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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An overview of when comics went "dark."
In the mid 80's there was a drastic change in the world of comics. Books like WATCHMAN, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS came on the scene and industry took a turn. No longer were comics aimed at a young audience, superheroes were now "dark avengers" now inhabiting worlds where death and violence were commonplace. Mark Voger does a fine job of...
Published on March 13, 2006 by J. Carroll

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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from a masterpiece
Whatever these other reviewers were inhaling at the time that they posted their reviews...I want some. Because they loved this book MUCH more than it warranted.

I love books about comics. I have a particular interest in the 1980s-2000 and the rise of Image, the rise of glitter, and the spectators' rush to the false gold of comicbook collecting. The Dark Age by...
Published on April 3, 2007 by H. G. Turner


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An overview of when comics went "dark.", March 13, 2006
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This review is from: The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics (Paperback)
In the mid 80's there was a drastic change in the world of comics. Books like WATCHMAN, THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, and CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS came on the scene and industry took a turn. No longer were comics aimed at a young audience, superheroes were now "dark avengers" now inhabiting worlds where death and violence were commonplace. Mark Voger does a fine job of presenting an overview of this period in this book. The book itself is a potpourri; it sacrifices order for a scattershot mix of interviews, synopses, and commentaries. Exceptionally well-illustrated and with tongue firmly planted in cheek on many occasions, Voger keeps things moving and the book never gets boring. While the obvious candidates for inclusion are here (Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Todd McFarlane) are all included; it's nice to see creators like Doug Murray (THE NAM) and Dave Lapham (STRAY BULLETS) getting a few pages as well. THE DARK AGE really captures both the grand and the goofy with aplomb; from Spiegelman's incredible MAUS to the ridiculous poly bagged, multiple cover, sales ploys that eventually crippled the industry. It's all here; not an in depth examination, but rather a reader friendly overview of the last big change in comics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting trip down memory lane, August 8, 2010
This review is from: The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics (Paperback)
I grew up reading comics during the so-called "Dark Age," a period bookended by the mid-80s release of such important books as THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and WATCHMEN on the one end, and was essentially ended by the implosion of the early-Nineties speculative/collector bubble on the other. Because of that, this book really had a lot of nostalgaic appeal for me, and for the most part it delivered.

THE DARK AGE is a hodgepodge of topical essays, interviews, and lists (such as Dark Age Cliches, 10 Most Important books of the Dark Age, and 10 Most Ludicrous Books of the Dark Age) by writer Mark Voger. For the most part, I found it an enlightening and entertaining read. Voger's a good writer. My main complaint was that I wanted more -- more interviews, more details, more research, more perspectives. Maybe it's because of my training as a historian, but I just felt the book wasn't a complete narrative of the era. More like an overview.

Not that I neccessarily wanted Voger to have detailed every comic of any importance to the era. That would have been tedious and unreadable to all but the most die-hard comics fan (which I confess I am not, or at least haven't been since about 1994.) But the book was well under 200 pages, and had lots of illustrations -- which I'm not complaining about, obviously it's vital for a book on such a visual medium to be heavily illustrated. My point is that I would've liked more info packed in. Also, I wish Voger had tied things together a little more. Last, I thought he made an important omission in not covering the comic hero trading-card craze. In my experience as a youngster in the late-80s and early-90s, comic cards were absolutely huge at my school for a while. Even students who didn't read comics were into them. I thought they at least deserved a little coverage as an important part of the era that brought a lot of new people into comics.

That said, I still enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who can remember the days when comic heroes all seemed to be dark and violent, when comic artists were rock stars, when books constantly came in polybags, or with holographic (or metal foil) covers, when Image seemed to come out with a new super-team series every week, all of which kinda seemed the same and most of which didn't last beyond 2 or 3 issues, etc, etc,.....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MAGNIFICENT HISTORY OF COMICS DARKEST PERIOD, July 14, 2006
This review is from: The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics (Paperback)
The Dark Age is a magnificent look at the comic book industry of the late 80's through the mid 90's. While not an "official" age, the term Dark Age works first two describe the change in tone of many characters from their more boy scout, truth, justice, and the American way roots, to a darker, grimmer, do-what-it-takes style, perhaps best epitomized by Frank Miller's watershed `Batman: The Dark Knight Returns". But Dark Age also describes the state of the comic book industry. Driven by greed and spurred on by speculators, the comic book industry teetered on the brink of destruction thanks to the mindless waves of multi, poly-bagged, foil, hologram, and die-cut covers, and trying to create instant collectibles.

Writer Mark Voger points to DC's "Crisis on Infinite Earths" as the start of this dark age and provides a synopsis of each of the twelve issues along with notes on who died and other events. Voger interviews artist Dave Gibbons about the creation of "The Watchmen", the book that allowed us comic fans to say, "See! Comics aren't just for kids and nerds!" Gibbons discusses what went into creating these new characters as opposed to using the actual Charlton characters they were based on.

