Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a suggestion for a future installment!
Today we take a look at one of the odder comic books from comic book great Joe Kubert’s oeuvre, a 1977 promotional comic book for a printing company that features Marvel and DC characters working together to print comic books!
Originally created just to print color supplements for the 1904 World’s Fair, the owners of World’s Fair Color Printing quickly realized that the booming market for Sunday color comic strips in newspapers justified the continuation of the company. So they changed the name to World Color Printing and over the next 100 years became the most dominant name in the world of comic production, both in Sunday funnies and later the production of comic books (in fact, some of the very earliest comic books period were made by World Color Printing in an attempt to expand their comic market by collecting a bunch of Sunday comic strips into “books”).
By 1977, pretty much every major comic book company used World Color Press to print their books, so that gave the company a unique position with all of the major companies, leading to this promotional comic to celebrate “World Color Press Day” in June 1977, co-written and drawn by the great Joe Kubert and starring (and co-written) by World Color Press’ Jim Broderick…oh, and every major DC and Marvel comic book character!
The fascinating thing about this book is that it was specifically designed as a promotional comic book for potential World Color Press clients, so it is not just some dumb book for little kids. It is actually a fairly detailed behind the scenes look at how comic books were printed in 1977, right from the beginning of the books to the end. Here are some examples, featuring a few familiar guest stars…
I don’t want to show you too much of the book, so here are just the cameos in the rest of the book…
And it closes with an impressive display of all of the comic book stars whose titles were printed by World Color Press back in the day. Pretty much everyone but the Disney comic books…
Sadly, World Color Press had some problems adjusting to the 21st Century shift towards digital, with magazines, newspapers and comic books all dramatically lowering print runs. They declared bankruptcy in 2008 and in 2010 they were purchased by Quad/Graphics.
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