Below you’ll find our reading selections for the year of 1985, and once we’re finished reading, I’ll post the winners for hero, villain, issue, artist, and writer.
Feel free to discuss the comics and any related thoughts below in the comments!
1985 Comic Reading List
(Check out Patreon for Full List With Notes!)
|1985||Comic Book Title||Issues|
|1||Doctor Strange||#68, #70 to #73|
|2||Thor||#350 to #353, #361 to #362|
|3||Amazing Spider-Man||#260 to #261, #266|
|4||Web of Spider-Man||#1|
|5||Fantastic Four||#275 to #277, #280 to #281|
|6||Avengers / Iron Man||#253 to #254 / #192, #200|
|7||Uncanny X-Men||#193 to #194|
|8||New Mutants||#26 to #28|
|9||Secret Wars II||SW II #1 to #6|
|10||New Mutants Special Edition / X-Men Annual / Uncanny X-Men||#1 / #9 / #200|
1985 Voting Results
Hero of the Year: Thor
Villain of the Year: Surtur
Issue of the Year: Thor #353
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Writer of the Year: Walt Simonson
Artist of the Year: Walt Simonson
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I have to be honest, I got worn out reading this week’s collection. There were just so many comics to read (especially thanks to Secret Wars 2), and except for a few notable standouts, they were pretty much all average and unmemorable, which made it feel more like work than fun. Not Marvel’s best year, for sure. There’s also no way I’m going to have the time to read the bonus comics, so I’ll have to save those for another time and they of course won’t factor into my voting. Notes from this year:
– Thor was my favorite overall series. Simonson did an incredibly good job of depicting a chaotic battle coherently, and all of the stuff in Hel was haunting and beautifully drawn. He’s going to get Artist of the Year for me.
– FF was probably my second favorite overall, with Byrne doing a solid storytelling job, though I’m still not in love with his artwork. Spidey and Iron Man both had good but not standout arcs (though the confrontation with Rhodey and Tony was fun).
– X-Men was all over the place this year quality-wise, but the good issues were stunners. I know it’s a little sappy, but I found myself surprisingly emotional reading LifeDeath 2, X-Men 198. It had gorgeous artwork and it was nice to have a Storm solo issue. X-Men 200 hands-down gets my Issue of the Year. It really had it all; huge battles, great mutant-human debates, and excellent pacing that kept the story moving even with huge monologues from Magneto and the 800th time that there’s been a description of Wolverine’s adamantium claws being stronger than anything else in the universe.
– I continue to be underwhelmed by New Mutants, which I know is a minority opinion around here. I just can’t get invested in the characters for whatever reason, and I often find myself racing through their issues just to be done with them. I did think Legion was fine but not particularly well executed. However, I thought the New Mutants Special Edition, and by extension the X-Men Annual, was borderline incoherent, and I thought it was funny that the editor yelled at Claremont, in X-Men 200, about scheduling so many big things at one time.
– I can’t believe I’m saying this, but….I kind of like Secret Wars 2. It definitely gets weirder and kind of old around Issue 4 or so, but I actually think the idea is pretty well done (though that could easily change when I get to the last issue). I also think that the tie-ins are much better handled this time around and it makes sense as a broad concept to have the Beyonder meddling in a ton of different disparate storylines. I’m not saying it’s a stone-cold classic or anything, but it’s at least interesting reading. Also, Dave, you may want to revisit your SW2 reading order as you’re missing a number of tie-ins, including maybe my favorite one, the Daredevil issue where the Beyonder pays his retainer in let’s just say creative ways.
That’s about it for what stood out to me. Hopefully 1986 will be more consistently high-quality.
I’m with you on the New Mutants. I remember reading my roommates copies as he bought them monthly. I was so impressed I went out and bought my own set. At the time it impressed me. But they have sat in a long box for a few decades and have not aged well. I know Sienkiewicz is doing some ground breaking work in the books, and at times it is breath taking. But as for putting forth a narrative, i think it is lacking. And to make up for it Claremont has to go overboard with the text.
