Here’s a page from UNCANNY X-MEN #121 by John Byrne and Terry Austin.
You can see that balloon in Panel 5 was added after the fact to explain Nightcrawler’s power.
Fantastic Four #305, August 1987, cover by Ron Frenz and Joe Sinnott
Remember when comics were for kids?
Super-Villain Team-Up #17, June 1980, cover by Keith Pollard and Bruce Patterson
Bad 80s Comics #1: Nightmask by Archie Goodwin and Tony Salmons. Marvel has always wanted to launch a completely new set of comics set in an entirely new universe. In the 1980s, they got it all wrong with their New Universe initiative. I know I bought some of these, but I can’t seem to remember ever reading any of them. Glad I didn’t.
Obscure 80s #4: Jane’s Getting Serious by Jon Astley. No, please don’t mistake Jon for the completely unrelated (and now infamous) Rick Astley. There’s no comparison, thank god. ‘Jane’s Getting Serious’ was Jon Astley’s only marginal hit, but it was quirky enough to stay in my consciousness, and his almost-exclusive use of Fairlight CMI tech to create music was cutting edge for the time. Now, of course, it sounds pretty mechanical, as do most Fairlight-dominated records. The song also features a guest guitar solo from Eric Clapton, who Astley worked with as a producer. It’s nice to have famous friends (Pete Townshend was his brother-in-law), but it still won’t get you beyond two albums if you don’t have any sales.
Maybe there were fans of this, but maybe not. Anyone out there actually read this back in the 80s? What did you think?
Atari Force #1, January 1984, cover by Jose Luis Garica-Lopez
Obscure 80s #3: Beat’s So Lonely by Charlie Sexton. As I recall, Charlie Sexton was supposed to be the next big thing - guitar-driven power pop from a guy whose hair is only rivaled today by the likes of Andrew Garfield. But fate has a cruel way of dealing with high expectations piled on an artist at a young age, and the only song anyone even vaguely remembers about Sexton is Beat’s So Lonely. It’s a shame. He’s the Peter Frampton of the 80s - only without all of the hits.
Obscure 80s #2: Men Without Shame by Phantom, Rocker and Slick. Mention The Stray Cats and you’ll invariably invoke Brian Setzer’s name first, but there were three guys in Stray Cats. Sadly, Phantom and Rocker got and get very little love. Back in the 80s, they formed a band with premiere guitarist Earl Slick, and while the album isn’t jaw-dropping, it did produce this fantastic song that doesn’t sound dated in the slightest. Enjoy.
Obscure 80s #1: Big Electric Cat by Adrian Belew. I thought I’d start with something more obscure, and this old Adrian Belew tune certainly fits that bill. One of the most wildly inventive guitarists I’ve ever heard, Belew has faded more and more into the background as years have passed. I still remember seeing the (then experimental) trippy video on Atlanta’s Video Music Channel.