The franchise debuted with Marvel/Epic Comics’ The Alien Legion #1-20 (cover-dated April 1984 – June 1987). The 18-issue Alien Legion (Oct. 1987 – Aug. 1990), minus the “The”, followed, generally scripted by Chuck Dixon and penciled by Larry Stroman. Afterward came the three-issue Dixon-Stroman miniseries Alien Legion: On The Edge (Nov. 1990 – Jan. 1991); the two-issue Dixon-Stroman Alien Legion: Tenants of Hell (1991); the one-shot cover-titled Alien Legion: Grimrod and copyrighted Alien Legion: Jugger Grimrod (Aug. 1992), by Dixon and artist Mike McMahon; the single-issue Alien Legion: Binary Deep (Sept. 1993), by Dixon and Argentine artist Enrique Alcatena; and the three-issue miniseries Alien Legion: One Planet at a Time (April–July 1993), by Dixon and penciler Hoang Nguyen.
Additionally, Marvel/Epic published two spinoffs: Marvel Graphic Novel #25 (cover-titled Marvel Graphic Novel: The Alien Legion), released in 1986 and containing the story “A Grey Day To Die” by writers Potts and Zelenetz, penciler Cirocco, and the first series’ regular inker, Terry Austin; and the one-shot crossover with another series Law Dog and Grimrod: Terror at the Crossroads (1993)
Superboy became Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes with issue #197 (August 1973). Crafted by Bates and Cockrum, the feature proved popular and saw such events as the wedding of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel in Superboy #200 (Feb 1974). Cockrum was replaced on art by Mike Grell as of issue #203 (August 1974) which featured the death of Invisible Kid. With #231 (September 1977), the book’s title officially changed to Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and also became a “giant-size” title. At this point, the book was written by longtime fan Paul Levitz and drawn by James Sherman, although Gerry Conway frequently wrote as well. Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad were married in All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-55 (1978), a treasury-sized special written by Levitz and drawn by Grell. In #241–245 (July–December 1978) Levitz and Sherman (and then Joe Staton) produced what was at that time the most ambitious Legion storyline: “Earthwar“, a galactic war between the United Planets and the Khunds, with several other villains lurking in the background. During this period, Karate Kid was spun off into his own 20th Century-based self-titled series, which lasted 15 issues. Levitz left the book, to be replaced full-time by Gerry Conway.
Superboy departed from the Legion due to a plot of a villain, and the book was renamed simply Legion of Super-Heroes starting with issue #259 (January 1980). Editor Jack C. Harris hired Steve Ditko as guest artist on several issues, a decision which garnered a mixed reaction from the title’s readership. Jimmy Janes became the regular artist in a lengthy tale by Conway (and later Roy Thomas) involving Ultra Boy’s disappearance during a mission, and his long odyssey to rejoin the team. This story told the tale of the Legionnaire Reflecto (only glimpsed during the “Adult Legion” stories in Adventure Comics), featured villainy by the Time Trapper and Grimbor the Chainsman, and saw Superboy rejoin the team.
Omega the Unknown was published by Marvel Comics from 1976 to 1977, featuring the eponymous fictional character. The series, written by Steve Gerber and Mary Skrenes and illustrated by Jim Mooney, ran for 10 issues before cancellation for low sales. Despite its short run, it has remained as a cult classic due to its intriguing characters and unusual storytelling. A 10-issue series revamping the character was published from 2007 to 2008, written by novelist Jonathan Lethem and illustrated by Farel Dalrymple.
John Byrne revitalized the slumping title with his run. Originally, Byrne was slated to write with Sienkiewicz providing the art. Sienkiewicz left to do Moon Knight, and Byrne subsequently became writer, artist, and inker. Various editors were assigned to the comic; eventually Bob Budiansky became the regular editor. Byrne told Jim Shooter that he could not work with Budiansky, although they ultimately continued to work together. In 2006, Byrne said “that’s my paranoia. I look back and I think that was Shooter trying to force me off the book”. Byrne left following issue #293 (Aug. 1986) in the middle of a story arc, explaining he could not recapture the fun he had previously had on the series. One of Byrne’s changes was making the Invisible Girl into the Invisible Woman: assertive and confident. During this period, fans came to recognize that she was quite powerful, whereas previously, she had been primarily seen as a superpowered mother and wife in the tradition of television moms like those played by Donna Reed and Florence Henderson.
Marvel Two-in-One continued from the team-up stories starring the Thing in the final two issues of Marvel Feature and lasted for 100 issues from January 1974 through June 1983. Seven annuals were also published. Artist Ron Wilson began his long association with the title with issue #12 (November 1975) and worked on it throughout its run. With issue #17, the series had a crossover with Marvel Team-Up #47, which featured Spider-Man. The second Marvel Two-in-One Annual was a crossover with Avengers Annual #7 both of which were written and drawn by Jim Starlin. The “Project Pegasus” storyline in Marvel Two-in-One #53-58 saw the introduction of the name “Quasar” for the Wendell Vaughn characterand the transformation of Wundarr into the Aquarian.
During the 80’s Frank Miller was hired to continue the title and did so in a similar vein to previous writer Roger McKenzie. Resuming the drastic metamorphosis the previous writer had begun, Miller took the step of essentially ignoring all of Daredevil’s continuity prior to his run on the series; on the occasions where older villains and supporting cast were used, their characterizations and history with Daredevil were reworked or overwritten. Most prominently, dedicated and loving father Jack Murdock was reimagined as a drunkard who physically abused his son Matt, entirely revising Daredevil’s reasons for becoming a lawyer. Spider-Man villain Kingpin was introduced as Daredevil’s new nemesis, displacing most of his large rogues gallery. Daredevil himself was gradually developed into an antihero. In issue #181 (April 1982), he attempts to murder one of his arch-enemies by throwing him off a tall building; when the villain survives as a quadriplegic, he breaks into his hospital room and tries to scare him to death by playing a two-man variation on Russian roulette with a secretly unloaded gun.Comics historian Les Daniels noted that “Almost immediately, [Miller] began to attract attention with his terse tales of urban crime.” Miller’s revamping of the title was controversial among fans, but it clicked with new readers, and sales began soaring, the comic returning to monthly status just three issues after Miller came on as writer.
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 Talaoc, E. R. Cruz, and Frank Redondo.
Paul Levitz returned to write the series with #284. Pat Broderick and Bruce Patterson illustrated the title for a short time before Keith Giffen began on pencils, with Patterson, and then Larry Mahlstedt, on inks. The creative team received enhanced popularity following “The Great Darkness Saga“, which ran from #287; #290–294; and Annual #3, featuring a full assault on the United Planets by Darkseid. Comics historian Les Daniels observed that “Working with artist Keith Giffen, Levitz completed the transformation of Legion into a science-fiction saga of considerable scope and depth.”
The Legion celebrated issue #300 (June 1983) by revisiting the “Adult Legion” storyline through a series of parallel world short stories illustrated by a number of popular Legion artists from previous years. The story served to free up Legion continuity from following the “Adult Legion” edict of previous issues.