Punisher War Zone ran for 41 issues with two 64-page annuals. Multiple writers contributed to this series during its three-year run from 1992 to 1995. The series served mainly as a vehicle for longtime Marvel artist John Romita, Jr., who had returned to Marvel after a lengthy hiatus from drawing a monthly title. In 2009, Marvel published a 6-issue limited series under the same title. The storyline was called “The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci“.
Journey into Mystery was initially published by Atlas Comics, then by its successor, Marvel Comics. Initially a horror comics anthology, it segued to giant-monster and science fiction stories in the late 1950s. Beginning with issue #83 (cover dated August 1962), it ran the superhero feature “The Mighty Thor“, created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber and artist Jack Kirby, and inspired by the mythological Norse thunder god. The series, which was renamed for its superhero star with issue #126 (March 1966), has been revived three times: in the 1970s as a horror anthology, and in the 1990s and 2010s with characters from Marvel’s Thor mythos.
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.
Sales of The New Mutants had slumped for several years in the late 80’s, but took a sharp upturn after Rob Liefeld took over the penciling and co-plotting chores at the end of 1989. A new mentor for the group, the mysterious mercenary Cable, was introduced, further helping sales. Over the next year, several longtime team members were written out or killed off. However, the relationship between Liefeld and Simonson was fraught with tension, and Simonson claims that Harras dealt with the situation by rewriting her plots and dialogue so that the characterizations did not make sense: “Although I wasn’t being fired, I think I was being shoved out the door with both hands by Bob Harras. Bob was only doing what he had to do, I expect, which was make Rob Liefeld happy.” Simonson eventually gave in, leaving after issue #97. When Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, who wrote dialogue based on Liefeld’s plots, took over as writers of the final three issues of the series, they included several harder-edged characters.
The New Mutants was cancelled in 1991 with issue #100, but the new platoon-like team formed by Cable continued in X-Force, a successful series (whose first issue sold approximately one million copies) that would continue until 2002, and feature a variety of the former New Mutants cast.
In the 1980s, Banner once again gained control over the Hulk, and gained amnesty for his past rampages; however, due to the manipulations of supernatural character Nightmare, Banner eventually lost control over the Hulk. It was also established that Banner had serious mental problems even before he became the Hulk, having suffered childhood traumas that engendered Bruce’s repressed rage. Banner comes to terms with his issues for a time, and the Hulk and Banner were physically separated by Doc Samson. Banner is recruited by the U.S. government to create the Hulkbusters, a government team dedicated to catching the Hulk. Banner finally married Betty in The Incredible Hulk #319 (May 1986) following Talbot’s death in 1981. Banner and the Hulk were reunited in The Incredible Hulk #323 (Sep. 1986) and with issue #324, returned the Hulk to his grey coloration, with his transformations once again occurring at night, regardless of Banner’s emotional state. In issue #347 the grey Hulk persona “Joe Fixit” was introduced, a morally ambiguous Las Vegas enforcer and tough guy. Banner remained repressed in the Hulk’s mind for months, but slowly began to reappear.
Wade Wilson’s heard there’s a Deadpool movie in the works – and he’s determined to tell his own story before Hollywood screws it up. Deadpool even hires his own screenwriter, who manages to get the Merc With a Mouth to open up like never before-revealing not only his origin story, but shocking details you’ve never heard before.
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.
Runaways features a group of teenagers who discover that their parents are part of an evil crime organization known as “The Pride“. Created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, the series debuted in July of 2003 as part of Marvel Comics’ “Tsunami” imprint. The series had been canceled in September 2004 at issue eighteen, but due to high numbers of trade collection sales, Marvel revived the series in February 2005.
Originally, the series featured a group of six kids whose parents routinely met every year for a charity event. One year, the kids spy on their parents and learn they are “the Pride”, a criminal group of mob bosses, time-travelers, dark wizards, mad scientists, alien invaders and telepathic mutants. The kids steal weapons and resources from their parents, and learn they themselves inherited their parents’ powers; Alex Wilder, a prodigy, leads the team while Nico Minoru learns she is a powerful witch, Karolina Dean discovers she is an alien, Gertrude Yorkes learns of her telepathic link to a dinosaur, Chase Steinsteals his father’s futuristic gloves, while young Molly Hayes learns she is a mutant with incredible strength. The kids band together and defeat their parents, and atone for the sins of their parents by fighting the new threats trying to fill in the Pride’s void. After being betrayed by Alex who was killed by the Gibborim (The Pride’s God) they are later joined by cyborg Victor Mancha, shape-shifting SkrullXavin, and plant-manipulator Klara Prast.
From July 1989 to November 1998, Marvel published 114 monthly What If issues. The second series revisited and revised ideas from Volume 1. In Volume 2, stories could span multiple issues (the Volume 1 stories were contained within a single issue). Also, sometimes, the Volume 2 stories would offer multiple plots and endings. The reader could decide which to adopt. For example, in What If the War Machine Had Not Destroyed the Living Laser?, three endings were offered. The humorous aspect of Volume 1 was retained through Volume 2 culminating in issue #34, What If No One Was Watching the Watcher? which was humorous throughout. It contained mostly single page gags, with a few longer stories. Volume 2 contains a subtle crossover with the “Acts of Vengeance” storyline. In the pages of the mainstream Quasar, the hero pursues “The Living Laser” into the Watcher’s lair on the moon. He then flees through Uatu’s portal into other universes. In the corresponding month’s What if issue, “The Living Laser” had a cameo appearance as a streak of light. Later, Uatu directs “Quasar” to track down “The Living Laser” through several What If universes. Eventually, “Quasar” arrives in the New Universe, where he receives the Star Brand. The What if format became well known. By issue #87, direct reference to the plot divergence was not required. Instead, the issue cover art closely, but not exactly, resembled the corresponding mainstream story. The What if logo was enough to denote its “alternate universe” status. In issue #105, What If introduced Spider-Girl. The new character was popular enough for a spin off series. From this, the MC2 line of publications were developed.
The first team of New Mutants characters was created by Chris Claremont and artist Bob McLeod. They first appeared in 1982’s Marvel Graphic Novel #4 and are subsequently featured in their own title from 1983 until 1991. Like its parent title, The New Mutants highlighted interpersonal and group conflict as well as action and adventure, and featured a large ensemble cast, including the introduction of cult figure Deadpool. With the end of the first series, the characters were relaunched as X-Force in a new, eponymous series.