Wednesday, December 10, 2008

1970's Flashback: Cancelled Comic Cavalcade

Cancelled Comic Cavalcade was published in-house by DC Comics (in very limited quantity) following the infamous "DC Implosion" in 1978. The two issues that were produced feature new material that was originally intended for series that were abruptly cancelled. Because of its scarcity and its significance to the history of DC Comics, original copies are highly sought after by collectors, and it has been widely bootlegged.

In 1978, in response to inflation, DC increased cover prices from 35 cents to 50 cents, but the publisher also substantially increased the number of story pages in each issue. This was promoted — along with the launch of many new series — as the "DC Explosion". However, Warner Publishing (which had purchased DC two years earlier) responded to the resulting poor sales figures (which were worsened in part by bad weather and shipping delays from the previous winter) by instructing DC to immediately cut their output to only twenty titles of 32 pages each, priced at 40 cents. Industry pundits immediately dubbed this the "DC Implosion".

The abrupt cancellation of so many titles left a substantial amount of finished and incomplete material that would not be published. Ostensibly to secure the company's copyright in the material, internal DC staff members "published" some of these stories along with other inventoried stories in two volumes on the office photocopier. A total of 35 copies of each volume were produced, and distributed to the creators of the material, to the U.S. copyright office, and to Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide as proof of their existence. The title is in homage to DCs 1940s anthology series Comic Cavalcade. Although color covers were created, the interior pages (having been reproduced on a photocopier in the days prior to widespread use of color photocopy technology) were black and white. The first issue carried a cover price of only 10 cents and the second carried a cover price of $1, but this was in jest, as the books were never actually "sold".

Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #1 contained the following material: Black Lightning #12 (later printed in World's Finest Comics #260), the cover to Black Lightning #13, Claw the Unconquered #13 & #14, The Deserter #1, Doorway to Nightmare #6 (later printed in The Unexpected), Firestorm #6 (later adapted as back-up stories in The Flash) and The Green Team: Boy Millionaires #2 & #3.

Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #2 contained the following material: Kamandi #60 & #61 (the OMAC back-up strip would later appear in Warlord #37 & 38), Prez #5, Shade, the Changing Man #9 (The Odd Man back-up story would later appear in Detective Comics #487), Showcase #105 (featuring Deadman, later mostly printed in Adventure Comics #464), Showcase #106 (featuring The Creeper), Secret Society of Super-Villains #16 & #17, Steel #6 (later reprinted with edits in All-Star Squadron), The Vixen #1 and covers for Army at War #2, Battle Classics #3, Demand Classics #1 & #2, Mister Miracle #26, Ragman #6, Weird Mystery Tales #25 & #26, and Western Classics #1 & #2.


Wayne Skiver said...

I never knew of these... Very interesting.

Oh, that artist on the Red Sonja (and if you go back to the first Hump Day, Power Girl) is Alex Miranda. he sells a lot on eBay.

Dave Tackett said...

These are rather cool. It's sad that if it weren't for the scans online, they would be almost unread.