4/11/08

1965-1969
This is an attempt to list significant events in the history of DC Comics in as chronological order as possible.  Most dates are the cover dates from the comics themselves.  It should be recognized that these dates tend to be two months after the actual release date.  Other dates come from various published sources and have varying degrees of precision.  Everything is relative. No attempt is made to list everything that ever happened.  More detailed information is contained in the various works cited in the bibliography.  Non-DC comics events listed are included because of their relevance to the history of DC Comics, not to their own companies.  An attempt has been made to refer to the company by the appropriate name in each time period.  This is not an attempt to explain super-hero continuity.  There are other web sites that do that.  All opinions given are mine and probably can't be changed.  Factual errors will be thankfully corrected. Comments
1835-1936
1956-1959
1966-1969
1976-1979
 1986-1989
1996-1999
1937-1945
1960-1965
1970-1975
1980-1985
 1990-1995
2000-2005
1946-1955
 Piranha
DC's "other" comics
Vertigo
Paradox
 
1966 
 
Jan  1/12/66 Batman TV show begins.  Twice a week on ABC.

Bob Haney takes over writing Aquaman with 25

Teen Titans get their own title.

Dave Wood’s Dial H for Hero begins in House of Mystery 156, pushing Martian Manhunter to the back of the book.

Spectre revived in Showcase 60, story by Gardner Fox and art by Murphy Anderson.

Johnny Romita leaves National to work for Stan Lee at Marvel, beginning on Daredevil but soon taking over Spider-Man.

1st Golden Age reprints in Superman183 (80 Page Giant).

Feb  Go-Go checks begin.  A checkerboard stripe is added to top of all DC  books to make them more readily identifiable on the newsstand.

Challengers/Doom Patrol crossover (1st ever) begins in Challengers 48.

Steve Ditko returns to Charlton to revive Captain Atom. (#79)

Justice League of America 42 contains possibly the first reference to the Silver Age of Comics in a letter from Scott Taylor of Connecticut.
 

Mar  Direct Currents begins- DC's answer to Marvel's Bullpen Bulletins page, but it simply promotes titles on sale each month, containing none of the humor and "behind the scenes" stuff that Marvel's does.

Reach for Happiness- soap opera serial with art by Gene Colan begins in Secret Hearts 110.

Supergirl’s first giant in Action 334.  Only DC character to get an "annual" without having her own title.

March 29- It's A Bird, It's A Plane, It's Supeman! debuts on Broadway by David newman and Robert Benton with songs by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams. Bob Holiday played Superman.  It ran through July.

Apr  Kanigher and Novick’s Capt Hunter replaces Larry Rock in Our Fighting Forces 99.  1st DC war book to take place in Vietnam.

Enchantress introduced in Strange Adventures 187

Myron Fass's MF Enterprises begins publishing Captain Marvel.  The first issue features a villain called Plastic Man.  The second issue features Dr. Fate, the third, the Bat.  DC and Marvel begin legal action.  Marvel contends any comic book title featuring the word "Marvel" is a violation of their rights.
 

May  Superman comic strip ends.
Jun  Swing With Scooter, an English "mod" version of Archie, begins. Written by Barbara Friedlander and Jack Miller and drawn by Joe Orlando.

Robert Kanigher’s Poison Ivy first appears in Batman 181.

Three Girls Three begins in Heart Throbs 102 with art by Jay Scott Pike.

Inferior 5 begins in Showcase 62 by E. Nelson Bridwell and Joe Orlando.

Jerry Siegel quits, in anticipation of renewing his lawsuit against National.

Jul  Thirteen year old fan Jim Shooter breaks into comics with his first story in Adventure 346.  He creates four new Legionnaires.

Arnold Drake introduces Camp Wack-A-Boy in Jerry Lewis 95.

Steve Ditko quits Marvel comics.

DC sort of brings back Plastic Man as an identity for Robby Reed in Dial H For Hero In House of Mystery 160.  This is DC's first attempt to establish re-establish ownership of the character after Myron Fass attempted to use the name for a villain in his Captain Marvel comic.
 

