This Week in Marvel: Hidden Comic Book Gems of the 1980s
Read Ryan & Lorraine’s Picks in Marvel Unlimited Today!
It's a rad, rad, rad, rad world on the This Week in Marvel podcast! As the year-long celebration of Marvel's 80th anniversary comes to a close, Ryan "Agent M" Penagos and Lorraine Cink unpack their favorite comics from the “Me” Decade! And, you can read all their 80s spectaculars in digital comics mega-library, Marvel Unlimited! So, tear up to synth-y sounds and tease your hair high—we’ve got this week’s episode right here! Or, try the full, companion Reading List!
But this is just the first part of a tubular two-parter! Make sure to tune in next week when This Week in Marvel picks their favorite comics of the 1990s!
Now’s let’s sweat to the oldies with…
Shout out to the wedding of Peter Parker and MJ Watson in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #21, and the mall issue of UNCANNY X-MEN #244. Two of the best VERY 80s single issues in my opinion.
You might be reading the new run of Fallen Angels going on right now, but I would also recommend original FALLEN ANGELS (1987) #1-8 by Mary Jo Duffy and Kerry Gammill! It’s all about Sunspot going black out angry—and going on the run and interacting with all kinds of 80s punk-type character. The storyline is super fun, but the art is an 80s chefs kiss.
THING (1983) takes a nostalgic look back at Ben Grimm’s life and ties in new adventures. He’ll have a flashback or find something that harkens back to one of his classic tales and then we’ll see how it plays out in modern day. It’s funny and heartfelt and John Bryne doing what he does best.
Have you ever wondered what C-3PO and R2-D2 were up to during Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope when they weren’t on screen? This book fixes that by filling in the blanks in their story. If you have ever read our Ewoks comics, this has a very similar vibe. It’s very lighthearted with some super 80s coloring. Random kids, little fuzzy dudes, this book has it all.
Riffing on Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko’s Machine Man stories from the 70s, this is a full on cyberpunk rebirth for X-51 set in the year 2020. It introduces Iron Man 2020 Arno Stark, Baintronics, and a really gnarly Alternate Universe for the Marvel U. Plus, it’s STUNNING. Barry Windsor-Smith working over Herb Trimpe is the bee’s knees, and then Windsor-Smith takes the full penciling reins by the end.
Hercules returns to Olympus to see his fam, but he’s a big hornball goof and upsets Zeus who sends him to space in order to find humility and some chill. Herc soon meets the Rigellians, a race who explores and records and observes to gain knowledge. The Rigellians send one of their Recorders, #417, (think C-3PO with a bent on learning), and then the book becomes a wild cosmic buddy story! It has romance, bar fights, comedy, awesome magical horses, Galactus, and more. SO great. There’s also a 1984-released sequel set in the year 2385 with a Skrull joining the cast, and an overarching plot about Zeus murdering his pantheon and destroying the gods of Olympus. And there was a Prince of Power Graphic Novel from 1988 with even more shenanigans.
Speaking of Graphic Novels, I’m cheating, but going with the MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVELS. There are over 70 in the series, with probably less than half reprinted or digitized. They’re in a larger format than regular comics, had thicker paper stock, different coloring techniques, were 40 to 80 pages long, and were a really prestige format for comics. My top pick from the run would probably be 1989’s DOCTOR STRANGE & DOCTOR DOOM: TORMENT & TRIUMPH. It’s got Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange going to Hell and makin’ magic. IT IS INCREDIBLE. Some of my other faves in the line include X-MEN: GOD LOVES, MAN KILLS, NEW MUTANTS, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: HOOKY, DAREDEVIL: LOVE AND WAR, HULK AND THING, CLOAK AND DAGGER and SPIDER-MAN: SPIRITS OF THE EARTH.
And, check out a selection from our throwback playlist featuring favorites from comic pros, fans, and fellow This Week in Marvel listeners!
TWIM’s Awesome Mix Tape Special: Vol. 1
- WOLVERINE (1982)
- MARVEL FANFARE (1982) #10
- ALPHA FLIGHT (1983)
- CLOAK AND DAGGER (1983)
- SQUADRON SUPREME (1985)
- LONGSHOT (1985)
- BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1985)
- STRIKEFORCE: MORITURI (1986)
- CLASSIC X-MEN (1986)
- X-FACTOR (1986)
- DAMAGE CONTROL (1989)
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