The Incredible Hulk 300 (October 1984)


I don’t think I’ve ever read such an overwritten comic book. Mantlo’s endless expository narration is, no pun intended, incredible. It’s not well-written narration–it does get better after a while, once he’s done introducing guest stars (I’m pretty sure he retcons out Daredevil getting doused in radioactive goo).

The story–if the issue has a story–is the Hulk going nuts and destroying New York City and everyone trying to stop him. It ends with Dr. Strange exiling him to live between worlds… or somewhere along those lines. It’s not an all action issue in the modern sense, since those read in four minutes at the most. With Mantlo’s narration, this issue is a time commitment.

Luckily, there’s Sal Buscema to pull it together. There’s occasional awkwardness in the art, but Buscema’s design–his panel composition–is wondrous. This comic book moves; with that narration, it has to.


Days of Rage!; writer, Bill Mantlo; penciller, Sal Buscema; inkers, Gerry Talaoc, Alan Kupperberg and Danny Bulanadi; colorist, Bob Sharen; letterers, Jim Novak and Janice Chiang; editors, Jim Massara and Carl Potts; publisher, Marvel Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man 253 (June 1984)


Where to start… I’m tempted to start with Rick Leonardi, who comes up with these great layered panels (or maybe Bill Anderson inked them to make them layered), but simply cannot keep any consistency when drawing people. Maybe he does all right when he’s got football helmets on them–it’s a football corruption story, luckily Peter was assigned to the sports department this issue.

DeFalco manages to overwrite and underwrite at the same time. He’s pushing everything he can into the issue to get an emotional response–the football player throwing games, his disappointed kid brother, Aunt May being mad at Peter for dropping out of college. He even ends the issue with Peter being compared to the football player, they’re both throwing it all away.

But there’s almost no Spider-Man stuff in the issue. Some swinging around, some black costume stuff. There’s no focus on the character though.


By Myself Betrayed!; writer, Tom DeFalco; penciller, Rick Leonardi; inker, Bill Anderson; colorist, Glynis Wein; letterer, Joe Rosen; editors, Bob DeNatale and Danny Fingeroth; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Detective Comics 522 (January 1983)


Starting the issue, I kept thinking Conway had already done a Batman versus the abominable snowman issue. Then I slowly came to realize it was a sequel to that issue I had already read. Maybe the Irv Novick art threw me off. Even with Marcos inking him, the art is painfully mediocre.

The story’s kind of a bore–Batman in China (he speaks Chinese)–and Conway’s forcing some division with Dick (to prepare for a new Robin, I think). At least the Vicki Vale stuff is interesting–I mean, if Bruce is lying to her about who he is (being the bored playboy), why does he care?

The actual story about the mutant snow villain (think Iceman mixed with Sabretooth) meanders but never offends.

Then there’s the Green Arrow backup… which is sillier than it is anything else. Ollie gets a new sidekick. Again, Von Eeden art’s is disappointingly unambitious.


Snow Blind; writer, Gerry Conway; penciller, Irv Novick; inker, Pablo Marcos; colorist, Adrienne Roy; letterer, Ben Oda. Automatic Pirate!; writer, Joey Cavalieri; artist, Trevor von Eeden; colorist, Tom Ziuko; letterer, John Costanza. Editors, Nicola Cuti and Len Wein; publisher, DC Comics.

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