Adventure Comics

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Adventure Comics
Cover of Adventure Comics #296.
Art by Curt Swan and George Klein.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly:
#32-85, #103-424, #467-503
Bi-monthly:
#86-102, #425-66
Format (vol. 1)
Standard (#32–490, #504–529)
Digest (#491–503)
Genre
Publication date (vol. 1)
November 1938 – February 1982; September 1982- September 1983
(vol. 2)
October 2009 – August 2010
(vol. 1 cont.)
September 2010 – October 2011
Number of issues (vol. 1): 529
(vol. 2): 13
(vol. 1 cont.): 14
Main character(s) Legion of Super-Heroes
Superboy
Supergirl
The Spectre
Aquaman
Creative team
Writer(s)
Penciller(s)
Inker(s)

Adventure Comics was an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1938 to 1983 and revived from 2009 to 2011. In its first era, the series ran for 503 issues (472 of those after the title changed from New Adventure Comics), making it the fifth-longest-running DC series, behind Detective Comics, Action Comics, Superman, and Batman. It was revived in 2009 by writer Geoff Johns with the Conner Kent incarnation of Superboy headlining the title's main feature, and the Legion of Super-Heroes in the back-up story.[1] It returned to its original numbering with #516 (September 2010). The series finally ended with #529 (October 2011), prior to DC's The New 52 company reboot.

Publication history[edit]

Adventure Comics began its nearly 50-year run in December 1935 under the title New Comics, which was only the second comic book series published by National Allied Publications, now DC Comics.[2] The series was retitled New Adventure Comics with its 12th issue in January 1937.[3] Issue 32 (November 1938) saw the title changed again to Adventure Comics, which would remain the book's name for the duration of its existence.[4]

Originally a humor series, it evolved into a serious adventure series. In issue #12 when the series was titled New Adventure Comics, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel introduced the first version of the character Jor-L as a science fiction detective in the far future; the character would eventually become the alien father of Superman, although the first Superman story, in Action Comics #1, would not appear until more than a year after Jor-L's first appearance.[5][6] The series' focus gradually shifted to superhero stories starting with the debut of the Sandman in issue #40. Other superheroes who appeared in the early days of Adventure included Hourman (from #48 to #83); Starman created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Jack Burnley in issue #61 (April 1941)[7] (#61-102); and Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's Manhunter replacing a similarly named business-suited investigator beginning with #73 (April 1942) until #92.[8]

New Comics#1 (Dec. 1935). Cover art by Vin Sullivan.

A pivotal issue of the series was #103 (April 1946), when Superboy, Green Arrow, Johnny Quick and Aquaman moved from More Fun Comics which was being converted to a humor format to Adventure.[9] Starman's and Sandman's series were canceled to make room for the new features, while one other, Genius Jones, moved to the comic the new arrivals had just vacated. Superboy became the star of the book, and would appear on each cover into 1969 (counting Superman on the covers of issues #354–355). Superboy's popularity in Adventure resulted in the character receiving his own title in 1949, when superhero titles in general were losing popularity. Krypto, the Superdog debuted in issue #210 (March 1955) in a story by Otto Binder and Curt Swan.[10]

In issue #247 (April 1958), by Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino, Superboy met the Legion of Super-Heroes, a team of super-powered teens from the future.[11] The group became popular, and would replace "Tales of the Bizarro World" as the Adventure backup feature with #300,[12] and soon be promoted to its lead. Lighting Lad, one of the Legion's founding members, was killed in Adventure Comics #304 (January 1963) and revived in issue #312.[13] In Adventure Comics #346 (July 1966), Jim Shooter, 14 years old at the time, wrote his first Legion story.[14] Shooter wrote the story in which Ferro Lad died – the first "real" death of a Legionnaire (although Lightning Lad had been believed dead for a while before) – and introduced the Fatal Five.[15] The Legion feature lasted until issue #380.[16] With the next issue, Supergirl migrated from the backup slot in Action Comics to the starring feature in Adventure[17] and ran until issue #424.[18] The series reached its 400th issue in December 1970 and featured a Supergirl story written and drawn by Mike Sekowsky.[19]