Aug  "Camp" elements seep into the Batman comic book, due to the success  of the TV show. 

8/03/66 Batman movie appears.

Batman team-ups begin in Brave and Bold 67.

Camp threatens to expand to other titles- witness Justice League 46.  Batman becomes predominant cover feature.

Jim Shooter introduces the Parasite in Action 340, searching for a villain Superman can have fist fights with.  DC attempts to come to grips with Marvel’s sales success by increasing emphasis on "action" over plot. 

Edmond Hamilton retires.

Sep  9/10/66 Filmation's New Adventures of Superman begins on CBS. Bud Collyer reprises his radio role as the voice of the animated Man of Steel.

The first cracks in National’s invincibility begin to appear. All-American Men Of War cancelled (#117). House Of Secrets cancelled (#80) . Eclipso, Prince Ra-Man dropped. Mystery In Space cancelled (#110)

Oct  Wonder Woman art returns to 60’s style- stories no longer set in the forties (#165).

Nov  Since the character was optioned for a TV show,  National decides they finally have to really do something with Plastic Man.  Murray Boltinoff edits. The first issue is drawn by Gil Kane but after that things lose focus and the book is cancelled after 10 issues.

 Flash gets married to Iris West in Flash 165. (Conversely, in Green Lantern 49 Carol dumps Hal and Hal quits his job and leaves Coast City.)  This is DC’s third super-hero wedding, after Aquaman and Elasti-Girl of the Doom Patrol.

Batman gets top billing over Superman, starting in World’s Finest 162.

Myron Fass's fourth and last issue of Captain Marvel changes the name of the Bat to the Ray.  Previously Plastic Man became Elastic Man under threat of legal action by DC.

Dec 
   
1967 
 

Jan  In a last-ditch attempt to save the book, Bob Haney converts the Blackhawks into super-heroes.  The attempt lasts 14 issues.

Barbara Friedlander takes over Heart Throbs.

Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino’s Batgirl debuts in Detective 359.  Created for the TV show, which doesn’t get around to using her until September.

Bob Haney and Mike Sekowsky do Bwana Beast in Showcase 66

Gil Kane begins working for Marvel on Captain America and the Hulk.

Feb 

Mar  Inferior Five gets its own title.

Captain Storm cancelled (#18).

Howard Liss’ Lt Hunter’s Hellcats begins in Our Fighting Forces 106, a WWII strip replacing the Vietnam era Captain Hunter.

Bill Finger's last Batman story appears in World's Finest 165.

Apr  National phases out the filler cartoon features, mostly done by Henry Boltinoff, in favor of in house advertising.  Boltinoff continues to produce Cap's Hobby Hints, a half page reader participation strip stuck in whenever there's a hole in the ads.
May  Sea Devils cancelled (#35).

Tomahawk sub-headed "And His Rip-Roaring Rangers" 110.

Jun  Chic Stone begins ghosting Superboy for George Papp as DC editors encourage artists to make the books look more like Marvel.

The love comics, formerly published by Arleigh, are merged under the National banner.

Cary Bates' first story in World's Finest 167, an imaginary tale in which Lex Luthor becomes Superman and Clark Kent becomes Batman.

Jul  Neal Adams does the art on Jerry Lewis 101-104.

Aug  Go-Go Checks discontinued.

ACG goes out of business and cancels their mystery line.

Bob Hope 106-109 drawn by Neal Adams

Myron Fass's last gasp attempt to hang onto the Captain Marvel trademark appears as Captain Marvel presents the Terrible Five.

Sep  Carmine Infantino leaves Flash and becomes National's Editorial  Director, (which means he lays out all the covers).  Flash art is taken over by Ross Andru.  Irv Novick replaces Ross Andru on Wonder Woman 172.

Bomba The Jungle Boy begins.

9/2/67 Filmation's Superman -Aquaman Hour begins. 

Oct  Arnold Drake's Deadman begins in Strange Adventures. Jack Miller replaces Jack Schiff as editor. 

