iFlashback! June 4th, 2003

It’s time for an iFlashback! A weekly feature in which we take a look at some comics that were on sale nine years ago. Why nine years and not ten? Well because our Mondays in 2012 sync up with the Wednesdays of 2003. and not ten? Well because our Mondays in 2012 sync up with the Wednesdays of 2003.

So jog down memory lane with me. The date is June 4th, 2003. The number one film in the box office is Finding Nemo and these are some of the comics at your local comic book shop.

 Detective Comics #783

By Greg Rucka, Klaus Janson, Tim Sale


 The Thing

By Evan Dorkin, Dean Haspiel


Action Comics #804

By Joe Kelly, Pasqual Ferry, Cam Smith


 Lobo: Unbound #1

By Keith Giffen, Alex Horley


 Hawkman #16

By Geoff Johns, Rags Morales, Michael Bair


 The Call #3

By Chuck Austen, Patrick Oliffe, John Livesay

 Exiles #28

By Chuck Austen, Clayton Henry, Mark Morales

 The Eternal #1

By Chuck Austen, Kev Walker, Simon Coleby

 Uncanny X-Men #425

By Chuck Austen, Phillip Tan, Avalon Studios

That was the week that was in comics on June 4th 2003. Chuck Austen had four comics come out that week! FOUR! That dude was like one of the architects that year! Also, great appearances from Evan Dorkin, Dean Haspiel, Pasqual Ferry, and Kev Walker! Did you guys read any of these books and if so what did you think of them?


  1. I love how the comic community pretty much banded together to collectively ignore everything that Chuck Austen did during his atrocious X-Men run. Marvel never did anything to retcon anything that happened, but the fanbase has seemed to have created this unwritten code where Austen’s scripts have been stricken from the record.

  2. Man, Chuck Austen got PAID that month.

  3. What? Dorkin did a Thing Mini? Must have. And that was the last time Lobo was worth reading.

  4. What was The Call?

    • I think it was a title they put out after 9/11. It started with firefighters, police officers, and EMTs, but I think it soon devolved into a superhero story with those characters. I can’t remember as I only read the first couple issues of the series. I remember that at the beginning it was penciled by David Finch.

  5. I love that Action Comics cover! The art is so…Fleischer-y?

  6. Man, thinking about all that Chuck Austen has made my stomach hurt.

    • I had been reading X-Men for about 20 years more or less continuously, and Austen’s run caused me to not only stop reading X-men, but give up on comics for 5 years. I am not saying his run was objectively bad, but for me, it really was an endurance test that I eventually failed.

    • Ya, thinking about that run… it really was bad. Stomach turning bad. It really killed my love of the x-men, and to be honest, that love never came back the same way. What was once seen cannot be unseen.

  7. Oh Geoff Johns Hawkman, I miss you. The current Hawkman is…unfortunate.

  8. I don’t know about you guys but I have a feeling this Geoff Johns kid is going places

  9. Ugg Chuck Austin’s Exiles. UGGGGGGGGG

    Thank god Tony Bedard saved the day.

    Until the coming of Claremont….

  10. I noticed the “Death and the Maidens” back up in that Detective Comics. I thought Death and the Maidens was a mini series that came out a year or so later, why am I getting confused? Help me out –

    • I’m pretty sure the “Death and the Maidens” was just a back-up that worked as a prologue to the mini. Paul Bolles and Shawn Martinbrough did the featured story.

  11. Different Death and the Maidens

  12. Oh and some Love for the Superman story. How he and Lex broke out of a super jail together. Lovee that cover (and that arch)

  13. I ran into that Eternal Max series in a quarter bin awhile back and far be it from me to praise Chuck Austen, but I found it to be a lot more satisfying than what Gaiman did with a property a few years later. Watching Kev Walker draw like Mignola was a joy, but it also made me sad as it took me back to a time when Marvel actually cared about competing creatively, Jemas was in charge, indie guys were getting Marvel work on the regular, each title had its own unique voice, the MAX line was young and on the priority list, and even pariahs like Austen could have the luck of contributing a worthy story…

    I really love that Dave Bullock “Action” cover too. Makes me wish I’d have appreciated Superman back then. Oh well, maybe someday we’ll get a “Best of” collection for the “Man-Of-Action” Superman tales…

    • I liked the Eternal MAX also. It was my first exposure to the Eternals, and it was better than Gaiman’s. And there is no bigger Gaiman fan than I was.

