Reading recent collections of New Mutants Classic, as the logo describes it, I found myself remembering how difficult I found the Bill Sienkiewicz-illustrated issues when they were were first coming out. For the most part, it was the art, which was simultaneously more realistic and less grounded in ideas of a physical reality than what my 10 year old brain was used to at the time – I found it attractive but difficult to parse, to understand exactly what it all meant, sometimes – but Chris Claremont’s writing shifted to match what he was seeing, it seemed, with the stories becoming darker in tone (Professor Xavier has an illegitimate son with multiple personalities! Dani is being terrorized by an unstoppable monster! Cloak and Dagger have appeared and there’re drugs and addiction metaphors!) and less straight-ahead in execution. Re-reading it all now, it feels like bold stuff, a step forward from the Bob McLeod-illustrated issues and an important evolution not only for the book and its characters, but for Claremont as a writer and the X-Men franchise in general, but at the time… these were unsettling comics.
(When Jackson Guice and Kyle Baker came on as the regular art team, a year or so later, that was my era of true New Mutants love; I don’t know if it’s because I was at the right age, or that I could deal better with the more traditional art style.)
Remembering all this made me think about earlier prejudices I’d had about comics and artists in particular that seem ridiculous to me now: I remember thinking that Don Heck was boring, or that Jack Kirby was old-fashioned, for example, as well as being convinced that no-one could draw Guy Gardner as well as John Byrne had in Legends (This isn’t to be confused with my still-existing theory that no-one can draw Captain Britain as well as Alan Davis, although I’m looking forward to Gabriel Hardman proving me wrong in Secret Avengers). It’s embarrassing and weirdly reassuring to remember all of these ideas I had about what worked and didn’t work in comics back then, in part because oh man was I wrong about a lot of stuff, but also, it’s good to see myself learning and getting over snobbery and the like as I get older; I hope that, twenty years from now, I can look back on things I didn’t like and laugh at myself for my appalling taste.
That said, I’m wondering what comic prejudices and phobias you’ve had (and recovered from), dear readers. What used to turn you off, but you hate to admit it these days?