Star Trek (1979)

Marvel’s series of Star Trek comics began in 1979 with an adaptation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and continued for another two years. These tales take place during a second five-year mission of Kirk and the Enterprise that would have been featured in the never-produced Star Trek: Phase II TV series. Marvel’s license from Paramount prohibited them from using concepts introduced in the original series. They were only allowed to use the characters and concepts from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The series lasted 18 issues and ended in 1981.

 

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Monster of Frankenstein (1973)

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.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (1977)

From 1977-79, Godzilla starred in a 24-issue run of comics written by Doug Moench, drawn by Herb Trimpe and published by Marvel Comics entitled Godzilla, King of the Monsters. The series thrusts Godzilla completely into the Marvel Universe. In a nod to King Kong vs. Godzilla, Godzilla first appears by bursting out of an iceberg near Alaska; although how the prehistoric creature came to be trapped again in ice is never revealed (although it is stated in the issue that this “will doubtless be determined in the future.”). Over the course of the series, he crosses the continental United States and eventually ends up in New York City.

 

Captain Marvel (1970’s)

The first Captain Marvel was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan in Marvel Super-Heroes #12 (December 1967). This character is an alien military officer, Captain Mar-Vell of the Kree Imperial Militia, who is sent to observe the planet Earth as it is developing technology to travel into space. Mar-Vell eventually wearies of his superiors’ malign intent and allies himself with Earth, and the Kree Empire brands him a traitor. From then on, Mar-Vell fights to protect Earth from all threats.

He was later revamped by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane. Having been exiled to the Negative Zone by the Supreme Intelligence, the only way Mar-Vell can temporarily escape is to exchange atoms with Rick Jones by means of special wristbands called Nega-Bands. He is also given superpowers and his Kree military uniform is replaced with a form fitting costume.

With the title’s sales still flagging, Marvel allowed Jim Starlin to conceptually revamp the character, although his appearance was little changed. Mar-Vell is freed from the Negative Zone and becomes a cosmic champion, the “Protector of the Universe” appointed by the cosmic entity Eon. Together, Mar-Vell and Rick continue to battle against evil, most notably battling the Death-worshipping Thanos. Mar-Vell became a close ally of the Titans, and one of their number, Elysius, became his lover.

Fantastic Four (1980’s)

John Byrne revitalized the slumping title with his run. Originally, Byrne was slated to write with Sienkiewicz providing the art. Sienkiewicz left to do Moon Knight, and Byrne subsequently became writer, artist, and inker. Various editors were assigned to the comic; eventually Bob Budiansky became the regular editor. Byrne told Jim Shooter that he could not work with Budiansky, although they ultimately continued to work together. In 2006, Byrne said “that’s my paranoia. I look back and I think that was Shooter trying to force me off the book”. Byrne left following issue #293 (Aug. 1986) in the middle of a story arc, explaining he could not recapture the fun he had previously had on the series. One of Byrne’s changes was making the Invisible Girl into the Invisible Woman: assertive and confident. During this period, fans came to recognize that she was quite powerful, whereas previously, she had been primarily seen as a superpowered mother and wife in the tradition of television moms like those played by Donna Reed and Florence Henderson.

The Power of Warlock (1972)

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.

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.

Marvel Premiere (1970’s)

Marvel Premiere ran for 61 issues from April 1972 to August 1981. The series introduced new characters and reintroduced characters who no longer had their own titles. Writer Roy Thomas and penciler Gil Kane significantly revamped Him as the allegorical Messiah Adam Warlock in Marvel Premiere #1 (April 1972). Iron Fist first appeared in issue #15, written by Roy Thomas and drawn by Gil Kane. Other introductions include the Legion of Monsters, the Liberty Legion,  Woodgod, the 3-D Man, and the second Ant-Man (Scott Lang). The series also featured the first comic book appearance of rock musician Alice Cooper. Later in the title’s run, Marvel Premiere was used to finish stories of characters who had lost their own series including the Man-Wolf in issues #45-46 and the Black Panther in issues #51-53.

Fantastic Four (1970’s)

Stan Lee said he created a synopsis for the first Fantastic Four story that he gave to penciller Jack Kirby, who then drew the entire story. Kirby turned in his penciled art pages to Lee, who added dialogue and captions. This approach to creating comics, which became known as the “Marvel Method“, worked so well for Lee and Kirby that they used it from then on; the Marvel Method became standard for the company within a year.

Kirby recalled events somewhat differently. Challenged with Lee’s version of events in a 1990 interview, Kirby responded: “I would say that’s an outright lie”, although the interviewer, Gary Groth notes that this statement needs to be viewed with caution. Kirby claims he came up with the idea for the Fantastic Four in Marvel’s offices, and that Lee had merely added the dialogue after the story had been pencilled. Kirby has also sought to establish, more credibly and on numerous occasions, that the visual elements of the strip were his conceptions. He regularly pointed to a team he had created for rival publisher DC Comics in the 1950s, Challengers of the Unknown. “[I]f you notice the uniforms, they’re the same… I always give them a skintight uniform with a belt… the Challengers and the FF have a minimum of decoration. And of course, the Thing’s skin is a kind of decoration, breaking up the monotony of the blue uniform.” The characters wear no uniforms in the first two issues.

Shogun Warriors (1979)

The Shogun Warriors characters were licensed by Marvel Comics to create a comic book series written by Doug Moench and drawn by Herb Trimpe. The series was composed of 20 issues that were published from February 1979 to September 1980. In the comic book series, the Shogun Warriors were created by a mysterious group called the Followers of the Light, and human operators were chosen from all around the world to operate the massive robots in order to battle evil.