The Champions are a team of superhero that appears in comic book published by Marvel Comics. The team first appear 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: Russia 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 published in Giant-Size format as called 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 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.
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Official Site: Marvel
Links: Wikipedia: Champions Marvel Database: Champions Marvel: Champions