March 3, 2023

COMIC books THAT TIME FORGOT: showcase #100

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KC & Cow

by KC Carlson

As a few of you may know, I’m currently in the middle of evaluating all the DC new 52 #1 titles. So, searching for something a bit more, ah… fun… to checked out during a break, I started believing back to the period — method back in the 70s — where DC was doing a whole lot of crazy one-shot stories in the pages of their different anthology titles. A great deal of these stories are type of “lost” since a great deal of today’s fans don’t understand about them — mainly since they were never reprinted (and most likely never will be).

I believed this may be a great basis for a series of columns based on these “lost” stories, as well as luckily, Roger agreed. In fact, he kept in mind a columns= that he had done on Micronauts as well as Shogun Warriors that may likewise be forerunners of the concept, as they were both series originally connected to a licensing contract that prevented them from ever being reprinted. As I believed of even much more old marvel titles in reprint limbo (or just in routine limbo for different reasons) — in addition to all the fantastic indy series of the past, some never wrapped up — well, this is a series of columns that might run for a extremely long time.

Showcase #100

After telling Roger that I believed it was an concept huge sufficient for everybody, we’re both hoping that a few of the other Westfield writers take a turn from time-to-time to talk about their old favorites. In this column, I’ll be taking a look at showcase #100, a double-sized problem (costing only 60¢) from may 1978 featuring a whole boatload of born-in-Showcase characters in a cool, wacky, fun story with an unusual ending.


BUT very first A WORD about SHOWCASE


Okay, you’re most likely going to requirement a few much more words….

Showcase #1

Comic book anthologies have existed because the beginning of comic book time. numerous of the very first comics of the golden Age were anthologies — Detective Comics, experience Comics, action Comics, marvel Comics/Marvel secret Comics, as well as Whiz Comics, among others. however showcase was one of the very first anthology comics that was a bit different. It was really an anthology series, without any fixed starring character. essentially a try-out title for new series as well as concepts, the original showcase featured no character for much more than four problems in a row.

It wasn’t an completely new idea. Dell’s four color series, which began in 1939, was likewise an anthology — including whatever from Disney Ducks to Hanna Barbara Hounds to Westerns to TV as well as film adaptations. (Since DC just recently stopped the continuous numbering of action as well as Detective, four color is now the undisputed record-holder for many consecutively numbered issues, publishing well over 1,000 private issues, in spite of the truth the series was discontinued in 1962. exactly how they got there: they frequently published a number of problems every month.) The thing about four color is that you would have never understood that it was a series of comics unless you checked out the indicia. The private covers provided no hint that that was the series title.

Another long-running traditional anthology series was classics Illustrated, which began in 1941.


Showcase #4

Showcase is frequently connected with the Silver Age of Comics, however technically, it began in the the twilight of the golden Age. showcase #1 was cover dated Mar.-Apr. 1956. showcase #4 (October 1956) is mentioned by numerous comic book historians as the very first book of the Silver Age, since it not only starred a new version of The Flash, however it likewise suggested an actual break between that older age as well as implied a new age beginning. In the origin story, Flash-to-be Barry Allen is shown reading a comic book of the adventures of the golden Age Flash — as well as is influenced by him to ended up being a superhero after he gains speed powers in a combination lightning strike/chemical spill. At this point, Barry just believes of that Flash as a fictional character dreamed up for comic book adventures. This single short mention would eventually spawn entire multiverses (multiversi?) of costumed adventurers in just a few years.

This new Flash would appear in four showcase problems (#4, #8, #13, as well as #14) over the next two years. DC was being rather careful before introducing a brand-new superhero, however eventually, this new Flash was awarded his own comic book in The Flash #105 (March, 1959), continuing the numbering of the previous golden Age Flash series. (It’s astounding to me that the business took two years to establish what we understand today as a dynamite new superhero concept. That type of time is unheard of in today’s market.)

Personal aside: now that today’s comic historians can fairly assumption when older comics really ended up being offered in the market (this info was rarely public knowledge), we now can quote that showcase #4 most likely very first went on sale on July 19, 1956 — precisely one week after the day I was born. Obviously, I was as well young to hop on my trike as well as peddle down to the regional mother as well as pop store to pick it up. however I always wondered why I had such an affinity for DC’s Silver Age comics — particularly The Flash — as well as now I’m wondering if there may be some kind of cosmic reason for that.


