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Batman (1980’s)

Frank Miller‘s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (February–June 1986), which tells the story of a 55-year old Batman coming out of retirement in a possible future, reinvigorated the character. The Dark Knight Returns was a financial success and has since become one of the medium’s most noted touchstones. The series also sparked a major resurgence in the character’s popularity.

That year Dennis O’Neil took over as editor of the Batman titles and set the template for the portrayal of Batman following DC’s status quo-altering miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. O’Neil operated under the assumption that he was hired to revamp the character and as a result tried to instill a different tone in the books than had gone before. One outcome of this new approach was the “Year One” storyline in Batman #404–407 (February–May 1987), in which Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli redefined the character’s origins. Writer Alan Moore and artist Brian Bolland continued this dark trend with 1988’s 48-page one-shot Batman: The Killing Joke, in which the Joker, attempting to drive Commissioner Gordon insane, cripples Gordon’s daughter Barbara, and then kidnaps and tortures the commissioner, physically and psychologically.

The Batman comics garnered major attention in 1988 when DC Comics created a 900 number for readers to call to vote on whether Jason Todd, the second Robin, lived or died. Voters decided in favor of Jason’s death by a narrow margin of 28 votes (see Batman: A Death in the Family). The following year saw the release of Tim Burton‘s Batman feature film, which firmly brought the character back to the public’s attention, grossing millions of dollars at the box office, and millions more in merchandising.

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos (1963)

Comics-artist contemporary John Severin recalled in an interview conducted in the early 2000s that in the late 1950s, Kirby had approached him to be partners on a syndicatednewspaper comic strip “set in Europe during World War Two; the hero would be a tough, cigar-chomping sergeant with a squad of oddball GIs — sort of an adult Boy Commandos“, referring to a 1940s wartime “kid gang” comics series Kirby had co-created for DC Comics.

Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos followed an elite special unit, the First Attack Squad, nicknamed the “Howling Commandos”, which was stationed in a military base in England to fight missions primarily, but not exclusively, in the European theatre of World War II. Under Captain “Happy Sam” Sawyer, Fury was the cigar-chomping noncom who led the racially and ethnically integrated unit, unusual for the time.

Predator V1 (1989)

The events of Predator #1-4 revolve around NYC Detective Schaefer, the brother of Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer. Detective Schaefer and his partner, Detective Rasche, discover a Predator in New York City during a drug deal gone bad. Schaefer believes the Predator and a mysterious army general have a connection to his brother, Dutch, which leads Schaefer on a hunt into Colombia. There in South America Schaefer has yet another run in with a Predator as well as a Colombian drug lord – an old NYC adversary. Successfully eluding both, Schaefer is transported back to the U.S. only to find a government plot to hand him over to the Predators. Predator #1-4 are collected together as the trade paperback: Predator: Concrete Jungle. The title should not be confused with the game of the same name. The story was also presented as a paperback mass market novel which closely follows the events depicted in the comic.

Batman Movie Special (1989)

The comic adaptation of the Hollywood movie by Dennis O’Neil, Jerry Ordway & Steve Oliff.

Brave and the Bold (Silver Age)

The first volume of the series ran for 200 issues from August/September 1955 to July 1983. Originally, The Brave and the Bold was an anthology series featuring adventure tales from past ages with characters such as the Silent Knight, the Viking Prince, the Golden Gladiator, and Robin Hood. With issue #25, the series was reinvented as a try-out title for new characters and concepts, starting with the Suicide Squad created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross AndruGardner Fox and Joe Kubert created a new version of Hawkman in issue #34 (February–March 1961) with the character receiving his own title three years later.

Dark Reign: Young Avengers (2009)

The 2009 Dark Reign: Young Avengers limited series written by Paul Cornell, and Mark Brooks, introduced a new group consist of EnchantressExecutioner, Coat of Arms, Egghead, Big Zero and team leader Melter, who are powered teens calling themselves the Young Avengers. After Secret Invasion, all the Young Avengers remained under low profile during Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign, who sent this version of Young Avengers and send them to battle only to fall against the original Young Avengers. They join forces with the genuine Young Avengers to battle Norman Osborn‘s Dark Avengers.

Ultraman (1993)

Harvey Comics presents a miniseries featuring legendary Japanese TV hero Ultraman. When astronaut Jack Shindo witnesses a space battle between Ultraman and an alien monster, he sacrifices his life to save the cosmic hero. In return, Ultraman merges with Jack, and the Earth gains a new superhero.

Batman (2000’s)

Starting in 2006, the regular writers on Batman and Detective Comics were Grant Morrison and Paul Dini, with Grant Morrison reincorporating controversial elements of Batman lore (most notably, the science fiction themed storylines of the 1950s Batman comics, which Morrison revised as hallucinations Batman suffered under the influence of various mind-bending gases and extensive sensory deprivation training) into the character. Morrison’s run climaxed with “Batman R.I.P.”, which brought Batman up against the villainous “Black Glove” organization, which sought to drive Batman into madness. “Batman R.I.P.” segued into Final Crisis (also written by Morrison), which saw the apparent death of Batman at the hands of Darkseid. In the 2009 miniseries Batman: Battle for the Cowl, Wayne’s former protégé Dick Grayson becomes the new Batman, and Wayne’s son Damian becomes the new Robin. In June 2009, Judd Winick returned to writing Batman, while Grant Morrison was given his own series, titled Batman and Robin.

Miracleman – Marvel (2014)

At New York Comic Con 2013, Marvel announced that they had solidified their rights to Miracleman and that Neil Gaiman would finish the story he had started 25 years earlier. The series is being reprinted in a giant-sized format, with each issue containing a reprint of the corresponding issue of the Eclipse Comics series, reprints of select Mick Anglo Marvelman stories, and non-fiction material such as essays, photos, and Marvelman design sketches. The first issue, reprinting the recolored and relettered stories from Warrior #1 & 2/Miracleman #1, was released on January 15, 2014.

The reprints continued, collecting remastered and recolored work of the original run, with hardcover collections following, and in September 2014 the first new Miracleman material under the Marvel Comics banner was announced. Featuring a ‘lost’ story by Grant Morrison that he wrote in the 1980s, and drawn by Joe Quesada, it will be joined by a brand new story by Peter Milligan and Mike Allred.

The reprints proceed through #16 when the series was retitled Miracleman: The Golden Age which reprinted issues 17-22. Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham: The Silver Age issues 1 to 3 were announced for release in 2017.

Prophet V1 (1993)

Rob Liefeld told Wizard magazine in 1994 that he was inspired by Gene Roddenberry and Steven Spielberg to create Prophet. The character first appeared in Youngblood #2, released by Image Comics in July 1992. Prophet was originally intended to appear in the pages of Marvel ComicsX-Force. Liefeld explained to Wizard: “He was going to show up around #6 or #7 in my original plans, and the cover to Youngblood #2 originally had X-Force members looking on instead of Youngblood members. I soon decided that I was going to work on stuff that was creator-owned, so I pulled the character of Prophet and saved him for later.”

The storyline in Youngblood led directly into Prophet’s own title, which lasted eleven issues (including a zero issue). A second series, written by Chuck Dixon, premiered in 1995 and lasted eight issues. A one-shot was released in 2000 by Awesome Comics.