06/5/2006

 

1976-1979
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


 

 
 
1976 
 

Jan 
1/19/1976  Carmine Infantino fired from National.  To give you an idea of the time differential between the real world and comic book dates, this fact isn't acknowledged in the comics until the September issues come out.  Jeanette Khan, publisher of Dynamite, a children's magazine, is named as his replacement.

Neal Adams begins a campaign to recognize Siegel and Shuster as creators of Superman. 

Conway Corner titles begin to appear on the stands starting with All  Star Comics (58) and Blackhawk (244). All Star revives the Justice Society, with the requisite young heroes added: Robin (who's about 47), Star Spangled Kid (same age, but lost in time for most of it) and Power Girl (a Kryptonian survivor who's spent the last 60 years.in suspended animation.)  Art by Ric Estrada and Wally Wood.

Blackhawk features the same guys as before, but now they're mercenaries.

Blitzkreig begins (Kubert, 3 issues)- WWII is seen through German eyes.

Mike Grell's Warlord begins a lengthy run in its own title.

Feb 
National negotiates a settlement with Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in which they get pensions and health benefits for life. Their creator credits are restored to the comic books.

National holds its own convention to celebrate Superman's  birthday. It runs for three days in New York City, despite a strike by hotel personnel.  Jerry Siegel appears as a guest of honor.

Kobra begins (Conway)  Marty Pasko takes an unfinished Jack Kirby story and rescripts it with new art by Pablo Marcos added.  The book lasts 7 issues, but the character continues to kick around the DC universe.

Plastic Man revived (#11) (Conway, Skeates and Fradon)

Kong The Untamed (#5), House of Secrets (140) and Young Love (120) cancelled

Mar 
3/76  Jim Shooter becomes Associate Editor of Marvel Comics (replacing  Chris Claremont).

Freedom Fighters begins (Conway, Pasko and Estrada) featuring the Quality heroes who supposedly have been fighting WWII on a parallel world up till now and now that its over, move to our Earth, so they don't have to help rebuild their own.

Karate Kid begins.  The Legion member moves to the 20th Century.

DC Super-Stars and  Four-Star Spectacular are new reprint giants.

Tor cancelled (#6)

Shazam 23 switches to quarterly.

Clark Kent and Lois Lane finally consumate their relationship in Superman 297, courtesy of Elliot Maggin and Cary Bates.

Apr 
Prices raised to $.30.  Story pages reduced to 17.

Superman vs the Amazing Spider-Man unites the two rival companies on a joint project for the first time (the OZ book was an accident).  Gerry Conway writes and Ross Andru draws. 96 pages for $2.00.  And it was actually good, too!

Metal Men revived (#45) (Conway, Gerber and Simonson)

The last First Issue Special (#13) features a revival of the New Gods, perhaps to keep Marvel from issuing a new Kirby series called Return of the Gods.  (The new Marvel series is eventually titled The Eternals.)  By Conway, O'Neil and Vosburg.  Orion gets a new, rather pedestrian, costume.

Gerry Conway leaves National to become Editor-In-Chief at Marvel, a job he keeps for only 3 weeks.  Conway Corner titles are reassigned to other editors.

Last Kirby Kamandi (#40).  The book is continued under a rotating collection of unsteady hands for another 19 issues.  Kirby returns to Marvel for another run on Captain America.

May 
Secret Society Of Super-Villains begins (Conway edits and writes), several months late because Carmine Infantino scrapped the entire first issue and made them do it over.

Joe Orlando named Managing Editor at National Comics.  All editors now report to him.  Vince Colletta is Art Director and Paul Levitz is editorial coordiantor.   These changes are reflected in the October cover dated comic books.

Jun 
Wonder Woman 224 reintroduces Steve Trevor to make the book look more like the TV show.

Secret Origins of the Super DC Heroes is a new hardcover from Crown.

Jul 
Aug 
Superman 302 is the first issue to feature creators' credits for Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster since 1947.

