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.

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Superman Family -Dollar Comics (1979)

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.

 

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.

 

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.

The Unexpected (1970’s)

In 1979, The Unexpected converted to the Dollar Comics format and incorporated House of Secrets and The Witching Hour. Each “Unexpected” story would always include the word in its last panel. After the merge, this was only true of the Unexpected section; there would then be complete, ad-free issues of The Witching Hour, hosted by its witches, and The House of Secrets, hosted by AbelThe Witching Hour feature was alternated with Doorway to Nightmare starring Madame Xanadu, which appeared in issues #190, 192, 194, and 195.

Unexpected 192 VF- 8
Unexpected #192 VF- $8

Omega Men V1(1980’s)

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.

After appearances in Green Lantern, Action Comics and The New Teen Titans, the Omega Men were featured in their own comics series which ran for 38 issues from April 1983 to May 1986. During its run, writer Roger Slifer and artist Keith Giffen created the mercenary anti-hero Lobo.

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.

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).

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“.

 

DC Treasury Editions (1970’s)

Limited Collectors’ Edition was launched with a collection of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stories which went on sale October 24, 1972. DC Comics vice president Sol Harrison had suggested the format stating that “We could create a tabloid size comic that would stand out on the newsstand.” Limited Collectors’ Edition shared its numbering with two other treasury format series, Famous First Edition and All-New Collectors’ Edition. The final issues of the latter two series were tie-ins to the release of Superman: The Movie. DC later published treasuries as part of DC Special Series in 1981 and as a number of one-shots from 1999 to 2003 primarily produced by Paul Dini and Alex Ross.

Rōnin (1983)

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.