10/01/06

1986-1989
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

 
1986

Jan  Elvira's House of Mystery  begins

Legionnaires Three 4-issue mini

'Mazing Man begins, written by Bob Rozakis, with art by Stephen DeStefano and edited by Alan Gold.  'Mazing Man is the neighborhood super-hero, helping kids and old ladies cross the street, bringing in the mail.  And he's got this neat helmet with an M on it.... 12 issues.

The Oz-Wonderland War is a 3-issue mini series built around Captain Carrot being caught between the opposing forces of Oz and Alice's Wonderland. Drawn by Carol Lay in a style that mimics both Tenniel and John R. Neil.  Nelson Bridwell and Joey Cavalieri script.  Roy Thomas edits.

World's Finest Comics cancelled (#323)

Green Lantern 196 features the return of Guy Gardner, the renegade Green Lantern in a new costume designed by Howard Chaykin.  Steve Englehart writes and Joe Staton draws.

Marvel puts the Punisher, formerly a villain into his own mini-series, continuing the trend towards darker, more ambiguous heroes.

Denny O'Neil leaves Marvel and returns to DC.
Mike Gold leaves First Comics and returns to DC.

Feb Dan Jurgens' Booster Gold begins- 1st series to have its premise sabotaged by DC's "post-Crisis" continuity.
Edited by Janice Race. 

Wonder Woman cancelled (#329)

Aquaman  4-issue mini puts him in a very different blue costume which doesn't catch on.  By Neal Pozner and Craig Hamilton. Edited by Bob Greenberger.

Saga Of The Swamp Thing renamed Swamp Thing  (#46)

Massive flooding in California nearly wipes out Eclipse Comics.

The Comics Journal (#105) takes up the crusade to force Marvel to return Jack Kirby's art to him.

Mar Crisis on Infinite Earths comes to a conclusion with Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Flash and any number of Earth 2 heroes and second string villains dead.  The parallel worlds that had formed the basis of DC continuity for twenty years are gone.  Only one world remains with a past history that is yet undetermined.

Deadman  4-issue mini.  Continues directly from the Strange Adventures series of 15 years earlier, ignoring all subsequent appearances.  A foreshadowing of the new DC attitude towards its own past. Written by Andy Helfer, with art by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez. Edited by Janice Race.

Hawkman Special 1 bridges the gap between the previous mini and the forthcoming series.

Apr Secret Origins (second series) begins.  A schizoid magazine designed to promote DC's newest characters and to celebrate the past which it had just obliterated.

Steve Englehart and Joe Staton restore Hal Jordan's power ring in Green Lantern 199, and set him loose in a world now rather crowded with ring bearers.

After Adrian Chase kills his lunatic successor, Dave Winston takes up the Vigilante role, as this book desperately searches for a reason to continue being published.  Vigilante 28.  Paul Kupperberg writes.  Marv Wolfman edits.

Best Of DC Digest cancelled (#71).  DC leaves the digest market to Archie.

May Electric Warrior begins. Written and edited by Doug Moench with art by Jim Baikie.  A direct sales only science fiction title.

Legend Of Wonder Woman 4-issue mini by Trina Robbins.  A Wonder Woman story set in the old Harry G. Peter style.  Published while DC tried to think of a new direction for the regular title.

Howard Chaykin’s decidedly brutal version of The Shadow appears. 1st of a series of dark  reinterpretations of classic heroes, as the Dark/Iron Age begins to spread throughout the DC line.  The direct sales only title sets a new threshold for adult content in a DC title, following on the trends Chaykin started with American Flagg at First Comics.  Bears a mature readers label. Edited by Andy Helfer.

Ambush Bug 4-issue mini by Robert Loren Flemming and Keith Giffen. Edited by Julie Schwartz.  Smashes the fourth, fifth and sixth walls of comics reality.

Lords of the Ultra-Realm 6 issue mini by Doug Moench and Pat Broderick. Direct sales.  A modern day Vietnam Vet is thrown into a parallel world of sorcery  where the forces of light and darkness are equally balanced.  Or at least will be if he picks the right side.

Omega Men cancelled (#38)

Batman & The Outsiders renamed Adventures of the Outsiders (#33) as the newsstand reprint series catches up to the first Batman-less issue of Outsiders.

Jun Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight  debuts, featuring a dark, pessimistic Batman set in a dystopian present.  Edited by Dick Giordano.  Colored by Lynn Varley.  Probably the first time a comic colorist got equal billing with the penciller.  Previously most graphic novels had appeared in a 11x15 magazine size format. This four issue series was published the same size as a standard comic book but on good paper and square bound with cardboard covers. The format became known as Prestige and became the standard for virtually all high-end comics to follow. The series was the first from DC to go through multiple printings and was then collected into a trade paperback and sold through regular bookstores.

Blue Beetle begins, by Len Wein and Paris Cullins, featuring new adventures of the Charlton/Ditko Blue Beetle.  Unique among all DC's Charlton revivals in that follows directly from the old continuity and makes no changes in the character. 24 issues.  First four issues edited by Julius Schwartz- followed by Karen Berger.

Green Lantern renamed Green Lantern Corps (201) as Steve Englehart attempts to convert the solo hero into an X-Men style team book. Edited by Andy Helfer.

Amethyst, Princess Of Gemworld cancelled (16)

Batman returns to the cast of Justice League with 251 as DC realizes the attempt to remake the team into a group of urban street fighters isn't working.

Murray Boltinoff becomes editor of Sgt. Rock with 410. Adam Kubert takes over the art.

Jul Roots of the Swamp Thing 5-issue mini, reprinting the Wein/ Wrightson classics again, only this time on good paper.

Last Days of the Justice Society. A 68 page "special" in which Roy Thomas, the world's second greatest JSA fan of all time consigns the entire team to Hell and leaves them there forever.

