The Flash (1970’s)

In 1956, DC Comics successfully revived superheroes, ushering in what became known as the Silver Age of comic books. Rather than bringing back the same Golden Age heroes, DC rethought them as new characters for the modern age. The Flash was the first revival, in the aptly named tryout comic book Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956).

This new Flash was Barry Allen, a police scientist who gained super-speed when bathed by chemicals after a shelf of them was struck by lightning. He adopted the name The Flash after reading a comic book featuring the Golden Age Flash. After several more appearances in Showcase, Allen’s character was given his own title, The Flash, the first issue of which was #105 (resuming where Flash Comics had left off).

Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985)

Crisis on Infinite Earths was published by DC Comics from 1985 to 1986, consisting of an eponymous 12-issue, limited series comic book and a number of tie-in books. It was produced by DC Comics to simplify its then-50-year-old continuity. The series was written by Marv Wolfman and illustrated by George Pérez (pencils and layouts), Mike DeCarlo, Dick Giordano and Jerry Ordway (inking and embellishing). The series removed the multiverse concept from the fictional DC Universe, depicting the death of long-standing characters Supergirl and the Barry Allen incarnation of the Flash. Continuity in the DC Universe is divided into pre-Crisis and post-Crisis periods. The Flash was later reborn.

The series’ title was inspired by earlier multiverse crossover stories of parallel Earths, such as “Crisis on Earth-Two” and “Crisis on Earth-Three“, and involves almost every significant character in every parallel universe of DC Comics history. It inspired the titles of three DC crossover series: Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! (1994), Infinite Crisis (2005–2006), and Final Crisis(2008).

OMAC (1974)

OMAC (Buddy Blank) was created in 1974 by Jack Kirby and published by DC Comics. The character was created towards the end of Kirby’s contract with the publisher, following the cancellation of his New Gods series and was reportedly developed strictly due to Kirby needing to fill his contractual quota of 15 pages a week. As envisioned by Kirby, OMAC is essentially Captain America set in the future, an idea Kirby had toyed with some years earlier while at Marvel Comics, but had never realized.

Set in the near future (“The World That’s Coming”), OMAC is a corporate nobody named Buddy Blank who is changed via a “computer-hormonal operation done by remote control” by an A.I. satellite called Brother Eye into the super-powered One-Man Army Corps (OMAC).

Green Lantern V1 (1980’s)

Green Lantern would know a number of revivals and cancellations. Its title would change to Green Lantern Corps at one point as the popularity rose and waned. During a time there were two regular titles, each with a Green Lantern, and a third member in the Justice League.

 

Justice League of America (1970’s)

In need of a new secure headquarters, the Justice League moved into an orbiting satellite headquarters in Justice League of America #78 (February 1970). The Elongated Man, the Red TornadoHawkwomanZatanna, and Firestorm joined the team, and Wonder Woman returned during this period.

Len Wein wrote issues #100–114, in which he and Dillin re-introduced the Seven Soldiers of Victory in issues #100-102 and the Freedom Fighters in issues #107-108. In the fall of 1972, Wein and writers Gerry Conway and Steve Englehart crafted a metafiction an unofficial crossover spanning titles from both Marvel and DC. Each comic featured Englehart, Conway, and Wein, as well as Wein’s first wife Glynis, interacting with Marvel or DC characters at the Rutland Halloween Parade in Rutland, Vermont.

Beginning in Amazing Adventures #16 (by Englehart with art by Bob Brown and Frank McLaughlin), the story continued in Justice League of America #103 (by Wein, Dillin and Dick Giordano), and concluded in Thor #207 (by Conway and penciler John Buscema). As Englehart explained in 2010, “It certainly seemed like a radical concept and we knew that we had to be subtle (laughs) and each story had to stand on its own, but we really worked it out. It’s really worthwhile to read those stories back to back to back — it didn’t matter to us that one was at DC and two were at Marvel — I think it was us being creative, thinking what would be really cool to do.” Justice League of America #103 also featured the Justice League offering membership to the Phantom Stranger. Len Wein commented on the Phantom Stranger’s relationship with the JLA in a 2012 interview stating that the character “only sort of joined. He was offered membership but vanished, as per usual, without actually accepting the offer. Over the years, other writers have just assumed [he] was a member, but in my world, he never really said yes.” Libra, a supervillain created by Wein and Dillin in Justice League of America #111 (May–June 1974), would play a leading role in Grant Morrison‘s Final Crisis storyline in 2008.

