Super Powers V1 (1984)

Once the line was on the market, a vigorous merchandising campaign took place, with DC Comics and Kenner striving for the Super Powers logo to become ubiquitous. DC Comics produced three comic book mini-series featuring characters from the toyline, one during each year of the toyline’s existence. The first series of comics in 1984 was plotted by Jack Kirby, who also provided covers, and went on to pencil the second series. (These two series were collected and reprinted in 2013 in The Jack Kirby Omnibus Vol. 2, in 2018 in Super Powers by Jack Kirby, and in 2019 in DC Universe: Bronze Age Omnibus by Jack Kirby). The third and final series was penciled by Carmine Infantino.

The Rocketeer – Special Edition (1984)

The Rocketeer’s first adventure appeared in 1982 as a backup feature in issues #2 and #3 of Mike Grell‘s Starslayer series from Pacific Comics. Two more installments appeared in Pacific’s showcase comic Pacific Presents #1 and 2. The fourth chapter ended in a cliffhanger that was later concluded in a special Rocketeer issue released by Eclipse Comics. The complete story was then collected by Eclipse in a single volume titled The Rocketeer.

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.

Amazing Adventures (1970)

Amazing Adventures was a split title featuring the Inhumans (initially both written and drawn by Jack Kirby, later drawn by Neal Adams) and the Black Widow (initially by writer Gary Friedrich and penciler John Buscema). The Widow was dropped after vol. 2, #8, and full-length Inhumans stories ran for two issues before that feature, too, was dropped.

Vol. 2, #11 (March 1972) introduced solo stories of erstwhile X-Men member the Beast, in which he was mutated into his modern-day blue-furred (originally grey-furred) form. The initial story was by writer Gerry Conway, penciler Tom Sutton, and inker Syd ShoresSteve Englehart became the feature’s writer with issue #12 and added Patsy Walker and her then-husband, “Buzz” Baxter, to the Beast’s supporting cast in issue #13.

In the fall of 1972, writers Englehart, Conway and Len Wein crafted a metafictional unofficial crossover spanning titles from both major comics companies. Each comic featured Englehart, Conway, and Wein, as well as Wein’s first wife Glynisinteracting with Marvel or DC characters at the Rutland Halloween Parade in Rutland, Vermont.

Nataniel Dusk (1984)

Nathaniel Dusk is a private investigator from New York City whose adventures in the 1930s are portrayed in the stories. He served in the United States armed forces in World War I and was hired by the New York City police force. Dusk fell deeply in love with Joyce Gulino, a beautiful young saleswoman with two children, Jennie and Anthony. Gulino’s ex-husband was a gangster named Joseph Costilino. Costilino later killed his family.

The 2017-2019 miniseries Doomsday Clock, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank features Nathaniel Dusk in the DC Universe as a noir film character portrayed by a fictional actor named Carver Colman. Colman plays a key role in the story.

Swamp Thing (1970’s)

The Swamp Thing character first appeared in House of Secrets #92 (June–July 1971). After the success of the short story in the House of Secrets comic, the original creators were asked to write an ongoing series, depicting a more heroic, more contemporary creature. InSwamp Thing #1 (October–November 1972) Wein and Wrightson updated the time frame to the 1970s and featured a new version character: Alec Holland, a scientist working in the Louisiana swamps on a secret bio-restorative formula “that can make forests out of deserts”. Holland is killed by a bomb planted by agents of the mysterious Mr. E (Nathan Ellery), who wants the formula. Splashed with burning chemicals in the massive fire, Holland runs from the lab and falls into the muck-filled swamp, after which a creature resembling a humanoid plant appears. Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, who co-created Man-Thing for Marvel Comics a year and a half earlier, thought that this origin was too similar to that of their character, and Wein himself had written a Man-Thing story that was published with a June 1972 cover date, but he refused to change the origin in spite of some cajoling by Conway, who was his roommate at the time. Marvel, however, never took the issue to court, realizing the similarity of both characters to The Heap.

Power Records (1974)

Power Records was a record label, featuring characters licensed from DC Comics and Marvel Comics, and contemporary movies and television series (such as KojakPlanet of the ApesThe Six Million Dollar ManSpace: 1999, and Star Trek), in stories geared toward older children. The book-and-record sets frequently featured original 20-page comic books along with an extended-play 7″ record of the story. Playing the record while reading along in the book brought the story to life through music and sound effects. There were also other 7″ single releases. Besides book-and-record sets, LPs were produced, featuring the recorded stories without illustrations. As of 2010, none of the Power Records material has been re-released for CD or digital media due to copyright issues.

The Brave and the Bold V1 (1970’s)

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 Shadow V1 (1973)

During the mid-1970s, DC Comics published an “atmospheric interpretation” of the character by writer Dennis O’Neil and artist Michael Kaluta in a 12-issue series (Nov. 1973 – Sept. 1975). Kaluta drew issues 1–4 and 6 and was followed by Frank Robbins and then E. R. Cruz. Attempting to be faithful to both the pulp-magazine and radio-drama character, the series guest-starred fellow pulp fiction hero the Avenger in issue #11.

Thor (1980’s)

Walt Simonson took over both writing and art as of #337 (Nov. 1983). His stories placed a greater emphasis on the character’s mythological origins. Simonson’s run as writer-artist lasted until #367 (May 1986), although he continued to write – and occasionally draw – the book until issue #382 (Aug. 1987). Simonson’s run, which introduced the character Beta Ray Bill, was regarded as a popular and critical success. Simonson’s later stories were drawn by Sal Buscema, who describes Simonson’s stories as “very stimulating. It was a pleasure working on his plots, because they were a lot of fun to illustrate. He had a lot of great ideas, and he took Thor in a totally new direction.” Asked why he was leaving Thor, Simonson said that he felt the series was due for a change in creative direction, and that he wanted to reduce his work load for a time. After Simonson’s departure, Marvel’s editor-in-chief at the time, Tom DeFalco, became the writer. Working primarily with artist Ron Frenz, DeFalco stayed on the book until #459 (Feb. 1993).