08/13/05

1980-1985
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
   
1980 
 
Jan  Superboy and the Legion of Super- Heroes renamed Legion of  Super-Heroes  (#259)

New Adventures of Superboy begins, as Julius Schwartz, Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger try to recapture the sixties.

Superboy Spectacular #1 becomes DC's first title offered to the Direct Market only, (although it was actually created for the Scholastic Book Club.)

Jonah Hex and Other Western Tales Digest cancelled (#3)

Adventure Comics reverts to 36 pages and features Starman and Plastic Man, in anticipation of the new animated series.  Steve Ditko draws Starman, a new character unrelated to the Golden Age hero in any way.

Mike Friedrich's Star Reach, the first "independent" comic book, is cancelled after 19 issues, just on the verge of the direct market explosion.  Friedrich would go on to become an artist and writer agent, the first in the industry.

Feb  Excalibur Enterprises (Roger Slifer) licenses Archie Goodwin and Walt Simonson's Manhunter stories for a paperback collection.  Shade the Changing Man is supposed to follow, but it never comes out.
Mar  DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest replaces the Jonah Hex western digest on the schedule with another rotating title.  The first issue is composed of Legion of Super-Heroes reprints.

Unexpected reverts to 36 page size, while Detective goes monthly and stays a giant. 

Men Of War cancelled (#26).

Dick Dillin, long time artist of Blackhawk and Justice League, dies. (3/2/80)

Gold Key pulls their comics from newsstand distribution and sells them only in plastic bags through toy stores.

Apr 
May 
Jun  Time Warp cancelled (#5)

Roy Thomas leaves Marvel for DC as part of the continued fallout from Jim Shooter's try to consolidate all editorial power.

Firestorm becomes a member of the JLA 179 as Gerry Conway tries to save his cancelled character from oblivion.

Jul  Untold Legend Of The Batman , a 3-issue mini series by Len Wein,  John Byrne and Jim Aparo begins.  DC's second mini-series, soon to become a flood.
Aug  All-Out War cancelled (#6). GI Combat becomes a monthly dollar title instead.

Weird Western Tales cancelled (#70).

Mystery In Space returns (#111) as a way to use up the Time Warp inventory.

Sep  9/80? The Super Friends Hour

Steve Trevor again returns from the dead in Wonder Woman 271.

DC increases art pages to 25 (from 17, raising the price to $.50) allowing for back-up strips and longer stories.  New strips include: Whatever Happened to...(reviving old, forgotten heroes) in DC Comics Presents, Firestorm in Flash, Scalphunter in Jonah Hex, Aquaman in Adventure, Nemesis in Brave and Bold, Adam Strange in Green Lantern, Huntress in Wonder Woman and Omac in Warlord.

Independent News changes its name to Warner Publisher Services.

Whitney Ellsworth dies 9/8/80.

Charlton offers young artists the chance to have their work printed for free.

John Byrne and Chris Claremont kill Jean Grey, one of the founding members of the X-Men under orders from Jim Shooter in X-Men 137.  This new tendency towards "realism" in super hero stories attracts the attention of a new generation of fans and helps boost sales of X-Men astronomically.  Beginning of Iron Age of comics?

Oct  Frank Miller takes over Daredevil at Marvel, ushering an era of ultra-violence, pushing the code as far as it can be forced to go.  Beginning of Iron Age of Comics?

Marv Wolfman and George Perez's New Teen Titans debut as a special free 8 page insert in DC Comics Presents 26. First of a number of new marketing experiments DC tries to expose new titles to readers.

Marv Wolfman's first Superman scripts start showing up in 352.

Nov  New Teen Titans begins in its own magazine.

Detective Comics returns to 36 page size (#496), as the Dollar Comic experiment begins winding down.

Marv Wolfman takes over writing Green Lantern #134, restoring the strip to its former sixties glory.  Joe Staton handles the art.

Creature Commandos begins in Weird War Tales 93. Marc DeMatteis has three GIs volunteer to be converted into monsters to help the war effort.

Dec  The War that Time Forgot, the sixties series that featured GIs vs dinosaurs, returns for an encore in Weird War Tales 94, still written by Robert Kanigher.

Deathstroke the Terminator is introduced in New Teen Titans 2.

