Table Of Contents
The idea behind promotional comics is one of the oldest marketing techniques in existence. As long as there have been comics there has been an opportunistic publisher with calculated designs on how to best generate sales. Labeling something “free“ often does the trick. Even when promos aren’t truly free the consumer still feels like they got something for nothing. The human psyche often has no defense against this particular effort. If giving such publications away for free didn’t often lead to an actual purchase or additional brand awareness, it would not continue to be a long standing sales practice.
As collectors of ephemera, specifically comic related materials, we love promotional works. This is due in large part to the absence of cost or the aforementioned perceived absence of cost. If you go to your local comic shop or convention there is usually a designated spot for such material. And while the bulk of it is often sequential detritus, sometimes gold is buried there. Once discarded and forgotten publishing tools, some are now seeing a real surge in value. Rarity now plays a big part in the expansion of this niche collecting market along with the advent of online marketplaces. For those who squirrelled away these limited promos, there can be a legitimate avenue to profit depending, as always, on supply and demand.
In today’s market it’s not just promo comics that have generated new interest and demand from buyers. Publishers send posters, cards (with unadvertised variants hidden inside), toys (the Watcher’s Eyeball from Marvel for their Original Sin series or the Lantern Corps rings from DC’s Blackest Night event), CDs and even milk cartons?! There is no end to this tried and true marketing strategy.
An example of DC Comics Marketing promotions. Young Animals Milk Carton Released to comic stores to promo the Milk Wars Event
So what does the future hold for comic book promos? What efforts will publishers and their partners take to get your attention? These days, the world of comics and printed media in general is a cutthroat market. The digital realm has gobbled up market share and the attention for your eyes is often drained by the ever prevalent, cultural saturation of screens. Because the collecting market for comics is aging, publishers will have to continue to find new ways to lure the attention of younger audiences and that just might make the free promos more important than ever.
TYPES OF PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL
To promote all sorts of upcoming publications and events, publishers have long promoted their books with a vast array of releases through company partnerships. This includes everything from hair dye to body wash. Though not as prevalent as they once were, you will still see comics included with cereal, toys and underwear! Yes, underwear comic promos do exist and some are more valuable than you might think. Companies who want to sell their products to a younger demographic will probably never stop using such promotions especially now when the mainstream exposure to comic properties continues to expand. How many average, non-comic collecting consumers knew who Aquaman was a few years ago? Now he sells your family bandaids.
Companies like DC, Marvel and Image continue to supply a vast array of stores and online outlets with promotional items. These types of promos are often the most prevalent and successful publications designed to entice customers into purchasing correlating material set to come out later. Since much of the unused material is disposed of by store owners and employees, these items can be of substantial value down the road. If you are looking to invest or collect in the hopes of seeing an increase in value, we recommend caution buying on the secondary market. This is true of any collectible purchase. Your best bet is to focus on characters that you love, that you believe will always generate interest and the items that will stand the test of time.
Promo comics are not only tools for publishers to turn a profit, they have been used by many non-profit, government and other organizations to promote learning, primarily for children. There have been comics produced to warn against the dangers of everything from electricity to chemicals in the household. Comics have been used to promote diversity, religion and ending discrimination. There is really no end to the benefit of low-cost advertisement in this medium.
Mail away, Ashcans and other previews
Creators and publishers have always used the mail to support promotions. Many comics in the past have included coupons and other offers that required removing the coupon to obtain the promo. Many such comics are now actually less valuable as a result. With the advent of grading companies like CGC, the removal of the coupon changes the value substantially and alters the label designation which can be the death nail for a book.
Ashcans are a tried and true promotional method. The ashcan can serve two purposes. It is meant to promote an upcoming release but also allows for companies to establish a trademark prior to accruing the expense of a fully printed release. These ashcans are often cheaply printed and smaller than the books they help to promote. For decades many people didn't care about them at all, relegating them to the waste bin.
The Maxx Black Ashcan is one of the most expensive and rare ashcan ever made
Diamond Previews and other industry trade publications also have a long history of including promotional items with their ordering catalog. Everything from holograms, comics and cutouts have been included for the benefit of retailers. Many of the catalogues themselves have occasionally included comics that have never been reprinted inadvertently making these behemoths collectible. Previews come in all shapes and sizes. Many from DC are standard size, printed on cheaper paper and very flimsy making high grade copies a rarity.
Kickstarter and other Pledge platforms
Recently a new platform for aspiring and even longstanding creators has emerged. No longer does one need to endlessly submit their dreams to publishers and be forced to wait or face endless rejection. They can now seek funding from fans and self-publish. As such these comics and the promotional items are acquired based on the pledge amount. Some of them can become rare, valuable promotion items.
Mainly available only to comics shop owners, we have not included these rare promotions here yet. However, they will be included in future updates.
WHICH PROMO COMICS ARE INCLUDED
This inaugural list is a specific subset focusing on DC promo comics. As one of the largest remaining comic publishers, DC continues to utilize the promotional marketing strategy. This list represents DC’s incredible volume of free promo comics over its long history.
We have not included samplers that were exclusively designed to be sold. This list only includes free comics.
Free Comic Book Day is one of the comic industry’s largest promotions. We have not included these books yet. That effort will be included as this work continues to see updates.
Promo comics included with any type of media (ex: record, cassette, VHS, DVD) will be added in a future update
We did not include DC Currents, a trade comic sized pamphlet used to promote upcoming books. Some are quite valuable and hard to find in high grade.
Also not included are Overseas Comics distributed to Marines during World War II by the Leatherneck Pacific Edition. There were numerous issues of these that reprinted newspaper strips (including Superman).
Any comic listed must contain a story element. Single panels, compilations of covers (ex: Zero: The Beginning of Tomorrow) and shots of characters with products, such as “Superman at the Gilbert Hall of Science” are not included. Promo comics that only include behind-the-scenes and interview material such as the World of Warcraft: Con-Exclusive Ashcan also have not been included.