Ragman begins, by Kanigher and Kubert (5 issues).

Starfire begins, a sword and sorcery title with a female protagonist, by David Michelinie and Mike Vosburg. (8 issues).

Green Lantern revived (#90)  Denny O'Neil writes and edits.  Green Arrow hangs around and gets in the way.
Beginning of Iron Age?

House of Secrets 141 revived. Bill Finger story

Swamp Thing cancelled (#24)

Sep 
September comics reflect the new management. Jeanette Khan is listed as Publisher,  Sol Harrison as President.

Claw The Unconquered (#9) and The Joker cancelled (#9)

National begins paying reprint fees to the original artists
 

Oct 
Isis begins, a new licensed title based on the Saturday morning live action super-hero.  This is the first of a new TV group of titles that will include Shazam, Super Friends and Welcome Back, Kotter. (8 issues).

Shazam returns to new material.

Young Love is put back on the schedule.  Tony Isabella edits.

An issue of Binky is released for no known reason.

Super DC Giant returns with a collection of Flying saucer stories.

The DC Line Up and Editorial Breakdown Post -Carmine Infantino

 
Joe Orlando
Julius Schwartz
Murray Boltinoff
Denny O'Neil
Tony Isabella
Adventure

All Star
Hercules Unbound
House of Mystery
House of Secrets
Kamandi
Plop
Richard Dragon
Shazam
Star Spangled War
Super Friends
Weird War
Weird Western
Welcome Back Kotter
Action

Batman
Detective
Flash
Green Lantern
Justice League
Joker
Superman
Teen Titans
DC Special

GI Combat
Ghosts
Our Fighting Forces
Unexpected
Witching Hour
Batman Family

Brave and Bold
Isis
Karate Kid
Superboy
Superman Family
Super Team Family
Swamp Thing
Tarzan
Tarzan Family
Warlord
Wonder Woman
Worlds Finest
Freedom Fighters

Young Love
Jack Harris
Paul Levitz
Joe Kubert
E Nelson Bridwell
Blackhawk

Black Lightning
Secret Society of SuperVillains
Starfire
Kobra

Metal Men

Amazing World 

Blitzkreig

Our Army At War
Ragman
DC Superstars

4 Star Spectacular
Limited Collectors Edition

Joe Orlando - Managing Editor, Vince Colletta -Art Director,  Paul Levitz- Editorial Coordinator

Nov 
National Periodical Publications changes it's name to DC Comics!

Gerry Conway leaves Marvel and returns to DC (again!).  He doesn't take an editorial slot this time. 

Welcome Back, Kotter begins

Super Friends begins, based on the Saturday morning cartoon featuring Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog.
Nelson Bridwell writes.  Lots of people draw.  Silver Age great Ramona Fradon takes over shortly and guides the book through most of its 47 issue run.

Teen Titans revived (#44) co-written by Paul Levitz and Bob Rozakis.  Mal Duncan gets to be a super-hero, the Guardian. 

Tarzan Family #66) and Plop! (#24) cancelled. 

Mike Gold begins work as public relations director and direct market liason.

DC sets up an 800 number where fans can get weekly recorded messages about new comic books.

Dec 
Julie Schwartz replaces Joe Orlando as editor of Teen Titans and immediately tells writer Bob Rozakis to find a new super identity for Mal Duncan, so he becomes Hornblower.

Super Heroes Battle Super-Gorillas #1, a reprint giant is released.

The Challengers return in a new story in Super-Team Family 6.

Sandman cancelled (#6)

 
 
1977 
 
Jan 
Filmation does the New Adventures of Batman  for CBS. 16 episodes are produced featuring the voices of Adam West and Burt Ward.  Bat-Mite is a featured character.

Blackhawk (#250) and Four-Star Spectacular (#6) cancelled. 

Charlton cancels its entire comics line.  They return the following summer and cancel and return again several times over the next decade.

