1986 in comics
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Notable events of 1986 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
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, a four-issue limited series written and drawn by Frank Miller and published by DC Comics, debuts. It reintroduces Batman to the general public as the psychologically dark character of his original 1930s conception, and helps to usher in an era of "grim and gritty" superheroes from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.
- Watchmen, a twelve-issue limited series written by Alan Moore, illustrated by Dave Gibbons and published by DC Comics, debuts. To date, Watchmen remains the only graphic novel to win a Hugo Award, and is also the only graphic novel to appear on Time's 2005 list of "the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present."
- The first volume of Maus, written and drawn by Art Spiegelman debuts. Maus is a biography, presented in comics form, of Spiegelman's father, Vladek Spiegelman, a survivor of the Nazi Holocaust. Spiegelman was awarded a 1992 Pulitzer Prize Special Award for Maus shortly after its completion in 1991.
- A plethora of new independent publishers enter the comics arena, including ACE Comics, Adventure Publications, Apple Comics, Crystal Publications, Dark Horse Comics, Eternity Comics, Fantagor Press, Gladstone Comics, Malibu Comics, Pied Piper Comics, Silverwolf Comics, Slave Labor Graphics, Solson Publications, and Spotlight Comics. Conversely, Lodestone Comics, New Sirius Productions, and Sirius Comics all go out of business.
- The Man of Steel, a six-issue comic book limited series written and penciled by John Byrne, inked by Dick Giordano and published by DC Comics, debuts. The mini-series is designed to revamp the Superman mythos, using the history-altering effects of Crisis on Infinite Earths as an explanation for numerous changes to previous continuity.
- The "Born Again" story arc runs in Marvel Comics' Daredevil (issues #227 to #233), written by Frank Miller and drawn by David Mazzucchelli.
- The "Mutant Massacre" crossover storyline runs through Marvel Comics in the fall. It primarily involves the superhero teams the X-Men, X-Factor, and the New Mutants. Power Pack, Thor, and Daredevil cross over for an issue in their own titles.
- Captain Confederacy, created by Will Shetterly and Vince Stone, debuts, published by SteelDragon Press. It will run 12 issues.
- DC publishes Heroes Against Hunger starring Superman and Batman, an all-star benefit book for African famine relief and recovery.
- Broadside, a comic strip by Jeff Bacon, begins appearing in the Navy Times.
- Marvel Super Special, with issue #41, about Howard the Duck, is cancelled by Marvel Comics.
- With issue #323, DC cancels World's Finest Comics.
- The French publisher Delcourt enters the marketplace, cancelling the comics magazine Charlie Mensuel and merging its contents with Pilote magazine.
- With issue #329, DC cancels Wonder Woman.
- With issue #152, Marvel cancels The Defenders.
- With issue #75, Marvel cancels ROM.
- With issue #34, Marvel cancels Epic Illustrated.
- Wonder Man #1 one-shot, by David Michelinie, Kerry Gammill, and Vince Colletta; published by Marvel Comics.
- The Enchanted Apples of Oz, First Graphic Novel #5, by Eric Shanower (First Comics).
- With issue #106, Archie Comics cancels Archie's TV Laugh-Out.
- April 10: Metalzoic (DC Graphic Novel #6), by Pat Mills and Kevin O'Neill, published by DC Comics.
- Green Lantern #200: "Five Billion Years," by Steve Englehart, Joe Staton, and Bruce D. Patterson. (DC Comics)
- The Incredible Hulk #319: Bruce Banner marries Betty Ross. (Marvel Comics)
- With issue #20, Marvel cancels Micronauts: The New Voyages.
- With issue #201, DC changes the title of the Green Lantern comic book to The Green Lantern Corps.
- The Thing, with issue #36, is cancelled by Marvel.
- Dark Horse Comics makes its debut as a publisher with the anthology Dark Horse Presents #1.
- Hawkman Special (DC Comics), by Tony Isabella, Richard Howell, and Ron Randall.
- With issue #107, Marvel cancels its Star Wars comic.
