In 1978, DC Comics intended to revive its science-fiction anthology series Strange Adventures. These plans were put on hold that year due to the DC Implosion, a line-wide scaling back of the company’s publishing output. When the project was revived a year later, the title was changed to Time Warp and the series was in the Dollar Comics format. The first issue was published with an October–November 1979 cover date. Michael Kaluta provided the cover art for the entire run.
The title featured a mixture of both established comics creators and new talent. The writing team of Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn made their comics debut in issue #3 with the three-page short story “On the Day of His Return” which was drawn by Steve Ditko.
Time Warp was canceled with issue #5 (June–July 1980) and unused inventory originally intended for the series was published in a revival of the Mystery in Space title. Other Time Warp stories appeared in the mystery anthology The Unexpected.
The Omega Men are a team of extraterrestrial superheroes who have appeared in various comic book series published by DC Comics. They first appeared in Green Lantern#141 (June 1981), and were created by Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton.
The Omega Men were assembled as a group of renegades and representatives of conquered Vegan worlds to fight Citadelian aggression. Pre-Infinite Crisis the team was based on the planet Kuraq. The Omega Men are important peacekeepers in their sector because the Green Lantern Corps is not allowed into Vegan space, due to a long standing agreement with the Psions.
Created and designed by Jack Kirby, The New Gods first appeared in February 1971 in New Gods #1.
Kirby’s production assistant of the time, Mark Evanier, remarked that: “Folks forget but the New Gods saga was intended to be a limited series … There was no intention that these characters would go on forever. After Jack’s books started getting good sales figures, DC demanded that we keep them going and use guest stars like Deadman, which we were very much against doing. So Kirby had this novel he was forever stuck in the middle of – he could never get to the last chapter. … You can spot the issues where Jack kind of gave up trying to advance the story of Darkseid and Orion and was marking time. If those books had been intended from the start to run indefinitely, they would have been done very differently.”
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.
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.
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).
Ronin (formally written as Rōnin) is a limited series published between 1983 and 1984, by DC Comics. The series was written and drawn by Frank Miller with artwork painted by Lynn Varley. It takes place in a dystopic near-future New York in which a ronin is reincarnated. The six-issue work shows some of the strongest influences of manga and bande dessinée on Miller’s style, both in the artwork and narrative style.
Ronin was in part inspired by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima‘s manga series Kozure Okami. (Though Kozure Okami would receive an English localization several years later as Lone Wolf and Cub, at the time Miller could not read the text and had to rely on the artwork for his understanding of the story.) According to former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Jim Shooter, Ronin was originally slated to be released as part of Marvel’s Marvel Graphic Novel series. Ultimately, however, Miller was persuaded by publisher Jenette Kahn that DC Comics would give him as much freedom as he desired for the series, and the first issue of Ronin was published by that company in 1983.
Superboy became Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes with issue #197 (August 1973). Crafted by Bates and Cockrum, the feature proved popular and saw such events as the wedding of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel in Superboy #200 (Feb 1974). Cockrum was replaced on art by Mike Grell as of issue #203 (August 1974) which featured the death of Invisible Kid. With #231 (September 1977), the book’s title officially changed to Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and also became a “giant-size” title. At this point, the book was written by longtime fan Paul Levitz and drawn by James Sherman, although Gerry Conway frequently wrote as well. Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad were married in All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-55 (1978), a treasury-sized special written by Levitz and drawn by Grell. In #241–245 (July–December 1978) Levitz and Sherman (and then Joe Staton) produced what was at that time the most ambitious Legion storyline: “Earthwar“, a galactic war between the United Planets and the Khunds, with several other villains lurking in the background. During this period, Karate Kid was spun off into his own 20th Century-based self-titled series, which lasted 15 issues. Levitz left the book, to be replaced full-time by Gerry Conway.
Superboy departed from the Legion due to a plot of a villain, and the book was renamed simply Legion of Super-Heroes starting with issue #259 (January 1980). Editor Jack C. Harris hired Steve Ditko as guest artist on several issues, a decision which garnered a mixed reaction from the title’s readership. Jimmy Janes became the regular artist in a lengthy tale by Conway (and later Roy Thomas) involving Ultra Boy’s disappearance during a mission, and his long odyssey to rejoin the team. This story told the tale of the Legionnaire Reflecto (only glimpsed during the “Adult Legion” stories in Adventure Comics), featured villainy by the Time Trapper and Grimbor the Chainsman, and saw Superboy rejoin the team.
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“.
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.