Superman vs Mohammed Ali announced.  Actually comes out 15 months later.

Feb
New DC bullet designed by Milton Glaser

Arter making a name for himself as Marvel's hottest writer and ground breaking runs on the Avengers, Doctor Strange and Captain America, Steve Englehart comes to DC and takes over .Justice League with 139, which goes to 52 pages for $.60. 

Julius Schwartz edits Green Lantern 93.  Green Arrow is still in the way.

Wonder Woman 228 moves to WWII to match the continuity of the TV show. 

Superboy appears in a comeback attempt in DC Super Stars 12 in which it is rather heavily implied he loses his virginity.  Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson produce this controversial epic.

Tarzan cancelled (#258)
 

Mar 
Superman Family 182  and World's Finest 243 become an 84 page $1.00 comics featuring all new material.  House of Mystery (251) and GI Combat (201) follow suit.

Jonah Hex gets his own title.

Weird Western Tales 39 features a new series, Scalphunter, by Mike Fleisher.

Our Army At War renamed Sgt. Rock (#302)

 

Apr 
Tony Isabella's Black Lightning begins.

Star-Spangled War Stories renamed The Unknown Soldier (#205).

May 
Tony Isabella leaves his editorial duties to be a full time writer.  Jack Harris takes over his books Freedom Fighters 8 and Young Love 124.  Freedom Fighters 8 features a "Crossover" with Marvel's Invaders.

Steve Englehart begins a classic run on  Batman in Detective 469. Marshall Rogers joins him in 471.

Batman Family 11 is the first to feature all-new material as Jeanette Khan works to stamp out reprints.

Jun 
DC raises price to $.35.  52 pagers go to $.60.

Steve Ditko's Shade The Changing Man begins. Jack Harris edits. 

Challengers Of The Unknown revived (#81) Jack Harris edits, Gerry Conway writes.

Secrets Of Haunted House revived (#6) Paul Levitz edits.  Cain, Abel and Eve all host.

Paul Levitz edits Unknown Soldier 206

Jul 
Young Love cancelled (#126), the last of DC's romance titles. 

New Gods is revived with #12 with Don Newton art.

Justice League 144 features Steve Englehart's "Origin of the JLA-1" a story set in the fifties, featuring most of DC's characters from that time period but with a morden take on the paranoia that pervaded the era.

Aug 
Men Of War begins (Levitz) featuring Gravedigger, a black commando in WWII, written by David Michelinie.

Aquaman revived (#57), Paul Levitz edits.

Showcase revived (#94) (first app of New Doom Patrol)(Levitz).

Denny O'Neil edits Warlord 8.

Sep 
Mister Miracle revived (#19) by Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers.

DC Special Series begins.  A DC one-shots will now be numbered as part of this series. The first issue is Five Star Super Hero Spectacular, an 84 page $1.00 comic. The second, also out this month, is a 52 page collection of Swamp Thing reprints.

Superboy renamed Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes (#197) and goes to 52 pages. Denny O'Neil edits.

Superboy returns to Adventure 453, Levitz edits.

Nelson Bridwell edits Superman Family 185.

Star Hunters first appears in DC Super Stars 16.

9/10/77 All New Super-Friends Hour finally features new episodes and introduces the Wonder Twins to replace Wendy and Marvin. 15 episodes were made featuring guest stars from the DC universe as well as made for tv characters Black Vulcan, Apache Chief and Samurai.
 

Oct 
The story editor arrangement, where editors only worked with writers and all art was assigned by Vince Colletta, is abandoned.  The title, Story Editor, is abolished with all editors being full editors.

Star Hunters begins in its own title by David Michelinie and Don Newton.

Plastic Man cancelled (#20).  Mike Gold later comments that it was the worst selling title of the seventies.

Jack Harris edits World's Finest 247.