VIDEOGAME PROMO COMICS
Advent Rising #1 (2004)
Included as an insert in several DC Comics. Unclear whether it was distributed in any other manner.
Published by Wildstorm to promote the massively multiplayer game by NCSoft. Given away at the 2009 Penny Arcade Expo and free with the purchase of the game at GameStop and Electronic Boutique stores.
First released at SDCC 2011
Batman Arkham City: Special Issue (2011)
Customers who pre-ordered the game through Amazon received this comic, which is a print version of the five digital comics.
Batman Arkham Asylum Road to Arkham (2009)
Mini-comic available with a pre-order of the game
Dante’s Inferno #0 (2009)
Electronic Arts (EA) produced a video game adaption of “The Divine Comedy.” This special issue 0 preview was a giveaway at the EA and DC Comics booths at SDCC 2009.
EverQuest Online Adventures: The Quest For Darkpaw (2002)
Nine page promo comic for EverQuest Online Adventures for Playstation 2. Extremely rare.
Injustice 2 Chapter 1 Two Speeding Bullets (2017)
Promotional comic available at comic shops. Commemorates the ELEAGUE Injustice 2 World Championship broadcast on TBS in October 2017. Reprints chapter one of Injustice 2 #1 with a new cover by Marco Santucci plus character profiles, an Injustice Timeline and more.
DC Universe Online: Legends #0 (2010)
Bonus to those who pre-ordered the game from GameStop. There are two other variants that were included in some game editions.
Driver #0 (2010)
Ubisoft and Wildstorm teamed up to produce an ongoing comic set in the Driver video game universe. This preview comic, featuring a Jock cover, was given away at San Diego Comic Con in 2010. It includes 4 pages of story with a few more pages of background and “The Art of Driver Los Angeles” The one-shot comic, “Driver Special #1” was originally set to arrives in stores during January 2011, but later resolicited as “Driver Crossing the Line #1 for August 2011, over a year after the release of this preview.
End of Nations #0
Giveaway at the DC Comics booth during SDCC 2010
Gears of War #1 (Blockbuster / Gamestop)
The Gears of War comic from GameStop was only available to those who pre-ordered the Gears of War 2 XBox game there and at the midnight release party in Hollywood. Likewise, the Blockbuster promo was limited to those who pre-ordered it from those stores. The Blockbuster version is much more uncommon to find.
Gears of War Special Edition (2011)
These were only given out to customers during the midnight launch of the Gears of War 3 game at Best Buy stores nationwide. At the Best Buy Theatre in New York City launch, Pop Mhan was present to sign copies of the comic.
Line of Defense #1, #2 (2013, 2014)
Line of Defense was a twelve part digital mini-series with four story arcs. The “Payback” story was collected as a physical comic in Line of Defense #1 and was a free giveaway at the DC Entertainment booth at New York Comic Con. In addition, ten thousand copies were sent to top retailers a few weeks later to distribute as free comics.
Giveaway to promote Interplay’s LOADED game for the Playstation. Garth Ennis helped create and design the game characters and wrote the stories in the comic.
Mirror’s Edge 2008 Convention Exclusive
Six page promo giveaway at the DC booth during SDCC 2008. Game writer Rhianna Pratchett handled the story and Matthew Dow Smith provided the visuals.
Mortal Kombat Beginnings (2008)
Mini comic available only with MK vs DC Universe preorders. Can be hard to find.
Red Faction Armageddon #0 (2010)
SDCC 2010 giveaway to promote the third-person shooter game
Video game sequel to LOADED. Polybagged with various Vertigo comics (and also separately?)
Scooby-Doo Mystery of the Fun Park Phantom (1999)
A 9-page mini-comic based on the CD-ROM game of the same name from SouthPeak Interactive. It is unclear how this was distributed. Though the dimensions might fit, it does not appear to be included in the CD-ROM packaging. Because the back cover promotes other SouthPeak games and provides contact information for their Sales Department, it may have been part of a press kit or been a giveaway at the Electronic Entertainment Exposition (E3) in June 1999.
Teeny Titans #1
Distributed at the Teen Titans Go panel at SDCC 2016 to support the new mobile game. Extremely rare.
Telera Chronicles #0 (2010)
For every copy of Telera Chronicles #1 ordered, retailers received one copy of this free promotional comic that features a 22-page story by Richard Sanchez with art by Pop Mhan, along with the game history and character profiles.
Twisted Metal 2 (1996)
World of Warcraft #9
This 2008 Convention Exclusive has an original cover distinct from the regular cover, standard variant and the Diamond Retailers Summit variant.
MOVIE AND TV PROMO COMICS
Action Comics ( nn ) Theatre Giveaway (1947)
Distributed free at theaters showing The Vigilante’s 15 chapter movie serial. The Vigilante was the third DC character to make it to the big screen, after Batman and Superman.
The Accountant (2016)
Based on the then-upcoming film due to be released in October 2016. Cover by Dan Panosian. Written by Brian Buccellato with art by Szymon Kudranski
All-Star Superman #1 Special Edition (2013)
Aquaman #1 Special Edition (Amazon Prime) 2018
Amazon Prime members were able to buy tickets to an exclusive early premiere of the Aquaman film. Some who attended received this 36-page comic exclusive to this early premiere.
Aquaman #1 Special Edition (ComplexCon) 2018
Reprints Aquaman #1 (2011) with a new Francis Manapul cover. ComplexCon is an annual festival of brands, artists and food vendors. In 2018, they had an Aquaman “experience” as part of ComplexCon. This promo comic was given away at the event in limited quantities. It is the most rare of the three promo comics that were released in conjunction with the Aquaman movie.
Aquaman #1 Special Edition (2018)
NYCC 2018 giveaway
This comic was free in comic book stores to celebrate “Arrow Day”, October 10, 2012, the premiere of Arrow on the CW. Besides the past and present story of Oliver Queen, the comic included a six-page preview of Green Arrow #0.
