I’ve been going about this all wrong! See, I just re-read Deathmate and it reminded me that I’ve forgotten a huge part of how I got into comics! Back in the day, my friend Jimmy and I would go to the comic book store across the street from our elementary school and check out the new stuff on display. And one day, there they were: Deathmate, all six issues, ready to be bought up by my grubby little hands. Just take a look at the six most important comics in my entire collection, my most prized possessions:
Behold all that beautiful multi-colored chrome! Here, take a closer look:
Aren’t they ... wait ... what’s that in the background?
Oh my God, it’s the Ultrazord, my actual most prized possession from my childhood! And he’s defeating the worst comic of all time! Thanks, old friend, and Happy 20th Anniversary!
April Fool's! Yeah ... Deathmate began when I was eight, and its six-issue reign of terror ended after I turned ten. It’s a good thing I never got into comics as a kid because stuff like Deathmate would have scared me away forever. This is the nadir of the comic book industry—not of the medium itself, but of comics as it had existed until 1993. Along with Avengers: The Crossing, Onslaught, The Death of Superman and Emerald Twilight, Deathmate is the point where the comics speculator market burst. At least most of those stories have some redeeming elements (well… maybe not The Crossing).
Conversely, Deathmate is a toxic mix of bad storytelling and chronic lateness, a story that nobody wanted—not the readers, not the retailers, and not even the creators! It’s the shot to the heart of Valiant that would eventually kill the company, as well as derail the legitimacy of Image and other small comic book companies for years to come. It’s a hit that the industry has yet to recover from and probably never will. But, as they say, you have to hit rock-bottom before you can rise again ...
Wait, what’s that you’re doing, Ultrazord?
You’re replacing Deathmate with the six most important books in my collection! And to think I was going to replace you with the new Legacy version. Meanwhile, I’ll see you tomorrow for the actual Deathmate review, God help us all.
[Shenanigans by Doug Glassman, who Tumblrs at '80s Marvel Rocks!]