Frank Miller started penciling this blind superhero in May '79 and transformed the old title with sluggish sales into one of the most popular characters/books in the entire comic industry. With issue #168 (seen here), he took over the writing chores and with inker Klaus Janson created a new, darker style of storytelling. Characters such as the Kingpin, Bullseye, the Black Widow, and Miller's new creations, the assassin known as "Elektra" and Daredevil's sensei "Stick," provided a colorful cast for DD's new adventures into the seedy criminal underworld.
"Hey, are you a fan of Miller's DD?" Check out Blind Justice, my DD spec script based loosely on the events from DD #181.
THOR #337-#354, #357-#367
Another flagship title with extremely poor sales. When Walt Simonson jumped onboard with issue #337, he had his new creation Beta Ray Bill smash the logo design that had been around since 1966. This was just the beginning. Simonson revamped the entire Asgardian universe with compelling stories and majestic illustrations. Other than cameos in other titles, Thor was never a character I enjoyed until seeing him done by Simonson. His ability to realistically mix old Norse legends with the Marvel universe made his run on Thor one of the most popular and one of the best to grace the halls of Marveldom (and Asgard).
SILVER SURFER #15-#82
[minus issues #32,39,56-59,66-72]
One of the most celebrated characters with his first appearance in March '66, the Silver Surfer soared through various titles as a guest character for over 20 years with a brief 18 issue stint in his own book. Though highly popular, it wasn't until 1987 when he acquired his own title again and Ron Lim took over the art chores in issue #15, that the Surfer soared to new heights. By keeping the Surfer where he belonged (in outer space) Ron, with writers Jim Starlin and later Ron Marz, created visually exciting and meaningful tales of the Surfer's exploits as one of the most powerful beings in the universe. **Check out my Ron Lim original SS artwork**
NEW TEEN TITANS #1-#40?
George Perez and Marv Wolfman revived this band of teenage superheoes, which had it's beginnings in the sixties, in November 1980. I don't know how to explain it but every once in a GREAT while, I'll pick up a comic I had never read before, have no knowledge of the characters involved, and WHAM! I'm hooked. I have always been a Marvel reader and while DC has many fascinating characters and talented people working for them, their books have never interested me. This was the exception. Somehow, Perez's stunning artwork and Wolfman's mesmerizing scripts made this teenager (at the time) feel a bond with the characters of Robin, Starfire, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Changeling, Cyborg, & the Raven.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1-#122
Almost everyone knows the story. Teenager Peter Parker gets bitten by a radioactive spider and inherits the spider's abilities. In the first 38 issues, Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, created some of the most well-known villains and supporting characters that now grace the Marvel universe. John Romita took over the artwork with issue #39 (seen here) and continued the tradition of telling visually exciting tales. So what makes Spider-man so popular? The art? The stories? Yes, and no. Spider-Man was one (if not the first) character who was an ordinary person with superhero abilities and not the other way around. He had homework, girl problems, friends who weren't always perfect, struggled to pay his rent, family crisis, etc. It made you feel like he was just like everyone else.
Todd McFarlane's creation not only soared to new sales records but was one of the leading factors in the creation of Image Comics. Spawn was another one of those comics which grabbed me from the get-go. Todd's incredible talent as an established artist and growing proficiency as a writer made for a compelling mix as Spawn a.k.a. Al Simmons takes a rollercoaster ride between the forces of Heaven and hell in his search for his identity. The paper quality, the computer enhanced coloring process, and pencils by Greg Capullo made this title one of the hottest of the '90s and has "spawned" an entire realm of new material for Todd McFarlane Productions, including film and television projects.
FANTASTIC FOUR #1-#102
Saved the best for last. The flagship title for Marvel scripted by Stan the man Lee and drawn by Jack King Kirby for almost 10 straight years. Mister Fantastic, the Human Torch, the Invisible Girl, and the Thing. Four individuals bombarded with cosmic rays which turned them into the "World's Greatest Comic Magazine." The 100+ issues took you from your "joe-average world of 9-5" to the wildest parts of your imagination. From inner space to outer space to streets of Manhattan, Stan & Jack were nonstop in providing the reader with a new tale of unbelievable events each month. The fact that the "foursome" also had various shortcomings (like Peter Parker) made the reader feel that they could rise to any challenge as well -- no matter what the risk. Now, this was what comics were all about!
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: All comics pictured here are from my personal comic collection. All MARVEL characters are the copyright of MCG, Inc. The New Teen Titans is the copyright of DC COMICS. Spawn is the copyright of Todd McFarlane Productions.
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