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A Brief History Of Heroic Publishing's Champions Comic Books

Posted: Monday, October 3, 2005
Posted By: Jason Brice

On September 28, the second issue of Heroic Publishing's new Tales of the Champions comic book series appeared in comic book shops nationwide. The comic book featured new adventures of Heroic Publishing's all-new Giant, and a short back-up feature starring Nemesis Girl. But fans who take notice of such things will have realized from looking at the indicia that Tales of the Champions isn't really a new comic book at all. In point of fact, the official title of the comic book is just Champions. And this incarnation of Heroic Publishing's Champions comic book is the fourth volume in a series that began back in 1986.

The first volume of Heroic Publishing's Champions comic book consisted of six issues printed and distributed by Eclipse Comics back in 1986. That original mini-series introduced the League of Champions, a superhero team that included Flare, Icestar, Psyche, Giant, and the Huntsman. Other significant Heroic Publishing characters, including Doctor Arcane, Lady Arcane, Dark Malice, the Flying Fox, and Nemesis Girl, also first appeared therein. The story revolved around an attempt by Flare's evil shape-shifting brother Philip to take control of the power of the occult criminal organization, Demon, and a mysterious artifact known as the Hellfire Crown. Philip's plan was foiled and he lost his life, but not before he'd killed a member of the League.

The second Champions volume consisted of twelve issues printed and distributed under Heroic Publishing's own Hero Comics imprint, plus the first Champions Annual. The series ran from 1987 through 1988. During the course of that series, the surviving members of the team, Flare, Icestar, Psyche, and the Huntsman, were joined by new members Icicle and Sparkplug. Prominent storylines included a look back at the history of Flare, a battle with a group of villains led by the Flying Fox, an encounter with the robotic menace of Mekano, and the resurrection of several of the ancient gods of Olympus. The Champions Annual was of particular importance, in that it revealed the story of the origin of Giant and Dark Malice.

In 1991, after the team began appearing in a comic book entitled League of Champions, the Champions comic book was revived for its third volume as a mostly-reprint title. That volume lasted fifteen issues, and included a second Champions Annual. The first twelve issues of Champions Classics featured a revised and expanded version of the original mini-series, with numerous pages of new story and artwork. The final three issues featured stories originally printed in the final three issues of volume two. One other aspect of the third volume worth noting is that issues two through twelve were printed in a flip-format edition, combined with issues of Flare Adventures.

Volume one had six issues. Volume two had twelve issues. Volume three had fifteen issues. That's a total of thirty-three issues of Heroic Publishing's Champions comic book.

Now, in 2005, the Champions comic book returns for its fourth volume, its thirty-fourth issue, and beyond. In issues #3 and #4 (issues #36 and #37 overall), the Tigress will take over the cover slot. But Giant will be back on the cover for issue #5. And after that? We'll just have to wait and see.

There are many Tales of the Champions yet to be told, and many Champions who might yet appear in stories of their own in Heroic Publishing's ongoing Champions comic book.Heroic Publishing's full-color comic book titles are distributed by Diamond Comics Distributors, FM International, and Ingram Periodicals.

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