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Doomsday + 1Edit

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Doomsday + 1 was an American post-apocalyptic comic-book series published by Charlton Comics in the 1970s.

It is best known as the first original, color-comics series by artist John Byrne, who would go on to become a major industry figure. Byrne had previously drawn three unrelated, anthological short stories for comics, as well as the first three issues of a Saturday-morning cartoon licensed comic book before co-creating this original series.


Publication historyEdit

Doomsday + 1 originally ran six issues, cover-dated July 1975 - May 1976. It was then canceled. The series was revived as an all-reprint series in 1978, with issues #7-12 (cover-dated June 1978 - May 1979) reprinting the contents of the first six issues.

[1] The series was created by writer Joe Gill and penciler-inker John Byrne for the small, Derby, Connecticut-based publisher Charlton Comics, under editor George Wildman. Byrne, who also served as letterer, used the pseudonym "Byrne Robotics" for issue #4-6 (reprinted as #10-12). The credits for issue #5 credit the artwork as "Art: Byrne Robotics with technical assistance from Patterson-75", a pseudonym for Bruce Patterson, who provided some degree of inking.

[2] Byrne drew the covers of issues #2-6, with the cover of issue #1 variously credited to Byrne[1] and to Tom Sutton.

[3][4] Issues #7 and #11 featured re-colored reprints of Byrne covers, while issues #8-10 and #12 featured "new" covers created by blowing up panels of interior artwork from the stories.[1] Stories ran 22 to 23 pages, with most issues also containing a two-page text backup — either a story featuring the main characters or a non-fiction featurette. The backup in issue #5 consisted of two comics pages, drawn by Steve Ditko, of "real world" paranormal vignettes.[1] One additional 22-page story was produced by Gill and Byrne, but was not published in the original series. It appeared in two parts titled "There Will Be Time, Part One: Time-Slip" and "Part Two: The Man from Elsewhen" in publisher CPL/Gang Publications' Charlton-sponsored comic-book/fanzine hybrid Charlton Bullseye #4-5 (April & Sept. 1976).[5] Sales of the 1978-79 reprint issues began strong, and editor Wildman assigned Tom Sutton to write and draw a 15-page story scheduled to run as issue #13. As sales of the reprint series tapered off, the project was canceled. While the script became lost, Sutton's pencil-and-ink art for the story, "The Secret City," eventually surfaced, with the cover and the first page published in the magazine Charlton Spotlight #6 (Fall 2008).[6] Charlton owned DOOMSDAY+1,but it unsure who ownership of the property now.


Later reprintsEdit

All six original stories plus the two-part Charlton Bullseye story were reprinted as the Fantagraphics comic-book series The Doomsday Squad #1-7 (Aug. 1986 - June 1987), with new covers by Byrne (#1-2), Neal Adams (#4), and Gil Kane (the remainder). This series included a new backup feature each issue, including "Dalgoda" by writer Jan Strnad and artist Dennis Fujitake, "Keif Llama" by writer-artist Matt Howarth, and "Captain Jack" by writer Mike Kazaleh and artist Marc Schirmeister.[7]


Fictional character biographiesEdit

The series takes place in a near future in which a South American despot named Rykos launches his sole two atomic missiles on New York City in the U.S. and Moscow in the U.S.S.R. The two superpowers, each believing the other has launched a first strike, retaliate. By the time American president Cole and a Russian premier with the first name Mikhail have realized their errors, their fully automated nuclear-missile systems can not be countermanded. Only hours before the apocalypse begins, a somewhat anacronistic ,for a near future scenario Saturn VI rocket launches bearing three astronauts: Captain Boyd Ellis, United States Air Force; his fiancée, Jill Malden; and Japanese physicist Ikei Yashida. Weeks later, after the post-apocalyptic radiation has subsided to safe levels, their space capsule lands upon a melting Greenland ice field, where the three ally themselves with Kuno, a 3rd century Goth revived from his ice-encased suspended animation. The four encounter a Russian scientist/cyborg in Canada, where they commandeer a futuristic jet plane.In another tale,laler on one eyed robot aliens,in a sort of ode to Polythemus,the team is captured by and taken a space station.They must defend the remnant of earth,before,the robots,destroy whats left of the planet. Next Boyd Ellis and crew are captured undersea dwellers and become involved in secret war; and brutish U.S. military survivors, among others.They team time shifts into an alternate reality,associated,with the Doomsday Plus One Earth,where dinosaurs exist and still later meet up with an man from another future,trapped the Doomsday Plus reality.

