Welcome back to the Blogger Dome! Here, bloggers will argue different topics involving the comic book market and industry. This will be a combination of the Big Bang Theory meets the WWE. Smack talk mixed with comic book debates. Bloggers going at each other to amuse and educate our readers. And we want to hear what YOU have to say about it. Today’s topic is Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars vs. Crisis on Infinite Earths. So, tune in, get comfy, and let’s do this!
Ding ding! Allow me to present your newest fighters in the Blogger Dome ring… JOE AND DOUG! Fight!
JOE: I normally get up for these blogger dome battles, but then I found out I was going up against Doug. This is the response I got from Doug’s fans when I asked them to say something nice about him.
I think you should know that he is the type of man who brings a plastic knife you get from a drive-thru to a gunfight. Doug, I have to tell you a secret…I do not fear you or your argument because everyone knows Secret Wars is better than Crisis on Infinite Earths on so many levels. Well, everyone, that is, except for you!
DOUG: Oh, Joe. This Blogger Dome is not going to go well for you. You are so overmatched. The sad part is that you can’t even comprehend how in-the-weeds you actually are. Stellar creatives and monumental character deaths against… Jim Shooter and The Beyonder? I’ll go through with this fight because I have to. But the readers already know I’m the winner.
Round #1 First Blood!
JOE: SECRET WARS… BEGINNING OF COMIC BOOK EVENTS AND REBIRTH OF ACTION FIGURES
Many fans do not realize it, but this mini-series came into being because of a toy line. Mattel had lost the rights to produce DC Comic action figures to Kenner. As a result, Mattel contracted with Marvel Comics to produce a toy line based upon Marvel characters using the phrase “Secret Wars” because those words tested well. Mattel made some interesting suggestions for storyline and character designs to enhance their toy lines. In contrast, Mattel limited the toys themselves because of buyer tendencies. Mattel never wanted these figures to take away from sales of their popular He-Man line, so they were smaller and less defined.
In return for this contract that benefited Marvel, Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter created the mini-series “Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars”. This mini-series was so successful financially that it created the events we have come to know in the comic industry. This merchandise deal also gave Marvel another contract that helped their bottom line.
Who knows if Marvel would have made it through the lean years if not for this contract. This mini-series placed Marvel characters back in the action figure market after Mego’s closure. This mini-series gave fans new characters never before seen in action figures: Wolverine, Dr. Doom, Daredevil, Kang, and many more. The figures you see now may have not existed but for Secret Wars. It also added to Marvel’s financial resources.
Doug will tell you all about how Crisis was created to “fix” a perceived view from a writer that fans could not understand the mulitverse model of the DC Universe. How many different timelines and reboots have come since Crisis on Infinite Earths, Doug? Crisis was supposed to fix problems, but it also limited stories. The sad thing was that the whole premise was based upon a perception that the universe was too complicated for fans? I guess I am supposed to accept that an alien that comes to earth can fly and a scientist can get super speed, but I am not smart enough to understand multiple earths? Secret Wars made money for Marvel and that allowed Marvel to stay relevant and survive the lean years.
DOUG: A REAL COMIC EVENT – WITH MEANING AND PURPOSE
Despite what Joe would have you think, DC’s Crisis On Infinite Earths was less an attempt to “streamline” the DC Universe and more an attempt by the top creatives in the field to reinvent top characters without 40 years of baggage. The fact that subsequent writers couldn’t get past the fact that Superboy no longer existed and, “Oh, no! What are we going to do with the Legion of Super-Heroes?” hardly negates the reality that Crisis was a far, far bigger comic event than Secret Wars could ever hope to be. Marv Wolfman and George Perez were at the top of their game when Crisis exploded into comic book stores in 1985. And the critical reception was extremely positive.
