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.
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.
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).
The first appearance of Frankenstein’s Monster in the Marvel Comics Universe came in the five-page horror comics story “Your Name Is Frankenstein”, by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Joe Maneely in Menace #7 (Sept. 1953), from Marvel’s 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics. The following decade, a robot replica of Frankenstein’s Monster appeared as an antagonist in The X-Men #40 (Jan. 1968), by writer Roy Thomas and penciler Don Heck, and was destroyed by the titular team of mutant superheroes. The actual Monster first appeared in Marvel Comics continuity in a cameo flashback in “The Heir of Frankenstein” in The Silver Surfer #7 (Aug. 1969), by writer-editor Lee and penciler John Buscema.
The character received an ongoing series, titled Frankenstein in the postal indicia and initially The Monster of Frankenstein (issues #1-5) and later The Frankenstein Monster as the cover logo, that ran 18 issues (Jan. 1973 – Sept. 1975). This series began with a four-issue retelling of the original novel, by writer Gary Friedrich and artist Mike Ploog. Several more issues continued his story into the 1890s, until he was placed in suspended animation and revived in modern times.
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).
Though popular with college students, the overall sales of Jungle Action were low, and Marvel relaunched the Black Panther in a self-titled series, bringing in the character’s co-creator Jack Kirby—newly returned to Marvel after having decamped to rival DC Comics for a time— as writer, penciler, and editor. However, Kirby wanted to work on new characters and was unhappy at being assigned a series starring a character he had already worked with extensively. He left the series after only 12 issues and was replaced by Ed Hannigan (writer), Jerry Bingham (penciler), and Roger Stern(editor). Black Panther ran 15 issues (Jan. 1977 – May 1979). Due to the series’s cancellation, the contents of what would have been Black Panther#16-18 were published in Marvel Premiere #51-53.
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 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.
Luke Cage was created by Archie Goodwin and John Romita, Sr. shortly after Blaxploitation films emerged as a popular new genre. He debuted in his own series, Luke Cage, Hero for Hire, which was initially written by Goodwin and pencilled by George Tuska. Cage’s adventures were set in a grungier, more crime-dominated New York City than that inhabited by other Marvel superheroes of the time. The series was retitled Luke Cage, Power Man with issue #17.
As the Blaxploitation genre’s popularity faded, Cage became unable to support his own series and was paired with another superhero whose popularity was based on a declining film genre, the martial arts hero Iron Fist, in an effort to save both characters from cancellation. Though the series title would remain Power Man in the indicia for a while longer, with issue #50 (April 1978) the cover title became Power Man and Iron Fist. It would remain thus until the series’s cancellation with issue #125 (September 1986). The series’s final writer, James Owsley, attempted to shed Cage’s Blaxploitation roots by giving him a larger vocabulary and reducing usage of his catchphrase, “Sweet Christmas!”.
Writer Mike Friedrich and artist Jim Starlin‘s brief collaboration on the Iron Man series introduced Mentor, Starfox, and Thanos in issue #55 (Feb. 1973). Friedrich scripted a metafictional story in which Iron Man visited the San Diego Comic Convention and met several Marvel Comics writers and artists. He then wrote the multi-issue “War of the Super-Villains” storyline which ran through 1975.
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.
A second Journey into Mystery ran 19 issues (October 1972 – October 1975). 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 the series Chamber of Darkness and Tower of Shadows. Whereas those titles generally presented original stories, these new books would instead adapt genre classics and other stories. With the four titles’ debuts set to be staggered over the course of four months, Marvel premiered Journey into Mystery vol. 2 (October 1972), Chamber of Chills (November 1972), Supernatural Thrillers (December 1972), and, with a late start, Worlds Unknown (May 1973).
The first five issues of Journey into Mystery vol. 2 featured such adaptations as Robert E. Howard‘s “Dig Me No Grave”, by writer Thomas and pencilerGil Kane, in issue #1; Robert Bloch‘s “Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper” by Thomas and Ron Goulart and penciler Kane, in #2; and H. P. Lovecraft‘s “The Haunter of the Dark” by Goulart and penciler Gene Colan, in addition to anthological horror stories by writers including George Alec Effinger, Steve Gerber, Steve Englehart, and Steve Skeates, and pencilers such as Billy Graham, Jim Starlin, Ralph Reese, and P. Craig Russell. Most issues also included a reprinted story from Marvel’s 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics. By issue #6, however, the magazine became a reprint title featuring science-fiction and giant-monster tales from the first Journey into Mystery series, as well as from the “pre-superhero Marvel” anthologies Amazing Adult Fantasy, Strange Tales, Strange Worlds, and Tales to Astonish.