- Aristocratic Xtraterrestrial Time-Traveling Thieves "Micro Series" #1 (Comics Interview), by Henry Vogel and Mark Propst.
- "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?," a two-part Superman story, appears in Superman #423 and Action Comics #583. Written by Alan Moore, with art by Curt Swan, George Pérez, and Kurt Schaffenberger; published by DC Comics.
- DC suspends publication of Superman; in 1987 the title relaunches as The Adventures of Superman (continuing the numbering of Superman).
- DC suspends publication of Action Comics (until January 1987) to allow for the publication of John Byrne's The Man of Steel limited series and Byrne's revamp of the Superman character/franchise.
- With issue #97, DC cancels DC Comics Presents.
- Power Man and Iron Fist, with issue #125, is cancelled by Marvel.
- September 27: Warlord, with issue #627, is merged with Victor (D.C. Thomson).
- Marvel Comics launches the New Universe, an imprint created in celebration of Marvel's 25th anniversary. Comics published by New Universe are in a distinctly separate world, fully divorced from the mainstream continuity of the Marvel Universe, consisting of its own continuing characters and stories in a more realistic setting. The New Universe's first titles are Spitfire and The Troubleshooters and Star Brand.
- Batman #400: 68-page anniversary issue, "Resurrection Night," by Doug Moench and an all-star roster of artists, including Bill Sienkiewicz, John Byrne, George Pérez, Art Adams, and Brian Bolland. (DC Comics)
- Marvel's New Universe imprint launches six more titles: D.P. 7, Justice, Kickers, Inc., Mark Hazzard: Merc, Nightmask, and Psi-Force.
- DC Comics begins publishing "Legends," a crossover storyline that runs through a six-issue, self-titled limited series and various other DC titles published (22 chapters in all) in 1986 and 1987.
- Blue Devil, with issue #31, is canceled by DC Comics
- With issue #15, Comico publishes the final issue of Matt Wagner's Mage: The Hero Discovered
- Amazing High Adventure, with issue #5, publishes its final issue. (Marvel Comics)
- Chester Brown's Yummy Fur begins professional publication by Vortex Comics
- January 10: Marvin Bradley, American comics artist (Rex Morgan, M.D.), passes away at the age of 72. 
- January 11: Kazuo Kamimura, Japanese manga artist (Lady Snowblood), dies at the age of 45 from a pharynx tumor.  
- March 19: Stephen P. Dowling, British comics artist (Garth, Ruggles, Belinda), passes away at the age of 82, coincidentally his birthday. 
- April: Stefano Tamburini, Italian comics writer (RanXerox) dies from a drug overdose at the age of 40 or 41.
- October 4: Mike Butterworth, British comics writer (Wulf the Briton, The Trigan Empire, Storm), passes away at age 62.
- December 24: Gardner Fox, American comics writer (The Flash, Hawkman, The Justice League), dies at age 75. 
Specific date unknown
- Renaat Demoen, Belgian comics artist and illustrator (Zonneland), dies at the age of 71 or 72. 
- Zvonimir Furtinger, Croatian comics writer (Herlock Sholmes), dies at age 83 or 84.
