Adventure Comics (1970’s)

In the late 70’s 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 Return of the New Gods (cancelled in July–August 1978), “Deadman“, and the “Justice Society of America“.

 

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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.

Demon #1 VF- $65

Action Comics (1970’s)

Mort Weisinger retired from DC in 1970 and his final issue of Action Comics was issue #392 (September 1970). Murray Boltinoff became the title’s editor until issue #418. Metamorpho was the backup feature in issues #413-418 after which the character had a brief run as the backup in World’s Finest ComicsJulius Schwartz became the editor of the series with issue #419 (December 1972) which also introduced the Human Target by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino in the back-up feature. Green Arrow became a backup feature in #421 and ran through #458, initially rotating with the Human Target and the Atom. Between issues #423 (April 1973) and #424 (June 1973), the series jumped ahead by one month due to DC’s decision to change the cover dates of its publishing line.

A new version of the Toyman was created by Cary Bates and Curt Swan in issue #432 (February 1974). Martin Pasko wrote issue #500 (October 1979) which featured a history of the Superman canon as it existed at the time and was published in the Dollar Comics format.

DC Comics Presents V1

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.

New Gods V1 (1971)

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.”

New Gods #1 marks the first appearance of Orion, Highfather, and Metron, among others.

 

Batman Family (1975)

The Batman Family ran twenty issues from September-October 1975 to October-November 1978 and featured solo and team-up stories starring Batgirl and Robin. The lead story in the first issue teaming Batgirl and Robin was originally intended for publication in an issue of 1st Issue Special. The series additionally featured reprints of Golden Age and Silver Age stories. Many issues of Batman Family featured Batman supporting characters such as Alfred Pennyworth, Vicki Vale, the Elongated Man, the Huntress, and Ace the Bat-Hound. Writer Bob Rozakis introduced the Duela Dent character in issue #6 (July–August 1976) and revived the original Batwoman in issue #10 (March–April 1977). The series began featuring only new material as of issue #11 (May-June 1977)  and Man-Bat began appearing as a regular feature. Batman Family converted to the Dollar Comics format with issue #17 (April–May 1978).

Batman Family #1 F- $9
Batman Family #1 F- $9

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).

 

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.

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).

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!