Commenter Todd Lawrence reminded me of this concept when he was discussing Karl Kesel’s Daredevil run in an entry last week. Lawrence brings up a strong point – during the 1990s, there was a number of good comic books. However, there was also a special subset of comics that were what I am now defining as “90s Good.” There was such a high supply of awful comic books during the 1990s (I think the highest percentage of bad comics came from this time period) that some comics of the time, while not really being good comics on their own, are considered good comics when viewed through the context of the times.
To wit, anyone re-read James Robinson’s WildC.A.T.s run recently? It is not bad, but nor is it anything amazing. And it certainly pales dramatically to his Starman work (heck, even to his Firearm work). Yet his short run on WildC.A.T.s is remembered so fondly that it even gets a special mention in his Wikipedia entry – “Robinson also wrote a brief but very well remembered run on Wildcats.” It IS well remembered, but it is funny that they used that term, as I think that is a great way of looking at it, it is well REMEMBERED, but that is because it came out in a sea of utter crap, so Robinson’s pretty good run on WildC.A.T.s stands out so much that when we think back to that time, his run stands out as quite good.
So yeah, for those comics from the 90s that were pretty good but are remembered as better because they came out during the 90s I am going to refer to as “90s Good.”