Following the western comics character who originally used the name, the first superhero Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, debuted in Marvel Spotlight #5 (Aug. 1972), created by writer-editor Roy Thomas, writer Gary Friedrich, and artist Mike Ploog. He received his own series in 1973, with pencillerJim Mooney handling most of the first nine issues. Several different creative teams mixed-and-matched until penciller Don Perlin began a considerably long stint with issue #26, eventually joined by writer Michael Fleisher through issue #58. The series ran through in issue #81 (June 1983). Blaze returned as Ghost Rider in a 2001 six-issue miniseries written by Devin Grayson; a second miniseries written by Garth Ennis in 2005; and an ongoing monthly series that began publication in July 2006. Johnny Blaze was the son of Naomi Blaze and Barton Blaze, Naomi being the previous Ghost Rider.
Strange Tales switched to superheroes during the Silver Age of Comic Books, retaining the sci-fi, suspense and monsters as backup features for a time. Strange Tales‘ first superhero, in 12- to 14-page stories, was the Fantastic Four‘s Human Torch, Johnny Storm, beginning in #101 (Oct. 1962). Here, Johnny still lived with his elder sister, Susan Storm, in fictional Glenview, Long Island, New York, where he continued to attend high school and, with youthful naivete, attempted to maintain his “secret identity” (later retconned to reveal that his friends and neighbors knew of his dual identity from Fantastic Four news reports, but simply played along).
The title became a “split book” with the introduction of sorcerer Doctor Strange, by Lee and artist Steve Ditko. This 9- to 10-page feature debuted in #110 (July 1963), and after an additional story and then skipping two issues returned permanently with #114. Ditko’s surrealistic mystical landscapes and increasingly head-trippy visuals helped make the feature a favorite of college students, according to Lee himself. Eventually, as co-plotter and later sole plotter, in the “Marvel Method“, Ditko would take Strange into ever-more-abstract realms, which yet remained well-grounded thanks to Lee’s reliably humanistic, adventure/soap opera dialog. Adversaries for the new hero included Baron Mordo introduced in issue #111 (Aug. 1963) and Dormammu in issue #126 (Nov. 1964). Clea, who would become a longtime love interest for Doctor Strange, was also introduced in issue #126.
What If, sometimes rendered as What If…?, is published by Marvel Comics whose stories explore how the Marvel Universe might have unfolded if key moments in its history hadn’t occurred as they did in mainstream continuity. What If comics have been published in eleven series (volumes).
The stories of the inaugural series (1977–1984) feature the alien Uatu the Watcher as a narrator. From the moon, Uatu, a member of an immortal race of “Watchers”, observes both the Earth and alternate realities. Most What If stories begin with Uatu describing an event in the mainstream Marvel Universe, then introducing a point of divergence in that event and then describing the consequences of the divergence. Uatu was used similarly in the second series (1989–1998) until a point where, in the Fantastic Four comic book, Uatu was punished for destroying another Watcher. This made the use of Uatu improbable so the character was phased out to its last appearance in issue #76. Without a framing device, the stories themselves became the focus. However, in later series, some writers chose to introduce alternative narrators. For example, in Volume 3, in What If Karen Page Had Lived?, What If Jessica Jones Had Joined the Avengers? and in Daredevil (2005), Brian Michael Bendis, the writer himself, made a cameo as narrator. In the early 2006 series, a hacker, whose online alias is “The Watcher”, opens each of the six issues.
Punisher War Zone ran for 41 issues with two 64-page annuals. Multiple writers contributed to this series during its three-year run from 1992 to 1995. The series served mainly as a vehicle for longtime Marvel artist John Romita, Jr., who had returned to Marvel after a lengthy hiatus from drawing a monthly title. In 2009, Marvel published a 6-issue limited series under the same title. The storyline was called “The Resurrection of Ma Gnucci“.
