The second decade of The Marvel Age of Comics is officially in the books, and the My Marvelous Year club has decided on heroes, villains, and series of the decade!
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As a whole, the 1970’s are a fascinating decade for Marvel, as they expand well beyond the thrill of a new superhero universe, and find a lived-in, well-worn group of characters in need of fresh direction.
We see plenty of new character expansion, with the likes of Howard the Duck, Devil Dinosaur, and the Eternals joining a crop of Marvel Horror that includes Dracula, Man-Thing, and Werewolf by Night (and Moon Knight!).
The cosmic realm sees particular growth, with Jim Starlin expanding the Marvel mythos beyond the stars with first appearances from Thanos, Gamora, Drax the Destroyer, and most importantly, Pip the Troll.
The clearest highlight, though, and the one reflected most transparently in the voting results, is the 1975 release of the All-New All-Different Uncanny X-Men. After a solid decade on Marvel’s backburner, the X-Men were completely retooled, and brought to soaring new heights by Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne (with a nod to Len Wein for his role in Giant-Sized X-Men #1).
Personally, I can’t go so far as to actually rank the 70’s as a decade above Marvel Comics in the 1960’s, but that’s an unfair bar. To their credit, Marvel Comics in the 70’s keep the phenomena rolling and gaining steam, whereas Spider-Man could have quite easily become a forgotten fad in the wrong hands. It’s an impressive testament to the strength of the overall output, and sets the stage for even more standout essential runs in the 1980’s.
Hero of the Decade
Gold: The X-Men
Bronze: The Avengers
Hard to argue with the will of the people on the 70’s Hero of the Decade results. Even though they’re only really at peak powers for half the decade, the X-Men are unquestionably the gold standard for the decade. Under the right dosage of brew, I’d argue the Avengers actually have more 70’s highlights than the entire 60’s run, and Spider-Man faces perhaps his greatest tragedy and remains a hero throughout.
Jim Starlin’s cosmic comics pulled a bit of a Ralph Nader on each other in the voting (Comic Book Herald: Big into election history since May 2016), with Adam Warlock and Captain Marvel tying for the 4th most Hero of the Decade votes.
Villain of the Decade
Silver: Green Goblin
Inarguable winners for the Gold & Silver Villain’s medals. Thanos escalates any story he’s in to the highest cosmic impact, and the Green Goblin does more tragic damage per appearance than any villain in any decade so far.
Ultron narrowly edged out the likes of Korvac, Magneto, Galactus, and Doctor Doom for the bronze medal. I suspect if we had more Astonishing Tales availability in Marvel Unlimited, my main man Victor would have hauled in another medal, but Ultron is a suitably genocidal replacement.
Series of the Decade
Gold: Uncanny X-Men
Silver: Amazing Spider-Man
Bronze: Jim Starlin’s Cosmic Comics – Captain Marvel & Warlock
I was a little shocked Uncanny X-Men beat out Howard the Duck for the Gold, but otherwise a sturdy list of Marvel’s top three series throughout the decade. Merging Starlin’s comics feels more appropriate for Series of the year given the Thanos throughline in both.
Now, as it turns out, I completely forgot to include voting blocks for Writer and Artist of the decade! I’ve listed out my picks below, but rather than lord over the results like some kind of Doctor Doom protégé (that’s the highest compliment I’ve ever paid myself), I’ll open up a round of bonus voting for the My Marvelous Year faithful.
I’d also note that my Silver medal winner for ‘Writer of the Decade’ is a bit of a cheat, as we didn’t read anything by Mclean as part of the My Marvelous Year lists! This is a Marvel Unlimited limitation, and if you find the time and are back on a Marvel in the 70’s kick, I can’t recommend Panther’s Rage quite highly enough.
Writer of the Decade
Gold: Chris Claremont
Silver: Don McGregor
Bronze: Jim Starlin
Artist of the Decade
Gold: Jim Starlin
Silver: John Byrne
Bronze: Ross Andru
Have to acknowledge the heights reached by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams during the Kree / Skrull War, in addition to a jillion other stand-outs as well!
The My Marvelous Year journey continues with the 1980’s this week!