In a 2004 interview, Millar outlined the difference between the Ultimates and the Avengers: “The idea behind The Avengers is that the Marvel Universe’s biggest players all get together and fight all the biggest supervillains they can’t defeat individually, whereas Ultimates 2 is an exploration of what happens when a bunch of ordinary people are turned into super-soldiers and being groomed to fight the real-life war on terror.”
Set at the beginning of what the Wizard Shazam calls “the second age of the great heroes”, after the debut of the Man of Steel, Batman, and Captain Marvel, but before the coming of Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern, the story begins with Superman traveling to Fawcett City in pursuit of a group of criminals who have just robbed a museum from Metropolis and used magic against him. Upon arriving in Fawcett, he finds Captain Marvel fighting the same group of thieves.
What do you get when you cross a regenerative, cranky, old X-Man with a regenerative, wacky Wade Wilson? Deadpool Vs. Old Man Logan! Writer Declan Shalvey and Mike Henderson are teaming up to team up Marvel’s deadliest heroes together in their own series! James “Logan” Howlett is after a newly discovered Omega-Level mutant, and he just won’t let Deadpool help. So, naturally, Deadpool vows to outmatch his newly marked enemy for the entirety of his mission!
The title was the first to feature Neal Adams‘ version of Batman, generating fan interest that led to Adams’ style defining the modern Batman image to this day. In addition, Adams updated Green Arrow‘s visual appearance by designing a new costume for the character in issue #85 (Aug.–Sept 1969). The primary artist for the second half of the run was Jim Aparo, starting with #98 (October–November 1971). Haney frequently disregarded continuity by scripting stories which contradicted DC’s canon or by writing major heroes in an out-of-character fashion. Issue #100 (Feb.–March 1972) featured Batman and “4 Famous Co-Stars” (Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Robin) in a story by Haney and Aparo. Issues #112 (April–May 1974) to #117 (Feb.–March 1975) of the series were in the 100 Page Super Spectacular format.
The base concept of The Mask was created by Mike Richardson in 1982. It first saw life as a single sketch he drew in 1985 for APA-5, an amateur press publication created by writer Mark Verheiden. After starting Dark Horse Comics, Richardson pitched his concept to Marvel Comics comic book writer/artist Mark Badger. The outcome was the Masque strip, that ran in the early issues of Dark Horse Presents. Badger’s strips became increasingly political, and Richardson ended the strip in order to bring the character back to his original concept.
Artist Chris Warner was hired to revamp the character based on Richardson’s original APA-5 drawing and created the definitive look for the character, that was given a new launch in 1989 in the pages of Dark Horse’s Mayhem anthology. Aspiring writer John Arcudi and artist Doug Mahnke were hired to create the new adventures, which became the first very popular use of the character, “a combination of Tex Avery and The Terminator“. The Mask stories from Mayhem #1-4 were later collected as the 1991 issue The Mask #0 and in a trade paperback collection as well.
Marvel Comics published 55 issues of a King Conan series from 1980-1989 (retitled Conan the King from #20-onward).
History of the DC Universe was an attempt to summarize the new history of the DC Universe to establish what was canonical after Crisis reformed the multiverse into a single universe. In the original planning of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the History would have formed the final two issues, following the destruction of the Multiverse at the Beginning of Time, but this was changed. History of the DC Universe had been one of the working titles for Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The loose plotline of the series involves the character Harbinger chronicling the past, present, and future of the post-Crisis DC Universe. The history is mostly told through one- and two-page splash pages, accompanied by brief prose. At the end of the series, Harbinger places the history in a capsule and launches it into space. In the subsequent series Millennium, this history is intercepted by the Manhunters and used against Earth’s superheroes.
The series was reprinted in hardcover by Graphitti Designs in 1988 with a painted cover by Bill Sienkiewicz. It featured additional material not included in the original series including an introduction by Wolfman and the following:
- essay and Superman illustration by Neal Adams
- essay by Julius Schwartz
- essay by Jerry Siegel with Superman illustration by Joe Shuster
- essay by Bob Kane with Batman illustration by Dick Sprang
- essay and Sgt. Rock illustration by Joe Kubert
- essay by Roy Thomas with Marvel Family illustration by Kurt Schaffenberger
- essay by Paul Levitz with Legion of Super-Heroes illustration by Steve Lightle
- essay by Len Wein with Swamp Thing illustration by Stephen R. Bissette and John Totleben
- essay by Jack Kirby with New Gods illustration by Kirby and Steve Rude
- essay and Aquaman illustration by Ramona Fradon
- essay by George Pérez with Wonder Woman illustration by Trina Robbins and Pérez
- an afterword by Frank Miller
- a gatefold poster
The series was reprinted as a trade paperback in 2002. It had a new cover painting by Alex Ross but did not include the bonus material from the 1988 hardcover edition.
