I’m away at the Mighty Mini-Con in Herkimer, New York this weekend, so my official unofficial researcher John Wells is filling in with another of his in-depth answers…

Is there a list of all the “Marvel Graphic Novels” published in the ’80s and early ’90s? (This would be the magazine sized ones starting with “The Death of Captain Marvel”). Is there a list of all the Sci-FI GNs that DC put out in the ’80s?
— Kurt Roithinger ([email protected])

MARVEL GRAPHIC NOVEL was Marvel’s attempt at emulating European-style graphic novels, with big-name creators, complete-in-one-volume stories, 8.5 x 11 dimensions and fancy paper and printing. At the same time, it had one foot firmly rooted in the four-color pamphlet tradition, with plenty of emphasis on super-heroes and a decision to number each volume in sequence despite the fact that none of the books were connected in any way but a blanket title. The series began in early 1982 with, as you noted, Jim Starlin’s Death of Captain Marvel and continued with the 8.5 x 11 format and an increasingly sporadic schedule into 1993 with “Daredevil & Black Widow: Abattoir.”
Though each graphic novel originally came across as an event, the overall integrity of the series name was diminished a bit when material better suited for a newsprint Annual began to slip through the cracks. Nonetheless, those early graphic novels have a lot of good reading and pretty pictures in ’em. MARVEL AGE #61 (April, 1988) is worth seeking out for its spotlight on the Marvel Graphic Novels and brief write-ups on the first twenty-nine editions.

What’s maddening about putting together a chronological list of the Marvel Graphic Novels is the fact that they stopped numbering them after #20 (“Greenberg the Vampire”). The Overstreet Price Guide continued to count them as if they were numbered through #38 (which they cited as “Silver Surfer: Judgment Day”) and every other price guide and data resource that I’ve found took their cues from this. Up to that point, Marvel had included a one-page list of previous editions in each graphic novel. When they stopped, Overstreet stopped counting. Even that list of thirty-eight missed a few. It included the hardcover Silver Surfer book but excluded the hardcover Iron Man: Crash, for instance.

Fortunately, my friend and fellow researcher Mike Tiefenbacher has most of the albums in question (and data on the ones he lacks). Working from the information he gave me, I’ve made an attempt at a complete, chronological list of Marvel Graphic Novels. I’ve assigned numbers to the fifty-five unnumbered volumes but I’d caution against treating this order as gospel. Graphic novels were notorious for shipping late and I don’t have access to information on when each of these reached comics shops.

First, the original twenty:
MGN #1 (“The Death of Captain Marvel”), 2 (“Elric: The Dreaming City”), 3 (“Dreadstar”), 4 (“The New Mutants”), 5 (“X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills”), 6 (“Star Slammers”), 7 (“Killraven: Warrior of the Worlds”), 8 (“Super Boxers”), 9 (“Futurians”), 10 (“Heartburst”), 11 (“Void Indigo”), 12 (“Dazzler: The Movie”), 13 (“Starstruck: The Luckless, The Abandoned And The Forsaked”), 14 (“Swords of the Swashbucklers”), 15 (“The Raven Banner”), 16 (“The Aladdin Effect”), 17 (“Revenge of the Living Monolith”), 18 (“The Sensational She-Hulk”), 19 (“Conan: Witch Queen of Acheron”), 20 (“Greenberg the Vampire”).

And, numbered for your convenience, the remaining volumes in the 8.5 x 11 format:
MGN #21 (“Marada the She-Wolf”), 22 (“Spider-Man: Hooky”), 23 (“Dr. Strange: Into Shamballa”), 24 (“Daredevil: Love & War”), 25 (“The Alien Legion: A Grey Day to Die”), 26 (“Dracula: A Symphony In Moonlight and Nightmares”), 27 (“Emperor Doom”), 28 (“Conan the Reaver”), 29 (“Hulk & Thing: The Big Change”), 30 (“A Sailor’s Story”), 31 (“Wolfpack”), 32 (“Thor: Whom the Gods Would Destroy”), 33 (“Iron Man: Crash”), 34 (“The Shadow: Hitler’s Astrologer”), 35 (“Cloak & Dagger: Predator and Prey”), 36 (“Willow”), 37 (“Hercules, Prince of Power: Full Circle”), 38 (“Silver Surfer: Judgment Day”), 39 (“The Inhumans”), 40 (“The Punisher: Assassins’ Guild”).
MGN #41 (“Who Framed Roger Rabbit ?”), 42 (“Conan of the Isles”), 43 (“The Dreamwalker”), 44 (“Ax”), 45 (“Arena”), 46 (“Spider-Man: Parallel Lives”), 47 (“King Kull: The Vale of Shadow”), 48 (“A Sailor’s Story, Book II”), 49 (“Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment”), 50 (“Wolverine & Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection”), 51 (“The Punisher: Intruder”), 52 (“Neuromancer”), 53 (“Conan: The Skull of Set”), 54 (“Roger Rabbit: The Resurrection of Doom”), 55 (“Squadron Supreme: Death of a Universe”) 56 (“Cloak & Dagger and Power Pack: Shelter From the Storm”), 57 (“Rick Mason: The Agent”), 58 (“Silver Surfer: The Enslavers”), 59 (“Conan: The Horn of Azoth”), 60 (“Rio Rides Again”), 61 (“Black Widow: The Coldest War”), 62 (“Ka-Zar: Guns of the Savage Land”), 63 (“Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth”), 64 (“Punisher: Kingdom Gone”), 65 (“Wolverine: Bloodlust”), 66 (“Excalibur: Weird War III”), 67 (“Wolverine: Bloody Choices”), 68 (“Avengers: Death Trap, The Vault”), 69 (“Conan the Rogue”), 70 (“Punisher: Blood On the Moors”), 71 (“Silver Surfer: Homecoming”), 72 (“Spider-Man: Fear Itself”), 73 (“Conan: The Ravagers Out of Time”), 74 (“Punisher & Black Widow: Spinning Doomsday’s Web”) and 75 (“Daredevil & Black Widow: Abattoir”).

