Really? Those were the only Epiphones ever that were as good as Gibsons?
Man you must have played a lot of guitars to be able to say that.
Any guitar, regardless of price, can be either a fantastic instrument or a waste of money. What matters is how it's set up and how you play it.
I sound better on a $43 Epiphone Les Paul Jr than most people who owns Gibsons sound on their Gibsons.
I have played 38 Les Paul guitars in the last year in all the guitar stores and I found 4 that I would have bought.