What's So Bad About 1990s Comics

I've been following the thread here: Is The 90s The Worst Era Of Comics. And I think after much due consideration I strongly disagree with the idea that the 1990s were a terrible time for comics. Yes the 90s saw the rise of the Ed Wood of comics, Rob Liefeld, yes the comics market imploded in on itself forcing a lot of good but marginal small companies out of business. However I think this list exemplifies the fact that for a comics fan and longtime reader. It was a pretty good time to be into the greatest hobby in the history of mankind.

List items

  • 1990 Peter Milligan takes on the old Steve Ditko character Shade the Changing Man and singlehandedly proves that you can write great stories even if you are really weird.

  • 1990 Neil Gaiman provides a wonderful framing for the mystical side of the DC universe and sets up his character Tim Hunter as the Harry Potter of the DC universe, long before J.K. Rowling's literary phenomenon. *Special thanks to cbishop for the correction :)*

  • 1990 John Ostrander and Timothy Truman reteam for a fresh and fantastic take on DC's Hawkman character, proving that lightning can indeed strike twice.

  • 1990 John Byrne starts one of the most underrated series Marvel ever produced, establishing Namor as Marvel's first mutant and giving the character a much needed facelift.

  • 1990 Marvel Epic reprints Mark Schultz's excellent Xenozoic Tales, bringing it to a much wider audience.

  • 1990 Marvel Epic reprints Moebius' seminal work The Airtight Garage, bringing it to a much wider audience.

  • 1990 Howard Chaykin teams with Mike Mignola to bring Fritz Lieber's sword and sorcery duo to comics with stellar results.

  • 1990 Arthur Suydam continues the adventures of his excellent post-apocalyptic series. Again for Marvel Epic.

  • 1990 Jim Starlin starts his epic galaxy spanning saga at the zenith of his skill set.

  • 1990 Neil Gaiman and Mark Buckingham take over Miracleman from Alan Moore and John Totleben, continuing the tradition of masterful storytelling on this book.

  • 1990 Alan Moore teams with Bill Sienkiewicz on what proves to be an excellent if short lived series.

  • 1990 Frank Miller teams with superstar artist Dave Gibbons to bring Martha Washington to life. An excellent series by all standards.

  • 1990 Miller teams with superstar artist Geof Darrow for an ultra violent story with heart.

  • 1990 Grant Morrison creates arguably the coolest super hero concepts ever, in the pages of his excellent Doom Partol series for DC.

  • 1990 Neil Gaiman begins his second year of The Sandman with a series of excellent short stories before diving into his seminal Season of the Mists storyline.

  • 1990 Grant Morrison's excellent Doom Patrol is in full swing.

  • 1991 Jeff Smith debuts his exceptional all ages comic Bone.

  • 1991 Barry Windsor Smith begins his fantastic story arc detailing a glimpse into the early life of Wolverine.

  • 1991 Seth creates his best work to date with a series of short stories about how we deal with loss and loneliness.

  • 1991 Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy inject a shot of adrenaline into the Star Wars expanded universe with stellar results.

  • 1991 Chris Claremont and Jim Lee bring a series that gives power and glory to the X-Men mythology.

  • 1991 Jim Starlin continues his excellent outer space odyssey.

  • 1991 Valiant Comics comes on the scene and promptly kicks Jim Shooter to the curb, thereby guaranteeing many years of creative excellence.

  • 1991 Frank Miller's noir opus Sin City begins in the pages of Dark Horse Presents.

  • 1991 One of the most unique and interesting characters in Marvel's stable makes her debut in Marvel Super Heroes 8.

  • 1992 John Byrne bows his first creator owned project for Dark Horse.

  • 1992 Renee Montoya premieres in Batman, jumping the gun on her premiere in Batman TAS for which she was initially created.

  • 1992 James Rhodes debuts as War Machine in the pages of Iron Man.

  • 1992 Image Comics comes on the scene, signaling the death knell of creator's shoddy treatment by the big two publishers.

  • 1992 Oh Yeah, and Maus wins the Pulitzer Prize, bitches!