An attempt is made to breathe new life into the horror titles by giving each one a lead feature and individual personality.  Mr E begins in Secrets of Haunted House 31 by Bob Rozakis and Dan Spiegle. Dr 13, Ghost Breaker returns in Ghosts 95, by Paul Kupperberg and Michael Adams and Johnny Peril returns in Unexpected 205. 

   
1981 
 
Jan  Secrets Of The Legion Of Super-Heroes, a  3-issue mini series by E Nelson Bridwell, Paul Kupperberg, Jimmy Janes and Frank Chiarmonte attempts to chronicle the complete history of the Legion for the first time, as well as tell a new story.

Space Ranger, an almost forgotten hero of the early sixties, returns in the pages of Green Lantern136, allowing DC to protect their trademark.

Feb  Sol Harrison retires (2/13/81). Jeannette Khan becomes President of DC Comics. Joe Orlando becomes V P- Editorial Director.

The Spectre guest stars in the Dr 13 story in Ghosts 97-99.

Feb 9,1981, Jay Emmett, nephew of Jack Liebowitz and former head of National's Licensing Corp of America, and current VP of Warner, pleads guilty to two felony counts of money laundering at the Westchester Theatrea company Warner owned stock in.  Shortly thereafter, he resigns.

Mar  Marv Wolfman and Carmine Infantino revive Dial H for Hero in Adventure 479,  replacing Aquaman  (who moves to Action), Plastic Man, (who moves to Super Friends) and Starman, (who dies in DC Presents 36).  The new book is based on characters submitted by readers and is an attempt to go after the same younger readers targetted by Marvel with Micronauts and Rom.

I, Vampire! -by Marc DeMatteis and Tom Sutton provides the last horror book, House of Mystery (290) with a hero of its own.

Mystery In Space cancelled (#117)

Marvel releases Dazzler #1 available through comic shops only.  This is a test to see if direct sales can sustain a title without newsstand distribution.  Initial orders are for 400,000 copies.  Now available in quarter bins everywhere.

Apr  Carmine Infantino returns to the Flash (#296), although he refuses to set foot inside DC's offices.
May  Tales Of The Green Lantern Corps is a 3-issue mini by Mike Barr, Len Wein and Joe Staton.  The emphasis is put on the Corps itself as a science fiction concept and touting the immense variety of alien Green Lantern characters which makes the book truly unique among super-hero comics.
Jun  Fantagraphics issues the first issue of Amazing Heroes.
Jul Madame Xanadu is DC's first direct sales only comic book.  The one-shot special issue contains a story by Steve Englehart originally planned for Doorway into Nightmare, then for a Madame Xanadu mini-series, but DC and Englehart couldn't agree to terms so he never wrote the other two issues.  The book sells over 100,000 copies.

Marvel publishes Superman vs the Amazing Spider-Man as Marvel Treasury Edition 28.

Dick Giordano returns to DC as Batman (#337) editor.  Also Brave and Bold and Detective.

GI Robot begins in Weird War Tales 101 by Robert Kanigher, no stranger to robots in khaki since the sixties.

Dr 13, (Ghosts102), Mr E (Haunted House 40), and Johnny Peril (Unexpected 213) end, as DC decides adding series characters didn't help the horror titles sales at all.

Aug  World's Finest goes monthly.  It, GI Combat, and Superman Family are now the only Dollar comics left.

Super Friends cancelled (#47).  Plastic Man moves to World's Finest.

In Vigilante 20, Adrian Chase retires when he becomes a judge, only to be replaced by a mysterious new Vigilante who is even more of a murdering lunatic than the Chase was.

Sep  Roy Thomas’ first two DC creations, All-Star Squadron (featuring DC's WWII era super-heroes) and Arak, Son Of Thunder (featuring an American Indian raised by Vikings) begin.

Krypton Chronicles 3-issue mini. E Nelson Bridwell has Superman investigate his ancestors in order to attract the huge genealogy audience to comic books.

Superman's Fortress of Solitude by Roy Thomas and Ross Andru looks like an All-New Collector's Edition tabloid, but it's really DC Special Series 26.

Jack Adler retires 9/1/81. Bob Rozakis replaces him as DC’s production manager.

