DCCA1For many (many!) years, I wrote a fairly steady stream of promotional material for DC Comics. In 1976, I was hired as assistant to the company’s public relations director and one of my duties was gathering the news for and writing copy for DC Coming Attractions, a monthly newsletter sent out to retailers, complete with shipping dates. I also used some of that same news to write “news” articles for the Daily Planet pages in the comics (most memorable for being the longtime home of Bob Rozakis’ “Answer Man” column). I can’t always pinpoint the stop and start dates of my participation in DC Coming Attractions and the many iterations that followed, but the earliest copy I have is dated July 1978 and the last is March 2003.

DCCA was a 4-page 8.5″ x 11″ pamphlet (printed double-sided on a sheet of 11″ x 17″ plain paper and folded) and remained that way throughout its run (the issue I have is #64, March 1982), with only one example (at least that I have) of pumping it up with an additional signature to make an 8-page bonanza; December 1981 was a busy month, and included the debut of my and Jan Duursema’s Arion, Lord of Atlantis back-up strip in Warlord #55. Its production was often down and dirty; at times and I assume dependent on deadlines, it could have been banged out on a typewriter and pasted up from that or sent out for typesetting. For many years, DCCA was printed in the Warner Bros print shop in the basement of 75 Rockefeller Center, where DC had its offices (manned by Neil, of the “magic finger,” who also handled printing the 40 copies of DC’s Cancelled Comics Cavalcade). I’m guessing from looking at the later black & white plain paper issues that at some point DCCA switched over to offset printing, as much for ease as volume; by the early to mid-1980s, there were something like 6,000 comic book shops around, serviced by 13 different distributors, of which Steve Geppi’s Diamond would eventually become the last man standing.

Somewhere between 1982 and December 1986, DCCA became DC Releases. The size and page count stayed the same, but the design and production values were slicked up, even if the paper remained the same standard 20-pound Bond. Another name change came between March 1988 and July 1991, which is the next issue I have, by which time it had been redubbed DC Coming Comics and had graduated to slick paper and twelves 8.5″ x 11″ pages of news, previews of covers and art and detailed synopsis of every issue shipping.

But there’s some overlap between those slick issues of DC Coming Comics and the the next version of DC Direct Currents, the first issue of which was dated July 1988. I believe–I could be wrong–that Coming Comics was intended for shop owners, while Direct Currents was aimed at the consumer.

Direct Currents was considerably slicker than any of its predecessors. It was printed comic book size, on slick (Mando) paper, and was in full color, and it was the first one to have a dedicated designer putting it together (shout out to Julia Sabbagh!). In addition to news stories and listings of the month’s comics, DCDC also ran cartoons and more up close and personal material about the creators, including a monthly interview with a creator in the news; for that first issue, I interviewed David Mazzucchelli and Richmond Lewis about their work on Batman: Year One. In the years that followed, I did over forty such interviews. And, at some point, DCDC became a “flip book,” with one side dedicated to the DCU and the other to Vertigo and other imprints, like Paradox Press.

I was on DCDC for its entire 84-issue run (March 1995), and then in December 2001, I began what would be a fifteen issue run on DC Direct (lasting until Match 2003), another comic book size, color promotional pamphlet, this one dedicated to the DC Direct line of statues and toys. I was at that time an editor in DC’s Licensed Publishing department and had been writing much of the packaging and house ad copy for DC Direct product for a while.

I had become sort of a legacy on these promotional projects. When the original promo guy left, Jack C. Harris inherited both DC Comic Attractions and me. Later on, Roger Slifer took over in his position as DC’s director of the direct market, and, since Roger and I were sharing an office (this was 1981 and I was back on staff, this time as the public relations guy) he threw me the assignment. When Roger left and the project went elsewhere (Robyn McBride, perhaps?), I went with it, and by the time of the long running DC Direct Currents, I was Peggy May’s problem…then Tammy Brown’s…and Patty Jeres’…and Marco Palmieri and Maureen McTigue’s…and then, at long last, Cyndi Barwick’s on DC Direct.

Coming Attractions Gallery


DCCA-Dec86 DCCA-Dec86_2






Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 Comments on Obscurities: DC Coming Attractions

  1. Allen says:

    Direct Currents did not stop at #84, but ran through #92 (November 1995). There is even a note inside from co-editors Patty Jeres and Marco Palmieri, telling people to now use either (Diamond) Previews or DC Comics Online (via America Online (AOL)).

    The writers of that issue are listed as Maureen McTigue and Scott Nybakken; no mention of you.

    • Thanks for the info, Allen. Maureen and Scott both worked in the Marketing Department at the time so I guess they switching from farming out the writing freelance as I’d been doing and switching over to the new “system.”

  2. James says:

    Dear Mr Kupperberg,

    Thanks very much for this interesting article. It answers some questions.

    My interest in graphic novels and comics is limited to secret agent type stories, particularly James Bond, John Drake (Danger Man aka Secret Agent), and No. 6 (The Prisoner).

    DC Direct Currents No. 6 c. 1988 featured the cover of DC’s Dr No on the back.

    DC Direct Currents Nos. 7 – 10 c. 1988 have, I assume in part as I only have issues 7 and 9 at the moment, content relating to a four book series based on the Prisoner. This series was subsequently reissued in 1990 as a single volume. I would think there would be one or more issues of DC Direct Currents with references to the single volume.

    If DC Comics Cumming was published with issues dated from March 1988 to July 1991 inclusive, I would think there would be issues with references to the Prisoner series of four books and the single volume.

    Would you know of any other issues or issues of other DC promotional material with content related to the above noted subjects?

    I find the promotional material and comic book publications rather fun.



  3. Georg says:

    Hi Paul,

    This is Georg from Germany writing to you. We had a small e-Mail conversation a few years ago about the Superman Quarterly books. It’s o.k. if you don’t remember me. 🙂

    It seems my mails to you end up in your spam folder. I wrote two mails to you in the last six years which you didn’t receive, therefore I now try it this way.

    For the last three years I have tried to make a list of all of the Preview books which DC produced, and this week I got proof that some of them came inserted in the issues of DC “Coming Comics” publication which were intended for shop owners.

    Since that was around the time you were writing “Direct Currents”, I was wondering if you might know who I could ask about those “Coming Comics” books?

    I’m trying to find out which issues of “Coming Comics” contained Preview books, and naturally which Preview was included in which issue of “Coming Comics”. Perhaps you can tell me who were the main people responsible for “Coming Comics” as they might be able to answer my questions? Or if it is possible that you forward my question to the respective persons.

    Offhand, I am also wondering when the first issue of the magazine format of “Coming Comics” started, and also when the final issue was published, so maybe they can answer that, too.

    Thank you for listening and best regards,

Leave a Reply