V cancelled (#18)

Son Of Ambush Bug 6-issue mini continues the insanity.  Still by Giffen and Flemming. Edited by Julie Schwartz.

Dark Horse publishes 1st comic: Dark Horse Presents 

Marvel unleashes its "New Universe".

Aug Heroes Against Hunger is a special comic featuring the work of almost everyone at DC.  All profits were donated to famine relief in Ethiopia.

Angel Love begins by Barbara Slate. Advertised as "an Archie for the 80s". Eight issues.

Hawkman  begins, by Tony Isabella, Richard Howell. Edited by Alan Gold.  Continuing the Shadow War against the Thanagarian invaders.

Lois Lane 2-issue mini, by Mindy Newell, Gray Morrow and Editor Bob Greenberger.  The last hurrah of the old Superman crew before the new order cometh.

All Star Squadron 60 ends the series continuity, as the effects of the Crisis come into effect on the story line.  Several more issues would be published utilizing material created for Secret Origins, but the story is over.

Teen Titans Spotlight begins

Sep Watchmen 12-issue mini- Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons explore a world in which there is only one super-hero and a handful of guys who like to play dress-up. A powerful narrative that shows how the super-hero motif could be successful in self-contained format, with a beginning, middle and end (instead of the standard continuing format of all middle)

Super Powers  4-issue mini. Third time around, as DC tries to sell even more "Action figures". by Paul Kupperberg and Carmine Infantino.

DC Comics Presents cancelled (#97)

Superman 423 and Action Comics 583 feature Alan Moore and Curt Swan's classic farewell to the Silver Age: "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"
 
 

-End of Earth 1-


Oct Man Of Steel 6-issue mini. John Byrne restarts the life of Superman, tearing the fabric that holds the DC universe to shreds in the process.  Superman and Action are suspended until the completion of the mini-series. Edited by Andy Helfer.

Nov Legends 6-issue mini. Len Wein, John Ostrander and John Byrne attempt to define the new DC universe as a place where heroes act like heroes and the public supports them.  Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to stick.  First of a trend of summer mini-series which tie in to regular titles and require fans to purchase a gazillion books they ordinarily wouldn't touch to make sense of it all.  Mike Gold edits.

Denny O'Neil becomes Batman editor with 401 and starts off with a Legends/Man of Steel crossover.

DC Graphic Novel 7, Space Clusters, by Arthur Byron Cover and Alex Nino, ends the series.

New World Pictures buys Marvel Comics.

Dec Light-hearted super fare seems to be unpopular as Blue Devil (#31) and 'Mazing Man  (#12) are cancelled.  'Mazing Man, however, lives on in a series of specials.  The Devil is never heard from again.

Cosmic Boy 4-issue mini. Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen try to figure out how the Legion fits into the Byrneiverse. Karen Berger edits. Art by Ernie Colon.

Mike Barr and Alan Davis take over Detective Comics 569 and promptly turn Catwoman back into a villain, as well as dropping the previous several years' continuity.  Denny O'Neil edits.

The third Vigilante is killed in a duel with Peacemaker in Vigilante 36, so Adrian Chase is forced once again to don the mask to avenge his successor's death, as the series spins wildly out of control towards its tragic denouement in Issue 50. (February 1988). Paul Kupperberg (writer) and Mike Gold (editor) are the perpetrators.

12/24/86 Gardner F Fox dies.

12/86  Comic Book Legal Defense Fund established to protect the free speech rights of comic artists, distributors and retailers  The organization is founded after Friendly Frank's, a Michigan retailer is busted for selling Omaha the Cat Dancer.  The store manager is acquitted of all charges, on appeal, but the store is put out of business long before that, when the landlord refuses to renew the lease.

1987
Jan Superman renamed Adventures Of Superman (#424) featuring stories by Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway.

Action Comics returns (#584) as a Superman team-up book, featuring John Byrne's idiosyncratic takes on the heroes of the DC Universe.

Superman #1 begins John Byrne's run on the regular title, as he shows off his originality by bringing back Metallo.

History of the DC Universe 2-issue mini.  Originally promised as the definitive account of DC's new continuity, but as delivered it was simply an oversized picture book by George Perez, with some irrelevant meaningless text by Marv Wolfman.

Demon 1, written and drawn by Matt Wagner, revives the Kirby character. 4 issue mini-series.

John Ostrander replaces Gerry Conway as writer of Fury of Firestorm. (#55)

Batman:The Dark Knight Returns issued as a hardcover collection available through bookstores.

Elvira's House of Mystery cancelled with #11.

1/22/87 E. Nelson Bridwell dies.

Feb Frank Miller and David Mazuchelli, working under editor Denny O’Neil, begin the post-Crisis re-imagining of the Batman legend in "Batman:Year One", starting in Batman 404. The new Batman lives in a much darker world than his predecessor. For instance, all of Gotham’s police department stinks of corruption. Even Detective Gordon’s reputation is under a cloud and Catwoman is portrayed as a sado-masochistic prostitute.

George Perez restarts the Wonder Woman series, upsetting DC "continuity" by having Wonder Woman arrive in Man’s World 10 years after the first appearance of Superman and Batman.  Script by Greg Potter for the first two issues. Edited by Karen Berger.

DC announces its intention of creating ratings and contents guidelines for its comics.  The immediate result will be "Mature Readers" labels on Swamp Thing, Vigilante, the Watchmen and the new Shadow series.  A group of 24 major comics professionals immediately take out a petition rejecting the idea and threatening to withhold their services. 
 

The Question begins, ostensibly continuing from Ditko's original creation, but in actuality resembling it very little.  Denny O'Neil and Denys Cowan create.

Mask returns for a second series of toy promotions.   Written by Michael Fleisher and drawn by Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger. Oh! How the mighty have fallen. 

Transporting western anti-heroes into the far future turns out to be a bad idea. Hex cancelled (#18)

Little Shop of Horrors #1 by Michael Fleisher and Gene Colan attempts to answer the question: Is it possible to adapt a musical into a comic book?