Nov 
Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter cancelled (#18)

DC Super Stars 17 features the origin of the Huntress, daughter of the Earth II Batman by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton.

Dec 
Larry Hama and Al Milgrom become DC's newest editors, replacing Denny O'Neil, who goes back to being a freelancer.  Larry Hama edits Warlord 10 and Wonder Woman 238, Jonah Hex, Mr Miracle. Super Friends,  and Welcome Back Kotter.

Al Milgrom edits Superboy and the Legion 234, Batman Family, Kamandi, Karate Kid, and Weird Western Tales.

Mike Gold, in Amazing World of DC Comics 16 proposes that the Silver Age of Comics ended in 1968 with the cancellation of the Batman TV show and the edtorial changes begun by publisher Carmine Infantino, including the birth of the Dark Knight.He proposes the names “Bronze Age” or “Platinum Age” for the period that followed it.

 
 
1978 
 
Jan 
Doorway To Nightmare begins, a different kind of mystery title, featuring book length stories involving the host Madame Xanadu more closely than the usual standard.  Each issues is by a different set of creators.

Limited Collectors Edition is renamed All-New 
Collectors Edition (#C-53) as each issues is projected to feature new material, beginning with  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer by Sheldon Moldoff and Tenny Henson.

Paul Levitz edits Brave and Bold 139.

DC Super Stars 18, featuring Deadman and the Phantom Stranger is the last issue.

Feb
Jim Shooter becomes editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics.

Iron Age begins?

Metal Men (#56) and TeenTitans cancelled (#53).

Mar
Firestorm begins, a new teen age super-hero title aimed at the "Spider-Man tradition" with the twist that the hero has two secret identities who must work together to form one hero.  Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom create.

Steel The Indestructible Man begins by Gerry Conway, a new patriotoic hero set in the days before America entered World War II.

Super-Team Family  (#15) and Welcome Back, Kotter cancelled (#10).

Editor Jack Harris introduces a new more modern art style and more sophisticated stories into Shazam 34. Alan Weiss draws #34 and Don Newton #35 but the book is cancelled before it can be determined if the new style helps sales.

Engelhart's run on Detective ends (476), at which point he "leaves comics" to write a novel. His features are turned over to other writers:  Batman to Len Wein, JLA to Gerry Conway (with151) and Mr. Miracle to Steve Gerber (with 23).

All New Collectors Edition 55 features the Legion of Super Heroes in the Wedding of Lightining Lad and Saturn Girl.

All New Collectors Edition 56  features Superman vs Mohammed Ali by Neal Adams, Denny O'Neil and Neil Adams.  This is Neal's last significant comic book work.

Apr
4/3/78 World's Greatest Super Heroes comic strip debuts from the Chicago Tribune- NY News syndicate.

features the Justice League with emphasis on Superman and Wonder Woman.  Edited by Julie Schwartz and drawn by George Tuska.

Claw the Unconquered revived (#10)
Dollar Comics cut back to 68 pages

Batman Family 17 becomes a $1.00 comic just in time for the reduced page count.

Pizza Hut issues a series of reprints of DC Comics from the 1950's including Superman 97 and 113, Batman 122 and 123, and Wonder Woman 60 and 62.

May
Shazam! cancelled (#35)  The feature moves to World's Finest.

Jack Harris edits Green Lantern 104 as Julie Schwartz makes room for DC Comics Presents on his schedule.

Showcase 100 is a special double issue that features every character from Showcase who was ever awarded his own series, plus everybody else they could squeeze in.

Jun
6/11/78 Christopher Reeve is scheduled to debut in Superman: The Movie.  However, at the last minute the debut is pushed off till December, causing great consternation at DC.

Wonder Woman 244 returns the adventures of Wonder Woman to the present to match the tv show, which has just switched networks and decades.

Challengers Of The Unknown (#87) and Secret Society of Super Villains (#15) cancelled. 

