Mountain Comics #29 – The Defenders #101


Rob welcomes Fire & Water Network pal Martin Gray to the cabin to discuss THE DEFENDERS #101 by J.M. DeMatteis and Don Perlin!

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12 responses to “Mountain Comics #29 – The Defenders #101

  1. I struggle putting my thoughts about Don Perlin’s art into words. It’s not a love/hate relationship, but it’s kind of like that. Perlin was the artist on the second half of WEREWOLF BY NIGHT, one of my favorite comics of all time, taking over for Mike Ploog. So the book went from energetic and scary to… “tame”, but at the same time, Doug Moench took over writing the book then so the storytelling became better and more consistent. Since I tend to be a story-first guy when it comes to comics, I like the second half under Moench even though it sacrifices a lot under Perlin’s pencils.

    I feel similarly the DeMatteis and Perlin era of THE DEFENDERS. Really fun, really crazy and creative scripts, but art that was just… okay. “It’s fine,” as our friend Greg Araujo would say. During the 1980s when visionary artists had bold and trendsetting artistic runs (Miller on DAREDEVIL, Simonson on THOR, Byrne on FANTASTIC FOUR), you also had very safe and dependable workman artists like Perlin and Al Milgrom, who got the job done competently, and evoked early Bronze Age house style, but hardly what I’d call dynamic or thrilling.

    Anyway, still an enjoyable issue and another great episode of Mountain Comics. Always happy to hear Martin on the network.

  2. Great episode. It’s just such a joy to hear people just casually talk about comics. Especially these books that were a staple of the Bronze Age. Everyone likes to talk about the big event issues, or the dramatic turning points, the introduction of new characters or the storylines that ended up changing the face of comics. These “simpler” stories are my favorites. They’re the “comfort comics” that I like to sit back and read on a lazy Sunday. It’s these types of stories that really bring me back to the pure joy I’d get as a kid, losing myself in a world where anything could happen, and almost always good prevailed.

  3. So glad to have a new Mountain Comics episode particularly as it features another JM DeMatteis issue. He really is incapable of delivering a bad script. I was very happy to hear you both saying how much you enjoyed Don Perlin’s art. His run on Defenders is great. He always added lots of little character touches that made the books sing.

    I’m very jealous of Martin’s ability to find so many comics on holiday. The shops were clearly better supplied in the North East compared to what I used to find in my holidays in Clacton or Great Yarmouth. I’d always manage to find something I hadn’t read but I had to scour market stalls and second hand bookshops as well as every newsagent in the town.

    Looking forward to the next episode.

  4. I missed this comic somehow. Presumably, Mom didn’t need to make a grocery run that week. Darn the food storage capacity of that standalone freezer! Anyway, thanks for an enjoyable show about an uplifting comic — one that still didn’t shy away from life’s hardships and complexities. As you implied, though, that’s bog-standard DeMatteis.

    Martin, two points:
    First, almost all of the few days I’ve spent in the UK were in North Yorkshire, and they were lovely. That was partly because of the gorgeous pastoral landscape and some satisfying work, but much more so because of welcoming people. Glad to hear you’ve fond memories of the place as well.

    Second, I don’t always leave you the last word. If I do, it’s because you’ve said everything I would have said (usually in a more informed and eloquent manner), plus a few excellent points I didn’t know or wouldn’t have thought of. You don’t kill threads; you complete them.


  5. I became aware of the original Defenders in old French translations, but by the time I was buying English-language mags, they had turned into an X-Men book (or what do you call getting Angel and the Beast on your team?) and was soon cancelled. So proper (70s) Defenders is more something I discovered in back issues.

    And I know it’s common to make parallels between the Doom Patrol and the X-Men, but in terms of sheer weirdness (of members and storylines), I want to say the DP is more like the Defenders!

    Anyway, nice to hear you two chat about this.

  6. The Defenders! I read a good run my friend had. By “good run,” I mean what seemed like three to four out of every six issues. Read like that, the team lineup changed like dreams, and it was probably easier to follow the subplots than the plots!

    I didn’t read 101, but when I saw Sunshine in the scans, I remember there’s an issue where he shows up again. It’s a Devil-Slayer solo issue -because where else are you going to get that- pretty had pn him, but it ends in hope. (What I mainly remember from that issue is that the ten year old who’d owned it before, or maybe a younger sibling, had industriously colored in every O in the lettering!)

  7. Impressive podcast. Most impressive. Kind of a weird issue, but these happened from time to time and were fun. I liked Defenders in the 70 and 80s, but missed this issue. Oy Night Wing was down for a moment. Sorry to hear that. But, glad he came back. Till they killed him… and he came back. Interesting team up. Yeah that was the only time Dr. Strange wasn’t on the Defenders… though he came back with the Order. And latter runs on the Defenders.

    Like the Bwahaha defenders run. Well it was mostly the same creative team on JLI as on this Defenders run. So kind of a Bwahaha run. Any way I like devil slayer. Just he wasn’t given his full pentitol. He’s an almost crazy man that kills demons. If Marvel brought back Epic he’d be a star. Or a Vertigo character. Have him and Gargoyle team up in one of those. And it would be great. Though not a family friendly title. Any way can’t wait for the next podcast.

  8. Yay, Mountain Comics! Another fantastic episode. Always nice to hear Martin’s dulcet Northern tones. Oddly, I went on holiday to a caravan park near Filey a few times, too. Wonder if it was the same one? It didn’t have any comics when I went, alas. My own holiday comics were limited to a couple of issues of Mighty World of Marvel picked up on the Norfolk Broads.

    Defenders is one of those series I keep thinking I should explore more. As an X-Men devotee, I absolutely *devoured* New Defenders, but have barely dipped a toe into those pre-#125 issues. I’m a big fan of JM DeMatteis, Namor and Hellstrom too (seriously, the Essential Marvel Horror collection featuring Son of Satan is superb!), so this seems like a horrible, gaping chasm in my Marvel knowledge.

    That said, I did read the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire version of Defenders, the five-issue mini from from 2005, is highly recommended for anyone who thinks the non-team team could do with a bit more Bwah-ha-ha, and for those, like myself, who are rigid in their insistence that Namor should not have nipples.

  9. I read Defenders #100, the only Defenders issue I ever bought. (I was a sucker for anniversary issues even back then.) So I have enjoyed hearing reviews of #99 and #101 now.

    I love these day in the life story issues, giving us characterization and making these figures more 3 dimensional. (Legion did it shortly after the Great Darkness Saga beautifully.) So seeing Strange/Clea dancing and Gargoyle et al visiting a hospital was wonderful.

    I do love the chat here between Rob and Mart. You two have great chemistry.

  10. Fun discussion fellas. The Defenders is a huge blank spot for me, but I have heard so many good things, I’m going to have to get around to checking this series, and this run in particular, out some day. Enjoy those Yoo-Hoos!


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