An ANNIVERSARY SALUTE to a keystone anthology series…


Showcase #1 debuted 67 years ago this month. (Historians appear to disagree on the newsstand release date, but it was in January 1956.) In any event, the title had 104 issues (ending in 1978), with dozens of glorious superheroes from the Golden Age to the then-present day appearing within its pages. The first three issues were not successes (focusing on firemen, wildlife adventure, and frogmen), but with the fourth issue, the Silver Age began.

Showcase #1. John Prentice cover.

While DC did include in Showcase a number of characters who were long established (Lois Lane and Aquaman to name two), as well as a handful of newcomers who debuted in other titles (e.g., the Teen Titans in The Brave and the Bold), there were many others seen in Showcase for the very first time. Here are 13 of those new heroes who helped establish the Silver Age — and launched decades of action and adventure.

In order of appearance:

The Flash. Showcase #4 (Sept.-Oct. 1956) introduced the new Flash in the person of police scientist Barry Allen, who spent his spare time looking at comic books about his Golden Age hero, the Flash (alias Jay Garrick). He appeared after this in Showcase #s 8, 13 and 14, and then in his own series, The Flash, starting with #105 (Feb.-Mar. 1959), which continued the numbering from where the Golden Age Flash Comics left off in 1949.

Robert Kanigher cover design, Carmine Infantino pencils, Joe Kubert inks.

Challengers of the Unknown. Ace, Red, Rocky and Prof, adventurers who had escaped death, had their debut in Showcase #6 (Jan.-Feb. 1957). Subsequent appearances in Showcase were #s 7, 11 and 12. An 87-issue series of their own followed, starting in 1958.

Jack Kirby cover

Space Ranger. After his debut performance in Showcase #15 (July-Aug. 1958), Space Ranger (aka Rick Starr) returned in Showcase #16 and then could be found in Tales of the Unexpected #40 to #82, followed by Mystery in Space (#s 92 to 99, 101 and 103).

Bob Brown cover

Adam Strange. Showcase # 17 (Nov.-Dec. 1958) introduced the predominant science-fiction hero of the DC Silver Age, Adam Strange. He had subsequent appearances in Showcase #s 18 and 19, and then appeared in Mystery in Space #53 (Aug. 1959) for the start of a nearly 50-issue run.

Gil Kane cover

Rip Hunter, Time Master. Appearing first in Showcase #20 (May-June 1959), then #s 21, 25 and 26, Rip Hunter and his crew would proceed to their own 29-issue series that ran from 1961 to 1965.

Bob Brown cover

Green Lantern. The second Silver Age hero in Showcase to duplicate the name of a Golden Age comics character was Green Lantern. In Showcase #22 (Sept.-Oct. 1959), Hal Jordan was chosen to fulfill the duties of a Green Lantern Corps member by the dying Abin Sur. There were two more appearances in Showcase, #22 and #23, before the start of a 205-issue series from 1960 to 1986.

Gil Kane cover

Sea Devils. Showcase #27 (July-Aug, 1960) introduced the four members of the Sea Devils undersea diving group. There were two subsequent issues, #28 and #29, before they began a 35-issue run of their own.

Russ Heath cover

The Atom. The last new Silver Age superhero to appear in Showcase who duplicated the name of a Golden Age character was the Atom in Showcase #34 (Sept.-Oct. 1961) and then in #s 35 and 36. His own individual series ran 38 issues, starting in 1962, but then shared the title when it became The Atom and Hawkman from #39 to #45. A 46th issue under that latter title was released in 2010, 41 years later, as part of the “Blackest Night” storyline.

Gil Kane cover pencils, Murphy Anderson inks

Metal Men. Showcase #37 (Mar.-Apr. 1962) marked the debut of Doc Magnus and his robot team with their human-like emotions. Showcase #s 38 to 40 continued with more adventures of this lovable group. Their own title began in 1963, the first of 56 issues.

Ross Andru pencils, Mike Esposito inks

The Inferior Five. In a complete change of pace, Showcase #62 (May-June 1966) was the first in its run to go all-out comedy. Comicdom had rarely seen a more lovable bunch of goofs than the Inferior Five. They would return in #63 and #65, and then in their own 10-issue title.

Joe Orlando cover

The Creeper. Steve Ditko left Marvel and created the Creeper at DC in Showcase #73 (Mar.-Apr. 1968). The Creeper’s own series, Beware the Creeper, started in 1968 but quickly ended after six issues.

Ditko cover

The Hawk and the Dove. Showcase #75 (June 1968) presented two brothers transformed into superheroes, the Hawk and the Dove. It was essentially a political tale of the times dressed up in superhero fatigues by Steve Ditko. A series followed but, like Beware the Creeper, ended after just six issues.

Ditko cover

Angel and the Ape. A fan favorite, the wildly off-the-wall adventures of a private detective team, the beautiful Angel O’Day and talking gorilla Sam Simeon, the latter of whom made ends meet as a comic book artist, debuted in Showcase #77 (Sept. 1968). Now this was a premise that deserved to go right to series and it did, starting a few months later, but like the two series above, it was cancelled after six issues.

Bob Oksner cover


— SHOWCASE #4: An INSIDE LOOK at the Birth of the Silver Age. Click here.

— PAUL KUPPERBERG: My 13 Favorite SHOWCASE #100 Moments. Click here.

PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagehas just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Adding to Adam Strange’s paragraph that he returned to Showcase for issues 101,102, and 103, where he teamed with Hawkman and Hawkgirl for the three issue run.

    I’d also like to note that Power Girl had a three-issue run with Showcase 97, 98, and 99. While she had already been appearing as a JSA team member in the revival of All-Star, this trio of issues launched her solo career.

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    • Thanks for the reply. I did not include Power Girl for the reason you mentioned, that she was already established prior to Showcase. For the same reason, I also did not include Aquaman, Lois Lane, the Spectre, and the Phantom Stranger, even though they got titles of their own after the Showcase appearances. I chose to focus completely on brand new characters (and I would like to have included Bat Lash and Anthro but I was limited to 13).

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  2. Showcase was a great series. For a tryout mag, it’s batting average was pretty high.

    Some trivia —

    Inferior Five ran 12 issues, with the last couple being reprints circa 1972. (Where I discovered them).

    Angel and the Ape became Meet Angel for its seventh issue, and an unpublished Angel and the Ape story appeared in a DC Christmas treasury in the mid 70s. (Again, where I discovered them — I miss eclectic reprints like those ENB brought us.)

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  3. I lucked into a bunch of back issues and reprints during my teen years in the 70s! Then I bought the Showcase revival in the mid-70s. Loved ’em all!

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