DC Implosion

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.


The name is a sardonic reference to the DC Explosion, a 1978 marketing campaign in which DC began publishing more titles and increased the number of story pages in all of its titles, accompanied by higher cover prices.[1][2] The Explosion itself lasted three months from its debut in June 1978 until the revamp in September.[3]

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 by using its own strategy.

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, led to declines in both the profitability of the entire comic book industry and the number 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 laid off.[8]

Cancelled titles

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

1978 cancellations unrelated to the DC Implosion

Fourteen 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.

  • Aquaman #63 (Aug.–Sept.) — Cancellation announced March 1978. Aquaman story from #64 published in Adventure Comics #460 (November 1978)
  • Challengers of the Unknown #87 (June–July cover date)
  • DC Super Stars #18 (Jan.–Feb.)
  • Freedom Fighters #15 (July–Aug.) — cancelled a few months before the Implosion to make room for other titles in the DC Explosion; storyline was to be concluded in Secret Society of Super-Villains, which was itself cancelled
  • Karate Kid #15 (July–Aug.) — cancelled a few months before the Implosion to make room for other titles in the DC Explosion; final story published
  • Metal Men #56 (February–March.) — storyline concluded with the Metal Men being recognized by the United Nations as citizens of the world and not property
  • Mister Miracle #25 (Sept.)[13] Cancellation announced March 1978.
  • Return of the New Gods #19 (July–Aug.) — feature concluded in Adventure Comics #459 and 460
  • Secret Society of Super Villains #15 (June–July) — Cancellation announced March 1978. Characters next appeared in Justice League of America #166–168 (May–July 1979). The stories from Secret Society of Super-Villains #16 and #17 were published in Secret Society of Super-Villains vol. 2 (2012)[14]
  • Shade, the Changing Man #8 (Aug.–Sept.) — Cancellation announced March 1978. "Odd Man" story by Steve Ditko appeared in Detective Comics #487. Both the Shade and Odd Man stories were published in The Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 1 (2011)[15]
  • Shazam! #35 (May–June) — merged into World's Finest Comics with #253
  • Super-Team Family #15 (Mar.–Apr.) – #16 (Supergirl and Doom Patrol teamup published in The Superman Family #191–193)
  • Teen Titans #53 (Feb.)
  • Welcome Back, Kotter #10 (Mar.–Apr.) – Final story published in Limited Collectors' Edition #C-57

Cancelled Comic Cavalcade

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][16][17] 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, the U.S. copyright office and 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.

The contents ranged from completed stories to incomplete artwork. The covers featured new illustrations; the first one showed the cancelled books' heroes lying either unconscious or dead on the ground, the second showed the cancelled heroes being kicked out of an office by a bespectacled man in a suit. The first issue carried a cover price of 10 cents,[18] while the second carried a cover price of $1.00,[19] but the publication was never actually offered for sale.

Cancelled Comic Cavalcade contained the following material:

Issue #1

Issue #2

Unpublished titles

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:

See also


  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. New York, New York: 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 December 22, 2013.
  5. ^ Rozakis, Bob (November 30, 2012). "BobRo Archives: The DC Implosion". BobRozakis.blogspot.com. Archived from the original on August 4, 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. ^ Secrets of Haunted House at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ Ditko, Steve (2010). The Creeper by Steve Ditko. DC Comics. ISBN 1-4012-2591-8.
  12. ^ Kingman, Jim (October 2016). "Midnight Ramblings: 13 Years in the 'Terrorific' Life of DC's Witching Hour". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (92): 27–30.
  13. ^ Nolen-Weathington, Eric (2007). Modern Masters Volume 12: Michael Golden. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 13–16. ISBN 978-1893905740.
  14. ^ a b Conway, Gerry; Vosburg, Mike (2012). Secret Society of Super-Villains Vol. 2. DC Comics. p. 328. ISBN 978-1401231101.
  15. ^ Ditko, Steve (2011). The Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 1. DC Comics. ISBN 1-4012-3111-X.
  16. ^ "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.
  17. ^ McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year: A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. With the devastating 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.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #1 (Summer 1978)". Grand Comics Database.
  19. ^ "Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall 1978)". Grand Comics Database.
  20. ^ Grabois, Michael (November 5, 1995). "The Deserter". Mike's Comics Page. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2008.
  21. ^ Wells, John (October 24, 1997), "'Lost' DC: The DC Implosion", Comics Buyer's Guide, Iola, Wisconsin (1249), p. 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.
  22. ^ Wells (1997) 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."
  23. ^ a b c d Dallas, Keith; Wells, John (2018). "Part 3: Implosion (1978–1980)". Comic Book Implosion: An Oral History of DC Comics Circa 1978. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 85. ISBN 978-1605490854. Bucky O'Hare, Ms. Mystic, Sorcerer, and Starslayer were each developed for DC in 1977 and 1978 but they all then remained in the hands of their creators.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Starslayer (Pacific Comics) at the Grand Comics Database and Starslayer (First Comics) at the Grand Comics Database
  26. ^ 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