Arrow #1 Convention Exclusive 2012
The cover art is the same as Arrow 1 Special Edition but the trade dress is different. In addition, this version only has two pages of black and white preview art, a preview page for Green Arrow #0 and a preview page for Smallville: Season 11.
Batman Annual #3 Special Edition (2019)
SDCC 2019 giveaway to promote the Pennyworth show on Epix
Batman Earth One Preview (2012)
DC declared Thursday, July 19, 2012 to be “The Dark Knight Rises” Day to celebrate the arrival of the new film. More than 500,000 copies of this comic were given away at comic shops.
Batman in Noir Alley (2017)
In an attempt to expand the world of its popular franchise, Noir Alley, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) partnered with DC to produce a free comic starring Batman and TCM’s Noir Alley host Eddie Muller. The free comic was available via some comic shops and at DC’s NYCC booth.
To promote the Batwoman show on the CW. SDCC 2019 giveaway
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Promotes the video release of the movie. Free mailaway comic through Cheerios. Ironically, it was never included in the short-lived cinnamon oat-flavored Bill & Ted’s Excellent Cereal.
Harley Quinn Mini Comic Splat Hair Dye 2016
In 2016, Splat released a Suicide Squad Hair Color Collection, featuring 11 different colors. The packaging may have been different for each color, but all boxes promoted a “Limited Edition Suicide Squad Comic Inside”. NOTE: There is a French version with the Joker on the box but it is unknown if the comic is in French. This mini is also the first appearance of the DCU Movie Harley Quinn
Crisis on Infinite Earths Special Edition (2019)
Better known as “Holy Cow! A Free Cartoon Network Comic Featuring Cow and Chicken!”. Reprints stories from Cartoon Network Presents #6, Scooby-Doo #6 and The Flintstones and The Jetsons #3.
Fringe Preview (2008)
First pro comic for for JJ Abrams. Published by DC’s Wildstorm imprint.
FRINGE: Tales From the Fringe #1 Special Edition (2010)
This was a giveaway at the Rogers/G4 Booth at Fan Expo Canada. Published by DC’s Wildstorm imprint. Scarce.
General Mills Presents Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice mini comics 2016
The mini-comics were included in Honey Nut Cheerios, Cocoa Puffs, Trix, Lucky Charms and Golden Grahams. Gary Frank and Rod Reis drew the cover art.
- #1 “Playground Heroes” written by Jeff Parker
- #2 “Field Trip” written by Christos Gage
- #3 “Picture Proof” written by Marguerite Bennett
- #4 “Lights Out” written by Joshua Williamson
Harley Quinn 1 Regal Cinema
Reprints Harley Quinn #1 (2016) with a cover by Joelle Jones
I Am Legend Awakening (2007)
Written and illustrated by talent such as Steve Niles, Richard Christian Matheson, and Bill Sienkiewicz
Iron Giant, Movie Preview (1999)
First comic appearance of the Iron Giant
Justice League AMC / IMAX Special Edition #1 (2017)
DC declared Saturday, November 18, 2017 to be “Justice League Day” to celebrate the opening weekend of the Justice League film. During that opening weekend, those who saw the film at participating AMC theaters in IMAX received this comic, which reprints Justice League #15 (New 52).
Justice League Day #1 Special Edition (2017)
As part of Justice League Day, comic stores, libraries and Six Flags Theme Parks distributed free copies of this book, which reprints Justice League #1 (New 52) with new cover art.
Justice League Day #1 Special Edition Houston Strong (2017)
In response to Hurricane Harvey, Jim Lee and Dan Didio visited 5 Houston-area stores to sign “Houston Strong” editions of the Justice League Day comic. One thousand additional copies were pre-signed and distributed to 14 other local stores.
Kyle XY: Breakthrough SDCC Comic and Photo Cover Variant (2007)
Kyle XY ran for three seasons on the ABC Family network. The show was heavily advertised on the back cover of various DC Comics. Both promo comics were distributed at SDCC 2007, one with cover art and a harder-to-find photo cover variant. Curiously, there seems to be no press announcement and it appears Kyle XY only had a panel at SDCC 2006.
Lego Batman: Riddle Me This Joker (2017)
Walmart exclusive for The Lego Batman Movie
The New Teen Titans Custom Variant #1 (2018)
Reprints DC Comics Presents #26 and New Teen Titans #1 in a single comic with Robin from DC Universe’s Titans streaming series on the cover
Neon Joe Werewolf Hunter #1, #2 (2015, 2017)
Free at comic stores in November 2015. In May 2017, a second free issue with an Alex Maleev cover was distributed by over 150 comic stores to promote the second season.
Giveaway to promote a new season of People of Earth on TBS
Preacher #1 AMC Edition
Pushing Daisies (2007)
The Pushing Daisies promo comic and its Tim Sale variant were giveaways at SDCC 2007, prior to the series debut on ABC. The series was an Emmy-nominated dramedy about a pie-maker who can resurrect the dead. It ran two seasons before being cancelled.
Shazam Special Edition (2018)
Shazam Special Edition C2E2 (2019)
Shazam IMAX Special Edition (2019)
Similar to the Justice League Day AMC IMAX comic, this comic was distributed at AMC IMAX theaters on opening weekend. Reprints Justice League #0 (New 52)
Super 8 #1 2011
An advertising insert in DC comics and a giveaway at comic stores
Superman III Authorized Movie Adaption 7up
Carl’s Jr Giveaway
Svengoolie Meets the DC Universe (2019)
Available at NYCC 2019
Teen Titans Go! Special Edition (2018)
Reprints stories from Teen Titans Go! Issues 1 and 28. Teen Teen Go! To The Movies trade dress, ads, back cover. SDCC and MCM London Comic Con 2018 giveaway.
The World of Krypton (2018)
Promotion tied to the premiere of the Krypton television series on SyFy
Wonder Woman: Rebirth Special Edition #1
Given to attendees of the 2016 SDCC Wonder Woman movie panel.
