Dave Galanter
December 1st 1969 - December 12th 2020
He was loved.

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Location: Lancashire
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
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Location: East of Lansing
Member Since: Sun Apr 08, 2012
Posts: 134
Subj: Re: John Byrne or Walt Simonson?
Posted: Thu Jun 24, 2021 at 04:09:36 pm EDT (Viewed 70 times)
Reply Subj: John Byrne or Walt Simonson?
Posted: Sun Jun 20, 2021 at 07:30:58 pm EDT (Viewed 147 times)

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Who HAD the BETTER run? John Byrne FF or Walt Simonson Thor?

How do you divine a difference? Both were very influenced and respectful of the work of Jack Kirby and Stan lee. Both delivered a run on a book that still stands as a benchmark for every successive creative team in the decades since.

On balance I see the difference between these two runs coming down to one having a very clear creative vision and a very strong roadmap going in (Walt Simonson), and the other being more ad-hoc, John Byrne had no definite plans or vision for the Fantastic Four unlike Simonson on Thor, so his take on the Fantastic Four as a book was relaxed and would wander along quite freely from place to place, and issue to issue - look at his first ten issues as an example and compare to Simonson's first ten issues on Thor, and what seemed relaxed and standalone at first (Thor) very quickly showed itself as being just the first steps on the road to awakening Surtur and igniting Ragnarok. It's fair to say that the events in Simonson's first year were still defining Thor by the end of Simonson's reign on the book, as Odin was still still gone and Thor had grown and matured in a very natural and satisfying way that made the conclusion of Simonson's time on the book feel like a job done and with the writer having come to a natural end-point. He left the book (and character) on a high and with everything ready for the next writer to just step in and continue.

John Byrne too did have certain roadmaps - his work on rehabilitating Galactus was a highpoint, his work on Susan Storm saw her grow and change, his work on Ben Grimm too had a direction to it that explored his psychology and led to some surprising truths later in his solo series. But these are character beats. Not a grand vision.
Then of course there was the ignoble way Byrne left the Fantastic Four, mid-story, a far cry away from Simonson's more gentle-manly and natural conclusion - a creator who had said what he had to say with the book and left it as a finished piece....

They are both amazing runs. Truly definitive. But to answer your question fairly then the above is what raises Walt Simonson's time on Thor above John Byrne's Fantastic Four reign. \(coffee\)

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