2/20/87 Wayne Boring dies.

Mar Captain Atom begins, by Cary Bates and Pat Broderick.  For some reason Cap's handlers fabricate a "secret past" as a sixties super-hero that is supposed to create a link to the Charlton character.

Who's Who In Star Trek 2-issue mini

All-Star Squadron cancelled (#67), although the plan is to immediately replace it with a title compliant with the new continuity (Young All-Stars).

G.I. Combat cancelled (#288). 

Elvira's Haunted Holidays #1- Christmas horror stories?

Batman returns to the fold in Outsiders #17.

Vigilante begins carrying a "suggested for mature readers" label with issue 39.

Ironwolf reprints the complete Chaykin run from the early 70's in one fat issue.

Apr Shazam!: The New Beginning 4-issue mini, in which Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake attempt to reposition Billy Batson as a force to be reckoned with in the DC Universe.  Sets him up for Justice League membership beginning next month.

The Spectre returns as Doug Moench and Gene Colan try to make an omnipotent super being seem interesting.  Madame Xanadu joins the cast.  Priced at $1.00, the Spectre is offset printed (like the deluxe direct sales titles) but printed on mando paper (like the newsstand titles.)  This is touted by DC as the New Format and soon becomes standard for the direct sale line of titles.  These titles also do not carry Code seals, but are not marked Mature Readers, effectively introducing a third rating category.

The final fate of Gerry Conway's attempt to turn the Justice League into an ersatz Marvel team book is revealed as Justice League Of America is cancelled (#261).  Most of Conway's new characters are shuffled off into oblivion (or worse).

Mark Evanier and Steve Rude try to erase everything that's been done to Mr Miracle since Jack Kirby in Mr. Miracle Special #1.  (Generally speaking, this is a good thing.)

Mike Gold becomes editor of New Teen Titans 30, ending Marv Wolfman's writer/editor relationship with DC.  DC fired Wolfman because he signed the petition objecting to DC's new labelling policy.  Paul Levitz takes over as writer.  Wolfman returns to write with issue 34.

4/15/87 Jim Shooter fired as editor of Marvel Comics.

May John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad begins with art by Luke McDonnell. It portrays the U.S. Government as a callous, ruthless entity which uses captured super-villains as cannon fodder in illegal black bag intelligence operations.

Keith Giffen’s Justice League begins. Taking an extremely opposite approach to the Dark stream that seems to be engulfing DC, he portrays the World’s Greatest Heroes as a bunch of clowns who win as much through pure luck as any actual skill.  Art by Kevin Maguire.  Despite the fact that most fans seems to prefer dark and gritty, this often silly title is a big hit.

DC Science Fiction Graphic Novel  #7, Sand Kings by George R R Martin, adapted by Doug Moench and Pat Broderick, ends the series.   This is the last series DC does in the oversized 11X 15 format.  All future prestige projects are done regular comic, or "bookshelf" size, which increases the willingness of bookstores to actually stock them.

Zatanna one shot by Gerry Conway and Gray Morrow.

Swamp Thing becomes a New Format title, but retains its Mature Readers label. (60)

Julie Schwartz retires.

5/87 Marvel finally returns almost 2000 pages of original art to Jack Kirby, ending a months long controversy over ownership of the material.  11,000 pages of art drawn by Kirby for Marvel are "missing".

Jun Max Allan Collins re-introduces Jason Todd with a new origin that destroys the continuity between the Batman and Teen Titans portion of the DC Universe (Batman 408). The unpopularity of the new Jason Todd is phenomenal.

Mike Barr's Batman: Year Two begins in Detective Comics 575 with art by Alan Davis.  Barr commits the unpardonable sin of depicting Batman with a gun.

Mike Baron re-imagines Wally West as the Flash (Flash #1).  The new Dark Age version of the character is portrayed as a selfish womanizer. Art by Jackson Guice.

Young All-Stars begins. Roy Thomas creates a new group of young heroes in the fires of World War II, to replace the characters who are no longer part of DC history. New Format.

Adventures Of The Outsiders cancelled (#46). The direct/ newsstand dual series idea seems to have not caught on, as very few super-hero fans are left who only frequent newsstands.

Centurions 4-issue mini by Bob Rozakis and Don Heck.  A toy tie-in.

Jul Dr. Fate 4-issue mini by Marc DeMatteis and Keith Giffen. Eric Masterson replaces Kent Nelson as the new Dr. Fate.

Marvel gives "former" super-villain the Punisher his own regular series by Mike Baron and Klaus Janson.  Its runaway sales contributes to the new trend of promoting killers as heroes.

The immense glut of black and white comics released on to the market since the success of  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles finally comes to an end as hundreds of titles are cancelled, and publishers go out of business, often taking retailers and distributors with them.

7/17/87 Superman IV the movie premieres

Aug Mike Grell’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters 3-issue mini series continues the trend of re-imagining classic DC heroes as ruthless vigilantes and murderers- particularly ironic in this case due to Green Arrow’s pivotal role as the idealistic spark of the Bronze / "Relevant" age of the seventies.

The Shadow begins, by Andrew Helfer and Bill Sienkiewicz, following along after Howard Chaykin's mostly incomprehensible mini-series, which is reprinted as a trade paperback.  Deluxe Format.

Superman 8 and Action 591 cross over with the Legion 37 and 38 in an attempt to explain how Superboy fits into the new "post-Crisis" continuity, something to do with the Time Trapper and a "Pocket Universe"(?!).

Who's Who Update '87 5-issue mini

Mikhail Arkadin first appears in Firestorm 62, a character soon to replace Ronnie Raymond as the title character in the series.

Bud Plant sells his distribution business to Diamond.

Sep Silverblade 12-issue mini. Written by Cary Bates and drawn by Gene Colan. Edited by Denny O'Neil. A former Hollywood star is given the power to become any character he ever played.  New Format.

