Detective Comics (1970’s)

Writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams had their first collaboration on Batman on the story “The Secret of the Waiting Graves” in issue #395 (Jan. 1970). The duo, under the direction of Schwartz, would revitalize the character with a series of noteworthy stories reestablishing Batman’s dark, brooding nature and taking the books away from the campy look and feel of the 1966-68 ABC TV series. Comics historian Les Daniels observed that “O’Neil’s interpretation of Batman as a vengeful obsessive-compulsive, which he modestly describes as a return to the roots, was actually an act of creative imagination that has influenced every subsequent version of the Dark Knight.”

 O’Neil and artist Dick Giordano created the Batman supporting character Leslie Thompkins in the story “There Is No Hope in Crime Alley” appearing in issue #457 (March 1976). Writer Steve Englehart and artist Marshall Rogers produced an acclaimed run of Batman stories in Detective Comics #471-476 (Aug. 1977 – April 1978), and provided one of the definitive interpretations that influenced the 1989 Batman movie and would be adapted for the 1990s animated series. The Englehart and Rogers pairing, was described in 2009 by comics writer and historian Robert Greenberger as “one of the greatest” creative teams to work on the Batman character.  From issue #481 (Dec. 1978 – Jan. 1979) through #495 (Oct. 1980), the magazine adopted the expanded Dollar Comics format.

Detective Comics #457 F-VF $12
Detective Comics #457 F-VF $12

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World’s Finest (1970’s)

World’s Finest featured Superman and Batman team-ups until issue #197. Noted Batman artist Neal Adams first drew the character in an interior story in “The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads” in issue #175 (May 1968). The title briefly featured Superman teaming with heroes other than Batman in the early 1970s beginning with issue #198 (November 1970). That issue featured the first part of a two-issue team-up with the Flash. The series reverted to Superman and Batman team-ups after issue #214, initially with a unique twist, featuring the children they might one day have, Superman Jr. and Batman Jr. These characters, billed as the Super-Sons, were co-created by writer Bob Haney and artist Dick Dillin in issue #215 (January 1973).

Flash V1 (1980’s)

Barry Allen’s adventures continued in his own title until the event of Crisis on Infinite EarthsThe Flash ended as a series with issue #350. Allen’s life had become considerably confused in the early 1980s, and DC elected to end his adventures and pass the mantle on to another character. Allen died heroically in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (1985). Thanks to his ability to travel through time, he would continue to appear occasionally in the years to come.

 

Forever People V1 (1971)

The Forever People are a fictional group of extraterrestrial superheroes published by DC Comics. They first appeared in Forever People #1 (February–March 1971), and were created by Jack Kirby as part of his “Fourth World” epic.

The Forever People lasted eleven issues. They mainly fought Darkseid’s forces such as Glorious Godfrey in issue #3. Issues #9 and 10 guest-starred Deadman; according to writer/artist Jack Kirby‘s assistant Mark Evanier, “We were ordered to put Deadman into New Gods, but we slipped him into Forever People instead, where he was a little less obtrusive. Jack didn’t like the character and didn’t want to do it. He didn’t feel he should be doing someone else’s character. … He doesn’t want to trample on someone else’s vision. Carmine [Infantino, DC Comics publisher and Deadman’s co-creator] said the character hadn’t sold and he wanted the Kirby touch on it.”

Legion of Super-Heroes V1 (1980’s)

Paul Levitz returned to write the series with #284. Pat Broderick and Bruce Patterson illustrated the title for a short time before Keith Giffen began on pencils, with Patterson, and then Larry Mahlstedt, on inks. The creative team received enhanced popularity following “The Great Darkness Saga“, which ran from #287; #290–294; and Annual #3, featuring a full assault on the United Planets by Darkseid. Comics historian Les Daniels observed that “Working with artist Keith Giffen, Levitz completed the transformation of Legion into a science-fiction saga of considerable scope and depth.”

The Legion celebrated issue #300 (June 1983) by revisiting the “Adult Legion” storyline through a series of parallel world short stories illustrated by a number of popular Legion artists from previous years. The story served to free up Legion continuity from following the “Adult Legion” edict of previous issues.

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.

 

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.

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.

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.

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-oldcontinuity. 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).