Wonder Woman: Rebirth Special Edition #1 (WB Studio Tour)
The Warner Bros Studio Tour Hollywood celebrated the Wonder Woman movie’s success by opening a new behind-the-scenes exhibit. The was a VIP giveaway on the tour.
FOOD AND DRINK PREMIUMS
Action Comics #1, Nestle Quik (10 cent version) 1983
Giveaway to celebrate Superman’s 45th anniversary. Only includes the 13 page Superman story from Action Comics #1.
Action Comics #1, Nestle Quik (50 cent version) 1987
Action Comics #1 Peanut Butter 1983
Batman and Robin Adventures #nn 1998
Packages of Act II microwave popcorn came with this 16-page mini-comic. The first two stories are by Dan Abnett and Jimmy Hansen. The third story is a slightly abridged reprint of "Secret Origin of the Batman" by Kelly Puckett, Mike Parobeck and Rick Burchett from "Superman & Batman Magazine" #1.
Batman and Robin, Kellogg’s Movie Preview 1997
Batman Featuring The Case of Batman II (Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts) 1966
Batman The Mad Hatter’s Hat Crimes (Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts) 1966
Batman Man in the Iron Mask (Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts) 1966
Batman the Penguin’s Foul Play (Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts)1966
Batman the Joker's Happy Victims (Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts) 1966
Batman The Catwoman's Catnapping Caper (Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts) 1966
Batman the Joker’s Last Laugh Sugar Crisp Cereal 1980
Batman Peril of the Penguin Post Cereal 1979
Batman #122 Pizza Hut (1977)
Batman #123 Pizza Hut (1977)
Batman #279 Reprint (1995)
Batman #362 (Mervyns edition) 1989
Mervyn’s was a low-priced apparel/department store chain based in Northern California with 217 stores in 15 states back in 1989. In 2008, the company filed Chapter 7. High grade copies of this reprint are scarce. If Mervyn’s had kept an inventory of high-grade copies, maybe bankruptcy could have been avoided. ;)
Batman Gotham Adventures World’s Finest #1 and #2 (2016)
Only available in 16-count Pop Tarts packages at Walmart
The Batman Strikes #1 (Burger King) 2004
Burger King distributed two million copies of this comic, free with the purchase of a Kids Meal. It contains the first two issues of the series, a word search, coloring pages and a reprint of “The Batman Nobody Knows!” written by Frank Robbins.
Batman / Superman #1 (Doritos, Dollar General)
New Tom Grummett with Tom Palmer & Hi-Fi cover. The original Jae Lee cover can be found on the interior front cover. Reprint of Batman/ Superman #1 “Cross World” (2013)
The Blender A Gatorade Project
Colonel of Two Worlds (Kentucky Fried Chicken) 2015
Justice League America #1 (1987) cover homage
Detective Comics #27 Oreo Giveaway 1984
This was available by mailing in three proofs of purchases from Nabisco products. It is an obvious reprint since the cover has “FREE” where the original 10 cent price was placed. Inside, it not only includes the original Detective Comics #27 interior, but also stories from Detective Comics #38 (Robin’s 1st appearance) and Batman #1 (Joker’s first appearance). Oddly, the final page from Batman #1 serves as the back cover.
Dexter’s Laboratory Burger King Giveaway (2002)
Reprints “Spoonj” from Dexter’s Laboratory #19 (January 2001) and “Bubble Boy” from Dexter’s Laboratory #7 (March 2000)
Flash Comics Giveaway 1946
This promo was newsprint and taped to Wheaties boxes so every copy has tape or paper removed on it!
Funny Stuff Wheaties Giveaway 1946
This promo was newsprint and taped to Wheaties boxes so every copy has tape or paper removed on it!
General Mills Presents Batman and the Heist (2008)
General Mills Presents Batman and the Joker (2008)
General Mills Presents Batman and the Scarecrow (2008)
These three promo comics were available in 20-packs of Fruit Rolls-Ups as well as Fruit Gushers to promote 2008’s Dark Knight movie. The Joker mini-comic began a story that started with the Joker and concluded in the Scarecrow. The Heist was a self-contained story. Each mini-comic contained activity book pages. James Peaty handled the writing duties on all 3 promo comics. Craig Rousseau did the Joker and Scrarecrow art while Pop Mhan did the art for the Heist and contributed some additional art to the other two comics.
General Mills Presents: Justice League 1-9 2011-2014
At a New York Comic-Con event in 2011, attendees received comics autographed by Steve Scott and Paul Tobin. This event introduced these custom comics available in specially marked boxes of Big G cereals. The goal was to promote reading among children. Up to 12 million comics were offered to consumers. These Justice League comics were included in Big G cereals, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Trix, Golden Grahams, Reese’s Puffs and Cocoa Puffs. In 2014, five more comics were added to the series. It appears they were available in the same Big G cereals, with the exception of Cocoa Puffs, which seems to have been replaced with Cookie Crisp. Issue 9, “Swap Meet” was exclusively available at Target in Cheerios boxes.
General Mills Presents: Justice League #1-4 (2017)
- BuzzBee (Honey Nut Cheerios) as Batman, drawn by Dave Johnson
- Lucky the Leprechaun (Lucky Charms) as Green Lantern, drawn by Joe Quinones
- Sonny the Bird (Cocoa Puffs) as The Flash, drawn by Karl Kersher
- The Trix Rabbit as Superman, drawn by Amanda Conner
- The Crazy Squares (Cinnamon Toast Crunch) as Aquaman, Cyborg and Green Lantern
- Sadly, Multi Grain Cheerios did not have a mascot, so they just put Wonder Woman on the box, as rendered by Neal Adams.
