“Star Wars demoted to bimonthly” is hard to imagine now, too.

§ April 17th, 2017 § Filed under captain america, pal plugging, publishing, question time, retailing § 6 Comments

Back to your questions:

Argh!Sims arghed:

“Since you and GregA were discussing it on the Twitters and all … Did you find any more info about the proposed cancellation of Captain America back in the ’80s? That was at least a minor deal back then, and I seem to remember it was going to end around 300, with Cap being aged and having his ‘final’ victory over the Red Skull”

Yup…Twitter pal Greg posted a scan of a news item from an old Amazing Heroes (#69 from 1985, to be exact). I hope he doesn’t mind me borrowing said scan to present it here, since I’m too lazy to scan it myself:


My memory at the time is that is was kind of a minor deal, as you say. Mostly surprise that Marvel would even think about ending one of their…well, maybe not a flagship title, as such, but certainly a long-running title with one of their most famous, if not top-selling, characters. You know, back in the day when every ongoing series didn’t get relaunched every 18 months.

And yes, I did spend some time going through subsequent issues of Amazing Heroes trying to find any kind of follow-up on this announcement, as well as going through the Amazing Heroes Preview Specials that would preview the next few months’ worth of content for individual titles. Alas, I couldn’t track down what I was looking for, which was confirmation of my vague-ish memory of someone at Marvel basically saying “hey, we realized that we couldn’t cancel Captain America, of all titles — that would be be crazy!” I said in the Twitter thread that followed that my belief was that said cancellation might have been forestalled by licensing deals that might have been dependent on Marvel continuing to publish and support the character, but that’s just a mostly uninformed assumption on my part.

Anyway, I am relatively certain that it was said somewhere, in some news story or interview, that the cancellation of that particular title was reconsidered because of the nature of the character and its importance to Marvel. And, if I recall correctly, I think it was also said by someone that the title wasn’t actually in danger of cancellation, and that its inclusion on the list above was a mistake. Now, I owned and have read a lot of comic ‘zines over the decades, so I don’t know where exactly I saw all this…or even if I did, since I should probably accept that possibility. If anyone has more specific information, feel free to let me konw.

• • •

Old pal Brandon wants to know

“Have you ever been witness to a major collapse of shelves or avalanche of comics?

I have seen some pretty precarious shelves in the backs of comics shops before and it was always a concern of mine going into the back room of your old place of employment (though admittedly that was purely anxiety driven).”

Well, true enough, the shelving in the back of my old place of employment was very end-of-Raiders of the Lost Ark-ish, with shelving stretching up to the ceiling, filled with countless comic boxes. It was all quite sturdy and secure, however, and in the three different locations that store had while I worked there, I don’t believe there ever was a major collapse or shelf failure.

Now, that one time someone busted in through the ceiling to steal some…uh, Witchblade and Spawn comics, I thought maybe some of our bookshelves out front were knocked over, but from the look of things it was just a huge mess made by broken ceiling tiles and insulation.

The only time I can remember any sort of in-store shelving collapse was a hook busting loose that connected a shelf to its supporting unit and a bunch of books falling off. No life-threatening epic disaster stories to tell, thankfully. But here’s something to tide you over:

• • •

In completely unrelated news…pal Andrew could use a little assistance, if you’re able.

6 Responses to ““Star Wars demoted to bimonthly” is hard to imagine now, too.”

  • Bryan says:

    Now I’m hoping somebody at Marvel said, “We can’t cancel Captain America, the forthcoming Broadway play will boost its sales ten-fold!”

  • Back when I did my time in comic retail, the store I worked for had one rack filled with D&D/TSR stuff. It was not a rack that held things well; a clumsy customer could cause a few of the books and modules to fall.

    One time, we had a mom and dad browsing for comics with a toddler girl. She must have seen something that caught her eye on the D&D rack. She reached up to take it off the rack, just as I noticed her, and two dozen books came tumbling to the floor.

    The girl started crying and ran over to her dad, hugging his leg tight. Even if I was going to get mad at a three year old, I couldn’t after seeing that.

  • G. Kendall says:

    I believe Mark Gruenwald confirmed that CAPTAIN AMERICA was up for cancellation in this 1988 interview: http://newsok.com/article/5376528

  • BobH says:

    I think two stories might be getting conflated. This cancellation announcement from 1985, whether a mistake or a change of heart, was from right around the time Gruenwald started on the book with #307. The background of the story that ended the DeMatteis run with #300 in 1984, DeMatteis himself goes into detail here:
    http://www.jmdematteis.com/2016/09/happy-anniversary-captain-america.html
    Short form is that he had a radical story proposal for the book after that point (including a new Cap), it was accepted by Gruenwald (then editor), but after work began it was rejected by Shooter, #300 was cut in half and rescripted and DeMatteis was gone (and long after used some of his story ideas in his own creation Savior 28).

    My own collection of fanzines from the era is more sparse, but I should dig them out to see if there was any promotional material done for DeMatteis’ rejected direction.

  • Thwacko says:

    According to Peter David in various places, The Incredible Hulk was positioned for cancellation around the same time.

  • Hugh Sheridan says:

    Wasnt there a huge crazy rumour out there around 1985 that Marvel was going to kill off all its original characters to make way for newer creations?

    Doug Moench I think talked about it when Master Of Kung Fu ws cancelled, which was around the time PM/IF died.

    My understanding is that whatever the original truth to these rumours (which seem to have been a pretty massive story in the fan press at the time) these cancellations, the emergence of new versions of the classic characters (black costume Spidey, US AGent, Rhodey/Silver Centurion Iron Man etc) and the debut of The “New Universe” were what eventually came of them.

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