1970s in comics

See also:

1960s in comics,

other events of the 1970s,

1980s in comics and the

list of years in comics

Publications: 1970 - 1971 - 1972 - 1973 - 1974 - 1975 - 1976 - 1977 - 1978 - 1979

1978 in comics

Notable events of 1978 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

This is a list of comics-related events in 1978.

All Star Comics

All Star Comics is an American comic book series from All-American Publications, one of three companies that merged with National Periodical Publications to form the modern-day DC Comics. While the series' cover-logo trademark reads All Star Comics, its copyrighted title as indicated by postal indicia is All-Star Comics, with a hyphen. With the exception of the first two issues, All Star Comics told stories about the adventures of the Justice Society of America, the first team of superheroes, and introduced Wonder Woman.

Batman Family

Batman Family was an American comic book anthology series published by DC Comics which ran from 1975 to 1978, primarily featuring stories starring supporting characters to the superhero Batman. An eight-issue miniseries called Batman: Family was published from December 2002 to February 2003.

The term "Batman Family" is most commonly used as the informal name for Batman's closest allies, generally masked vigilantes operating in Gotham City.

Black Lightning

Black Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character, created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor Von Eeden, first appeared in Black Lightning #1 (April 1977), during the Bronze Age of Comic Books. While his origin story has been retconned several times, his current origin story states that he was born in the DC Universe a metahuman with superhuman abilities. Black Lightning is DC Comics' third African American superhero, after John Stewart and Tyroc.Born Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning is originally depicted as a schoolteacher from the crime-ridden Suicide Slum area of Metropolis who acquires electrical superpowers from a technologically advanced power belt that he puts to use to clean up crime in his neighborhood. Over time, Pierce establishes himself as a successful superhero in the DC Universe, and later stories depict him as having "internalized" the belt's powers as a result of his latent metagene. Later retellings of Black Lightning's origins simplify his story by depicting him as metahuman with the inborn ability to manipulate and generate electricity.

Tony Isabella, an experienced writer having done work for the Luke Cage character at Marvel Comics, was signed on to develop DC's first starring black character. He pitched the idea for Black Lightning and it was developed though only 11 issues were published in the first series due to the 1978 DC Implosion. However, the character continued to make appearances in other titles over the years, including a Justice League of America storyline in which Pierce is offered but turns down a position with the group. Elements of Black Lightning were controversial when the character debuted. In the character's early days, Black Lightning was depicted wearing a combined afro wig/mask and affecting an exaggerated Harlem jive vernacular as part of his efforts to conceal his identity as highly educated school professional Jefferson Pierce. Black Lightning later becomes one of the founding members of the Batman-helmed Outsiders superhero team.

In the 2000s, DC Comics introduced Black Lightning's daughters, who inherited metahuman abilities from their father. His eldest daughter Anissa, known as Thunder, can alter her density, rendering her almost indestructible, and create shockwaves by stomping the ground. Pierce's younger child Jennifer, also a superhero known as Lightning, has powers almost identical to her father though she is still inexperienced and not in full control of them.

Along with his presence in comics, Black Lightning has made various appearances in DC-related animated television series, video games and comic strips. The character is being portrayed in live action for the first time by Cress Williams for the self-titled The CW television series.

In 2011, he was ranked 85th overall on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Books Heroes" list.

Bronze Age of Comic Books

The Bronze Age of Comic Books is an informal name for a period in the history of American superhero comic books usually said to run from 1970 to 1985. It follows the Silver Age of Comic Books, and is followed by the Modern Age of Comic Books.

The Bronze Age retained many of the conventions of the Silver Age, with traditional superhero titles remaining the mainstay of the industry. However, a return of darker plot elements and storylines more related to relevant social issues, such as racism, drug use, alcoholism, urban poverty, and environmental pollution, began to flourish during the period, prefiguring the later Modern Age of Comic Books.

