Era #1

Special Note:

Many of the quotes and descriptions on these pages are from one of two sources. The first is the series of Marvel Bullpen Bulletins pages from Marvel Comics during the months of September to November of 1986. The other quotes are from MARVEL AGE #44, dated November of 1986, featuring a terrific, nine-page-long article about the debut of the New Universe. A few months later, MARVEL AGE #47-48 featured an extensive series of sketches which were used in the development of each New Universe title. I strongly encourage you to pick up these books if you can find them, and for that matter, if you're interested enough by what I tell you on this and the following pages, go out and search in back-issue bins (and the cheap comics bins) for as many New Universe comics as you can find.  I found many priced between $.25 and $1.00 U.S. and I bet you can, too.  Happy hunting, and good reading!

--Gary M. Miller

The New UniverseThe New Universe was created by Jim Shooter and a number of other writers and artists in the year of Marvel Comics' twenty-fifth anniversary. The intent of this "new era in comics" was, as quoted by Mr. Shooter, "to put to use a universe hitherto unused in comics. Our own. The one we live in. . . . No mer-people. No repulsors. No unstable molecules. In fact, no fantasy or fantastic elements at all except for the very few we introduce. Carefully."

These "very few fantasy elements" included the occurrence of a planetwide phenomenon, a flash of light which came to be known as "The White Event," which happened at 1:24 P.M. on July 22, 1986. The phenomena bombarded the entire Earth with energies of unknown origin -- energies which affected two out of every million people, interacting with their unique genetic structures to produce paranormal abilities, such as the ability to read minds, or lift several tons, or to run super-fast. Another fantasy element introduced in the early days of the New Universe was the existence of aliens, which would be explained away during the comics' second year.

The idea was sound, and between July and August of 1986, a total of eight new books were introduced, all with the "New Universe" logo proudly displayed at the tops of the covers. The eight books are listed below. Click on the thumbnail to access a larger reproduction of the cover.

Click for full-size imageD.P.7:

"They are strange. They are horrifying. They are constantly ridiculed. Their names: Dave Landers. Randy O'Brien. Jeff Walters. Charlene Beck. Lenore Fenzl. Dennis Cuzinski. Stephanie Harrington.  They are seven people, out of place in the world. Seven people afraid of what they are; afraid of what might become of them. Seven of the most dangerous beings ever to walk the face of the earth."

D.P.7 was created and written by Mark Gruenwald and penciled by Paul Ryan, with inks by Danny Bulanadi.  Their tenure on the book lasted the entire run of 32 issues.  This team also collaborated on the first several issues of Marvel's QUASAR.  Mark Gruenwald also wrote over 100 issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA.  He died in 1996.  Paul Ryan went on to draw FANTASTIC FOUR and RAVAGE 2099.

Complete Run: 32 Issues & 1 Annual (33)

Click for full-size imageJUSTICE:

"He was a warrior. A law officer in his own world.  He has the awesome power to destroy, to shield, to protect and to read the true nature of a man by his aura.  How he came to this place he cannot remember. But this he knows -- the good must be protected and the evil must be exterminated. He is Justice."

Created by Archie Goodwin and Walt (THOR) Simonson, JUSTICE is perhaps best known for the writing of former HULK  and present CAPTAIN MARVEL, SUPERGIRL and YOUNG JUSTICE (no relation to the New Universe) scribe Peter David.  He wrote the book during the last half of its run.  Archie Goodwin died in 1998 after an illustrious career with both Marvel and DC.  Also of note were three artists who went on to make it big: Geof Isherwood, who later wrote and drew DR. STRANGE; Keith Giffen, who also worked on DC's JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL and DR. FATE; and Lee Weeks, who made waves as the artist of THE DESTROYER, DAREDEVIL, X-MEN: THE MAGNETO WAR, and various SPIDER-MAN issues and limited series.

Complete Run: 32 Issues (32)

Click for full-size imageKICKERS, INC.:

"Jack Magniconte, the highest paid professional athlete in the world, perhaps the most gifted physical specimen ever to wear a football uniform, has a problem. Yesterday, suddenly, by means he can't understand, he became much stronger, much faster than before.  It cost him the life of his brother. It will change his life forever. And that's just the beginning."

KICKERS, INC. creators Tom DeFalco and Ron Frenz first teamed up in 1984 to tackle the adventures of the world's favorite wallcrawling superhero, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.  Since then, they went on to further success as the writer/artist team on Marvel's THE MIGHTY THOR, THUNDERSTRIKE, HERCULES: THE HEART OF CHAOS, SPIDER-GIRL, and A-NEXT titles.  They now have joined forces yet again for the Image Comics book, MR. RIGHT.

Complete Run: 12 Issues (12)


"Combat. It is what he does best.  He's Mark Hazzard, a Vietnam veteran who has gone on to become a soldier of fortune, selling his fighting abilities to military causes he believes in -- or, at least, can live with. It has cost him, though. Cost him his wife. His son. The love of his parents. The other mercs are Mark's only family now. But what choice does he have? Combat is what Mark Hazzard does best."

Although created by Archie Goodwin, MERC had to be handed off to another writer before the premiere issue.  During the early part of this title's run, it was the writing of Peter David and the grand artistry of Gray Morrow which won over many fans to this merc with a heart.  Later, this book prospered under its only other writer, Doug Murray, writer of THE 'NAM and SEMPER FI, who went on to write the final New Universe miniseries, THE WAR.  Additionally, CAPTAIN AMERICA, PUNISHER and MARVEL SUPER HEROES SECRET WARS artist Mike Zeck often contributed covers to the series.

