Happy New Year!

Happy GulliverOkay, I know it’s not actually a new year calendar-wise, but blog-wise I’ve finished 1977 and I’m ready to move on to 1978. There were some pretty good stories in ’77 and I think ’78 promises to have even more. Here’s a quick preview of what I’ll be covering for 1978. Basically, I’ll be reviewing the same titles as I did for 1977, with a couple of additions.

Batman, Detective, Brave and the Bold: Bats will be facing some classic villains this year, including Joker (in the famous “Laughing Fish” story), Scarecrow, Mad Hatter, and a new, more deadly version of Clayface.

Superman, Action, DC Presents: Supes takes on some heavy hitters like Brainiac, Parasite, Solomon Grundy, and Amazo. I’m adding DC Comics Presents to my reviews. I read it on and off as a kid and always considered it to be “Superman Team-up” much as B&B is “Batman Team-up”. Only four issues came out in ’78, but it became a monthly by the end of the year.

JLA, LSH, All-Star Comics: In JLA we get the end of Englehart’s run and the beginning of Gerry Conway’s long (five and a half years!) unbroken run as writer. Some cool stories too, with the debut of Ultraa, a Dr. Destiny tale, a JSA team-up versus Lord of Time (with some historical guest stars), and Zatanna joining the League. The Legion deals with the Earth War against the Khunds and Dark Circle, and we say goodbye to the JSA, since All-Star is canceled. More on that in a bit.

Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern: As I mentioned in my 1977 preview, none of these comics was ever a big favourite of mine, but they have their good points. Flash will be taking on Black Hand, Golden Glider, and Heat Wave, among others. GL goes on the road and meets some interesting people, and we finally get back to Earth-1 Wonder Woman stories.

Warlord, Jonah Hex, Black Lightning, Firestorm: What can I say about these three? Travis Morgan continues his quest to return to Shamballah (and Tara), Jonah Hex continues trying to clear his name, and Black Lightning continues the fight against Tobias Whale and the 100. Unfortunately, Black Lightning is also canceled this year.

And I decided to add Firestorm to the list too. I’ve never been a huge fan, but this blog is about reading comics that I’m unfamiliar with, so I figured I may as well check those early issues out. When I (someday) get to the early 80s, I’ll be adding that ongoing Firestorm series to my list, so I guess I should read this one first, as it introduces the character, along with important villains like Killer Frost, Multiplex, and Hyena. It’s by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom, both of whom I generally like, and it’s only five issues, so what the hell.

Why did Firestorm run only five issues? Well, DC was trying to expand in 1978, but they kind of overextended themselves and were undercut by Marvel. That led to the infamous “DC Implosion”, an ironic nickname given in jest at their earlier “DC Explosion” promotion. So, a bunch of titles, including All-Star Comics, Black Lightning, and Firestorm were canceled. Al Milgrom ended up losing his editorial job too, though he kept providing art (including some really good covers). You can tell by the number of reprints that year that things were a bit chaotic behind the scenes at DC. In fact, Detective Comics was actually supposed to be canceled, but was saved at the last minute by merging it with Batman Family. So from Detective #481 (at the end of 1978) through #495, each issue has at least five different stories. Which means more work for me, I guess.

But I enjoyed reviewing the 1977 comics and I’m thinking I’ll like 1978 even more. There are a lot of cool-looking stories coming up, many of which I’ve never read, so I’m really looking forward to checking them out. As you can see, even Gulliver is excited, though I suspect he’s just anxious to see Titano, the Super-Ape. I hope you’ll join us for the 1978 DC comics reviews, starting Friday … it should be a blast!

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