Exhibitions and shows
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- April 11–13: 2nd Annual Victoria International Cartoon Festival (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
- May 31–June 1: Birmingham Comic Art Show (Motorcycle Museum, NEC, Birmingham, England) — presentation of the Eagle Awards
- July 4–6: Chicago Comicon (Ramada O'Hare Hotel, Rosemont, Illinois) — 5,000 attendees; official guests: Stan Lee (guest of honor), George Pérez (special guest), Doug Wildey
- July 4–6: Dallas Fantasy Fair I (Dallas Marriott Park Central, Dallas, Texas) — guests include Dave Stevens, Gary Groth, Pat Broderick, Will Eisner, Mike Gustovich, Burne Hogarth, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, William Messner-Loebs, Frank Miller, Jean Giraud, Doug Moench, Richard Pini, Dave Sim, Donald Simpson, Alex Toth, Doug Wildey, Neal Barrett, Jr., David A. Cherry, Carole Nelson Douglas, George R.R. Martin, Ardath Mayhar, Warren Norwood, Frederik Pohl, Kay Reynolds, Fred Saberhagen, Lewis Shiner, John Steakley, Howard Waldrop, Jack Williamson, Philip José Farmer, Roger Zelazny
- July 19–20: Creation Philadelphia (Centre Hotel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) — guests include John Romita, Jr. and Archie Goodwin
- July 31–August 3: San Diego Comic-Con (Convention and Performing Arts Center and Hotel San Diego, California) — 6,500 attendees; official guests: Poul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Greg Evans, Stan Lee, Dale Messick, Frank Miller, Moebius, Mart Nodell, Harvey Pekar, Jim Valentino, and Doug Wildey
- August 2–4: Atlanta Fantasy Fair (Omni Hotel and Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, Georgia) — 5,000 attendees; comics guests include Chris Claremont, Denny O'Neil, Stan Lee, Ralph Bakshi, Matt Feazell, Kelly Freas, Dave Gibbons, Greg Hildebrandt, Jim Starlin, John Romita, Sr., Boris Vallejo, and Bob Burden; science fiction/fantasy writers include Robert Asprin, John Varley, Brad Strickland, and Diane Duane; media guests include Carl Macek, Don Kennedy, and Steve Jackson of Steve Jackson Games
- August 9–10: Creation Los Angeles (Hyatt Hotel, Los Angeles, California) — guests include John Romita, Jr. and Terry Austin
- August 9–10: King Kon (Dearborn Civic Center, Dearborn, MI): guests include Ron Frenz, Al Milgrom, William Messner-Loebs, and Max Allan Collins; participating publishers include Marvel, DC, Arrow Comics, Stabur Graphics, and Vortex Comics; c. 2,500 attendees
- August 22–23: Comix Fair (Brookhollow Marriott, Houston, Texas) — guests include Gary Groth, Gil Kane, Joe Pumilia, Jeff Millar, Bill Hinds, and Doug Potter
- August 23–24: Creation Manhattan (Roosevelt Hotel, New York City) — special tribute to Marvel Comics' 25th anniversary; guests include Stan Lee and Jim Shooter
- August 23–24: Creation San Francisco (Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, San Francisco, California)
- September 6–7: Creation Washington, D.C. (Marriott Twin Bridges Hotel, Arlington, Virginia)
- September 20–21: Creation New Jersey (Hyatt Regency, New Brunswick, New Jersey)
- September 20–21: UKCAC (University of London Union, Malet Street, London, England) — guests include Bill Marks, Seth Motter, Dean Motter, David Lloyd, Frank Miller, Lynn Varley, Steve Leialoha, Lew Stringer, Glen Fabry, Gil Kane, John Bolton, Karen Berger, Alan Moore, Jenette Kahn, Dave Gibbons, Kevin O'Neill, Brett Ewins, Carl Potts, Alan Grant, Barry Windsor-Smith, Bryan Talbot, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Claremont
- November 8–9: Mid-Ohio Con (Richland County Fairgrounds, Mansfield, Ohio) — guests of honor: Frank Miller, John Byrne, Stephen R. Bissette, John Totleben, and Bill Sienkiewicz
- November 14–16: Dallas Fantasy Fair II (Dallas Marriott Park Central, Dallas, Texas) — celebration of the 25th anniversary of Marvel Comics; guests include Stan Lee
Presented in 1987 for comics published in 1986:
- Favourite Comic: Swamp Thing, written by Alan Moore (DC)
- Favourite New Title: Watchmen, written by Alan Moore (DC)
- Favourite Finite Series: Crisis on Infinite Earths, by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez (DC Comics)