  • 1993 Evan Dorkin premieres his great humor series with Slave Labor Graphics.

  • 1993 The book that kept many a comics store afloat during the next year's troubles. Yes it was a big silly non-event, but it actually was a good story.

  • 1993 Harley Quinn crosses over from Batman TAS and debuts in Batman Adventures 12

  • 1993 Jim Starlin's massive cosmic extravaganza continues.

  • 1993 Sam Kieth takes full advantage of Image's production department with his fantastic creator owned series.

  • 1993 Neil Gaiman creates Angela in Spawn 9.

  • 1993 A Deadpool series with no Rob Leifeld anywhere close to it.

  • 1993 Neil Gaiman brings his fascinating take on death to her own mini series.

  • 1993 James Robinson hits all the right marks with this mini series detailing what might have been DC's past.

  • 1993 Topps Comics debuts.

  • 1993 Bongo Comics debuts bringing Mat Groening's biting sense of humor to comics in a big way.

  • 1993 DC creates its Vertigo imprint, moving The Sandman, Hellblazer, Swamp Thing and Doom Patrol over under one focused umbrella with much more goodness to come.

  • 1993 The Summer Offensive begins and Grant Morrison and Mark Millar take over 2000 AD Magazine. The British staple suddenly becomes fun again.

  • 1993 Frank Miller returns to his roots with the excellent Fall From Grace storyline.

  • 1993 Stephen Platt briefly revitalizes Moon Knight by doing McFarlane better than McFarlane.

  • 1993 Hellboy arrives in the pages of John Byrne's Next Men.

  • 1993 Image lures Alan Moore back into mainstream comics work.

  • 1994 Years of bad business practices and market glut finally implode the comics market, cutting away a lot of bad retailers and driving off comics speculators. Things are bad for the comics marketplace and it fluctuates heavily, teetering on the edge of the abyss for the next few years. *And please don't comment that Marvel's Death character wasn't created in the 90s. I know that, she's merely here as metaphor.*

  • 1994 To put a bit of positive spin on a bad time for comics, the market implosion forced the survivors to tighten up their retailing practices, and it forced the big two to clean house and re-focus on quality over quantity. Obviously this had varying degrees of success. But in the long run it would make the rest of the decade great for comics readers. *The same metaphor rules apply to this Death as well. She's here as a more positive spin on a bad deal.*

  • 1994 Billy Tucci debuts Crusade Comics which flourishes despite the bleak comics market.

  • 1994 Billy Tucci's creator owned series Shi defies the "bad girl" trend by being both well rendered and readable.

  • 1994 David Mack takes a page from Billy Tucci's work ethic and turns out an excellent story with his series, Kabuki.

  • 1994 The one book every comics fan should read proves conclusively that Scott McCloud really does know what he's talking about.

  • 1994 Lobdell and Baccalo hit the ground running with their X-Men spinoff. The book is great fun and proves conclusively that the franchise isn't dead yet.

  • 1994 Busieck and Ross form the team supreme that brings out this masterwork.

  • 1994 Grant Morrison brings all his writing skills together to create his best work to date.

  • 1994 The Crow is released as a graphic novel in conjunction with the Alex Proyas Movie. O'Barr packs it with all sorts of extras, including a new coda, using the graphic novel format the way it should be used.

  • 1995 The Age of Apocalypse story arc starts in the X-books. Though I'm not a fan of the big stupid multi-book crossover stunt stories, this one kind of has all its' ducks in a row from the start and it proves to be a fantastically entertaining read.

  • 1995 Welcome to Astro City where Kurt Busiek will entertain you with great superhero stories for years to come.

  • 1995 Jerry Ordway brings the power and makes Captain Marvel fun again.

  • 1995 It's nearly impossible to describe all the awesome that is this book. Johnen Vasquez tells a story that crackles with energy and fun.

  • 1995 Grant Morrison comes to Marvel and nails it... and a lot of Skrulls as well.