    • Although Austen wasn’t a pariah at this time – he wrote half the books shown in this flashback feature! That’s more like Bendis territory than pariahsville!

    • Yeah, maybe “future pariah” or “future lobdellian” would have been more appropriate. I still have no idea how he got all these titles going for himself in such a short time, my first exposure to him was that War Machine MAX thing as well as the “art” of the same kind he provided for Bendis’s “Elektra” launch… Still, all I meant was that back in those days the talent at Marvel wasn’t at the mercy of whatever between-event banner or event banner for their stories and even Austen had his creative juices enough to push out something good (although, without Walker I’m not sure I’d be able to be so emphatic)…

  14. I remember that Joe Kelly run on Superman being pretty good…

    I’m sure the Ferry art didn’t hurt.

  15. Seeing that Detective cover really boils my blood. What a great time for Batman! Rucka and Brubaker writing the books sounds amazing right? Want the trades that collect the awesomeness? Oh right another DC trade F$%^ up. Offically i think thats DC trade F%$^ up number 106. Get it together Dc collections!

  16. I love that Lobo Unbound mini, thats Lobo how he’s meant to be and don’t know why he wasn’t under Vertigo. Have the 1st issue of that Hawkman series, and now the Omnibus, good stuff…..I remember the Uncanny Xmen around that time but think that was one of my on and off again phases with them and comix in general. I don’t remember that Eternal book under theMarvel Max imprint, does it have anything to do with the Eternals or cosmic Marvel familiar to Captain Marvel, Quasar or anything like that?

  17. chuck austen Phillip tan real low point in xmen history

  18. RE: The Thing – Anyone else love the comic book convention that if you’re wearing a trenchcoat (with a fedora, usually) no one can see you’re a giant rock monster (this also works if you’re blue and furry).

  19. that acton comics cover is sweet

  20. Four Chuck Austen comics? That’s a mistake, surely.

    Some other notable events to happen on this date:

    1919: The 19th Amendment is passed to grant women the right to vote.
    1942: WWII-The Battle of Midway begins
    1989: The Tianamen Square protests end….violently.

  21. Chuck Austen’s run on X-Men was actually a good time for me……it made me start trying out DC comics. I had been a strict Marvel zombie for most of my reading period during this time (it was the middle of High School for me).
    Fond memories. I don’t remember having as much hate for Austen as my friends did…………but that Detective Comics cover is still gorgeous.

  22. Is it standard operating procedure for Havok to drink 5 gallons of water before going on a mission in the event he needs to whip out his solar powered Summers sausage and make Ice Man a body of urine?

  23. “Death and the Maidens” (the mini-series) is one of my all-time favorite Batman stories. Grand, tragic, psychologically deep stuff. Also, the cover to issue 7 pretty much says everything you could possibly say about Batman in one page.

  24. Action Comics featuring the Russian Zod..good stuff, lots of love for that story arc, loved that issue and all the cover art for that story arc also.

  25. To nitpick, I notice it’s only Marvel and DC titles this week, for this gent it would be more interesting with more publishers covered.

  26. Nine years ago??

    Finding Nemo??

    Well, off to climb into my grave.

    That Thing mini was great. I bought it without really knowing how cool it was to get a Thing story by those two particular creators, having returned to comics only relatively recently.

    This was also the period when I thought I’d heard from someone that Chuck Austen was really good. So, grain of salt.

  27. I remember buying that Exiles issue way back even though I wasn’t reading the book. I remember flipping through it and seeing Havok. Liking his old series, Mutant X, I decided to buy it solely on that. 😛

    • But I did end up reading Exiles from the beginning and LOVING every second of it.

      Up until (SPOILERS) Mimic died…

      and then Morph wasn’t really Morph anymore since he was Proteus and even though he acted the same, I never felt like he was Morph.