Complete Run: 12 Issues & 1 Annual (13)

Click for full-size imageNIGHTMASK:

"He's Keith Remsen. She's his sister Teddy.  Together they run a unique psychoanalytical consulting service. With Teddy's help, Keith can enter the dreams of others, roam the labyrinths of their minds and, in the process, help the seriously disturbed. Keith remains anonymous in their clients' dreams, however. Protected from their psychological defenses by a psychophysically manifested camouflage. It's called the Nightmask."

Created by Archie Goodwin (who wrote the first and eighth issues of the title) with costume designs by Rick Leonardi, NIGHTMASK, which often suffered from lack of focus, featured the diverse talents of such creators as Roy Thomas, Tony Salmons, Ron Wagner, Michael Bair, Keith Giffen and Kyle Baker, with covers by some of the industry's top talent, people like Bair, Sandy Plunkett, Charles Vess, and P. Craig Russell.  Perhaps the standout accomplishment in this book was the introduction to mainstream comics of the MARVEL COMICS TRY-OUT BOOK contest winner, Mark Bagley, who went on to helm books such as NEW WARRIORS, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, THUNDERBOLTS, and his present success with Brian Michael Bendis, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN.

Complete Run: 12 Issues (12)

Click for full-size imagePSI-FORCE:

"Anastasia Inyushin is a psychic healer. Tyrone Jessup can project his astral self. Wayne Tucker is a telepath. Kathy Ling is a telekinetic. And Michael Crawley can use psionic powers to explode things.  Divided, they're vulnerable to exploitation -- by individuals, by organizations, by governments. United, they can mindmeld and create a being who possesses all of their paranormal abilities -- the Psi-Hawk. United they're invincible."

PSI-FORCE, created by Archie Goodwin and Walt (THOR) Simonson, probably introduced the most "hot" talent of all the New Universe, but nobody was aware of it at the time. During the first few issues, Mark Texiera handled the art chores. He went on to become the all-star artist of Marvel's GHOST RIDER and DC's HEX, and recently won acclaim on Marvel's BLACK PANTHER and a MOON KNIGHT limited series. He and writer Danny Fingeroth were followed by the new creative team of Fabian Nicieza and Ron Lim, who gained fame in later years on the X-Men titles and SILVER SURFER, respectively. Lim later was co-creator of the 2099 line's X-MEN, and MC2's J2. He is currently artist on Image Comics' RANDY O'DONNELL IS THE M@N title. Following Lim on the book as artist was former DETECTIVE COMICS artist, Graham Nolan.  After a brief stint as Editor-In-Chief of Acclaim Entertainment and a two-year stint as writer of Marvel's GAMBIT (during which he nearly brought Psi-Force back to the Marvel Universe!), Fabian Nicieza enjoys fame today as writer of the hit Marvel comic, THUNDERBOLTS.

Complete Run: 32 Issues & 1 Annual (33)


"Jenny Swensen, a highly respected full Professor of Applied Engineering at M.I.T., cares about what's right. With the aid of five outstanding M.I.T. students, she steals from Fritz Krotze the lab that originally belonged to her late father, including his technological masterpiece, the M.A.X. (Man-Amplified eXperimental suit). Krotze wants the M.A.X. back -- his aim, to develop it into highly marketable combat armor. Jenny and her friends find themselves using the M.A.X. to wage war on Krotze while constantly evading the law."

This short-lived series was written by former SUPERMAN scribe Cary Bates for much of its run, and in issue #4, Todd McFarlane (SPAWN) guest-pencilled a story.  Originally created by Marvel technical expert Eliot R. Brown with Jack Morelli and Gerry Conway of Spider-Man fame, and designed by HULK artist Herb Trimpe, this title had its name changed to CODENAME: SPITFIRE with issue #10 as Jenny built a new version of the armor and became a U.S. Government operative.  Some stories were penciled by Marshall Rogers.

Complete Run: 13 Issues (13)

Click for full-size imageSTAR BRAND:

"There is a weapon in the universe more powerful than all others. It is called the Star Brand. There is no more coveted, feared, loved or hated thing in existence. Now, this dreaded thing has fallen into the hands of Kenneth Connell, an Earthman. Another man might crumble under the burden. The Star Brand brings its bearer pain, worry, suspicion, fear -- fear that it will be wrested away into the wrong hands. Worse, fear that it is in the wrong hands. Another man might live only to pass the dreaded thing on, to find another bearer. But Kenneth Connell is a man like no other."

Originally intended to be the core title of the New Universe, THE STAR BRAND was created and written for the first seven issues by Marvel's then-Editor-in-Chief, Jim Shooter and was pencilled by the great John Romita, Jr.  Shooter, who gained notoriety by writing DC's SUPERBOY when he was only 13 and who proceeded to script Marvel's AVENGERS title during the late 1970s and early 1980s, left Marvel in 1987 and afterward formed two comic companies, Valiant (now Acclaim) and Defiant, the latter of which is now defunct.  Romita, who had a lengthy run on THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN alongside Roger Stern in the early 1980s, later became the artist of THE UNCANNY X-MEN, DAREDEVIL, THE MIGHTY THOR, and PETER PARKER: SPIDER-MAN, and is now the regular artist of both THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

After floundering for a few issues, THE STAR BRAND found a new writer/artist in John Byrne, writer/artist of many Marvel and DC titles since the mid-1970s, whose recent projects included SPIDER-MAN: CHAPTER ONE, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, HULK, SPIDER-WOMAN, and X-MEN: THE HIDDEN YEARS.  His tenure lasted until the book's cancellation in 1989.

Complete Run: 19 Issues & 1 Annual (20)

Thus, the setup was complete.

Onward to History II

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Tensen and all related characters are © 2001 Marvel Characters, Inc. No copyright infringements intended.