The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was first published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Kevin Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Peter Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel Comics’ Daredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The TMNT comic series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.
Comics journalist Jonathan Miller summarized Marvel Team-Up in a retrospective article:
“The series was admittedly formulaic; either Spider-Man or that issue’s guest-star would encounter a menace and then by sheer chance cross paths with another hero who would lend a hand. The title’s guest-stars were an equal mix of A-list characters whose presence was likely to increase sales and fledgling heroes being given exposure in the hopes of launching them into stardom but who for the most part continued to languish in obscurity.”
The third Marvel Team-Up series launched in January 2005 and ran for 25 issues which starred a variety of characters.
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The title’s 500th issue (March 1981) featured stories by several well-known creators including television writer Alan Brennert and Walter B. Gibson best known for his work on the pulp fiction character The Shadow. Also used during the 1980s was the use of serialization of the main Batman story, with stories from Detective Comics and Batman directly flowing from one book to another, with cliffhangers at the end of each book’s monthly story that would be resolved in the other title of that month. A single writer handled both books during that time beginning with Gerry Conway and followed up by Doug Moench. The supervillain Killer Croc made a shadowy cameo in issue #523 (Feb. 1983). Noted author Harlan Ellison wrote the Batman story in issue #567.
Writer Mike W. Barr and artists Alan Davis and Todd McFarlane crafted the “Batman: Year Two” storyline in Detective Comics #575-578 which followed up on Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One“. Writer Alan Grant and artist Norm Breyfogle introduced the Ventriloquist in their first Batman story together and the Ratcatcher in their third (#585). Sam Hamm, who wrote the screenplay for Tim Burton‘s Batman, wrote the “Blind Justice” story in Detective Comics issues #598-600.
With a civilian life as a married man, the Spider-Man of the 1990s was different from the superhero of the previous three decades. McFarlane left the title in 1990 to write and draw a new series titled simply Spider-Man. His successor, Erik Larsen, penciled the book from early 1990 to mid-1991. After issue #350, Larsen was succeeded by Mark Bagley, who had won the 1986 Marvel Tryout Contest and was assigned a number of low-profile penciling jobs followed by a run on New Warriors in 1990. Bagley penciled the flagship Spider-Man title from 1991 to 1996.
Issues #361-363 (April–June 1992) introduced Carnage, a second symbiote nemesis for Spider-Man. The series’ 30th-anniversary issue, #365 (Aug. 1992), was a double-sized, hologram-cover issue with the cliffhanger ending of Peter Parker’s parents, long thought dead, reappearing alive. It would be close to two years before they were revealed to be impostors, who are killed in #388 (April 1994), scripter Michelinie’s last issue. His 1987–1994 stint gave him the second-longest run as writer on the title, behind Stan Lee.
The Demon was created by Jack Kirby. The titular character, named Etrigan, is a demon from Hell who, despite his violent tendencies, usually finds himself allied to the forces of good, mainly because of the alliance between the heroic characters of the DC Universe and Jason Blood, a human to whom Etrigan is bound.
Jack Kirby created the Demon in 1972 when his Fourth World titles were cancelled. According to Mark Evanier, Kirby had no interest in horror comics, but created Etrigan in response to a demand from DC for a horror character. Kirby was annoyed that the first issue sold so well that DC required him to remain on it and abandon the Fourth World titles before he was done with them. Etrigan was inspired by a comic strip of Prince Valiant in which the titular character dressed as a demon. Kirby gave his creation the same appearance as Valiant’s mask.