Hands of the Dragon (1975)

Wu Teh and his brother Ling were augmented by the radiation they were exposed to from the explosion of the dormant bomb on top of Mt. Fuji. Though it is never shown exactly how this radiation changed them, it is implied that like their grandfather, they became full of vigor and strength. Beyond these abilities, Wu Teh was a skilled martial artist who mastered several forms of hand-to-hand combat while at the monastery in the Himalayas.

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The Brute (1975)

The Brute is a Neanderthal who is thawed from a block of ice after thousands of years of entombment. Part of the short-lived Atlas superhero line from former Marvel publisher Martin Goodman.

Demon Hunter (1975)

The origin of Gideon Cross, who turns against the demon cult that trained him as a killer. First and only issue of the series; creator Rich Buckler later revised the idea as Marvels Devil-Slayer. Story by Buckler and David Anthony Kraft; art and cover by Buckler.

Phoenix (1975)

After his spaceship crashes, astronaut Ed Tyler is captured by extraterrestrials. He uses their technology to become the superhuman Phoenix, but the aliens would rather destroy his planet than let him escape. Part of the short-lived Atlas superhero line from former Marvel publisher Martin Goodman.

The Scorpion (1975)

The Scorpion ran three issues, cover-dated February to July 1975. The premiere was written and drawn by character creator Howard Chaykin. On the second issue, Chaykin’s pencil art was inked by the team of Bernie WrightsonMichael KalutaWalt Simonson and Ed Davis.

Citing lack of control over his creation, Chaykin quit and the third issue was produced by writer Gabriel Levy and penciler Jim Craig, with uncredited inker Jim Mooney.

Planet of the Vampires (1975)

In the far-off era of 2010 AD, astronauts return from space to find Earth ruled by technological geniuses who live on human blood. They join the primitive resistance fighters who dwell outside the domed cities. Part of the short-lived Atlas science fiction line from former Marvel publisher Martin Goodman.

 

Savage Combat Tales (1975)

During World War II, Sgt. Stryker joins forces with a group of U.S. Army prisoners, forming the Death Squad. Also, a mercenary pilot gets his just desserts. Part of the short-lived Atlas line from former Marvel publisher Martin Goodman. Written by Archie Goodwin, with art by Al McWilliams and Jack Sparling.

American Flagg! (1983)

American Flagg, which ran 50 issues (Oct. 1983 – March 1988), was one of the first titles to be published by First Comics, an early alternative press comics company founded in Evanston, Illinois in 1983. Unusually for the time, the company offered its freelance writers and artists creator rights, including ownership of their creations.Regardless, writer-artist Howard Chaykin, then living in New York City, felt trepidation when First Comics approached him to do a project. He recalled in 2010,

        “My concern had all and everything to do with the fact that this was a brand new company, located in [a suburb of] Chicago. I’d always worked for companies I’d visited and had day-to-day-dealings with. [But they talked about a financial plan that would make it possible for me to get out from under the debt I had accrued working for [publisher] Byron Preiss[illustrating early graphic novels]. It was encouraging, so I went home and concocted a scenario, a pitch document, and that was it.”

Chaykin devised a series set in 2031, a high-tech but spiritually empty, consumerist world in which the American government has relocated to Mars, leaving what remains of the U.S. to be governed by the all-encompassing corporation the Plex. The series star is Reuben Flagg, a former TV star drafted into the Plexus Rangers and posted as a deputy in Chicago, Illinois.

The first 12 issues, running through cover-date September 1984, consisted of four interlocking, three-issue story arcs. Chaykin recalled his difficulty in producing 28 pages of art and script monthly. “I was still a smoker and a drinker at the time. And [the output was such that] I’d never done anything like that before, and it was insane. It just devoured my life I had no assistants. I didn’t how to work with an assistant at that point, and it was a very difficult process. … I was trying to do a fairly high-quality product and I didn’t want to slough it off.”

Cerebus (1979)

Cerebus the Aardvark is a series created by Canadian cartoonist Dave Sim, which ran from December 1977 until March 2004. The title character of the 300-issue series was an anthropomorphic aardvark who takes on a number of roles throughout the series—barbarian, prime minister and Pope among them. The series stands out for its experimentation in form and content, and for the dexterity of its artwork, especially after background artist Gerhard joined in with the 65th issue. As the series progressed, it increasingly became a platform for Sim’s controversial beliefs.

The 6000-page story is a challenge to summarize. Beginning as a parody of sword and sorcery comics, it moved into seemingly any topic Sim wished to explore — power and politics, religion and spirituality, gender issues, and more. It progressively became more serious and ambitious than its parodic roots — what has come to be dubbed “Cerebus Syndrome“. Sim announced early on that the series would end with the death of the title character. The story has a large cast of characters, many of which began as parodies of characters from comic books and popular culture.

Starting with the High Society storyline, the series became divided into self-contained “novels”, which form parts of the overall story. The ten “novels” of the series have been collected in 16 books, known as “Cerebus phonebooks” for their resemblance to telephone directories. At a time when the series was about 70% completed, celebrated comic book writer Alan Moore wrote, “Cerebus, as if I need to say so, is still to comic books what Hydrogen is to the Periodic Table.”

Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers (1981)

One of Pacific Comics first titles, the original run of Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers lasted thirteen issues, plus a special, through January, 1984. All were written, illustrated, and edited by Jack Kirby.

In the last issues of the Pacific series, Kirby crafted an origin story for Captain Victory which he tied into the New Gods comic book that he had written and drawn for DC Comics in the 1970s. It was suggested that Captain Victory was the son of Orion, of the New Gods. Orion was not specifically named, but a number of clues were planted, including equipment said to belong to Captain Victory’s father that was identical to the astro-harness ridden by Orion in the earlier series. Additionally, Captain Victory’s grandfather, Blackmaas, was illustrated only as a cast shadow, but a shadow that to many readers bore a resemblance to Orion’s father, Darkseid.