Alan Moore leaves Swamp Thing. (#64).  Ric Veitch takes over as writer.

Mike Barr removed as editor of the Outsiders (22) because of a letter he wrote to the Comics Journal criticizing DC over its failure to recognize Bill Finger as co-creator of Batman.

Wild Dog 4-issue mini by Max Alan Collins and Terry Beatty attempts to create a blue-collar super-hero for middle America.

Eclipse enters into a partnership with Viz Comics to bring Japanese titles to American readers, beginning with Mai, the Psychic Girls, Kamuii, and Area 88. 

Dark Horse brings the Japanese series Lone Wolf and Cub to America.

Oct Mike Carlin, formerly of Marvel becomes a new DC editor.  He takes over the Superman titles from Andy Helfer.

Doom Patrol returns, this time by Paul Kupperberg and Steve Lightle.  New members are added to make the book appeal more to the X-Men demographic.

The Phantom Stranger 4-issue mini by Paul Kupperberg and Mike Mignola.

Outcasts 12-issue mini by John Wagner and Alan Grant with art by Cam Kennedy. Edited by Denny O'Neil. Imported from Britain somewhere.

Electric Warrior  (#18) and Hawkman (#17) cancelled. 

Mikhail Arkadin joins Martin Stein and Ronnie Raymond as one third of Firestorm in Firestorm Annual #5. John Ostrander and Joe Brozowski create. Dennis O'Neil edits.

Bob Rozakis and Curt Swan adapt the Superman IV film.  Unlike the film, the adaption is supposed to make sense.

Nov DC modifies their "labeling" policy.  Mature readers labels will not be put on "Prestige Format" books, presumably because they're too expensive for kids to buy anyway.

DC announces a new line of comics, Piranha Press edited by Mark Nevelow.  The new line will produce books outside of the standard comics conventions.

Justice League renamed Justice League International (#7) 

Amethyst, Princess Of Gemworld  4-issue mini. This time written by Keith Giffen and Mindy Newell. Art by Esteban Maroto.  No longer a teen ager, Amethyst is now "a soulless creature as powerful as Dr Fate." New Format.

Doc Savage 4-issue mini by Denny O'Neil and the Kubert brothers. Deluxe Format.

Slash Maraud 6-issue mini by Doug Moench and Paul Gulacy.  Biker gangs in the far future.  Mature readers label. Deluxe Format.

Dec  The Underworld 4-issue mini. "The dark secrets of life as a cop in Manhattan." by Robert Loren Fleming and Ernie Colon.

Despite the fact that John Byrne worked real hard to make the new Krypton a boring and uninteresting place, so that all Superman stories would focus on Earth, DC goes ahead and schedules a World of Krypton  4-issue mini series anyway. Written by John Byrne with art by Mike Mignola.

Batman:Son of the Demon by Mike Barr and Jerry Bingham is released as an original 80-page hardcover graphic novel, for $14.95.

Sonic Disruptors 12-issue mini (only 7 released?) billed as the first "rock-n-roll super-hero book".  For Mature readers.  By Mike Baron and Barry Crain.

Wasteland begins- a Mature Readers horror title, written by Beat comic Del Close and John Ostrander. With art by David Lloyd, Donald Simpson, William Messner-Loebs and Bruce Patterson. 

Watchmen is collected and issued as a trade paperback. 

1988
DC Editorial Staff Jan 1988 (post-Crisis)
Dick Giordano Executive Editor
m=mini series M= Mature readers
Mike Carlin Andy Helfer Murray Boltinoff Denny O'Neil Bob Greenberger
Action
Superman
Doc Savage (m) (w Andy Helfer)
Outcasts (m)
Phantom Stranger (m)
The Shadow (M)
Green Lantern Corps
Justice League International
Millennium (m)
Slash Maraud (mM)
Sgt Rock  Batman
Detective
Blue Beetle
Captain Atom
Firestorm
Silverblade (m)
The Spectre
Star Trek
Warlord
Who's Who 97 (m)
Barbara  Randall Roy Thomas with Greg Weisman Pat Bastienne Karen Berger Mike Gold
Booster Gold
Hawkman
'Mazing Man Christmas Special
New Teen Titans
Teen Titans Spotlight
Peacemaker (mM)(w Mike Gold)
Infinity Inc
Secret Origins
Cinder and Ashe (mM)

 

Amethyst (m)
Forever People (m)
Hellblazer (M)
Legion of Super-Heroes
Swamp Thing (M)
The Weird (m)
Who's Who in the Legion (m)
Wonder Woman
 

 

Blackhawk (mM)
Doom Patrol
Flash
Green Arrow (M)
Green Arrow:The Longbow Hunters (mM)
Question (M)
Sonic Disruptors(mM)
Vigilante (M)
Peacemaker (mM) (w Barbara Randall)
Wasteland (M)
Wild Dog (m)
World of Krypton (m)
Jonathan Peterson Greg Weisman Len Wein Mike Barr
Tales of the Legion
Superman IV Movie Special
Tales of the Teen Titans
Young All-Stars
Underworld (m) Outsiders

Jan John Byrne takes over the writing of Adventures of Superman with issue 436.  Jerry Ordway continues to draw.

Millennium (8 issues) is this year's massive crossover series. Written by Steve Englehart with art by Joe Staton, the series portents to reveal spies who have been hiding in the DC universe for decades. "Major changes" are promised, and, as usual, not delivered. 37 cross-over issues in  DC's regular titles are affected.

Hellblazer begins by Jaime Delano and John Ridgway.  Spun off of Swamp Thing.  Mature readers. Deluxe Format.

Peacemaker 4-issue mini by Paul Kupperberg and Todd Smith, spins out of the Vigilante book.  Another former hero turned into a lunatic. New Format.

Saga Of Ra's Al Ghul 4-issue mini reprints old Neal Adams stories.

