The Ones I Didn’t Like! Barry Pearl’s Least Favorite Comics

The great era for me of reading comics was the 1960s and 1970s. My aunt owned a candy store which was a library for me. I lived in an apartment, in a small room with my brother. So I could not keep all the comics that I wanted. I enjoyed the Marvels the most. I am guessing that I have read close to 20,000 comic books. And as a group, Marvels were my favorite. I previously listed my favorite Marvels, but I thought it might be fun if I put up my least favorites!

Now this is not a bunch of individual choices, single issues that came out that weren’t much fun. These have to be runs of comics, either a complete title or a series of issues, about ten in an ongoing title.

Combat Kelly

This series lasted eight issues, and for me was just terrible. As we entered the Vietnam War era, Marvel lost interest in their war comics and Gary Friedrich was writing them all. He took away anything heroic in the characters and gave us even a terrible torture scene.

Combat Kelly #1

Deathlok (In the comics not in the Marvel Masterworks!!!)

Deathlok was a complicated series that change directions a few times. Sadly in the time of bad printing, the artists and colorists played around with the lettering and even had the word balloons colored. Sadly with the bad printing I could not read a huge amount of what was in the strip. So it didn’t make any sense that I didn’t enjoy it. 30 years later Marvel released the Masterworks and it was a much better story because you could read it!!!


Marvel Masterworks: Deathlok – Volume 1

The Black Panther

The non-Jack Kirby stories that appeared in Jungle Action had a bit of a problem for me. T’Challa was the King of Wakanda, what was he doing in America fighting crime? Further, the gets involved with the Klan and the story stops as Kirby’s Black Panther comics began. 12 issues later they picked up this story that’s been a cliffhanger for years but only give us to issues of it. This story line is picked up years later in Marvel Premiere. Now with different authors and writers the story is not resolved very well or explained completely.

Captain Marvel

This actually turned out to be a terrific series, but you had to wait until Roy Thomas and Gil Kane took over, with issue 17. This was a surprisingly dull series and was Stan Lee’s last creation of the Marvel Age.

Captain Marvel 1 from Marvel Super Heroes 12

Essential Captain Marvel, Vol. 2 (Marvel Essentials)

The Cat

Thankfully this only lasted four issues. Don’t go by what I say, Stan Lee said, “The failure of The Cat was my biggest disappointment.”

Cat 1 splash

The Champions

The Avengers used marquee heroes to create their famous series. Then Marvel replaced them with new heroes who developed into a very popular group. I wish Marvel had let their newer writers and artist devise new characters rather than use older “supporting players.” When Bill Mantlo, takes over, all is lost.

champion 17 right 2

Doc Savage

With the lack of any real characterizations and with a “heavy plot,” Doc Savage seemed more like a DC comic. In fact, in both artwork and story, it reminded me of the cartoonish Metal Men.

Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., #6-15

Jim Steranko is one of my favorites and he developed Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. in a spectacular manner. When he left he just couldn’t be replaced, but they try to emulate his style. It didn’t work. The series ends when, it seems, Nick Fury dies!

Marvel Masterworks: Nick Fury, Agent of S.h.i.e.l.d.

Sgt Fury

When Martin Goodman left as publisher it became evident that Marvel was losing interest in their war comics. The last 20 issues of Sgt. Fury were sad. Not only did the art deteriorate and the stories go downhill, but even plot developments that Gary Friedrich put in earlier were forgotten and ignored. Meanwhile at DC, Jack Kirby is doing The Losers and show that modern comics could still have interesting and substantial war stories.

Skull, The Slayer

While the title makes use think of is a savage individual, this eight issue run was about a plane travelling through time to the prehistoric era and then crashing. Nothing ever developed. It took Marvel two years to resolve the storyline after was canceled.

Super-Villain Team-Up

Enough already with the team-ups! Actually this was not a bad comic book in terms of its premise. It had a lot of potential. But they kept changing the artists and the writers so no one ever got a hold of the concept of the book. The last two issues of the titles, published years later were very good and added a great deal to the history of Marvel.

Super Villain Team Up

Essential Super-Villain Team-Up: V. 1

Nova and Omega

Nova and Omega were dull and without direction. The Marvel Age had disappointments but now they were coming more frequently. They were reminiscent of the titles that DC had been churning out in the 1960s, often using the same DC artists in similar stories. At 17 pages there are no longer enough story pages to fully develop characters and have an action and adventure story.

Omega 2 splash

That’s my list, what’s yours?

One thought on “The Ones I Didn’t Like! Barry Pearl’s Least Favorite Comics”

  1. There were some issues of Champions and Super-Villain Team-Up that are actually on my favorites list! My least favorites include: the early issues of X-Factor where they resurrected Jean Grey (which led me to quit reading Marvel for years–for me *this* is when Marvel jumped the shark), all issues since Crisis on Infinite Earths where a major character has been killed off purely as a gimmick to boost sales (including Robin, Superman, Captain America, Torch, etc.–there is nothing in the industry I despise more than when a writer stoops to this or an editor allows it), most Spidey Venom and clone issues from the 1990s (although I liked the original clone stories with the Jackal), Secret Wars II (one of the dumbest plots I’ve ever read), Void Indigo (one of the worst reading experiences I’ve had in any medium), Watchmen (decadence masquerading as sophistication), and Sandman (more decadence).

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