The Dark Knight Returns – Hardcover (1986)

The Dark Knight Returns is a 1985 four-issue comic book miniseries starring Batman, written by Frank Miller, illustrated by Miller and Klaus Janson, and published by DC Comics. When the series was collected into a single volume later that year, the story title for the first issue was applied to the entire series. The Dark Knight Returns tells the story of Bruce Wayne, who at 55 years old returns from retirement to fight crime and faces opposition from the Gotham City police force and the United States government.

Batman The Dark Knight Returns Hardcover VF-NM $89
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Batman – New 52 (2011)

Since the beginning of The New 52, Scott Snyder has been the writer of the flagship Batman title. His first major story arc was “Night of the Owls“, where Batman confronts the Court of Owls, a secret society that has controlled Gotham for centuries. The second story arc was “Death of the Family“, where the Joker returns to Gotham and simultaneously attacks each member of the Batman family. The third story arc was “Batman: Zero Year“, which redefined Batman’s origin in The New 52. It followed Batman #0, published in June 2012, which explored the character’s early years. The final storyline before the Convergence (2015) event was Endgame, depicting the supposed final battle between Batman and the Joker when he unleashes the deadly Endgame virus onto Gotham City. The storyline ends with Batman and the Joker’s supposed deaths. Starting with #41, Commissioner James Gordon takes over Bruce’s mantle as a new, state-sanctioned, mecha Batman, debuting in the Free Comic Book Day special comic Divergence. However, Bruce Wayne is soon revealed to be alive, albeit now suffering almost total amnesia of his life as Batman and only remembering his life as Bruce Wayne through what he has learned from Alfred. Bruce Wayne finds happiness and proposes to his girlfriend, Julie, but Mr. Bloom heavily injures Jim Gordon and takes control of Gotham City and threatens to destroy the city by energizing a particle reactor to create a “strange star” to swallow the city. Bruce Wayne discovers the truth that he was Batman and after talking to a stranger who smiles a lot (it is heavily implied that this is the amnesic Joker) he forces Alfred to implant his memories as Batman, but at the cost of his memories as the reborn Bruce Wayne. He returns and helps Jim Gordon defeat Mr. Bloom and shut down the reactor. Gordon gets his job back as the commissioner, and the government Batman project is shuttered.

 

Punisher War Zone (1992)

Punisher War Zone ran for 41 issues with two 64-page annuals. Multiple writers contributed to this series during its three-year run from 1992 to 1995. The series served mainly as a vehicle for longtime Marvel artist John Romita, Jr., who had returned to Marvel after a lengthy hiatus from drawing a monthly title. In 2009, Marvel published a 6-issue limited series under the same title. The storyline was called “The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci“.

Catwoman V3 (2002)

In the Detective Comics #759–762 (August–November 2001) backup storyline “Trail of the Catwoman”, by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Darwyn Cooke, private detective Slam Bradley attempts to find out what really happened to Selina Kyle. This storyline leads in to the Catwoman series of late 2001 (written by Brubaker initially with Cooke, later joined by artist Cameron Stewart). In this series, Selina Kyle, joined by new supporting cast members Holly and Slam Bradley (a character from the early Golden Age DC Comics), becomes protector of the residents of Gotham’s East End, while still carrying out an ambitious career as a cat burglar.

Catwoman #53 NM $9
Catwoman #53 NM $9

Journey into Mystery – Silver Age

Journey into Mystery was initially published by Atlas Comics, then by its successor, Marvel Comics. Initially a horror comics anthology, it segued to giant-monster and science fiction stories in the late 1950s. Beginning with issue #83 (cover dated August 1962), it ran the superhero feature “The Mighty Thor“, created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber and artist Jack Kirby, and inspired by the mythological Norse thunder god. The series, which was renamed for its superhero star with issue #126 (March 1966), has been revived three times: in the 1970s as a horror anthology, and in the 1990s and 2010s with characters from Marvel’s Thor mythos.

 

Battlestar Galactica (1979)

The comic book Battlestar Galactica, based on the ABC television series of the same name, was published monthly by Marvel Comics from March 1979 through January 1981, and lasted 23 issues.

Although there were other attempts to adapt Battlestar Galactica into a comic book format, the Marvel series is considered by many to have been the most successful in terms of run, sales, and content.

This was accomplished against some notable odds. Although Roger McKenzie was most often the writer, and Walt Simonson the most regular artist, the book also had a heavy rotation of guest writers and artists.

Marvel Comics’ began its adaptation of Battlestar Galactica with Marvel Super Special #8, a magazine format comic written by Roger McKenzie and drawn by Ernie Colón which was released as a tie-in to the start of the series. Based on an early script of the three hour series premiere “Saga of a Star World”, this adaptation, which gave a relatively short treatment to the third hour, was also released in a tabloid format and then later as a paperback as well. The tabloid version was also printed by Whitman Comics. Its success led Marvel to print a regular monthly comic depicting the adventures of the ragtag fleet.

