Star Comics

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Star Comics
Status defunct (1988)
Founded 1984 (1984)
Headquarters location New York City
Key people
Publication types comic books
Fiction genres children
Owner(s) Marvel Entertainment Group, Inc.

Star Comics was an imprint of Marvel Comics that began in 1984 and featured titles that were aimed at child readers and were often adaptations of children's television series, animated series or toys. The last comic published under the imprint featured a May 1988 cover date, although the Star Comics Magazine continued through December 1988. Some of the titles continued after that, being published directly by Marvel. Several of the original titles consciously emulated the house writing and visual style of then-recently defunct Harvey Comics titles such as Richie Rich.

The imprint's signature titles were Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham and Heathcliff, its longest running title. The imprint was also known for its Star Wars titles, Droids and Ewoks.[1] Artists working on the line include Warren Kremer[2] and Howard Post.[3]

Background[edit]

For a number of years the industry had benefited from an "age stepladder" whereby comics readers could ascend naturally from children's titles by Gold Key Comics (Disney and Looney Tunes licensee) and Harvey, upward to the Archie Comics titles for preteens, and finally graduating to the Marvel and DC titles for teens and older readers or to independent comics. So when Gold Key and other children's comic publishers went out of business, both Marvel and DC began exploring ways to fill that missing step on the reading ladder.[2] In 1983, Gold Key ended its licensed kids' lines.[2]

Previously Marvel Comics had never had a successful children's line,[2] although prior to the existence of the Star imprint, they had released a few miniseries based on licensed toy and cartoon properties, such as Rom The Spaceknight, The Smurfs, and Starriors.[citation needed] Marvel launched in 1977 a Hanna-Barbera line including “Dynomutt”.[4] In a one shot, Marvel Tails No. 1, published in 1983 under the Marvel imprint, Spider-Ham debuted.[5]

By the early 1980s, Marvel Comics was in negotiations with Harvey Comics to assume publication of some of their characters. Harvey editor Sid Jacobson, along with the other Harvey staff, were interviewed by Mike Hobson, Marvel's group vice-president of publishing (de facto publisher). As part of the process, Jacobson created several new characters which were well received by Hobson and effectively sealed the deal. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter appointed editor Tom DeFalco as Executive Editor to coordinate with the Harvey staff, who were hired by Marvel. On the day Marvel was set to take over the Harvey publications, Harvey Comics pulled out of the deal due to an internal disagreement among the Harvey brothers. Harvey would cease publishing their comics in 1982.[2] With the loss of the Harvey characters, the Marvel staff reevaluated their publishing plan and decided that their new line of all-age comics would be published under a different imprint name.[2]

History[edit]

Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham #1 one of the first titles published by the imprint.

Star Comics was the name selected early on in the revamp of the publishing plan. The first comic published was the first issue of a three issue movie adaptation, The Muppets Take Manhattan, in July 1984 with a stand date of November 1984.[2] After the Star line was launched, several of their existing, ongoing titles which were based on licensed toylines, such as G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero and Transformers, remained under the Marvel banner.

The regular line did not appear on the stands until five months later and were launched over a two-month period with three original and six licensed titles. Fraggle Rock, Heathcliff, Planet Terry and Strawberry Shortcake were released in the first month while The Ewoks, Get Along Gang, Muppet Babies, Royal Roy and Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham followed in the second month. Top Dog and Wally the Wizard were also early Star original comic titles.[2]

In late 1985 Harvey Comics sued Star Comics for copyright infringement, claiming that Royal Roy was a blatant copy of Richie Rich.[6] Thus the title was canceled after six issues due to this similarity.[2]

Millie the Model that was started in her own title in 1945, during Marvel's Timely Comics era, and ran until 1973, had a Star Comics spin off (to add to its earlier spin offs) in Misty (the Model) mini-series. In Misty, Millie heads her own modeling agency.[7]

Marvel eventually dissolved the Star imprint. But absorbed several Star titles under the main Marvel banner such as Silverhawks and continued to license new properties, such as Captain Planet.[4] The Star original characters (Top Dog, Planet Terry, Royal Roy and Wally Wizard) later were used in a Marvel Comics series, 2009 X-Babies limited series as antagonists,[8] then Planet Terry was in Drax starting in issue 6 in 2016.[9]

Titles[edit]

Additionally, three Star Comics series were planned yet never published:

  • Commander USA
  • Christy
  • Little Wizards
  • Young Astronauts

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d McMillan, Graeme (January 10, 2013). "Leaving an Imprint: 10 Defunct MARVEL Publishing Lines: Star Comics". Newsarama. Purch Company. p. 11. Archived from the original on October 12, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Ceimcioch, Marck (December 2014). "Marvel for Kids: Star Comics". Back Issue! (77). Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ Care Bears at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved April 16, 2006. Archived from the original on April 13, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Webber, Tim (December 10, 2016). "15 Cartoon Superheroes Who Jumped To Comic Books". CBR.com. Retrieved February 24, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Top 10 Oddest Marvel Characters". Time. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  6. ^ "Harvey Sues Marvel Star Comics, Charges Copyright Infringement," The Comics Journal #105 (Feb. 1986), pp. p. 23-24.
  7. ^ a b Brownfield, Troy (December 1, 2008). "The Models of Marvel's Models, Inc". Newsarama. Retrieved October 9, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c Brady, Matt (June 22, 2009). "Gregg Schiegel on the Return of the X-Babies & Star Comics". Newsarama. Retrieved October 9, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b Narcisse, Evan (June 24, 2016). "Marvel Brought Back One of Its Most Embarrassing Kids Characters in a Really Funny Way". io9. Retrieved October 9, 2017. 
  10. ^ "IDW Gets 'Rocky and Bullwinkle'". ICv2. April 29, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2015. 
  11. ^ Ching, Albert (April 6, 2012). "DC Debuting New James Robinson-Written HE-MAN Comic in July". Newsarama. Retrieved October 9, 2017. 
  12. ^ Arrant, Chris (July 21, 2017). "HASBRO's Visionaries Returning In December After 30 Years". Newsarama. Retrieved October 9, 2017. 

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