Oct  Gene Colan leaves Marvel after 15 years, due to problems with Jim Shooter and takes over the art on Batman 340.

DC raises price to $.60 for regular issues.

Nov  Captain Victory by Jack Kirby appears from Pacific Comics, followed by  Mike Grell’s Starslayer (Feb).   Both titles are only available through comic shops served by the direct sales market.  Both are regular sized color comics.  Starslayer was originally  prepared for DC before the Implosion.

Adam Strange ends in Green Lantern146 to be replaced by the immensely popular Green Lantern Corps.

Dr Fate becomes the new backup in Flash (306)

Dec  Batman and the Hulk team up in a Tabloid (Treasury) sized book known to very few as DC Special Series 27, the last of that series numbering.  Story by Len Wein.
   
1982
 
Jan  DC announces royalty program for artists and writers and begins returning artwork from its vast inventory.

The Phantom Zone 4-issue mini by Steve Gerber and Gene Colan, gets the Phantom Zone confused with the Twilight Zone, but is a generally well-received expansion of the original idea (kicking around since 1948).

Roy Thomas and Gene Colan take over Wonder Woman as her costume is redesigned for the first time since the forties In Wonder Woman 288 (Feb).  A free 16 page preview appears in DC Comics Presents 41.

Eclipse releases Destroyer Duck #1 by Steve Gerber and Jack Kirby- it's first standard sized newsprint color comic book.  Proceeds go to pay for Steve Gerber's lawsuit against Marvel over ownership of Howard the Duck.

Feb  Adventure  Comics cancelled (#490).  Dial H for Hero moves to the back of Superboy.

Free 16 page previews are all the rage as Roy Thomas' Captain Carrot appears in New Teen Titans 16.

Ka-Zar the Savage, Moon Knight(?) and Micronauts become Marvel’s first direct sales  only titles.

Mar  Dick Giordano becomes Managing Editor of DC Comics absorbing the duties Joe Orlando had before becoming Editorial Director.

Initially planned to be the start of a new children’s line, Roy Thomas’ Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew begins.  The rest of the line never appears.

Paul Levitz returns to writing the Legion with 285.  This is considered by many to be the start of the Legion's period of true greatness. Keith Giffen takes over the art in 287.

Secrets of Haunted House cancelled (#46)

A third independent publisher launches itself as Capital Publications issues Nexus the Liberator #1 by Mike Baron and Steve Rude.  This is a black and white magazine.

Apr  Marvel Graphic Novel #1, featuring the "Death of Captain Marvel" by Jim Starlin ushers in a new Direct Market format: magazine sized, all glossy paper, with full color (rather than four color) printing.  The new product is treated as a book, rather than a periodical, with the intention of remaining permanently in print.  A side effect is that Marvel no longer need worry about publishing a Captain Marvel comic book in order to preserve the trademark and prevent DC from using it.
May  Saga Of The Swamp Thing is put back on the schedule with stories by Martin Pasko.  The book limps along for a couple of years until Alan Moore takes it over.  Phantom Stranger is a backup feature in the early issues.

Ghosts (#112) and The Unexpected cancelled (#222) leaving DC with only one horror title left, House of Mystery. (And Weird War Tales).

Jun  The Fury Of Firestorm begins, returning Gerry Conway's Implosion cancelled teen hero to the newsstands.  Pat Broderick handles the art, as co-creator Al Milgrom is now a Marvel editor.  Firestorm's second run is  much more successful than the first, reaching 100 issues.

Tales of the New Teen Titans is a 4-issue mini, spotlighting the newer members of the Titans, including Changeling, Cyborg...

Marvel begins licensing GI Joe. The comic, based on a set of toys, and a tv show,  runs till 1994, helping to increase Marvel's strong presence with younger readers.

