Denny O'Neil's Cancelled Comic Cavalcade Copies Up For Auction

ComicConnect has been running the Denny O'Neil Estate Collection session of the March Mega Monthly Auction but this has to be the prize item of the collection.

Legendary comic book writer and editor, he wrote an amazing column for Bleeding Cool, replicating his notes for his New York University comic book and graphic novel writing classes he held in New York. He was especially pleased when a Bleeding Cool reader would then take one of his classes.

Now items of his library are being auctioned for his estate, I think he would have been especially pleased if a Bleeding Cool reader bid for one as well. And it's this item that caught my eye more than any other, and is genuine American comic book history. Denny O'Neil's personal bound copies of Cancelled Comics Cavalcade.

Rewind a little. In the mid-seventies, DC Comics expanded its line with the promotion DC Explosion. However, many of those comics were cancelled early on along with others, being dubbed the DC Implosion, Detective Comics itself was almost cancelled, in favour of Batman Family, but there was enough of a ruckus that DC should not publish its oldest comic that it survived.

So in 1975, DC Comics added 16 new titles, another 14 in 1976 and another 4 in 1977. However, with poor sales and inclement weather, DC cancelled 30 of the titles, 40% of their line, and several employees, including Al Milgrom and Larry Hama were made redundant. Titles included All-Star Comics, Batman Family, Black Lightning, Firestorm, House Of Secrets, Kamandi, Steel, and The Witching Hour,

However, a number of those cancelled comics had issues completed but unprinted. Some were reused in other titles. But many saw the work published in a comic called Cancelled Comic Cavalcade, a two-issue series with a print run of just 35 copies, run off on the office photocopies. It was solely to establish copyright on the stories in question, and included a few inventory issues too, and was distributed to editors and creators of the work.  Ten years ago, a set of both issues was valued at $3,680, but copies, when sold, are generally done in private. And this is Denny O'Neil's copy, bound for preservation.

Denny O'Neil's Cancelled Comic Cavalcade Copies Up For Auction
Denny O'Neil's Cancelled Comic Cavalcade Copies Up For Auction

This is the only public sale of a set of Cancelled Comics Cavalcade I am aware of for a very long time. It is currently at $2,250 after 28 bids and eleven days to go. Here is the auction listing;

Perhaps the rarest collector's items of the Bronze Age. DC had expanded its line in what it proudly called the "DC Explosion," but soon canceled a whole slew of titles in what wags quickly dubbed the "DC Implosion." DC produced this two-volume ashcan edition to protect DC's copyright to the content, printing a mere 35 copies. Of these, 34 were given to the creators and copyright people, and one to price guide publisher Bob Overstreet for documentation purposes. Containing pages photocopied on one side only with blank blue covers and a taped spine, the books each measure 8.5" x 11". Many of these comics were featured in DC house ads, offered as subscriptions, or both before the sudden cancellation. And many of canceled DC series ended on cliffhangers (Shade the Changing Man to name one), making this your one chance to find out how the story ended. Also, completists of artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko will find stories here that never saw the light of day. These copies are in immaculate condition, custom bound for Denny O'Neil's personal collection. These books almost never come up for auction, we can't find evidence of a public sale of these in over a decade. This is an incredible opportunity to add a real rarity that would enhance any collection.

Denny O'Neil's Cancelled Comic Cavalcade Copies Up For Auction
Denny O'Neil's Cancelled Comic Cavalcade Copies Up For Auction

The volumes contain:

Issue #1
Black Lightning #12, cover to #13
Claw the Unconquered #13-14
The Deserter #1
Doorway to Nightmare #6
Firestorm #6
Green Team: Boy Millionaires #1-2

Issue #2
Kamandi #60-61
Sandman #7
Prez #5
Shade, the Changing Man #9
Showcase #105 featuring Deadman and #106 featuring the Creeper
Secret Society of Super Villains #16-17
Steel #6
The Vixen #1
covers for Army at War #2, Battle Classics #3, Demand Classics #1-2, Dynamic Classics #2, Mister Miracle #26, Ragman #6, Weird Mystery Tales #25-26, Western Classics #1-2

Includes COA from the Denny O'Neil estate.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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