Thursday, June 27, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 178: Turn me on, Deadman

House ad for DC Special Series #15 [Batman Spectacular] (Summer 1978); Showcase [Deadman] #105 (never published), Demand Classics #1 (never published); and Western Classics #1 (never published) printed in Batman #304 (October 1978)

I've discussed the DC Implosion earlier in this series, and here's a house ad for three out of four comics that fell like an abandoned building in the Implosion. That is, except for "Batman Spectacular" (actually DC Special Series #15), they were cancelled and never published. Demand Classics and Western Classics were to contain all reprints, so you didn't miss anything by them going kaput. What about the "25 all-new pages" of Deadman "from the pages of Adventure Comics..."? Well, they probably should have added at the bottom of that ad "To the pages of Adventure Comics, because yes, that story did see print ten months later in Adventure #464.

Cover of Adventure Comics #464 (July-August 1979), pencils and inks by Jim Aparo, colors by Tatjana Wood

Now, if you were the detail-oriented sort of comics reader, you may have specifically noticed that ad at the top had promised you a new 25-page Deadman thriller, but if you counted the story pages in Adventure #464, the Deadman story tops out at 22 pages. Where the Sam Scratch did the other three pages go? Into some sort of spooky limbo from which mortal man would seldom see them again?

Well, yes, sorta! Even tho' Adventure #464 was 68 hefty pages for a buck, three pages were cut from the original Deadman story to make it fit in the comic with the four other "all-new super-star features." As seen in Adventure, page four looked like this:

Panels from "Requiem for a Deadman!" in Adventure Comics #464 (July-August 1979); plot by Len Wein; script by Gerry Conway; pencils, inks, and letters by Jim Aparo; colors by Glynis Wein

The missing three pages fell between panels 2 and 3 of this page, and were published (to keep the copyright when Showcase ended) in the infamous Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, the Xeroxed book of stories that were left hanging high and dry after the DC Implosion. Here's what you were missing, a little ministory about Deadman saving a young kid in peril:

Pages from "Requiem for a Deadman!" in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall 1978)

CCC #2 also published the artwork for what was to have been Showcase #105 (funny, why didn't they just adapt this for Adventure?)...

Original cover to Showcase #105 (unpublished), pencils and inks by Jim Aparo well as the covers for what would have been Demand Classics #1 (look familiar?) and Western Classics #1:

Original covers to Demand Classics #1 and Western Classics #1 (unpublished). Demand: pencils by Dick Dillin, inks by Frank McLaughlin. Western: pencils by James Sherman, inks by Maurice Whitman

Why, they even published the last can of Who-Hash the text page that would have accompanied "requiem for a Deadman" in Showcase #105—with an unfortunate ad at the bottom:

Text page from Showcase #105 (unpublished), written by Paul Levitz

According to this, those three issues of World of Krypton I featured back on April 12 were to have been published in the pages of Showcase #110-112! Instead, Showcase's cancellation inadvertently led to the first comic book miniseries ever!

And, for completists' sake, here's a letter from Adventure Comics #464 that addresses how DC were using the backlog of unpublished stories in books like this one:

So there you go: a Deadman story that, just like its protagonist, wouldn't quite stay dead.


Rip Jagger said...

Great info. Thanks. I was really a big fan of DC at the time of the infamous "Implosion". It changed the way I bought comics really. Little goes to waste in the comic book universe though, very little.

Rip Off

SallyP said...

A Deadman book with Jim Aparo art? Gosh, I'd buy that in a second.

Blam said...

so you didn't miss anything by them going kaput

Not so, Little Stuffed Bull... Not so! 7-year-old Blam had precious few back issues and there were, of course, even more preciously fewer reprint collections out there beyond whatever we got in the 100-Page Super Spectaculars or tabloid editions that had ended by the time these new series debuted. We did get a trove of DC digests, but the reproduction was so tiny. I bought Dynamic Classics featuring "The Secret of the Waiting Graves" and loved (read: was totally creeped out by) it.

PS: Despite the general lack of Aquaman in this post, my verification words were "oceanwar pulsation". Alert Rob Kelly posthaste!