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.
|Publication date||March 1956 – September 1970|
August 1977 – September 1978
|No. of issues||104|
|Main character(s)||Challengers of the Unknown|
|Written by||Sergio 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|
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. The series began in March–April 1956 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. The series was canceled in 1970 with issue #93, featuring Manhunter 2070.
|1||The Fire Fighters|
|2||The Kings of the Wild|
|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). 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.|
|6–7||The Challengers of the Unknown||Created by Jack Kirby.|
|8||The Flash (Barry Allen)|
|9–10||Lois Lane||Lois Lane was featured in a tryout for her own series.|
|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.|
|17–19||Adventures on Other Worlds (Adam Strange)||Adam Strange was created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky.|
|20–21||Rip Hunter, Time Master||Created by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira.|
|22–24||Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)||The Silver Age Green Lantern was launched by John Broome and Gil Kane.|
|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.|
|30–33||Aquaman and Aqualad|
|34–36||The Atom (Ray Palmer)||The Silver Age Atom was created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane.|
|37–40||The Metal Men||Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru co-created the Metal Men.|
|41–42||Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers|
|43||James Bond (adaptation of Dr. No)||Comic book adaptation of the 1962 James Bond film.|
|44||Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers|
|46–47||Tommy Tomorrow of the Planeteers|
|48–49||Cave Carson: Adventures Inside Earth|
|52||Cave Carson: Adventures Inside Earth|
|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.|
|62–63||The Inferior Five||E. Nelson Bridwell and Joe Orlando created the Inferior Five.|
|65||The Inferior Five|
|66–67||B'wana Beast||Bob Haney and Mike Sekowsky created B'wana Beast.|
|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|
|73||Beware the Creeper||Steve Ditko created the Creeper with scripter Don Segall.|
|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.|
|76||Bat Lash||Western character by Nick Cardy and Sergio Aragonés.|
|77||Angel and the Ape||E. Nelson Bridwell and Bob Oksner created Angel and the Ape.|
|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.|
|81||The Way-Out World of Windy and Willy|
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 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]
The revived Showcase, using the original numbering, began with issue #94 and published the first appearance of the new Doom Patrol and the solo adventures of Power Girl. 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. The series was cancelled again after issue #104 (September 1978), as part of what is commonly called the "DC Implosion". 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. 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. 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.
|94–96||The Doom Patrol|
|100||Special issue featuring almost every character from issues #1–93|
|104||OSS / Spies at War|
|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|
DC published New Talent Showcase, which ran for 15 issues (Jan. 1984 – March 1985), briefly changed its title to Talent Showcase, and then ended with issue #19 (Oct. 1985). 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. Per editorial policy, the series featured only new characters.
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.
In 2005, DC began publishing thick, black-and-white reprints of older material under the umbrella title Showcase Presents.
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.
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.
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.
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.