1981 in comics
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Notable events of 1981 in comics. See also List of years in comics.
- 1 Events and publications
- 2 Deaths
- 3 Exhibitions and shows
- 4 Conventions
- 5 Awards
- 6 First issues by title
- 7 Initial appearances by character name
- 8 References
Events and publications
- Capital Comics makes its entree into publishing with the release of Nexus #1.
- Frank Miller takes over full writing duties on Daredevil with issue #168, and creates Elektra.
- "Days of Future Past" storyline debuts in Uncanny X-Men #141 (continues in Uncanny X-Men #142).
- The reprint title Marvel's Greatest Comics, with issue #96, is cancelled by Marvel.
- The reprint title Amazing Adventures vol. 3, with issue #14, is cancelled by Marvel.
- The reprint title Tales to Astonish vol. 2, with issue #14, is cancelled by Marvel.
- Jenette Kahn becomes president of DC Comics, succeeding Sol Harrison. Kahn retained the title of publisher, which she had held since 1976.
- Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2 #272 features an insert previewing the upcoming "Dial H for Hero" series in Adventure Comics by Marv Wolfman and Carmine Infantino.
- Marvel takes notice of the growing direct market and produces a title specifically for comic shops — Dazzler #1 sells 400,000 copies.
- Marvel Preview (published until now by the Marvel imprint Curtis Magazines), with issue #25, changes its name to Bizarre Adventures and becomes an official Marvel Comics publication.
- Detective Comics #500: 84 pages, 7 different anniversary stories by several well-known creators, including television writer Alan Brennert and Walter B. Gibson, best known for his work on the pulp fiction character The Shadow.
- "The Exaggerated Death of Ultra Boy" story arc begins in DC Comics' Legion of Super-Heroes #273. Written by Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, and Paul Levitz, with pencils by Jimmy Janes and Steve Ditko, the story arc concludes in Legion of Super-Heroes #282 (December).
- Mystery in Space (1951 series), with issue #117, is cancelled by DC Comics.
- Captain Canuck, with issue #14, is cancelled by Comely Comix.
- John Byrne and Terry Austin leave The Uncanny X-Men with issue 143 being their last.
- Dean and Jan Mullaney found the black & white independent Eclipse Magazine.
- Master of Kung Fu #100: "Red of Fang and Claw, All Love Lost," by Doug Moench, Mike Zeck, and Gene Day.
- Ghosts #100 (DC Comics): Edited by Jack C. Harris.
- With issue #66, Charlton revives The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves, cancelled in May 1978.
- Weird War Tales #100 (DC Comics)
- Final issue of The Hulk! published by Curtis Magazines.
- Debut of the comics industry magazine Amazing Heroes (published by the Fantagraphics imprint Zam, Inc.. With later issues, until it folds in 1992, Amazing Heroes will be "officially" published by Fantagraphics).
- Superman and Spider-Man, "The Heroes and the Holocaust," a DC/Marvel intercompany crossover ("sequel" to 1976's Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man).
- Man-Thing vol. 2, with issue #11, is cancelled by Marvel.
- John Byrne begins his 62-issue run as writer/artist on Fantastic Four with issue #232.
- DC's The Flash reaches its 300th issue and celebrates its 25th anniversary.
- Justice League of America #193 features an insert previewing the upcoming All-Star Squadron series by Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler.
- Final issue of Marvel Premiere (#61) published by Marvel Comics
- With issue #47, DC cancels Super Friends.
- "Doomquest" storyline debuts in Iron Man #149 (continues in Iron Man #150)
- The Warlord #48 features an insert previewing the upcoming Arak, Son of Thunder series by Roy Thomas and Ernie Colón.
- DC Special Series #27 — Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk, an intercompany crossover between DC and Marvel Comics. This marks the final issue of DC Special Series (1977 series), a catch-all series primarily for one-shots of different formats, released on an irregular schedule.
- The Defenders #100: Double-sized issue written by J.M. DeMatteis. (Marvel Comics)
- "Block Mania" storyline begins in 2000 AD. (continues through December)
- Jinty merges with Tammy (Fleetway).
- Pacific Comics makes its entree into publishing with the release of Jack Kirby's Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #1
- The reprint title Marvel Super Action, with issue #37, is cancelled by Marvel.
- February 20: Enzo Magni, aka Ingam, Italian comics artist (Pantera Bionda), dies at age 76. 
- February 29: Carlo Bisi, Italian comics artist (Sor Pampurio), passes away at age 91. 
- May 25: George Clark, American comics artist (The Neigbors, Side Glances), passes away at age 78. 
- September 2: Andrija Maurović, Montenegrin-Croatian comics artist (Stari Macak, Dan, Old Tom-cat and Radoslav) passes away at age 80. 
- November 2: Wally Wood, American comics artist (Mad Magazine, Sally Forth, Heroes, Inc. Presents Cannon, Daredevil) commits suicide at age 54. 
- November 18: Fredric Wertham, German psychologist and author of the anti-comics book Seduction of the Innocent which paved the way for the Comics Code censorship, dies at age 86. 
- December 1: Russ Manning, American comics artist (Magnus, Robot Fighter), dies at age 52. 
- Harry "A" Chesler, American comics entrepreneur, dies at age 83.