I also got a kick out of the Secret Wars. I read it all last year as a lead in to the most recent Secret Wars, so this year I am just reading the tie ins as they come up in the individual series. Some work, most have a forced feeling to them. Like Shooter mandated each writer had to incorporate the beyonder, but didn’t give them much help. Note how Reed Richards, Spidey and Captain America spend a few panels each issue worrying about him, but do not actually leave their own narrative to go and do anything.
The semester is done and all the papers n tests are graded, so I have a lot of free time. I’ve been reading everything (and I mean everything) I can get my hands on from 1985.
This was really the year I started to collect full steam. I was buying a dozen different titles a month, my college roommate was buying another dozen, and he had a monthly order from his younger brother to buy all the rest…
Along with our ‘assigned’ stories I am (re-) reading ALL the Thor, Avengers, Iron Man, X-Men, FF and Spidey (ASM, PPSSM, and Web of). Still have to get to the New Mutants and the Annuals Cross-over. Those bonus books look tempting. Kitty Pride and Wolverine I read once when it came out. Captain Britain is a fav. But I’ve read it over and over… depending how things pan out I think I may get to Alpha Flight (and I might just dust off the Conan series and The Thing).
Anyway, a few thoughts: Secret Wars II is an interesting story, but the quality is all over the place. The tie ins were hackneyed, too. The whole thing has a self-indulgent feel to it , like Shooter patting himself on the back. It has to be read, but not with high recommendations.
Thor Ragnarok-ed. Had to read all the way through 350-362. I’m probably gonna vote for Simonson for Artist again. Maybe even writer, but he has tough competition hiding in the webs.
Iron Man was a decent read. I was never that impressed with this time period of ol’ shell head, but I had the books handy, so I read them. Not bad.
The Avengers was a real stand-out. I read straight through 261. Including the Annual and FF cross-over. A great space epic from Roger Stern. If you have time go read the whole thing.
The whole year of the FF was good, and the individual stories make more sense if you read ’em all.
The X-Men this year (all through the 84-85-86 years) is a weird mish-mash of short stories. The over-arching theme of the building anti-mutant hysteria brings it all together, but the individual chapters range from weak (Power Pack) to weird (Kulan Gath) to good (Nimrod). I seem to recall that issues 201-213 were really strong.
Spidey had a busy year, with a number of Must Read issues in ASM (259-61, 269-70). Upon re-reading most of PPSSM and Web were weak. Made me wonder if he really needed 3 monthlies at that time. But then I read PPSSM 107-110. I had forgotten that these issues fell within 1985. The Death of Jean DeWolff is one of the best Spider-Man stories ever. Hadn’t read it in decades, and, wow, does it impress. I do not know how that one slipped under the radar here. I think Peter David will be my writer of the year.
Well, gotta go and finish off the last few issues.
The best: Simonson’s Thor, Byrne’s Fantastic Four, Iron Man #200, Secret Wars II #2, Uncanny X-Men #200, Amazing Spider-Man #260-261
Other recommendations: Avengers #249, Iron Man #198, Uncanny X-Men #196 and #199, Avengers #260, Incredible Hulk #312
1985 did not soar to the same heights as some other years of the decade, but it still had lots of nice moments. My favorite issue was Thor #353, which brought the Surtur arc to a nice conclusion.
No Name says
I think we should be awarding Terry Austin a lifetime achievement award. His inks make any penciler he teams up with 100% better
Two questions I have one is are all the bonus round comics from 1985 or a different year? do the bonus round comics count towards the voting?
In the bonus round you list Captain Britain 1-12. Which series is this? Alan Moore and Alan Davis?
Jamie Delano and Davis, on the heels of the alans. The Moore run is not fully in MU from what I can tell. Having read recently, highly recommended, fascinating as early Alan Moore, and holy heck does it make this Delano and Davis run make more sense.
I figured it out. I have a great Captain Britain trade from 1988 that reprints these issues. I should have looked at it more closely before posting as it has a listing of the issues on the last page. It goes from July 84-Feb 86, printing a bit more than what was in the original series 1-12.
I also have issues 2-7 of a series called “X-Men Archives featuring Captain Britain” from the mid-90s that reprints the Alan Moore stuff from “The Mighty World of Marvel” 1982 through June 84.
The Captain Britain trade has been read and re-read more times than I can count. The Alan Moore stuff is sitting in a long box of other Moore stuff that is on my loooong “to read ” list.