Monday, February 04, 2013

365 Days of DC House Ads, Day 35: DC House Ads Super-Subscription Week, Day 2

Subscription ad for "The DC Explosion"; printed in Dynamic Classics #1 (September-October 1978)

Well, The DC Explosion didn't work quite as well as DC had hoped, and instead led to the infamous DC Implosion (Read more about it here).

Wikipedia tells us: "On June 22, 1978 DC Comics announced staff layoffs, and the cancellation of approximately 40% of its line." Yikes! Listed in this subscription ad were titles that were quickly cancelled (All-Star Comics, Batman Family, Black Lightning, Claw the Unconquered, Doorway to Nightmare, Firestorm, House of Secrets, Our Fighting Forces, Secrets of Haunted House [this resumed publication about a year after cancellation], Showcase, Star Hunters, Steel, and The Witching Hour), including a handful cancelled after their first and only issue (Army at War, Battle Classics, Dynamic Classics). Also cancelled were several titles not on this subscription list (Aquaman, Kamandi, Mister Miracle, Secret Society of Supervillains, and Shade the Changing Man). There were even victims of the DCI that were never published (Demand Classics, Western Classics, The Vixen and the not-listed-here Deserter and Starslayer).

Covers to Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #1 and 2 (1978), pencils and inks by Al Milgrom (#1) and Alex Saviuk (#2); logo by Todd Klein

Some of the ill-fated books eventually saw publication in the Xerox-only Cancelled Comics Cavalcade, two books released in editions of 35 copies each in order to protect DC's copyrights on the material. Scripts and artwork for some cancelled books were worked into other comics or eventually printed as back-up stories.

But did you know that DC's longest-running title was also on the chopping block for the DC Implosion until a timely eleventh-hour save? That's right: Detective Comics was planned to end with issue #480, "until the decision was overturned following strenuous arguments on behalf of saving the title within the DC office, and Detective was instead merged with the better-selling Batman Family." (Wikipedia). Whew! Now that was a cliffhanger escape from death worthy of the Batman himself!

Some comics critics have warned that the large amounts of material being published today could eventually lead to another implosion across the industry. We've seen it mostly in smaller publishers going out of business after overextending their lines (CrossGen, some manga publishers). It happened in 1957 to Atlas (later Marvel) and in 1978 to DC. If you're a fan of patterns and conspiracy theories, consider: 21 years elapsed between those events. In 1999, 21 years after DC's implosion, Kitchen Sink Press went out of business after an ill-fated expansion into merchandise (hey, I liked those chocolate bars). 21 years after 1999 is 2020. Shall we meet back here in seven years to see what the comics business is like then and who is going to go out of business then? Place yer bets!

To conclude, as it says in the ad: "Please allow 10 weeks for first copies to arrive." To which I add: "Plus eternity." Somewhere, somewhen, a little stuffed bull is still sitting by his mailbox, eagerly and patiently awaiting his mailed copy of Demand Classics. Wait on, little guy.

1 comment:

Blam said...

That was a sad chapter for fanboys and fanbulls, indeed.

Just how long have you been 6 years old, anyway?