Ghosts (1970’s)

Each issue of Ghosts carried multiple stories of the supernatural. The stories were prefaced by a short description introducing the premise and ended with a summation of how a mysterious justice was dealt to the evildoers of the tale. The first issue of this series carried the singular title Ghost in its indicia, but everywhere else, including advance promotional house ads and even on its own cover, it was the plural Ghosts, as even the indicia would read from #2 on.  Limited Collectors’ Edition #C–32 (Dec. 1974–Jan. 1975) reprinted stories from Ghosts #1, 3–6 and featured new material by Leo Dorfman and artists Gerry TalaocE. R. Cruz, and Frank Redondo.

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Web of Spider-Man (1980’s)

The series was launched with an April 1985 cover dated issue by writer Louise Simonson and penciller Greg LaRocque and featured the return of Spider-Man’s alien black costume, which attempted to rebond with Peter Parker. Peter managed to rid himself of the costume again using church bells and the alien was presumed to have died after that. The first issue featured a cover painting by artist Charles Vess.

In issue #18 (September 1986), Peter Parker is pushed in front of an oncoming train. He thinks to himself that this should not have happened, as his spider-sense would have warned him of the danger. Writer David Michelinie has said that he wrote this as the first “teaser” appearance of the characterVenom, whom he was planning to introduce at a later date. Venom is an amalgam of reporter Eddie Brock and the alien costume. The costume could nullify Spider-Man’s spider-sense, and this was the first clue of a puzzle that Michelinie was planning to weave to introduce Venom.

Web of Spider-Man Annual #2 (1986) featured stories drawn by Arthur Adams and Mike Mignola. A followup to the Spider-Man vs. Wolverine one-shot appeared in issue #29. The “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artists Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod began in issue #31 (October 1987).

 

 

Devil Dinosaur (1978)

Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy are the creations of artist Jack Kirby who scripted and penciled all nine issues of the first series. Devil Dinosaur was created during Kirby’s third stint at Marvel (1975–1978). Having learned that DC Comics was working on an animated series featuring Kirby’s Kamandi, Marvel attempted to one-up their competitor by instructing Kirby to create a series similar to Kamandi, but incorporating a dinosaur co-star, since dinosaurs were hugely popular with young audiences of the time. The resulting Devil Dinosaur series was short lived, lasting only nine months (April – December 1978), and the proposed animated series never entered development. The original Devil Dinosaur series chronicled Devil and Moon-Boy’s adventures in their home, “Dinosaur World”. After the cancellation of Devil Dinosaur, the character’s appearances were relegated to one-shot comics, cameos, and supporting roles in other series.

The Infinity Gauntlet (1991)

The Infinity Gauntlet is a six-issue limited series published by Marvel Comics from July to December in 1991. The series was written by Jim Starlin and penciled by George Pérez and Ron Lim.

The storyline is the culmination of events from Silver Surfer vol. 3, #34 (Feb. 1990) and the two-issue miniseries The Thanos Quest (Sept.- Oct. 1990).

Thanos mounts the six Infinity Gems (collected in the Thanos Quest limited series) on his left glove to form the titular Infinity Gauntlet. Each Gem grants its bearer complete mastery over one aspect of the multiverse: Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power. Now all-powerful and desperate to win the affections of Death, Thanos decides to offer the entity a gift of love by completing a task she had given him, erasing half the sentient life in the universe (including most of the X-Men, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four), quite literally with a snap of his fingers.

Additional plotlines not addressed in the main story were featured in other books published during the same time period.

The storyline led to two sequel miniseries, Infinity War and Infinity Crusade. All three series were the core of a company-wide crossover story.

 

Batman (1970’s)

Starting in 1969, writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Neal Adams made a deliberate effort to distance Batman from the campy portrayal of the 1960s TV series and to return the character to his roots as a “grim avenger of the night”. O’Neil said his idea was “simply to take it back to where it started. I went to the DC library and read some of the early stories. I tried to get a sense of what Kane and Finger were after.”

