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.

Before Watchmen: Dr. Manhattan (2012)

The story explores the different universes that Doctor Manhattan alias Jon Osterman simultaneously perceives. It also adds a notable new element to Osterman’s backstory by revealing him to be a half-Jewish German immigrant who escaped with his father from the Third Reich to America; in the original Watchmen series, he was not implied to be anything other than American. It debuted to positive reviews.

Brave and the Bold (Silver Age)

The first volume of the series ran for 200 issues from August/September 1955 to July 1983. Originally, The Brave and the Bold was an anthology series featuring adventure tales from past ages with characters such as the Silent Knight, the Viking Prince, the Golden Gladiator, and Robin Hood. With issue #25, the series was reinvented as a try-out title for new characters and concepts, starting with the Suicide Squad created by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross AndruGardner Fox and Joe Kubert created a new version of Hawkman in issue #34 (February–March 1961) with the character receiving his own title three years later.

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.

Wonder Woman V2 (2000’s)

One of the events that led to Infinite Crisis was of Wonder Woman killing the villain Maxwell Lord in Wonder Woman Vol 2 #219. Maxwell Lord was mind-controlling Superman, who as a result was near to killing Batman. Wonder Woman tried to stop Superman, Lord (who was unable to mind control her) made Superman see her as his enemy Doomsday trying to kill Lois Lane. Superman then attacked Wonder Woman, and a vicious battle ensued. Buying herself time by slicing Superman’s throat with her tiara, Wonder Woman caught Lord in her Lasso of Truth and demanded to know how to stop his control over Superman. As the lasso forced the wearer to speak only the truth, Lord told her that the only way to stop him was to kill him. Left with no choice, Wonder Woman snapped Lord’s neck and ended his control over Superman. Unknown to her, the entire scene was broadcast live around every channel in the world by Brother Eye. The viewers were not aware of the entire situation, and saw only Wonder Woman murdering a Justice League associate. Wonder Woman’s actions put her at odds with Batman and Superman, as they saw Wonder Woman as a cold-blooded killer, despite the fact that she saved their lives.

The Sandman V2 (1989)

The main character of The Sandman is Dream, also known as Morpheus and other names, who is one of the seven Endless. The other Endless are Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium, who was once Delight, and Destruction, who turned his back on his duties. The series is famous for Gaiman’s trademark use of anthropomorphic personification of various metaphysical entities, while also blending mythology and history in its horror setting within the DC Universe. The Sandman is a story about stories and how Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, is captured and subsequently learns that sometimes change is inevitable. The Sandman was Vertigo’s flagship title, and is available as a series of ten trade paperbacks, a recolored five-volume Absolute hardcover edition with slipcase, in a black-and-white Annotated edition, and is available for digital download. Critically acclaimed,The Sandman was one of the first few graphic novels ever to be on the New York Times Best Seller list, along with Maus, Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. It was one of five graphic novels to make Entertainment Weeklys “100 best reads from 1983 to 2008,” ranking at No. 46. Norman Mailer described the series as “a comic strip for intellectuals.” The series is noted for having a large influence over the fantasy genre and graphic novel medium since then.

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.

Detective Comics – Rebirth (2016)

In February 2016, DC Comics announced that as part of the company’s continuity relaunch called DC RebirthDetective Comics would resume its original numbering system with June 2016’s #934. Before the New 52, Detective Comics volume 1 had 881 issues, and the New 52’s 52 issues, which ran from 2011 until 2016, were then added back into volume one, making Detective Comics #934 the premier issue following the events of 2016’s DC Rebirth. Writer James Tynion IV and artists Eddy Barrows and Alvaro Martinez are the creative team on the series which is published twice monthly. The series features a team initially consisting of Tim DrakeStephanie BrownCassandra Cain and Clayface, led by Batman and Batwoman, with Batwing (Luke Fox) and Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley) later recruited following Tim’s apparent death and Stephanie leaving the team.

Adventure Comics (Silver Age)

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.

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.