Eightball is an alternative comic book series written and drawn by Daniel Clowes. The first issue was published by Fantagraphics Books in 1989, soon after the end of Clowes’s previous comic series, Lloyd Llewellyn. It has consistently been among the best-selling independently authored comics.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was first published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Kevin Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Peter Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The TMNT comic series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.
One of the first series of comics dedicated to educational topics was True Comics, published by Gworge J. Hecht’s Parents’ Magazine Press, beginning in 1941. Designed to convey not only information but also wholesome attitudes, the series covered a variety of materials, but many issues were devoted to patriotic stories from American history or to biographies of famous American (and occasionally non-Americans, such as Winston Churchill) from the past. The series also included stories of the exploits of the FBI, designed to heroize law enforcers and demonize criminal. These fact-based comics were enough of a commercial success that the series ran until 1950.
Locke & Key is written by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez and published by IDW Publishing. Set in the glare of a Depression-era summer, in which three Canuck gangsters carry out a heist and hide out at the Keyhouse. Locke & Key: Grindhouse includes an expanded ‘Guide to Keyhouse,’ which describes the mansion.
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.”
Hack/Slash is a series, launched from several one shots of the same name, published by Image Comics (previously by Devil’s Due Publishing). The series was created by writer and sometime penciller Tim Seeley. The series follows horror victim Cassie Hack as she strikes back at the monsters who prey upon teenagers. These monsters are known as “slashers”, and are a mix of original villains and crossover appearances, such as the appearance of Re-Animator (from Herbert West–Reanimator) in Volume 1.
SiP, as it is commonly known, began as a three-issue mini-series published by Antarctic Press in 1993, which focused entirely on the relationship between the three main characters and Francine’s unfaithful boyfriend. This is now known as “Volume 1”. Thirteen issues were published under Moore’s own “Abstract Studio” imprint, and these make up “Volume 2”. This is where the “thriller” plot was introduced. The series moved to Image Comics‘ Homage imprint for the start of “Volume 3”, but after eight issues moved back to Abstract Studio, where it continued with the same numbering. Volume 3 concluded at issue #90, released June 6, 2007.
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.
Turok, Son of Stone, was illustrated by Rex Maxon. The writer-creator credit for the characters of Turok and Andar is disputed, with historians citing Matthew H. Murphy, Gaylord Du Bois and Paul S. Newman as the feature’s earliest writers.
The Western Publishing version of Turok was a Pre-Columbian era Native American (identified as Mandan in the first issue, on page 21 and 32 of Dell Four Color #596) who, along with his brother, Andar, became trapped in an isolated canyon valley populated by dinosaurs, which they refer to in general as “hoppers”, “monsters” and more often than not, beginning in Dell issue number 9, page 35 as “honkers”, as well as by their most obvious characteristics (tyrannosaurs are called “runners”, pterosaurs are called “flyers”, velociraptors are “screamers”, plesiosaurs are “sea demons”, Triceratops are “rammers”, etc.). The Du Bois stories involve Turok and Andar seeking a way out of the canyon. Du Bois was influenced by his visits to Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico and developed the “Lost Valley” from his visits to the area.
After two appearances in Four Color #596 and #656, the title ran 27 issues (#3–29) published by Dell Comics (1956–62); then issues #30–125 (1962–80) from Gold Key Comics; and finally issues #126–130 (1981–82) under Western’s Whitman Comics imprint.
The Locke children have grown accustomed to the myriad magical keys discovered within the ancenstral family home of Keyhouse. The have also grown accustomed to tragedy. What they may not be prepared for is just how closely danger stalks their every move as Lucas Caravaggio, alias Kack Wells, continues his relentless quest for the key to the black door. New keys and old specters join the story as innocence is lost and determination is forged.