The New Teen Titans – Bronze Age

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In 1980, Teen Titans relaunched as The New Teen Titans, aging the characters to young adulthood. Original members Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash were joined by new characters Cyborg, Starfire and Raven, as well as the former Doom Patrol member Beast Boy, as Changeling. The group had several encounters with the original Titans of Greek mythology, particularly Hyperion.

The team’s adversaries included Deathstroke the Terminator, a mercenary who takes a contract to kill the Titans to fulfill a job his son had been unable to complete. This led to perhaps the most notable Titans storyline of the era. 1984’s “The Judas Contract,” in Tales of the Teen Titans #42-44 and Teen Titans Annual #3 featured a psychopathic girl named Terra with the power to manipulate earth and all earth-related materials. She infiltrates the Titans in order to destroy them. “The Judas Contract” won the Comics Buyer’s Guide Fan Award for “Favorite Comic Book Story” of 1984, and was later reprinted as a standalone trade paperback in 1988. Robin adopts the identity of Nightwing, while Wally West gives up his Kid Flash persona and quits the Titans. It also featured the introduction of a new member in Jericho, Deathstroke’s other son.

New Teen Titans 34 VF+ 3
New Teen Titans #34 VF+ $3

The Infinity War – 1992

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The Infinity War is a six-issue limited series published by Marvel Comics in 1992. The series was written by Jim Starlin and penciled by Ron Lim, Ian Laughlin, Al Milgrom, Jack Morelli and Christie Scheele.

In this series, The Magus, the purged, evil side of Adam Warlock believed to have been dead, has returned in order to collect the Infinity Gems and recreate the Infinity Gauntlet itself. He sent evil doppelgangers of Marvel’s superheroes to attack and usurp the originals. Thanos, exiled since his defeat during the Infinity Gauntlet event, learned of the Magus’ plans and set out to aid Adam Warlock and the heroes in defending the universe.

The storyline is a direct sequel to the 1991 Infinity Gauntlet crossover, and was followed by Infinity Crusade in 1993.

Rai – Volume 1

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Rai (pronounced “rye”) appeared in books published by Valiant Comics. Rai was the first original hero created by Valiant and had its beginning as a flipbook back-up feature in Magnus Robot Fighter issues #5-8. The popularity of the flipbook back-up story later led to an ongoing series. Valiant Entertainment is the current owner of Rai and the rest of the original Valiant Comics characters.

In his original incarnation, Rai is the spirit guardian that protects the nation of Japan in the 41st century. It is a mantle passed down from father to son through the generations. As such, the series chronicled a number of protagonists.

A new Rai ongoing series was launched in April 2014 by the creative team of writer Matt Kindt and artist Clayton Crain, selling out of its initial print run.

Steed, Peel and John Drake – Silver Age

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In 1968 Gold Key reprinted a couple of TV Comic Avengers strips as a one-shot comic for the US market. For trademark reasons, since Marvel had the Avengers comic trademark in the USA, the comic was titled after the featured characters, John Steed and Emma Peel.

The Avengers is a spy-fi British television series created in the 1960s. The Avengers initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant John Steed (Patrick Macnee). Hendry left after the first series and Steed became the main character, partnered with a succession of assistants. Steed’s most famous assistants were intelligent, stylish and assertive women: Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), Emma Peel (Diana Rigg), and later Tara King (Linda Thorson). Later episodes increasingly incorporated elements of science fiction and fantasy, parody and British eccentricity. The Avengers ran from 1961 until 1969, screening as one-hour episodes its entire run.

In 1966, Gold Key Comics published two issues of a Secret Agent comic book based upon the series Danger Man (titled Secret Agent in the United States), a British television series which was broadcast between 1960 and 1962, and again between 1964 and 1968. The series featured Patrick McGoohan as secret agent John Drake.

Prisoner fans frequently debate whether John Drake of Danger Man and Number Six in The Prisoner are the same person. Like John Drake, Number Six is evidently a secret agent, but one who has resigned from his job. Moreover, in the surreal Prisoner episode “The Girl Who Was Death“, Number Six meets “Potter”, John Drake’s Danger Man contact. Christopher Benjamin portrayed the character in both series.

Machine Man – Limited Series (1984)

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In October 1984 – January 1985, the Machine Man title was resurrected, in a four-issue miniseries written by Tom DeFalco with art by Herb Trimpe (breakdowns only, issues #1-3) and Barry Windsor-Smith (finishes only, issues #1-3 & full art for issue #4), with Windsor-Smith also coloring the entire miniseries & co-plotting issue #4 with DeFalco. This series turned out to be one of the most popular of all the Machine Man titles, tying with previous continuity, but with the action set in the distant cyberpunk future of 2020, starting with Machine Man’s reassembly.

The miniseries was first reprinted as a 96 page trade paperback in 1988 (ISBN 0-07135-458-6), with brand new cover art by Barry Windsor-Smith.

The miniseries was republished again in 1994 as two double-size books, with the name Machine Man 2020. Characters from this alternate future have made appearances in other Marvel books, namely Arno Stark, the mercenary Iron Man 2020.

In 1990, Machine Man guest-starred in Iron Man Annual #11 (part of the “Terminus Factor” storyline). That story created strong hints that the 2020 Machine Man may turn out not to be the true X-51, but instead a duplicate created by Sunset Bain.

Mr. Punch – Hardcover 1st Printing (1994)

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The book follows the childhood memories of the narrator, illustrating various experiences in his life: fishing on the beach at dawn; his grandparents and how one grandfather went mad; a hunchback great-uncle; the betrayal of children by adults; fear of the unknown; an unwanted pregnancy, violence, possibly even murder.

The general story is paralleled with the traditional story of the Mr. Punch show, ‘The oldest, the wisest play’. The narrator is first introduced to Mr. Punch when fishing with his grandfather, but encounters it, and a mysterious ‘professor’ (Punch & Judy man), during various other activities. The story of Mr. Punch, is that he kills his baby, then his wife Judy and the police officer who comes to arrest him. He outwits a ghost, a crocodile and a doctor, convinces the hangman to be hanged in his place and, at the play’s end, even defeats the devil himself.

Like many of Gaiman’s works, a major theme in this graphic novel is memory and the unreliability of one’s own recollections.

Mr Punch HC NM 45
Mr Punch 1st Print HC NM $45

Astonishing Tales – Bronze Age

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The final feature in Astonishing Tales starred and introduced Deathlok, a conflicted cyborg who predated the popular movie character RoboCop by several years and has become one of the most enduring Marvel characters among those introduced in the 1970s; at least two major iterations of the character, featuring different individuals, starred in series in the 1990s and 2000s. Created by artist Rich Buckler, who devised the initial concept, and writer Doug Moench, the feature ran from #25-28 and 30-36 (Aug. 1974 – Feb. 1975 and June 1975 – July 1976), the final issue. Bill Mantlo scripted issues #32-35, with Buckler himself scripting the finale. Buckler described Deathlok as “an extension of a paranoid fantasy. He was a representation of part of my outlook and world view. He was a culmination of many of the messages in some of the music of the time. He was part of some of the things going wrong in our country at the time. Maybe he was the science that was going wrong.Artist George Pérez made his professional comics debut with a two-page backup feature in issue #25.