Daredevil (1980’s)

During the 80’s Frank Miller was hired to continue the title and did so in a similar vein to previous writer  Roger McKenzie. Resuming the drastic metamorphosis the previous writer had begun, Miller took the step of essentially ignoring all of Daredevil’s continuity prior to his run on the series; on the occasions where older villains and supporting cast were used, their characterizations and history with Daredevil were reworked or overwritten. Most prominently, dedicated and loving father Jack Murdock was reimagined as a drunkard who physically abused his son Matt, entirely revising Daredevil’s reasons for becoming a lawyer. Spider-Man villain Kingpin was introduced as Daredevil’s new nemesis, displacing most of his large rogues gallery. Daredevil himself was gradually developed into an antihero. In issue #181 (April 1982), he attempts to murder one of his arch-enemies by throwing him off a tall building; when the villain survives as a quadriplegic, he breaks into his hospital room and tries to scare him to death by playing a two-man variation on Russian roulette with a secretly unloaded gun. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that “Almost immediately, [Miller] began to attract attention with his terse tales of urban crime.” Miller’s revamping of the title was controversial among fans, but it clicked with new readers, and sales began soaring, the comic returning to monthly status just three issues after Miller came on as writer.

Advertisements

Chamber of Chills (1972)

The title was one of four launched by Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Roy Thomas to form a line of science fiction and horror anthologies with more thematic cohesiveness than the company’s earlier attempts that decade, which had included such series as Chamber of Darkness and Tower of Shadows. Whereas those titles generally presented original stories, these new books would instead adapt genre classics and other works.

With the four titles’ debuts set to be staggered over the course of four months, Marvel premiered Journey into Mystery vol. 2 (Oct. 1972),Chamber of Chills (Nov. 1972), Supernatural Thrillers (Dec. 1972), and, with a late start, Worlds Unknown (May 1973). The first issue features an original six-page story by science fiction novelist George Alec Effinger, “Moon of Madness, Moon of Fear”, penciled by P. Craig Russell (then credited as Craig Russell), and a slightly retitled adaptation of the Harlan Ellison short story “Delusions for a Dragon Slayer”, by writer Gerry Conway and artist Syd Shores; in-between was a story by writer Stan Lee and artist Russ Heath, “They Wait in Their … Dungeon”, reprinted from Menace #1 (March 1953), from Marvel’s 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics.

The bimonthly series ran exclusively new material through issue #4, with one reprinted story added to the mix for the following two issues, and only one new story in issue #7, after which the series became all-reprint. Most of the reprinted stories were 1950s “pre-Code” horror stories, which the industry self-censorship organization the Comics Code Authority had forbidden on Code-approved comics until a loosening of the Code in 1971.

Uncanny X-Men (1980’s)

The “Dark Phoenix Saga” in 1980 led to a change in the line-up of the team, with the death of Phoenix (Jean Grey), and Cyclops leaving the team to mourn for her. Comics writers and historians Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson observed that “‘The Dark Phoenix Saga’ is to Claremont and Byrne what ‘the Galactus Trilogy‘ is to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It is a landmark in Marvel history, showcasing its creators’ work at the height of their abilities.” The storyline also saw the introduction of recurring antagonists the Hellfire Club, and its Inner Circle consisting of Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Harry Leland, Donald Pierce, along with Mastermind, previously a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood. The new teenage mutant Kitty Pryde was introduced in #129 (Jan. 1980) and joined the X-Men in #139. The Dazzler, a disco-singing, roller-skating mutant, was introduced in #130 (Feb. 1980), but did not join the team, instead headlining her own solo title.

A new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, led by Mystique, was introduced in the “Days of Future Past” storyline (#141-#142, Jan–Feb 1981) in which a time-travelling Kitty Pryde tried to avert a dystopian future caused by the Brotherhood assassinating Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kelly. Byrne plotted the story wanting to depict the Sentinels as a genuine threat to the existence of the mutant race. He then left the series after #143, being replaced by a returning Cockrum, who in turn was succeeded by Paul Smith and John Romita Jr.

Battlestar Galactica (1979)

The comic book Battlestar Galactica, based on the ABC television series of the same name, was published monthly by Marvel Comics from March 1979 through January 1981, and lasted 23 issues.

Although there were other attempts to adapt Battlestar Galactica into a comic book format, the Marvel series is considered by many to have been the most successful in terms of run, sales, and content.

This was accomplished against some notable odds. Although Roger McKenzie was most often the writer, and Walt Simonson the most regular artist, the book also had a heavy rotation of guest writers and artists.

Marvel Comics’ began its adaptation of Battlestar Galactica with Marvel Super Special #8, a magazine format comic written by Roger McKenzie and drawn by Ernie Colón which was released as a tie-in to the start of the series. Based on an early script of the three hour series premiere “Saga of a Star World”, this adaptation, which gave a relatively short treatment to the third hour, was also released in a tabloid format and then later as a paperback as well. The tabloid version was also printed by Whitman Comics. Its success led Marvel to print a regular monthly comic depicting the adventures of the ragtag fleet.

