DREADSTAR, ELRIC, STARSTRUCK, SWASHBUCKLERS, ALIEN LEGION).

Others were intended originally for serialization in EPIC ILLUSTRATED, and for reasons unknown were chosen to be stand-alone graphic novels instead (KILLRAVEN, HEARTBURST) that you can see were divided up into serialized chapters.

STARSTRUCK and MARADA were previously serialized, and then first presented in collected form as graphic novels. In the case of the MARADA material (previously serialized in EPIC ILLUSTRATED 10-12), in graphic novel form appeared in color for the first time.


I think emergence of the Epic Comics line and other creator-owned publishers gradually resulted in less and less good material in both the Marvel Graphic Novel series, and in EPIC ILLUSTRATED, that both those series died a slow death. Well-crafted new ideas got more lucrative offers from places like Eclipse and Pacific and First to publish elsewhere, and eventually starved EPIC and Marvel Graphic Novel of that material.

But for a decade or so, Marvel's Graphic Novel line presented some enduringly great material, that might otherwise never have seen the light of day.



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#1229801 - Fri Sep 27 2019 08:24 PM Re: Marvel Graphic Novel series, 1981-1992 [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
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Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21364
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It took jumping through some word-search hoops, but Mycomicshop.com has most of them in series order, though not numbered after the SILVER SURFER graphic novel (number 38).

https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?SeriesID=4251

Their number order after 38 is not the same as that in my first post.

Even in the initial 37 releases, determining the date of publication can only be done by seeing the monthly bullpen bulletins pages. And even among the numbered ones, that's not necessarily the order they came out.
CLOAK AND DAGGER for example (number 34) is in the June 1988 marvel bullpen checklist.
The O'Neil/Kaluta THE SHADOW graphic novel (number 35) is in the May 1988 bullpen checklist. So despite being numerically after 34, it was actually released before 34. I think they were assigned numbers as they were editorially assigned to be produced, and released when completed, but on many occasions not in numerical order.



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#1230091 - Mon Oct 28 2019 10:02 PM Re: Marvel Graphic Novel series, 1981-1992 [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
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Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21364
Loc: A glorious bold new America



Some titles it's hard to find the series. Jack Kirby's NEW GODS series is filed under THE NEW GODS (under T).



Similarly, the Graphic novels on the DC side.
Instead of DC SCIENCE FICTION GRAPHIC NOVEL, it's categorized under SCIENCE FICTION GRAPHIC NOVEL (under S). But I wanted to include the DC graphic novels to compare with the Marvel ones:

https://readcomiconline.to/Comic/Science-Fiction-Graphic-Novel/Issue-5?id=131562

The first four are, my opinion, disappointing.

Number 5 is DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND by Harlan Ellison, with art by Marshall Rogers. It adapts the screenplay, rather than the televised episode. With some differences, including the girl in the story portrayed as hispanic, as Ellison originally intended. The network executives in 1964 were uncomfortable with a hispanic character, and selected a blonde european actress to play the televised role.
If you want more of the Earth/Kyben series of stories by Ellison, Ken Steacy adapted a number of them in EPIC ILLUSTRATED 4 ("Sleeping Dogs"), 6 ("Life Hutch"), and 11 ("Run For the Stars"), all collected and fully colored in the graphic novel NIGHT AND THE ENEMY in 1987, published by Comico.

Graphic Novel Number 6, THE MAGIC GOES AWAY, adapting Larry Niven, by Paul Kupperberg and Jan Duursema, has nice art, but to me looks like a Conan story.

Issue 7, SANDKINGS, is based on the award-winning short story by George R R Martin, adapted by Pat Brodeick and Neal McPheaters. I frankly enjoyed the original text story that I read in a Nebula winners "best of the year" sf paperback collection years prior, and before that in OMNI maagazine. I like Broderick a lot, but his style is blunted by Neal McPheaters, who unfortunately was the weak link in most of the graphic novels in this series.

But these last 3 s-f graphic novels were an improvement over the first 4 in the series.



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#1230093 - Mon Oct 28 2019 10:38 PM Re: Marvel Graphic Novel series, 1981-1992 [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21364
Loc: A glorious bold new America



Here are the others, that appear where you'd expect them, under DC GRAPHIC NOVEL
https://readcomiconline.to/Comic/DC-Graphic-Novel


Like many of the Marvel graphic novels, the DC competition suffer from poor and garish coloring. But that's in addition to bad storytelling on the DC side. Even the Kirby HUNGER DOGS story (issue 4) was, I thought, truly awful.

Likewise issue 7 by Alex Nino, SPACE CLUSTERS is a surprising disappointment. In story, art, coloring, across the board, just bad. I think at that point around 1984-1986, at both Marvel and DC, most of what they were publishing was regular comics, and I think some of the colorists and editors, either new to comics or new to offset printing, didn't know how to properly color stuff to make it look good in the graphic novel format.

Some examples of truly horrible coloring on the Marvel Graphic Novel series include VOID INDIGO (Marvel Graphic Novel 11), SHE-HULK (18), CONAN: THE QUEEN OF ACHERON (19), and GREENBERG THE VAMPIRE (20). But based on the fact the earlier ones in 1-7 in particular looked fantastic, I wonder what went so wrong in these and many later Marvel graphic novels. And on the DC side as well. There was certainly an early standard of high quality, for later colorists to follow, but somehow they didn't. I think possibly the good and experienced colorists had moved on to other projects, and their replacements didn't have the same experience to make the new graphic novels look as nice.





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#1230094 - Mon Oct 28 2019 10:40 PM Re: Marvel Graphic Novel series, 1981-1992 [Re: Wonder Boy]
the G-man
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I thought the coloring in. Void Indigo and Greenberg at least was intended to be stramge and avant guard.