Tales Of The Legion Of Super-Heroes cancelled (#354)

Feb 2/29/88 Superman's 50th birthday Special aired on NBC.

Green Arrow  begins, written by Mike Grell, with art by Ed Hannigan.  The now blood thirsty archer continues to pretend to be a hero for Mature Readers. New Format

Forever People  6-issue mini by J Marc DeMatteis and Paris Cullins illustrates the perils of a shared universe. 17 years have passed for the children of Super Town, while the rest of the DC characters remain unaged. New Format.

Spiral Zone 4-issue mini- a cartoon series adaptation by Mike Fleisher and Carmine Infantino. Edited by Joey Cavalieri.  The TV series was created by J. Michael Straczynski.

Star Trek: The Next Generation 6-issue mini

John Byrne's Man of Steel collected as a trade paperback.

Cleaning out the deadwood: Booster Gold (#25), The Outsiders  (#28) and  Vigilante (#50) cancelled.

Mar Blackhawk  3-issue mini in the prestige format, written and drawn by Howard Chaykin.  Set in World War II, why does it read exactly like Chaykin's futuristic American Flagg?

Marvel Masterworks begins.  A new line of hardcover collections starts with four volumes reprinting the first 10 issues each of Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Avengers and X-Men in hardcover for $29.95.

The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told released as a hardback for $19.95.

Apr DC inaugurates a series of Bonus Books, 16 page free inserts in its regular titles showcasing the work of young new creators. The first appears in Action 599, a Jimmy Olsen story by Joe Calchi and Britt Wisenbaker.
Other bonus books appear in Flash 12 (featuring Dr Light vs Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys) and 19, Doom Patrol  9, Wonder Woman 18 and 26, and Detective 589 (featuring Poison Ivy) and 595, Warlord 131, JLI 18 (featuring Mr Miracle) and 24 and Power of the Atom 4

Checkmate! begins written by Paul Kupperberg with art by Steve Erwin and kibitzing from John Byrne, edited by Jonathan Petersen. A covert team of super-heroes working undercover, Mission:Impossible style,  for the US Government. New Format.

The Weird 4-issue mini by Jim Starlin.

Who's Who In The Legion Of Super-Heroes 7-issue mini

World Of Smallville 4-issue mini follows the World of Krypton mini in milking all DC can from the Byrne renaissance. 

Teen Titans Spotlight cancelled (#21)

May Superman:The Earth Stealers is a prestige format graphic novel written by John Byrne and drawn by Curt Swan.

Cinder and Ashe 4-issue mini by Gerry Conway and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, about a father/daughter pair of mercenary/detectives.  Mature readers. Deluxe Format.

Martian Manhunter, a 4-issue mini by Marc DeMatteis and Mark  Badger completely rewrites J'Onn J'Onzz's back story, so that he is the only Martian left.  (Presumably this is so people will stop pointing out how similar the character is to Superman.) Edited by Andy Helfer. New Format

The Phantom 4-issue mini by Peter David with art by Joe Orlando. New Format.

Wrath Of The Spectre 4-issue mini reprints the early seventies Mike Fleisher/JIm Aparo collaborations along with several stories Aparo had recently finished from leftover Fleisher scripts.

Blue Beetle (#24) and Green Lantern Corps (#224) cancelled, although Green Lantern is slated for the new Action Comics Weekly.

Alan Moore forms his own company, Mad Love Publications and vows never to work for DC again due to complaints about revenues from Watchmen merchandising.

Jun Crimson Avenger 4-issue mini, spun off from Secret Origins and set in the 1930's- the DC masked avenger appears in his own book for the first time.  By Roy and Dann Thomas and Greg Brooks. Edited by Thomas and Mark Waid.

Flash Gordon 9-issue mini by Dan Jurgens. Edited by Mike Gold. New Format.

Power Girl 4-issue mini by Paul Kupperberg and Rick Hoberg. Kupperberg tries to convince us that Power Girl is a viable character. Edited by Bob Greenberger. 

The Wanderers begins by Doug Moench and Dave Hoover. Edited by Karen Berger.  Featuring characters spun off from the Legion of Super-Heroes. New Format.

Sgt. Rock cancelled (#422)-Murray Boltinoff retires.

Batman: Year One collected and issued as a hardcover.

Jul Manhunter begins. Kirby's Mark Shaw character returns,, now written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale and drawn by Doug Rice. Edited by Barbara Randall.

Action Comics Weekly begins. 48 pages every week for $1.50, featuring a rotating cast of characters including Green Lantern, Deadman, Secret Six, Blackhawk and Wild Dog.  The Superman strip is constructed as an emulation of a Superman Sunday page and is by Roger Stern and Curt Swan.

Superman itself is supposed to go bi-weekly to take up the slack in John Byrne's schedule, but events quickly change course.

Alan Moore and Brian Bolland collaborate on a Prestige Format one shot, Batman: The Killing Joke.  Moore attempts to explain the peculiar relationship between Batman and the Joker.   Batgirl is sideswiped in the process.

DC’s experiment with reprinting Direct Sales only comics on newsprint and issuing them to newsstands one year later ends with the cancellation of Tales Of The Teen Titans (#91). Tales of the Legion ended in Dec 1987 and Adventures of the Outsidersin Jun.1987.

July 15,1988 Bud Plant sells his distributing company to Diamond making Diamond the largest comics distributor with over 40% of the direct market.

Aug Power Of The Atom begins by Roger Stern and Dwayne Turner. Edited by Mike Carlin.  Ray Palmer returns from the jungle and attempts to become an active participant in the new Dark DC Universe.

World of Metropolis 4-issue mini. John Byrne attempts to fill in the details of Clark's life in Metropolis, pre- Superman.  Art by Win Mortimer (who began drawing Superman in 1946!)

Batman: The Cult 4-issue mini by Jim Starlin and Berni Wrightson. Prestige Format.

Who's Who Update '88 5-issue mini. Can't tell the players without a scorecard.

