Showcase (comics)


Showcase is a comic anthology series published by DC Comics. The general theme of the series was to feature new and minor characters as a way to gauge reader interest in them, without the difficulty and risk of featuring untested characters in their own ongoing titles. Showcase is regarded as the most successful of such tryout series, having been published continuously for more than 14 years, launching numerous popular titles, and maintaining a considerable readership of its own. The series ran from March–April 1956 to September 1970, suspending publication with issue #93, and then was revived for eleven issues from August 1977 to September 1978.

Showcase #4, featuring the Silver Age Flash, art by Carmine Infantino.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
Publication dateMarch 1956 – September 1970
August 1977 – September 1978
No. of issues104
Main character(s)Challengers of the Unknown
Green Lantern
Lois Lane
Space Ranger
Adam Strange
Creative team
Written bySergio Aragonés, Otto Binder, E. Nelson Bridwell, John Broome, Arnold Drake, Gardner Fox, Edmond Hamilton, Bob Haney, Robert Kanigher, Jack Kirby, Jack Miller, Don Segall, Steve Skeates
Artist(s)Murphy Anderson, Ross Andru, Bob Brown, Nick Cardy, Steve Ditko, Russ Heath, Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Ruben Moreira, Win Mortimer, Bob Oksner, Joe Orlando, John Prentice, Mike Sekowsky

Original seriesEdit

Showcase featured characters in either one-shot appearances or brief two- or three-issue runs as a way to determine reader interest, without the financial risk of featuring "untested" characters in their own ongoing titles.[1] The series began in March–April 1956[2] and saw the first appearance of several major characters including the Silver Age Flash, the Challengers of the Unknown, Space Ranger, Adam Strange, Rip Hunter, the Silver Age Green Lantern, the Sea Devils, the Silver Age Atom, the Metal Men, the Inferior Five, the Creeper, Anthro, Hawk and Dove, Angel and the Ape, the Silver Age Spectre, and Bat Lash.

In 1962, DC purchased an adaptation of the James Bond novel and film Dr. No, which had been published in British Classics Illustrated, and published it as an issue of Showcase. It was the first American comic book appearance of the character.

Showcase stood out from other tryout series in that it maintained its own readership; readers who liked a feature would buy the series when it came out, but would often continue buying Showcase as well.[3] The series was canceled in 1970 with issue #93,[4] featuring Manhunter 2070.

Full list of issuesEdit

Issue # Character Notes
1 The Fire Fighters
2 The Kings of the Wild
3 The Frogmen
4 The Flash (Barry Allen) DC editor Julius Schwartz assigned writer Robert Kanigher and artists Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert to the company's first attempt at reviving superheroes: an updated version of the Flash that would appear in Showcase #4 (October 1956).[5] The eventual success of the new, science-fiction oriented Flash heralded the wholesale return of superheroes, and the beginning of what fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books.[6]
5 The Manhunters
6–7 The Challengers of the Unknown Created by Jack Kirby.[7]
8 The Flash (Barry Allen)
9–10 Lois Lane Lois Lane was featured in a tryout for her own series.[8]
11–12 The Challengers of the Unknown
13–14 The Flash (Barry Allen)
15–16 Space Ranger Created by Gardner Fox, Edmond Hamilton and Bob Brown.[9][10]
17–19 Adventures on Other Worlds (Adam Strange) Adam Strange was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.[11]
20–21 Rip Hunter, Time Master Created by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira.[12]
22–24 Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) The Silver Age Green Lantern was launched by John Broome and Gil Kane.[13][14]
25–26 Rip Hunter, Time Master
27–29 The Sea Devils Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath created the Sea Devils, a team of scuba-diving adventurers.[15]
30–33 Aquaman and Aqualad
34–36 The Atom (Ray Palmer) The Silver Age Atom was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane.[16]
37–40 The Metal Men Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru co-created the Metal Men.[17]
41–42 Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers
43 James Bond (adaptation of Dr. No) Comic book adaptation of the 1962 James Bond film.[18]
44 Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers
45 Sgt. Rock
46–47 Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers
48–49 Cave Carson: Adventures Inside Earth
50–51 I—Spy
52 Cave Carson: Adventures Inside Earth
53–54 G.I. Joe [19]
55–56 Doctor Fate and the Hourman
57–58 The Enemy Ace
59 The Teen Titans
60–61 The Spectre Revival of the character by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson.[20]
62–63 The Inferior Five E. Nelson Bridwell and Joe Orlando created the Inferior Five.[21]
64 The Spectre
65 The Inferior Five
66–67 B'wana Beast Bob Haney and Mike Sekowsky created B'wana Beast.[22]
68–69 The Maniaks A fictional rock band published by created by E. Nelson Bridwell and Mike Sekowsky.
70 Leave It to Binky
71 The Maniaks with Woody Allen
72 Top Gun
73 Beware the Creeper Steve Ditko created the Creeper with scripter Don Segall.[23]
74 Anthro
75 The Hawk and the Dove Steve Ditko created the quirky team of superhero brothers called the Hawk and the Dove with writer Steve Skeates.[24]
76 Bat Lash Western character by Nick Cardy and Sergio Aragonés.[25]
77 Angel and the Ape E. Nelson Bridwell and Bob Oksner created Angel and the Ape.[26]
78 Jonny Double
79 The Dolphin
80 The Phantom Stranger Reprints from The Phantom Stranger (vol. 1) #2 and Star Spangled Comics #122, with a new framing story by Mike Friedrich and Jerry Grandenetti.[27]
81 The Way-Out World of Windy and Willy
82–84 Nightmaster
85–87 Firehair
88–90 Jason's Quest
91–93 Manhunter 2070

