The Sandman V1 (1970’s)

The Sandman of the 1970s was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Issue #1 was intended as a one-shot, but five more issues and an additional story followed. After the first issue, the stories were written by Michael Fleisher. The second and third issues were illustrated by Ernie Chua. Inks were by Kirby, Mike Royer and, in the sixth issue, Wally Wood. All covers were by Kirby, and the fourth issue noted his return to the interior artwork on the cover.

This Sandman was originally intended to be the actual Sandman of popular myth, “eternal and immortal”, despite his superhero-like appearance and adventures. The Sandman is assisted by two living nightmares named Brute and Glob, whom he releases from domed cells with the help of a magic whistle. They are nuisances who beg for release, who are intent on hand-to-hand combat, but are implied to be relatively harmless and well-intentioned once freed. Using security monitoring devices, the Sandman can enter the “Dream Stream” or the “Reality Stream” (in which he acts like the superhero he looks like), and he carries a pouch of dream dust with which he can cause anyone to sleep and dream. The Sandman’s main task is protecting children from nightmare monsters within their dreams, especially one young boy named Jed, who lives with his grandfather, Ezra Paulsen, as well as to ensure that children have an appropriate level of nightmares rather than dealing with such anxieties in real life.

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Superman Family (1970’s)

The Superman Family, was a DC Comics series which ran from 1974 to 1982 featuring stories starring supporting characters in the Superman comics. The Superman Family was an amalgamation of the titles Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane and Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, along with the first series of Supergirl. The first issue, #164, took its numbering from Jimmy Olsen, which had reached issue #163 and thus had the most issues published. Lois Lane ended at #137, while the newly launched Supergirl book had only made it to #10.

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen (1970’s)

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen is a series published by DC Comics from September–October 1954 until March 1974, spanning a total of 163 issues. Featuring the adventures of Superman supporting character Jimmy Olsen, it contains stories often of humorous nature.

The 1952 television series Adventures of Superman co-starred actor Jack Larson, who appeared regularly as Jimmy Olsen. Largely because of the popularity of Larson and his portrayal of the character, National Comics Publications (DC Comics) decided to create a regular title featuring Jimmy as the leading character. Curt Swan was the main artist on the series for its first decade.

Many of the issues include Jimmy undergoing a transformation of some form.

Adventure Comics (1980’s)

As of #425 (December 1972), Adventure Comics theme changed from superhero adventure to fantasy/supernatural adventure. That issue debuted one new feature along with three non-series stories, the pirate saga “Captain Fear”. The next edition added a semi-anthology series, “The Adventurers’ Club”. Soon, editor Joe Orlando was trying out horror-tinged costumed heroes, first Black Orchid, then the Spectre. Before long, though, conventional superheroes returned to the book, beginning behind the Spectre, first a three-issue run of Aquaman (issues #435–437, an early assignment for Mike Grell) and then a newly drawn 1940s Seven Soldiers of Victory script (issues #438–443). Aquaman was promoted to lead (issues #441-452), and backing him up were three-part story arcs featuring the Creeper (#445–447), the Martian Manhunter (#449–451), bracketed by issue-length Aquaman leads. He was awarded his own title and Superboy (#453-458) took over Adventure with Aqualad (#453–455) and Eclipso (#457–458) backups. Following this was a run as a Dollar Comic format giant-sized book (issues #459-466), including such features as the resolution of the Return of the New Gods (cancelled in July–August 1978), “Deadman“, and “Justice Society of America“.

The House of Mystery (1970’s)

With issue #174, EC Comics veteran Joe Orlando was hired by DC to take over as editor of House of Mystery. As the Comics Code Authority was now being challenged by both DC and Marvel over content restrictions, the series returned to its overt horror themes. The first issue under Orlando would be a reprint issue of old horror/suspense stories, as the new direction would truly begin with #175 (July–August 1968). The issue would introduce a new figure to the series, Cain, the “able care taker” of the House of Mystery who would introduce nearly all stories that would run in the series before its cancellation. Cain would also host the spin-off humor series Plop! and later become a recurring character in Blue Devil and The Sandman.

Artist Bernie Wrightson‘s first professional comic work was the story “The Man Who Murdered Himself” which appeared in issue #179 (March–April 1969)

House of Mystery was in the Dollar Comics format for issues #251 (March–April 1977) to #259 (July–August 1978).  House of Mystery featured stories by writers T. Casey Brennan (#260, 267, 268 and 274) and Scott Edelman (#257, 258, 260, 264, 266, 270, 272, 273). Orlando’s tenure as editor ended with #257 (March–April 1978).

