Thursday, 29 October 2009

70 Years of Marvel - 1992

1992 started out as a good year for Marvel. They had a bunch of superstar artists working on their biggest X-Books: Whilce Portacio on Uncanny X-Men, Jim Lee on the Adjectiveless X-Men, and of course, Rob Liefeld on X-Force. Over in the Spider-Books, Erik Larsen had just taken over the writing and drawing on Peter Parker: Spider-Man, replacing Todd McFarlane, who'd gone off in a bit of a strop. They even had a successful relaunch of Guardians of the Galaxy, produced by Jim Valentino. Good times, eh?

It wouldn't last. Turns out that strop that Todd was having was a bit more serious than expected. Rather than going over to DC, or coming back, cap in hand, McFarlane persuaded Portacio, Lee, Leifeld, Larsen and Valentino to go start up their own company with him. Thus was Image Comics born. And while the Image boy's departures did allow new talent like Andy Kubert to get a regular artistic gig, there wouldn't be the superstar mentality of the early 1990s for a good long time.

1992 also saw the Rise of the Midnight Sons, in which Marvel decided to make a group out of all of its darker books. Since, at that point, it only actually had one "darker" book - Ghost Rider - that meant launching a whole line of new books:
Darkhold: Pages From The Book Of Sins - in which dark forces take an ancient grimoire, cut it up, and give pages out of it to unsuspecting bystanders, unleashing all manner of evil.
Spirits of Vengeance - a team-up book between the 1970s Ghost Rider and his 1990s replacement.
Morbius The Living Vampire - the not-quite-a-vampire occasional Spider-Man foe.
Nightstalkers - former Tomb Of Dracula stalwarts, Hannibal King, Frank Drake, and Blade, who teamed up to fight evil. Imagine Angel Investigations, but with less hair product.
Eventually, Dr Strange would be brought into the Midnight Sons fold, but by that time, (1994), the line was dying on its arse, and Marvel would be moving onto its next good idea. More on that later.

As if that wasn't enough, 1992 was also the year in which Tony Stark constructed what would non-ironically be called the War Machine armour. Golly.

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