Giant-Size Super-Heroes was intended to be an ongoing series. However, only one issue was published and the series was rennamed Giant-Size Spider-Man with rebooted numbering instead. Morbius the Living Vampire in stalking Manhattan again! His first target is John Jameson, the Man-Wolf; and his second one ? the Amazing Spider-Man! Once Morbius reattaches the moonstone to John Jameson’s neck, the Man-Wolf becomes his to command! Now under the cover of darkness, the deadly duo heads to Empire State University to break into the research laboratory, but the ever-present web-slinger intercepts them along the way! Can Spider-Man defeat these two creatures of the night?
1st Issue Special was a comics anthology series from DC Comics, done in a similar style to their Showcase series. It was published from April 1975 to April 1976. The goal was to showcase a new possible first issue of an ongoing series each month, with some issues debuting new characters and others reviving dormant series from DC’s past. No series were actually launched from 1st Issue Special but the Warlord made his first appearance in the title and the character’s ongoing series was already slated to debut a few months later.
Morbius, the Living Vampire, introduced in The Amazing Spider-Man #101 (Oct. 1971), became the starring feature with Adventure into Fear #20 (Feb. 1974), and continued through the rest of the run. After a single issue by writer Mike Friedrich and penciler Paul Gulacy, Steve Gerber wrote several issues in which Morbius went on a picaresque interdimensional journey and fought the Caretakers of Arcturus and was advised by the eyeball-headed character I. Doug Moench and Bill Mantlo followed, successively, as the feature’s writers. Its round-robin of artists included Gil Kane, P. Craig Russell, Frank Robbins, George Evans, and Don Heck. Back up reprints shortly resumed in issue #20. Morbius would receive his own short-lived comic-book series in the 1990s.
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.
The “Dark Phoenix Saga” in 1980 led to a change in the line-up of the team, with the death of Phoenix (Jean Grey), and Cyclops leaving the team to mourn for her. Comics writers and historians Roy Thomas and Peter Sanderson observed that “‘The Dark Phoenix Saga’ is to Claremont and Byrne what ‘the Galactus Trilogy‘ is to Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It is a landmark in Marvel history, showcasing its creators’ work at the height of their abilities.” The storyline also saw the introduction of recurring antagonists the Hellfire Club, and its Inner Circle consisting of Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Harry Leland, Donald Pierce, along with Mastermind, previously a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood. The new teenage mutant Kitty Pryde was introduced in #129 (Jan. 1980) and joined the X-Men in #139. The Dazzler, a disco-singing, roller-skating mutant, was introduced in #130 (Feb. 1980), but did not join the team, instead headlining her own solo title.
A new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, led by Mystique, was introduced in the “Days of Future Past” storyline (#141-#142, Jan–Feb 1981) in which a time-travelling Kitty Pryde tried to avert a dystopian future caused by the Brotherhood assassinating Presidential candidate Senator Robert Kelly. Byrne plotted the story wanting to depict the Sentinels as a genuine threat to the existence of the mutant race. He then left the series after #143, being replaced by a returning Cockrum, who in turn was succeeded by Paul Smith and John Romita Jr.
In the late 70’s 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 Return of the New Gods (cancelled in July–August 1978), “Deadman“, and the “Justice Society of America“.
Marvel Comics‘ then-publisher Stan Lee said in 1978, shortly after Spider-Woman’s debut in Marvel Spotlight #32 (Feb. 1977) and the start of the character’s 50-issue self-titled series (cover-datedApril 1978 – June 1983), the character originated because,
I suddenly realized that some other company may quickly put out a book like that and claim they have the right to use the name, and I thought we’d better do it real fast to copyright the name. So we just batted one quickly, and that’s exactly what happened. I wanted to protect the name, because it’s the type of thing [where] someone else might say, ‘Hey, why don’t we put out a Spider-Woman; they can’t stop us.’ … You know, years ago we brought out Wonder Man, and [DC Comics] sued us because they had Wonder Woman, and … I said okay, I’ll discontinue Wonder Man. And all of a sudden they’ve got Power Girl [after Marvel had introduced Power Man]. Oh, boy. How unfair.
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.
The superheroine Vixen made her first appearance in Action Comics #521 (July 1981). To mark the 45th anniversary of the series, Lex Luthor and Brainiac were both given an updated appearance in issue #544 (June 1983). Lex Luthor dons his war suit for the first time in the story “Luthor Unleashed!” and Brainiac’s appearance changes from the familiar green-skinned android to the metal skeletal-like robot in the story “Rebirth!”. Schwartz ended his run as editor of the series with issue #583 (September 1986) which featured the second part of the “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” story by Alan Moore and Curt Swan.
Following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, writer/artist John Byrne relaunched the Superman franchise in The Man of Steel limited series in 1986. Action Comics became a team-up title with issue #584 (January 1987). The first Action Comics Annual was published in 1987 and featured Superman teaming with Batman in a story written by Byrne and drawn by Arthur Adams. A DC Comics Bonus Book was included in issue #599 (April 1988).
From May 24, 1988 – March 14, 1989, the publication frequency was changed to weekly, the title changed to Action Comics Weekly, and the series became an anthology. Prior to its launch, DC cancelled its ongoing Green Lantern Corps title, and made Green Lantern and his adventures exclusive to Action Comics Weekly.
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.