Salute to 1990s Comics

Comics of the 1990s have gotten a bad rap. A lot of people look at them and see only the holofoil cover gimmicks, interminable summer crossovers (which are back), everyone trying to ape the Image style with humongous shoulder pads and spikes, mullets, Spider-Clones, Electric Superman, Emerald Twilight, and “kewl” revamps.

But there were also a lot of very good comics being published at the time, and everyone was trying new things. Sure, some of them didn’t work (like Bloodlines or Fate), but some of them did (like Starman). This list is going to be heavily DC, since that’s what I was reading at the time, but this is the decade that brought us:

Mark Waid’s run on Flash

Impulse

James Robinson’s Starman

Robin’s solo series

Nightwing’s solo series

Young Justice

Grant Morrison’s run on JLA

DC One Million

Batman: The Long Halloween

Tangent Comics

Batman: No Man’s Land

Astro City

Hellboy

Underrated Books

Chase

Chronos

Hourman

Resurrection Man

Elseworlds

Yeah, there were some clunkers, but there were also books like…

Kingdom Come

The Golden Age

JLA: The Nail

Vertigo’s Golden Age

Neil Gaiman’s Sandman

It started in 1989, but most of its 75-issue run took place during the first half of the 1990s.

Preacher

Transmetropolitan

And much more. I’m sure people who were reading Marvel, Image, etc. books at the time can come up with a list of gems from those companies.

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for the cover scans!

(Cross-posted at scans_daily, which got a lot more traffic and a lot more comments.)

5 thoughts on “Salute to 1990s Comics

  1. Rockin' Rich

    Funny.

    I essentially stopped reading comics… doing the weekly pull-list… in the early nineties, right after the quintessentially dumb death of you-know-who, and didn’t get back in the groove until a few months ago.

    No more pull-lists, just a few comics every week, plus purchases of selected compilations from my “missing years.”

    Never read or heard of Chronos or Chase, btw. Might have to check ’em out, Kelson.

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  2. BrianR

    The Long Halloween and Kingdom Come are my top two on your list. I didn’t read either during their initial run, but reading them years later I was so impressed by the depth of the storytelling in them. As you said, many comics during the 90’s were heavy on gimmick and thin on substance, but you’ve put some good ones up here.

    .-= BrianR’s latest blog post: Secret Invasion #5 – The Heroes Fight Back =-.

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  3. Kelson Post author

    @Shag: Hey, DC One Million was a lot of fun! 😀

    @Rich: Chronos and Chase are two books that I discovered just before they were canceled (at almost the same time, too). Chase was about a government agent whose job is to keep tabs on super-heroes even though she absolutely hates them. The characterization is the best part of the book, but the art is excellent as well, and the stories range all over from the Teen Titans to the Suicide Squad. It lasted just 10 issues.

    Chronos was about a small-time industrial spy and thief who discovered he could travel through time — if not entirely reliably. He found himself jumping around through DCU’s history and future, and encountered other time travelers who had their own societies and plots. The One Million issue had him going up against John Fox, the DC1M Flash. It lasted 12 issues.

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