  • 1995 Yes, Garth Ennis is a sick bastard responsible for one of the most twistedly hilarious scenes to ever set to paper (Special Uber Geek points to anyone who knows what I'm talking about.) However this series proved to be much more than simple shock and awe. It had heart and soul, fire and passion. Simply put, it rocked.

  • 1995 Alan Moore takes over Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.S. title and revitalizes the team with characters that are actually interesting.

  • 1995 David Lapham creates one of the finest works of fiction to grace the four colored page.

  • 1995 Jim Shooter's infant publishing house dies the quiet, lonely death it deserves.

  • 1996 Mark Waid decides that he too would like to work with Alex Ross and turns out a masterpiece of comics fiction.

  • 1996 Jeff Loeb and Tim Sale prove to be a formidable partnership with their take on Batman.

  • 1996 Garth Ennis proves he has a silly side as well and debuts Hitman with fabulous art by John McCrea.

  • 1996 Warren Ellis takes over Stormwatch, decides he hates it, kills off most of the team then proceeds to create something actually readable and entertaining.

  • 1996 Geezus! Finally!

  • 1996 Dean Motter lets his imagination run rampant and comes up with this great mini-series.

  • 1996 Steve Geppi's Diamond Comics Distribution buys out Capitol City Distribution, creating an illegal monopoly that persists to this day, but the buyout grants much needed stability to a fluctuating market. *Yes Matter Eater Lad is here strictly as metaphor.*

  • 1997 Grant Morrison rolls out the big guns and puts the Justice League back on the map.

  • 1997 One of the funniest comics in decades debuts at DC from the wacky minds of John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke.

  • 1997 Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning premiere a creative and intelligent series.

  • 1997 Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson drag Hunter S. Thompson into the world of cyberpunk and create magic.

  • 1997 Matt Wagner finally gets all his legal wrangling sorted and after years on hiatus, Mage finally comes back for another round.

  • 1997 Dark comedy abounds when Chris Priest and Mark Bright debut the world's worst super hero team.

  • 1997 Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley create the coolest twist ending in the history of comics, setting up a dynamic and wonderful series.

  • 1998 Ian Carney and Woodrow Phoenix ode to Saturday morning cartoons debuts.

  • 1998 Roman Dirge jumps the gun a little bit on the creepy and cute craze and debuts the cute little dead girl with poetry and heart.

  • 1998 Planetary is my absolute favorite comics series of all time. Warren Ellis and John Cassaday create a love letter to comics. This is meta-fiction at its' finest.

  • 1998 Frank Miller re-tells the legend of the 300 Spartans stand at Thermopoylae.

  • 1998 Busiek and Perez revitalize The Avengers.

  • 1998 Cameron Chase debuts in Batman 550, setting the stage for J.H. Williams III's upcoming series.

  • 1998 Johnson and JHW III bring it with Chase, a brilliant take on the DC superhero world.

  • 1998 Loeb and Sale bring their magic to the Superman mythos.

  • 1998 Scott McCloud comes back from teaching comics to prove he can still entertain.

  • 1998 Marvel rolls out its new mature readers imprint, and Joe Quesada starts down a path towards editor-in-chiefdom.

  • 1999 Brian Azarello debuts his action movie on paper with stellar results.

  • 1999 Alan Moore starts his own comics imprint and the comics world breathes a collective sigh of relief knowing that the next decade will be all right.

  • 1999 Moore and O'Neil's take on historical super heroes rocks it from the first issue.

  • 1999 Moore and Sprouse bring an homage to Doc Savage to the table with stellar results.

  • 1999 Moore and Ha mix superheroes with Hill Street Blues and capture lightning in a bottle.

  • 1999 Moore and JHW III attempt to do Wonder Woman correctly and end up transcending the series roots.

  • 1999 Ellis and Hitch begin the era of widescreen comics.

  • 1999 Loeb and Sale return to Batman for more excellent storytelling.

  • 1999 Alan Moore's Jack The Ripper series is first published in graphic novel form.

  • DOH!!! What follows is a lot of stuff I forgot the first time around. *Homer Simpson while here metaphorically, did indeed begin his comics life in the 90s.*