 

Dreadstar (1980’s)

The series centered on the exploits of Vanth Dreadstar and his crew—powerful mystic Syzygy Darklock, the cybernetic telepath Willow, cat-like humanoid Oedi, and freebooter Skeevo. Vanth, newly arrived in the Empirical Galaxy after the events of Metamorphosis Odyssey, tries to live a pastoral existence on Oedi’s planet of peaceful cat-people, but his peace is disturbed by the arrival of Darklock, who wants him to get involved in the conflict between the two major forces in the galaxy, the Monarchy and the theocratical Instrumentality. Vanth refuses until the war comes to his planet, wiping out most of the population. Oedi survives and joins them; Willow and Skeevo join later, though the team is in place for the first issue.

Dreadstar takes the side of the Monarchy against the evil Lord High Papal of the Instrumentality, but his team end up becoming fugitives when the Monarchy falls, and go to great lengths to try to uncover a traitor in their midst. The transition to First Comics happened just when the traitor was about to be revealed, and the first issue published under First Comics, #27 contained this revelation.

Howard the Duck – V1 (1970’s)

Howard the Duck, was created by Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik. The character first appeared in Adventure into Fear #19 (Dec. 1973). He graduated to his own backup feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing, confronting such bizarre horror-parody characters as Hellcow and the Man-Frog, before acquiring his own comic book title with Howard the Duck #1 in 1976.

Machine Man – Limited Series (1984)

In October 1984 – January 1985, the Machine Man title was resurrected, in a four-issue miniseries written by Tom DeFalco with art by Herb Trimpe (breakdowns only, issues #1-3) and Barry Windsor-Smith (finishes only, issues #1-3 & full art for issue #4), with Windsor-Smith also coloring the entire miniseries & co-plotting issue #4 with DeFalco. This series turned out to be one of the most popular of all the Machine Man titles, tying with previous continuity, but with the action set in the distant cyberpunk future of 2020, starting with Machine Man’s reassembly.

The miniseries was first reprinted as a 96 page trade paperback in 1988 (ISBN 0-07135-458-6), with brand new cover art by Barry Windsor-Smith.

The miniseries was republished again in 1994 as two double-size books, with the name Machine Man 2020. Characters from this alternate future have made appearances in other Marvel books, namely Arno Stark, the mercenary Iron Man 2020.

In 1990, Machine Man guest-starred in Iron Man Annual #11 (part of the “Terminus Factor” storyline). That story created strong hints that the 2020 Machine Man may turn out not to be the true X-51, but instead a duplicate created by Sunset Bain.

Marvel Treasury Editions (1970’s)

Marvel Treasury Edition is a series published by Marvel Comics from 1974 to 1981. It usually featured reprints of previously published stories but a few issues contained new material. The series was published in an oversized 10″ x 14″ tabloid (or “treasury”) format and was launched with a collection of Spider-Man stories. The series concluded with the second Superman and Spider-Man intercompany crossover. Marvel also published treasuries under the titles Marvel Special Edition and Marvel Treasury Special as well as a number of one-shots.

Web of Spider-Man (1980’s)

The series was launched with an April 1985 cover dated issue by writer Louise Simonson and penciller Greg LaRocque and featured the return of Spider-Man’s alien black costume, which attempted to rebond with Peter Parker. Peter managed to rid himself of the costume again using church bells and the alien was presumed to have died after that. The first issue featured a cover painting by artist Charles Vess.

In issue #18 (September 1986), Peter Parker is pushed in front of an oncoming train. He thinks to himself that this should not have happened, as his spider-sense would have warned him of the danger. Writer David Michelinie has said that he wrote this as the first “teaser” appearance of the characterVenom, whom he was planning to introduce at a later date. Venom is an amalgam of reporter Eddie Brock and the alien costume. The costume could nullify Spider-Man’s spider-sense, and this was the first clue of a puzzle that Michelinie was planning to weave to introduce Venom.

Web of Spider-Man Annual #2 (1986) featured stories drawn by Arthur Adams and Mike Mignola. A followup to the Spider-Man vs. Wolverine one-shot appeared in issue #29. The “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artists Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod began in issue #31 (October 1987).

 

The Champions (1975)

The team first appears in The Champions #1 (October 1975) and was created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Don Heck. The Champions, and ran for seventeen issues from October 1975 to January 1978. In addition to Don Heck, artists who drew the series include George Tuska, Bob Hall, and John Byrne

Heroic Publishing has used the name “The Champions” for a role-playing game series which has been adapted into comic books. The United States Patent and Trademark Office has ruled that Marvel abandoned its trademark of the name and can no longer use “The Champions” as the name of a comic book series. A planned 2007 revival of the series was renamed The Order.