Was Detective Comics Before Batman Cancelled Over Racial Concerns?

Yesterday, Bleeding Cool reported on the cancellation of the Detective Comics Before Batman slipcased Omnibus hardcover set reprinting the first 26 issues of Detective Comics from 1937 onwards, before Batman turned up.

It has now been cancelled by DC Comics. I am led to understand that the euphemism being used internally was that it was decided that the material did not stand the test of time…

Indeed. But isn't that one of the points of archive work, to reproduce it warts and all so it can be viewed with modern context? This material was certainly approved for republication – but in the post-Batman: Damned environment, everything at DC Comics is suddenly under the microscope.

Certainly those early issues of Detective Comics had quite the obsession with Yellow Peril. and a few of this panels will show. Siegel and Shuster's Slam Bradley is always finding some 'inscrutable' East Asian person to punch – maybe DC Comics didn't want to advertise that as from the creators of Superman quite so much?

Tom King was able to revive the very first cover of Detective Comics for recent Batman comics – but that was also pre-Batman Damned.

The book is still listed on Amazon – but that will be removed soon as well. Here's how the listing read.

For the first time, DC collects the 26 issues of Detective Comics that came before the debut of Batman!

DC proudly presents issues #1-26 of Detective Comics. These issues starred crimefighters of all sorts in the rough and tumble style of comics' Golden Age, including stories and art by Superman's co-creators, writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. This two-volume Omnibus set is presented in a beautifully designed slipcase.

Not that proud anymore, it seems. Batman movie producer and Batman expert Michael Uslan was to have written the foreword which is as intriguing now as it was then. He described it thus,

I wrote the introductions and early history of DC Comics for both of these volumes. I can promise you that there will be major new insights and clarity as to the facts of the birth of the comic book industry and early DC Comics. There will also be a shocking revelation of a "Bill Finger-type" forgotten co-creator of a major comic book character who will require comic book history books to be rewritten.

Hopefully those insights will find another home…

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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