DC Implosion

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The DC Implosion is the popular label for the sudden cancellation of more than two dozen ongoing and planned series by the American comics publisher DC Comics in 1978.

History[edit]

The name is a sardonic reference to the "DC Explosion", a then-recent marketing campaign in which DC began publishing more monthly titles and increased the number of story pages in all of its titles, accompanied by higher cover prices.[1][2] DC premiered 57 new titles from 1975 to 1978.[3] Many titles which had been cancelled in the 1960s and earlier in the 1970s had been brought back as part of the "Explosion," intended to increase the company's market presence and profitability.

Since the early 1970s, DC had seen its dominance of the market overtaken by Marvel Comics, partly because Marvel had significantly increased the number of titles it published (both original material and reprint books). In large part, the DC Explosion was a plan to overtake Marvel at its own game.

DC instead experienced ongoing poor sales in winter 1977. This has been attributed in part to the North American blizzards in 1977 and 1978, which both disrupted distribution and curtailed consumer purchases.[4] Furthermore, the effects of ongoing economic inflation, recession, and increased paper and printing costs cut into the profitability of the entire comic book industry, coupled with steadily decreasing numbers of readers. In response, company executives ordered that titles with marginal sales and several new series still in development be cancelled.[4][5] During these meetings, it was decided that DC's long-running flagship title Detective Comics was to be terminated with #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.[6]

On June 22, 1978 DC Comics announced staff layoffs, and the cancellation of approximately 40% of its line. Editors Al Milgrom[7] and Larry Hama were two of the employees to be laid off.[8]

Cancelled titles[edit]

Twenty series were cancelled abruptly, with the following as their final issue:

1978 cancellations unrelated to the DC Implosion[edit]

Eleven other titles were cancelled in 1978, for the most part "planned" cancellations announced in DC promos and in the final issues of the comics themselves.

Cancelled Comic Cavalcade[edit]

About thirty titles were affected. Much of the unpublished work saw print in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, a summer 1978 two-issue ashcan "series" which "published" the work in limited quantity solely to establish the company's copyright.[4][15][16] The title was a play on DC's 1940s series Comic Cavalcade. Some of the material already produced for the cancelled publications was later used in other series. The two volumes, composed of some of these stories along with earlier inventoried stories, were printed by DC staff members in black-and-white 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 the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide as proof of their existence. Considered a valued collectible, a set of both issues was valued as high as $3,680 in the 2011-2012 edition of the Comic Book Price Guide.

Contents ranged from completed stories to incomplete artwork. 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,[17] while the second carried a cover price of $1,[18] but this was in jest, as the publication was never actually "sold".

Cancelled Comic Cavalcade contained the following material:

Issue #1[edit]

Issue #2[edit]

Unpublished titles[edit]

Among the new series planned, but never published:[4]

Secondary features were planned, but the titles in which three were to appear were cancelled before the stories were produced; the reasons the two planned for Adventure Comics were left unreleased are unknown:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kahn, Jenette (September 1978). "Publishorial: Onward and Upward". DC Comics. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. 
  2. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). "New Markets, New Formats: Comics Change With the Times". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch Press. p. 178. ISBN 0821220764. The expansion was optimistically dubbed 'The DC Explosion'. Nothing seemed to work, however, and cutbacks were initiated that insiders ironically dubbed 'The DC Implosion'. 
  3. ^ Beard, Jim (July 26, 2007). "Cancelled Comics Cavalcade: 30 Years Later with Paul Kupperberg". Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on June 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d Kimball, Kirk (n.d.). "Secret Origins of the DC Implosion Part One". Dial "B" For Blog. Archived from the original on April 7, 2014. 
  5. ^ Rozakis, Bob (November 30, 2012). "BobRo Archives: The DC Implosion". BobRozakis.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on August 3, 2014. The Warner Publishing powers-that-be told Kahn and company President Sol Harrison to cancel the plans for bigger books and cut the line to 20 32-page titles at 40c each. 
  6. ^ Cronin, Brian (July 27, 2012). "Comic Book Legends Revealed #377". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 9, 2014. 
  7. ^ Stroud, Bryan D. (April 7, 2010). "Al Milgrom Interview". The Silver Age Lantern. Archived from the original on September 1, 2012. 
  8. ^ Irving, Christopher (January 19, 2010). "Larry Hama: All About Character". NYC Graphic Novelists. Archived from the original on December 21, 2013. By that time, me and Al Milgrom had gotten imploded out of DC in what they called 'The Great Implosion'. 
  9. ^ a b Conway, Gerry; Milgrom Al (2011). Firestorm: The Nuclear Man. DC Comics. p. 176. ISBN 1-4012-3183-7. 
  10. ^ Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2007). Modern Masters Volume 12: Michael Golden. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 13–16. ISBN 978-1893905740. 
  11. ^ a b Conway, Gerry; Vosburg, Mike (2012). Secret Society of Super-Villains Vol. 2. DC Comics. p. 328. ISBN 978-1401231101. 
  12. ^ Secrets of Haunted House at the Grand Comics Database
  13. ^ Ditko, Steve (2011). The Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 1. DC Comics. ISBN 1-4012-3111-X. 
  14. ^ Ditko, Steve (2010). The Creeper by Steve Ditko. DC Comics. ISBN 1-4012-2591-8. 
  15. ^ "Cancelled Comic Cavalcade: Introduction". DC Comics. Summer 1978. Archived from the original on April 24, 2014. "Just to make it official -- Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer 1978, DC Comics, Inc. 
  16. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. With the devasting DC Implosion, a majority of the thirty-one titles terminated in 1978 were canceled in the middle of storylines. Therefore, staff members "published", in extremely limited quantities, two volumes of Cancelled Comic Cavalcade. 
  17. ^ Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #1 (Summer 1978) at the Grand Comics Database
  18. ^ Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall 1978) at the Grand Comics Database
  19. ^ Grabois, Michael (November 5, 1995). "The Deserter". Mike's Comics Page. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  20. ^ Wells, John (October 24, 1997), "'Lost' DC: The DC Implosion", Comics Buyer's Guide (1249): 133, The Deserter...was given his own ongoing title at the 11th hour, only to perish amidst the other cancellations. The origin of tormented Civil War deserter Aaron Hope (by Gerry Conway, Dick Ayers, and Romeo Tanghal) appeared only in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #1. 
  21. ^ Wells p. 134: "After being touted in house ads during the summer, details regarding The Vixen #1 appeared in a 'Daily Planet' text page in Batman #305 and The Flash #267. Ultimately, 'Who Is The Vixen?' was printed only in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2."
  22. ^ Catron, Michael (July 1981). "Grell's Starslayer Debuts in July". Amazing Heroes (Fantagraphics Books) (2): 14. Starslayer, a new comic book created, written, and drawn by Mike Grell debuts in July from Pacific Comics. The series was originally offered to DC Comics but was shelved in 1978 at the time of the "DC Implosion. 
  23. ^ Starslayer (Pacific Comics) at the Grand Comics Database and Starslayer (First Comics) at the Grand Comics Database
  24. ^ Response from Roger McKenzie on his Facebook page, January 3, 2014. "as far as I know, Neverwhere wasn't recycled anywhere else at DC. It...along with several other series of mine (and lots of other creators as well) got buried in the "DC Implosion" back then when (I think) about a third of the DC books got axed all at once. As for what Neverwhere was about...who can say after three decades. I'd pitched the name (which Paul Levitz tweaked, by the way!) and *I think* some sort of elvish/magical/time-travel superhero mishmosh of a concept."

External links[edit]