Jul
DC Comics Presents begins, featuring Superman team-ups, starting with the mandatory race with the Flash, this time around the universe itself.

Freedom Fighters  (#15), Karate Kid (#15) and
New Gods (#19) cancelled.

Paul Levitz begins a 5 part epic in Superboy and the Legion 241 in which they face the Khunds, the Dominators, The Dark Circle and Mordru.  The structure of the story is borrowed from E.E. Smith's famous science fiction classic, the Lensman.  One of the first hints that the Legion could be something more than another super-hero team book.

Aug
Aquaman (63), and Shade the Changing Man (8) and Mr. Miracle (25) cancelled, although Aquaman is scheduled to be included in an upcoming anthology title.
Sep
9/9/78 Challenge of the Super Friends upgraded the baby version of the Justice League by dropping the Wonder Twins and introducing major league villains in the form of the Legion of Doom.  Variations on this series continued as The World's Greatest Super Friends in 1979,  the Super Friends Hour in 1980 and just plain Super Friends in 1981.

The DC Explosion begins as all titles are raised to 44 pages at $.50.  The new size allows backup strips to be added to most comics, bringing back lots of characters who haven't been seen in a long time and creating a few new features. Superboy and Justice Leagure dropped to 44 pages.

Some new reprint titles are added to the schedule to make up for all the titles cancelled in the last year. Dynamic Classics and Battle Classics.

Adventure 459 becomes a 68 page $1.00 comic originaly planned to recapitulate the old Comic Cavalcade format and feature Green Lantern, Flash and Wonder Woman in every issue.  It quickly becomes a home to inventroy material from cancelled titles.

House of Mystery 260 returns to $.50 size.

Tony Isabella leaves Black Lightning 11 and is replaced by Denny O'Neil. 

Oct
10/78 Eclipse releases Sabre, an independent creator-owned graphic novel by Don McGregor and Paul Gulacy.  Beginning of the Iron Age?

Army At War begins. 

Demand Classics and Western Classics, two more reprint titles, are scheduled but never appear.

Shazam moves into World's Finest 253. 

Nov
DC Implosion!

All-Star Comics 75, Battle Classics 2, Black Lightning 12, Claw the Unconquered 13, Demand Classics 1, Dynamic Classics 2, Doorway to Nightmare 6, Kamandi 60 , Limited Collectors Edition 61, Our Fighting Forces 182, Showcase 105, Weird Mystery Tales 25, Western Classics 1, Witching Hour 86 and The Vixen 1 all pulled from the schedule at the last minute.

Many of the cancelled issues, together with other books such as Green Team 2 and 3 and Prez 5  are assembled into two xeroxed comic "books" entitled Cancelled Comics Cavalcade.   About 35 copies of each are produced and given to freelancers in the DC office. 

Dec 
12/15/78  Superman: the Movie finally released.

DC drops 44 page size.  Alll non-dollar books to be monthly 36 pages at $.40. 

Larry Hama and AL Milgrom laid off as the editorial staff is cut due to 40% reductions in titles published.

Detective Comics 481 becomes a Dollar book and absorbs Batman Family.  (Detective was actually cancelled by Warner management until DC explained the significance of the title.)

Firestorm  (5), Secrets of Haunted House (14), Star Hunters (7), Steel The Indestructible Man (5), and Army At War (1) cancelled. Last issues appeared in October.  DC Special Series (16, Jonah Hex Spectacular) last appears in December. 

Jack Harris edits Superboy and the Legion 246.

DC published 376 books in 1978, a 5% decrease from the previous year.  The full effects of the Implosion wouldn't be felt until the next year's numbers. 

1979
circa
The Copyright Law of 1978 creates a new working relationship between publishers and creative artists by declaring the artist the owner of the copyright except in cases of "Work for Hire".  This results in Marvel and DC attempting to get all artists and writers to sign new contracts acknowledging that they are performing "Work for Hire" and signing away all their rights.  Many artists refuse to sign and leave the industry, including Jack Kirby and Mike Ploog.
Jan
1/18/79-1/25/79 Legends of the Super-Heroes, a two part live-action super-hero show is produced by Hanna-Barbera for NBC.  The two episodes are "The Challenge" and "The Roast."  They are never repeated.