And then are graphic novels from other imprints. From Marvel UK, between 1985 and 1991, there were [1] “Doctor Who: Voyager,” [2] “Death’s Head: The Body In Question,” [3] “Genghis Grimtoad,” [4] “Abslom Daak: Dalek Hunter,” [5] “Night Raven: The Collected Stories” and [6] “Night Raven: House of Cards.”

Finally, we have the Epic Graphic Novels (1987-1994), whose output was dominated by Moebius but also featured creators ranging from Sergio Aragones at the beginning to James Robinson at the end. Note that a Punisher volume slipped into this imprint while all of his other appearances came under the Marvel Graphic Novel imprint. Though originally unnumbered, the novels are listed here chronologically (as best I can determine). Two of the final books were scheduled for simultaneous release on October 20, 1992 (I don’t know if either arrived on schedule) so my identification of “Sinking” as 29 and “67 Seconds” as 30 is based strictly on alphabetical order. And to reiterate what I said earlier, the following chronology cannot be considered definitive:
EGN #1 (“Moebius 1 – Upon A Star”), 2 (“Moebius 2 – Arzach & Other Fantasy Stories”), 3 (“Moebius 3 – The Airtight Garage”), 4 (“Moebius 4 – The Long Tomorrow & Other Science Fiction Stories”), 5 (“The Death of Groo”), 6 (“Moebius 5 – The Gardens Of Aedena”), 7 (“Moebius 6 – Pharagonesia & Other Strange Stories”), 8 (“Last of the Dragons”), 9 (“The Incal 1”), 10 (“Someplace Strange” ), 11 (“The Incal 2”), 12 (“The Incal 3”), 13 (“The Punisher: Return to Big Nothing”), 14 (“Blueberry 1 – Chihuahua Pearl”), 15 (“Blueberry 2 – Ballad For A Coffin”), 16 (” Blueberry 3 – Angel Face”), 17 (“Blueberry 4 – Ghost Tribe”), 18 (“Blueberry 5 – End Of The Trail”), 19 (“Jhereg”), 20 (“Moebius 7 – The Goddess”), 21 (“Moebius 8 – Mississippi River”), 22 (“Hearts And Minds”), 23 (“Lieutenant Blueberry 1: The Iron Horse”), 24 (“Lieutenant Blueberry 2: Steelfingers”), 25 (“The Original Adventures Of Cholly And Flytrap”), 26 (“Lieutenant Blueberry 3: General Golden Mane”), 27 (“Marshal Blueberry 1: The Lost Dutchman’s Mine”), 28 (“Moebius: Chaos”), 29 (“Sinking”), 30 (“67 Seconds”) and 31 (“Moebius: Stel”) .

The DC list, of course, is far shorter. In 1981, in response to their German audience’s insatiable demand for Superman stories, DC agreed to prepare a series of extra-length episodes exclusively for their German licensee. A portion of the first issue’s print-run was published in English and the 48-page album (with cardboard covers, a square spine and measuring 8.5 x 11.5 inches) appeared in U.S. comics shops as SUPERMAN SPECTACULAR # 1. “The Startling Saga of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue” took its title from the classic Silver Age imaginary tale but Bob Rozakis’ plot took off in an entirely different direction. Paul Kupperberg provided dialogue and Adrian Gonzales and Vince Colletta were the artists. Over the next few years, DC used several more of the German-audience stories in their U.S. titles but this was the only one to use the graphic album format.
Following this modest initial representation, DC adopted the slightly more square-ish format, sophisticated coloring and umbrella title of its Marvel counterpart, beginning in 1983. They almost entirely ignored their mainstream characters, though, with the sole exception of the New Gods in Jack Kirby’s “Hunger Dogs.” DC GRAPHIC NOVEL featured “Star Raiders” (# 1), “Warlords” (# 2), “The Medusa Chain” (# 3), “The Hunger Dogs” (# 4), “Me and Joe Priest” (# 5), “Metalzoic” (# 6) and 1986’s “Space Clusters” (# 7).
Meanwhile, the adaptations featured in DC SCIENCE FICTION GRAPHIC NOVEL (1985-1987) consisted of “Hell On Earth” (# 1), “Nightwings” (# 2), “Frost and Fire” (# 3), “Merchants of Venus” (# 4), “Demon With the Glass Hand” (# 5), “The Magic Goes Away” (# 6) and “Sandkings” (# 7).

In September of 1987, seven months after “Sandkings,” DC published a hardcover Batman graphic novel with the 8.5 x 11 dimensions (“Son of the Demon”). Four other Batman stories eventually appeared in the same format: “Digital Justice” (1990), “Bride of the Demon” (1990), “Night Cries” (1992) and “Birth of the Demon” (1992). Since then, with the rare exception of 1997’s WONDER WOMAN: AMAZONIA in the classic square-ish format, DC has nearly exclusively stuck with the traditional, more rectangular format for its graphic novels.


Thanks for filling in for me this week, John.

I’ll be back next week with a report on the Mighty Mini-Con, especially the Trivia Contest I’ll have hosted. Meantime, don’t forget my daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.worldfamouscomics.com/trivia.

 

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