In the Eclipse chronology, we’ve now reached 1986, and I think this is a place that makes sense to take a few months break from reading and typing stuff about Eclipse. Primarily to preserve what’s left of my sanity, but also because we’re at a break in Eclipse’s history, sort of.
Eclipse started in 1978 and wound up its regular schedule in 1992, so 1986 is about halfway there. For the first few years, Eclipse seemed to function as a refuge for high-profile ex-Marvel writers and artists, but when Marvel fixed some of their business practices (instituting royalty schemes and starting the creator-friendly Epic imprint), they mostly all went back to the mothership.
That left Eclipse floundering, but they got a second creative direction in 1984 when Pacific Comics went bankrupt, and for a year or so, the new direction was “whatever Pacific Comics had contracts for”.
The first comic I’ll be covering after the hiatus of this blog is Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, which is the quintessential comic from Eclipse’s third direction: Shovelling whatever black-and-white crap into the direct market that the market would sustain.
Eclipse had gone from being a business created for publishing comics to being a place where comics were being published to sustain the business.
But it’s not all bad. I seem to recall that there’s several good series that managed to sneak in between the Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle rip-offs, trading cards and attempts at setting up a shared super-hero universe; most remarkably perhaps the introduction of Japanese children’s comics to the US.
I’ve read about two and a half short boxes (seen above) and I’ve got four and a half short boxes (seen further above) to go through, so join me again this autumn. Or something.