C.O.P.S. begins by Doug Moench and Pat Broderick. A toy tie-in.

Infinity, Inc. cancelled (#53)

Sep 9/17/88  Ruby-Spears and CBS premiere a new animated Superman series.  Marv Wolfman is story editor and the show is based heavily on the current comic book version, but only 13 episodes are made.

Grant Morrison revamps Animal Man and takes the lamest of all Silver Age super-heroes to super stardom by examining the very nature of fiction itself.  Art by Charles Truog.  Edited by Karen Berger. New Format.

"Supergirl" returns in Superman 21.

The New Guardians begins by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton . Edited by Andy Helfer. Mature readers.  A group of new heroes spun off from Millennium.  How did Pieface end up in a mature readers title?  Doesn't make any difference as Englehart quits in the middle of the second issue and is replaced by Cary Bates.  The Mature readers designation is removed before the first issue sees print. New Format.  The New Guardians are 10 individuals chosen by The Guardians of the Universe to be trained as their replacements.

Tailgunner Jo 6-issue mini written by Peter Gillis with art by Tom Artis. Mature readers. New Format.

V For Vendetta 10-issue mini, written by Alan Moore and drawn by David Lloyd.  Originally done for the British magazine Warrior, which went belly up before completion.  The entire saga appears here in color for the first time. Deluxe Format, Mature Readers.

Marvel launches Marvel Comics Presents, a bi-weekly comic modeled after Action Comics Weekly.

Oct DC raises the price on their "regular" titles to $1.00.

John Byrne makes Superman commit cold-blooded murder (Superman 22) and then quits.  Roger Stern and Jerry Ordway take over the writing of the two Superman titles.

Haywire begins, a mature readers title by Michael Fleisher and Vince Giarrano features a "paranoid, unstoppable creature of pure unrelenting rage." New Format.

Starman begins, by Roger Stern and Tom Lyle.  An old name is recycled.

The Hawk And The Dove  5-issue mini, by Barbara Randall and Karl Kesel teams the old Hawk with a new Dove. Edited by Mike Carlin.

The Best Of The Brave And The Bold 6-issue mini reprints mostly Neal Adams material, but back-ups are selected from the pre-superhero early issues of the title.

Batman:Year One trade paperback follows the hardcover by four months.

Sgt Rock Special #1 brings the war hero back for a quarterly series of reprints, beginning with  team up of the Rock with the Viking Prince!

10/8/88 Ilya and Alexander Salkind spin a Superboy TV series off of their Superman movie contract deal. The series stars John Haynes Newton and Stacy Haiduk and is set in the present.  The program is syndicated and runs at odd hours.  Gerard Chistopher replaced Newton in the second of four seasons.

Nov Cosmic Odyssey 4-issue mini by Jim Starlin and Mike Mignola. Starlin tries to make Darkseid more like Thanos. Edited by Mike Carlin. Prestige Format.

Deadshot 4-issue mini. John Ostrander and Luke McDonnel spin David Vern Reed's 1950 Batman villain into his own mini-series. Edited by Bob Greenberger.

Doc Savage #1 by Denny O'Neil and Rod Whigham. Based on the success of the mini, the Doc is back in an unlimited series, but only two of his five assistants have survived. Edited by Mike Carlin. Deluxe Format.

Star Trek cancelled (#56) as DC's contract has expired. Peter David ties up all the loose plot ends in a prose novel, Star Trek: the Next Generation: Strike Zone.

Marvel launches Wolverine from the X-Men into his own ongoing series.

Dec In Batman 427, Denny O’Neil (editor) and Jim Starlin (writer) engineer the death of Jason Todd, the post-Crisis Robin. The character’s death is voted by fans who call a 900 number. The reaction by the general non-fan public is horror that such a heinous stunt would ever be attempted. DC’s upper management pretends not to have known in advance and Starlin (but not O’Neil) is canned. Plans are immediately made to bring yet another version of Robin to replace Todd.

Dragonlance begins by Dan Mishkin and Ron Randall, edited by Barbara Kesel. based on, and licensed from, the TSR game. New Format.

New Teen Titans renamed New Titans (#50) as George Perez returns for a five part story line trying to explain exactly who Wonder Girl is.  (Yet another part of a long series of post -Crisis exceptionally complex circumlocutions attempting to explain the new "simpler" more reader accessible DC Universe.)

Alien Nation #1 20th Century Fox movie adaptation by Martin Pasko and Jerry Bingham.

The Prisoner #1 based on the cult TV classic by Patrick McGoohan written and illustrated by Dean Motter. 4 issues, Prestige Format. Edited by Richard Bruning.

Winter DC inserts two extra months into the year in order to restore some resemblance between comic book cover dates and the real calendar. Beginning in January, all DC titles will be released two months prior to their cover dates.

Plastic Man #1 by Phil Foglio with art by Doug Rice and Hilary Barta. Edited by Mike Gold.  For some reason  an attempt is made to explain Plastic Man.  However, this doesn't get in the way of this otherwise excellent mini.

Doctor Fate returns in his own unlimited series. by Marc DeMatteis and Shawn McManus.  Edited (as are most of the weirder titles) by Karen Berger.  Eric and Linda continue in the dual role of the mystical doctor. New Format.

Unknown Soldier  12-issue mini edited by Denny O'Neil. written by Jim Owsley.  The Unknown Soldier survives World War II, apparently because he's immortal. New Format.

The Warlord cancelled (#133)

Holi- 
day
Robin dies in Batman 428.  The fans voted 5,343 to 5,271.  That's a difference of 72 votes.  (Don't you wish you voted twice?)  Oh, and they killed his mother too.  Sort of an "order before midnight" bonus.

Invasion! 3-issue mini edited by Andy Helfer. written by Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo with art by a bunch of people.  All of the standard DC alien races decide to gang up on Earth at the same time.  Really, one of the better crossover series. 80 pages, regular format.

