A few weeks ago Jon and I reviewed the Marvel Original Graphic Novel (OGN) God Loves, Man Kills and that got me thinking: What other OGN do I own? It turns out – quite a lot. At least 15 of them. I pulled one from the pile and felt compelled to review it for nostalgia and oddity reasons.
This week we are talking about Iron Man: Crash OGN. It is written and drawn by Mike Saenz and it came out in December of 1987. What makes this comic (or graphic novel) so unique is that is was all drawn on a computer – a Macintosh 2 computer. It is the first computer generated graphic novel. If you are not familiar with that computer, let me put it to you this way – imagine if you had to draw 72 pages in MS Paint? How great do you think it will look? It is a product of it’s time but the art has not held up that well over time. Here are some same pages…
As you can see, the main image is greatly detailed but the background are sparse – this is due to the limitations of the tools. This was also the first time the lettering was used. Comics now use computer generated lettering as the standard.
Also, here is a sample of Tony Stark explaining to the reader how he puts on his Iron Man suit…
There are 3 PAGES OF THIS!! WHY IS THERE 3 PAGES OF THIS?!! I just don’t get the reason we needed all this detail about the armor.
The story is very vanilla and very confusing. We talk about the plot points in the podcast.
Is Iron Man: Crash a good OGN? No. Do we recommend you read it? Yes. Why? Because it is a comic time capsule. It is heavily influenced by Cyberpunk culture and we count the many Cyberpunk tropes/cliches it uses. It is a vision of the future which is now stuck in the past. It let’s you know that if you don’t learn from history, you are then doomed to repeat it.
We are putting on our nostalgia glasses and looking back in time to the beginning of the 80s. Comic books stores were starting to gain popularity and the comic industry was going through a renaissance. Jim Shooter, Editor In Chief for Marvel during the 80s wanted to make comics that had mature themes (like religion, philosophy and politics among others) and could be sold through the direct market of the comics stores so that these comics would not have to go through the Comics Authority Code association. Through this idea came the Marvel imprint company called Epic Comics.
Jim appointed Archie Goodwin to be the editor of the Epic line of comics and that imprint put out some of the best comics that exist. Titles like:
Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Alien Legion, Dreadstar and original graphic novels like Iron Man: Crash.
This podcast comes in 2 parts: Episode 43 where Jon and I talk about why Epic Comics existed and we go over some of the earlier titles like the ones mentioned above.
Episode 44 – part 2 -This will post next week, Jon and I do a deeper dive in to 4 specific Epic miniseries.
Epic put out some great stuff and most of it can be bought in trade paperbacks. We hope that by listening to this podcast, we turn you on to some intelligent and well written comics.
Sorry for not putting a podcast out last week but I was on vacation and forgot to record one before hand. I will try not to make the same mistake twice. Jon is on vacation this week so I had to do the podcast on my own this week so I hope you like it.
I think I may still be in vacation mode because I say that it is the 25th podcast at the start and this is wrong. It is actually the 26th podcast!
This week I dive into my memory banks and talk about a comic that is all but forgotten – Marshal Law. Here is a copy of the first issue that I bought:
Looking at that cover – why wouldn’t you want to buy it! I loved this comic and I go over the many ways why this is a great book in the podcast.
I forgot to mention it, but this character was actually optioned as a movie back in the 1990’s but it went into production hell and has all but been forgotten at this point.
I am nostalgic for Marshal Law and feel that this character was a product of it’s time – leading the way for the anti-hero and being politically incorrect in it’s language and art. I don’t think a book like this would be able to be published today. It would cause too many trigger warnings and microaggressions.
If you don’t mind being offended a little and want a very good murder mystery with a super hero twist, I highly recommend picking up the collected 6 issue limited series.
I hope you like the podcast and Jon will be back with me next week.