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Thursday, July 06, 2006

John Byrneday -- As noted at The Comics Reporter, today is John Byrne's birthday. While my loathing of Byrne's public persona runs back decades, on this, his special day, I thought I would salute the enduring things about Byrne that I actually enjoy.

A good place to start, if you're interested in great John Byrne comics, is the recent Marvel hardcover Uncanny X-men Omnibus, which reprints a good chunk of the Byrne/Austin artistic era (a second volume would complete it, and is most welcome as far as I am concerned). Yes, it's $100.00 bucks, but it reprints something like 40 issues, many of which you would pay that individually for. Additionally, it's on great paper stock and includes the original letters pages, which are kind of a treat to see in print again.

Also of great historical value, if you can track it down, is the Comics Journal issue (#57) that featured a long interview with John Byrne. Byrne weighs in, among other topics, on how Bob Layton's inking made male characters look "queer," according to both Byrne and his dad. After that revelation, well over two decades ago, nothing else the guy has said can really be a surprise, can it?

A great place to track Byrne's latter-day shenanigans is the permanent John Byrne thread at The V Forum. And for biographical information, go to The John Byrne page at Wikipedia. Byrne's online discussion forum is at Byrne Robotics, but beware, only sycophantic groupthink is tolerated for any length of time.

Update: In perhaps the most beautiful coincidence ever noticed on this blog, it's also George W. Bush's birthday. What is the connection, you ask? Well, as a Canadian, Byrne will also never legally be elected President of the United States.

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Blogger Marc said...

Good overview, Alan, but what about Byrne's run on Fantastic Four? I would put that on any "best of Byrne" list.

06 July, 2006 09:42  
Blogger ADD said...

That didn't take long. :)

Byrne's FF was welcome and refreshing in its day mostly because FF had sucked so badly since Kirby left the title. He brought energy and his own vision to the book, but I don't think it holds up today in comparison to the works I cited; obviously, your mileage may vary.

06 July, 2006 10:05  
Blogger ADD said...

That said, I would pay big money for a hardcover collecting all of Byrne's run on Marvel Team-Up. Some beautiful stuff in there.

06 July, 2006 10:07  
Blogger Marc said...

Yeah, if I didn't mention it, I'm sure someone else would have. Well, I admit its been a long time since I've read any of Byrne's FF, so I really can't comment on how well it holds up today, but I do remember that one of my favorite Byrne stories of all time was the FF issue where the little kid idolized the Human Torch so much he burned himself, and the Torch ended up quitting the FF. Don't remember what issue that was, but the fact that I still remember it all these years later makes it a classic in my mind, anyway.

06 July, 2006 14:56  
Blogger Michileen Martin said...

I definitely agree with what you said about his FF run, ADD. I bought a big chunk of it really cheap when Action Man went out of business and was kind of scratching my head at what all the fuss was about. Not that it wasn't good, but FF fans talk about it like it was gold.

The only Byrne series I ever really got into was Namor. Out of all the series he's written, it was the only one I found engaging. Unless the character suddenly experiences a popularity spurt, I doubt they'll ever be collected in a trade, but if it happens I'd gladly pick it up.

07 July, 2006 03:25  

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