DC Special Series

DC Special Series was an umbrella title for one-shots and special issues published by DC Comics between 1977 and 1981. Each issue featured a different character and was often in a different format than the issue before it. DC Special Series was published in four different formats: Dollar Comics, 48 page giants, digests, and treasury editions. Neither the umbrella title nor the numbering system appear on the cover; the title "DC Special Series" appeared only on the first page in the indicia. Most issues featured new material, but eight issues were reprints of previously published material.

Disney Comics

Disney Comics was a comic book publishing company operated by The Walt Disney Company from 1990 to 1993. It was connected with W. D. Publications, Inc., which was a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company that published "Disney Comics" during that time span. W. D. Publications, Inc. created Disney Comics in 1990 so that The Walt Disney Company would not have to rely on outside publishers such as Gladstone Publishing. In the USA, Disney only licensed their comic books to other publishers prior to 1990. Since the demise of the Disney Comics line, Disney has licensed out their properties to various US comics publishers, while continuing to publish comics in the since-defunct magazines Disney Adventures and Disney Adventures Comic Zone, as well as numerous book projects, and has reentered the periodical comics market through their 2009 purchase of Marvel Entertainment. Marvel and Disney Publishing began jointly publishing Disney/Pixar Presents magazine in May 2011 but did not revive the Disney Comics imprint as Boom! Studios would continue to publish classic Disney character comics.

Prior to 1990, the only Disney-published Disney comics were the ones published in Italy, after Disney Italia took over from Mondadori in 1988.

Green Team (comics)

The Green Team is a fictional comic book team of rich-kid adventurers published by DC Comics. The team debuted in 1st Issue Special #2 (May 1975), and was created by Joe Simon and Jerry Grandenetti. In its initial appearance, the group was subtitled "Boy Millionaires." In 2010s comics, a revamped version of the group appeared in a series subtitled "Teen Trillionaires", thus adjusting for both inflation and the declining popularity of boy adventurers.

Jenette Kahn

Jenette Kahn (; born May 16, 1947) is an American comic book editor and executive. She joined DC Comics in 1976 as publisher, and five years later was promoted to President. In 1989, she stepped down as publisher and assumed the title of editor-in-chief while retaining the office of president. After 26 years with DC, she left the company in 2002.

Limited Collectors' Edition

Limited Collectors' Edition is an American comic book series published by DC Comics from 1972 to 1978. It usually featured reprints of previously published stories but a few issues contained new material. The series was published in an oversized 10" x 14" tabloid (or "treasury") format.

Limited series (comics)

In the field of comic books, a limited series is a comics series with a predetermined number of issues. A limited series differs from an ongoing series in that the number of issues is finite and determined before production, and it differs from a one shot in that it is composed of multiple issues. The term is often used interchangeably with miniseries (mini-series) and maxiseries (maxi-series), usually depending on the length and number of issues. In Dark Horse Comics' definition of a limited series, "This term primarily applies to a connected series of individual comic books. A limited series refers to a comic book series with a clear beginning, middle and end." Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics refer to limited series of two to eleven issues as miniseries and series of twelve issues or more as maxiseries, but other publishers alternate terms.

Secrets of Haunted House

Secrets of Haunted House was a horror-suspense comics anthology series published by DC Comics from 1975 to 1978 and 1979 to 1982.


Starslayer: The Log of the Jolly Roger was an American comic book series created by Mike Grell.

Strange Adventures

Strange Adventures was the title of several American comic books published by DC Comics, the first of which was released in September 1950.

Superboy (comic book)

Superboy is the name of several American comic book series published by DC Comics, featuring characters of the same name. The first three titles feature the original Superboy, the legendary hero Superman as a boy. Later series feature the second Superboy, who is a partial clone of the original Superman.

The Unexpected

The Unexpected was a fantasy-horror comics anthology series, a continuation of Tales of the Unexpected, published by DC Comics. It ran 118 issues, from #105 (February–March 1968) to #222 (May 1982). It is not to be confused with The Unexpected published by DC Comics in 2018.

The Witching Hour (DC Comics)

The Witching Hour was an American comic book horror anthology published by DC Comics from 1969 to 1978.

Time Warp (comics)

Time Warp is the name of a science fiction American comic book series published by DC Comics for five issues from 1979 to 1980. A Time Warp one-shot was published by Vertigo in May 2013.

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