Commonly referred to as KFC #3 or “Green Lantern Co-Starring Colonel Sanders”. Available at SDCC 2017. Appears to be the highest print run of the three DC/KFC promo comics
The Justice League Goes Inside The NBA - All Star Edition 2015
A 16-page limited edition comic book distributed for free at the NBA All-Star Jam Session. This was also rush-solicited to comic shops as free but without freight credit, so distribution was uneven. Superman, Green Lantern, Steel, and the Flash take part in a charity basketball game. This is the first time Shaq and Steel appear in the same comic. Remember, Shaq played Steel in the 1997 movie. Other notable appearances include Charles Barkley, Marv Albert, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber and Kristen Ledlow.
Justice League Adventures (Burger King) mini-comics 2003
These eight 12-page mini-comics packaged with toys as part of Big Kids’ Meals was advertised as one of the largest custom comic print runs in history.
Includes letter on interior front page that states that this a free reprint of Justice League Adventures #1.
Justice League Adventures (2003)
In April 2003, DC and Sargento launched a year-long Justice League promotion. The Justice League members were featured on a wide variety of Sargento products, ranging from Cheeze and Sticks to string cheese. The promotion included free online merchandise, including this comic, free with 3 UPCs and $1 for shipping and handling.
Justice League Hunger Scare (Snickers) 2016
Walt Simonson cover with a Louise Simonson script. Only distributed at New York Comic Con 2016
Justice League Unlimited: Ladies First #1 and #2 2016
Mini-comics only available in 16-count Pop Tarts packages at Walmart
Kellogg’s Cinnamon Mini Buns Super-Heroes, Flash 1993
Kellogg's Cinnamon Mini-Buns Super-Heroes, JLA 1993
Kellogg's Cinnamon Mini-Buns Super-Heroes Superman 1993
Kellogg's Cinnamon Mini-Buns Super-Heroes, Wonder Woman 1993
The Winning Pitch (Nolan Ryan) 1992
The Kid Who Could (Ozzie Smith) 1992
High Hurdles (Jackie Joyner Kersee) 1992
According to at 1992 article from Adweek, Sports Illustrated for Kids linked up with DC Comics for a promotion of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes via a trio of "collectible" comic books.” Kids could get the comic books through the mail with a proof of purchase from Frosted Flakes packages. In one of the stories, Tony the Toger and Nolan Ryan help a troubled youngster learn to pitch as he learns to "think positive." As you might expect, the characters fortify themselves with some Frosted Flakes in the course of each comic.
King James “Driven” (Powerade) 2005
Standard comic size when folded. Folds out into a 21.5” x 34” single sheet poster on one side. On the other side 6 story pages, front and back cover.
Four covers: two standard, military (Sunny Lee cover) and a version with a sketchbook inside. The other cover artists are JG Jones, James Jean and Joshua Middleton. The cover artists can be easily identified by the credit on their respective covers
King James “The King of Basketball” (Powerade) 2004
- Four covers available only by mail-in redemption
- Four covers available only at Kroger Stores
- One cover available only at military commissaries
- One general market cover available at retail and via mail-in redemption
Looney Tunes Burger King Edition #1 2002
Looney Tunes Burger King Edition #1, #2 2004
Strangely, both were part of the Batman Strikes! Promotion at Burger King. Though they have prices on the cover, they were free.
Looney Tunes “The Great Scavenger Hunt” #1-#10 (1991)
These mini-comics came in specially marked boxes of Tyson Frozen Food Products in the early 1990s
Megawatt A Gatorade Project 2013
Megawatt A Gatorade Project 2014
McDonalds Commandrons 1985
Set of toys with comics
Nesquik It’s Legendary: The Quest for Chocolatey Goodness 2012
Reportedly a Walmart giveaway hand-distributed by the Quik Bunny himself. He must not have made many appearances because the comic can be difficult to find. Written by J. Torres with art by Adam Archer.
Powerpuff Girls #1 (Burger King) 2002
Scooby Doo #1 (Burger King) 2002
Reuses the cover to Scooby-Doo! #52. Reprints stories from Scooby-Doo #4, 24 and 37. Despite the price on the cover, it was a giveaway comic.
The Sheriff A Gatorade Project
Also referred to as “Peyton Manning is The Sheriff.” Extremely rare.
16 page comic written by Stuart Moore and illustrated by Paco Diaz. Cover by Ivan Reis and Eber Ferreira.
Superman #1 (Doritos, Dollar General) 2016
Reprint of Superman #1 (2011) “What Price Tomorrow”. Sports a new Dustin Nguyen cover but George Perez’s original cover can be found on the inside front cover.
Superman Adventures Preview Edition #1 1996
Each Warner Bros Studio Store received a bundle of these giveaways to promote the TV show and the comic. Appears to be released prior to Superman Adventures #1 being on newsstands and in comic shops. First Mercy Graves appearance.
Sporting a Jonboy Meyers variant cover courtesy of Doritos and Dollar General, this is a pretty faithful 2016 reprint of Superman Adventures #1 from 1996. The original Bruce Timm cover can be found on the inside front cover.
Superman Luthor’s Impossible Crime (1979)
Post cereal mini-comic
Superman Meets the Quik Bunny 1987
It’s pretty impressive that the combined creative force of Mike Carlin (writer) with Carmine Infantino and Dick Giodano (art) managed to stretch this team-up into a story that’s 32 pages in length. This book even sports a wraparound cover with the heroes on the front cover and Weather Wizard, the villain of the story, on the back cover. Might this be the first promo comic wraparound cover or at least the first DC promo comic wraparound cover?
Superman #97, Pizza Hut 1977
Superman #113, Pizza Hut 1977
Secret Origin Tart and Tangy Leaf mini Comics #1-8 1980
Super Heroes Prisoner of the Stars mini comic, Post Cereal (1979)
Super Powers Collection (Burger King) 1983
Three mini-comics (Superman, Wonder Woman, Darkseid) that were reprints of the action figure mini-comics, with the Burger King logo added to the cover. The Darkseid mini-comic is the rarest of the three.
Superman Terra-Man’s Skyway Robbery (1980)
Sugar Crisp cereal mini-comic
Superman’s Time Capsule (1955)
Superman Duel in Space (1955)
Superman The Supershow of Metropolis (1955)
All three of these mini-comics were in boxes of Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks cereal.
