- Champions (comics)
Superhero team The Champions debut on the cover of The Champions #1 (Oct. 1975). Art by Gil Kane.
Publication information Publisher Marvel Comics Schedule Bimonthly Format Ongoing series Genre Superhero Publication date Oct. 1975 - Jan. 1978 Number of issues 17 Main character(s) Angel; Black Widow; Darkstar; Ghost Rider; Hercules; Iceman Creative team Writer(s) Tony Isabella
Penciller(s) Don Heck
Creator(s) Tony Isabella
The Champions are a team of superheroes that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The team first appears in The Champions #1 (Oct. 1975), and were created by writer Tony Isabella and artists Gil Kane and Don Heck.
Writer Tony Isabella developed the concept of a new team of superheroes and originally wanted the roster to consist of former X-Men Angel and Iceman, and the newly created Black Goliath. Black Goliath, however, became unavailable when the character debuted in his own title, forcing Isabella to rethink the concept. Editor Len Wein insisted on at least five members, and Isabella added three established heroes: Russian spy Black Widow (team leader), the Greek god Hercules, and the supernatural avenger Ghost Rider. Captain Marvel, Power Man and Son of Satan were all considered for the final place on the roster before selecting Ghost Rider.
Writer and publisher David Anthony Kraft is credited with naming the team, with the title originally intended to be published in Giant-Size format as Giant-Size Champions. Production difficulties, which caused a three month delay between the first and second issues, prevented this. The title was eventually published sporadically as The Champions, and ran for seventeen issues from October 1975 to January 1978.
The team battled established Marvel villains such as Pluto; the Griffin; the Titanium Man and Crimson Dynamo; the Stranger and new foes such as Rampage and Swarm. Russian heroine Darkstar joins the team, and Black Goliath eventually guest stars in the title. The second-to-last issue continued a story (involving a power struggle between villains Doctor Doom and Magneto) from the title Super Villain Team-Up, and the last issue's storyline involving an attack by pseudo Sentinels is referenced in the title Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, which explains in flashback how the team disbanded.
In 1977, the Champions also featured in several other Marvel titles, including Avengers; Ghost Rider; #17, Godzilla; and an Iron Man annual. The group briefly reunite in a X-Force/Champions Annual.
In a humorous issue of the second volume of The Thing, the character Flatman — a member of misfit team the Great Lakes Avengers — wins a poker tournament and renames his team the Great Lakes Champions, despite protests from Hercules. An issue of the title Hulk features a flashback to a period when the Champions were still together. The team mistakenly attack the Hulk, with the delay almost killing a gravely ill Jennifer Walters.
The Champions was reprinted as two trade paperbacks in 2006:
- Champions Classic vol. 1. (collecting The Champions #1-11, 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2097-1)
- Champions Classic vol. 2. (collecting The Champions #12-17, Iron Man Annual #4, Avengers #163, Super-Villain Team-Up #14 and Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #17-18, 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2098-X)
- ^ a b c d e Isabella, Tony. "Cables of Champions," Champions #6, Marvel (June 1976).
- ^ Black Goliath #1 (Feb. 1976)
- ^ The Champions #1 (Oct. 1975); #2 - 3 (Jan. - Feb. 1976)
- ^ The Champions #7 - 10 (Aug; Oct; Dec. 1976 & Jan. 1977)
- ^ The Champions #9 - 10 (Dec. 1976 - Jan. 1977)
- ^ The Champions #12 - 13 (Mar. & May 1977)
- ^ The Champions #5 - 8 (Apr; June; Aug. & Oct. 1976)
- ^ The Champions #14 - 15 (July - Sep. 1977)
- ^ The Champions #10 (Jan. 1977)
- ^ The Champions #11 (Feb. 1977)
- ^ Super Villain Team-Up #14 (Oct. 1977) & The Champions #16 (Nov. 1977)
- ^ The Champions #17 (Jan. 1978)
- ^ Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #17 - 18 (Apr. - May 1978)
- ^ Avengers #163 (Sep. 1977)
- ^ Ghost Rider vol. 2, #18 (Oct. 1977)
- ^ Godzilla #3 (Oct. 1977)
- ^ Iron Man Annual #4 (Dec. 1977)
- ^ X-Force/Champions Annual 1998
- ^ The Thing vol. 2, #8 (Aug. 2006).
- ^ Hulk #106 (July 2007).
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