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Silver Age elements that did not age well

 
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 12:45 am    Post subject: Silver Age elements that did not age well Reply with quote

We all know Miller really changed Daredevil (though DD was becoming a darker title over time). So what Silver Age elements didn't age very well and were better off being left in the 60s?

I think the biggest thing is half of DD's Silver Age rogues gallery, guys like Stilt-Man, Leap-Frog and Matador didn't make it out of the Silver Age with their dignity.

Though it seems like guys like Gladiator, Mr. Fear, Mr. Hyde, Owl and Purple Man found places for themselves in the modern age of comics, they seem to have aged well.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

People always criticize his rogues, so I'll focus on something else. To me, the biggest thing that's aged is the idea of Matt Murdock, master of everything. He invents gadgets, he flies planes, he feels other people's hair color and dyes his hair that way. All that comes off as extremely goofy. There's also the time he brought acid with him to destroy his suit.
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LightningandIce
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^This. Also, cheesy dialogue, one dimensional characters, and faking death. Although that still happens from time to time.
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll also add a very specific one, but it's contemplating or discussing marriage before you even seem to be dating.
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do think there were tiers in the Silver Age comics and the tiers go as follows:

Tier 1: Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four

Tier 2: Everything else.

Stan Lee was writing all the titles back then and he really put his A game into Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, those are the two titles that needed the least changes from the Silver Age. Heck trying to make Spidey "Darker and Edgier" back in the early 90s, almost ruined him.

Titles like Daredevil, Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, etc really hit their strides with later creators. Spider-Man and the FF hit their strides right away.

Compare Spider-Man Annual 1 to Daredevil Annual 1 (the DD annual essentially borrowed the basic plot from the Spidey annual.) The Spider-Man Annual had Spidey face off against 6 foes that would be iconic in one or another, the DD annual had DD face off against one Spider-Man villain, one DD villain who would become iconic for different reasons later and 3 complete losers.
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Dragonbat
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cheesy dialogue was mentioned. I'm not sure whether that encompasses 60s and 70s slang, but if not, I'd like to include it. It really grates on me. And to my born-in-1972 ears, it reads like older people who don't use the phrases trying to imitate the way they THINK younger people talk, if the only time they hear younger people talk is on prime time sitcoms. (Imagine if they'd assumed Nick from Family Ties was an accurate representation of typical teens and we had panel after panel of youth just saying "Ay" to each other...)

And even if it was on-point at the time it was written... no, it has NOT aged well.
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting question, is there any way someone as silly as Stilt-Man could be made to fit as a serious character in the modern era or does he only work as comic relief in the modern era of comics?

Are some Silver Age villains like Owl, Purple Man and Mr. Fear, simply better concepts then Leap-Frog, Matador and Stilt-Man?
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Dayle88
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Overlord wrote:
Interesting question, is there any way someone as silly as Stilt-Man could be made to fit as a serious character in the modern era or does he only work as comic relief in the modern era of comics?

Are some Silver Age villains like Owl, Purple Man and Mr. Fear, simply better concepts then Leap-Frog, Matador and Stilt-Man?


I really think it's as simple as some were good and the others were bad like you said. They never held back in those days, they had a concept and ran with it so the bad from those times are that much cheesier than when you see a bad villain today.

From what I've read a bad villain in the 60's comes across cheesy and ridiculous and a bad villain today comes across as boring.
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dayle88 wrote:
The Overlord wrote:
Interesting question, is there any way someone as silly as Stilt-Man could be made to fit as a serious character in the modern era or does he only work as comic relief in the modern era of comics?

Are some Silver Age villains like Owl, Purple Man and Mr. Fear, simply better concepts then Leap-Frog, Matador and Stilt-Man?


I really think it's as simple as some were good and the others were bad like you said. They never held back in those days, they had a concept and ran with it so the bad from those times are that much cheesier than when you see a bad villain today.

From what I've read a bad villain in the 60's comes across cheesy and ridiculous and a bad villain today comes across as boring.


I would agree with that, Stilt-Man is bad, but is not forgettable like many of today's bad villains.

I feel like in the Silver Age they were working without a net and they just threw everything at the wall and saw what stuck. For every Dr. Doom there was a Stilt-Man back then.

Not mention some of the lame villains back were lame due to execution or social morals at the time didn't allow you explore the full implications of a character. Serial Killers and rapists wouldn't have been approved by the comics code. Several lame or just bland villains became much more sympathetic or creepy or just more compelling under a later writer's pen.

I did like what Bendis did with Leap-Frog II, but he only works as a one shot character, Matador II created by Brubaker had potential, but went no where. I think Stilt-Man is rather hopeless, not only does he not work as a serious DD villain post Miller, he doesn't work as a serious villain anywhere.
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Overlord wrote:


Titles like Daredevil, Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, etc really hit their strides with later creators. Spider-Man and the FF hit their strides right away.


Emm, I would disagree with portions of that list.

For one thing, myself, I would rank Lee & Kirby's run on Thor right up there with Spidey and FF. Lee was having a blast writing, establishing the rocky father/son relationship between Thor and Odin while Kirby was delivering some outstanding action and fight scenes.

As for Iron Man And Cap, Lee was doing okay with both of them. My only problem with Cap was the over-focus on Steve being out of time now, seems like he was whining more and more with every issue. But I think one problem that may have held them back was their early appearances in double-feature titles. You only had so much space to deliver a quality story.

X-Men, on the other hand, I think, started off strong. In the first issue alone, you have the premiere of one of Marvel's greatest villains, Magneto. Later on, you have the first appearances of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Juggernaut, the Sentinels; elements that Claremont would later use to build the X-empire, but which first saw light here.

Another overlooked run, one that may be the equal of Spidey, is Lee & Ditko's Dr. Strange work.