Let’s compare this with Secret Wars. It’s a series created to… sell toys. Fans everywhere were jumping for joy – NOT! Secret Wars was considered a joke upon publication, an example of Jim Shooter’s bloviated ego run amuck. And who did he find to draw the series? John Byrne, one of Marvel’s top artists at the time? Nope. Mike… Zeck. Mike Zeck is a fine artist but nowhere near the league of top talent at the time, which very much included George Perez. I suppose Shooter could have asked Frank Miller. Oh, wait… Shooter lost him to DC. So, what you have in Secret Wars is a bit of ego-stroking by Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief that was so bad even Carol Kalish, Marvel’s Direct Sales Manager in the 1980s, called it, “crap.”
Round #2 Second Swing…
JOE: A TALE OF THE TAPE… GOCOLLECT STYLE!!!
I am not sure what state Doug resides in but they sure must have relaxed controlled substance laws for him to think his first punch hurt me. My first punch wiped you out like Crisis on Infinite Earths needlessly destroyed worlds but still you want more? I wanted to hurt you, so I am going to use facts. You know what those are, Doug? Evidence that I will now use to show how wrong of a position you have taken by ignoring the greatness of Secret Wars!
GoCollect has a tool that lets you find the Most Popular comics. I suggest you use it. There for all to see at spot #41 is the Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 at the time this is going to press. Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 (Newsstand Edition) comes in at spot #287. I have passed several other issues in the Secret Wars mini-series but I keep scrolling through for you, Doug, to find your book, but I am facing my own crisis because I am running out of pages!
I got a blister scrolling but I finally found my first listing for a Crisis on Infinite Earths listing. Issue #2 finally appears in slot number #992. Doug’s fans seem to know that this title is hot because all the way down there to the very end of the listing of all the popular books is finally a crisis appearance. I ran out of pages and never could find issue #1. I guess it was wiped out like another universe.
DOUG: COME ON, JOE!
You’re using one week of popularity as an argument? If one week of popularity made the case for quality, Come On Eileen would be right up there with the best of the Beatles and Elvis. But you know what? IT’S NOT! As mentioned in the first round – in which I crushed you like the failed villain the Beyonder was – Secret Wars was (and still is) crap.
You can tout some “popularity” as a reason for why Secret Wars is better than Crisis. But really! All you have to do is read each series – a challenge to all of you out there! Go ahead and read them both, and let us know which one is better. I’m positive that the vast majority of GoCollect readers will find Crisis On Infinite Earths to be a far superior series.
But here’s the thing Joe won’t tell you. Secret Wars led to everything that was wrong with Marvel in the 1990s. The endless array of “events” that inevitably included, “throw Wolverine into everything” to boost sales. And what did Crisis on Infinite Earths lead to? Imaginative reinventions of DC’s biggest characters by the top talents in the industry. Batman by Frank Miller, Superman by John Byrne, and Wonder Woman by George Perez. Oooh, that’s gotta hurt, Joe.
Round #3: Third Strike!
JOE: CRISIS RUNNING OUT
I keep reading Doug’s arguments in this Blogger Dome and I finally realized what he has not – Doug is running out of good points like Crisis on Infinite Earths ran out of universes. I think, Doug, that is where Secret Wars truly shined. Crisis on Infinite Earths was an attempt to do addition by subtraction. Instead of focusing on stories to make readers understand, Marv Wolfman and George Perez believed destroying universes would clarify continuity. The problem was that writers following this series decades later never followed the reason this series was created. Pocket universes and alternate timelines were created by writers to tell their stories.
Superman was too powerful, so he had to be made less powerful to make storytelling easier. I like the work of Wolfman and Perez. I must admit that I liked Crisis on Infinite Earths, too, but it pales in comparison because of what the creators did with the story. Instead of creating better villains and making writers do a better job of following continuity, they decided to blow everything up and start new.
Secret Wars improved on what already existed and thus made life easier. Where Crisis got rid of universes and killed off mainstream characters, Secret Wars created characters. A new Spider-Woman was created to increase the number of female heroes. In addition, Volcana and Titania were also introduced to the Marvel Universe. Iron Man’s and Dr. Doom’s armor was also modernized to make them more formidable in this new era. Rather than taking away from the universe, Secret Wars added plot elements and characters to enhance what already existed.
