House ad for Super-Star Holiday Special 1980 (DC Special Series)

House ad for Super-Star Holiday Special 1980 (DC Special Series)

First of all, it’s amusing to note that this (Christmas) Holiday Special has a cover date of April.

From a business perspective, the appeal of a holiday special is two-fold: customers are more likely to pick up a holiday issue (along with their regular titles) since it’s a special occasion, and it shows that you promote good values (Christmas) which really comes in handy when watchdog groups are looking for any reason to claim you are corrupting youth. They keep this Special very politically correct and don’t delve too deeply in detail about Christianity or Judaism.

This Holiday Special contains five 10-page stories from Batman, Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes, Sgt Rock, Jonah Hex and House of Mystery. In essence, this basically a sampler showing off DC’s wide range of Super-Heroes, Science Fiction, Western, War, and Mystery/Horror titles. DC was clearly savvy enough to see Holiday specials as a great marketing opportunity. Despite being a promotional special, it still manages to keep in sync with all the current story lines running through those titles.

The most important thing about this special is a 10-page Batman story, “Wanted: Santa Claus – Dead or Alive!”, drawn by Frank Miller and written by Denny O’Neil. This was some of Frank Miller’s very first work on Batman and has been reprinted many times. Denny O’Neil and Frank Miller were instrumental in shaping Batman to be the character he is today.

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