So Sayeth the Odinson: 1996-1998: A Timeline of a Pivotal Period in American Comics History Part 3.2: 1998 (July-December)

Greetings from the Odinson,

The late ‘90s was a pivotal moment in history for the comic book medium.  The industry, thanks in no small part to the bottom falling out on an unprecedented speculator boom, both creatively and financially was in flux. 

What would happen in 1998 and what would it mean for the future of American Comic Books?

1996-1998: A Timeline of a Pivotal Period in American Comics History

Part 3.2: 1998 (July-December)

Be sure to check out Part 1: 1996 (HERE), Part 2.1: 1997 (HERE), Part 2.2: 1997 (HERE), and Part 3.1 (HERE).

July

The Mighty Thor triumphantly returns from his yearlong exile in the Heroes Reborn Universe!  And this time we get something we have never seen before, a Mighty Thor #1Dan Jurgens comes on as series writer and orchestrates easily one of the best runs in the series history (check out what the Odinson had to say about that run HERE).

In Pop Culture:

July 1st, saw Bruce Willis assemble an Avengers like team of heroes in Armageddon to save the world from an asteroid and the Odinson found his ultimate guilty pleasure for decades to come.

July 15th, There’s Something about Mary not only proved Rated R comedies could make money at the box office, but that fans were harder to offend back in the 90s than they are today.

July 17th, The Mask of Zorro saw Antonio Banderas don the cape and mask and play the role he was born to play.

July 24th, Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan is, hands down, one of the most intense movie-going experiences of the Odinson’s life.  To this day, even when I think about watching it, I must gird my loins and gather my courage. 

August

Emerald Knights sees a Pre-Parallax Hal Jordan appear in the present and embark on an adventure alongside the Torch-Bearer Kyle Rayner as he discovers not only how the DCU has changed in his heroic absence, but also come face-to-face with the tragic fate that awaits him.  

The Incredible Hulk #467 is the final issue in writer Peter David’s 12-year, 140 issue run on the series.  That is an amazing benchmark very few in this industry ever achieve.

The End of StormWatch marked the end of an era and bridged the gap between the beginnings of Image Comics and the new Millennium overhaul it was entering into at this time.  This is a highly underrated tale that features appearances by Jim Lee’s WildCATs and the deadly Xenomorphs, a tale with actual stakes, where deaths have impact and it’s an ending that actually transitions into a worthy new beginning as the Authority rises from the ashes in the aftermath.

In Pop Culture:

August 14th, The Avengers, a film that adapted the 1960s TV show and starred Ralph Fiennes as John Steed, Uma Thurman as Emma Peel, and the great Sean Connery as the films main villain.  I remember when this film was announced I foolishly thought it was going to be about Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.  Boy was I wrong. 

August 21st, Blade starring Wesley Snipes hit screens with unapologetic action, violence, and an unrelenting, bumping soundtrack.  Make no mistake, True Believers, THIS is the real beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  The Odinson saw this film every week it was in the theatres until it wasn’t, even walking five miles once when the car was in the shop because I just had to see the super cool Daywalker slay that dastardly Deacon Frost one more time.     

August 23rd, That ‘70s Show made its debut on Fox and was the greatest love letter to the decade of the 1970s and featured a cast of lovable and relatable characters.

August 24, Bart Gunn won the Brawl for All, a shoot boxing tournament held by the WWF that many consider one of the lowest points in sports entertainment history. 

September

Dark Horse launches the first Buffy the Vampire Salyer comic series and with these comics told the tales that happened between seasons and episodes of the classic hit TV show. 

In Pop Culture:

September 8th, without a doubt, the biggest story in the summer of 1998 was the Home Run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as they pursued the record of 61 home runs in a single season held by Roger Maris, a record that stood for nearly 40 years.  On this day, the hulking McGwire broke the record.  Unfortunately, as exciting as that summer was for baseball, the new record has an * next to it because this is also the era of baseball when steroids were a major player. 

October

The Flash #142 sees Wally West the Fastest Man Alive finally tie the knot with his long-time love interest Linda Park. 

A-Next spins out of the pages of Spider-Girl and bridges the gap between Marvel’s present-day heroes and the heroes of Marvel 2099.

Marvel ends Daredevil, one of its longest running series.  But don’t fret, this was only to make way for a brand new #1.  Unfortunately, this became a trend that would become quite rampant and continues to be practiced with great frequency to this very day. 