As of #425 (December 1972), the book's theme changed from superhero adventure to fantasy/supernatural adventure. That issue debuted one new feature along with three non-series stories, the pirate saga "Captain Fear". The next edition added a semi-anthology series, "The Adventurers' Club". Soon, editor Joe Orlando was trying out horror-tinged costumed heroes, first Black Orchid,[20] then the Spectre.[21][22] Before long, though, conventional superheroes returned to the book, beginning behind the Spectre, first a three-issue run of Aquaman (issues #435–437, an early assignment for Mike Grell) and then a newly drawn 1940s Seven Soldiers of Victory script (issues #438–443).[23][24][25] Aquaman was promoted to lead (issues #441-452), and backing him up were three-part story arcs featuring the Creeper (#445–447), the Martian Manhunter (#449–451), bracketed by issue-length Aquaman leads. He was awarded his own title and Superboy (#453-458) took over Adventure with Aqualad (#453–455) and Eclipso (#457–458) backups. Following this was a run as a Dollar Comic format giant-sized book (issues #459-466),[26] including such features as the resolution of the Return of the New Gods (cancelled in July–August 1978), "Deadman", and "Justice Society of America".

Feature Feature Feature Feature Feature Feature
The Flash
#459-466
Deadman
#459-466
Green Lantern
#459-460
Elongated Man
#459
Wonder Woman
#459-464
The New Gods
#459-460
Justice Society of America
#461-466
Aquaman
#460-466
no fifth feature
#465-466
no sixth feature
#461-466

The standard format returned (issues #467–478), split between a new Starman[27] named Prince Gavyn and Plastic Man. With an increase in the story-and-art page count, the last four issues also included one more run of Aquaman.[28] All three were dropped simultaneously to make way for a new version of an old feature, "Dial H for Hero" (issues #479-490).[29] Issue #490 (February 1982) saw the comic's cancellation.[30] "Dial 'H' for Hero" was moved to New Adventures of Superboy as of that series' issue #28. Adventure Comics was soon rescued. As of the September issue it was revived as a digest-sized comic. This format lasted from issues #491-503, with most stories during this period being reprints (featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes, from the beginning and in chronological order, and others), and with new stories featuring the Marvel Family and the Challengers of the Unknown (a new five-issue retelling of their origin). The long-running title was discontinued with the September 1983 issue.

80-Page Giant[edit]

An Adventure Comics 80-Page Giant was released in 1998.

Justice Society Returns[edit]

DC published an Adventure Comics #1 as part of the company's Justice Society Returns event in 1999.

Adventure Comics Special featuring the Guardian[edit]

As part of the 2008 "Superman: New Krypton" story arc, a special issue of Adventure Comics was published, titled Adventure Comics Special featuring the Guardian #1 (cover dated January 2009). Jimmy Olsen continues to delve into the mystery surrounding the American government's safeguards against the new Kryptonian population.

Revival[edit]

Variant incentive cover to Adventure Comics #504/vol. 2, #1. Art by Francis Manapul.

The five-issue mini-series Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds led into an all-new volume of Adventure Comics, featuring the revived Conner Kent/Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. The main creative team of Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul debuted in a backup story in Adventure Comics #0 (April 2009).[31] A secondary feature starring the Legion of Super-Heroes was co-written with Mike Shoemaker and drawn by Clayton Henry. The first issue of the new run of Adventure Comics was released on August 12, 2009, and features watermarked numbering marking it as both #1 and #504, thus continuing the original numeration of the series concurrently with the volume 2 numeration. For the variant incentive cover editions, the original numeration was dominant on the cover while the vol. 2 numeration was the watermarked numbering marking. The indicia of the comic book also reflects this dual numbering. The title officially returned to its original vol. 1 numbering with #516 (cover dated September 2010), until #529 when it was finally ended prior to DC's The New 52 company reboot.

