Marvel comics story. 9: 1975

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If super heroes had been conspicuous by their absence during the first half of the decade, 1975 introduced two major creations. The first one was not exactly a new comic but a take up. Warlock's take up by Jim Starlin. Starlin, who had perfected his hand on Captain Marvel from 73 (His 1st job had been Spider-Man 113, october 72), would make out of a minor series a unique in comics history work. This masterpiece first feature was madness.

Not only the hero himself was threatened by insanity but the script and even the art already sinked into it. The story mixed up pure metaphysics -with a character who embodied Death, another who was God, but an evil God, a hero who find out that the foe that he was fighting was none but himself came back from future uterly mad - and the politic metaphor with anarchist ideology in the picture of the conditioning of individual by society through the atempt of brainwashing that his alter ego of the future inflicted on the hero. Rave didn't spare art anymore: spaces without neither up nor down, where characters stood along any direction, like in the mad stairs of Escheir's famous etching; image smashed into multitude of copies of the same scene, like in a kaleidoscope, anamorphosis, in the way of distorting mirors or of Dali's molten watches.

Wonder how Marvel publishers who grumbled about Gerber's straying might have let this be. Could it be that they have been overtaken by madness, them too?



The other new comic of the year was not so revolutionary but had, in the long term a much more considerable impact. It was the new X-MEN.
This series would become the spear head of Marvel super heroes. The writer Chris Claremont took up the fundamental concept of ostracism inflicted on mutants by humanity.

He added up some own novelties, as the metamorphosis of the heroine Marvel Girl in Phenix, an allmighty being who would, little by little unveil herself as evel. Of course, Marvel big men couldn't help to spoil the party.In a first time, they decided that Phenix should die: for moral reasons, her crimes couldn't stay unpunished.OK, if reasons were stupid, the idea was not uterly bad. It could have had the same impact than the death of Gwen Stacy, go down like this one into legend. But of course, they couldn't help resuscitating her. Claremont' story is no less ashtonishing than those of his characters. He was a kid making comics' mail overflow with his suggests to writers. In the end, Marvel bullpen answered him: "Why not coming to try writing it on your own? ".


X-Men growing success was not only owing to scripts, but to art also. In issue 108, 24th of the new series, art was taken up by John Byrne. Byrne, who joined the company in 75 after a few drawings at Charlton's, would become Marvel's absolute weapon. He's almost been to the heighties, what Kirby had been to the sixties. Byrne is the most typical member of a new kind of comic artists, the second generation artists. He grew up reading comics and you can feel it in every of his pages. His stories are full with references to twenty years old issues, with allusions intended to be understood by old fans, with private jokes. Second generation artists unveil themselves with clone covers. An exemple among thousand: Fantastic Four 291 cover, wich is not other than Action Comics 1 one, 48 years before, in wich Byrne replaced Superman with She Hulk.

Wether you attribute their success to Claremont or to Byrne, the X-Men generated in their wake a legion of new series among the most popular ones, New Mutants, X Factor, X Force, Cable, Excalibur etc etc... not to mention competing publishers' ones (as Gen 13, DV8, WildCATs, etc...) They are one of the four "sources" series whom almost all other comics are, more or less directly, descendant. Like Captain America (regarding the golden age), Superman and the Fantastic Four.

One of Marvel writers best ideas, was WHAT IF. This comic book, started in 1977 and and didn't get the success it deserved. It took up an idea already exploited before by Superman writers, " imaginary" stories. Let's imagine: What if Gwen Stacy didn't die, if someone else had become Thor, if Conan the barbarian strode along the streets of New York? This time everything is possible. Heroes may die, become criminals, since it's not "for true".



February 75First appearance of Madrox (Giant Size Fantastic Four 4) and of Black Goliath (Luke Cage 24)
July 75Creation of the new X-MEN (Giant Size X-Men 1)
August 75New X-Men replace the former ones' reprints
August 75First appearance of Moon Knight in Werewolf by Night 32
October 75Creation of the Champions
December 75A travel in time introduces western hero Two Guns Kid in super heroes' world. Avengers 142
January 76 Begining of the series Howard the Duck
February 76Begining of the series Tigra (Marvel Chillers 3) Guardians of
the Galaxy
(Marvel Presents 3) Black Goliath
February 76First appearance of Hellcat in Avengers 144
March 76Creation of Omega the Unknown
June 76First appearance of Human Fly in Spider-Man Annual 10
July 76Creation of the Eternals (Kirby's come back to Marvel) and of Nova
October 76Marvel Girl becomes PHENIX in X-Men 101
December 76Creation of Doctor Druid (Weird Wonder Tales 19)
January 77Creation of Ms Marvel
February 77First appearance of Spiderwoman in Marvel Spotlight 32
April 77Creation of 3d Man (Marvel Premiere 35) First appearance Devil Slayer (Marvel Spotlight 33)
July 77Creation of Mister Machine (future Machine Man) in 2001 Space Odyssey 8
August 77First appearance of Jocaste in Avengers 1622
October 77 First appearance of Gladiator and of the Starjamers in X-Men 107
December 77 Begining of the series Torpedo in Marvel Premiere 39
January 78 First appearance of the Paladin in Daredevil 150
April 78 Begining of the series Machine Man and Spiderwoman
January 79Begining of the series Micronauts
February 79Creation of the Shogun Warrior
April 79 First appearance of ALPHA FLIGHT in X-Men 120
July 79First appearance of BLACK CAT Amazing Spider-Man 194



All pictures on this page are © Marvel characters inc. All characters mentioned are ® Marvel characters inc. All rights reserved. (Superman is ® DC Comics. Gen 13 is ® Wildstorm production. Dv8 and WilldCATs are ® Aegis Entairtenement inc. All rights reserved) The page itself and the text inside it are © Gerard Courtial 2000, All rights reserved.