 

DC Comics Presents V1 (1978)

DC Comics Presents debuted with a July/August 1978 cover date . The series was launched with a team-up of Superman and the Flash by writer Martin Pasko and artist José Luis García-López.  Issue #26 included an insert introduction story to the then-upcoming New Teen Titans series by Marv Wolfman and George PérezLen Wein and Jim Starlin co-created the supervillain Mongul in issue #27 (Nov. 1980) as part of a three-issue storyline. Another insert in issue #41 previewed the “new direction” Wonder Woman. In issue #47, Superman traveled to Eternia and met the Masters of the Universe. Ambush Bug made his first appearance in issue #52 (Dec. 1982)  and made additional appearances in issue #59 and #81. The Superman/Challengers of the Unknown tale in issue #84 was drawn by Jack Kirby and Alex Toth. The series also contained the Alan Moore Superman/Swamp Thing story “The Jungle Line” in DC Comics Presents #85 (Sept. 1985), pencilled by Rick Veitch and inked by Al Williamson. Issue #87 featured the first appearance and origin of the divergent Kal-El of the Earth Prime reality, who would become known as Superboy-Prime. The final issue is an exception to the team-up format, instead featuring Superman in an “Untold Tale” involving the Phantom Zone, by Steve Gerber, following up in his limited series of the same title.

Superman (1970’s)

The early 1970s were a time of change for the Man of Steel. As Clark Kent shifted from being a newspaper reporter to a TV newscaster, his alter ego saw the destruction of all remaining Kryptonite on Earth! This period also featured many new villains, including Terra-Man, and the dramatic reintroductions of such foes as Lex Luthor — in green and purple armor!

 

Ghosts (1970’s)

Each issue of Ghosts carried multiple stories of the supernatural. The stories were prefaced by a short description introducing the premise and ended with a summation of how a mysterious justice was dealt to the evildoers of the tale. The first issue of this series carried the singular title Ghost in its indicia, but everywhere else, including advance promotional house ads and even on its own cover, it was the plural Ghosts, as even the indicia would read from #2 on.  Limited Collectors’ Edition #C–32 (Dec. 1974–Jan. 1975) reprinted stories from Ghosts #1, 3–6 and featured new material by Leo Dorfman and artists Gerry TalaocE. R. Cruz, and Frank Redondo.

The Demon (1972)

The Demon was created by Jack Kirby. The titular character, named Etrigan, is a demon from Hell who, despite his violent tendencies, usually finds himself allied to the forces of good, mainly because of the alliance between the heroic characters of the DC Universe and Jason Blood, a human to whom Etrigan is bound.

Jack Kirby created the Demon in 1972 when his Fourth World titles were cancelled. According to Mark Evanier, Kirby had no interest in horror comics, but created Etrigan in response to a demand from DC for a horror character. Kirby was annoyed that the first issue sold so well that DC required him to remain on it and abandon the Fourth World titles before he was done with them. Etrigan was inspired by a comic strip of Prince Valiant in which the titular character dressed as a demon. Kirby gave his creation the same appearance as Valiant’s mask.

The New Teen Titans (1980’s)

In 1980, Teen Titans relaunched as The New Teen Titans, aging the characters to young adulthood. Original members Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash were joined by new characters Cyborg, Starfire and Raven, as well as the former Doom Patrol member Beast Boy, as Changeling. The group had several encounters with the original Titans of Greek mythology, particularly Hyperion.

The team’s adversaries included Deathstroke the Terminator, a mercenary who takes a contract to kill the Titans to fulfill a job his son had been unable to complete. This led to perhaps the most notable Titans storyline of the era. 1984’s “The Judas Contract,” in Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44 and Teen Titans Annual #3 featured a psychopathic girl named Terra with the power to manipulate earth and all earth-related materials. She infiltrates the Titans in order to destroy them. “The Judas Contract” won the Comics Buyer’s Guide Fan Award for “Favorite Comic Book Story” of 1984, and was later reprinted as a standalone trade paperback in 1988. Robin adopts the identity of Nightwing, while Wally West gives up his Kid Flash persona and quits the Titans. It also featured the introduction of a new member in Jericho, Deathstroke’s other son.