Posted by Don MacPherson on August 2nd, 2013
When I scanned this week’s list of new releases in comics shops, an item I hadn’t expected caught my eye. Among DC’s offerings this week was Showcase Presents: DC Comics Presents Superman Team-Ups Volume 2, a softcover, black-and-white reprint of a lengthy run of stories from DC Comics Presents from the Bronze Age of comics. As regular readers of Eye on Comics know, I’m a huge fan of the classic DC and Marvel team-up titles from that era, and while I own quite a few of those comics, I planned on adding Superman Team-Ups Vol. 2 to my library.
I was pleased to find a copy of the book for sale at my local comic-book shop, as I hadn’t pre-ordered it. But when I picked it up off the shelf and thumbed through the pages, there was something I didn’t find: the entirety of the contents of each issue included in the book.
Beginning in #25, DC Comics Presents featured regular backup stories entitled “Whatever Happened To…?”, explaining what became of Golden Age and Silver Age characters that hadn’t been seen for years. Now, this development started with the first volume of this particular edition of Showcase Presents, as it included #s 25 and 26, but I didn’t clue into the omission until this second volume hit stands this week.
Now, I get why these stories and other material (such as the New Teen Titans preview from #26 or the Wonder Woman preview from #41) weren’t included in these Showcase Presents books. They don’t fit with the team-up theme established in the book’s title, and DC appears to be trying to offer archives of the thematic material rather than the pure contents of the issues themselves. I can only presume Nemesis backup stories from The Brave and the Bold won’t be included in future Showcase editions of that team-up series.
And that’s a shame. I, for one, would have welcomed a purer, more faithful representation of that classic material, and I don’t just refer to the inclusion of the backup stories. Honestly, I think it would be cool to see the old letters pages and in-house promotional material (such as The Daily Planet ads promoting various DC titles). I’d even like to see the paid advertising included, but that would likely make for a copyright and trademark nightmare.
Maybe some people wouldn’t want such superfluous material unrelated to the main theme or motif of each volume. Maybe some readers wouldn’t appreciate being charged for lettercol reprints or the like, and would prefer instead to get more Superman or Batman or whatever material instead. I can absolutely see the point. But these books are about fun and nostalgia, and including the extra material would certainly more closely replicate the experience of discovering and enjoying the content was it was originally presented.
To be honest, I’ll probably break down and pickup Superman Team-Ups Vol. 2 eventually (especially if I spy it on sale). I will tell DC this, though: if a book entitled Showcase Presents: Whatever Happened To…? happened to show up in my local comic shop, the publisher and the retailer would make a quick sale.
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