Main feature[edit]

Superboy: The Boy of Steel (former)[edit]

The revived ongoing title Adventure Comics features Conner as the headlining character for the first six issues in the story arc entitled, "Superboy: The Boy of Steel." It begins as Conner settles back into his life in Smallville, Kansas. Returning to live with Martha Kent, who is thrilled to take the young boy in after her husband's death, Conner returns to Smallville High School and begins keeping a journal of everything Superman has done as a costumed hero, going down a checklist titled, "What Did Superman Do?" He and the also recently returned Bart Allen supposedly rejoin the Teen Titans, and Conner symbolizes the team being "stacked" again by destroying his memorial statue outside of Titans Tower West.

After visiting Lex Luthor's childhood home in Smallville, Superman arrives and talks to Conner about his desire to understand his "other father". Superman tells Conner not to worry about Luthor, saying that the madman is a problem for the Man of Steel. Conner remarks that the next time he sees Lex Luthor will be, "too soon".

In his attempt to confront his shared legacy, Conner accepts a date with Wonder Girl. Conflicted between opening his heart to his girlfriend (thus "Telling the truth" as Superman always did in his life), and deliberately lying to avoid touching delicate subjects with Cassie (thus "Lying" as Luthor would do), ultimately Conner chooses to share with Cassie his fears and desires, and his desire to find himself by exploring both his legacies, but only to find his real self. Cassie is obviously touched, and despite her initial doubts, mostly out fear that in his desire to be more like the Man of Steel eventually Conner could discard her as Clark Kent did with Lana Lang, feels compelled to admit her brief bond with Tim Drake. Conner quickly forgives her, arguing that, since he was dead and Cassie had no means to know about his future resurrection, her liaison with Robin cannot be considered a true affair. As they share a reconciliation kiss, Martha Kent stares at them, remembering about her past with Jonathan and Clark.[32]

Soon after his date, Conner returns to his search for Lex Luthor, with the aid of Krypto. Unfortunately, neither Conner nor Krypto can find Luthor on their own, so they instead track down a detective to help him: Tim Drake. Now going by the identity of Red Robin (the Robin identity was taken away from Tim by Dick Grayson and turned over to Damian Wayne), Superboy finds him in Paris, where Tim is continuing his search for Bruce Wayne, who is believed to be dead following the events of the Final Crisis. Agreeing to help, Tim and Conner rekindle their friendship, as Tim admits to all the pain he has suffered over the last two years, and both boys discuss their private mission. Conner offers Tim the first bit of true support, by replying "I believe you," when Tim states firmly that Bruce is still alive.[33]

On his way back from France, Conner encounters a girl named Lori, whom he earlier saved, in the middle of vandalising a local practice. Conner takes her home, learning that the doctor had refused to help her ailing mother due to her lack of medical insurance. Someone then knocks on the door. Conner answers it, revealing the caller to be Lex Luthor, whom Lori calls "uncle", who incapacitates Conner with Kryptonite.[34]

Lori's mother Lena, Luthor's sister, comes down the stairs, revealed to be mentally and physically unwell. Conner reminds Luthor of his boast that he could cure all diseases if Superman wasn't in his way. Telling him that Superman is now on New Krypton, Conner challenges Luthor to cure Lena. Luthor agrees, but demands Conner's help, threatening Lori's life. Conner collects the ingredient Luthor needs to make a cure for Lena's condition, which is then administered to her, restoring her to full health. Lex then undoes his cure, vowing that it will stay with him until "Superman is dead". In a rage, Conner attacks Luthor, but is staved off by Brainiac, who teleports Luthor back to his ship. Conner realises that there is no good in Luthor after all, and decides to not be like Luthor or Clark but pursues his own path in life, burning his checklists in a fire.[35]

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes[edit]

After the Johns and Manapul run, writer Paul Levitz took over the series. It was renumbered with its previous numbering and highlighted Clark Kent's years as Superboy as well as the Legion of Super-Heroes' past. Starting with issue #523, the Legion Academy, by Levitz and Phil Jimenez, became the major feature.

