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.

 

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Mister X (1980’s)

Created by album and book cover designer Dean Motter, Mister X was developed for a year in close collaboration with comic artist and illustrator Paul Rivoche, whose series of poster illustrations stirred up great interest in the project. The series published early work by comic artists who would later emerge as important alternative cartoonists, including Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Mario Hernandez, Seth, Shane Oakley and D’Israeli.

A highly successful promotional campaign with posters and ads followed for the next year, while Motter and Rivoche struggled to produce an actual issue of Mister X. When Rivoche quit, Vortex Comics president Bill Marks became more skeptical than ever that Motter would be able to produce the series on time, and decided to turn the work over to the Hernandez brothers. The first four issues were written and illustrated by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, with additional writing by Mario Hernandez. The Hernandez brothers quit over payment delays from Vortex. Issues 5 through 14 of the series were then written by Motter, with issues 6 through 13 illustrated by Seth.

Mister X’s influence can be seen and was acknowledged in films like Terry Gilliam‘s BrazilTim Burton‘s Batman, and Alex ProyasDark City.

 

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.

 

 

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)

 

Dalgoda (1984)

Dalgoda by Jan Strnad and Dennis Fujitake was published by Fantagraphics Books in 1984. This is a series that needs to come back! Not only were the featured stories and art amazing, but the books also featured back-up stories by Alan Moore (“The Bojeffries Saga”) and Kevin Nowlan (“Grimwood’s Daughter”).

Nexus V2 – Capital Comics (1980’s)

Nexus is a comic book series created by writer Mike Baron and penciler Steve Rude in 1981. The series is a combination of the superhero and science fiction genres, set 500 years in the future.

The series debuted as a three-issue black-and-white limited series (the third of which featured a 33 RPM flexi disc with music and dialogue from the issue), followed by an eighty-issue ongoing full-color series. The black-and-white issues and the first six color issues were published by Capital Comics; after Capital’s demise, First Comics took over publication.

On the creation of the series: Baron noted that they had originally pitched a series called Encyclopaedias to Capital Comics, but the company rejected this, saying they were looking for a superhero title. Over a drink at a restaurant, Baron outlined his ideas for Nexus to Rude.

Nexus was entirely Baron’s idea. He even came up with the lightning bolt for the costume. All that we needed then was a name… a few weeks passed. Baron calls, and, without preamble, just says “Nexus.” We finally had our name.”

 

The Rocketeer – Special Edition (1984)

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.

The Rocketeer Special Edition #1 VF+ $8

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.

 

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.”

 

Judge Dredd – Eagle Comics (1983)

Judge Dredd is a fictional character who appears in British comic books published by Rebellion Developments, as well as in a number of movie and video game adaptations. He was created by writer John Wagner and artist Carlos Ezquerra, and first appeared in the second issue of 2000 AD (1977), a weekly science-fiction anthology. He is that magazine’s longest-running character.

Joseph Dredd is an American law enforcement officer in the dystopian future city of Mega-City One. He is a “street judge“, empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals. Dredd’s entire face is never shown in the strip. This began as an unofficial guideline, but soon became a rule. As John Wagner explained: “It sums up the facelessness of justice − justice has no soul. So it isn’t necessary for readers to see Dredd’s face, and I don’t want you to”. Time passes in the Judge Dredd strip in real time, so as a year passes in life, a year passes in the comic. The first Dredd story, published in 1977, was set in 2099, whilst stories published in 2015 are set in 2137. Consequently, as former editor Alan McKenzie explains, “every year that goes by Dredd gets a year older – unlike Spider-Man, who has been a university student for the past twenty-five years!”. Therefore Dredd is over seventy years old, with over fifty years of active service (2079–2136), and for some time characters in the comic have been mentioning that Dredd is not as young and fit as formerly.