Scott's Classic Comics Corner: DC's Two-Shots

I've always loved One-Shots, but they are usually designed as such and are plentiful. There are tons of short-lived series, whose fates were sealed once sales figures began to roll in. A series lasting a mere two issues, however, is a rare thing and a real mystery as they are clearly not one-shots, but were cancelled long before any data could have been collected. DC had a few of these in the 60s and 70s, so let’s take a look.

The most famous, or perhaps infamous, of the DC Two-Shots is Brother Power, the Geek. In its efforts to become more relevant in the late 60s, DC produced some rather bizarre comics, but nothing came close to Brother Power. We now know, that the second issue sold better than the first. In 1968, however, all it took for cancellation was to rub Mort Weisinger the wrong way. Weisinger apparently hated all things that smacked of counter culture, and convinced Jack Liebowitz to pull the plug. A certain southern gentleman I know has been searching for the mythical 3rd issue ever since.

Boy Commandos returned in 1973 (in reprint form), after making some appearances in as a back-up in Mister Miracle . DC was obviously still trying to milk its Kirby coup for all it was worth at this stage. These issues feature reprints of very early Boy Commandos stories, as well as text pieces by E. Nelson Bridwell. I’m not certain why DC gave up on it so soon, but it did have a number of these short-lived reprint titles during this era such see Johnny Thunder, Trigger Twins, Legion of Super-Heroes and our next entry.

While some might argue that the Inferior Five was merely on hiatus, I still have to place it in the category of Two-Shots. These two issues featured new covers, but reprinted the Five’s (now ‘5’) earliest appearances from their Showcase tryout. I don’t know how this book returned to the racks, or why it was cancelled again so abruptly, but perhaps it was a personal favourite of Bridwell, who was the de fact reprint editor at DC during this era.

One of the most obscure series ever produced by DC was Teen Beat, renamed Teen Beam for the second and final issue. DC was obviously trying its luck with the teenage girl audience, and attempted to fashion a comic book in the mold of Tiger Beat. What readers got were features comparing Beatles hair styles through the years, and predictions of what bands would make it big. They were on the mark with the Bee Gees. The Free Spirts? Not so much. The title change was explained in the second issue as an attempt to avoid any confusion with the other ‘beat’ magazine and to prevent the tiger from growling. I’m not sure why this series never got to a 3rd issue, but perhaps DC just decided to stick with what it knew.

Finally, we have Man-Bat, one of the more tragic Two-Shots. I read somewhere that the decision was made to pull the plug on the series before the first issue even hit the stands. I don’t know why, but I perhaps some sort of mini-implosion was happening at DC. That’s too bad, because he was a terrific character and that first story gave readers a chance to see Steve Ditko tackle Batman. Man-Bat would be bounced over to Detective Comics a few months after cancellation and would later join the Batman Family.

So, there you have it – a bunch of series that failed on launch. At least it makes completing a full run relatively easy. For more comic book nonsense, stop by my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent.

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