DescriptionBoy Commandos Comics #1 Ashcan Edition (DC, 1942) Condition: FN-. There are two versions of the Boy Commandos Comics ashcan: one with no number listed on the cover, of which five copies are known to exist, and the numbered version (#1) offered here, which is a unique copy! The cover art here is the splash page of Detective Comics #68, the kid group's fifth issue of that series. Unusually for an ashcan, the interior here is actually appropriate to the title: it's the Boy Commandos yarn "Escape to Disaster" from Detective Comics #67. The group's series (with the word "Comics" being dropped from the final title) debuted Winter 1942. No prior sales.
In the early days of comics publishing, the most common procedure to secure a trademark for a potentially valuable title was to create an ashcan edition of the proposed comic book (not to be confused with the modern-day term which commonly refers to mass-produced promotional booklets).
Companies would simply create the title's logo, affix it to a piece of existing cover art, and then shoot a Velox of it. (A Velox is a positive photographic print typically used by newspapers as a pre-press proof, which accounts for ashcan covers being black and white rather than color.) After the cover was created, it was trimmed to comic-book size and then stapled to the interior of a previously published book, or sometimes just some loose story pages. The ashcan was now complete. For all practical purposes it had the appearance of a legitimate comic book - and since the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) apparently accepted them as authentic comic books for trademark registration, no higher authority in the country existed to dispute this claim. Nor, apparently, did anyone ever seek to try.
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