Hawkman (Silver Age)

Hawkman was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Dennis Neville, the original Hawkman first appeared in Flash Comics #1, published by All-American Publications in 1940.

Several incarnations of Hawkman have appeared in DC Comics, all of them characterized by the use of archaic weaponry and by large, artificial wings, attached to a harness made from the special Nth metal that allows flight. Most incarnations of Hawkman work closely with a partner/romantic interest named Hawkgirl or Hawkwoman.

Since DC’s continuity was rewritten in the 1985 series Crisis on Infinite Earths, Hawkman’s history has become muddled with several new versions of the character appearing throughout the years, some associated with ancient Egypt and some with the fictional planet Thanagar. These versions of the character have starred in several series of various durations.

 

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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.

Batman (Golden Age)

In early 1939, the success of Superman in Action Comics prompted editors at National Comics Publications (the future DC Comics) to request more superheroes for its titles. In response, Bob Kane created “the Bat-Man”. Collaborator Bill Finger recalled that “Kane had an idea for a character called ‘Batman,’ and he’d like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane’s, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of … reddish tights, I believe, with boots … no gloves, no gauntlets … with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign … BATMAN”. The bat-wing-like cape was suggested by Bob Kane, inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci‘s sketch of an ornithopter flying device as a child.

Finger suggested giving the character a cowl instead of a simple domino mask, a cape instead of wings, and gloves; he also recommended removing the red sections from the original costume. Finger said he devised the name Bruce Wayne for the character’s secret identity: “Bruce Wayne’s first name came from Robert Bruce, the Scottish patriot. Wayne, being a playboy, was a man of gentry. I searched for a name that would suggest colonialism. I tried Adams, Hancock … then I thought of Mad Anthony Wayne.” He later said his suggestions were influenced by Lee Falk‘s popular The Phantom, a syndicated newspaper comic-strip character with which Kane was also familiar.

Batman V1 #6 F+
Batman V1 #6 F+

Adventure Comics – Dollar Comics (1978)

According to then-DC publisher Jenette Kahn, comics’ price-per-page value had been declining since the “Golden Age.” When superhero comics debuted in the late 1930s, they featured 64 pages of art for 10¢. As the decades passed, comparable publications liked Time and Life raised their prices, while comics stayed at 10 cents and reduced their page-count. Finally in 1962, National Periodical Publications/DC raised its price to 12¢, a 20% increase. (Comparable magazines, in contrast, were by then 3.5-to-5 times their original price.) By 1977, even though the typical price of a comic book was 35¢, it still lagged far behind its magazine competition, thus decreasing its appeal for newsvendors (which at that point — before the generalized 1980s shift to direct market distribution — was still the dominant retailing location for comics). Thus, the idea for Dollar Comics was born.

Before Watchmen – Rorschach (2012)

The story follows Rorschach in New York City, 1977, where his crime-fighting activities cause him to be targeted by a crime lord running drugs and prostitution in the sordid Times Square. While focused on the gang, Rorschach makes the mistake of allowing another predator to operate unchallenged.

Before Watchmen - Rorschach 1 NM 6
Before Watchmen – Rorschach #1 NM $6

Superman V1 (1980’s)

The 1980s saw radical revisions of Superman. DC decided to remove the multiverse in a bid to simplify its comics line. This led to the rewriting of the back story of the characters DC published, Superman included. John Byrne rewrote Superman, removing many established conventions and characters from continuity, including Superboy and Supergirl. Byrne also re-established Superman’s adoptive parents, The Kents, as characters. In the previous continuity, the characters had been written as having died early in Superman’s life (about the time of Clark Kent’s graduation from high school).

Superman – Golden Age

The major event many cite as marking the beginning of the Golden Age was the 1938 debut of Superman in Action Comics #1, published by the predecessor of modern-day DC Comics. The creation of Superman made comic books into a major industry. Some date the start to earlier events in the 1930s: The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide‘s regular publication The Golden Age Quarterly lists comic books from 1933 onwards (1933 saw the publication of the first comic book in the size that would subsequently define the format); some historians, such Roger Sabin, date it to the publication of the first comic books featuring entirely original stories rather than re-prints of comic strips from newspapers (1935) by the company that would become DC Comics.

 

Before Watchmen – Dr. Manhattan (2012)

The story explores the different universes that Doctor Manhattan alias Jon Osterman simultaneously perceives. It also adds a notable new element to Osterman’s backstory by revealing him to be a half-Jewish German immigrant who escaped with his father from the Third Reich to America; in the original Watchmen series, he was not implied to be anything other than American. It debuted to positive reviews.

JLA (1997)

The low sales of the various Justice League spinoff books by the mid-1990s prompted DC to revamp the League as a single team (all the various branch teams were disbanded) on a single title. A Justice League of America formed in the September 1996 limited series Justice League: A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Mark Waid and Fabian Nicieza. In 1997, DC Comics launched a new Justice League series titled JLA, written by Grant Morrison with art by Howard Porter and inker John Dell. Morrison stayed as writer for the series through issue #41, though several issues had fill-in writers. JLA #18-#21 and #33 were written by Mark Waid. Mark Millar, Devin Grayson and Mark Waid, and J.M. DeMatteis wrote issues #27, #32 and #35 respectively.

This series, in an attempt at a “back-to-basics” approach, used as its core the team’s original and most famous seven members (or their successors): Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and the Martian Manhunter. Additionally, the team received a new headquarters, the “Watchtower“, based on the Moon. JLA quickly became DC’s best-selling title, a position it enjoyed off and on for several years.

Flash V2 (1980’s)

The third Flash was Wally West, introduced in The Flash (vol. 1) #110 (Dec. 1959) as Kid Flash. West, Allen’s nephew by marriage, gained the Flash’s powers through an accident identical to Allen’s. Adopting the identity of Kid Flash, he maintained membership in the Teen Titans for years. Following Allen’s death, West adopted the Flash identity in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 and was given his own series, beginning with The Flash (vol. 2) #1 in 1987.[1] Many issues began with the catchphrase: “My name is Wally West. I’m the fastest man alive.”