Written by Josh Elder with art by Marcus To, this comic was packaged with Kids’ Meals. At the time, Wendy’s had a dedicated website for the digital version of the comic and described it “It's just another day in Metropolis as Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen cover the opening of an Amazonian exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. But during a speech by Wonder Woman herself, Brainiac declares war on the city! With little time to spare as Brianiac unleashes his army of androids, Superman and Wonder Woman must team-up to take down the technological terror!”
Totino’s Presents: Batman (2008)
This comic was packaged inside 70-count packages of Totino’s Pizza Rolls (combination-flavor) to promote the Dark Knight movie. This probably makes finding high grade copies difficult, due to the weight of 70 pizza rolls and spending time in the freezer case. The story and art are actually pretty good for a 7-page promo comic with Batman chasing down Zsasz. James Peaty handled the script while Steve Scott did the cover and pencils.
The Untold Legend of the Batman #1-3 Cereal 1989
Batman Cereal was advertised as crunchy bat shapes with natural flavors of honey nut. It was made by Ralston (as in Ralston-Purina), so we’re not sure how edible it was. In any case, Ralston was big into licensing in those days, so they released this cereal to tie-in with the 1989 Batman movie. The back of the box had a mail-in offer for these 3 mini-comics. They reprint the Untold Legend of Batman mini-series from 1980. John Byrne’s art on the original issue #1 in 1980 was his first DC work.
Wonder Woman #60 Pizza Hut 1977
Wonder Woman #62 Pizza Hut 1977
Wonder Woman The Angle Menace Sugar Crisp mini comic 1980
Wonder Woman The Cheetah’s Jewel Caper mini comic post cereal 1979
Action Comics #1, Safeguard Giveaway 1976
Customers could mail in three proofs of purchase from bath sized Safeguard soap to receive this comic.
Adventures of Superman #nn (Py-Co-Pay Tooth Powder) 1942
Adventures With the DC Super-Heroes 2000 (Con Edison version)
Magazine-sized. Features early Batman Beyond comics and Harley Quinn
Adventures With the DC Super-Heroes 2000 (Milk version)
Magazine-sized. Features early Batman Beyond comics and Harley Quinn. Part of a $2M yearlong ad and promotional campaign with the National Fluid Milk Processor Education Program and Dairy Management Inc. This comic was distributed free with the purchase of 2 gallons of milk at convenience and grocery stores nationwide.
Adventures with the DC Superheroes: Energy Safety & Efficiency, Con Edison 2002
Adventures with the DC Superheroes, Con Edison 2006
All-Star Superman Special Edition (Sears) 2014
In May 2013, Sears and Warner Bros. Pictures teamed up on a “retail theatrical integration” for the upcoming Man of Steel film. Eagle-eyed film fans may have spotted a Sears store in Smallville, Kenmore appliances in the Kent family kitchen and Craftsman tools in the Kent family barn. Only Sears Shop Your Way Rewards members were able to get this comic free with any store purchase. Members could also enter a sweepstakes where some of the prizes were signed and numbered prints of this comic’s cover art.
Aquateers Meet the Super Friends (1979)
This comic was packaged with Super Friends Swim Googles. Very rare.
Batman Adventures #25 (Best Western) 1997
Claritin Presents Batman #1 (1999)
In this comic, Robin almost succumbs to Poison Ivy’s deadly pollen dust. Distributed via the Schering-Plough pharmaceutical sales force to pediatrician’s offices nationwide
Claritin Presents Looney Tunes (1998)
Batman Fruit of the Loom Too Many Jokers (1999)
Mini-comic included with Underoos. Flipbook with Superman in The Riddle of the Senseless Crimes
Batman Prell Shampoo Giveaway 1966 (Batman The Joker’s Practical Jokes #nn)
Con Edison Presents JLA Starring Batman (2002)
Con Edison Presents Adventures With the DC Super-Heroes: Energy and Safety (2004)
Another version from another utility, PG&E, potentially exists.
While the Justice League goes on an emergency mission to battle the Royal Flush Hang, The Key breaks into the Hall of Justice. Left alone with the Justice League computers, he intends to steal all of their secrets and technology. Luckily, The Technician, a guy who normally fixes fuel leaks on the Invisible Plane and overhauls the Flash’s treadmill, was still working on the Hall of Justice’s flaky security system. Armed with his Craftsman Bolt-On System, he single handedly manages to fix the security system and defeat The Key. Josh Williamson handled the writing duties on this one.
Reportedly given away as a promotion for Black and Decker’s Dustbuster Classic Plus. Extremely rare.
Energy & Safety Adventures (conEdison) #1 (2005)
Also includes Archie Comics
Energy & Safety Adventures: Green Lantern and Friends (conEdison) 2007
Energy & Safety Adventures with the JLA (conEdison) 2008
Energy & Safety Adventures with the Justice League (conEdison) 2008
Energy & Safety Adventures Superman and Friends (2008)
Justice League Adventures #1, #20, #23 (2002-2003)
Six Flags giveaways
Justice League Adventures #7 (Midway Games) 2002
Justice League Adventures #13 Toys R’ Us
Justice League Adventures: Super Power Meets Horse Power (2004)
Wraparound cover by Eric Vedder and Roberto Campus of UDON. Giveaway at the Michigan International Speedway
Justice League Featuring Joultz (conEdison) 2017
Finally, a super-powered character that has electricity-based powers!
Looney Tunes, Colgate mini comic (1998)
Man of Steel #3, Best Western (1997)
Onstar Batman Auto Show Special Edition #1 (2001)
Onstar Batman Special Edition #2 (2001)
In 2000, General Motors' OnStar doubled its annual marketing budget in a bid to boost subscriptions from 100,000 to 1 million. They enlisted Batman as their spokeshero, with national TV commercials that featured Batman, using the same sets as the most recent movie and many of the same key production people.
