Avengers (1970’s)

During the summer of 1973, Englehart and artists Bob Brown and Sal Buscema produced “The Avengers-Defenders Clash” storyline which crossed over between the two team titles. “The Celestial Madonna” arc linked Mantis’ origins to the very beginnings of the Kree-Skrull conflict in a time-spanning adventure involving Kang the Conqueror, and Immortus, who were past and future versions of each other. Mantis was revealed to be the Celestial Madonna, who was destined to give birth to a being that would save the universe. It was revealed that the Vision’s body had only been appropriated, and not created by Ultron, and that it originally belonged to the 1940s Human Torch. With his origins clear to him, the Vision proposed to the Scarlet Witch. The “Celestial Madonna” saga ended with their wedding, presided over by Immortus. The Beast and Moondragon joined the team soon after. George Pérez became the title’s artist with issue #141 (Nov. 1975) which saw the start of a seven-part story featuring the Squadron Supreme and the Serpent Crown. In 2010, Comics Bulletin ranked Englehart’s run on The Avengers eighth on its list of the “Top 10 1970s Marvels”.

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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.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1976)

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.

Secret Wars (1984)

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, commonly known as Secret Wars, is a twelve-issue comic book crossover limited series published from May 1984 to April 1985 by Marvel Comics. The series was written by Jim Shooter with art by Mike Zeck and Bob Layton. It was tied to the same-named toyline from Mattel.

In 2011, IGN listed Secret Wars as one of the best comic book events. Their writers found the action and goofiness of the story to be enjoyable. They also highlighted the impact it had on the Marvel Universe by introducing the symbiote and new characters. In 2011, Alex Zalben of MTV News ranked Secret Wars as the second biggest comic event ever; he praised its story and lasting effect.

The Defenders – V1 (1970’s)

The Defenders had a rotating line-up from 1972 until 1986, with Dr. Strange and the Hulk being more or less constant members along with a number of other mainstays such as Valkyrie, NighthawkHellcatthe GargoyleBeast, the Son of Satan and Luke Cage, and a large number of temporary members. The publication was retitled near the end of the run as The New Defenders but featured none of the original members and only Valkyrie, the Beast and the Gargoyle of the former long-term members. The concept was modified in the 1993–95 series Secret Defenders, in which Dr. Strange assembled different teams for each individual mission. Later, the original team were reunited in a short-lived series by Kurt Busiek and Erik Larsen. In the 2000s, Marvel published a new miniseries featuring the classic line-up. Writer Matt Fraction and artist Terry Dodson launched a new Defenders series in December 2011.

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.

The Alien Legion V1 (1984)

The franchise debuted with Marvel/Epic Comics’ The Alien Legion #1-20 (cover-dated April 1984 – June 1987). The 18-issue Alien Legion (Oct. 1987 – Aug. 1990), minus the “The”, followed, generally scripted by Chuck Dixon and penciled by Larry StromanAfterward came the three-issue Dixon-Stroman miniseries Alien Legion: On The Edge (Nov. 1990 – Jan. 1991); the two-issue Dixon-Stroman Alien Legion: Tenants of Hell (1991); the one-shot cover-titled Alien Legion: Grimrod and copyrighted Alien Legion: Jugger Grimrod (Aug. 1992), by Dixon and artist Mike McMahon; the single-issue Alien Legion: Binary Deep (Sept. 1993), by Dixon and Argentine artist Enrique Alcatena; and the three-issue miniseries Alien Legion: One Planet at a Time (April–July 1993), by Dixon and penciler Hoang Nguyen.

Additionally, Marvel/Epic published two spinoffs: Marvel Graphic Novel #25 (cover-titled Marvel Graphic Novel: The Alien Legion), released in 1986 and containing the story “A Grey Day To Die” by writers Potts and Zelenetz, penciler Cirocco, and the first series’ regular inker, Terry Austin; and the one-shot crossover with another series Law Dog and Grimrod: Terror at the Crossroads (1993)

 

Amazing Spider-Man (1970’s)

An early 1970s Spider-Man story led to the revision of the Comics Code. Previously, the Code forbade the depiction of the use of illegal drugs, even negatively. However, in 1970, the Nixon administration’s Department of Health, Education, and Welfare asked Stan Lee to publish an anti-drug message in one of Marvel’s top-selling titles. Lee chose the top-selling The Amazing Spider-Man; issues #96–98 (May–July 1971) feature a story arc depicting the negative effects of drug use. In the story, Peter Parker’s friend Harry Osborn becomes addicted to pills. When Spider-Man fights the Green Goblin (Norman Osborn, Harry’s father), Spider-Man defeats the Green Goblin, by revealing Harry’s drug addiction. While the story had a clear anti-drug message, the Comics Code Authority refused to issue its seal of approval. Marvel nevertheless published the three issues without the Comics Code Authority’s approval or seal. The issues sold so well that the industry’s self-censorship was undercut and the Code was subsequently revised.

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.

Wolverine – Mini Series (1982)

The first Wolverine series was a limited series written by Chris Claremont with pencils by Frank Miller, inks by Joe Rubinstein, letters by Tom Orzechowski, and colors by Glynis WeinMarvel Comics published the series from September to December 1982. This story arc covers the events leading up to Wolverine’s engagement to Mariko Yashida.