Journey into Mystery was initially published by Atlas Comics, then by its successor, Marvel Comics. Initially a horror comics anthology, it segued to giant-monster and science fiction stories in the late 1950s. Beginning with issue #83 (cover dated August 1962), it ran the superhero feature “The Mighty Thor“, created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber and artist Jack Kirby, and inspired by the mythological Norsethunder god. The series, which was renamed for its superhero star with issue #126 (March 1966), has been revived three times: in the 1970s as a horror anthology, and in the 1990s and 2010s with characters from Marvel’s Thor mythos.
The comic book Battlestar Galactica, based on the ABC television series of the same name, was published monthly by Marvel Comics from March 1979 through January 1981, and lasted 23 issues.
Although there were other attempts to adapt Battlestar Galactica into a comic book format, the Marvel series is considered by many to have been the most successful in terms of run, sales, and content.
This was accomplished against some notable odds. Although Roger McKenzie was most often the writer, and Walt Simonson the most regular artist, the book also had a heavy rotation of guest writers and artists.
Marvel Comics’ began its adaptation of Battlestar Galactica with Marvel Super Special #8, a magazine format comic written by Roger McKenzie and drawn by Ernie Colón which was released as a tie-in to the start of the series. Based on an early script of the three hour series premiere “Saga of a Star World”, this adaptation, which gave a relatively short treatment to the third hour, was also released in a tabloid format and then later as a paperback as well. The tabloid version was also printed by Whitman Comics. Its success led Marvel to print a regular monthly comic depicting the adventures of the ragtag fleet.
Sales of The New Mutants had slumped for several years in the late 80’s, but took a sharp upturn after Rob Liefeld took over the penciling and co-plotting chores at the end of 1989. A new mentor for the group, the mysterious mercenary Cable, was introduced, further helping sales. Over the next year, several longtime team members were written out or killed off. However, the relationship between Liefeld and Simonson was fraught with tension, and Simonson claims that Harras dealt with the situation by rewriting her plots and dialogue so that the characterizations did not make sense: “Although I wasn’t being fired, I think I was being shoved out the door with both hands by Bob Harras. Bob was only doing what he had to do, I expect, which was make Rob Liefeld happy.” Simonson eventually gave in, leaving after issue #97. When Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza, who wrote dialogue based on Liefeld’s plots, took over as writers of the final three issues of the series, they included several harder-edged characters.
The New Mutants was cancelled in 1991 with issue #100, but the new platoon-like team formed by Cable continued in X-Force, a successful series (whose first issue sold approximately one million copies) that would continue until 2002, and feature a variety of the former New Mutants cast.
In the 1980s, Banner once again gained control over the Hulk, and gained amnesty for his past rampages; however, due to the manipulations of supernatural character Nightmare, Banner eventually lost control over the Hulk. It was also established that Banner had serious mental problems even before he became the Hulk, having suffered childhood traumas that engendered Bruce’s repressed rage. Banner comes to terms with his issues for a time, and the Hulk and Banner were physically separated by Doc Samson. Banner is recruited by the U.S. government to create the Hulkbusters, a government team dedicated to catching the Hulk. Banner finally married Betty in The Incredible Hulk #319 (May 1986) following Talbot’s death in 1981. Banner and the Hulk were reunited in The Incredible Hulk #323 (Sep. 1986) and with issue #324, returned the Hulk to his grey coloration, with his transformations once again occurring at night, regardless of Banner’s emotional state. In issue #347 the grey Hulk persona “Joe Fixit” was introduced, a morally ambiguous Las Vegas enforcer and tough guy. Banner remained repressed in the Hulk’s mind for months, but slowly began to reappear.
Wade Wilson’s heard there’s a Deadpool movie in the works – and he’s determined to tell his own story before Hollywood screws it up. Deadpool even hires his own screenwriter, who manages to get the Merc With a Mouth to open up like never before-revealing not only his origin story, but shocking details you’ve never heard before.