Epic Illustrated was a comics-magazine anthology published in the United States by Marvel Comics. The series lasted for 34 issues, from Spring 1980 to February 1986. Similar to the European graphic-story magazine Heavy Metal, it featured mature content oriented at an older audience than traditional American comic books, as well as offering its writers and artists ownership rights and royalties in place of the industry-standard work for hire contracts. A color comic-book imprint, Epic Comics, was spun off in 1982.The magazine was initiated under editor Rick Marschall in 1979 under the title Odyssey, and originally set to launch as an issue of Marvel Super Special, Marvel's early graphic novel line. After Marschall learned of at least seven other magazines titled Odyssey, the project was renamed Epic Illustrated and launched as a standalone series. Marschall was replaced by editor Archie Goodwin in the autumn of 1979, several months before the first issue was published.
In addition to the work of such established mainstream-comics talents as John Buscema and Jim Starlin, and such independent-press creators as Wendy Pini, Goodwin commissioned stories by many new cartoonists, including as Steve Bissette, Jon J. Muth, Rick Veitch and Kent Williams. The anthology featured heroic fiction and genre stories, primarily fantasy and science fiction, but in a broad range of styles.
Epic Illustrated also included an occasional Marvel Comics protagonist, such as the first issue's Silver Surfer. Because the magazine was not subject to traditional comic books' Comics Code Authority, however, writers and artists were free to create material stories that might be risqué or non-canon.
Each issue usually featured a main story, a number of regular serials, and anthological shorts