Monday, July 4, 2016

DC Salutes the Bicentennial!

Today marks the 240th birthday of the United States of America, and thus the 40th Anniversary of America’s 200th Birthday, the Bicentennial, which was celebrated with great enthusiasm in 1976. In fact, DC Comics even got in on the celebration of the good ol’ US of A’s 200th Birthday, with unifying “DC Comics Salutes the Bicentennial” trade dress on all issues cover dated July 1976, which included Superboy  (starring the Legion of Super-Heroes) #218. (for a full recap of this issue check out here: Superboy #218)

All told, DC released a total of 34 different comics with a July 1976 cover date, with 33 of them sporting the “DC Comics Salutes the Bicentennial” trade dress. The only holdout was DC Super Giant #27 (a 48 page reprint book and the last of the Super Giant series) which reprinted “flying saucers adventures” from Silver Age issues of Strange Adventures. 

Those 33 issues were:

-Action Comics #46
-Adventure Comics #446
-All-Star Comics #61
-Batman #277
-Batman Family #6
-Blackhawk #247
-Blitzkreig #4
-Brave and the Bold #128
-Claw the Unconquered #8
-DC Super-Stars #5
-Detective Comics #461
-Four Star Spectacular #3
-Freedom Fighters #3
-GI Combat #192
-Ghosts #48
-House of Mystery #243
-Joker #8
-Justice League of America #132
-Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth #43
-Karate Kid #3
-Our Army at War #294
-Our Fighting Forces #168
-Plop #22
-Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter #10
-Secret Society of Super-Villains #2
-Superboy #218
-Superman #301
-Tarzan #251
-Tarzan Family #64
-Unexpected #174
-Weird War Tales #47
-Weird Western Tales #35
-World's Finest Comics #239

Note that this trade dress ran on issues that were COVER dated July 1976, meaning all these issues actually went on sale in April 1976, so we still had a couple of months leading up to the actual Bicentennial celebration on the Fourth of July. So readers got even more Bicentennial and American themed publications from DC Comics, including the May publication of Limited Collectors’ Edition C-47, the infamous Treasury Edition that pulled the old bait & switch. This gorgeous Fred Ray cover image (repurposed from 1941’s Superman #14) proudly proclaims “Superman Salutes the Bicentennial” but inside of the comic itself, the stories are Tomahawk reprints from the 1950’s! Superman serves as our narrator throughout the issue, with Curt Swan’s gorgeous new Superman panels guiding us from reprinted story to reprinted story, and making comments on the Revolutionary War setting of the Tomahawk stories along the way. To round out the celebration of America's 200 year history as a nation, this treasury edition featured the pictures and years served for every US President up to that point!

Our Army at War #295, which also went on sale in May 1976, featured a special Joe Kubert Sgt. Rock cover salute to the Bicentennial. Surprisingly, this is the only issue of DC’s many war genre ongoing comic series to reference the Bicentennial outside of the issues released in April with the Bicentennial trade dress.

The longest running celebration for America’s 200th Birthday came in the pages of Action Comics with DC's flagship character, Superman. This four part story began in Action Comics #460 (Cover Date June 1976, per Mike's Amazing World of Comics released March 30th 1976) and culminated in Superman getting a blast from the Colonial past in the pages of Action Comics #464 (on sale June 29th 1976). A four part story was nearly unheard of at the time, especially for DC Comics, so this truly was a special occasion, and a great opportunity for DC to work in a tribute to the climate in the American Colonies fighting for their independence in 1776. This four part story is a Bronze Age Classic and definitely worth checking out, especially around the Independence Day holiday!

The point of the trade dress on all of these comics was a contest. If you were to purchase 25 of these 33 comics and cut off the top headings and send them to DC, you would receive a FREE Metal Superman Belt Buckle! 
From all of us here at the Legion of Super-Bloggers, have a safe and happy holiday weekend! Maybe in the 31st Century the Legion of Super-Heroes are celebrating the 240th Anniversary of the formation of the United Planets. Long Live the Legion!


  1. How I long for those simple days of 1976 in my life again !

    I haven't bought a new comic book since 2010 as I really don't care for the format used as I liked the number of panels per issues that the books generally had till the 1990's .

    I also miss the old classified ads from everything from "Sea Monkeys " to " The Buyer's Guide " to " bodybuilding " .

    For all today's comic book stories and flashy art sizzle, the books you've shown above beat 90% of those produced today !

  2. Karb-brak! Now there's a name I haven't seen for some time.