The first series started in 1975 with two giant-size issues before starting as a regular series, and was mostly bi-monthly during its existence. It initially teamed up Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner, who had lost his own series, from which it picked up the unresolved plots, especially that of the comatose Atlanteans. After a succession of writers and artists and a crossover with The Avengers, the plot gets resolved in issue #13 when Dr. Doom revives the Atlanteans, thus dissolving his alliance with the Sub-Mariner.
Issue #14 (Oct. 1977), which featured Magneto and Dr. Doom, was billed as the final issue of the series, and its plotline was resolved in The Champions #16. The following year, SVTU continued with issue #15 (Nov. 1978), a reprint of Astonishing Tales #4-5. Issues #16 (May 1979) and #17 (June 1980) featured the Red Skull and the Hate-Monger. The irregular publishing frequency of the final three issues was due to a legal maneuver to prevent DC Comics from trademarking the term “super-villain”.
The series saw the death of the Sub-Mariner’s 1940s sweetheart Betty Dean and the death of her murderer, Dr. Dorcas. Steve Englehart created The Shroud, a character partly inspired by Batman, shortly before he started to work for DC Comics on Detective Comics.