Reprint collectionsEdit

In 1992, DC Comics published a trade paperback reprint collection titled The Essential Showcase: 1956–1959 (ISBN 978-1563890796). This collection reprints selected stories/characters from issues #1, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, and 17 of the original Showcase series. Several other issues were included in other reprint collections.

Title Issues collected Publication date ISBN
Showcase Presents: Showcase Vol.1 #1–21 July 2012 1-4012-3523-9
Showcase Presents: The Flash Vol. 1 #4, 8, 13–14 May 2007 1-4012-1327-8
The Flash Archives Vol. 1 #4, 8, 13–14 May 1998 978-1563891397
The Flash Chronicles Vol. 1 #4, 8, 13–14 September 2009 978-1401224714
Flash Rogues: Captain Cold #8 August 2018 978-1401281595
Showcase Presents: Superman Family Vol. 1 #9 (Lois Lane solo story) March 2006 1-4012-0787-1
Showcase Presents: Superman Family Vol. 2 #10 (Lois Lane solo story) February 2008 1-4012-1656-0
Showcase Presents: Challengers of the Unknown Vol. 1 #6–7, 11–12 September 2006 1-4012-1087-2
Challengers of the Unknown Archives Vol. 1 #6–7, 11–12 July 2003 1-5638-9997-3
Adam Strange Archives Vol. 1 #17–19 March 2004 1-4012-0148-2
Showcase Presents: Rip Hunter, Time Master Vol. 1 #20–21, 25–26 August 2012 1-4012-3521-2
Showcase Presents: Green Lantern Vol. 1 22–24 October 2005 1-4012-0759-6
Green Lantern Archives Vol. 1 22–24 1993 978-1563890871
The Green Lantern Chronicles Vol. 1 #22–24 May 2009 978-1401221638
Showcase Presents: Sea Devils, Vol. 1 #27–29 July 2012 1-4012-3522-0
Aquaman Archives Vol. 1 #30–31 February 2003 978-1563899430
Showcase Presents: The Atom Vol. 1 #34–36 June 2007 1-4012-1363-4
The Atom Archives Vol. 1 #34–36 July 2001 978-1563897177
Showcase Presents: Metal Men Vol. 1 #37–40 September 2007 1-4012-1559-9
Metal Men Archives Vol. 1 #37–40 May 2006 1-4012-0774-X
Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups Vol. 1 #55–56 January 2006 978-1401204709
Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace Vol. 1 #57–58 February 2008 1-4012-1721-4
Showcase Presents: Teen Titans Vol. 1 #59 April 2006 1-4012-0788-X
Silver Age Teen Titans Archives Vol. 1 #59 October 2003 978-1-4012-0071-8
Showcase Presents: The Spectre Vol. 1 #60–61, 64 May 2012 1-4012-3417-8
The Creeper by Steve Ditko #73 April 2010 978-1401225919
Showcase Presents: Bat Lash Vol. 1 #76 July 2009 1-4012-2295-1
Showcase Presents: Phantom Stranger Vol. 1 #80 October 2006 1-4012-1088-0


In August 1977, Showcase was revived for 11 issues[28] after the cancellation of 1st Issue Special, which ran from 1975 to 1976. Writer Paul Kupperberg reminisced: "1977 was an expansionary time at DC, and Jenette Kahn was supportive of trying new things. There were a lot of new ideas being thrown around at that time. A lot of books came around, lasted a few issues, and then went away. [DC] decided to create Showcase for the very same reason it was originally created, to have a place to experiment, and if [the feature] sold, great. If not, they were already on to the next idea".[emphasis in original][29]