Second feature[edit]

Long Live the Legion (former)[edit]

The Legion of Super-Heroes appeared as the second feature in issues #504-514 before taking over as the lead feature in issue #515 (August 2010).

Atom[edit]

Following this was the one-shot Brightest Day: Atom, written by Jeff Lemire with art by Mahmud Asrar. The same team was to create a ten-part, ten-page "Atom" co-feature in Adventure Comics, but DC ended all their second features and reduced their titles to twenty pages of story. Issue #521 was the last issue to feature the Atom.[36]

Collected editions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johns, Geoff (w), Manapul, Francis (p), Manapul, Francis (i). "The Boy of Steel, Part One" Adventure Comics v2, 1 (October 2009)
    Johns, Geoff (w), Henry, Clayton (p), Henry, Clayton (i). "Long Live the Legion, Part One" Adventure Comics v2, 1 (October 2009)
  2. ^ Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1930s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "With New Fun already out on the newsstands, [Malcolm] Wheeler-Nicholson didn't waste any time in adding a second title to his line. New Comics appeared in a smaller format than New Fun, one that was similar in size to what are now considered standard comic book dimensions." 
  3. ^ Wallace "1930s" in Dolan, p. 16: "New Comics received a makeover with issue #12, becoming New Adventure Comics."
  4. ^ Wallace "1930s" in Dolan, p. 21: "DC's second-oldest series, which began as New Comics and then became New Adventure Comics, underwent a third name change - but this one stuck."
  5. ^ Siegel, Jerry (w), Shuster, Joe (a). "Federal Men" New Adventure Comics 12 (January 1937)
  6. ^ Cronin, Brian (October 16, 2008). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #177". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 16, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2013. 
  7. ^ Wallace "1940s" in Dolan, p. 36: "Gardner Fox and artist Jack Burnley presented the new costumed hero Starman in this issue."
  8. ^ Wallace "1940s" in Dolan, p. 41: "Hot properties Joe Simon and Jack Kirby joined DC...[and] after taking over the Sandman and Sandy, the Golden Boy feature in Adventure Comics #72, the writer and artist team turned their attentions to Manhunter with issue #73."
  9. ^ Wallace "1940s" in Dolan, p. 51: "Following More Fun Comics change in focus the previous month, the displaced super-heroes Superboy, Green Arrow, Johnny Quick, Aquaman, and the Shining Knight were welcomed by Adventure Comics."
  10. ^ Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 76: "Superboy was reunited with his dog in 'The Super-Dog from Krypton' by writer Otto Binder and artist Curt Swan."
  11. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 89: "The Legion of Super-Heroes would become one of DC's most enduring and popular groups despite their humble beginnings, in a story by writer Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino."
  12. ^ Siegel, Jerry (w), Forte, John (p), Forte, John (i). "The Face Behind the Lead Mask!" Adventure Comics 300 (September 1962)
  13. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 108: "The demise of the Legion co-founder was a first not only for the Legion fan base, but for mainstream comics in general...Lightning Lad was resurrected later that year in Adventure Comics #312."
  14. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 118: "In his first-ever published story, fourteen-year-old Jim Shooter admitted four new members into the Legion of Super-Heroes ... Shooter's long, memorable tenure as one of the Legion's greatest writers was officially underway."
  15. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 123: "Writer Jim Shooter and artist Curt Swan unleashed an even greater menace when the Fatal Five decided to stay united in the years ahead."
  16. ^ Shooter, Jim (w), Mortimer, Win (p), Abel, Jack (i). "The Legion's Space Odyssey" Adventure Comics 380 (May 1969)
  17. ^ Bates, Cary (w), Mortimer, Win (p), Abel, Jack (i). "The Supergirl Gang" Adventure Comics 381 (June 1969)
  18. ^ Skeates, Steve (w), DeZuniga, Tony (p), Oksner, Bob (i). "Crypt of the Frozen Graves" Adventure Comics 424 (October 1972)
  19. ^ Abramowitz, Jack (December 2013). "Adventure Comics #400...Really?". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (69): 22–24. 