Mighty Comics (Archie) gives up the super-hero ghost.
 

Nov  Carmine Infantino’s last Flash appears (#174)
The Spectre gets his own series, forcing editor Julie Schwartz to relinquish Hawkman (22) to George Kashdan.

Teen Beat begins.  Not a comic book but a pop music magazine printed comic book size.  Apparently a bad idea, because it only lasts two issues.

Neal Adams first non-humor covers appear on Lois Lane 79 and Action 356.  Soon, he appears to be drawing all the covers for the line, usually over Carmine Infantino layouts.

Dec  Wayne Boring fired from Superman. Last art in Action 357.

Neal Adams takes over the full art on Deadman in Strange Adventures 207, ushering in a whole new way to draw super-hero comics, by combining Kirby layouts with Stan Drake photo-realism.    Sales, however, suck and the strip only lasts 12 issues.

Marvel publishes the first issue of Marvel Super-Heroes starring Captain Marvel- the first comic published by Marvel Comics, Inc.  in an attempt to nail the trademark down in every possible permutation.

   
1968
 
Jan  Teen Beat renamed Teen Beam, cancelled (#2)

Lois Lane 80 begins a new look for the book with continued stories, mod clothes, new hairdo and a rejection of Superman. 

Feb  2/23/68 National Periodical Publications merges with Kinney to become Kinney National Services.  Kinney is owned by Steven Ross, a funeral home manager and Caesar Kimmel, a parking lot investor and son of a notorious New Jersey gambler.  Kinney is mainly interested in National as a magazine distributor and licensing agency.

Tales Of The Unexpected renamed The Unexpected (#105)  and becomes National's first horror/mystery title - Murray Boltinoff Editor.

Adventures Of Bob Hope cancelled (#109)
 

Mar  Metamorpho cancelled (#17)

The Kents rejuvenated by an alien race! in  Superboy 145

Don Segal and Steve Ditko’s Creeper makes his 1st appearance in Showcase 73

Batman TV show ends.

Apr  E Nelson Bridwell's  Secret Six begins (Boltinoff, then Giordano, ed).

The Fox And The Crow renamed Stanley & His Monster (#109), 

George Kashdan fired, former Charlton editor Dick Giordano becomes editor of Aquaman (39), Teen Titans (#15) and Young Love (?)67

Marvel begins splitting its anthology titles into solo books, thereby rapidly increasing the size of their comics line.

Art changes abound as Infantino tries to shake things up. Ross Andru starts drawing Superman in Action 362.  Irv Novick takes over Lois Lane (82)
 

May  Jack Schiff retires

Former EC and Mad artist Joe Orlando becomes editor of House of Mystery (174).  Dial H for Hero and Martian Manhunter dropped in favor of horror/mystery stories.  In House of Mystery 175 the old EC horror host motif is revived with the introduction of Cain.

Neal Adams first draws Batman in World's Finest 176.

Plastic Man cancelled (#10)

Dick Giordano becomes editor of Strange Adventures (212) 

Beware The Creeper begins (Giordano, ed)

Howie Post’s Anthro appears in Showcase 74.

Jun  Zap#1 by R. Crumb- 1st underground comic book

Enemy Ace becomes the cover feature of Star Spangled War Stories 139.

Murray Boltinoff becomes editor of Brave and Bold. Jack Miller becomes editor of Metal Men.  Mike Sekowsky takes over the art.

Joe Orlando takes over Young Romance (154).

Joe Orlando revamps Binky in Leave It To Binky 61 with Stan Goldberg on the art to make it look more like an Archie title. 

Neal Adams begins drawing Tomahawk covers and the book settles down to be a more realistic western again.(116)

Jul  Howie Post’s Anthro begins after an appearance in Showcase 74.

Joe Kubert replaces Robert Kanigher as editor of the war titles. Kanigher continues as a writer on salary. Jack Miller becomes editor of  Wonder Woman.
.
Steve Ditko’s  Hawk and Dove begins in Showcase 75 (Giordano, ed, with dialogue by Steve Skeates).