The DC Editorial Line Up 1982
Ross Andru Karen Berger Murray Boltinoff Carl Gafford Joe Kubert
Jonah Hex House of Mystery GI Combat Adventure Comics Digest
Best of DC Digest
Sgt Rock
Dave Manak Julie Schwartz
(w Nelson Bridwell)
Marv Wolfman Laurie Sutton Len Wein
Captain Carrot Action
DC Comics Presents
New  Advs of Superboy
New Advs of Supergirl
Superman
Weird War Tales      (Nelson Bridwell solo)
Night Force
Arak Son of Thunder
Flash
Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
World's Finest
Legion of Super Heroes
Warlord
All Star Squadron
Batman
Brave and Bold
Camelot 3000
Detective
Fury of Firestorm
Justice League
New Teen Titans
Saga of the Swamp Thing
Dick Giordano- Managing Editor, Paul Levitz- VP of Operations
Jul  circa- Swamp Thing the movie is released.

DC releases it's first ever in house published trade paperback- The Great Superman Book Collection.

DC produces a comic book called Atari Force that can only be obtained by purchasing the computer video game, Defender.

A character called the Monitor first appears in New Teen Titans 21.  This shadowy character would pop up in comics over the next two years, mostly as one-panel cameos as a foreshadowing to the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Eclipse moves into full color comics full force with Don McGregor's Sabre and Steve Englehart's Scorpio Rose (based on unused Madame Xanadu material).

Aug  Night Force begins, by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. Early titles included Challengers and Dark Force.

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest cancelled (#24)

"The Great  Darkness Saga" begins in Legion of Super-Heroes 290 as the Legion faces Darkseid and his clones of the greatest heroes of the 20th century.

Sep  Adventure Comics revived (#491) as a digest sized book.  To distinguish it from DC's other digests, it features consecutive reprints of old issues of Aquaman and the Spectre.

Superman Family cancelled (#222)

World's Finest is reduced to 36 pages once again.  Only GI Combat remains as a dollar book.  Green Arrow continues as the only back-up feature.

Chris Claremont and Frank Miller bring Len Wein's Wolverine from X-Men into his own mini-series, adding Japanese manga twists to his background.  Miller's ultra-violent approach to super-hero comics sparks strong interest from a new generation of readers.  Beginning of the Iron Age?

Oct  Blackhawk revived (#251) when Steven Spielberg options the character for a movie.  The movie is never made and the comic is subsquently cancelled again. (But Mark Evanier and Dan Spiegle did a really good job.)

Unknown Soldier cancelled (#268)

The annual JLA/JSA crossover expands to include the All Star Squadron.  Also featuring Per Degaron, the Crime Syndicate of America and the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Four parts: JLA 207-8 and All Star Squad 14-15.

Marvel and DC Present: The Uncanny  X-Men and the New Teen Titans, the first intercompany crossover to be published in standard comic book size on the the new white paper.

Nov  Arion, Lord Of Atlantis begins, replacing Pandora Pann on the schedule because Len Wein's editoral duties prevented him from writing it.  Paul Kupperberg spins this series off from its role as a back-up in Warlord.

Daring New Adventures Of Supergirl begins, as Paul Kupperberg and Carmine Infantino turn the clock back and make Supergirl into a teen ager entering college again.  Long-time fans' heads spin.

Dick Giordano promoted to Vice Presiden-Executive Editor.

Dec  Camelot 3000, a 12-issue mini -DC’s first direct sales only title, printed on white heavier paper. Written by Mike Barr and drawn by Brian Bolland.

World's Finest drops its last back-up and becomes a straight Superman/Batman title.

Masters of the Universe is a 4-issue mini series based on the popular collection of action figures.

With the departure of Laurie Sutton, DC allows certain writers to once again edit their own work, as Gerry Conway takes over Firestorm and Roy Thomas takes over Arak and Captain Carrot.

Ambush Bug first appears in DC Comics Presents 52, by Paul Kupperberg and Keith Giffen.

Marvel begins dumping white paper reprints of seventies comics on the direct sales market, begining with Jim Stalin's Warlock.

Harvey declares bankruptcy.

   
1983 
 
Jan  Jim Starlin's Dreadstar becomes the first of Marvel's new Epic line of comics; creator owned titles aimed at the direct market.
Feb 
Mar  Superman Special #1 reprints material originally prepared for the European market.  This issue is written and drawn by Gil Kane.

Batman 387 by Gerry Conway and Don Newton introduces a new young boy into Bruce's life, Jason Todd.

Archie re-enters the super hero market with the Mighty Crusaders, updated for the direct market.

Warren magazines cease publication.

