Thursday, February 06, 2014

WHAT I MISS ABOUT 90'S COMICS: Horror Line 'The Midnight Sons'

Believe it or not, 90's comics weren't all about running after the latest foil covered, die-cut, poly-bagged edition of DeathDeathKill #1 - and this week I'm chucking up another reason why the decade had some good beats to it, the Marvel horror comics line; The Midnight Sons.

I find horror's absence in the lines of the Big Two a head-scratcher. With a glut of 'I'm a suicidal teen vampire' projects out there, Marvel should be cornering the supernatural market alongside Image Comics' The Walking Dead, like it did in the 90's with the Midnight Sons family of titles.

This line launched from the crossover Rise of The Midnight Sons. Titles that rose to ride beside the Ghost Rider monthly included; The Nightstalkers, Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sin, Morbius: The Living Vampire, Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance, Midnight Sons Unlimited and a darker than usual Doctor Strange.

Oh yeah, the story also introduced one of the best (and most underused) female foes in comics, Lilith - Mother of Demons. While B-lister Blade The Vampire Hunter wasn't far from being turned into a movie icon, not all the heroes gathered by Doctor Strange to oppose Lilith's awakening were established players.

The Nightstalkers gave home to classic Marvel horrors Hannibal King, Frank Drake and the pre-Wesley Snipes Blade, while Victoria Montesi, Louise Hastings and Sam Buchanan were tasked with finding and locating the lost pages of The Darkhold. This was quite an X-FilesGotham Central-ish take for a book from the 'Big Two', long before it was trendy to be so, and could easily fare better than it did, if it was to return.

Like all great horror franchises, Rise found a series of sequels in almost continuous Midnight Sons family crossovers. Artistically supercharged by a range of Kubert family drawn images, The Midnight Massacre followed a possessed Blade, as the influence of a page of the Darkhold caused him to hunt and kill many of his 'allies'. Siege of Darkness closed out the trilogy, pitting the Sons against the armies of both a returned Lilith and Zarathos.

In one of their most recent appearances, The Midnight Sons 'team' starred Morbius, Werewolf by Night, Hellstrom, Jennifer Kale and Man-Thing. A diverse bunch visually and thematically, ripe for success, and hopefully expansion.

Upcoming Marvel solicitations show Mojo assembles a "Supernatural Avengers" consisting of Dr Strange, Man-Thing, Blade and Ghost Rider among others. Hopefully this idea gets left on the editorial floor after the issue is done, so the Midnight Sons can finally rise from the grave.

Not everything at Marvel needs "Avengers" in the title. Sales folk who say otherwise are preaching monetized blasphemy. Sure Justice League Dark got traction - but really should these golden iconic teams have dark operatives? Or would DC have been better served calling that something akin to Shadowpact and having two hit franchises rather than one?

Marvel and Supernatural Avengers / Midnight Sons further illustrates that point. Everyone in Marvel NOW! but these guys are Avengers as it is - heck I think Foggy Nelson, Aunt May, Aunt Petunia and Willy Lumpkin are even sporting the 'A' at this point! We're drowning in Earth's Mightiest and it's time we turned off the light to find out why we were afraid of the dark in the first place.

 What do you think? 


  1. "90's comics weren't all about running after the latest foil covered, die-cut, poly-bagged edition of DeathDeathKill #1" -YOU LIE!!!
    Hell yeah- Lilith was cool. I liked Hag and Troll a lot too, for some reason. And Skinnnnerrrr!!!
    And I'm dying to see this Foggy Nelson, Aunt May, Aunt Petunia, and Willy Lumpkin super-team you came up with! Throw in Agatha Harkness as the team-leader who summons them all together, and Anna Watson for sex appeal *shudder* and we have a book!

  2. LOL Agatha Harkness - how can you forget her in assembling Marvel's elderly Avengers (hangs head in shame) - on a Supernatural based post too! A.Petunia would be like Wilson on Home Improvement, always off panel. Just so The Thing doesn't get angry.

    1. HAHAHA! Aunt Petunia/Wilson!!!
      This comic team-up must be a thing!

  3. Can I just remind everyone here that today (6th) is quite a sobering time for us all Kirby fans. ..its twenty years today since he left us for that great big Bullpen in the sky.
    Miss you, Jack.

    1. -So it was... I had not seen anyone else mention it. -Thanks.
      He was The King like Randor.
      If anyone feels like watching a little modern tribute- the 2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon had an episode called "The King". It is all kinds of awesome. It's on YouTube (for now):

  4. Agreed. Too much Avengers' stuff, even for Avenger fans I bet. A Midnight Sons return? That'd be nice. Hopefully you're Kiwi powers of persuasion would make this happen, because it should. God knows there's plenty of great writers and artists to make a Midnight Sons revival a hit. Do it Marvel!

  5. Thanks Dale! Kiwi powers aye? Avatar sequels are about to start filming here so maybe NZ's one ring will be replaced by something more findable. As for artists, Simone Bianchi needs to go dark. His Doc Strange has been great his Ghost Rider would be amazing.

  6. Karl - boy that seems to have come round fast. But correct you are. Jack will always be one of the best.