The revived Showcase, using the original numbering, began with issue #94 and published the first appearance of the new Doom Patrol[30] and the solo adventures of Power Girl.[29] Issue #100 (May 1978) had a cameo by almost every character that had premiered in the original run of Showcase in a story co-written by Paul Kupperberg and Paul Levitz and drawn by Joe Staton.[31] The series was cancelled again after issue #104 (September 1978), as part of what is commonly called the "DC Implosion".[29] Issues #105 and #106 saw print in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade and #105 was later published in Adventure Comics. Issue #106 was included in The Creeper by Steve Ditko hardcover collection published by DC in 2010.[32] Two other series were announced before the series cancellation: The Huntress, which would have spun out of her feature in Batman Family; and World of Krypton, which was published as DC's first miniseries in 1979.[33] According to editor Paul Levitz, at the time of the cancellation there were still no Huntress stories in production, and the slated content for Showcase #107–109 was Gerry Conway's Western adventure The Deserter.[29]

Full list of issuesEdit

Issue # Character
94–96 The Doom Patrol
97–99 Power Girl
100 Special issue featuring almost every character from issues #1–93
101–103 Hawkman
104 OSS / Spies at War
105 Deadman
106 The Creeper

Reprint collectionsEdit

Title Issues collected Publication date ISBN
Power Girl #97–99 June 2006 978-1401209681
The Creeper by Steve Ditko unpublished issue #106 April 2010 978-1401225919

New Talent ShowcaseEdit

DC published New Talent Showcase, which ran for 15 issues (Jan. 1984 – March 1985),[34] briefly changed its title to Talent Showcase, and then ended with issue #19 (Oct. 1985).[35] For the most part edited by Karen Berger (and for a short time by Sal Amendola), the series gave new writers and artists their first professional opportunity in the comics industry. Notable creators who made their DC debuts with New Talent Showcase include Mark Beachum, Norm Breyfogle, Tom Grindberg, Steve Lightle, Mindy Newell, and Stan Woch.[36] Per editorial policy, the series featured only new characters.[36]

Showcase 1990sEdit

DC revived the Showcase title in 1993 when the 1950s retailer reluctance to order new, untested series had largely vanished, and was replaced in the 1990s with reader enthusiasm for the "#1" issues of new series. The new series was published as Showcase '93, a monthly 12-issue miniseries, replaced yearly by Showcase '94, '95 and '96, each one also a miniseries lasting 12 issues. Showcase '96 #12 was the last issue.

Showcase PresentsEdit

In 2005, DC began publishing thick, black-and-white reprints of older material under the umbrella title Showcase Presents.