Much of the content of "The Dark Age" is in the form of interviews with creative talent and Voger truly shines in this area. One of my favorites is his interview with longtime DC writer and editor Denny O' Neil who was the editor of the Batman titles during the "Death in the Family" and "Knightfall" storylines. Denny discusses how the Jason Todd Robin character really took on a life of his own and even he was surprised by the results of the fan voting that resulted in Robin's death.

Another important event in the Dark Age was the rise of Image Comics and the artists who founded it. This may be comic's darkest period. Suddenly every hot artist also decided that he was a writer as well and we had shelves full of comics that featured impossibly proportioned heroes in comics that were basically 22 splash pages long. Artist Greg Capullo, who was pushed into some of Marvel's top books when guys like McFarlane, Liefeld, Lee, and Silvestri left talks about the state of Marvel at that time and why he eventually chose to join Image's ranks. Sadly Mr. Capullo, like so many of these hotshot artists, just doesn't get it. He complains that after these guys left marvel started emphasizing the character over pushing the artist's talents. Don't you just think that Jack Kirby is spinning in his grave! These characters have been around for decades and will still be around long after these "hot" artists have come and gone. It is precisely this type of egomania that almost destroyed the industry.

Other interviews in the book feature James O' Barr, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Mike Carlin, Erik Larsen, and Mike Mignola. To Close things, Voger lists the Top 10 best and the top 10 most ludicrous books of the Dark Age. In a twist of irony, Superman #75, in which the character dies, makes both lists. The Dark Age is an absolute must read for comic fans, especially those who were fans during this very unique period of comic book history.

Reviewed by Tim Janson
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from a masterpiece, April 3, 2007
This review is from: The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics (Paperback)
Whatever these other reviewers were inhaling at the time that they posted their reviews...I want some. Because they loved this book MUCH more than it warranted.

I love books about comics. I have a particular interest in the 1980s-2000 and the rise of Image, the rise of glitter, and the spectators' rush to the false gold of comicbook collecting. The Dark Age by Voger promised to go into detail about all of this -- and these other reviewers said it delivered as much, which is why I bought the book -- but it didn't happen. This isn't an inclusive book about a fascinating era; it's a clip book, with a bunch of short interviews and short articles. Lots of pictures in its 165 pages...you're looking at maybe 90 pages of prose. And I think I'm being generous at that.

An example of where The Dark Age fails? You'll find a longer article about the executive producer of the Batman movie than you will about ANY of the comic creators. There are huge gaps in information -- some of the most important publishers, writers and artists of the age aren't even interviewed...hello, Rob Liefeld, how are you, Neil Gaiman?...while Alice Cooper warrants a full page of blather.

It's worth buying if you can get it at a discount. Just be aware of what you're really purchasing.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Book For Indie Comics Fans!, April 10, 2009
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This review is from: The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics (Paperback)
If you love comics like Spawn!

If you know who Marc Silvestri is.

If you consider "The Crow: By James O'Barr" The Best Graphic Novel Of All Time! (Much like I do!)

Then you need this book!

It interviews all the Indie Greats!

Complete with illustrations of the characters from the comics and photographs of the creators!

If you love Indie Comics........THEN WITHOUT QUESTION.......BUY THIS BOOK!

It will answer a ton of your questions about how the Indie Comics scene was revolutionized in the late 1980s and early 1990s!

So go and get your copy already!
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inherently fascinating historical survey of this increasingly popular storytelling artform, April 4, 2006
This review is from: The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics (Paperback)
Enhanced with the photography of Kathy Vogleson, The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics by Mark Voger offers a cornucopia of information on writers and illustrators of comics and graphic novels in a kind of "film noir" tradition. Hallmarked by dynamic artforms and story lines of graphically portrayed blood and violence, these comics and graphic novels originated as adult (or at least older adolescent readers) counter-culture alternatives to the more sedate and "politically correct" mainstream comics. The Dark Age is an inherently fascinating historical survey of this increasingly popular storytelling artform that has since established itself firmly enough to spawn film and movie adaptations. The Dark Age is strongly recommended reading for comic and graphic novel buffs with an interest in the history and growth of this particular segment of illustrated literature.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have!!!!!, February 8, 2006
This review is from: The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics (Paperback)
If you are amazed by the gorey era of comics, look no further but this book. The amazing detail, the great interviews and the unique pictures make it a must have. Obviously the author knew what he was doing. That book was my most well spent money ever.
Great source of information. A must have!!!
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The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics
The Dark Age: Grim, Great & Gimmicky Post-Modern Comics by Dave Gibbons (Paperback - January 18, 2006)
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