Apr  Omega Men begins- DC’s first ongoing direct sales only title.  Created by Marv Wolfman and originally appearing in Green Lantern, the book is written by Roger Slifer as an exercise in libertarian propaganda.

First Comics is another new entry in the direct sales market, starting off with Joe Staton's E-man, formerly published by Charlton, and Mike Grell's Sable.

Bill Black's Americomics issues Americomics #1, an anthology series soon to include new stories featuring the Charlton heroes of the 60s.

Capitol Comics' Nexus moves to standard color comics size, and is now printed on white paper, starting over with a new number 1. 

May  Masterworks Series Of Great Comic Artists begins, featuring reprints of DC stories, but published by Sea Gate Distributors (Phil Seuling).  The first two issues feature Shining Knight stories by Frank Frazetta.

Amethyst, Princess Of Gemworld 12-issue mini. Was supposed to be part of a line of female oriented comics including Pandora Pann by Len Wein.  However, the other books never materialized. Written by Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn with art by Ernie Colon. A 16 page promo section was included in Legion of Super-Heroes 298 to kick off the series.

Green Arrow 4-issue mini by Mike Barr and Trevor Von Eeden.

Jun  Weird  War Tales cancelled (#124). As some pundits believe Weird War Tales began the Bronze Age, its cancellation may be considered the end of the Bronze Age.

Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen introduce Lobo in Omega Men 3.

Cary Bates and Marv  Wolfman redesign Superman's two greatest enemies, Lex Luthor and Brainiac, in Action 544, a special double-length issue.  The revamped villains are supposed to be modernized and made more menacing.

Doug Moench leaves Marvel because of disagreements with Jim Shooter and becomes the new Batman writer with issue 360.

Jul  Frank Miller leaves Marvel and comes to DC where he produces  Ronin, DC’s first Iron Age mini-series. (6 issues).

Brave And The Bold cancelled (#200). Last issue features a 16 page preview of the new title Batman and the Outsiders.

Superman III- the movie, with Richard Pryor is released.

Aug  Batman & The Outsiders begins, by Mike Barr and Jim Aparo.  Batman quits the Justice League and forms his own super-team, featuring Metamorpho, Black Lightning and several new characters.

In Flash 324, the Flash kills Professor Zoom in order to save the life of his fiancee.  This leads into the 26 part story-line, "The Trial of the Flash."

Americomics Special 1 features Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Nightshade and the Question in a story originally scheduled for Charlton Bullseye.

Americomics #3 features a battle between the Dan Garrett Blue Beetle and the Ted Kord Beetle as well as an appearance by the Beetle from the forties.

Sep  Sword Of The Atom 4-issue mini by Gil Kane and Jan Strnad, sends Ray Palmer into the wilds of the Amazon where he meets a tribe of really short people, and becomes a quasi-Conan character.

Adventure Comics cancelled (#503)  DC's second oldest and longest running titles, finally bites the dust.

Night Force cancelled (#14)

Oct  The DC/Marvel crossover Avengers vs the JLA is removed from the  schedule due to the inability of Jim Shooter to get along with anybody.

Green Lantern and Green Arrow, a 7-issue mini series for the direct market, printed on white paper, begins a trend of flooding the market with reprints to help recapture revenue which might be diverted to the new direct-only publishers.

House of Mystery cancelled (#321).  DC's last horror anthology titles. 

Nov  The Vigilante begins- DC’s first Dark/ Iron Age super-hero title- a spin-off from the New Teen Titans
by Marv Wolfman and Keith Pollard.  In keeping with DC's recent trend, it is available only through comic shops.

DC's first graphic novel is Star Raiders by Elliot Maggin and Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. ($5.95 for 64 oversized glossy pages and a binding that will fall apart before you finish reading it.)

Captain Carrot cancelled (#20)

The New Teen Titans (minus Robin) appear in a special anti-drug story originally produced for the President's Drug Awareness Campaign and financed by Keebler.

Thriller begins, By Robert Loren Fleming and Trevor Von Eeden. 12 issues.  No one ever did figure out what is was about.

Dec  DC raises prices to $.75 and converts all regular titles  to mando paper, reasoning that fans really shouldn't be able to read the front and back of a page at the same time.

