DC Comics insert previews were 16-page comic book stories inserted into issues of existing DC Comics series to promote new series usually debuting the next month. Running from 1980 to 1985, they consisted of a front cover, 14 pages of story, and a back cover that depicted the cover of the actual first issue. The addition of the insert did not entail an increase in the price of the comic book, and the cover copy called the insert "a special free 16-page comic!"
The insert previews began with The New Teen Titans in DC Comics Presents #26 (Oct. 1980). This reboot of an existing property by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez introduced several new characters and would become a sales success for DC. Wolfman would additionally write previews for a reboot of the "Dial 'H' for Hero" feature and for Night Force a supernatural series drawn by Gene Colan, his former collaborator on The Tomb of Dracula. DC highlighted the work of Roy Thomas, newly arrived at the company from Marvel Comics, by featuring several of his series in the format. These included All-Star Squadron, a revival of the Justice Society of America; Arak, Son of Thunder, a new Native American character; a revitalization of Wonder Woman including an update of the character's costume; and Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! a combination of the funny animal and superhero genres. When the long running The Brave and the Bold series came to its conclusion, the final issue featured a preview of a new Batman series, Batman and the Outsiders by writer Mike W. Barr and artist Jim Aparo, which would be described by DC Comics writer and executive Paul Levitz as being "a team series more fashionable to 1980s audiences." New talent such as the writing team of Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn was represented in the previews with Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld and Blue Devil. Licensed properties were featured as well. A Masters of the Universe preview featured in several comic books cover dated November 1982 led to a miniseries the following month. The Atari Force preview in January 1983 served as a prequel to the ongoing series launched a year later.M.A.S.K. was a cartoon series and a Kenner Products toyline adapted into comic books in a September 1985 preview which led to a miniseries the following December.
|Issue (cover date)||Insert preview||Writer(s)||Artist(s)||Citations|
|DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980)||The New Teen Titans||Marv Wolfman||George Pérez and Dick Giordano|||
|The Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2 #272 (February 1981)||"Dial 'H' for Hero"[Note 1]||Carmine Infantino, Frank Chiaramonte, and Dennis Jensen|||
|Justice League of America #193 (August 1981)||All-Star Squadron||Roy Thomas||Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway|||
|The Warlord #48 (August 1981)||Arak, Son of Thunder||Ernie Colón and Tony DeZuniga|||
|DC Comics Presents #41 (January 1982)||Wonder Woman||Gene Colan and Romeo Tanghal|||
|The New Teen Titans #16 (February 1982)||Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!||Scott Shaw, Ross Andru, and Bob Smith|||
|The New Teen Titans #21 (July 1982)||Night Force||Marv Wolfman||Gene Colan and Bob Smith|||
|Action Comics #537
All-Star Squadron #15
Arak, Son of Thunder #15
Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #9
The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1
DC Comics Presents #51
Detective Comics #520
The Fury of Firestorm #6
Justice League of America #208
The Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2 #293
The New Adventures of Superboy #35
The New Teen Titans #25
The Warlord #63
Wonder Woman #297
(all November 1982)
|Masters of the Universe[Note 2]||Paul Kupperberg||Curt Swan and Dave Hunt|||
|DC Comics Presents #53
The New Teen Titans #27 (both January 1983)
|Atari Force[Note 2]||Gerry Conway||Ross Andru and Dick Giordano|||
|The Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2 #298 (April 1983)||Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld||Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn||Ernie Colón|||
|The Brave and the Bold #200 (July 1983)||Batman and the Outsiders||Mike W. Barr||Jim Aparo|||
|The Fury of Firestorm #24 (June 1984)||Blue Devil||Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn||Paris Cullins and Pablo Marcos|||
|Batman and the Outsiders #15
Blue Devil #6
Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #317
Tales of the Teen Titans #48
World's Finest Comics #309
(all November 1984)
|Flash Force 2000[Note 3]||Robert Loren Fleming||Denys Cowan and Sal Trapani|||
Batman and the Outsiders #27
Blue Devil #16
Green Lantern #192
Justice League of America #242
Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #327
World's Finest Comics #319
(all September 1985)
|M.A.S.K.[Note 2]||Michael Fleisher||Mike Chen and Joe Delbeato|||
- The New Teen Titans Archives Vol. 1 includes the New Teen Titans story from DC Comics Presents #26, 240 pages, February 1999, ISBN 978-1563894855
- Showcase Presents: Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 1 includes the Batman and the Outsiders story from The Brave and the Bold #200, 552 pages, September 2007, ISBN 978-1401215460
- The New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 1 includes the New Teen Titans story from DC Comics Presents #26, 684 pages, September 2011, ISBN 978-1401231088
- Showcase Presents: All-Star Squadron Vol. 1 includes the All-Star Squadron story from Justice League of America #193, 528 pages, April 2012, ISBN 978-1401234362
- Showcase Presents: Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld Vol. 1 includes the Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld from Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2 #298, 648 pages, October 2012, ISBN 978-1401236779
- Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew includes the Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew story from The New Teen Titans #16, 672 pages, September 2014, ISBN 978-1401247560
- Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 1 includes the Batman and the Outsiders story from The Brave and the Bold #200, 368 pages, February 2017, ISBN 978-1401268121
- As seen on the cover of DC Comics Presents #26 (Oct. 1980), among others.
- Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 188. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9.
[The New Teen Titans] went on to become DC's most popular comic team of its day. Not only the springboard for the following month's The New Teen Titans #1, the preview's momentous story also featured the first appearance of future DC mainstays Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Levitz, Paul (2010). "The Bronze Age 1970-1984". 75 Years of DC Comics The Art of Modern Mythmaking. Cologne, Germany: Taschen. p. 454. ISBN 978-3-8365-1981-6.