Excalibur, one of the longest running X-Men spin-offs, ends its decade long run with the wedding of Captain Britain and Meggan. 

Mutant X launches and presents fans with one of Marvel’s more interesting experiment series as Havok, the brother of Cyclops, suddenly finds himself transported to an alternate reality and among a team of X-Men far more brutal and dangerous then the mutant heroes he knows.  The drama comes from a stalwart hero trying to hide in plain site as he navigates this dangerous new world. 

In Pop Culture:

October 3rd, Mortal Kombat: Conquest was a TV series and serves as a prequel to the awesome 1995 Mortal Kombat film.  The Odinson re-watched it recently on HBOMax and I’m here to say, it holds up way better than I thought it would.  Mindless fun and way better than the terrible film sequel from 1997 whose name shall go unmentioned. 

October 30th, John Carpenter’s Vampires adapted the novel Vampire$ and the legendary Carpenter makes a modern-day western with slayers vs. vampires that like so many of his great films went on to become a cult classic with a fantastic musical score and is one of the Odinson’s favorite vampire films.

November

DC One Million sees the DCU’s future come back to haunt the present.

After a decade of blazing a trail across the landscape of the Marvel U’s cosmic domain, one of the best solo series going, Silver Surfer, comes to an unceremonious end after 146 issues. 

The final issue of the longest running What If? series hits the stands and leaves fans with a startling cliffhanger that to this day, at least to my knowledge, has never been resolved. 

Marvel launches a new imprint called Marvel Knights which follows the adventures of their more street level and eclectic heroes.  The first wave was successful and pretty darn awesome featuring Kevin Smith’s Daredevil, Christopher Priest’s Black Panther, Paul Jenkins’ Inhumans, and one of the most bizarre takes on the Punisher this side of Franken-Castle, which sees Frank Castle return from the grave as a supernatural repo man. 

When it came to art, Marvel Knights featured the cream of the crop, names like Joe Quesada, Mark Texeira, Jay Lee, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Bernie Wrightson.  The success of this first wave of titles paved the way for more to follow, allowed Joe Quesada to advance the ranks of creative control at Marvel, and opened the avenues that eventually led to the Ultimate Universe.

In Pop Culture:

November 18th, the Powerpuff Girls an absolute blast of a cartoon made its debut on the Cartoon Network. 

December

Dark Horse launched the first ongoing Star Wars series in over ten years since the Marvel series ended in 1986 and did the franchise justice for the next eight years carrying the torch of this great franchise with honor and did the mythology justice (unlike a certain company run by a mouse that shall remain nameless).

Writer Kurt Busiek, fresh off his stellar relaunch of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, is joined by artist Carlos Pacheco for Avengers Forever, a time-traveling epic that assembles a team of heroes from across the different time periods in Avengers history.  It’s an amazingly fun ride!

In Pop Culture:

December 4th, the Psycho remake hit theatres making fans everywhere wonder why anyone would attempt to remake a classic.  Unfortunately, Hollywood took this as a cue to remake EVERYTHING!

December 21st, Baldur’s Gate, set in the aftermath of the infamous Time of Troubles, was released and is easily one of the Odinson’s favorite games of All-Time.  BG1 led to two sequels, many expansions and many classic games like Icewind Dale, The Temple of Elemental Evil, and even Dragon Age, all who took cues and/or share creatives that worked on this video game classic.

December 27th, at Starrcade ’98, the unprecedented streak of the human tank known as Goldberg of 173 straight wins ends abruptly at the hands of the NWO by dubious means, to say the least.

So, now that we know what happened in 1996-1998, next week we’ll take a look at the impact these 3 pivotal years had on the future of American Comics.

This is Odinson bidding thee farewell

NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE.  Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE

About Odinson

I am a lifelong comics fan and pop culture enthusiast. Comic books, novels, games, television, movies, I love it all. From fantasy to science fiction, drama to comedy, as long as the writing and execution are interesting, I love it, and I want to talk about it.

There are 4 comments

  1. Chris

    Thanks man for these series on the 90s. I was born in 83 and grew up in the 90s. I never knew how Jam packed of pop culture till now. I mean I did,but not that much. Now a days it’s just reboots and milking off story lines set back than. We had it good dude in how creative it was back than.

    Liked by 1 person

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