Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ash Can Comics

Here in comics we have what we like to call Ashcans. When Ashcans where first used, they were literally a small-press run of a comic to establish ownership of the characters in the comic. The term “ashcan copy” originated during the Golden Age of Comics. It was meant to describe a publication that was produced solely for legal purposes (i.e.; trademark), and not normally intended for distribution.

The term “Ashcan” literally means that the printed material was supposed to go straight from the printer into the trash. Ashcan editions frequently contained unlettered stories, unfinished art or even just whatever wastepaper had been conveniently available at the time. The goal in making them was to get something out with the comic’s intended title slapped on as quickly as possible so that the publisher could make some claim to having been the first in print if a competitor tried to publish a similar title.

Needless to say, these days Ashcans function as a limited-edition collector’s copy, as well as a marketing tool for the publisher. Well, over the years, I have acquired quite a number of these little babies. My most recent Ashcan comes to me courtesy of JGM Comics. Two characters from JGM are Ripperman and Shadowflame; a couple of costume superheroes.

I bring this up, because, not only are these comics pretty good, but a future JGM comic is going to be spotlighting a couple of superheros that I’ve developed. Their names are Law and Order, and they pal around and bust up bad guys under the name The Enforcers. Joe who heads up JGM, found me a very talented artist, and well, I’ve seen the art, and I’m panting at the bit to see it in print.

More as it develops.

2 comments:

Tommy said...

Ah-ha! This was one of the projects you mentioned working on!

And now I know what ashcan means. I remember there being a Spider-Man one out there at some point, but I've yet to hunt it down definitively.

Robert J. Sodaro said...

Tommy, there are actually a few Spidey Ashcans out there. These days; the term “Ashcan” tends to be any miniature comic (usually a freebie, but not necessarily so) that is used as a promotional piece for an upcoming new title.

Time was (back in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s) Wizard packed a number of these in their issues, some of them starred Spidey (I know, I have ‘em).

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