My Own Private Strike File

People looking to summarize the 90’s comic market tend to reference Liefeld or hologram covers. Certainly, those are the most garish and offensive visuals of the period and the passage of time hasn’t done much to absolve them. To many of us, even as adolescents, those trappings seemed ridiculous. I can’t even imagine how a young comic reader today would view them. Probably the way I see The Doors. Truly obvious hokey crapola.

If I had to encapsulate the 90’s and create a wickerman to burn, it would be this piece of shit right here. I think it represents the time better than even X-Force #1. Here’s why: Stryfe’s Strike File isn’t obviously shitty artists working on an obviously shitty title. It’s very good artists shoehorned into working on a obviously shitty AND irrelevant title. This is a cash-grab. A slapped together piece of garbage meant to separate mentally ill collectors from their hard-earned Internet start-up money. For shame, Marvel. Andy Kubert and Larry Stroman, you are forgiven. You were victims of your time and the machinations of a corporate culture fixated on short money and low art. Hit this auction, buy this book and then burn it this winter for warmth. This must be expunged from the record of modern comics. Let our children never know the depth of our sins.


  1. Posted November 12, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Yes, when I think of comics in the 1990s, I do think of the explosion of multiple covers/polybags/die-cut/hologram/foil/trading card/#0 gimmicks and what an unforgivable rip-off they were. Who knows how many comics fans in their formative years were burned by those tactics and gave up on the art form altogether?

    Image could have earned some of the moral high ground they liked to claim over Marvel by /not/ doing multiple covers etc., but they did it as much as anyone.

    Also making it unforgivable is that it’s still happening. It’s not as insane as it was in the 1990s, but you /still/ see multiple covers. There’s the normal cover. There’s the painted cover by the other artist. There’s the “sketch” cover that’s just pencils. There’s the cover that’s just pencils and inks, in black-and-white. There’s the “retailer incentive” tactic: order a minimum number of copies and get the alternate covers.

    As for art in the 1990s, Liefeld himself was only half the problem. Sure, it was infuriating that he was so popular in spite of being so terrible, but if it had just been him, we could have chalked it up to the audience being hungry for something weird and different. But /his art style became the dominant art style for the entire industry/.

    As for /Stryfe’s Strike File/, it went completely under my radar at the time, but I found it in a 25-cent box at a comic con a few years ago and bought it. I got my money’s worth in the form of early 1990s nostalgia. Bad trends in comics aside, I always liked Stryfe, the character, whom I first encountered in the 1992 John Romita Jr.-pencilled /Cable/ two-issue mini-series.

    What the heck happened to Stroman? He used to do such nicely constructed, rendered figures, and then I saw an issue of /Black Panther/ he drew and it was horrible.

    It seems to have happened to a lot of artists I liked in the 1980s, though.

  2. b. murphy
    Posted November 12, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    You know comics were jumping the shark when they began releasing full run trading cards. That first series of Marvel cards were BUDGET. The hologram cards were … lackluster. Sigh. Somehow, I still have a full set … Jokes on me?

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