Power Lords, a 3-issue mini is a licensed title based on a set of action figures by Mike Fleisher and Mark Texeira.

Daring New Adventures Of Supergirl renamed Supergirl (#14).

   
1984
 
Jan  Alan Moore takes over the limping Saga of the Swamp Thing title and recasts it into a genuine horror comic, creating an entirely new mythology and backstory for the character.  Moore’s Swamp Thing work would eventually become the first DC title to be collected in permanent form and kept in print indefinitely.  Len Wein edits.

DC buys Charlton’s super-hero characters, primarily to keep them from  being licensed to one of the new independent publishers.


Feb  Atari Force begins. The Gerry Conway series is set a generation after the premium comic series that was only available to people who bought Atari video games.

New Talent Showcase begins, a series designed specifically to develop the talents of amateurs trying to break into the professional ranks.  All the characters featured are new creations. Roger Slifer edits the first three issues- then Karen Berger.

Nathaniel Dusk, Private Investigator is a new mini-series written by Don McGregor and shot directly from Gene Colan's pencils. Alan Gold edits

Jason Todd becomes Robin in Batman 368.

Star Trek #1 by Mike Barr and Tom Sutton brings DC back into the licensed comic book business. Marv  Wolfman edits.

Archie drops out of the direct market and shifts its super-hero titles back to standard newsstand newsprint format.

Mar  Roy Thomas’ Infinity, Inc. begins with art by Jerry Ordway, featuring the children of the Justice Society.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles begins from Mirage Studios.  First black and white comic to incur substantial sales.

Apr  Western/Gold Key/Whitman finally abandons its comics line altogether, the experiment with distributing the books through toy stores having been a failure.
May  DC announces a new line of children's comics, taking advantage of Harvey's  bankruptcy causing a large space to be opened up on the newsstands.  Titles are to include Thud and Blunder by Jim Engel and Roy Thomas, Powers by Gary Friedrich and Roy Thomas,  and the return of Sugar and Spike.  Sadly, none of these comics ever materialized.

Marvel launches the Secret Wars, a 12 part series featuring all of their heroes, which is supposed to change the lives of their characters forever.

Jun  Jack Kirby returns to DC. The New Gods is reprinted as a 6-issue  white paper mini-series for the Direct Market.  A new story is added to the last issue, leading into The Hunger Dogs, a graphic novel concluding the series.

Blue Devil 1 by Dan Mishkin, Gary Cohn and Paris Cullins is a not-quite serious look at the supernatural. Alan Gold edits.

New Adventures Of Superboy cancelled (#54). Supergirl is cancelled in September with #23, two months before the debut of the film!  Originally the intention is to combine the two features into one giant- size book but the plan is dumped due to the decision in early 1985 to revamp the entire DC line.

Jul  Sun Devils 12-issue mini by Gerry Conway and Dan Jurgens is a rather super-heroic looking space opera.
Conway edits.

Jack Kirby returns to DC with the covers to the Super Powers 5-issue mini series by Joey Cavalieri and Adrian Gonzales.  A toy-tie in book, Kirby's involvement in designing action figures based on his New Gods characters results in his receiving royalties for his characters for the first time. Andy Helfer edits.  Kirby does covers.

Dick Grayson picks a new grown-up identity in Tales of the Teen Titans 44.

Superman and Action Comics revamped to feature new talent (a la New Talent Showcase).  Stories are targetted towards younger readers and most issues feature two to three stories patterned after the stories of the early Sixties.

Aug  New Teen Titans and Legion Of Super-Heroes become white paper direct sales only titles. The old newstand versions continue with a plan to reprint the direct sales titles after one year as Tales of the Teen Titans and Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

August, 1984 - Eight years after DC had begun returning all its inventoried original art to its creators Marvel finally offers to return 88 pages of art to Jack Kirby, if he'll sign a statement renouncing all claims to having anything to do with creating the Marvel Characters.  The agreement also forbids him from copying, printing, selling, or even displaying the art in any manner.  Kirby refuses to sign.

Sep  9/8/84 Super Friends- The Legendary Super Powers Show revamped the old series based on a line of action figures produced by Kenner.  Darkseid and other Jack Kirby characters are featured heavily in the show and action figures line.  In contrast to Marvel, DC generously offers Kirby a cut.

