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Early X-Men issues introduced the original team composed of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Angel and Iceman among a few others, their archenemy Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants featuring Mastermind, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Toad. The comic focused on a common human theme of good versus evil and later included storylines and themes about prejudice and racism, all of which have persisted throughout the series in one form or another. The evil side in the fight was shown in human form and under some sympathetic beginnings via Magneto, a character who was later revealed to have survived Nazi concentration camps only to pursue a hatred for normal humanity. His key followers, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, were Romani. Only one new member of the X-Men was added, Mimic/Calvin Rankin, but soon left due to his temporary loss of power.
The title lagged in sales behind Marvel’s other comic franchises. In 1969, writer Roy Thomas and illustrator Neal Adams rejuvenated the comic book and gave regular roles to two recently introduced characters: Havok/Alex Summers (who had been introduced by Roy Thomas before Adams began work on the comic) and Lorna Dane, later called Polaris (created by Arnold Drake and Jim Steranko). However, these later X-Men issues failed to attract sales and Marvel stopped producing new stories with issue #66, later reprinting a number of the older comics as issues #67–93.
In 1992, the Spectre was again given his own series, this time written by writer and former theology student John Ostrander, who chose to re-examine the Spectre in his aspects as both the embodied Avenging Wrath of the Murdered Dead and as a brutal 1930s policeman.
Ostrander placed the Spectre in complex, morally-ambiguous situations that posed certain ethical questions, one example being: What vengeance should be wrought upon a woman who killed her abusive husband in his sleep?
Ostrander also added several new concepts into the Spectre’s history: He revealed that the Spectre was meant to exist as the embodiment of the Wrath of God, and Jim Corrigan was but the latest human spirit assigned to guide him while he existed on Earth. It was also shown that the Spectre was a fallen angel named Aztar who had participated in Lucifer‘s rebellion, but then repented, and that serving as the embodiment of God’s anger was its penance.
Furthermore, the Spectre was not the first embodiment of God’s anger, but was the replacement for the previously-minor DC character Eclipso. Ostrander chose to portray this as a distinction between the Spectre’s pursuit of vengeance and Eclipso’s pursuit of revenge. In a historical context, Eclipso was responsible for the biblical Flood, while the Spectre was the Angel of Death who slew the firstborn Egyptian children. Spectre and Eclipso have battled numerous times through history but neither entity can be fully destroyed.
The 1970s saw Banner and Betty nearly marry in The Incredible Hulk #124 (Feb. 1970). Betty ultimately married Talbot in issue #158 (Dec. 1972). The Hulk also traveled to other dimensions, one of which had him meet empress Jarella, who used magic to bring Banner’s intelligence to the Hulk, and came to love him. It was during this period that the Hulk helped to form the Defenders.
In 1993, Dale Keown began publishing his character Pitt at Image Comics. Pitt #1 was the second best-selling comic book of November 1992, surpassed only by the collector’s edition of Superman (vol.2) #75. In 1995, publication of Pitt was moved over to Full Bleed Studios (Dale Keown’s own company).
Pitt is a human/alien hybrid, created by an alien race known as the Creed, genetically engineered to serve as a killing machine. He appears more alien than human, with red, pupil-less eyes, gray skin, absence of a nose, sharp oversized teeth and large talons.
Ronin (formally written as Rōnin) is a limited series published between 1983 and 1984, by DC Comics. The series was written and drawn by Frank Miller with artwork painted by Lynn Varley. It takes place in a dystopic near-future New York in which a ronin is reincarnated. The six-issue work shows some of the strongest influences of manga and bande dessinée on Miller’s style, both in the artwork and narrative style.
Ronin was in part inspired by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima‘s manga series Kozure Okami. (Though Kozure Okami would receive an English localization several years later as Lone Wolf and Cub, at the time Miller could not read the text and had to rely on the artwork for his understanding of the story.) According to former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, Ronin was originally slated to be released as part of Marvel’s Marvel Graphic Novel series. Ultimately, however, Miller was persuaded by publisher Jenette Kahn that DC Comics would give him as much freedom as he desired for the series, and the first issue of Ronin was published by that company in 1983.
In 2016 Vision was given a solo series. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia with a synthazoid family: his wife Virginia, son Vin, and daughter Viv. They attempt to live a normal suburban life with Vision working as a consultant to the president, but they find a difficult time socializing with neighbors. Eventually Grim Reaper attacks their house and nearly kills Viv. Virginia claims that the Reaper escaped, but The Vision eventually finds his remains buried in the back yard. He lies to the police and covers for her when asked about her whereabouts during the murder of neighbors, who tried to blackmail Virginia for the murder, but was accidentally killed by her. Instead of confronting her, he creates a sythezoid dog for the family, in an attempt to return to normalcy, but unbeknownst to him Agatha Harkness has a vision of the future and tries to warn the Avengers that The Vision and his family will cause a genocide.
Following Infinite Crisis, Wonder Woman was canceled and relaunched in 2006. It starts with Donna Troy as Wonder Woman and with Diana missing. When Diana returns she takes on the name of Diana Prince and becomes a secret agent for the Department of Metahuman Affairs. Her first assignment is to retrieve her kidnapped sister Donna Troy. After this was accomplished Diana took back the mantle of Wonder Woman.
Upon Warren’s bankruptcy, Harris Publications acquired the company assets at auction in August 1983, although legal murkiness and a 1999 lawsuit by Warren publisher James Warren resulted in his reacquisition of the rights to sister publications Creepy and Eerie. Harris Comics published Vampirella stories in various series and miniseries from 1991 to 2007. Harris also published Vampirella #113, a one-issue continuation of the original series, containing solely reprinted stories, in 1988.
Ghost Rider is the name of several fictional supernatural antiheroes published by Marvel Comics. Marvel had previously used the name for a Western character whose name was later changed to Phantom Rider.
The first supernatural Ghost Rider is stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who, in order to save the life of his father, agreed to give his soul to “Satan” (later revealed to be an arch-demon named Mephisto). At night and when around evil, Blaze finds his flesh consumed by hellfire, causing his head to become a flaming skull. He rides a fiery motorcycle and wields trademark blasts of hellfire from his skeletal hands. He eventually learns he has been bonded with the demon Zarathos. Blaze starred in the series from 1972–1983.
Julius Schwartz became the title’s editor with issue #233 (January 1971) and together with writer Denny O’Neil and artist Curt Swan streamlined the Superman mythos, starting with the elimination of Kryptonite. Elliot S. Maggin began his long association with the title with the story “Must There Be a Superman?” in issue #247 (Jan. 1972). Writer Cary Bates, in collaboration with Swan, introduced such characters as the supervillain Terra-Man in issue #249 (March 1972) and the superhero Vartox in issue #281 (Nov. 1974). Issues #272 (Feb. 1974), #278 (Aug. 1974), and #284 (Feb. 1975) of the series were in the 100 Page Super Spectacular format. Superman #300 (June 1976) featured an out-of-continuity story by Bates and Maggin which imagined the infant Superman landing on Earth in 1976 and becoming a superhero in 2001. The tale was an inspiration for Mark Millar‘s Superman: Red Son limited series published in 2003. DC’s parent company Warner Communications reinstated the byline for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster which had been dropped decades earlier and the first issue with the restored credit was Superman #301 (August 1976). Martin Pasko and Swan created the Master Jailer character in issue #331 (January 1979). The bottle city of Kandor, which had been introduced in 1958, was restored to normal size in a story by Len Wein and Swan in Superman #338 (August 1979).