- Favourite Graphic Novel: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC)
- Favourite Single or Continued Story: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC)
- Favourite Comic Cover: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1, by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
- Favourite Group or Team: The X-Men
- Favourite Character: Batman
- Favourite Supporting Character: John Constantine, from Swamp Thing (DC)
- Favourite Character Worthy of Own Title: Wolverine
- Favourite Villain: The Joker
- Favourite Writer: Alan Moore
- Favourite Artist: Frank Miller
- Favourite Inker: Terry Austin
- Favourite Specialist Comics Publication: Amazing Heroes
- Favourite Artist: Alan Davis
- Favourite Writer: Alan Moore
- Favourite Comic: 2000 AD (IPC)
- Favourite Comic Album: D.R. & Quinch's Totally Awesome Guide to Life, written by Alan Moore
- Favourite Character: Judge Dredd, from 2000 AD
- Favourite Villain: Torquemada, from 2000 AD
- Favourite Supporting Character: Ukko the Dwarf (from Sláine)
- Character Most Worthy of Own Title: Captain Britain
- Favourite Single or Continued Story: Halo Jones Three, written by Alan Moore
- Favourite New Title: Redfox (Harrier Comics)
- Favourite Comic Cover: 2000 AD #500
- Favourite Specialist Comics Publication: Speakeasy
- Roll of Honour:
- Best Single Issue: "Apocalypse," Daredevil #227, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli (Marvel Comics)
- Best Continuing Series: Swamp Thing, by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben (DC Comics)
- Best Black & White Series: Love and Rockets by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
- Best Finite Series: Crisis on Infinite Earths, by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez (DC)
- Best New Series: Miracleman, by Alan Moore and various artists (Eclipse Comics)
- Best Graphic Album: The Rocketeer, by Dave Stevens (Eclipse)
- Best Artist: Steve Rude, for Nexus (First Comics)
- Best Writer: Alan Moore, for Swamp Thing (DC)
- Best Writer/Artist (single or team): Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, for Daredevil (Marvel)
- Best Art Team: George Pérez and Jerry Ordway, for Crisis On Infinite Earths (DC)
First issues by title
- Release: August. Writer/Artist: Barbara Slate.
- Release: April. Editor: Roy Thomas.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (4 issues)
- Release: February. Writer/Artist: Frank Miller.
Cosmic Boy (4 issues)
Legends (6 issues)
The Man of Steel (6 issues)
- Release: July. Writer/Artist: John Byrne.
Watchmen (12 issues)
Les Femmes en Blanc (32 volumes)
- Release: October
- Release: September. Editor: Ann Nocenti.
- Release: October. Writers: Eliot R. Brown, John Morelli, and Gerry Conway. Artists: Herb Trimpe, Joe Sinnott, and Tom Morgan.
Dakota North (5 issues)
Elektra: Assassin (8 issues)
The Punisher (5 issues)
Steelgrip Starkey (6 issues)
- Release: October by First Comics. Writer: Roy Thomas. Artists: Michael T. Gilbert and George Freeman.
- Release: October by Solson Publications: Writer: Monroe Arnold. Artists: Dick Ayers and Rich Buckler.
Initial appearances by character name
- Bad Samaritan, in The Outsiders vol. 1 #3, (January)
- Booster Gold, in Booster Gold #1 (February)
- Brimstone, in Legends #1 (November)
- Duke of Oil, in The Outsiders #6 (April)
- Film Freak, in Batman #395 (May)
- Hybrid, in New Teen Titans vol. 2, #24 (October)
- Carrie Kelly, in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 (February)
- Kilowog, in Green Lantern Corps # 201 (June)
- Magpie, in The Man of Steel #3 (November)
- Prometheus, in New Teen Titans #24 (October)
- Skeets, in Booster Gold #1 (February)
- Sodam Yat, in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2
- Amanda Waller, in Legends #1 in (November)
- Vigilante (Dave Winston), in Vigilante #28 (April)
- Crimebusters, in Watchmen #2 (October)
- Minutemen, in Watchmen #2 (October)
- Captain Metropolis, in Watchmen #1 (September)
- Dollar Bill, in Watchmen #2 (October)
- Hooded Justice, in Watchmen #1 (September)
- Mothman, in Watchmen #2 (October)
