Mage – The Hero Discovered (1980’s)

The Hero Discovered follows Kevin Matchstick, an alienated young man who meets a wizard called Mirth and discovers that he, among other things, possesses both a magic baseball bat and superhuman abilities. In the course of the comic, he defeats the nefarious plans of a being called the Umbra Sprite. He ultimately discovers that Mirth is Merlin, the baseball bat is Excalibur, and he is, in some ambiguous way, King Arthur. All the chapter titles are lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Vampirella (1969)

Vampirella is a vampire superheroine created by Forrest J Ackerman and costume designer Trina Robbins in Warren Publishing‘s black-and-white horror comics magazine Vampirella #1 (Sept. 1969). Writer-editor Archie Goodwin later developed the character from horror-story hostess, in which capacity she remained through issue #8 (Nov. 1970), to a horror-drama leading character. Vampirella was ranked 35th in Comics Buyer’s Guide‘s “100 Sexiest Women in Comics” list.

Eerie (1970’s)

Eerie was an American magazine of horror comics introduced in 1966 by Warren Publishing. Like Mad, it was a black-and-white newsstand publication in a magazine format and thus did not require the approval or seal of the Comics Code Authority. Each issue’s stories were introduced by the host character, Cousin Eerie. Its sister publications were Creepy and Vampirella.

The first issue, in early 1966, had only a 200-issue run of an “ashcan” edition. With a logo by Ben Oda, it was created overnight by editor Archie Goodwin and letterer Gaspar Saladino to establish publisher Jim Warren’s ownership of the title when it was discovered that a rival publisher would be using the name. Warren explained, “We launched  Eerie because we thought Creepy ought to have an adversary. The Laurel and Hardy syndrome always appealed to me. Creepy and Eerie are like Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre.”

Pacific Presents (1982)

The Rocketeer’s first adventure appeared in 1982 as a backup feature in issues #2 and #3 of Mike Grell‘s Starslayer series from Pacific Comics. Two more installments appeared in Pacific’s showcase comic Pacific Presents #1 and 2. The fourth chapter ended in a cliffhanger that was later concluded in a special Rocketeer issue released by Eclipse Comics. The complete story was then collected by Eclipse in a single volume titled The Rocketeer. It was published in three versions: a trade paperback edition, a trade hardcover, and a signed, limited edition hardcover. Noted fantasy author Harlan Ellison, a fan of the Rocketeer and also an acquaintance of Dave Stevens, wrote the introduction to the collection; both Dave Stevens and Harlan Ellison signed the limited edition on a specially bound-in bookplate.

The story was continued in the Rocketeer Adventure Magazine. Two issues were published by Comico Comics in 1988 and 1989; the third installment was not published until 1995, six years later by Dark Horse Comics. All three issues were then collected by Dark Horse into a glossy trade paperback titled The Rocketeer: Cliff’s New York Adventure that quickly went out-of-print.

 

Megaton Man – Kitchen Sink (1984)

Megaton Man is a creator-owned comic book series published by Kitchen Sink Press beginning in 1984. Donald Simpson wrote and drew the series, in which the title character first appeared and starred. The original Megaton Man series ran for ten issues, but the character was later revived in a limited series, The Return of Megaton Man, and a series of one-shot issues spun off from the concept. In 1994, Simpson left Kitchen Sink to form his own company, Fiasco Comics, through which Simpson self-published his new title Bizarre Heroes, featuring Megaton Man (and many members of his old supporting cast) as part of a large ensemble cast.

Stray Bullets: Killers (2014)

In March 2014, Image Comics ended the hiatus of Stray Bullets with the publication of the final issue of the HiJinks and Derring-Do arc, and the simultaneous launch of a new series and arc titled Stray Bullets: Killers. A giant-sized softcover trade paperback edition (The Uber Alles Edition) collecting all forty-one issues of the original series was also released by Image Comics.[2] Killers ran for eight issues throughout 2014.

Michael Moorcock’s, Elric (1983)

Story by Roy Thomas, adapting the novel Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock. Art by P. Craig Russell and Michael T. Gilbert. Prince Yyrkoon, cousin of Elric believes he should be on the throne of Melnibone, not Elric. While he plots, Elric and his lover Cymoril take a trip to the beach, where Elric dreams of the past, and fears for the future.

Elfquest (1978)

Elfquest (or ElfQuest) is a cult hit comic book property created by Wendy and Richard Pini in 1978. It is a fantasy story about a community of elves and other fictional species who struggle to survive and coexist on a primitive Earth-like planet with two moons. Several published volumes of prose fiction also share the same setting. Elfquest was one of the first comic book series to have a planned conclusion. Over the years Elfquest has been self-published by the Pinis through their own company Warp Graphics, then Marvel Comics,[ then the Pinis again, more recently DC Comics and then Dark Horse Comics.

 

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.”

 

The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor (1970’s)

After his first appearance in a 10-page story in Mystery Comics Digest #5, Dr. Spektor was spun off into his own title, The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. The series ran for 24 issues (May 1973 – February 1977). His final original story appeared in one issue of Gold Key Spotlight (#8, August 1977). Jesse Santos replaced Spiegle as artist on the series, and remained there for the entire run.

Dr. Spektor appeared in all four issues of Gold Key’s Spine-Tingling Tales (1975–76), where he provided linking narration for some of the stories within. (These stories were reprints from Mystery Comics Digest that dealt with characters who later appeared in his title). He also had stories he narrated in Mystery Comics Digest #10, #11, #12, and #21, and articles in Golden Comics Digest #25, #26, and #33.

Under the Whitman Comics name, issue #25 was released in May 1982. It reprinted issue #1, but with a line-art cover instead of the original painted cover.

In 2014, Dynamite Entertainment released a new version of “Doctor Spektor”, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Greg Pak, as part of the company’s revival of several Gold Key characters (which also included Magnus, Robot Fighter, Dr. Solar and Turok)