Writer David Michelinie, co-plotter/inker Bob Layton, and penciler John Romita Jr. became the creative team on the series with Iron Man #116 (Nov. 1978). Micheline and Layton established Tony Stark’s alcoholism with the story “Demon in a Bottle“, and introduced several supporting characters, including Stark’s bodyguard girlfriend Bethany Cabe;Stark’s personal pilot and confidant James Rhodes, who later became the superhero War Machine; and rival industrialist Justin Hammer, who was revealed to be the employer of numerous high-tech armed enemies Iron Man fought over the years. The duo also introduced the concept of Stark’s specialized armors as he acquired a dangerous vendetta with Doctor Doom. The team worked together through #154 (Jan. 1982), with Michelinie writing three issues without Layton.
What If, sometimes rendered as What If…?, is published by Marvel Comics whose stories explore how the Marvel Universe might have unfolded if key moments in its history hadn’t occurred as they did in mainstream continuity. What If comics have been published in eleven series (volumes).
The stories of the inaugural series (1977–1984) feature the alien Uatu the Watcher as a narrator. From the moon, Uatu, a member of an immortal race of “Watchers”, observes both the Earth and alternate realities. Most What If stories begin with Uatu describing an event in the mainstream Marvel Universe, then introducing a point of divergence in that event and then describing the consequences of the divergence. Uatu was used similarly in the second series (1989–1998) until a point where, in the Fantastic Four comic book, Uatu was punished for destroying another Watcher. This made the use of Uatu improbable so the character was phased out to its last appearance in issue #76. Without a framing device, the stories themselves became the focus. However, in later series, some writers chose to introduce alternative narrators. For example, in Volume 3, in What If Karen Page Had Lived?, What If Jessica Jones Had Joined the Avengers? and in Daredevil (2005), Brian Michael Bendis, the writer himself, made a cameo as narrator. In the early 2006 series, a hacker, whose online alias is “The Watcher”, opens each of the six issues.
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.
Shortly after the publication of the treasury edition, Kirby continued to explore the concepts of 2001 in a monthly comic book series of the same name, the first issue of which was dated December 1976. In this issue, Kirby followed the pattern established in the film. Once again the reader encounters a prehistoric man (“Beast-Killer”) who gains new insight upon encountering a monolith as did Moon-Watcher in the film. The scene then shifts, where a descendant of Beast-Killer is part of a space mission to explore yet another monolith. When he finds it, this monolith begins to transform the astronaut into a star child, called in the comic a “New Seed”.
Issues #1-6 of the series replay the same idea with different characters in different situations, both prehistoric and futuristic. In #7 (June 1977), the comic opens with the birth of a New Seed who then travels the galaxy witnessing the suffering that men cause each other. While the New Seed is unable or unwilling to prevent this devastation, he takes the essence of two doomed lovers and uses it to seed another planet with the potential for human life.
In issue #8 (July 1977), Kirby introduces Mister Machine, who is later renamed Machine Man.Mister Machine is an advanced robot designated X-51. All the other robots in the X series go on a rampage as they achieve sentience and are destroyed. X-51, supported by both the love of his creator Dr. Abel Stack and an encounter with a monolith, transcends the malfunction that destroyed his siblings. After the death of Dr. Stack, X-51 takes the name Aaron Stack and begins to blend into humanity. Issues #9 and 10, the final issues of the series, continue the story of X-51 as he flees destruction at the hands of the Army.
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.
In 2009, Thomas explained he had been a fan of the soundtrack to the musical Jesus Christ Superstar and sought to bring the story to comic books in a superhero context: “Yes, I had some trepidation about the Christ parallels, but I hoped there would be little outcry if I handled it tastefully, since I was not really making any serious statement on religion… at least not overtly.” Choosing to use a preexisting character while keeping the series locale separate from mainstream Marvel Earth, he created Counter-Earth, a new planet generated from a chunk of Earth and set in orbit on the opposite side of the sun. Thomas and Kane collaborated on the costume, with the red tunic and golden lightning bolt as their homage to Fawcett Comics‘ 1940s-1950s character Captain Marvel. The story continued in the series The Power of Warlock, which ran eight issues (Aug. 1972 – Oct. 1973)
Writer-artist Jim Starlin revived Warlock in Strange Tales #178-181 (Feb.-Aug. 1975). Warlock’s adventures became more cosmic in scope as Starlin took the character through an extended storyline referred to as “The Magus Saga.”
The reimagined title continued the numbering of The Power of Warlock and began with Warlock #9 (Oct. 1975) and ran seven issues. The bimonthly series was initially written and drawn by Starlin, but was eventually co-penciled and inked by Steve Leialoha.
Thomas, Marvel’s associate editor at the time, recalled in 2007 that Thongor had been the company’s first choice when Marvel decided to published a licensed fantasy character, rather than the eventual hit Conan the Barbarian. Publisher Martin Goodman “authorized us to go after a character. I first went after Lin Carter’s Thongor, who was a quasi-Conan with elements of John Carter of Mars, partly became editor-in-chiefStan Lee liked that name the most … I soon got stalled by Lin Carter’s agent on Thongor (he was hoping I’d offer more than the $150 per issue I was authorized to offer), and I got a sudden impulse to go after Conan”.
Nova was created by Marv Wolfman and Len Wein in the fanzine Super Adventures in 1966. Seven years later John Romita, Sr. tweaked the design of the character’s uniform. Nova debuted in Nova #1 in 1976, written by Wolfman and drawn by John Buscema. Wolfman intended the teenage character to be an homage to Stan Lee and Steve Ditko‘s Spider-Man, down to his humble working-class roots and alliterative alter-ego. The original Nova series, The Man Called Nova, lasted 25 issues from September 1976 to May 1979. Dangling plot lines were resolved in issues 206-214 of Fantastic Four (also by Wolfman) and issue 24 of Rom the Spaceknight. The character then disappeared into obscurity until returning as a member of the original New Warriors team debuting in The Mighty Thor #411 (December 1989), and continuing through New Warriors #1-75, Annual #1-4 (July 1990—September 1996).
Charles Lippincott, Lucasfilm‘s publicity supervisor, initially approached Stan Lee in 1975 about publishing a Star Wars comic book prior to the film’s release to appeal to the film’s most likely audience. However, Lee declined to consider such a proposal until the film was completed, and was only persuaded otherwise in a second meeting arranged by Roy Thomas, who wanted to edit the series. Considering movie tie-in comics rarely sold well at that time, Lee negotiated a publishing arrangement with no royalties to Lucasfilm until sales exceeded 100,000 at which point legal arrangements could be revisited.
Marvel Comics Group published a series of Star Wars comic books from 1977 to 1986, lasting 107 issues and 3 annuals. According to former Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter, the strong sales of Star Wars comics saved Marvel financially in 1977 and 1978. Marvel’s Star Wars series was one of the industry’s top selling titles in 1979 and 1980.The only downside for Marvel was that the 100,000 copy sales quota was surpassed quickly, allowing Lippincott to renegotiate the royalty arrangements from a position of strength.