In 1993, Catwoman was given her first ongoing comic book series. This series, written by an assortment of writers, but primarily penciled by Jim Balent, generally depicted the character as an international thief (and occasional bounty hunter) with an ambiguous moral code.
Story-lines include her adoption of teenage runaway, and erstwhile sidekick, Arizona; aiding Bane, whom she later betrays to Azrael; and a stint as a reluctant government operative. The series also fleshes out more of her origin, revealing her beginnings as a young thief, her difficult period in juvenile incarceration, and her training with Ted “Wildcat” Grant.
Moving to New York, Selina becomes corporate vice president then CEO of Randolf Industries, a mafia-influenced company, through blackmail. She plans to use this position to run for Mayor of New York City, but her hopes are dashed when the Trickster inadvertently connects her to her criminal alter ego.
Selina then returns to Gotham City, which at this time is in the midst of the No Man’s Land storyline. As Catwoman, she assists Batman against Lex Luthor in the reconstruction of the city. After being arrested by Commissioner Gordon, she escapes from prison. Later that year, during the “Officer Down” storyline in the Batman titles, Catwoman is initially the chief suspect. Although later cleared, she displays increasingly erratic behavior throughout the story. Soon afterward, she disappears and is believed to have been killed by the assassin Deathstroke the Terminator, ending her series at issue #94.
Strange Tales switched to superheroes during the Silver Age of Comic Books, retaining the sci-fi, suspense and monsters as backup features for a time. Strange Tales‘ first superhero, in 12- to 14-page stories, was the Fantastic Four‘s Human Torch, Johnny Storm, beginning in #101 (Oct. 1962). Here, Johnny still lived with his elder sister, Susan Storm, in fictional Glenview, Long Island, New York, where he continued to attend high school and, with youthful naivete, attempted to maintain his “secret identity” (later retconned to reveal that his friends and neighbors knew of his dual identity from Fantastic Four news reports, but simply played along).
The title became a “split book” with the introduction of sorcerer Doctor Strange, by Lee and artist Steve Ditko. This 9- to 10-page feature debuted in #110 (July 1963), and after an additional story and then skipping two issues returned permanently with #114. Ditko’s surrealistic mystical landscapes and increasingly head-trippy visuals helped make the feature a favorite of college students, according to Lee himself. Eventually, as co-plotter and later sole plotter, in the “Marvel Method“, Ditko would take Strange into ever-more-abstract realms, which yet remained well-grounded thanks to Lee’s reliably humanistic, adventure/soap opera dialog. Adversaries for the new hero included Baron Mordo introduced in issue #111 (Aug. 1963) and Dormammu in issue #126 (Nov. 1964). Clea, who would become a longtime love interest for Doctor Strange, was also introduced in issue #126.
In the early 80’s, George Pérez, Don Heck, and Rich Buckler would rotate as artist on the title. The double-sized anniversary issue #200 (March 1982) was a “jam” featuring a story written by Conway, a framing sequence drawn by Pérez, and chapters drawn by Pat Broderick, Jim Aparo, Dick Giordano, Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, Brian Bolland, and Joe Kubert. Bolland’s chapter gave the artist his “first stab at drawing Batman.” Pérez would leave the title with issue #200 to concentrate on The New Teen Titans although he would contribute covers to the JLAthrough issue #220 (November 1983). The 1982 team-up with the Justice Society in issues #207–209 crossed over with All-Star Squadron #14–15. A Justice League story by Gerry Conway and Rich Buckler originally intended for publication as an issue of All-New Collectors’ Edition saw print in Justice League of America #210–212 (January–March 1983).
Seeking to capitalize on the popularity of their other team books, which focused upon heroes in their late teens/early 20s, Gerry Conway and artist Chuck Patton revamped the Justice League series. After most of the original heroes fail to help fend off an invasion of Martians, Aquaman dissolves the League and rewrites its charter to allow only heroes who will devote their full-time to the roster. The new team initially consists of Aquaman, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, the Vixen, and a trio of teenage heroes Gypsy, Steel, and Vibe. Aquaman leaves the team after a year, due to resolving marital problems, and his role as leader is assumed by the Martian Manhunter.
The final storyline for the original Justice League of America series (#258–261), by writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Luke McDonnell, concludes with the murders of Vibe and Steel at the hands of robots created by long-time League nemesis Professor Ivo, and the resignations of Vixen, Gypsy, and the Elongated Man during the events of DC’s Legends miniseries, which sees the team disband.