Secrets of Haunted House (1970’s)

The series began in April–May 1975. Like its predecessor Secrets of Sinister HouseSecrets of Haunted House was originally “hosted” by Cain, AbelEve, and Destiny who had moved over from Weird Mystery Tales. By issue #10 (Feb.–March 1978), Destiny was the only one of these who remained a regular. In issue #40 (Sept. 1981), Abel returned with no further mention of Destiny.

Secrets of Haunted House Special was published in 1978 as part of the DC Special Series umbrella titleSecrets of Haunted House was a temporary victim of the “DC Implosion.” With issue #14 (Oct.–Nov. 1978), it was cancelled but revived a year later with issue #15 (Aug. 1979). The title continued until issue #46 (March 1982).

Green Lantern V1 (1970’s)

Green Lantern is the name of a number of superheroes appearing comic books published by DC Comics. They fight evil with the aid of rings that grant them a variety of extraordinary powers.

The first Green Lantern character, Alan Scott, was created in 1940 during the initial popularity of superheroes. Alan Scott usually fought common criminals in New York City with the aid of his magic ring. The publication of this character ceased in 1949 during a general decline in the popularity of superhero comics, but the character saw a limited revival in later decades.

In 1959, to capitalize on the booming popularity of science fiction, the Green Lantern character was reinvented as Hal Jordan, an officer for an interstellar law enforcement agency known as the Green Lantern Corps. Additional members of this agency, all of whom call themselves Green Lanterns, were introduced over time. Prominent Green Lanterns who also have had starring roles in the books include Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, and Simon Baz.

Infinity Inc. (1984)

Roy Thomas and his wife, Dann Thomas, wrote the series throughout its run. Artists on the series included Jerry OrdwayDon NewtonTodd McFarlaneMichael Bair, and Vince Argondezzi.

The group was organized by Sylvester Pemberton, the original Star-Spangled Kid, in Infinity Inc. #1, when a number of JSA protégés were denied admission to the JSA. They instead formed their own group. Members of Infinity, Inc. were known as Infinitors.

The series ended in 1988 with the death of the Star-Spangled Kid (by then known as Skyman), and presumably the group disbanded shortly thereafter. Several members have gone on to supporting roles in other comics series. Fury filled a pivotal role in The Sandman and is the mother of Daniel HallHourmanObsidian, Nuklon (as Atom Smasher), Silver Scarab(as Doctor Fate), and Power Girl eventually joined the 21st century incarnation of the JSA.

Originally, the series took place on the parallel world of Earth-Two, but in 1986 it was merged with the rest of DC continuity following Crisis on Infinite Earths. From then on, they shared their spot as Los Angeles’ superteam with the Outsiders, and were involved in a crossover with the New Teen Titans.

 

Batman (1970’s)

Starting in 1969, writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams made a deliberate effort to distance Batman from the campy portrayal of the 1960s TV series and to return the character to his roots as a “grim avenger of the night”. O’Neil said his idea was “simply to take it back to where it started. I went to the DC library and read some of the early stories. I tried to get a sense of what Kane and Finger were after.”

O’Neil and Adams first collaborated on the story “The Secret of the Waiting Graves” (Detective Comics #395, January 1970). Few stories were true collaborations between O’Neil, Adams, Schwartz, and inker Dick Giordano, and in actuality these men were mixed and matched with various other creators during the 1970s; nevertheless the influence of their work was “tremendous”. Giordano said: “We went back to a grimmer, darker Batman, and I think that’s why these stories did so well…” While the work of O’Neil and Adams was popular with fans, the acclaim did little to improve declining sales; the same held true with a similarly acclaimed run by writer Steve Englehart and penciler Marshall Rogers in Detective Comics #471–476 (August 1977 – April 1978), which went on to influence the 1989 movie Batman and be adapted for Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted in 1992. Regardless, circulation continued to drop through the 1970s and 1980s, hitting an all-time low in 1985.

Shade, the Changing Man V1 (1977)

Shade, the Changing Man told the story of a fugitive from the militant planet Meta in another dimension. Shade (whose full name is Rac Shade) was powered by a stolen “M-vest” (or Miraco-Vest, named for its inventor) which protected him with a force field and enabled him to project the illusion of becoming a large grotesque version of himself. The character was the first Ditko had created, or helped to create, for a mainstream publisher for many years. Prior to rejoining DC Comics, Ditko had worked on characters such as his Mr. A. title. Shade was very much a return to mainstream superheroics, although Shade indicated no particular connection with the DC Universe (although the letters columns stated that there is no reason it could not be shown to be there). Michael Fleisher scripted the series based on Ditko’s plotting and art.