Scott's Classic Comics Corner: Grand Finales and Quick Exits (pt. 2)

Continuing from yesterday's column, here are some more notable finales.

Oh, how the mighty had fallen. Licensed properties are always kind of hit or miss but when the Star Wars book was launched in 1977, it was comic book magic (I still have all 3 of the Treasury Editions I got as a kid). So, I found it pretty strange that the Marvel series didn't even last a decade. I'm not sure where they lost their way - but after a while the plots got more and more lame and the supporting cast was weak. I think I stopped picking it up monthly with issue #73 - but got the others via bargain bins in the late 80s. I imagine interference from Lucasfilm didn't help things at all. For one reason or another, various trade mags pointed this out as a hot book in the mid-90s and prices went through the roof. I think I sold mine for $40 or so in 1998. I thought that was beyond crazy as Star Wars #107 is not exactly a classic.

Weird War Tales #124 comes across as Robert Kanigher's swan song to war comics. It's a very different book, as the narrative is very unique - a sort of epic poem about the role of war in human history. It's really quite eloquent. Numerous battles through the ages are visited and it feels like a skipping record as the combat never ends - just goes on and on and on. A fairly contemplative work, decently executed. It also takes up the vast majority of the issue - which was rare for this title which had been featuring the Creature Commandos and GI Robot for the last few years. This one can be tougher to find than issues #100-123 - perhaps the print run was very low. All in all, it's an appropriately 'weird' send off.

Marvel Team-Up #150 is a bit like Brave and the Bold #200, as I believe that it was retired in order to make way for the introduction of Web of Spider-Man. I wasn't too into comics at the time it was released, so I didn't witness the demise of one of my childhood favorites firsthand. The story itself is so-so - and you may feel like a bit of a bait and switch victim if you think you'll find Barry Windsor-Smith on the inside. Sorry folks - it's a very uninspired Laroque/Esposito effort. I do really dig the character panel at the top left corner. It's a nice twist on the "Spider-Man No More" pose.

Could you think of a better cover to bring the curtain down on the Captain Marvel titles from Fawcett? Marvel Family #89 would be the last sanctioned appearance of Billy, Freddy and Mary for nearly 20 years. None of the final Fawcett issues made note of the lawsuit with National, nor the end of the line for all things Marvel but this cover was brilliant in sending them off to comic book limbo. I can't imagine a more perfectly ironic cover.

For more classic comics chat - stop by my blog at Seduction of the Indifferent

I'll be back later in the week with Part 3, the Final Chapter!!!!

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