Monday, March 28, 2011

DP02-09 Teen Titans reprint index 1972-1982

.....For one year from mid-1971 to mid-1972 DC comics did not publish comics in the standard 32-page length they had been using for nearly two decades. Their new standard became 48 pages at 25¢, known as the "Bigger and Better" format. Until then, that had been the price point of their 64-page "Giant" format, which then became 35¢ for its last four issues. While those four issues played out in the last half of 1971, three issues of a new title in a new format were published. DC 100 Page Super Spectacular was actually 96pp @ 50¢. By including the covers in the count, a nice round number could lend itself to marketing. As 1971 ended, the '100-page' series ceased to be a title per se and instead replaced the 64-page Giant special format for seven monthly issues. That ended temporarily when the "Bigger and Better" experiment ended, then it returned as a monthly title for a year as 1973 began. In 1974 it became a general format again, exploding to seven titles a month for a year.

.....The reason I bring all this up is because the time between the cancellation of the Original Period Doom Patrol series and the introduction of the New Doom Patrol in Showcase (when this sudden experimentation with formats took place) was a growth period in comics as a hobby. Monstrous print runs for a handful of titles each at several publishers gave way to smaller runs for an avalanche of titles at a shrinking number of publishers. Even with more titles, smaller print runs meant smaller profit margins for new material and both Marvel and DC made full use of the lower production costs of reprints. Dell and Tower were already ghosts and in ten years Charlton, Atlas/Seaboard, Harvey, Fawcett, Gilbert and Gold Key would be gone or going. Marvel and DC increasingly found themselves competing only with Archie and undergrounds, usually perceived as serving different markets and therefore more symbiotic than competitive. Marvel and DC in the early 1970's began slowly reducing non-super-hero and/or non-adventure stories. First went funny animals, then teen humor, then romance, then westerns, then war and finally, reluctantly, horror. Yet, this was also the time during which Robert M. Overstreet marketed the first commercially available comic book price guide. The first national scale comic book conventions were held. The direct market was created, eventually yielding direct-only titles by the early 1980's. These were to be sold in existing stores devoted to the hobby of reading and collecting comic books. This strongly suggests that the ratio of casual readers to hobbyists nearly reversed and that the hobbyists favored super-heroes. This meant packaging greater quantities of super-heroes (and in the early 70's, barbarian adventure) and much of those expanded formats at DC in the first half of the decade were filled out with reprints pulled out of three decades of back catalog. Even relatively new characters like Hawk & Dove and The Creeper saw their Showcase debuts reprinted even though they had no title or even feature of their own at the time.