- Nite Owl (Hollis Mason), in Watchmen #1 (September)
- Silhouette, in Watchmen #2 (October)
- Silk Spectre (Sally Juspeczyk), in Watchmen #1 (September)
- Apocalypse, in X-Factor #5 (June)
- Berzerker, in X-Factor #11 (December)
- Eddie Brock, in Web of Spider-Man #18 (September )
- Chance, in Web of Spider-Man #15 (June)
- Rusty Collins, in X-Factor #1 (February)
- Dakota North, in Dakota North #1 (June)
- Foreigner, in Web of Spider-Man #15 (June)
- Cameron Hodge, in X-Factor #1 (February)
- Artie Maddicks, in X-Factor #2 (March)
- Marauders, in Uncanny X-Men #210 (October)
- Mayhem, in Cloak and Dagger Vol. 2 #5 (March)
- Nuke, in Daredevil #232 (May)
- Persuasion, in Alpha Flight #41 (December)
- Prism, in X-Factor #10 (November)
- Sinister Syndicate, in The Amazing Spider-Man #280 (September)
- Skids, in X-Factor vol. #7 (August)
- Solo, in Web of Spider-Man #19 (October)
- Time Variance Authority, in Thor vol. 1 #372 (October)
- Tollbooth, in G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #51 (September)
- U.S. Agent, in Captain America #323 (November)
- Concrete, in Dark Horse Presents #1 (July, Dark Horse)
- Shojun the Warlord, in 2000 AD #451 (IPC Media)
- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 218. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
It was what many consider the greatest year in comics. DC debuted two of the industry's most influential works: Frank Miller supplied a gritty take on super-heroes with Batman: The Dark Knight, while writer Alan Moore brought a literary ear and sophisticated structure to DC's comics with the maxiseries Watchmen.
- "AwardWeb: Hugo Award Winners" - Watchmen listed as a winner of the Hugo Award (retrieved 20 April 2006)
- "Time Magazine - ALL-TIME 100 Novels" – A synopsis describing Watchmen (retrieved 14 April 2006)
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 221: "In the six-issue miniseries entitled [The] Man of Steel, the mammoth task of remaking Superman fell to popular writer/artist John Byrne...The result was an overwhelming success, popular with fans both old and new."
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 219: "Plotted by Jim Starlin, with dramatic designs by Bernie Wrightson...Heroes Against Hunger featured nearly every popular DC creator of the time."
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 221: "Batman celebrated the 400th issue of his self-titled comic with a blockbuster featuring dozens of famous comic book creators and nearly as many infamous villains. Written by Doug Moench, with an introduction by novelist Stephen King...[it was] drawn by George Pérez, Bill Sienkiewicz, Arthur Adams, Joe Kubert, Brian Bolland, and others."
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 221 "DC's next big crossover showcased John Byrne's pencils on all six of the miniseries' issues. Entitled Legends, this new limited series was plotted by writer John Ostrander and scripted by Len Wein...By the series' end, the stage was set for several new ongoing titles, including...the Suicide Squad, as well as the Justice League."
- Kavvadias, Tasia. "Just For Comic Books, Zam 5,000 Congregate," Chicago Tribune (08 July 1986), p. 3.
- Groth, Gary. "Unmasking the Rocketeer" (Dave Stevens interview), The Comics Journal #117 (Sept. 1987), pp. 68.
- "Comic Book Conventions 1986," Star Brand #2 (Nov. 1986), p. 18.
- Detroit Free Press (August 7, 1986), p. 178.
- "Fooling Around," Detroit Free Press (August 5, 1986), p. 16.
- "Con Reports: King Kon Strikes Again!," CBGXtra.com (Aug. 22, 2008). Archived at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Accessed Feb. 18, 2016.
- "Comix Fair features cartoonists," Houston Chronicle (21 Aug 1986), p. 7.
- "The Lively Arts," Columbus Dispatch (November 3, 1986).
- "Events," Texas Monthly (Nov. 1986), p. 38.
- Siegel profile, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
- Shuster profile, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
- Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 218: "The DC Universe gained one of its most peculiar stars in the first issue of writer/artist Dan Jurgens' Booster Gold series."