Bleeding Cool has been reporting on the cancellation of DC Comics’ omnibus volume, Detective Comics Before Batman. It was to have collected the first twenty-six issues of the 1937 series before Batman came along in Detective Comics #27 in 1939.
Bleeding Cool has learned that this is down to racially offensive content that was mainstream for the time, namely ‘Yellow Peril’ stories and characterisation.
When asked about the cancellation of Detective Comics Before Batman., DC Comics publisher Dan DiDio replied,
The suggestion to add this as part of the anniversary celebration was made later than normal and the book was solicited before the material was fully reviewed. Once it made it to editorial, concerns were raised, and the decision was made. Even with its historical significance we did not feel comfortable publishing thanks.
We have asked about plans for Michael Uslan‘s introduction that both warned the reader and tried to place this in context.
But it is notable that the first Slam Bradley story by Siegel and Shuster is included in the solicitations for the 80 Years of Batman hardcover volume…
DETECTIVE COMICS: 80 YEARS OF BATMAN THE DELUXE EDITION will feature an all-new cover by Jim Lee and several unpublished treasures, including a story about a traumatic early moment in Bruce Wayne’s life by Paul Levitz and acclaimed artist Denys Cowan and an extraordinary look at a work in progress—Bob Kane “ghost” Lew Sayre Schwartz’s original layouts for the Batman tale from DETECTIVE COMICS #200. In addition, the celebratory book will include essays looking at Batman from extraordinary perspectives including Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, Glen David Gold, Denny O’Neil, former San Diego police chief Shelley Zimmerman and pulp historian Anthony Tollin.
The collectible hardcover book follows the best-selling ACTION COMICS: 80 YEARS OF SUPERMAN and again features guest editor Paul Levitz. Classic reprints of the Dark Knight’s most memorable adventures will also be highlighted, from his first appearance to peak moments and the debuts of Robin, Batwoman, Bat-Mite, Batgirl and Super-Villains such as Two-Face, the Riddler, Clayface and Man-Bat. Plus, the must-have book will include the first tales of Slam Bradley, Air Wave, the Boy Commandos and the Martian Manhunter.
…and contains plenty of the tropes that would continue in the series. Here are some examples from that first tale.
And that DC Comics continues to publish and make available later comics that contain such material too, though again, often contextualised.
Will there have to be some more changes made to the 80 Years Of Batman volume as well?