 

Magnus Robot Fighter – Valiant

In 1991, Jim Shooter obtained rights to three Gold Key characters: Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom; Turok, Son of Stone; and Magnus, Robot Fighter. He intended to use those characters to launch his new comic book line, Valiant Comics. Several months later, the company launched Magnus, Robot Fighter.

The series began where the original one left off. The artists took great care to replicate the setting and trappings of the original stories. But as the new series progressed, it began to deviate from the original concept.The term “Freewills” appeared in the Valiant run, introducing the concept that the rogue robots seen previously were not simply the product of random malfunctions, but were the result of a common phenomenon which allowed robots to become sentient. While some of them are malevolent, others merely want to be free. It was also learned that 1A is a freewill. With Magnus’s help, a colony of benevolent Freewills is established called the “Steel Nation.” At the same time, Magnus becomes disgusted with North Am’s elite. He journeys to the lower levels of North Am and befriends a group of social outcasts known as Gophs.

 

The New Mutants V1 (1990’s)

Sales of The New Mutants had slumped for several years in the late 80’s, but took a sharp upturn after Rob Liefeld took over the penciling and co-plotting chores at the end of 1989. A new mentor for the group, the mysterious mercenary Cable, was introduced, further helping sales. Over the next year, several longtime team members were written out or killed off. However, the relationship between Liefeld and Simonson was fraught with tension, and Simonson claims that Harras dealt with the situation by rewriting her plots and dialogue so that the characterizations did not make sense: “Although I wasn’t being fired, I think I was being shoved out the door with both hands by Bob Harras. Bob was only doing what he had to do, I expect, which was make Rob Liefeld happy.” Simonson eventually gave in, leaving after issue #97. When Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, who wrote dialogue based on Liefeld’s plots, took over as writers of the final three issues of the series, they included several harder-edged characters.

The New Mutants was cancelled in 1991 with issue #100, but the new platoon-like team formed by Cable continued in X-Force, a successful series (whose first issue sold approximately one million copies) that would continue until 2002, and feature a variety of the former New Mutants cast.

Madman – Kitchen Sink/Tundra (1993)

Created by Mike Allred, the character first appeared in Creatures of the Id (Oct. 1990). Frank Einstein was born Zane Townsend, an agent of the Tri-Eye Agency. Townsend was killed in a car accident, then stitched back together and brought to life by two scientists, Dr. Egon Boiffard and Dr. Gillespie Flem. This resurrection left him amnesiac, and the resurrected John Doe was named after Boiffard’s artistic and scientific heroes, Frank Sinatra and Albert Einstein, respectively. The procedure left Frank with supernatural reflexes and a slight degree of precognitive and empathic power; however, he remembers nothing about his former life, but faint, troubling memories relating to his death. Madman’s costume is based on the only thing he can clearly remember: a fascination with a comic book character called Mr. Excitement.

Justice League of America V1 (1980’s)

In the early 80’s, George PérezDon Heck, and Rich Buckler would rotate as artist on the title. The double-sized anniversary issue #200 (March 1982) was a “jam” featuring a story written by Conway, a framing sequence drawn by Pérez, and chapters drawn by Pat BroderickJim Aparo, Dick Giordano, Gil KaneCarmine InfantinoBrian Bolland, and Joe Kubert. Bolland’s chapter gave the artist his “first stab at drawing Batman.” Pérez would leave the title with issue #200 to concentrate on The New Teen Titans although he would contribute covers to the JLAthrough issue #220 (November 1983). The 1982 team-up with the Justice Society in issues #207–209 crossed over with All-Star Squadron #14–15. A Justice League story by Gerry Conway and Rich Buckler originally intended for publication as an issue of All-New Collectors’ Edition saw print in Justice League of America #210–212 (January–March 1983).

Seeking to capitalize on the popularity of their other team books, which focused upon heroes in their late teens/early 20s, Gerry Conway and artist Chuck Patton revamped the Justice League series. After most of the original heroes fail to help fend off an invasion of Martians, Aquaman dissolves the League and rewrites its charter to allow only heroes who will devote their full-time to the roster. The new team initially consists of Aquaman, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, the Vixen, and a trio of teenage heroes GypsySteel, and Vibe. Aquaman leaves the team after a year, due to resolving marital problems, and his role as leader is assumed by the Martian Manhunter.

The final storyline for the original Justice League of America series (#258–261), by writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Luke McDonnell, concludes with the murders of Vibe and Steel at the hands of robots created by long-time League nemesis Professor Ivo, and the resignations of Vixen, Gypsy, and the Elongated Man during the events of DC’s Legends miniseries, which sees the team disband.