Jemm, Son Of Saturn 12-issue mini by Greg Potter and Gene Colan.  Originally intended to be called Son of Mars, but management decided that they didn't want to mess with the Martian Manhunter's continuity (yet).

Marvel continues to sock in their hold on younger readers by adding Transformers, based on the toy line.  The title lasts till 1991.

Oct Superman 400 features the largest cast of top talent ever to tackle the Man of Steel, including Eisner, Steranko and Ditko.

JLA Detroit begins in JLA Annual 2 as Gerry Conway dumps all the big stars from the team and replaces them with "cool" teen-agers: Vibe, Gypsy, Steel and Vixen.

New Talent Showcase cancelled.

Nov 11/23/84 Supergirl, the movie, starring Helen Slater released.

Blackhawk cancelled.

John Stewart replaces Hal Jordan as Green Lantern (#182).

The last issue (#6) of the white paper New Gods reprint series includes a new story by Jack Kirby.

Jack Kirby also draws the Justice League in Super Powers #5.

Pacific Comics suspends publication.

 

Dec  Spanner's Galaxy 6-issue mini by Nick Cuti  and Tom Mandrake.  It's main claim to fame is that it was the first DC title printed on World Color's new Flexographic press.

The Flexographic process involved using water based ink instead of oil based ink and resulted in much brighter colors on the same paper.  Several problems were immediately apparent.  First, the brighter coloring  made it clear how poor the separation work was, especially registration errors.  Second, the rubber plates used had a much shorter lifespan than the previous plates did, resulting in really bad printing at the end of the print run.
Third, the bright colors were really bright, making many books look like your little brother had attacked them with his Crayolas.

Archie drops their super-hero line altogether.

DC Editorial Staff Jan 1985 (pre-Crisis)
Dick Giordano Executive Editor
Julius Schwartz
w/ Nelson Bridwell
Murray Boltinoff
w/ Nick Cuti
Joe Kubert
w/ Nick Cuti
Len Wein Gerry Conway
w/ Janice Race
Action
DC Presents
Superman
GI Combat Sgt Rock 
Arion
Batman
Detective
Green Lantern
Firestorm
Sun Devils
Marv Wolfman
w/ Alan Gold
Ross Andru
w/ Nick Cuti
Roy Thomas
w/ Janice Race
Karen Berger Alan Gold
Omega Men
Star Trek
Vigilante
New Teen Titans (w George Perez)
Tales of the Titans (w George Perez)
Warlord All Star Squadron
Arak Son of Thunder
Infinity Inc
Legion of Super-Heroes
New Talent Showcase
Saga of Swamp Thing
Tales of the Legion
Blue Devil
Justice League
Thriller
Wonder Woman
Mike Barr
w/ Nick Cuti
Andy Helfer Nick Cuti Janice Race
Batman and the Outsiders Atari Force
Super Powers
Best of DC Digest
Jonah Hex
Reprints
World's Finest
   
1985 
 
Jan Amethyst, Princess Of Gemworld (second series) begins. Mishkin and Cohn continue writing, but Ric Estrada takes over the art. (16 issues)

America VS. The Justice Society 4-issue mini focuses on the history of the team as told through Bruce Wayne's diaries - by Roy Thomas with as many artists as the JSA has members.

The Immortal Dr. Fate 4-issue mini is mostly reprints of backup stories that appeared in Flash.

Robotech Defenders 2-issue mini is based on a Japanese cartoon series and toy line.

Wonder Woman becomes a bi-monthly, as the book begins its countdown to cancellation.

Feb V begins- TV series adaption by Cary Bates and Carmine Infantino.

Conqueror Of the Barren Earth 4-issue mini, by Gary Cohn and Ron Randall. Continued from the back-up strip in Warlord.

Jonni Thunder A.K.A. Thunderbolt 4-issue mini, by Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano, a female detective series that's supposed to cross film noir with super-heroics.

Superman: The Secret Years 4-issue mini, by Bob Rozakis, focuses on Superman's college years.  Art by Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger.

Supergirl: The Movie Special by Joey Cavalieri and Gray Morrow.

