Adventure Comics was published by DC Comics from 1938 to 1983 and revived from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues (472 of those after the title changed from New Adventure Comics), making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman. It was revived in 2009 by writer Geoff Johns with the Conner Kent incarnation of Superboy headlining the title’s main feature, and the Legion of Super-Heroes in the back-up story. It returned to its original numbering with #516 (September 2010). The series finally ended with #529 (October 2011), prior to DC’s The New 52 company reboot.
As of #425 (December 1972), Adventure Comics theme changed from superhero adventure to fantasy/supernatural adventure. That issue debuted one new feature along with three non-series stories, the pirate saga “Captain Fear”. The next edition added a semi-anthology series, “The Adventurers’ Club”. Soon, editor Joe Orlando was trying out horror-tinged costumed heroes, first Black Orchid, then the Spectre. Before long, though, conventional superheroes returned to the book, beginning behind the Spectre, first a three-issue run of Aquaman (issues #435–437, an early assignment for Mike Grell) and then a newly drawn 1940s Seven Soldiers of Victory script (issues #438–443). Aquaman was promoted to lead (issues #441-452), and backing him up were three-part story arcs featuring the Creeper (#445–447), the Martian Manhunter (#449–451), bracketed by issue-length Aquaman leads. He was awarded his own title and Superboy (#453-458) took over Adventure with Aqualad (#453–455) and Eclipso (#457–458) backups. Following this was a run as a Dollar Comic format giant-sized book (issues #459-466), including such features as the resolution of the Return of the New Gods (cancelled in July–August 1978), “Deadman“, and “Justice Society of America“.
According to then-DC publisher Jenette Kahn, comics’ price-per-page value had been declining since the “Golden Age.” When superhero comics debuted in the late 1930s, they featured 64 pages of art for 10¢. As the decades passed, comparable publications liked Time and Life raised their prices, while comics stayed at 10 cents and reduced their page-count. Finally in 1962, National Periodical Publications/DC raised its price to 12¢, a 20% increase. (Comparable magazines, in contrast, were by then 3.5-to-5 times their original price.) By 1977, even though the typical price of a comic book was 35¢, it still lagged far behind its magazine competition, thus decreasing its appeal for newsvendors (which at that point — before the generalized 1980s shift to direct market distribution — was still the dominant retailing location for comics). Thus, the idea for Dollar Comics was born.
The five-issue mini-series Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds led into an all-new volume of Adventure Comics, featuring the revived Conner Kent/Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. The main creative team of Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul debuted in a backup story in Adventure Comics #0 (April 2009). A secondary feature starring the Legion of Super-Heroes was co-written with Mike Shoemaker and drawn by Clayton Henry. The first issue of the new run of Adventure Comics was released on August 12, 2009, and features watermarked numbering marking it as both #1 and#504, thus continuing the original numeration of the series concurrently with the volume 2 numeration. For the variant incentive cover editions, the original numeration was dominant on the cover while the vol. 2 numeration was the watermarked numbering marking. The indicia of the comic book also reflects this dual numbering. The title officially returned to its original vol. 1 numbering with #516 (cover dated September 2010), until #529 when it was finally ended prior to DC’s The New 52 company reboot.
With Adventure Comics #381 in 1969, Supergirl migrated from the backup slot in Action Comics to the starring feature in Adventure and ran until issue #424.
Supergirl was introduced in 1959. A number of different characters have assumed the Supergirl mantle over the decades, with the most popular and enduring version of the character being Kara Zor-El, Superman’s cousin, who shares his super powers and vulnerability to Kryptonite. Supergirl plays a supporting role in various DC Comics publications, including Action Comics, Superman, and several comic book series unrelated to Superman. In 1969, Supergirl’s adventures became the lead feature in Adventure Comics, and she later starred in an eponymous comic book series which debuted in 1972 and ran until 1974, followed by a second monthly comic book series titled The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, which ran from 1982 to 1984.