Dreadstar issue 1.jpg
Epic Comics Dreadstar #1 - cover.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel/Epic, First , Malibu/Bravura vol. 2,
Format Ongoing series
Number of issues 64 , 6 vol. 2,
Main character(s) Dreadstar and Company (Vanth Dreadstar, Syzygy Darklock, Oedi, Willow, Skeevo, Ultraviolet, Iron Angel, Tuetun, Junior, Cookie, others)
Creative team
Writer(s) Jim Starlin, Peter David
Artist(s) Jim Starlin, Angel Medina, others

Dreadstar was the first comic series published by American publisher Epic Comics, an imprint of Marvel Comics, in 1982. It was centered on Vanth Dreadstar, sole survivor of the entire Milky Way galaxy, and an ensemble cast of crewmates, including cyborg sorcerer Syzygy Darklock, and their struggle to end an ancient war between two powerful, evil empires: The Church of The Instrumentality run by the Lord Papal and the Monarchy, administered by a puppet king.

The comic, created by Jim Starlin, was bimonthly during most of its run. Epic published 26 issues, after which it was published by First Comics who carried it for 38 more issues, for a total of 64 issues. The first 41 issues were published bi-monthly, after which the book was published monthly for a time, though it resumed bi-monthly publication with issue 51. In the early 1990s, a six issue limited series was published by Malibu Comics' Bravura line of creator-owned titles. Jim Starlin had stated in interviews as early as 2000 that he was working on a new Dreadstar series titled "Class Warfare" (including sample artwork in Slave Labor Graphics' The Price trade paperback), but the last mention of this was in late 2002.[1] In 2011, in promotion for 'Breed III, Starlin again mentioned the possibility of another Dreadstar series.[2]


The Metamorphosis Odyssey

Vanth Dreadstar first appeared in "The Metamorphosis Odyssey", in Epic Illustrated #3, where he unwittingly aids the Orsirosian named Akhnaton in destroying the Milky Way Galaxy, the only way to stop the ever-expanding Zygotean empire.

Epic Comics

The series centered on the exploits of Vanth Dreadstar and his crew--powerful mystic Syzygy Darklock, the cybernetic telepath Willow, cat-like humanoid Oedi, and freebooter Skeevo. Vanth, newly arrived in the Empirical Galaxy after the events of Metamorphosis Odyssey, tries to live a pastoral existence on Oedi's planet of peaceful cat-people, but his peace is disturbed by the arrival of Darklock, who wants him to get involved in the conflict between the two major forces in the galaxy, the Monarchy and the theocratical Instrumentality. Vanth refuses until the war comes to his planet, wiping out most of the population. Oedi survives and joins them; Willow and Skeevo join later, though the team is in place for the first issue.

Dreadstar takes the side of the Monarchy against the evil Lord High Papal of the Instrumentality, but his team end up becoming fugitives when the Monarchy falls, and go to great lengths to try to uncover a traitor in their midst. The transition to First Comics happened just when the traitor was about to be revealed, and the first issue published under First Comics, #27 contained this revelation.

First Comics

The downfall of the Instrumentality came swiftly after the transition to First. Dreadstar, severely injured, went into a coma and awakened in the aftermath of the war--a bureaucracy where those with extraordinary powers, like himself, are commissioned as policemen to track down others of their kind. Eventually, Willow takes over the master computer, and Dreadstar and his friends leave the galaxy again.

Peter David took over the writing duties with issue #41 (March 1989) after Jim Starlin left the title, and remained on it until issue #64 (March 1991), the final issue of that run. Stranded in a nonfunctional ship between galaxies, the crew finds a baby floating in space, who quickly grows to maturity. It is later revealed that the baby is the personification of the Twelve Gods of the Instrumentality, which fled the Empirical Galaxy. Dreadstar finds himself once again in a galactic conflict, except that in the end he discovers he has taken the wrong side. He changes sides just in time, but the personification of the twelve gods had by this point merged with the sword of power of that galaxy and regained their full might. However they were defeated and the gods of the galaxy they were in began to take him prisoner in their realm. As he was being taken away he took the spirit of Dreadstar's teammate Iron Angel with him and then fulfilled a curse that was cast upon Dreadstar that for as long as Dreadstar lived, so would the High Lord Papal. Papal was revived and empowered and battled Dreadstar until Papal's energies got too depleted and he realized it was a different galaxy and fled.

Cross Roads

Toward the end of the First Comics run, the publisher released the Cross Roads mini-series which featured team-ups of the company's major characters. One issue featred Grimjack, Nexus and Dreadstar. This was alluded to in a later issue of Dreadstar, with several flashback panels depicting Dreadstar alongside Nexus.


The Malibu series takes place several years later, with the Lord High Papal training Dreadstar's daughter. The characters from the original series, except Oedi, show up, and the series climaxes in Dreadstar apparently being accidentally killed by his own daughter.

In issue #6, the final issue, Dreadstar is alive and back to his old self by the end of the story.


Dreadstar and Oedi appear on the last page of 'Breed III #5 and in issue #6 along with other of Starlin's creations, such as Wyrd and Kid Kosmos as part of the "Elsewhere Alliance".


In the early 2000s SLG Publishing reprinted the Metamorphosis Odyssey and the first few issues of the Epic series in four black-and-white volumes.

In 2004 Dynamite Entertainment reprinted the first 12 issues of the Epic series in two full-color volumes.

  • Dreadstar Definitive Collection Volume 1 Part 1 (ISBN 978-0974963815)
  • Dreadstar Definitive Collection Volume 1 Part 2 (ISBN 978-0974963822) — Vol 1 Part 2 contained an ad promising Vol 2 in 2005 but has not yet been published.

Dynamite has also announced a full-color collection of the Metamorphosis Odyssey for February 2010 (ISBN 9781606901199).


  1. ^ Thomas, Michael. "Jim Starlin Interview". Comic Book Resources. July 28, 2000
  2. ^ Dietsch, T.J. "Bringing Back "Breed" with Jim Starlin". Comic Book Resources. May 4, 2011

External links

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