O’Neil and Adams first collaborated on the story “The Secret of the Waiting Graves” (Detective Comics #395, January 1970). Few stories were true collaborations between O’Neil, Adams, Schwartz, and inker Dick Giordano, and in actuality these men were mixed and matched with various other creators during the 1970s; nevertheless the influence of their work was “tremendous”. Giordano said: “We went back to a grimmer, darker Batman, and I think that’s why these stories did so well…” While the work of O’Neil and Adams was popular with fans, the acclaim did little to improve declining sales; the same held true with a similarly acclaimed run by writer Steve Englehart and penciler Marshall Rogers in Detective Comics #471–476 (August 1977 – April 1978), which went on to influence the 1989 movie Batman and be adapted for Batman: The Animated Series, which debuted in 1992. Regardless, circulation continued to drop through the 1970s and 1980s, hitting an all-time low in 1985.

 

Super-Villain Team-Up (1970’s)

The first series started in 1975 with two giant-size issues before starting as a regular series, and was mostly bi-monthly during its existence. It initially teamed up Doctor Doom and the Sub-Mariner, who had lost his own series, from which it picked up the unresolved plots, especially that of the comatose Atlanteans. After a succession of writers and artists and a crossover with The Avengers, the plot gets resolved in issue #13 when Dr. Doom revives the Atlanteans, thus dissolving his alliance with the Sub-Mariner.

Issue #14 (Oct. 1977), which featured Magneto and Dr. Doom, was billed as the final issue of the series, and its plotline was resolved in The Champions #16. The following year, SVTU continued with issue #15 (Nov. 1978), a reprint of Astonishing Tales #4-5. Issues #16 (May 1979) and #17 (June 1980) featured the Red Skull and the Hate-Monger. The irregular publishing frequency of the final three issues was due to a legal maneuver to prevent DC Comics from trademarking the term “super-villain”.

The series saw the death of the Sub-Mariner’s 1940s sweetheart Betty Dean and the death of her murderer, Dr. Dorcas. Steve Englehart created The Shroud, a character partly inspired by Batman, shortly before he started to work for DC Comics on Detective Comics.

Justice League of America V1 (1980’s)

In the early 80’s, George PérezDon 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 BroderickJim Aparo, Dick Giordano, Gil KaneCarmine InfantinoBrian 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 GypsySteel, 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.

The Unexpected (1970’s)

In 1979, The Unexpected converted to the Dollar Comics format and incorporated House of Secrets and The Witching Hour. Each “Unexpected” story would always include the word in its last panel. After the merge, this was only true of the Unexpected section; there would then be complete, ad-free issues of The Witching Hour, hosted by its witches, and The House of Secrets, hosted by AbelThe Witching Hour feature was alternated with Doorway to Nightmare starring Madame Xanadu, which appeared in issues #190, 192, 194, and 195.

Unexpected 192 VF- 8
Unexpected #192 VF- $8

Giant Size Creatures/Werewolf (1970’s)

The Werewolf by Night character (birth name Jacob Russoff, legal name Jacob Russell, nicknamed Jack) first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #2 (Feb. 1972) and was based on an idea by Roy Thomas. The series name was suggested by Stan Lee and the debut story was crafted by Gerry Conway and Mike Ploog. The character made additional appearances in Marvel Spotlight #3 and #4 and then graduated to his own eponymous series in September 1972. Jack Russell co-starred with Tigra in Giant Size Creatures #1 (July 1974), which was the first appearance of Greer Grant as Tigra instead of the Cat. That series was retitled Giant-Size Werewolf with its second issue.

Omega Men V1(1980’s)

The Omega Men are a team of extraterrestrial superheroes who have appeared in various comic book series published by DC Comics. They first appeared in Green Lantern #141 (June 1981), and were created by Marv Wolfman and Joe Staton.

After appearances in Green Lantern, Action Comics and The New Teen Titans, the Omega Men were featured in their own comics series which ran for 38 issues from April 1983 to May 1986. During its run, writer Roger Slifer and artist Keith Giffen created the mercenary anti-hero Lobo.

The Omega Men were assembled as a group of renegades and representatives of conquered Vegan worlds to fight Citadelian aggression. Pre-Infinite Crisis the team was based on the planet Kuraq. The Omega Men are important peacekeepers in their sector because the Green Lantern Corps is not allowed into Vegan space, due to a long standing agreement with the Psions.