  1. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). "Flashback The Return of the Super Hero". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. New York, New York: Bulfinch Press. p. 116. ISBN 0821220764. In those troubled times [of the 1950s], launching a new character was a risky proposition...So DC had inaugurated Showcase, which provided an entirely new feature in each issue, thus minimizing the risk of publishing something unpopular.
  2. ^ Showcase at the Grand Comics Database
  3. ^ Cassell, Dewey (April 2014). "Marvel Feature". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (71): 14.
  4. ^ Sacks, Jason; Dallas, Keith (2014). American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1970s. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 13. ISBN 978-1605490564.
  5. ^ Levitz, Paul (2010). "The Silver Age 1956–1970". 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Cologne, Germany: Taschen. p. 251. ISBN 9783836519816. Together Schwartz, Kanigher, Infantino, and Kubert would set a tone for the Flash that was both cinematic...and influenced by Schwartz's first love of science fiction.
  6. ^ Irvine, Alex (2010). "1950s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 80. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The arrival of the second incarnation of the Flash in [Showcase] issue #4 is considered to be the official start of the Silver Age of comics.
  7. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 84: "Kirby's first solo project was a test run of a non-super hero adventure team called Challengers of the Unknown. Appearing for the first time in Showcase #6, the team would make a few more Showcase appearances before springing into their own title in May 1958".
  8. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 85: "The future title Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane got a tryout in issues #9 and #10 of Showcase, when Lois Lane stepped in as the lead feature".
  9. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 91: "Space Ranger...debuted in Showcase #15 in stories by writer Edmond Hamilton and artist Bob Brown".
  10. ^ Markstein, Don (2008). "Space Ranger". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved October 18, 2012. Editor Jack Schiff took charge of the character, and handed him over to writers Edmond Hamilton and Gardner Fox for development. Bob Brown illustrated their script.
  11. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 91: "Adam Strange debuted in a three-issue trial starting with Showcase #17, which was written by Gardner Fox and featured art by Mike Sekowsky".
  12. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 94: "Rip Hunter and the Time Masters...made their debut in Showcase writer Jack Miller and artist Ruben Moreira".
  13. ^ Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 95: "DC had decided to revamp a number of characters to inject new life into the genre. Writer John Broome and artist Gil Kane ensured that Green Lantern got his turn in October's Showcase #22".
  14. ^ Levitz "The Silver Age 1956–1970", p. 252: "Schwartz enlisted Broome to update Green Lantern...He got a quick Showcase try before launching on his own even before sales figures came in".
  15. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 101: "Showcase #27 in August [1960] saw Dane Dorrance, Biff Bailey, Judy Walton, and Nicky Walton dive into underwater adventures as the Sea Devils, by writer Robert Kanigher and illustrator Russ Heath".
  16. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 103: "The Atom was the next Golden Age hero to receive a Silver Age makeover from writer Gardner Fox and artist Gil Kane".
  17. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 105: "Writer/editor Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru put a then-modern-day spin on robots with the exploits of comics' first "heavy metal" group, the Metal Men".
  18. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 109: "British publisher Gilberton Publications...approached DC Comics about publishing its adaptation of Ian Fleming's bestselling novel Dr. No in the U.S. The movie of the novel was a box-office smash in the U.K., so DC agreed to publish the James Bond story".
  19. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 113: "Less than nine months since G.I. Joe ushered in the era of the action figure, Hasbro's incredibly popular war hero enlisted for some action in the pages of Showcase".
  20. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 117: "Scribe Gardner Fox and artist Murphy Anderson recruited the ethereal entity in time for #60 of Showcase".
  21. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 117: "Writer E. Nelson Bridwell and artist Joe Orlando knew what was in a name when they unleashed the Inferior Five in Megalopolis".
  22. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 123: "Africa found itself a helmeted, loinclothed champion of mammals when scribe Bob Haney and artist Mike Sekowsky presented B'wana Beast".
  23. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 129: "Writer/artist Steve Ditko and co-scripter Don Segall gave [character Jack Ryder] more than the last laugh as the garishly garbed Creeper, one of DC's quirkiest protagonists".
  24. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 130: "Brothers Hank and Don Hall were complete opposites, yet writer/artist Steve Ditko with scripter Steve Skeates made sure the siblings shared a desire to battle injustice as Hawk and Dove".
  25. ^ Coates, John (1999). "1968–75: Bat Lash, covers & more...". The Art of Nick Cardy. Coates Publishing. pp. 62–66. ISBN 1-887591-22-2.
  26. ^ McAvennie "1960s" in Dolan, p. 130: "[E. Nelson Bridwell] and artist Bob Oksner injected pretty primitive humor into the classic 'beauty and the beast' concept when they opened the O'Day and Simeon Detective Agency for business".
  27. ^ "Showcase #80". Grand Comics Database.
  28. ^ Showcase revival at the Grand Comics Database
  29. ^ a b c d Johnson, Dan (April 2014). "Showcase Presents... Again". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (71): 50–55.
  30. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 175: "Writer Paul Kupperberg and artist Joe Staton revived DC's "try-out" series from its seven-year slumber by resurrecting the super-hero team, Doom Patrol".
  31. ^ Pigott, Mike (December 2013). "Showcase Centenary A Look at the Landmark 100th Issue of DC's Tryout Comic, Showcase". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (69): 38–40.
  32. ^ Ditko, Steve (2010). The Creeper by Steve Ditko. DC Comics. p. 288. ISBN 1-4012-2591-8.
  33. ^ McAvennie "1970s" in Dolan, p. 181: "The worldwide success of Superman: The Movie motivated [DC] to publish more Superman-related titles. With that, editor E. Nelson Bridwell oversaw a project that evolved into comics' first official limited series – World of Krypton...Featuring out-of-this-world artwork from Howard Chaykin, [Paul] Kupperberg's three-issue limited series explored Superman's homeworld".
  34. ^ New Talent Showcase at the Grand Comics Database
  35. ^ Talent Showcase at the Grand Comics Database
  36. ^ a b Greenberger, Robert (April 2014). "New Talent and Bonus Babies". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (71): 65–71.

External linksEdit

  • Showcase at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
  • New Talent Showcase at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
  • Showcase '93 at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
  • Showcase #55: The Glory of Murphy Anderson