Showcase #66

Besides the Flash, showcase featured the very first appearances of the Challengers of the Unknown, area Ranger, Adam Strange, Rip Hunter: Time Master, the Silver Age eco-friendly Lantern, Sea Devils, the Silver Age Atom, the metal Men, the inferior Five, the Creeper, Anthro, Hawk as well as Dove, Bat Lash, as well as Angel as well as the Ape.

In addition, Lois Lane, Aquaman, as well as the Spectre all appeared somewhere else first, however their showcase appearances directly led to their own series. other characters like Tommy Tomorrow, Cave Carson, opponent Ace, teen Titans, B’wana Beast, Johnny Double, Dolphin, Phantom Stranger, as well as Firehair all made essential appearances in showcase while discovering success somewhere else as back-ups or supporting characters. The teen Titans appearance in showcase #59 is noteworthy as their second as a team, as well as the very first for question woman (Donna Troy). Also, James Bond’s very first American appearance in comics is showcase #43, reprinting a British adaptation of Dr. No.

All of these very first appearances qualify showcase as one of the most essential (and many collectible — in addition to most likely the most costly to collect) comic book series in history. if not the most unique.

Not every function in showcase was successful — particularly the very first three: Firefighters (w/Fireman Farrell) in #1, Kings of the Wild (featuring Rider of the Winds) in #2, as well as the Frogmen in #3. however at least one of these forgotten features appeared in showcase #100.

THE story IT TOOK 100 problems TO TELL!

(Snark alert: as well as right here I believed that Decompressed Storytelling was a fairly new development…)

Before showcase #100 might be told, the series would very first have to be revived, because it was canceled with problem #97 in 1970. The final original showcase feature: the unsuccessful (and unfinished) Manhunter 2070. (I keep hearing rumors he will soon be reappearing somewhere at DC in the — ideally — near future.)

Showcase #94

Showcase was revived in 1977 with two fantastic DC concepts: #94-96 revived the (supposedly dead) Doom Patrol with mainly brand new characters by Paul Kupperberg as well as Joe Staton. #97-#99 offered extra background as well as origin details for Power woman by Paul Levitz as well as Joe Staton. Both series were well-recieved by fans, however neither function graduated to its own series. showcase #100 was next — what to do?

According to a Paul Levitz text page in the problem itself (thankfully it wasn’t on the Web instead of in the book, or it may have gotten lost in the subsequent 33 years), the idea of teaming the successful graduates of showcase for a double-length story came very first — then they had to discover somebody to compose it

A bit less than a year before showcase #100, Steve Englehart as well as Dick Dillin pulled off one more audacious story, similar in scope, in Justice league of America #144. That problem told the untold tale of exactly how the JLA truly very first got together — together with other well-known early Silver Age DC characters like the Challengers as well as Blackhawks. (It was an early retcon in the original implying of “retroactive continuity”, before the term concerned suggest contradicting previous comics.) however that story only featured 30 heroes! Yet it was one of DC’s finest stories ever as much as that time. My ever-fading memory tells me that JLA #144 has likewise never been reprinted (yet), so look for a future rundown of it here, one of these days.

But Englehart was leaving comics at that point as well as wasn’t offered to deal with a huge story like showcase #100. Neither was Len Wein, who was then working at Marvel. With the apparent options not available, the powers that be started looking around at the present personnel — as well as landed then-Editorial Coordinator Paul Levitz himself, who was then hectic composing the legion of Super-Heroes, an all-new legion Treasury , Justice society of America, as well as three problems of Power woman for Showcase. So Paul enlisted assist in the type of friend (and mega-Showcase fan) Paul Kupperburg. If we are to believe Levitz’s editorial note, he foisted many of the work upon Kupps (which most likely didn’t bother him at all).

Page 8 (panels): Obscure showcase people are hiding out in this crowd scene.

