Solar, Man of the Atom (1991)

Valiant’s Solar, Man of the Atom began with three multi-part stories all written by Jim Shooter: “Alpha and Omega” with artwork by Barry Windsor-Smith and Bob Layton, spanned the first ten issues and told of the origin story of how the protagonist, Phil Seleski, became Solar, until the time he accidentally destroys the world; “Second Death”, with artwork by Don Perlin, Bob Layton and Thomas Ryder, spanned the first four issues and tells of Seleski’s attempt to prevent another version of himself from destroying the world; “First Strike”, with artwork by Don Perlin and Stan Drake, spanned issues #5 to #8 and follows Solar as he fights spider aliens. These first year stories included first appearances by Eternal Warrior, the Harbinger FoundationGeomancers, and the X-O Manowar armor – all of which would be spun off into their own series.

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MAD (Golden Age)

MAD is an American humor magazine founded in 1952 by editor Harvey Kurtzman and publisher William Gaines, launched as a comic book before it became a magazine. It was widely imitated and influential, affecting satirical media as well as the cultural landscape of the 20th century, with editor Al Feldstein increasing readership to more than two million during its 1974 circulation peak. As of January 2017, Mad has published 544 regular issues, as well as hundreds of reprint “Specials,” original material paperbacks, compilation books and other print projects.

 

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.

 

Steed, Peel and John Drake – Silver Age

In 1968 Gold Key reprinted a couple of TV Comic Avengers strips as a one-shot comic for the US market. For trademark reasons, since Marvel had the Avengers comic trademark in the USA, the comic was titled after the featured characters, John Steed and Emma Peel.

The Avengers is a spy-fi British television series created in the 1960s. The Avengers initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant John Steed (Patrick Macnee). Hendry left after the first series and Steed became the main character, partnered with a succession of assistants. Steed’s most famous assistants were intelligent, stylish and assertive women: Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), and later Tara King (Linda Thorson). Later episodes increasingly incorporated elements of science fiction and fantasy, parody and British eccentricity. The Avengers ran from 1961 until 1969, screening as one-hour episodes its entire run.

In 1966, Gold Key Comics published two issues of a Secret Agent comic book based upon the series Danger Man (titled Secret Agent in the United States), a British television series which was broadcast between 1960 and 1962, and again between 1964 and 1968. The series featured Patrick McGoohan as secret agent John Drake.

Prisoner fans frequently debate whether John Drake of Danger Man and Number Six in The Prisoner are the same person. Like John Drake, Number Six is evidently a secret agent, but one who has resigned from his job. Moreover, in the surreal Prisoner episode “The Girl Who Was Death“, Number Six meets “Potter”, John Drake’s Danger Man contact. Christopher Benjamin portrayed the character in both series.

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.

 

Miracleman – Eclipse (1980’s)

In August 1985, Eclipse began reprinting the Marvelman stories from Warrior, colored, and re-sized. They were renamed and re-lettered throughout as Miracleman to avoid further problems with Marvel Comics. Issues 1-6 reprinted all the Warrior content, after which Eclipse began publishing new Miracleman stories from Alan Moore and new artist Chuck Beckum (now better known as Chuck Austen), soon replaced by Rick Veitch and then John Totleben. Eclipse split the rights to the character, with 2/3 going to Eclipse and 1/3 split between the current writer and artist of the series. Moore wrote the series until issue 16.

Writer Neil Gaiman picked up the series at #17 and developed it further in the 1990s, working with artist Mark Buckingham. He planned three books, consisting of six issues each; they would be titled “The Golden Age”, “The Silver Age” and “The Dark Age”.

The Crow – Tundra (1992)

The Crow was created by James O’Barr. The series was originally written by O’Barr as a means of dealing with the death of his girlfriend at the hands of a drunk driver. It was later published by Caliber Comics in 1989, becoming an underground success, and later adapted into a film of the same name in 1994. Three film sequels, a television series and numerous books and comic books have also been subsequently produced.

The story revolves around an unfortunate young man named Eric. He and his fiancée, Shelly, are assaulted by a gang of street thugs after their car breaks down. Eric is shot in the head and is paralyzed, and can only watch as Shelly is savagely beaten and raped. They are then left for dead on the side of the road.

He is resurrected by a crow and seeks vengeance on the murderers, methodically stalking and killing them. When not on the hunt, Eric stays in the house he shared with Shelly, spending most of his time there lost in memories of her. Her absence is torture for him; he is in emotional pain, even engaging in self-mutilation by cutting himself.

The crow acts as both guide and goad for Eric, giving him information that helps him in his quest but also chastising him for dwelling on Shelly’s death, seeing his pining as useless self-indulgence that distracts him from his purpose.

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.

 

 

Rai – V1 (1992)

Rai (pronounced “rye”) appeared in books published by Valiant Comics. Rai was the first original hero created by Valiant and had its beginning as a flipbook back-up feature in Magnus Robot Fighter issues #5-8. The popularity of the flipbook back-up story later led to an ongoing series. Valiant Entertainment is the current owner of Rai and the rest of the original Valiant Comics characters.

In his original incarnation, Rai is the spirit guardian that protects the nation of Japan in the 41st century. It is a mantle passed down from father to son through the generations. As such, the series chronicled a number of protagonists.

A new Rai ongoing series was launched in April 2014 by the creative team of writer Matt Kindt and artist Clayton Crain, selling out of its initial print run.

 

28 Days Later (2009)

The series follows on from the events of 28 Days Later, initially taking place in the gap between it and the sequel, 28 Weeks Later, much like the graphic novel 28 Days Later: The Aftermath, and as such references the upcoming American NATO occupation. Issues 22, 23 and 24 directly reference events from the second movie, and takes place in the same time frame, ending with the Rage Virus spreading into mainland Europe.