The Power of Green: Go Green, Save Some Green (conEdison) 2010
Includes JT Snow, Jeff Kent, Marvin Benard appearances. Scarce, as very little is known about it, but believed to be a ballpark giveaway.
Supergear Comics (1976)
Extremely rare. Promo for “Hot Gear” ski gear from the Jacobs Corporation
Superman Adventures #54, #55 (2001)
Six Flags giveaways with their logo in the UPC box. If you’re wondering what the deal is with DC and Six Flags, they were both owned by Time Warner until 1998. When Time Warner sold Six Flags in 1998, Six Flags retained a long-term license to the use of the DC and Looney Tunes characters in theme parks.
Superman (Bradman commission) 1988
Commissioned by a real estate businessman to celebrate his son’s Bar Mitzvah. Legendary in collector circles. Very low initial print run with few surviving copies. First appearance of Daniel and Andrew.
Superman's Christmas Adventure #1 (1940)
The first Superman promotional comic. Five versions exist from different vendors: Bailey’s, Boston Store, Macy’s, Robertson’s All-American Toyland and Royal Crown Cola.
Superman's Christmas Adventure (1944)
Some sources suggest there is a version with a different cover. However, we believe that the “second version” is Superman’s Christmas Play Book, which has a Superman cover with a Donaldson’s imprint, but the interior has an all-text story.
Superman Meets The Motorsports Champions (1999)
This comic was packaged with a Superman racing t-shirt sold at major retail outlets and done in conjunction with a 1999 promotion in which nine NASCAR racing champions drove Superman-themed cars. Superman led Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., John Force, Matt Hines, Warren Johnson, Joe Amato, Ron Hornaday, Steve Kinser, and Jimmy Vasser in a race to save Earth from an alien invasion. The comic was also sold exclusively on its own at K-Mart stores.
Superman Radio Shack, Computers that Saved Metropolis (1980)
Superman In “Victory by Computer”, Radio Shack (1981)
Wonder Woman gets billing on the cover, but not in the indica
Superman-Tim 1942 ( estimated to be 90 plus issues )
This retailer catalog freebie included Superman comics!
Taz's 40th Birthday Blowout (K-mart) 1994
Teen Titans Go! #2 (2004) Toys R’ Us Facsimile Edition
The indica indicates that this was not intended for sale and published in June 2004.
World's Finest #176,179 (Best Western) 1997
World's Greatest Super-Heroes, Vitamin Giveaway (1977)
Each pack of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes Chewable Vitamins came with a Super Heroes Health Tips booklet. The vitamins were in the shape of Batgirl, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin. Test marketed and manufactured by Nutra-Child Vitamins Inc., which was a subsidiary of Mego, the company famous among both comic and toy collectors for its super hero action figures.
EDUCATIONAL PROMO COMICS
Animaniacs: Emergency World (1995)
Distributed as a giveaway through local Red Cross chapters
Batman Belt’ Em For Safety (1981)
NTHSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) promo
Comic Cavalcade Giveaway (1944)
“One Hundred Years of Co-Ooperation” about consumer cooperatives and their origins. Reprint from Comic Cavalcade #9, 8 pages
Comic Cavalcade Giveaway (1945)
Reprinted from Comic Cavalcade #19 This coverless giveaway was an adaptation of a United Artists film, “Tomorrow the World”, which was based on the play of the same name. The play was about a German boy with Nazi tendecies who comes to live with relatives in America.
Comic Cavalcade Giveaway
“The Twain Shall Meet” reprinted from Comic Cavalcade #8
Comic Cavalcade Giveaway
“Heroes in Dungarees” reprinted from Comic Cavalcade #8.
Death Talks About Life (1994)
The Hidden Killer (1993)
Sometimes referred to as “Superman and Wonder Woman: The Hidden Killer.” According to a Department of Defense press release, the book, "Al Asesino Escondido" The Hidden Killer, was introduced June 11, 1998 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The print run was stated to be 90,000 in English and 560,000 in Spanish.The 32 page long book teaches children to stay away from mines and unexploded ordnance. Interestingly, soldiers from Ft. Bragg conducted assessments in Central American countries to provide background information, photos and a recommended story line to DC Comics. Eduardo Barreto cover.
Paul Larson script with Adam Dekraker art. Promoted tobaccofreeflorida.com
Looney Tunes 24 Carrots (1996)
A special issue for the Postal Service’s Stampers Program, which promotes stamp collecting. Includes lots of ads for the Space Jam movie. Technically, this is not a DC promo comic, since it was published by Warner Bros. Worldwide Publishing, a different business owned by the same parent company. The indica even includes the VP of WB Worldwide Publishing, their Manager of Magazines, etc. Furthermore, the cover has WB1173 on it and the WB Reading logo. All the ads promote Space Jam books from WB Worldwide Publishing or WB Reading. The art is by Walter Carzon (Sol Studios) and Mike DeCarlo. However, an insert includes an offer to subscribe to DC Comics’ Looney Tunes.
Make Way For Youth (1949)
Reprinted from World’s Finest Comics, based on the film of the same name by the Youth Division of the National Social Welfare Assembly
New Teen Titans (IBM) 1983
Promo in cooperation with the National Federation of Parents for Drug-Free You and the President’s Drug Awareness Campaign. “Problem Child” story
New Teen Titans, Keebler Giveaway (1983)
Promo in cooperation with the President’s Drug Awareness Campaign. The only one of the three New Teen Titans anti-drug comics with George Perez interior art
New Teen Titans (American Soft Drink Industry) 1983
Promo in cooperation with the President’s Drug Awareness Campaign. “Battle!” story
Special Edition #1 (1944)
Reprints Action Comics 80. Giveaway - supplementary reader and workbook in Navy special training units
Special Edition #2 (1944)
Reprints Action Comics 81. Giveaway - supplementary reader and workbook in Navy special training units
Special Olympics Coaches Manual (1980)
Shazam Visits Portland Oregon in 1943 Giveaway (1989)
Supergirl, Honda Giveaway (1984, 1986)
Superman and the Great Cleveland Fire (1948)
A 4 page coverless giveaway from the Greater Cleveland Hospital Fund, encouraging contributions to help them raise over nine million dollars to enlarge 14 non-profit hospitals and build four new ones.