Black Orchid #1 by Neil Gaiman and David McKean. Edited by Karen Berger.  The secret of Sheldon Mayer's Black Orchid is finally revealed.  She's a plant. Prestige Format.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons begins by Michael Fleisher and Jan Duursema.  Another TSR title.  New Format. Five characters on a quest "to unite the half-elf Cybriana with an evil Drow, who's really a part of her."

Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told Hard Cover.

Ruby-Spears and CBS offer a new Superman cartoon series. Marv Wolfman is story editor.

Viz splits with Eclipse and begins offering its own line of Japanese imports, starting with Grey and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

1989
circa The Comics Code is revised for the first time since 1971.  Specific references to prohibiting Crime and Horror titles are removed, as well as a prohibition against the depiction of zombie. 

Jan 1/89 Ron Perelman buys Marvel Comics

Neil Gaiman creates the Sandman, a new direction in comic storytelling, ostensibly set in the DC universe but actually creating a whole new mythology based around the concept of the Endless. Gaiman’s work with these characters would eventually end up on best seller lists and win the World Fantasy Award, bringing new respect for the entire concept of comic books.  Penciled initially by Sam Kieth. Edited by Karen Berger. Mature Readers. New Format.

The Shadow is cancelled (#19) suddenly in mid-storyline.  A special is supposed to follow tying up the loose ends, but it is continually postponed until nobody cares anymore.

Barbara Gordon embarks on a new career as Oracle, the secretive computer guru, in Suicide Squad 23, by John Ostrander and Luke McDonnell. Bob Greenberger edits

Gammarauders, a new TSR game based title by Peter Gillis and Martin King. New Format. Edited by Barbara Kesel.  Radiation mutated animals think they're humans living in the fifties.

Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told Hardcover appears. ($19.95)

Diamond Comics initiates Diamond Previews, monthly customer retail catalogue.  Customers can pre-order comics from all publishers directly through their local direct sales retailer.

Feb L.E.G.I.O.N. '89 begins by Keith Giffen, Alan Grant and Barry Kitson, a spin-off from Invasion, featuring a 20th century version of the Legion of Super Heroes. Edited by Karen Berger. New Format.

The New Gods  begins. Spins out of Cosmic Odyssey.  Edited by Mike Carlin.  Originally intended to be by Jim Starlin and Paris Cullins, Starlin was fired after three issues were written and Mark Evanier was hired to write a new issue one.  Evanier also scripted from 5 on.  With such a convoluted start you'd almost think the book was doomed from the get-go.  Still, it dribbled on for 28 issues. New Format.

Catwoman is a 4-issue mini by Mindy Newell and Barry Kitson.  Edited by Denny O'Neil.  Mature readers. New Format.  Sort of a "Year One" story, but not specifically billed as such.

Grant Morrison takes over the limping Doom Patrol with 19 to re-launch and recast it as a bold new direction in story telling.  Direct sales only, New Format, non- Code approved.

2/9/89 Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astroboy and most of the Japanese manga industry, dies.

Mar Mister Miracle  begins by Marc DeMatteis and Ian Gibson.  The domestic affairs of Mr and Mrs Miracle take up most of this book. Edited by Andy Helfer.

Hero Hotline 6-issue mini by Bob Rozakis and Stephen de Stefano.  Edited by Brian Augustyn. Features a group of heroes who work for a crisis hot-line: Mr Muscle, Diamondette, Hot Shot, Microwavabelle, Stretch, Voice Over, and 500 ZQ. New Format.

The Phantom moves into an ongoing series, written by Mark Verheiden with art by Luke McDonnell. New Format.

Blackhawk begins, spun out of Action Comics Weekly, by Martin Pasko and Rick Burchett.  Set in the post war era, the Blackhawks are recruited by the CIA. Edited by Mike Gold. Mature readers, new format.

Sam Hamm, writer of the forthcoming Batman movie, scripts a three part story in Detective 598-600, detailing the early years of Bruce Wayne and how he learned to be the Batman.  Two of the three issues are giants.

In contrast to the "big, major" crossover event so popular with the big two publishers, DC tries a "little, minor" crossover, "The Janus Directive" begins in Checkmate 15 and then continues through Suicide Squad 27-29, Checkmate 16-18, Manhunter 14, Firestorm 86. It must not have been a rousing success because I don't think they ever did it again.

Comico, an independent small comic company that publishes, Justice Machine, Fish Police, and Grendel, among others, makes a deal wherein DC handles their printing and distribution to the direct market.  DC also includes Comico titles in their solicitation forms.

Apr 4/89 Ric Veitch leaves Swamp Thing after Jenette Kahn refuses to print the conclusion to his "Swamp Thing meets Jesus Christ" story line. The book is suspended for three months while a new writer is found. Veitch promises never to work for DC again. Jenette Kahn takes the title of Editor-In-Chief to supervise the books more closely, a move many writers call censorship.  Paul Levitz is elevated to publisher.  Dick Giordano retains the title of Executive Vice-President editorial.

Justice League Europe spins off from Justice League International because DC just has too many second string heroes for Keith Giffen and Marc DeMatteis to make fun of efficiently. Edited by Andy Helfer.

The Huntress begins by Joey Cavalieri and co-creator Joe Staton.  Edited by Andy Helfer. An all-new version of the character that has nothing to do with being Batman's daughter.  The art is done on duo tint board for a noir effect.  One of the few post-Crisis re-origins that doesn't read like a bad paste-up job.

Gilgamesh II  by Jim Starlin is a 4 issue modern retelling of the ancient legend. Mature readers, Prestige format.

Legend of Aquaman Special gives the Undersea Sleuth yet another new origin, by Keith Giffen, Robert Fleming and Curt Swan.

4/89 DC parent company Warner Bros merges with Time Inc. to form Time Warner Inc.  DC is transferred to Time Warner's motion picture division instead of its former location in Warner Publishing.