Murray Boltinoff becomes editor of Superboy with issue 149.  Artist Bob Brown and writer Frank Robbins replace the old Weisinger stand-bys.

Aug Carmine Infantino listed as Editorial Director in the indicia.

Carmine Infantino buys out Bob Kane's contract and a new direction  begins in Batman 203 under Frank Robbins and Irv Novick - darker, more serious and much more mystery and action oriented.

The Hawk And The Dove get their own title.  Ditko leaves the book almost immediately to be replaced by Gil Kane.

Hawkman cancelled (#27) (merged into The Atom & Hawkman)

The New Hunted Metal Men (33) begin, as new editor Jack Miller tries to make the humorous robots dark and menacing.

Showcase 76 presents Bat Lash, a new type western created by Sheldon Mayer, Howie Post, Sergio Aragones or Carmine Infantino, depending on who you ask.

The Mad, Mod Witch becomes National's second horror host in Unexpected 108.

The Life and Loves of Lisa St. Claire begins in Young Love 68.

Young Love 69 published as a giant but not included in the Giant series numbering.

Sep  9/68 Batman/Superman Hour brings super-heroes to Saturday morning on CBS.  Olan Soule plays Batman,  Casey Kasem plays Robin.

Joe Simon's Brother Power The Geek begins, inspired by hippies, flower-power and underground comics, but board member Jack Liebowitz is scared the book promotes drugs and insists it be cancelled before sales figures come in.

Wonder Woman converted into non-powered secret agent type comic. (178).  Denny O’Neil writes and Mike Sekowsky draws, Jack Miller edits.

Doom Patrol cancelled (#121) Team dies in last story, while the creative staff appeals to readers for a reprieve.

Bomba The Jungle Boy (#7) and Inferior Five cancelled (#10).

Angel and the Ape introduced in Showcase 77.

The Wonderful World of Comics begins published randomly in various titles.  The first one appears in Hawk and Dove #1.  Touted as "your own fanzine", it is DC's answer to Marvel's Bullpen Bulletins page, a cross between a general letters page and a promotional blurb for new titles..

Oct  Bat Lash gets his own comic.

DC’s first toy tie-in comic, Captain Action begins.  The first two issues are edited by Mort Weisinger and written by Jim Shooter.  Afterwards Julius Schwartz and Gil Kane take over.  Either way, the book is a failure and is cancelled with issue 5.

DC Special begins- a symptom of Carmine Infantino’s fixation on reprints to cut the cost of comics production.

The Atom renamed The Atom & Hawkman (#39).

Stanley & His Monster cancelled (#112).

Blackhawk. cancelled (#243) after two issues that attempted to take the series back to its roots

Nov  Angel And The Ape begins.

Denny O’Neil replaces Gardner Fox on Justice League 66- Dick Dillin replaced Mike Sekowsky in August.

Charlton Hero line cancelled.

Tower's Thunder Agents last issue with new material is published.

Dec  DC begins publishing Fact File pages in some of their titles touting the history of their old comics characters.  The first features The Tarantula and appears in Batman 207, among other titles.  The pages are compiled by fan, Mark Hanerfield.
   
1969 
 
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster attempt to copyright Superman in their own names when the orignal copyrights come up for renewal.  They end up in court with National for six years before losing their case.
Jan  Binky's Buddies and A Date With Debbi begin,  as National expands its Archie style teen line.

Bill Finger's last regular story appears in Tomahawk 120.

Feb  National finally offers another horror title to go with House of Mystery. The Witching Hour begins. (Giordano,ed) 

Showcase 80 presents the Phantom Stranger. (Orlando, ed) mostly reprints .

Gardner Fox’s last DC script appears in Detective 384, as the older writers are shunted aside in favor of a new generation judged more capable of meeting the challenge posed by Marvel.
 

Mar  Beware The Creeper cancelled (#6)

Jack Miller fired.  Mike Sekowsky becomes editor of Metal Men, and Wonder Woman.

