Monday, December 3, 2012

The Most Jarring Creative Changes of the Marvel 1980s

Here's a chronological list of some of the most jarring changes in creative teams from the 1980s. Thoughts?
  • 1981 - Bill Sienkiewcz replaced by John Byrne on The Fantastic Four. Sienkiewicz was still stuck in his Adams-phase and this change lead to one of the greatest runs on the 1980s.
  • 1981 - John Byrne replaced by Dave Cockrum on The Uncanny X-Men. I never adjusted to Cockrum coming back onto the book, but I stuck with it was rewarded by Paul Smith.
  • 1983 - Paul Smith replaced by John Romita Jr. on The Uncanny X-Men. While I love Romita Jr.'s X-Men, Paul Smith's X-Men were pretty close to perfect with Smith's smooth and clean pencils.
  • 1984 - Bob McCloud/Sal Buscema replaced by Bill Sienkiewicz on The New Mutants. Wow, that was an incredible stylistic change. Bold and I think it really did pay off.
  • 1984 - Roger Stern/John Romita Jr. replaced by Tom DeFalco/Ron Frenz on The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • 1985 - John Byrne replaced by Bill Mantlo/Mike Mignola on Alpha Flight. Being a Canucklehead, I stuck with this title up until about issue #50, but the title never captured the magic that Byrne had with it.
  • 1985 - Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema replaced by John Byrne on The Incredible Hulk. I was thrilled with this change, but it would take only a half year before my heart was broken.
  • 1985 - Al Milgrom replaced by John Buscema on The Might Avengers. While I enjoyed Milgrom's art with Stern's story, Buscema was in another class and his work, along with Tom Palmer's inks were breathtaking.
  • 1986 - John Byrne replaced by Al Milgrom on The Incredible Hulk. One of the biggest and the most disappointing changes of the 1980s.
  • 1986 - Walt Simonson replaced by Sal Buscema on The Mighty Thor. Sal was an adequate replacement on the art chores, but he never captured the grandeur that Simonson could.
  • 1986 - John Byrne replaced by Steve Englehart and John Buscema on The Fantastic Four.
  • 1986 - Bob Layton/Jackson Guide replaced by Walt and Louise Simonson on X-Factor. I was so disappointed with this change as I really enjoyed Layton/Guice's take, but would come to warm up to the great work the Simonsons would deliver.
  • 1987 - Al Milgrom replaced by Peter David and Todd McFarlane on The Incredible Hulk. Another sudden change that came out of nowhere, but would also lead to the longest run for David on the Hulk for any writer.
  • 1987 - Walt Simonson/Sal Buscema replaced by Tom DeFalco/Ron Frenz on The Mighty Thor.
  • 1988 - Todd McFarlane replaced by Jeff Purves on The Incredible Hulk. 
  • 1989 - Steve Englehart/Al Milgrom replaced by John Byrne on West Coast Avengers. 
  • 1990 - Brett Blevins replaced by Rob Liefeld on The New Mutants.


  1. The first ones I thought of were Byrne off Alpha Flight and Byrne off Hulk. Pretty much whenever Byrne got replaced, the title suffered (although I didn't mind Cockrum coming back onto X-Men).

    I actually prefer Sal Buscema's art to Walt's (but I'm glad Walt was still writing). And Milgrom did a great job on Avengers art with Joe Sinnot's inking (Hulk was another story, see above re: Byrne replacements).

    Always enjoy these lists! Thanks very much,

    david p.

  2. Thanks for stopping by David. Glad you enjoyed it! Flipping through Cockrum's X-Men, I didn't realized how much I enjoyed his art which was inked by the underrated Bob Wiacek.

  3. Byrne's departure from the FF was more jarring than his leaving the X-men because I'd started buying FF when he took over. I was on that run from the beginning, I only started collecting X-men the last year of Claremont/Byrne/Austin. Even though it was announced a while earlier, it was still upsetting to my younger self to pick up that first issue drawn by Jerry Ordway and Al Gordon. I wish Byrne had been able to stick around and finish the last story.

    It's funny to go back an look at the the Moench/Sienkiewcz/Sinnott issues that proceeded Byrne. Sinnott's inks looked good in FF for years over various pencilers (John & Sal Buscema, Perez, Pollard), but I thought he made Sienkiewcz's "Adams" pencils look terrible.

    Speaking of Sienkiewcz, I wasn't crazy about him taking over New Mutants. It was quite a departure from the more conventional pencils of McLeod and Buscema. But I love it today. I love the art, I'm still not crazy about the "Demon Bear" saga.

  4. Here's an honorable mention: The last issue of Miller/Mazuchelli's "Born Again" in Daredevil to Gruenwald/Ditko's one-off Madcap story (DD #234).

    It wasn't a terrible issue, but boy, by comparison, you knew the good times were over.

  5. I was gutted when Alan Davis was replaced as regular artist after only 7 or 8 isues of Excalibur (can't even remember by who but it was a poor choice)!

  6. There was some good stuff in Byrne's WCA but I think he tried take some fun out of characters in the name of drama. Yes Scarlett Witch and Vision in particular

  7. Hey Anonymous, it took awhile to get a solid regular artist on Daredevil after Mazzuchelli, wasn't until DD#250 with Romita jr.

    Hey Anonymous, I was sooo disappointed that Davis couldn't keep up with Excalibur. The crossovers and the bi-weekly schedule was too much for him to deliver quality art. Although a few years later, he would come back for a great run.

    Hey Sean, I was so disappointed with the way Byrne dealt with the Vision. It was a brutal turn of events that I wished he could have recovered from during Byrne's run. How could the Vision not have a backup! :)

  8. When Byrne left the X-Men and Cockrum came back, it was a disappointment, as not only was his work a let-down from Byrne, Dave also wasn't drawing as well as he did on his first tenure on the title (which was excellent work).

    But then Paul Smith came on board and I was in heaven.

    John Romita JR coming to the title nearly got me to drop it.
    It was just a serious step down from Smith's perfect pencils - BUT, Smith went to DOCTOR STRANGE, so... WIN!
    (although, his was an all-too brief stint on Dr. Strange)

    As a side note, I did stick with X-Men up until the 1990's when guys like Marc Silvestri and Wilce Portacio finally drove me screaming from the title. (So, I missed out on Jim Lee's excellent beginnings. Lee brought me back for awhile, but then it just got to be too much to endure with team-shifts and creative differences and insane continuity. lol)

    Also mark me as one who thought Byrne on ANY marvel title meant a serious uptick in quality.

    When he left FF and Ordway came on board I was caught flat-footed and was unhappy for months. It took awhile for me to warm up to non-Byrne FF but I think I held out awhile.

    When Simonson came on board, it was another step down (for me).
    Some issues were good (the issue with the battle with Reed and Doom utilizing time-jumps was inspired!), but others, not up to Walt's THOR standard.

    And lastly, mark me as one who LOVED Byrne's darker take on West Coast Avengers. I thought "white" Vision was a great direction, and "love-triangle Wonder-Man" was fabulously dickish.
    I remember thinking he was SUCH a jerk, but then I totally understood his reasoning.
    It was all complex, melodramatic, soap-opera cheese.

    The darkening of Scarlet Witch was a favorite arc at the time, and I was so frustrated when it ended abruptly with Byrne's leaving the title.

    Damn... I can't help but think of 80's comics and feel the rush of why I love these things so much.

    Good thing your site is around to keep it all alive!

  9. Thanks for sharing ~P~. Yes, I too was disappointed by Byrne's abrupt departure from Avengers West Coast.



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