My biggest Silver Age quibble is the depiction of women. They're either overly love-struck (Karen Page), semi-damsels in distress (Jane Foster) or defer to their male leads in resolving the crisis at hand (Susan Storm). I get that it's a sign of societal norms for that time but still, it's rather cheesy and somewhat humiliating to read at some points today.
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The Overlord
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Darkdevil wrote:
The Overlord wrote:


Titles like Daredevil, Hulk, X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, etc really hit their strides with later creators. Spider-Man and the FF hit their strides right away.


Emm, I would disagree with portions of that list.

For one thing, myself, I would rank Lee & Kirby's run on Thor right up there with Spidey and FF. Lee was having a blast writing, establishing the rocky father/son relationship between Thor and Odin while Kirby was delivering some outstanding action and fight scenes.

As for Iron Man And Cap, Lee was doing okay with both of them. My only problem with Cap was the over-focus on Steve being out of time now, seems like he was whining more and more with every issue. But I think one problem that may have held them back was their early appearances in double-feature titles. You only had so much space to deliver a quality story.

X-Men, on the other hand, I think, started off strong. In the first issue alone, you have the premiere of one of Marvel's greatest villains, Magneto. Later on, you have the first appearances of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Juggernaut, the Sentinels; elements that Claremont would later use to build the X-empire, but which first saw light here.

Another overlooked run, one that may be the equal of Spidey, is Lee & Ditko's Dr. Strange work.


My biggest Silver Age quibble is the depiction of women. They're either overly love-struck (Karen Page), semi-damsels in distress (Jane Foster) or defer to their male leads in resolving the crisis at hand (Susan Storm). I get that it's a sign of societal norms for that time but still, it's rather cheesy and somewhat humiliating to read at some points today.


Well I'm going to respectfully disagree with you here, because I felt with a lot of these characters only gained the elements that made them iconic under later writers.

With Cap, sure Stan Lee introduced the Man out of Time aspect, but Englehart was the one who first pitted Cap against elements of the US governemnt and had him question his government's actions and this led to Cap becoming a man who serves his country's ideals, not its government's interests. This what became the back bone of the Winter Solider movie. Sure Stan Lee did a good job with Cap, but Englehart is the one who took Cap to the next level, so yeah, I think Englehart made the modern Cap we all know today.

As for the X-Men, you can make the same argument about DD, that Stan Lee introduced some solid concepts and premsie, but it was another writer who took those concepts and premises and ran with them. Claremont introduced a ton of new characters to the X-Men, turned them from generic super heroes to people fighting for the civil rights of an oppressed group and radically changed certain characters (I would argue Claremont changed Magneto more then Miller changed Kingpin). The X-Men became a whole different beast under CLaremont, just like DD became a whole different beast under Miller.

Now I don't now much about Thor, but here is a good question, which was the definitive run on Thor, Stan Lee or Walt Simonson?

I do stand by my opinion, I found that Lee poured most of his creative energy into Spidey and the FF (those were the two titles that changed the least since the Silver Age, IMO) while other writers defined most of the other characters later on. I'm not a Dr. strange fan, so I will take your word it on that Stan Lee had one of the best runs on the character.
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RGdesigner
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Overlord nails it.
Stan Lee may have created all these characters we love, but other much better writers made them great and iconic. Other than a very, very few exceptions, the Silver Age of comics was basically "Lets throw **** against the wall and see what sticks."
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Mike Murdock
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The book club has issue #7 this week if people want to comment on that one specifically when it comes to this topic.
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Darkdevil
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Overlord wrote:


I do stand by my opinion, I found that Lee poured most of his creative energy into Spidey and the FF (those were the two titles that changed the least since the Silver Age, IMO) while other writers defined most of the other characters later on.


Well, I think you're still underestimating the value and worth of Lee's contributions. Yes, later writers did expand and explore certain characters, helping to establish their iconic versions we now accept. But more often than not, they used themes and elements created by Lee in doing so. Would their work have been as successful (or accepted) if they hadn't used Lee's concepts?

For example, Claremont did broaden and expand Magneto's character but Claremont didn't create him. Lee created the template and background that Claremont so successfully mined for the unique villain we have today.

Englehart's stories of Cap facing supreme governmental corruption works better with Lee's Man Out of Time theme because it enhances the true shock value of the reveal; that such deep corruption could reach such a high level of the government seems almost unfathomable to someone from Steve's era.

Yes, Lee dropped the ball with Silver Age DD, but to suggest that he did so for nearly every other Marvel title and character seems unfair (and a bit of a stretch) to me.

Then there's the flip point to your argument. You seemingly imply that FF and Spidey reached some form of pinnacle during the Silver Age. Are you therefore discounting the work of later writers on those titles in their efforts (and successes) in expanding those titles as well?

Such creators as Wein, Wolfman, Thomas helped further expand and strengthen the family dynamic of the FF. Bryne (whose run I equate right up there with Lee & Kirby's) modernized and updated Sue's image, molding her into an intelligent, capable leader in her own right and quite possibly the most powerful member of the team. A far cry from the semi-sterotypical version of a woman of the 60s that is seen in Lee's run.

As for Spidey, the death of Gwen Stacy ranks right up there with the death on Uncle Ben, all courtesy of Gerry Conway. Claremont, Stern, Michilenie, David, DeMatteis, all the way up to today with Dan Slott, they've all helped further mold and fashion the iconic wall-crawler we enjoy now. (And while you may dismiss the 90s, there's no denying the influence that McFarlane had on the character).

So I stand by my opinion that despite some cultural elements indicative of the 60s, Lee, with the help of certain artists, created a solid, stable foundation of the Marvel Universe across the board. A foundation that later writers used to build those characters up further and farther than perhaps even Lee himself never envisioned.
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