Great Graphic Novels: West Coast Avengers, by Steve Englehart and Al Milgrom

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16 Responses to “Great Graphic Novels: West Coast Avengers, by Steve Englehart and Al Milgrom”

  1. Dr_Wadd says:

    Thanks for flagging this up, I think I will have to grab it. West Coast Avengers was my initial introduction to Avengers in general so for me it holds quite a special place in Avengers lore. Plus the fact that it has Iron Man is a big bonus for me. I’ve not read them for a long time, but I always remember them as being a little bit tongue in cheek which made them refreshingly different, something they had in common with the early Justice League International issues.

  2. TimmoWarner says:

    I absolutely loved West Coast Avengers way back when. It was my favourite comic right after New Mutants and I actually never read the original Avengers comic at all. It’s one of the few comics from back then that I can actually still remember major stories for.

  3. I haven’t dug those out of the comic boxes in 20 years… I should probably reread them. Thanks!

  4. Mitchell Glaser says:

    The article contains an excellent example of why I never liked Hawkeye. He’s a pointless waste of ink that has evolved into a pointless waste of pixels.

    •  I take it then you haven’t checked out Fraction and Aja’s new take on the character. Only 2 issues in and I think it just beat Daredevil as the best book Marvel is putting out right now.

  5. Al Milgrom’s art style is like diarrhea.

    I can’t believe he actually got paid for that crap.

  6. Ramone says:

    For DECADES I didn’t tell a soul that I first learned of the Avengers through their West Coast affiliate. I remember a friend’s big brother badmouthing any side-series he thought was an impure offspring of the beloved “A” team.

    I thought I was the only one who loved them since it was, of course, eventually cancelled.

    This post is like a love letter to something I hold near and dear to my own teenage wasteland.

    Thank you!!

  7. eharts says:

    “Never complain, never explain” – and I have nothing to complain _about_ – but I do want to _explain_ that ending sentences with exclamation points was THE way comics were done from the time they were created and I was just following suit in my time. I have no vested interest in those points.

    Glad you liked the stories. We had fun doing them.

  8. figital says:

    I had the same love affair circa 1983 but with Batman and the Outsiders … sticking it to the  All-Americans and running off with the freaks & geeks: [Issue #1 Cover Link]

    (Jim Aparo is tops on my list)

  9. JimEJim says:

    You spelled Great Lakes Avengers wrong. :)

    • Halloween_Jack says:

      Amusing, since the GLA was created in WCA; really, the only decent thing that John Byrne did on the title IMO. (And the best appearance of the GLA was in the miniseries by Dan Slott and Paul Pelletier, although Squirrel Girl, a latter-day member, has done well since.)

  10. Sean Siem says:

    “characters…. are the product of simple math: their core beliefs multiplied by their ongoing experiences.”   <—— I think this concept works so well because it's a good estimation of how people grow in real life.  It's succinct and slightly profound.  Seriously dig that.

  11. Halloween_Jack says:

    I was never that big of a WCA fan, but I can understand why you’d appreciate it so much. (My favorite characters when I started reading comics regularly were Iron Fist, Nova, and Machine Man, who all had short-lived series of their own and have sporadically re-appeared in Marvel comics since.) WCA was sort of ruined for me when John Byrne took over. Byrne was beginning a phase in his career when he’d take over writing and art on a book in order to “fix” a character that he thought had been done wrong by another writer; in this case the Scarlet Witch, who had had a couple of kids with the android Vision. Byrne retconned them away as demonic components of a magic villain.

  12. Bobby Campbell says:

    Wow! I never thought WCA would be the feature series in this BoingBoing feature… Great choice! I picked up West Coast Avengers at the drug store when I was probably 11 or 12. My first issue was #10. I read it for the next two years or so, alongside New Mutants (like another reader above), Elfquest and various other series. A few years ago, I decided to collect more of the series and now have issues 1 through 50-something. The writer here has really given a terrific description of the series’ merits – it moves quickly, the characters do grow and respond to events in the book, the art is clear and dramatic. I think Milgrom is slightly underrated. With Sinnott especially, Milgrom’s work echoes Kirby’s in its use of blocky, dynamic figures and prolific action shots. The villains are some of the best parts of West Coast Avengers – the team’s “second tier” status allowed them to have wackier, more fun stories and villains. It wasn’t just the main Avengers book that was New-York-centric; the whole Marvel Universe provided a picture of New York to me as a young reader. WCA was refreshing in how it used both Los Angeles and the American southwest. Great stuff and if “eharts” is Steve Englehart, thank you for many hours of both childhood and adult enjoyment!

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