Exhibitions and shows
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- Comicon '81 (British Comic Art Convention) (London, England) — 14th annual (and final) edition
- May 3: Colorado Comic Art Convention (Rocky Mountain School of Art, Denver, Colorado) — official guests include Kirk Alyn (guest of honor) and John Severin
- June 27–28: Creation Convention (Hyatt Regency, Washington, D.C.) — guests include Stan Lee, Bob Wiacek, Terry Austin, and Savage Sword of Conan artist Kenneth Morris
- July 3–5: Comic Art Convention (Statler Hilton Hotel, 33rd Street and 7th Avenue, New York City) — special guest of honor George Pérez; other official guests include Burne Hogarth, Harvey Kurtzman, Howard Chaykin, Gil Kane, and Art Spiegelman
- July 3–5: Multicon 81 (Lincoln Plaza Inn, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) — guests include John Byrne, L. B. Cole, Jim Engel, Chuck Fialla, Mike McQuay, John Wooley, and Ron Wolfe
- July 17–19: Chicago Comicon (Pick-Congress Hotel, Chicago, Illinois)
- July 23–26: San Diego Comic Con (El Cortez Hotel, San Diego, California) — 5,000 attendees; official guests: Jerry Bails, Dave Berg, L. B. Cole, Jim Fitzpatrick, Dick Giordano, Bil Keane, Julius Schwartz, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Dave Sim
- August: Atlanta Fantasy Fair (Dunfey's Royal Coach, Atlanta, Georgia) — official guests include Al Williamson, Michael Whelan, Bob Burden, Mike Jittlov
- September: OrlandoCon (Orlando, Florida) — guests include C. C. Beck
- September 19–20: FantaCon '81 (Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany, New York)
- November 14: Mid-Ohio Con (Quality Inn Park Place, Mansfield, Ohio) — special guest of honor: John Byrne
- December 5–6: Greater Cincinnati Comic and Card Convention (Drawbridge Motor Inn, Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky) — special guest Bob Layton
Presented in 1982 for comics published in 1981:
- Best New Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz
- Roll of Honour: Roy Thomas
- Favourite Artist (UK): Mick Austin
First issues by title
- Release: Self-published by Los Bros Hernandez
Initial appearances by character name
- All-Star Squadron in Justice League of America #193 (August)
- Andrew Bennett in the "I…Vampire" feature in House of Mystery #290 (March)
- Arak in The Warlord #48 (August)
- Bushmaster, in Super Friends #45 (June)
- Electrocutioner, in Batman #331 (January)
- Firebrand (Danette Reilly), in Justice League of America #193 (August)
- Fearsome Five in New Teen Titans #3 (January)
- Omega Men in Green Lantern #141 (June)
- Plasmus, in New Teen Titans #14
- Titans of Myth in New Teen Titans #11
- Arlok, in What If? #27 (July)
- Astron, in What If? #27 (July)
- Avalanche, in Uncanny X-Men #141 (January)
- Elektra, in Daredevil #168 (January)
- Hybrid, in Rom #17 (April)
- Mad Jim Jaspers, in Marvel Superheroes #377, published by Marvel UK (September)
- Pyro, in Uncanny X-Men #141 (January)
- Rogue, in Avengers Annual #10
- Siryn, in Spider-Woman #37 (April)
- Stick in Daredevil #176 (November)
- Rogue Trooper in 2000 AD. #228, published by IPC Media
- Syzygy Darklock in The Price, published by Eclipse Comics
- Thrud the Barbarian in the British fanzine Arken Sword
- Zanardi in the Italian anthology Frigidaire
- "Executive Shifts at DC" Amazing Heroes #1 (June 1981) p. 25
- "Harrison Retires from DC Presidency" Amazing Heroes #1 (June 1981) pp. 31-32
- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
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.
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 193: "The comic responsible for DC's name reached its 500th issue with the help of a variety of talented comic book icons...In a dimension-spanning story by writer Alan Brennert and fan-favorite artist Dick Giordano, Batman traveled to an alternate Earth to save the parents of a young Bruce Wayne...Writer of pulp icon the Shadow, Walter Gibson, spun a prose story of the Dark Knight, illustrated by Tom Yeates
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 194: "In an oversized treasury edition carrying a hefty $2.50 price tag, the Man of Steel paired for the second time with Marvel's iconic web-slinger...The issue came together thanks to the script of writer Jim Shooter, a bit of plotting assistance by Marv Wolfman, the pencils of longtime Marvel luminary John Buscema, and a veritable fleet of inkers."
- "All-Star Squadron, DC's new World War II-era superhero series debuts in May in a 16-page preview insert in Justice League of America #193." as noted in "Thomas Revives WWII Superheroes" Catron, Michael Amazing Heroes #1 June 1981 pp. 28-29
- "Arak, Son of Thunder, described as an 'Indian/Viking,' makes his debut in a preview insert in Warlord #48, on sale in May." as noted in "Thomas's Indian/Viking to Roam Medieval Europe" Catron, Michael Amazing Heroes #1 June 1981 pp. 29-30
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 195 "Written by Len Wein and illustrated by José Luis García-López, the comic saw...Batman and the Hulk doing battle with both the Joker and Marvel's ultra-powerful Shaper of Worlds."
- "Howard Purcell Dies" Amazing Heroes #3 (August 1981) p. 23
- Mastrangelo, Joseph P. "Browsing for Comic Books," Washington Post (June 29, 1981).
- Hamerlinck, P.C., "I'll Never Forget C. C. Beck: C. C. Beck, Captain Marvel's Chief Artist," Fawcett Companion: The Best of FCA, Fawcett Collectors of America (TwoMorrows Publishing, 2001), p. 137.
- wordsandpictures.org. "Bill Sienkiewicz-Awards, Exhibits".
- Austin profile, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 193 "Writer J. M. DeMatteis unveiled vampire/vampire hunter Andrew Bennett with the help of artist Tom Sutton in The House of Mystery #290."
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 193: Green Lantern #141 "DC's newest science-fiction franchise, a band of over one hundred aliens called the Omega Men...They gave Green Lantern a run for his money in this issue written by Marv Wolfman, with art by Joe Staton, and the Omega Men went on to gain their own ongoing series in 1983."