The first team of New Mutants characters was created by Chris Claremont and artist Bob McLeod. They first appeared in 1982’s Marvel Graphic Novel #4 and are subsequently featured in their own title from 1983 until 1991. Like its parent title, The New Mutants highlighted interpersonal and group conflict as well as action and adventure, and featured a large ensemble cast, including the introduction of cult figure Deadpool. With the end of the first series, the characters were relaunched as X-Force in a new, eponymous series.
NOT A SECRET WARS TIE-IN! Well…it is…but not THAT Secret Wars. Remember the original Secret Wars from 1984? And remember how Deadpool played a huge important role in it? Wait…you DON’T? Then you need to read this series immediately and be educated! From the team that brought you DEADPOOL KILLUSTRATED comes the most Secretest War of all!
Due to strong sales on the character’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15, Spider-Man was given his own ongoing series in March 1963. The initial years of the series, under Lee and Ditko, chronicled Spider-Man’s nascent career with his civilian life as hard-luck yet perpetually good-humored teenager Peter Parker. Peter balanced his career as Spider-Man with his job as a freelance photographer for The Daily Bugle under the bombastic editor-publisher J. Jonah Jameson to support himself and his frail Aunt May. At the same time, Peter dealt with public hostility towards Spider-Man and the antagonism of his classmates Flash Thompson and Liz Allan at Midtown High School, while embarking on a tentative, ill-fated romance with Jameson’s secretary, Betty Brant.
By focusing on Parker’s everyday problems, Lee and Ditko created a groundbreakingly flawed, self-doubting superhero, and the first major teenaged superhero to be a protagonist and not a sidekick. Ditko’s quirky art provided a stark contrast to the more cleanly dynamic stylings of Marvel’s most prominent artist, Jack Kirby, and combined with the humor and pathos of Lee’s writing to lay the foundation for what became an enduring mythos.
Marvels is a four-issue limited series comic book written by Kurt Busiek, painted by Alex Ross and edited by Marcus McLaurin, and published by Marvel Comics in 1994. It was collected into a limited edition hardcover signed by both Busiek and Ross (shown below).
Set from 1939 to 1974, the series examines the Marvel Universe, the collective setting of most of Marvel’s superhero series, from the perspective of an Everyman character: news photographer Phil Sheldon. The street-level series portrayed ordinary life in a world full of costumed supermen, with each issue featuring events well known to readers of Marvel comics as well as a variety of minute details and retelling the most famous events in the Marvel universe.
The first volume of The Punisher War Journal ran 80 issues, cover-dated November 1988 to July 1995. Originally written and penciled by Carl Potts, and inked by Jim Lee, who soon became series penciler, it changed creative teams with issue #25 (December 1990) to writer Mike Baron and penciler-inker Mark Texeira. Chuck Dixon took over as writer with #38 (January 1992), continuing with it to the final issue, except for #65-74 (April 1994 – January 1995) which were written by Steven Grant. Others associated with the title include multi-issue pencilers Tod Smith, Ron Wagner, John Hebert, Hugh Haynes, Melvin Rubi, and penciler-inker Gary Kwapisz.
Moonshadow was originally a twelve-issue maxi-series by Marvel Comics under the Epic imprint. It was the first American comic book whose art was done entirely by painting. The series was subsequently reprinted as a single volume in 1989. Also in 1989, a limited edition hardcover was also released by Graphitti Designs. Only 1200 copies of this edition were published, each individually numbered and signed by DeMatteis and Muth.
The story takes the form of an eclectic and quirky fairy tale with satirical elements and dealing with philosophical concerns. It is told via the framing device of Moonshadow, now 120, looking back on his earlier life. The action concerns the events leading up to the “awakening” of Moonshadow, the child of a hippy mother and an enigmatic alien father. The alien, who resembles a glowing orb of light bearing a stylized human face, abducted Moonshadow’s mother from Earth in 1968 along with her black pet cat, Frodo. When the idealistic and naive Moonshadow is orphaned at approximately age 15, he becomes friends with a venal and opportunistic furry humanoid named Ira. Moonshadow and Ira and Frodo the cat set out to find a life for themselves in the stars.
In 1994, DC Comics, under their Vertigo imprint, republished the individual issues as a limited series. The Compleat Moonshadow followed in 1998. This edition also included Farewell, Moonshadow, a one-issue sequel, also published by Vertigo, which, set long after the action of the first miniseries, acts as a coda to the series. The Compleat Moonshadow included textual revisions to the original series.
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.