.....I've already examined Doom Patrol reprints in three DP01-AR posts (February 8-10, 2010) in detail and a neat one-page post (February 14, 2010) with the basics for anyone who'd like a printable checklist. Of course, the entire series has been reprinted in both the Archive and "Showcase Presents..." formats. Teen Titans, roughly the same length, seems to have stalled as of this writing. There was one Archive of the original series and two "Showcase Presents..." (with a third necessary to include the revival and Hawk And Dove). By comparison, New Teen Titans has been reprinted in four Archives and a spattering of color paperbacks. When trying to research the visibility of Beast Boy and Mal Duncan during the nearly twenty years between the first and second Doom Patrol titles, their absence from reprints of Teen Titans stories was glaring. The only appearance of Gar in the original run (#6) has only been reprinted in bound volumes, to my knowledge. The revival issues have never been reprinted, meaning that Karen Beecher/Bumblebee doesn't show up on this list at all. Her other half, Mal Duncan, appears exactly once. That appearance is flagged accordingly.
  1. Action Comics #409 (02/72)- 410 (03/72) Reprints Teen Titans #4 (07-08/66), split into two parts.
  2. Superboy #185 [aka DC 100-Page Super Spectacular #DC-12] (05/72) Reprints The Brave And The Bold #60 (06-07/65), their second appearance.
  3. [DC] 100-Page Super Spectacular #DC-21 [Superboy-themed issue, but published outside his title's numbering, unlike the issue above] Reprints The Brave And The Bold #54 (06-07/64), their first appearance.
  4. The Brave And The Bold #114 (08-09/74) Reprints Teen Titans #5 (09-10/66).
  5. The Brave And The Bold #116 (12/74-01/75) Reprints Teen Titans #16 (07-08/68).
  6. Limited Collectors' Edition #C-34 (02-03/75) [this is a tabloid-sized "Christmas With The Super-Heroes"] Reprints Teen Titans #13 (01-02/68). This is missing page 2, with contemporary references to the Batman TV show, and alters some narration, but extends the art in some panels. Nick Cardy also does the ensemble cover with the Teen Titans (in their 1960's costumes) in the front and in portraits on the back.
  7. Super-Team Family #1 (10-11/75) Reprints Teen Titans #19 (01-02/69) and has a new ensemble cover by Dick Giordano.
  8. DC Super-Stars #1 (03/76) Reprints Teen Titans #11 (09-10/67) and #24 (11-12/69) plus five new pages combining text and spot illustrations. They discuss Gar and Mal, so they'll be covered in the next post.
  9. DC Super-Stars #7 (09/76) Reprints the Aqualad back-up story from Teen Titans #30 (11-12/70)
  10. [Mal appears] Super-Team Family #7 (10-11/76) Reprints Teen Titans #31 (01-02/71), and they also appear in part of a new composite cover by Ernie Chan and Vince Colletta. In this same issue is a full-page ad with original art announcing the revived series beginning the next month.
.....Finally, with a month to go before he returns with the new series Mal Duncan (and Lilith, come to think of it) shows up in one of the almost twice-annual sporadic reprints that had kept his teammates in the public eye. After the 1978 DC Implosion most of the publisher's larger page-count titles were anthologies of new material. Beginning in 1979 a new line of digest format titles emerged (possibly to explore new markets) which were primarily or entirely reprint material. The format was discontinued after Crisis in 1986 as DC began rewriting a new, coherent and consolidated history and wanted to be extremely selective about reprinting old stories lest they undermine the new continuity before it even had a chance to assert itself. Mal wasn't in these, either:
  1. The Best Of DC #3 (01-02/80) Reprints Teen Titans #18 (11-12/68).
  2. DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #5 (11-12/80) Reprints the 8-page "THE ORIGIN OF WONDER GIRL" from Teen Titans #22 (07-08/69).
  3. The Best Of DC #18 (11/81) This was an all-Teen Titans issue with new front and back covers by George PĂ©rez and an original New Teen Titans story by Marv Wolfman and Carmine Infantino. The rest reprinted Teen Titans #20 (03-04/69), #21 (05-06/69), #22 (07-08/69) [except for the story reprinted the previous year] and #24 (11-12/69).
  4. The Best Of DC #22 (03/82) Reprints Teen Titans #13 (01-02/68).
.....That last story continued to be reprinted in various Christmas collections over the years. A dozen issues in a decade and only one story from Mal's tenure. Better news in Part 6.


  1. Thanks for these posts pblfsda, they're really good overviews of these issues that aren't so obvious to current collectors. I've been combing ebay for some of these back issues and appreciate checking against your posts.

  2. You're quite welcome. I was collecting comics when these issues were coming out, although some of these I've bought used since then and some I've passed on, having learned they were only reprints (and some edited at that). After a couple decades of haunting bargain boxes for reading copies and paying a bit more when I really needed something, the internet has changed the nature of the hunt for both collectors and vendors. That's not exactly a fresh observation, but I rarely hear anyone mention that few of the bazillion online sources of data regarding comics bother to note how a character's appearance relates to continuity. Some don't even mention reprints or, worse, list them without distinguishing them from new material. In other cases they may not distinguish features from guest spots, full appearances from cameos, contemporary timelines from flashbacks, activities from articles, stories from pin-ups, or even if an appearance is actually by impostors, robots, hallucinations, artwork or recordings. With the stories above, I had assumed they'd eventually get to the "Showcase Presents..." format. Unfortunately, there's much of the actual SHOWCASE title that hasn't been reprinted yet.