Fun fact. Void indigo started out as a rejected pitch for a Hawkman miniseries at DC

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#1230095 - Mon Oct 28 2019 10:44 PM Re: Marvel Graphic Novel series, 1981-1992 [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21364
Loc: A glorious bold new America





The First Comics line of graphic novels was of consistent high quality.
https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?SeriesID=13453961

Although a number of them were reprints of previous comics format material, reproduced in collected form in a higher quality format. For example AMERICAN FLAGG, JON SABLE, ELRIC, and BADGER. While nice looking and good stories, that's half First Graphic Novel series, right there.

Again, if they're available at 12comic to read free on line, I didn't have an easy time finding them.


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#1230096 - Tue Oct 29 2019 12:06 AM Re: Marvel Graphic Novel series, 1981-1992 [Re: Wonder Boy]
Wonder Boy
Online   content brutally Kamphausened

Registered: Wed Sep 12 2001
Posts: 21364
Loc: A glorious bold new America



Oddly, I couldn't find a series category for the Eclipse graphic novels at either 12comic, mycomicshop, or even comics.org !

In the Overstreet Guide, they're categorized under ECLIPSE GRAPHIC ALBUM SERIES.

They are

1. SABRE (1978, McGregor/Gulacy, multiple later editions. b & w)
2. NIGHT MUSIC (Nov 1979, Craig Russell b & w)
3. DETECTIVES INC. (May 1980, McGregor/Rogers b & w)
4. STEWART THE RAT (1980, Gerber/Colan b & w)
5. THE PRICE (Oct 1981, Starlin, b & w. Reprinted in color as DREASTAR ANNUAL 1, 1983)
6. I AM COYOTE (Nov 1984, Englehart/Rogers, full color, reprinting the serialized series from ECLIPSE MAGAZINE 1-8, orginally in b & w)
7. THE ROCKETEER, Dave Stevens (Sept 1985)
8. THE ROCKETEER, reprint, in third edition, 1991
9. ZORRO IN OLD CALIFORNIA, 1986, reprinted from European graphic novel
10. SOMERSET HOLMES, Bruce Jones and Brent Anderson, 1986, reprinting the six-issue comic series from 1982-1984, full color.
11. FLOYD FARLAND, Chris Ware 1987 b & w, hard to find!
12. SILVERHEELS, Bruce Jones, Scott Hampton, 1987 full color
13. THE SISTERHOOD OF STEEL, Christy Marx, Peter Ledger 1987 full color
14. SAMURAI, SON OF DEATH, 1987, Sharman Divono, Hiroshi Hiroto, b & w.
15. TWISTED TALES, Bruce Jones, other artists, Nov 1987
16. AIR FIGHTERS CLASSICS 1, Jan 1988, reprints from golden age AIRBOY COMICS.
17. VALKYRIE, PRISONER OF THE PAST Dixon, Gulacy/Blyberg, Dec 1987, reprints VALKYRIE 1-3
18. AIR FIGHTERS CLASSICS 2, Feb 1988 reprints from golden age AIRBOY COMICS.
19. SCOUT: THE FOUR MONSTERS Tim Truman, 1988, r SCOUT comic series 1-7
20. AIR FIGHTERS CLASSICS 3, Mar 1988 reprints from golden age AIRBOY COMICS.
21. XYR (multiple ending comic) Ben Dunn, Giacoia/Mooney 1988 b & w
22. ALIEN WORLDS graphic novel, Bruce Jones anthology, May 1988
23. AIR FIGHTERS CLASSICS 4, 1988 reprints from golden age AIRBOY COMICS.
24. HEARTBREAK COMICS, David Boswell, May 1988, b & w
25. ZORRO, Alex Toth, vol 1. b & w
26. ZORRO, Alex Toth, vol 2. b & w
27. FAST FICTION: SHE July 1988 (reprint of FAST FICTION 3, 1949)
28. MIRACLEMAN, BOOK 1 Alan Moore, Gary Leach, Alan Davis (reprints MIRACLEMAN comic 1-5. Books 2-4 not part of Elclise Graphic Album series, but linked here)
29. REAL LOVE: THE BEST OF SIMON AND KIRBY ROMANCE COMICS Simon & Kirby, Oct 1988
30. BROUGHT TO LIGHT, Alan Moore, Bill Sienkiewicz, 1989
31. PIGEONS FROM HELL, Robert E Howard, Scott Hampton, Nov 1988


Below are the ones available online to read.

I don't know why these are so damn hard to find, even indexed. Some of them rank among my favorites from the era, including:

SABRE (reprinted as issues 1 and 2 of the 1982 comic series)
NIGHT MUSIC ( reprinted, in 1985 comic, 1 and 2, in color)
DETECTIVES INC. (here reprinted in color, 1985, 2 issues)
THE PRICE (reprinted in color as DREADSTAR ANNUAL 1)
I AM COYOTE
THE ROCKETEER ( later version, published by IDW, with more material than Eclipse graphic novel.)
SILVERHEELS
PIGEONS FROM HELL
BROUGHT TO LIGHT

In the latter half, there's a bunch of them from the complere Eclipse list I've never seen, but many I'm familiar with are well worth checking out. Great art and stories, on a par with the best stuff from Marvel's graphic novel line.

They're not that rare, but the way they're categorized makes them harder to find than they should be. A good percentage of them in the latter haalf are uninteresting reprint material, in a black and white format (AIR FIGHTERS COMICS) that narrows popular appeal, very avant-garde, or just plain bad. The FLOYD FARLAND one I understand is early work by Chris Ware that apparently embarasses him, and he destroys every copy he can get his hands on.



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