Finding somebody to draw 34 pages featuring 60 primary characters wasn’t going to be easy, it was assumed, however apparently, Joe Staton volunteered to pencil as well as ink. As if this wasn’t crazy enough, Staton elaborated on the original plan of utilizing just the successful showcase characters, choosing to slip in numerous of the also-ran characters also (including a couple of non-Showcase DC stars). many of these are just cameos, including a panel on page 8 which includes a lot of showcase hopefuls (including Nightmaster, Jason from Jason’s Quest, as well as others), buried — however type of identifiable — in a big crowd scene. I believe I may likewise spy with my bit eye a Maniak or two in that panel.

The text page offers a useful identification guide to all 60 primary characters, in purchase of their appearance, including the page number — keep in mind them? — where they very first appear, in addition to the showcase problems they very first appeared in. I miss text pages in comics.


Page 1: The troops assemble in the JLA Satellite.

The story itself starts out on a page that fans would would see various times in DC’s future (preceding dilemma on unlimited Earths by a number of years) — hordes of heroes gathered on the JLA satellite. The page 1 sprinkle includes (in no specific order) Atom, Aquaman, Adam Strange, Flash, eco-friendly Lantern, Hawk as well as Dove, Rip hunter as well as his crew, the teen Titans, as well as the metal Men. Flash announces that time itself is askew — handily demonstrated in a panel including Johnny Thunder (known as top Gun, the western hero in showcase reprints), Anthro, Sgt. Rock, opponent Ace, as well as firefighter Farrell — as well as then Adam unusual becomes designated party-pooper when he announces that not only is time screwed up, the earth is being dragged out of its orbit. Bummer.

As the heroes of that age were wont to do, they split up into teams to investigate. The science men (Flash, Atom, Adam Strange, eco-friendly Lantern) head to space, the metal guy are assigned crowd manage in Metropolis, as well as Rip hunter does what he does finest — gets the time ball stuck in a disturbance in time. (In a story loose end, they never come back to him, just leaving him stuck out there.) Meanwhile, Lois Lane goes on TV to report the dire news as well as make a plea for Superman to show up for assistance. (He never does. Amazingly, this is one huge hero-fest that does not include Superman or Batman.) Instead, she is accosted by Jack Ryder (aka the Creeper) searching for info, as well as instead of Superman, the Challengers of the unknown show up. one more sub-team is born.

The science men are rescued by area Ranger (and his pink buddy Cryll) who discover a huge weird area monster as well as rapidly shut it down. Unfortunately, the earth is still hurtling with area at faster-than-light-speeds (which it does every day, however nevermind…).

Page 17: celebration at Angel as well as Sam’s place! See short article for character I.D.s.

Meanwhile, there’s a celebration at the offices of O’Day as well as Simeon (better understood as Angel as well as the Ape), as well as all the awesome men as well as gals are there, including the inferior Five, Anthro as well as his dad, Bat Lash, Firehair, Tommy Tomorrow, Binky, as well as windy as well as Willy (aka Dobie Gillis as well as Maynard G. Krebbs, however that’s a long story). It’s the comic relief part of the story, so kick back as well as have a laugh or two while Sam gets truly annoyed. Tommy, Bat, as well as Angel split to pinpoint the source of the disturbance in Tommy’s futuristic rocket ship. At the exact same time, Aquaman has joined with the Sea Devils for some ocean rescues, as well as Dolphin assists out in a truly tight spot.

Page 30: Pre-Crisis DC: Where believing genuine difficult can stop an alien assault on Earth. Gotta like Cryll.

There are much more cameos on page 21 of Jonny Double, King Farraday from risk path — repackaged for showcase as I-Spy — as well as Manhunter 2070. We likewise inspect in with the metal Men, teen Titans, as well as Hawk as well as Dove, before heading back to area to find that both the Spectre as well as Phantom complete stranger have hooked up with those guys. They offer the heavy lifting of what needs to be done out there, with the rest of the A-Team area team offering some much-needed brain-amplified back-up. (They all believe truly difficult together.)

The Challengers, Creeper, as well as Lois Lane then find what appears to be the source of the Earth’s issue — a mysterious monolith. The menfolk utilize teamwork to pry the door open , while impulsive Lois leaps with the opening just as it snaps shut a