The 1990s were a decade of extremes for the comic book industry. The first half of the decade saw an explosion in sales as speculators entered the market, increasing sales by buying multiple copies of comics in search of quick returns as secondary market values rose. This speculation fueled a publishing boom that saw venture capitalists fighting over ownership of Marvel Comics.
As the market collapsed, as with sports cards and Beanie Babies, speculators left and publishers saw sales of their titles plummet rapidly. Creative direction around this time shifted towards more extreme versions of the characters as gimmicks were attempted to boost late sales. Along the way, some titles have come and gone quickly that could have worked, especially in today’s very different market.
ten Warriors Of Plasm came at the wrong time
When Jim Shooter left Valiant, he formed Defiant Comics with the initial launch of a collectible card comic, Plasma. This sparked a lawsuit from Marvel Comics over their British comic book, Plasma. Defiant won the lawsuit, but the cost contributed to the collapse of the company, as well as the collapse of the market.
Plasma warriors, as the original title became known, focused on a world where everything was alive. He prospered by conquering other worlds and attention was drawn to Earth. Several abductees on Earth retaliated against the invasion of the Supreme Plasm Acquirer, Lorca. Today it would fit into a welcome market for sci-fi comics.
9 Aztek had such potential for talented writers
Aztek was a hero raised from childhood in a secret society to fight an Aztec god. He became disillusioned when he realized that the company that had raised him and gave him the armor he was using was funded by Lex Luthor. Ultimately, he sacrificed himself to help the JLA stop Mageddon, the real threat he was raised to defeat.
Grant Morrison and Mark Millar were the authors of the ten issues Aztek received. Having a hero disillusioned upon hearing his raison d’être was compromised was a great story to tell and perfect for great writers like Morrison and Millar. Today’s market is much more receptive to intelligent, exploratory storytelling in superhero comics.
8 Monkeyman and O’Brien have all the elements to work
Art Adams owned a book owned by a designer in Monkeyman and O’Brien, published by Dark Horse. Its initial series sold quite well, but it was indirectly victimized by the demands of the market. Adams was in high demand as an artist and undertook high profile work to broaden his audience. In 2006, Art Admas still intended to return to the series.
Art Adams is a very detailed artist, and his style always amazes comic book fans new and old. The humorous tone would suit today’s market perfectly. The only obstacle to its realization is the will of Art Adams himself.
7 Darkhold: Book of Sins pages could function without comic book code as an obstacle to bizarre horror
The notion of Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins was a novel. Each page was given to unsuspecting people by an evil dwarf. A small team of non-motorized individuals fought the effects of each page.
The book was prevented from exploring the truly horrific effects of dark magic by the comic book code, even in its weakened state in the 1990s. Since abandoning the code, Marvel has really not embraced the ability. to produce a true horror comic book. If produced today, writer Christian Cooper could write a very different comic, pushing the boundaries further than in the 1990s.
6 Coventry by Bill Willingham had a rich world ready to explore
Bill Willingham is now known for Fables, which is a rich world of fairy tales and fairy tale characters all living in one world. Prior to that, the creator of Elementals released a few other series, including one at Fantagraphics called Coventry. It was set in a fictional city where magic existed within a bureaucracy.
Drawn by Willingham, each page featured beautiful staging in each panel and was exceptionally easy to read. If released today, it could find a market among fans of fantastic comics, as the world was designed to be meaningful by its own rules. Willingham even trusted other artists to help shape his vision, especially Mark Buckingham.
5 The Heckler was Deadpool before Deadpool was funny
In the 1990s, Deadpool was a violent mercenary who expressed a sense of humor but hadn’t broken the fourth wall or embraced the absurd. Around the same time, Keith Giffen created a costumed hero named Heckler who fought villains with tactics reminiscent of Bugs Bunny. In the 90s there was very little market for comic books and Heckler was canceled after six issues.
Humor is more readily accepted by comic book readers today. Deadpool even mixes it up with violence and superheroes. The Heckler would have an easier time today finding a fan base and maybe even thriving.
4 Team Titans could have thrived if they hadn’t had to try to be X-Force
Team Titans was a comic book spun off from two events, Armageddon 2001 and New Titans’ Total Chaos crossover. According to TwoMorrows Companion of the Titans, Jeff Jensen and Phil Jimenez disagreed with the editors who wanted the comic book to be Rob Liefeld’s DC version of X-Force.
They were trying to do something more character-oriented. Today, this type of storytelling is more popular. Having characters from a future that no longer exists is a concept that really drives a story to places rarely explored.
3 Timber Wolf had the perfect tone for Revival today
In the 1990s, Legion of Super-Heroes member Timber Wolf found himself physically transformed and transported to the present day with a divine being named Aria. He became the target of government agents and fought off alien invaders. With the failure of its limited series, it returned to the 30th century.
Timber Wolf was an effort to capitalize on various trends from the ’90s, and it was different from the Legion of Super-Heroes issues that led to this limited series. If released today, Timber Wolf could embark on adventures that set him apart from the rest of DC’s heroes with the perspective of an ordinary man from the future. He also treated the genre as inherently silly, which fits better today than at the height of the extreme evolution of the 1990s.
2 Danger Unlimited was John Byrne’s Silver Age heroes in a dystopian future
With Unlimited dangerJohn Byrne told the stories of two teams, one in the more recent era of heroes and the other forming in a future where Earth would have been conquered by aliens. It all centered around Cal Carson, a member of the First Team, whose discovery in stasis was the spark for the Second Team. The origin of all their powers came from an alien substance called “gunk”.
Unlimited danger was a title meant to be more inclusive for all ages, but the trend back then was for more extreme and violent titles. The collapse of the market also resulted in lower and lower sales figures for each issue. Today, the market might be more receptive to a more traditional take on superheroes inspired by the Silver Age of Comics, welcoming all readers.
1 ClanDestine has incredibly rich potential that should have been harnessed in the Marvel Universe
ClanDestine was a family descended from an immortal father and a magical mother. Each had their own powers and their own perspective on their role in the Marvel Universe. The younger ones, the twins Rory and Pandora, initially thought they were mutants and wanted to be superheroes. When the family was targeted by an obscure organization, their family reunited, some more reluctantly than others.
Writer Alan Davis gave logical explanations for these characters to stay away from Marvel history. In most cases, they just wanted to be left alone. The tragedy of a lost brother underscored this decision not to get involved. It looks suspiciously like the path the Eternals took in the MCU. In a better world, there would be a ClanDestine movie or a Disney + series.
DC: 5 Best Times Villains Became Heroes (& 5 Worst Times)
About the Author