[Marv Wolfman and George Pérez] created a title that would be DC's sales leader throughout the 1980s.
- Manning p. 192 Legion of Super-Heroes #272 "Within a sixteen-page preview in Legion of Super-Heroes #272...was "Dial 'H' For Hero," a new feature that raised the bar on fan interaction in the creative process. The feature's story, written by Marv Wolfman, with art by Carmine Infantino, saw two high-school students find dials that turned them into super-heroes. Everything from the pair's civilian clothes to the heroes they became was created by fans writing in. This concept would continue in the feature's new regular spot within Adventure Comics."
- Manning p. 197 The New Teen Titans #21 "[T]his issue...hid another dark secret: a sixteen-page preview comic featuring Marv Wolfman's newest team - Night Force. Chronicling the enterprise of the enigmatic Baron Winters and featuring the art of Gene Colan, Night Force spun out into an ongoing title of gothic mystery and horror the following month."
- Markstein, Don (2010). "All-Star Squadron". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on April 4, 2012.
- Catron, Michael (June 1981). "Thomas Revives WWII Superheroes". Amazing Heroes. Stamford, Connecticut: Fantagraphics Books (1): 28–30.
All-Star Squadron, DC's new World War II-era superhero series debuts in May in a 16-page preview insert in Justice League of America #193.
- Catron, Michael (June 1981). "Thomas's Indian/Viking to Roam Medieval Europe". Amazing Heroes. Stamford, Connecticut: Fantagraphics Books (1): 28–30.
Arak, Son of Thunder, described as an 'Indian/Viking,' makes his debut in a preview insert in Warlord #48, on sale in May.
- Thomas, Roy (2011). Alter Ego: Centennial. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 16. ISBN 978-1-60549-031-1.
As it happened, May of '81 was virtually 'Roy Thomas Month' at DC Comics.
- Sanderson, Peter (September–October 1981). "Thomas/Colan Premiere Wonder Woman's New Look". Comics Feature. New Media Publishing (12/13): 23.
The hotly-debated new Wonder Woman uniform will be bestowed on the Amazon Princess in her first adventure written and drawn by her new creative team: Roy Thomas and Gene Colan...This story will appear as an insert in DC Comics Presents #41.
- Manning p. 196 "The New Teen Titans #16 - In a sixteen-page bonus preview insert in the middle of The New Teen Titans...was the debut story of Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew."
- Manning p. 202 The Brave and the Bold #200 "Despite being the final issue of this particular series, the book wasn't closed on Batman's team-ups. Although Batman was through working with partners, it was time to think bigger, and in a special sixteen-page preview insert written by Barr and with art by Jim Aparo, the Outsiders debuted. A super-hero team of Batman's own creation, the Outsiders would soon star alongside Batman in the new monthly series Batman and the Outsiders."
- Levitz p. 462
- Manning p. 201 Legion of Super-Heroes #298 "The other-dimensional Gemworld found a new princess in the form of Amy Winston, an ordinary young girl from a distant reality, in the pages of a sixteen-page insert comic by writers Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn, and artist Ernie Colón." "Standing strong against the forces of the nefarious Dark Opal, Amethyst was gearing up for her own self-titled maxiseries in May."
- Manning p. 208 The Fury of Firestorm #24 "[A] sixteen-page preview story marked the debut of fledgling stuntman-turned-hero Blue Devil. An attempt to put the fun back into comics, writers Gary Cohn and Dan Mishkin and penciller Paris Cullins had Blue Devil face the machinations of Flash villain the Trickster in this lead-in to his own ongoing series."
- DeAngelo, Daniel (December 2014). "Circuits and Sorcery: The Honest-to-Goodness Story of Blue Devil". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (77): 51–54.
- Masters of the Universe at the Grand Comics Database
- Atari Force at the Grand Comics Database
- M.A.S.K. at the Grand Comics Database
- DC Comics Presents #26 at the Grand Comics Database
- The Legion of Super-Heroes #272 at the Grand Comics Database
- Justice League of America #193 at the Grand Comics Database
- The Warlord #48 at the Grand Comics Database
- DC Comics Presents #41 at the Grand Comics Database
- The New Teen Titans #16 at the Grand Comics Database
- The New Teen Titans #21 at the Grand Comics Database
- List of DC Comics containing the Masters of the Universe insert at the Grand Comics Database
- DC Comics Presents #53 and The New Teen Titans #27 at the Grand Comics Database
- The Legion of Super-Heroes #298 at the Grand Comics Database
- The Brave and the Bold #200 at the Grand Comics Database
- The Fury of Firestorm #24 at the Grand Comics Database
- List of DC Comics containing the Flash Force 2000 insert at the Grand Comics Database
- List of DC Comics containing the M.A.S.K. insert at the Grand Comics Database
- "Dial 'H' for Hero" appeared in Adventure Comics rather than in its own title.
- Masters of the Universe, Atari Force, and M.A.S.K. were licensed properties.
- Flash Force 2000 was an advertising promotion for a Matchbox toyline rather than a preview of an upcoming DC Comics series. It is included here for completeness of the subject.
- Daily Planet Volume 80 Issue #22 (October 1980) house advertisement for The New Teen Titans insert preview at Mike's Amazing World of Comics
- Daily Planet Volume 80 Issue #26 (November 1980) house advertisement for "Dial 'H' For Hero insert preview at Mike's Amazing World of Comics
- DC Bonus Books (including the insert previews) at Mike's Amazing World of Comics
- "Insert Preview Here: DC Showcase, 80s Style". Blinded Me With Comics. May 1, 2009. Archived from the original on October 9, 2011.