Unexpected 189 becomes a Dollar Comic and absorbs Witching Hour and House of Secrets.

Feb
Ross Andru leaves Marvel and becomes an editor at DC.
The DC Line Up and Editorial Breakdown Post -Implosion

 
Julius Schwartz
Joe Orlando
Paul Levitz
Ross Andru
Jack Harris
Action 

Superman Family ($1) 
DC Comics Presents 
Super Friends 
Superman
Worlds Greatest Heroes (comic strip) 

All New Collectors Ed
Batman 

Brave and Bold 
Detective ($1) 
House of Mystery 
Men of War 
Unknown Soldier 
Weird War Tales
Adventure ($1) 

Flash 
Jonah Hex 
Justice League 
Weird Western Tales 
Wonder Woman
Ghosts 

Green Lantern 
Superboy & the Legion 
Unexpected ($1) 
Warlord 
World's Finest ($1)
Murray Boltinoff
Joe Kubert
GI Combat ($1)
Sgt Rock

Mar
Vince Colletta resigns as DC art director.

The Earth 2 Batman dies in Adventure 462. 

Superman #1 is reprinted as Famous First Edition C-61.  It is the last Golden Age reprint for at least a decade.  The C series ends with Superman:The Movie, published the same month (not an adaption, just a collection of stills and stuff).

Apr
Fantasy Quarterly #1- 1st appearance of  Elfquest, Wendy and Richard Pini's ground breaking independent creator-owned series .
May
Jun
Jul
World Of Krypton, originally scheduled to be run in Showcase, is released as a 3 issue mini-series, a format which becomes very popular.  Story by Paul Kupperberg and Nelson Bridwell, art by Howard Chaykin and Murphy Anderson, (a combination which has to be seen to be disbelieved.)

Iris Allen dies in Flash 275, "courtesy" of Cary Bates and Alex Saviuk.  Ross Andru edits.  Iron Age begins?

Gerry Conway takes over writing Superboy and the Legion with 253. 

Aug
Secrets of Haunted House,  the mystery comic that would not die, is revived again (#15). Jack Harris edits.

DC Special Series revived (#17) to reprint Swamp Thing stories in preparation for a new series.

The Bottle City of Kandor is finally restored to normal size in Superman 338.

Sep
All-Out War begins, a new $1 comic, edited by Murray Boltinoff and featuring mostly new strips including Viking Commando and the Black Eagle Squadron.

DC enters the digest comics market with Best of DC Digest and Jonah Hex and Other Western Tales. Both are 100 pages and cost $.95. 

Dollar Comics now feature advertising which cuts the story page count down to 52.

 

Oct
Time Warp, a new science fiction Dollar comic dedicated to reviving the old EC tradition begins

DC Special Series switches to Digest size for Sgt Rock's Prize Battle Tales (18) and Secret Origins of the Super-Heroes (19).

Len Wein takes over most of Ross Andru's titles, except for the westerns, as Andru moves over to handle licensing.

Nov
Marv Wolfman leaves Marvel for DC.  Denny O’Neil leaves DC for Marvel. (real time- the changes will be reflected in the comics eight months later.)

Adventure 466 features the last Justice Society story, as Senator Joseph McCarthy forces the team to break up in 1952.

Dec
Dave Sim's Cerebus the Aardvark appears from Aardvark-Vanaheim.  Cancelled after only 300 issue.

Green Arrow is finally booted out of Green Lantern with 123.  To celebrate Gil Kane does the cover.

DC published 297 comics in 1979, 20% fewer than 1978.

Bibliography

 

 
All characters and artwork copyright by DC Comics Inc.