Deadman dropped.  Strange Adventures becomes home to Adam Strange reprints, under editor Julius Schwartz
.
Showcase 81 presents Windy and Willy (redrawn Dobie Gillis reprints).

80 Page Giants reduced to 64 pages with Action Comics 373.

Apr  National moves to 909 Third Ave.  Irwin Donenfeld resigns.  Paul Wendell becomes President. 

Dick Giordano takes over Secret Hearts (135). Murray Boltinoff takes over Falling In Love (106) and Girls’ Romances (139). Joe Orlando takes over Heart Throbs (119) and Girls’ Love Stories (142).  Orlando and Giordano try to update their titles to reflect sixties style and ideas.  Boltinoff goes the traditional route.

Debbi's Dates begins.

Secret Six cancelled (#7).

May  The Phantom Stranger (second series) begins- early issues use reprints of old PS and Ghost Breaker stories.

Windy And Willy begins- reprints from Dobie Gillis, redrawn and 
modernized.

The Spectre cancelled (#10).

Martian Manhunter leaves Earth in Justice League 71.

Jun  Price increase to $.15

Supergirl moves to Adventure Comics (381).  The Legion of Super Heroes is relegated to the back of Action.

The new titles begun in 1968 for the most part fail to catch on, caught in the Batman TV show backlash and the comics flood from minor publishers jumping on the super hero bandwagon?. Captain Action (#5) and The Hawk And The Dove cancelled (#6) (Jun). Anthro cancelled (#6).

Otto Binder retires.
 

Jul  July 8, 1969 Kinney National buys Warners/7 Arts.

Abel first appears in DC Special #4.

Aug  House Of Secrets revived (#81) (National's 5th horror title). 
Giordano edits.  Cain's brother Abel logically becomes the host.

Prof "dies" in Challengers 69- Corinna Stark replaces him as Challengers moves towards the horror/mystery genre (O’Neil and Sparling started the previous issue- new costumes)

Swing with Scooter#20 is Giant F-1 as a second Giant Series is started. (two Scooters this month).

In Brave and Bold 85 Neal Adams redesigns Green Arrow’s costume and elevates a pedestrian Bob Haney script into something ground breaking.

Berni Wrightson’s artwork first appears in Showcase 74 on the second appearance of Nightmaster, a sword and sorcery feature.

Sep Sugar and Spike 85 is Giant F-2

Donna Troy is revealed to be Wonder Girl in Teen Titans 23, courtesy of Marv Wolfman, as fans start breaking into the ranks of published writers and "fixing" continuity "errors".

Oct  From Beyond The Unknown begins- more reprints

More cancellations as the Silver Age begins to crash and burn. The Atom & Hawkman (#45), Bat Lash  (#7), Meet Angel (#7, Nov- renamed from Angel And The Ape), Windy And Willy (#4, Nov), Metal Men (#41, Dec)

The Losers (Gunner and Sarge, Johnny Cloud, Capt Storm) first introduced in a Haunted Tank story in GI Combat 138.

Heller of the Hellcats introduced in Our Fighting Forces 121.

Neal Adams fired by Murray Boltinoff for rewriting Bob Haney’s script for Brave and Bold  86.

Marvel leaves Independent News for Curtiss Circulation Corp.  Now that Independent is no longer making money from the sale of Marvel Comics, their sales success vs National  becomes a much greater cause for concern.

Nov  Black Canary joins the Justice League in JLA 75. Denny O’Neil revamps Green Arrow’s personality to match Neal Adams’ new costume.

Dec  Larry Niven's essay "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex", about Superman's sex life appears in the smut magazine Knight.  The reaction to it is strong evidence for the theory that super-hero fans have no sense of humor.

Robin leaves for college and Batman becomes a solo hero in Batman  217.

Snapper Carr betrays the JLA in Justice League of America 77, a confluence of events which marks the end of the Silver Age of Comics.
 

Bibliography

 
All characters and artwork copyright by DC Comics Inc.