Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Vol 1 (1980’s)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was first published by Mirage Studios in 1984 in Dover, New Hampshire. The concept arose from a humorous drawing sketched out by Kevin Eastman during a casual evening of brainstorming and bad television with Peter Laird. Using money from a tax refund, together with a loan from Eastman’s uncle, the young artists self-published a single-issue comic intended to parody four of the most popular comics of the early 1980s: Marvel ComicsDaredevil and New Mutants, Dave Sim’s Cerebus, and Frank Miller’s Ronin. The TMNT comic series has been published in various incarnations by various comic book companies since 1984.

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Vengeance of Vampirella (1990’s)

Upon Warren’s bankruptcy shortly afterward, Harris Publications acquired the company assets at auction in August 1983, although legal murkiness and a 1999 lawsuit by Warren publisher James Warren resulted in his re-acquisition of the rights to sister publications Creepy and Eerie. Harris Comics published Vampirella stories in various series and miniseries from 1991 to 2007. Harris also published Vampirella #113, a one-issue continuation of the original series, containing solely reprinted stories, in 1988.

What If… V3 (2005)

In February 2005, Marvel published a further six issues of What If. They were all in the “one-shot” format. The editor, Justin Gabrie, attributed the publication of Volume 3 to a suggestion from C. B. Cebulski. Uatu the Watcher narrates some issues and there is a cameo by Brian Michael Bendis as narrator (see “The narrator” above). In Volume 3, there is a “nod” to a Volume 1 story, What if Uncle Ben had lived? In a conversation between a comic shop customer and an attendant, the customer asks,”What if Aunt May had died instead of Uncle Ben?” Leading to another alternative plot. Marvel published a single parody edition called Wha… Huh?!? in August 2005.

The Nail (2004)

Musician, Rob Zombie has also done work with comic books, having numerous series available. His Spookshow International series launched in November 2003, and went on to produce nine editions, with the last coming out in July 2004. His second series, The Nail, spawned four issues between June and October 2004, while his Bigfoot series lasted from February to May 2005, spawning four issues. The Devil’s Rejects was a set of comics based after Zombie’s film of the same name, while The Haunted World of El Superbeasto would later be turned into Zombie’s first animated film. Zombie’s seventh and latest series, Whatever Happened to Baron Von Shock? spawned four issues in 2010.

Before Watchmen – Rorschach (2012)

The story follows Rorschach in New York City, 1977, where his crime-fighting activities cause him to be targeted by a crime lord running drugs and prostitution in the sordid Times Square. While focused on the gang, Rorschach makes the mistake of allowing another predator to operate unchallenged.

Before Watchmen - Rorschach 1 NM 6
Before Watchmen – Rorschach #1 NM $6

X-O Manowar (1992)

X-O Manowar began as an original character by Valiant Comics with issue #1 with a cover date of February 1992. Less than a year after it began, with the Unity crossover and quality storytelling bringing attention to Valiant books, back issue prices rose dramatically due to limited early print runs. With comic book speculators buying multiple copies of each issue, sales reached as high as 800,000 copies for X-O Manowar #0 (August 1993) before dropping off. This original series ran for 68 issues before being canceled after the Sept. 1996 issue, of which only approximately 14,000 were printed.

The Incredibles (2004)

Based on the smash cinematic blockbuster, this graphic novelization recounts the reawakening of dormant heroism that has seemingly been stifled by social conformity and lowered mid-life expectations. Bob Parr, his wife Helen, daughter Violet, son Dash, and baby Jack-Jack grapple with the banality of a comfortable suburban existence and yearn to reaffirm their individuality by expressing their unique “super”-powers.

Unlike most movie adaptations, this succeeds in both being faithful to and expanding the original plotline. It helps when the artist is a Pixar storyboarder and the writer is the film’s director. Serving up high quality art and narrative, this tale lives up to expectations.

Give Me Liberty: An American Dream

Give Me Liberty is a four-issue mini-series published by Dark Horse Comics in 1990. It was created and written by Frank Miller and drawn by Dave Gibbons. The title of the series comes from a famous quotation by Patrick Henry: “I know not what course others may take but — as for me — give me liberty or give me death.”

Give Me Liberty was one of Frank Miller’s two creator-owned (the other was Hard Boiled) titles he took to Dark Horse after deciding to stop working for DC Comics after a dispute over a proposed ratings system.

The story is set in a dystopian near-future where the United States have split into several extremist factions, and tells the story of Martha Washington, a young American girl from a public housing project called “The Green” (see Chicago‘s Cabrini–Green). The series starts with Martha’s birth and sees her slowly grow up from someone struggling to break free of the public housing project, to being a war hero and major figure in deciding the fate of the United States.

The series was a mix of Miller’s typical action sequences as well as being a political satire of the United States and its major corporations. The series proved to be a huge success for Dark Horse and was one of the biggest selling independent comics of the time. A trade paperback was later released and Miller followed up Give Me Liberty with several sequels continuing the story. All of these sequels were drawn by Dave Gibbons and published by Dark Horse.

Amazing Spider-Man (2000’s)

 Amazing Spider-Man reverted completely to its original numbering for #500 (Dec. 2003). Mike Deodato, Jr. penciled the series from mid-2004 until 2006. That year Peter Parker revealed his Spider-Man identity on live television in the company-crossover storyline “Civil War“, in which the superhero community is split over whether to conform to the federal government’s new Superhuman Registration Act. This knowledge was erased from the world with the event of the four-part, crossover story arc, “One More Day“, written partially by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Joe Quesada, running through The Amazing Spider-Man #544-545 (Nov.-Dec. 2007), Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24 (Nov. 2007) and The Sensational Spider-Man #41 (Dec. 2007), the final issues of those two titles. Here, the demon Mephisto makes a Faustian bargain with Parker and Mary Jane, offering to save Parker’s dying Aunt May if the couple will allow their marriage to have never existed, rewriting that portion of their pasts. This story arc marked the end of Straczynski’s tenure as writer.

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.