Back in the 1980s, in a time before the internet and when comic book solicitations catalogs only ran maybe the name of the comic book and its creative team in most instances, the biannual AMAZING HEROES PREVIEW SPECIAL became like a bible of fans who were hungry to know more about what was coming up in the pages of their favorite comics. This tradition began in 1984 with issue #39 of AMAZING HEROES, but within a year it would be spun off into its own separate publication. These were fat issues, in which the editorial staff of AH spoke to the editors and writers of pretty much every comic book slated to come out over the following six months. And what’s still interesting about these books today is the plans that fell through or changed, the comics that were planned but never materialized. So here, we’re going to survey the first of the AMAZING HEROES Preview Specials from 1984 and see what was on the horizon.
The opening pages give a breakdown as to the contributors to the issue. Each individual entry was signed off with the initials of the person who gathered the information.
I don’t believe ARMAGEDDON WARRIOR ever saw print.
The AVENGERS ANNUAL Roger Stern talks about here featuring Juggernaut never came to pass.
This BLACK PANTHER limited series wouldn’t be completed and published for several years.
We’ll look at more from the AMAZING HEROES PREVIEW SPECIAL in the weeks to come.
6 thoughts on “AMAZING HEROES #39 1984 PREVIEW SPECIAL, A & B”
I loved Amazing Heroes. Mark Waid was an editor for them before moving to DC. Kevin Dooley, maybe, too. So much great stuff here. Don Newton still on a Bat-title. Batman & the Outsiders! I never heard of Paul Smith’s “Mike Mahogany”. Blue Devil. Alpha Flight. “A Distant Soil” was around back then? Wow. Yay, Colleen. 🙂 Alien Legion. Amethyst. All-Star Squadron (“America’s A.S.S.”, good one, Tom), great Jerry Ordwy cover, there w/ Horman vs. Baron Blitzkrieg. Arion. American Flagg. Blackhawk by Evanier & Spiegle? Didn’t they also do Blackhawk in Action Comics Weekly the next decade?
Aztec Ace. The Badger. I remember Barren Earth, too. Normal Man. 🙂 Villains & Vigilantes, wow. Spidey’s black costume. Secret Wars, monster sales series, w/ Kitty still on the prelim cover. But then there’s the A-Team… 🙂 The self-caricatures of Archie & Walt. Yeah, I didn’t have this issue. All “pre-Crisis” (I’ll bet the CoiE issue of AH was good). I’d start picking up AH by ’85, and loved the preview issues. I miss that mag. So many great interviews, reviews. So well-respected that it’d feature the greats. I remember being really hyped in ’86 about Byrne’s Superman reboot after reading AH’s coverage and interviews with Byrne & others about it.
It became a must have. It’s where I 1st heard about so many new projects, small publishers, indie properties (Miracleman, Nexus, etc), awards. Comics were so exciting then. Forging ahead, searching for new techniques, new ideas, the next big thing. While still respecting and paying tribute to many of the creative pro’s who came before, who’d moved the industry to where it was; and encouraging the new crop to reach greatness. Yeah. Good times for a young fan. .
It’s difficult for me to think of a time in my career where I’ve had more fun than writing and assembling these specials. Long live MacKenzie Ryan.
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Congrats on “World’s Finest”. Now more people than ever know what some of us have for several years now: Dan Mora is freakin’ amazing. It’s a big stage. 2 of the biggest & most beloved pop-culture characters in the world. A well-known, acclaimed writer in his 4th decade among the top in the biz. And an artist who’s fundamentally sound, dynamic, sharp-edged, kinetic style delivers on all that promise. Big hit. I think we could officially call Dan a star artist (could add “super” to that, soon). Nothing or nobody he couldn’t draw. I’m sure Tom here wouldn’t mind getting him over onto a Marvel book. Dan was picked as Wolverine artist in Tom’s most recent editorial simulation. He’d do a fantastic Logan, especially in the brown & tan, but somehow I don’t think it’d top getting to draw both Superman and Batman.
The Alpha Flight one is fascinating. How far in advance of finalising the stories was John Byrne writing? He talks as if he explicitly isn’t going to use Box in the immediate future, having had to revise his plans to avoid being too close to other comics’ characters – but Box does appear prominently in the Omega Flight story of #11-#13, and plays a significant part in the plot! I love things like this, I can’t wait to see the rest! 🙂
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I just reread the Alpha Flight entry, and it’s amazing how in the midst of the “Which Member Is Byrne Going To Kill?” brouhaha, Byrne basically confirms that Aurora, Puck, Sasquatch, Marrina, and Shaman are all going to survive issue #12, as he has plans for each of them in issues #14-18. That just leaves Northstar and Guardian as possibilities for who he’s going to kill off, and when you factor in his mention that Heather “is going to come into a much greater role than she’s had until now,” I wonder if any AH readers were surprised by Guardian’s death in #12.
Judging by the letters pages, Northstar was the most popular guess from readers, but you’re right that with the help of hindsight, this article really makes it obvious Guardian’s a goner. But at the time, he was probably protected by the idea that killing the leader of the team was sort of unthinkable – it still comes across as shocking!