  20. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 156: "Very little was known about the Black Orchid, even after writer Sheldon Mayer and artist Tony DeZuniga presented her so-called "origin issue" in Adventure Comics."
  21. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 159: "The Spectre re-materialized in the pages of Adventure Comics. This time, however, he brought along an all-out wrathful disposition, delivering punishments that not only fit the crimes, but arguably exceeded them...[Michael] Fleisher and [Jim] Aparo's run lasted only ten issues, yet it was widely regarded as some of their finest work, and the character's seminal period."
  22. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). "Square Pegs Experiments with Weird Heroes". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch. p. 152. ISBN 0821220764. "Adventure Comics also became home for the Spectre, the sinister Golden Age character who got a new lease on life after [Joe] Orlando was mugged and decided the world needed a really relentless super hero." 
  23. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 162: "An unpublished Seven Soldiers of Victory story finally saw print as a backup feature in Adventure Comics #438 - three decades after it was written. Noted scientist and author Joseph Samachson had penned his last Soldiers story in 1945, when the super hero team were a regular feature in Leading Comics."
  24. ^ Cronin, Brian (February 18, 2010). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #248". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2013. "An unpublished script starring the Seven Soldiers of Victory was published within five issues of Adventure Comics…Thirty years after the Seven Soldiers of Victory feature was canceled!" 
  25. ^ Abramowitz, Jack (May 2013). "Seven Soldiers of Victory: Lost in Time Again". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (64): 33–37. 
  26. ^ Romero, Max (July 2012). "I'll Buy That For a Dollar! DC Comics' Dollar Comics". Back Issue (TwoMorrows Publishing) (57): 39–41. 
  27. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 186: "The second [feature in Adventure Comics #467] debuted a new version of Starman by writer Paul Levitz and illustrator Steve Ditko."
  28. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 187: "With issue #475, fan favorite Aquaman was added to the [Adventure Comics] lineup, and his first installment was written by J. M. DeMatteis and illustrated by Dick Giordano."
  29. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 192: "Within a sixteen-page preview in Legion of Super-Heroes #272...was "Dial 'H' for Hero," a new feature that raised the bar on fan interaction in the creative process. The feature's story, written by Marv Wolfman, with art by Carmine Infantino, saw two high-school students find dials that turned them into super-heroes. Everything from the pair's civilian clothes to the heroes they became was created by fans writing in. This concept would continue in the feature's new regular spot within Adventure Comics."
  30. ^ Sanderson, Peter (September–October 1981). "DC Cancels Adventure Comics". Comics Feature (New Media Publishing) (12/13): 17. "The title has suffered from poor sales for several years, with the recent 'Starman/Plastic Man' issues' sales being especially dismal. It was hoped that the new 'Dial 'H' for Hero' series would revitalize Adventure's sales, but apparently such was not the case." 
  31. ^ Brady, Matt (November 17, 2008). "DiDio Confirms Adventure Comics Return". Newsarama. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved August 19, 2012. 
  32. ^ Johns, Geoff (w), Manapul, Francis (p), Manapul, Francis (i). "The Boy of Steel, Part Two" Adventure Comics v2, 2 (November 2009)
  33. ^ Johns, Geoff (w), Manapul, Francis (p), Manapul, Francis (i). "The Boy of Steel, Part Three" Adventure Comics v2, 3 (December 2009)
  34. ^ Johns, Geoff (w), Manapul, Francis (p), Manapul, Francis (i). "The Boy of Steel" Adventure Comics v2, 5 (February 2010)
  35. ^ Johns, Geoff (w), Manapul, Francis (p), Manapul, Francis (i). "The Boy of Steel, Part Five" Adventure Comics v2, 6 (March 2010)
  36. ^ Renaud, Jeffrey (April 13, 2010). "Lemire Embiggens Ray Palmer". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 15, 2010. Retrieved April 13, 2010. 

External links[edit]