Mar Who's Who In The DC Universe 26-issue mini, by Peter Sanderson and Len Wein.  Originally supposed to be an index of all things DC, the project was hampered by coming out at a time when the universe was being dramatically changed by the Crisis.  So events chronicled in the earlier issues were no longer true by the time the later issues came out. 
Apr Crisis On Infinite Earths 12-issue mini, by Marv Wolfman and George Perez.  Promised to do what Marvel's Secret Wars also promised but didn't deliver- change the lives of the DC characters forever.   When it was all over, Flash, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Prince Ra-Man, Huntress and many other characters were no more and other characters' lives had been radically altered.  Highly controversial to this day, as many fans consider this to be either the beginning or the end of the DC Universe and they knew it.  Inaugurated the concept of tieing in the current storylines of the charcters' own books directly into the mini-series story line, so that readers needed an index to figure out what order to read the issues in.   The Official Crisis Index (in two volumes) was published by Eclipse Comics.

The first issue was printed using the Flexographic process, and the outcry from fans (including artist George Perez) over the resulting loss of detail caused DC to abandon using the Flexographic Press altogether.

Marvel begins the Star Comics line aimed at children and utilizing most of Harvey's former talent.

May Deadman 7-issue mini, reprints the stories from the original series on white paper.

Shadow War of Hawkman 4-issue mini by Tony Isabella and Richard Howell.  Alan Gold edits.

Newcomer Todd McFarlane becomes penciller of Infinity Inc. with issue 14.

Steve Englehart takes over writing Green Lantern with #188.

Jun
Jack Kirby's epic conclusion to the New Gods saga appears as DC Graphic Novel 4: The Hunger Dogs.
Reproduced on glossy paper, the world finally learns what Jack's photo collages were supposed to look like.

Ambush Bug #1 by Keith Giffen and Robert Loren Fleming.  Satire and silliness.  An actually funny, funnybook. Julie Schwartz edits.

 

Jul Red Tornado mini-series.  Kurt Busiek and Carmine Infantino try to cure Reddy of being the most boring hero in the history of comics. Edited by Alan Gold.

Charlton returns for the last time with a bunch of reprints and some new Ditko material, Charlton Action featuring Static.

Aug  Jonah Hex (#92)  and Atari Force (#20) cancelled. 
Sep 9/85 Finally dropping the Super Friends name, Hanna Barbera produces The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians. It features Adam West as Batman, and includes the first media adaption of Batman's origin.

Hex begins, as the western anti-hero Jonah Hex is transported into a dystopian future, by Michael Fleisher (writer/editor) and Mark Texiera.  16 issues.

A second Super Powers  6-issue mini is released to promote more toys. Jack Kirby draws this one, still edited by Andy Helfer.  Written by Paul Kupperberg.

Arion, Lord of Atlantis cancelled (#35)

Oct Supergirl dies saving the universe in Crisis #7.

Nathaniel Dusk II 4-issue mini. Mcgregor (writer/editor) and Colan (pencils only).

The Flash cancelled (#350).  Tied in to the death of Flash in Crisis #8.

New Talent Showcase cancelled (#19)

Nov
DC Challenge 12-issue mini. This is a round-robin story with each issue by a different artist and writer.  The challenge is that each writer is supposed to set up a challenge for the next writer to solve.  The end result was generally considered to be an incoherent mess.  Giordano edits.

The Outsiders begins, joining Legion and New Teen Titans in the direct sales only/ newsstand reprint a year later format.  At the same time, the decision is made to remove Batman from the team.  Sales plummet.

Arak, Son Of Thunder cancelled (#50)

11/19/85 DC Comics releases a letter supporting Jack Kirby's right to the return of his Marvel Comics artwork.  DC's letter, signed by Jeannette Kahn, Dick Giordano and Paul Levitz, says the art belongs to Kirby and Marvel has no right to "negotiate" over its return.

Dec Shadow of the Batman 5-issue mini collection of 70's stories by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers.

Mask 4-issue mini. This is a toy tie-in. Andy Helfer edits.

DC Science Fiction Graphic Novel begins. The last project edited by Julie Schwartz, features adaptions of works by classic science fiction writers.  Originally planned for bookstore distribution, most were dumped in comic shops and never reached the intended audience.

Bibliography

 
All characters and artwork copyright by DC Comics Inc.