Over the past few months, since the death of former President Ronald Reagan, I’ve been developing a different feeling about the 1980s. Most of the emotional connections to that decade have faded, replaced by perspective. The many changes in comics during the ’80s were fast and furious, although the decade started out kind of slow. But it’s beginning to have the feel of history now, and I can see it with a lot more clarity and objectivity.
Short column this week. I’m preparing for another road trip and another edition of Comic Effect, the special all-Western edition. I leave you something to think on for the next couple of weeks, a list I’ll be exploring in detail off and on over the next few months, maybe years. Herewith, 100 important comics, both individual titles and series, from the 1980s. Some series continued for years, but they began in the year listed. Others, such as The Mighty Thor, by Walter Simonson, is the year the writer and/or artist began his influential run. Note: these are not the issues of the decade, such as the battle over Jack Kirby’s original artwork and the rise of the independents. Just the comics, ma’am.
1980. RAW. The New Teen Titans. Uncanny X-Men #137. Daredevil. Action Comics #507-508. Detective Comics #500. (6 entries)
1981. Captain Victory and His Galactic Rangers. The “Alec” stories. R. Crumb in Weirdo. Corto in Venice. Fantastic Four. Eclipse Monthly. Nexus. “High Society.” The Brave and the Bold #181. The Brave and the Bold #182. Justice League of America #200. The Phantom Zone.(12 entries)
1982. Camelot 3000. The Death of Captain Marvel. Los Tejanos. V For Vendetta. The Idiots Abroad. “The Great Darkness Saga.” Destroyer Duck. Green Lantern. Blackhawk. (9 entries)
1983. Ronin. Saga of the Swamp Thing. American Flagg! The Flash #324. The Mighty Thor. Mars. Jon Sable, Freelance. Thriller. Journey. Silver Star. Grimjack. Legion of Super-Heroes #300. (12 entries)
1984. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Megaton Man. normalman. Zot! Superman #400. (5 entries)
1985. Crisis on Infinite Earths. Calvin and Hobbes. Squadron Supreme. Miracleman. Shatter. Groo the Wanderer. The Hunger Dogs. DC Comics Presents #85. Superman Annual #11. (9 entries)
1986. The Dark Knight Returns. Superman #423. Action Comics #583. The Man of Steel. “Batman: Year One.” Wonder Woman #1. Maus. Watchmen. The Question. “Pictopia.” The “Buddy Bradley” stories. “Blood of Palomar.” ‘Mazing Man. Electric Warrior. Jonny Quest. Oz-Wonderland Wars. The Shadow. The ‘Nam. Lois Lane. Boy, what a year for comics. (19 entries)
1987. Justice League America. John Constantine, Hellblazer. “The Death of Speedy Ortiz.” Lone Wolf and Cub. Concrete. Suicide Squad. (6 entries)
1988. Batman: The Killing Joke. Animal Man. The Sandman. Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer. The Autobiographical Stories in Yummy Fur. “Poison River.” “Flies On The Ceiling.” Doom Patrol. Akira. Cinder and Ashe. Batman #428. Black Orchid. Deadshot. Baker Street. Not a bad year, either. (14 entries)
1989. Skreemer. From Hell. Hawkworld. Arkham Asylum. Beautiful Stories For Ugly Children. The Eye of Mongombo. Hero Hotline. Legion of Super-Heroes #1. (8 entries)