HistoryEdit

Since the middle part of the last century, all children have grown up knowing that the world as they know it could come to a sudden end at any time. If they don't know it from the headlines and from serious discussions in school, they know it from the popularity of science fiction such as On the Beach or Alas, Babylon, in which a post-apocalyptic near future is described in vivid detail. Oddly, except for the occasional isolated non-series sci-fi story, comic books…… tended to avoid the theme until the 1960s Atomic Knights and Mighty Samson dealt with that frightening possibility, and the exotic world that may result, on a series basis.

Both series were long-over, tho Samson was running again as a revival, by the time Charlton Comics, which had dabbled in borderline sci-fi from Space Western to Gorgo, launched is post-apocalyptic comic book series, Doomsday + 1, in the middle of the 1970s. The first issue was dated July, 1975. It was written by Joe Gill, who had done everything fromBlack Fury to Peacemaker for Charlton, and even scattered non-Charlton heroes like Nukla. The artist was John Byrne.

Byrne later achieved fame among comics fans for his work on X-Men, Fantastic Four and other Marvel properties, and still later for his revamp of Superman. But he was unknown at the time; and in fact, except for a few Hanna-Barbera adaptations, had practically no professional experience in comic books. Of all his creations or co-creations, from Alpha Flight to The Next Men and points beyond, Doomsday + 1 was the first to debut in its own comic.

In this scenario, the nuclear bombs that brought on the damage were flung in response to a South American dictator named Rykos fooling the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. into believing each had attacked the other. By the time the ruse was discovered, unrecallable automatic weaponry had already assured the world's destruction. Three astronauts, Captain Boyd Ellis, his fiance Jill Malden, and Japanese scientist Ikei Yashida, escaped the carnage by being in orbit when it happened. Upon landing, soon as radiation subsided to safe levels, they were joined by Kuno, an ancient Goth who had been frozen since the 3rd century, back in the land of the living as a result of the upheaval.

With the disaster results as its backdrop, the small band had one adventure after another, six in all, until the cover date of May, 1976, Two more stories, each half-length and printed in black and white, appeared in the fanzine-style Charlton Bullseye, dated April and September, 1976. Gill wrote the stories in its own title. Byrne did all the art, plus scripts for the stories that appeared in Charlton Bullseye

A couple of years later, the regular series was reprinted, but with issue numbers continuing from before, rather than starting over. Doomsday + 1 #7 was dated June, 1978; #12 was May, 1979. Additional stories were created by cartoonist Tom Sutton (Vampirella), who also drew the only non-Byrne cover, that of #1, for a planned but unpublished 13th issue.

The series never did find its niche among 1970s comic book readers. But Fantagraphics Books (Prince Valiant, Red Barry) acquired the rights in the following decade, and reprinted all six issues, plus colorized versions of the Charlton Bullseye material, as The Doomsday Squad, starting with the date August, 1986. Back-up features included Dalgoda, Captain Jack, Kief Lama and other sci-fi stars Fantagraphics has published.

Since then, the property has remained dormant.

— DDM

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==References==
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Doomsday + 1, Charlton, 1975 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  2. Doomsday + 1 #5 at the Grand Comics Database
  3. Doomsday + 1 at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original November 7, 2011.
  4. Doomsday + 1 #1 at the Big Comic Book Databases
  5. Charlton Bullseye #4 and #5 at the Grand Comics Database
  6. Charlton Spotlight #6 (Fall 2008), Argo Press, pp. 54-55
  7. Doomsday Squad, The at the Grand Comics Database
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