Doug – are you getting scared yet? You should be because for my deathblow I saved the best for last.
DOUG: WHAT? VOLCANA?!
Hahahahaha! Titania and – sorry, I can’t stop laughing – Volcana? Really? You’re going to use those two to argue that Secret Wars was better? What’s next? A failed Spider-Woman? Oh, wait. You did use that. New Iron Man armor? How many times has that happened? 61 times is the answer. But I see – the version used in Secret Wars is unique. Riiight…
What is unique is the solution that Crisis On Infinite Earths provided to decades of multiversal bloat at DC. The entire DC multiverse was streamlined and seen as a perfect jumping-on point for new readers. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be big right now, the biggest superhero in the world in the 1980s was still Superman. In fact, he was so big that, post-Crisis and the reinvention of so many DC characters, he made it to the cover of Time magazine. While it may be hard for people to understand now, that was a feat the level of which Marvel wouldn’t and couldn’t duplicate for decades.
JOE: MY DEATHBLOW… SPIDER-MAN!
Mattel wanted a different costume to create two figures for fans to purchase. Shooter created the iconic black Spider-Man suit in Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8. The only intent of this story element was to meet the demands of Mattel to create another action figure to sell, but Marvel made it so much more. The suit was in fact a symbiote that would ultimately become the anti-hero Venom.
This character would be featured in several titles and even in his own movie. He would become so popular that the artist who drew his first appearance, some guy named Todd, would eventually start his own comic book company. Without Venom would we have Image Comics? Venom also spawned a whole menagerie of symbiote villains. Fans will soon be introduced to a film version of Carnage.
In contract Crisis on Infinite Earths killed off two major characters that would ultimately not remain dead. If a character dies but does not remain dead, how important is that issue? I rather look to publishers adding characters rather than going the cheap route of “killing” off characters only to have them come back to life later.
DOUG: DEATHBLOW? IT BLOWS ALRIGHT…
In the 1980s Marvel was so desperate for new ideas that they actually had asked fans to submit ideas as part of a contest in which they could earn some cash. Another of Shooter’s brilliant ideas, I guess. Clearly, his ideas for running a comic book company were right up there with his plot ideas. One fan – Randy Schueller – sent in his idea in 1982 for a black-suited Spider-Man. Shooter liked the idea so much, he purchased it – for $220.00. Quality guy there. He then touted it as his own idea and the rest is history.
Meanwhile, DC did make history. The deaths of Supergirl in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 and Barry Allen in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 were the most important deaths of well-known super-heroes at that time. Sure, they came back. But we are talking about comics here. Who stays dead in comics, other than Uncle Ben and Bucky? Oh, wait…
But here’s the big coup de grace you’ve all been waiting for. Just a few years ago, when Marvel realized they had a problem with too many universes, in particular the regular Marvel Universe (616 for the uninitiated) and the Ultimate Marvel Universe, the House of Ideas had a huge brainstorm.
What if we took all of the universes, destroyed them, and then mashed together whatever we liked as one? What a great idea! I know, let’s call it… Secret Wars! Yes, that’s right. A concept so popular with the fans that Marvel co-opted it into one of their many tiring “events that will change the Marvel Universe forever!” If imitation is the greatest form of flattery, Crisis on Infinite Earths has just delivered a knockout blow in this Blogger Dome.
JOE & DOUG: We have to admit – we loved this Blogger Dome debate. Two iconic mini-series that changed the world of comics as we know it. Crisis was the first truly memorable mini-series that even made its way into a television series storyline. Secret Wars introduced readers to major comic book events that still exist today. How then do you decide? Creation vs. Destruction? The first great mini-series vs the first major comic book event that influenced a toy line? Marvel vs. DC? In the end, it’s up to you to decide who won this Blogger Dome.
So who won this week’s Blogger Dome? Tell us! Vote for the winner HERE! Do you have ideas for future Blogger Dome topics? We want to hear them!