May Skreemer 6-issue mini Deluxe Format, Mature Readers. By Peter Milligan and Bret Ewins. Edited by Karen Berger.  A gangster comic set in the future, which, apparently, is very much like the past.

The Wanderers cancelled (#13).  Wasteland cancelled (#18)

In Firestorm 85, the title character receives a new costume and yet another merged personality.  John Ostrander and Tom Grindberg continue to drag the book further away from its original concept.

5/89 Archie Goodwin leaves his position as Editor in Chief of Marvel's dying Epic line and returns to DC, where he is given the title of Group Editor.

Jun 6/23/89 Tim Burton’s Batman:The Movie appears, sparking a massive revival of interest in the title.

???Return of the Swamp Thing movie released, sparking nothing.

Swamp Thing 87 is Rick Veitch's last issue.  The story line is resumed in September with Doug Wheeler assigned to write a conclusion using none of Veitch's original ideas.  Neil Gaiman and Jaime Delano who were scheduled to write future issues also refuse to work on the character.

Hawk And  Dove begins, by Barbara and Karl Kesel. Art by Greg Guler. Edited by Mike Carlin.  The forces of Chaos and Order continue to butt heads.

Aquaman returns in a five issue mini-series by Giffen, Fleming and Swan. Edited by Mark Waid.

Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children- Piranha Press’ longest running series appears. By Dave Louapre & Dan Sweetman.  In the first issue, a group of hard-living clowns go on a spree.

Jul Action Comics returns to monthly status with issue 643, the weekly 48 page format having been a colossal failure both critically and saleswise.  George Perez takes over writing Superman.

Lex Luthor:The Unauthorized Biography reinvents Luthor as a totally evil man who makes his fortune by murdering his own parents and has no early connection with Superman whatsoever,  by James Hudnall and Eduardo Barreto. Prestige Format.  Edited by Mike Gold.

ETC (Piranha Press) 5 issues (Tim Conrad/ Michael Davis) The clone of a geneticist becomes a media superstar..

Aug Batman:The Movie adaptation released in two formats: a $4.95 prestige version and a $2.50 mando paper version.  Denny O'Neil "writes" and Jerry Ordway draws.

Batman 436 begins a four part Year Three story line which showcase the origin of Dick Grayson as Robin. by Marv Wolfman and Pat Broderick. Edited by Denny O'Neil.

Tim Truman reinvents Hawkman as a drug addicted murderer and alien spy in Hawkworld. After a three issue Prestige Format mini-series. The new series puts serious holes into DC’s still malleable "post-Crisis continuity". Edited by Mike Gold.

Justice Inc. by Andy Helfer and Kyle Baker is a remake of the 30's pulp hero, spun off from their Shadow series.  Two issues, Prestige Format.  Edited by Michael Carlin.

El Diablo begins- reincarnated as an Hispanic urban superhero by Gerard Jones and Mike Parobeck. Edited by Brian Augustyn.

Legion Of Super-Heroes cancelled (#63) (end of the
Levitz/Giffen series). COPS cancelled (15)

Sinners (Piranha Press) by Alec Stevens

Sep The Shadow Strikes! begins by Gerard Jones and Eduardo Barreto- reset back in the thirties where it belongs. Edited by Brian Augustyn.

Forgotten Realms #1. Another TSR title. by TSR game designer Jeff Grubb and Rags Morales.  Elliot S! Maggin edits this (and all the other TSR books as well). Set in the same universe as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. The first story arc concerns the Hand of Vaprak.

Desert Streams (Piranha Press) by Alison Marek

Haywire (13) and New Guardians (12) cancelled. 

Kissyfur debuts, by Phil Mendez, based on the Saturday morning cartoon series.

Oct Gregory (Piranha Press) by Marc Hempel, graphic novel.

Star Trek returns to DC, with Star Trek: the Next Generation and the original Star Trek both receiving new number ones.  The Next Generation is written by Michael Jan Friedman with art by Pablo Marcos.  Regular Trek is by Peter David and James W Fry.

In Firestorm 90, the new Firestorm decides he's a fire elemental and begins a war with Swamp Thing (Earth), Red Tornado (air) and Naiad (water) for control of the planet.  Written by John Ostrander, edited by Dan Raspler.

Nov Legends Of The Dark Knight begins. Direct sales, glossy paper regular series devoted to Batman tales outside of continuity, mostly set in "Year One". First issue is printed with multiple colored wrap-arounds so that collectors would "need" 5 copies.  Deluxe Format.

Legion Of Super-Heroes begins- Legion continuity is drastically changed as Superboy is removed from history. A new darker tone, a "five year gap", new code names and costumes create a great deal of buzz and controversy, and, probably, a spectacular drop in sales. Deluxe format.

Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. Hardcover $24.95.  Edited by Karen Berger.  (It was good, but not $25 good.)

Power of the Atom cancelled (18)

Dec Marv Wolfman and George Perez create a new Robin (Tim Drake) to replace Jason Todd. (Batman 442)  The story: "A Lonely Place of Dying" runs from Batman 440-442 and Teen Titans 60 and 61. Edited by Denny O'Neil.

DC issues Superman Archives vol 1, the first in a series of archival hardcover reprints of their classic comic book series. $39.95.

Epicurus the Sage by Bill Messner-Loebs and Sam Kieth turns Greek Mythology upside down (Piranha Press)

Deadman: Love After Death- 2 issues, prestige format. Mike Baron and Kelley Jones. Edited by Richard Brunning.

Young All-Stars cancelled (#31) ending Roy Thomas' direct involvement in the DC Universe.

Gammarauders cancelled (12)

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn 6-issue mini- Hal Jordan is recast as a reckless, irresponsible, teen age drunk. 3 cheers for the good guys! by Jim Owsley and Mark Bright. Edited by Andy Helfer.

Bibliography
All characters and artwork copyright by DC Comics Inc.