Superman Deadly Legacy Unicef Giveaway (1996)
Three known versions: English, Latin and Cyrillic.The English version had the lowest print run. Written by Louise Simonson. Superman rescues two Bosnian boys from a minefield and a booby-trapped house. Distributed by NATO and the Mine Action Center in Sarajevo.
Superman Deadly Legacy Unicef Giveaway (1999)
The Deadly Legacy comics were reprinted and updated in 1999 for Albanian distribution. Multiple changes were made, including a cover art change that focuses Superman’s x-ray vision directly on the landmine. This version is much more difficult to find than the 1996 versions.
Superman For the Animals (2000)
Written by Mark Millar, Superman for the Animals was published for the Doris Day Animal Foundation for readers ages 8-12 to promote respect for animals. It was polybagged with copies of Batman Gotham Adventures, Superman Adventures #41, Impulse, Hourman and Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. Copies were also available to parents and educators who contacted the Doris Day Animal Foundation. The book also included an essay and coloring contest with the grand prize winner featured along with their pet in a future DC comic, although we are not sure who won or where they appeared.
Superman Workbook (1945)
This was distributed by the US military to help illiterate draftees to learn to read. Reuses the cover from Superman #14
Teen Titans: SparkTop
Charles Schwab had dyslexia and used comic book versions of books to pass literature classes at Stanford. This 8-page promo comic was created for Schwab Learning’s Sparktop.org website for kids with learning disabilities. The story by Marc Sumerak with Todd Nauck art followed Sara Hunter, a girl with dyslexia, in an adventure with the Teen Titans. One million DC comics included this promo as an insert. Schwab also distributed 150,000 copies of the standalone comic.
Vixen and the Justice League Wildlife Heroes (2018)
This was free to visitors at the San Diego Zoo during SDCC 2018. Vixen faces off against The Cheetah, but they soon join forces against poachers. Though the title includes the Justice League, members like Wonder Woman, Superman and Cyborg are only shown on the first and last page without any dialogue. Jamal Campbell handles the cover and interior art duties.
What Do You Know About This Comic Seal of Approval (1955)
Very rare. Heritage had never seen it before 2005. It is 4 pages with art by Win Mortimer, educating parents on how the Comics Code protected their kids.
World's Finest Giveaway (1944)
“The Camera of Mei-Lan” Johnny Everyman was a character developed in collaboration with the East and West Association. He was a civil engineer who fought for racial and ethnic justice using only his powers of persuasion.
TOY PROMO COMICS
Amazing Adventures of the JLA (2005)
48-page promotional comic book that was released as a bonus with a JLA action figure gift set, reprinting material from JLA 80-Page Giant #1, JLA Secret Files #3, JLA #77, and JLA Gallery #1.
Aurora Scene Batman, Robin, Superboy, Superman and Tarzan 1974
Comic promos released with model kits
Batman #121 Special Reprint (1997)
This reprint of the first appearance of Mr. Freeze was free with the purchase of any Batman item at Toys ‘R Us. According to an advertisement, 400,000 copies were printed.
Batman Through the Ages (2008)
Packaged with the Batman Through the Ages Action Figure gift set from DC Direct
Brave and the Bold #28 (1999)
The Justice League of America version of Monopoly was published by USAopoly and sold at Warner Bros. Studio Stores for the 1999 Christmas season. In case you were wondering, Green Arrow was on the one dollar bill, The Flash was on the three dollar, Wonder Woman was on the thirty, Batman was on the hundred dollar and Superman on the three hundred dollar.
Captain Action and Action Boy (1967)
1st appearance of Captain Action
DC Direct First Appearances Mini Comics (2004)
Mini promo comics of each character’s first appearance included with each collector action figure.
Detective Comics #38 Reprint
This reprint of the first appearance of Robin was free with the purchase of any Batman item at Toys ‘R Us. According to an advertisement, 400,000 copies were printed.
Detective Comics #359 Reprint
This reprint of the first appearance of Batgirl was free with the purchase of any Batman item at Toys ‘R Us. The advertisement encouraged shoppers to “Hurry! Only 400,000 sets printed!”
Flash Force 2000 #1-5 (1984)
Rare mini comics included with a Matchbox car set. According to legend, the fifth and last mini-comic is just a black and white version of the fourth, made exclusively for Toyfair. However, we have seen unopened Flash Force 2000 cars with a black and white mini-comic, so who knows?
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 (2012) Sketch Variant
Only available to those who bought certain Masters of the Universe items from Mattel at their SDCC 2012 booth.
Justice League Unlimited #1 (Mattel) 2005
Included in the following Justice League Unlimited action figure 3-packs exclusive to Target: Black Canary/Superman/Green Arrow, Wonder Woman/Superman/Brainiac, Wonder Woman/Batman/Bizarro and Green Lantern/Martian Manhunter/Orion
Lego Batman Secret Files and Origins (2006)
SDCC giveaway at the Lego Toys booth
Lightning Racers (1989)
The Japanese toymaker Tamiya introduced Lightning Racers to the US market in 1989. They used snap-together parts and batteries to reportedly travel at speeds equivalent in scale to 300 miles per hour. The four models sold, The Avante Jr, Rising Bird, Vanquish Jr. and Grasshopper II Jr, cost about $10 at the time. This comic was an insert in several DC Comics and also available separately?
Lost World of the Warlord mini-comic, Remco Toy Giveaway (1983)
M.A.S.K. #1-3 (1984)
Included with the toys, issue 1 is the first comic appearance of M.A.S.K.
M.A.S.K. Special Preview
Listed as a comic but unknown if it was only an insert for other comics
Masters of the Universe: He-Man Meets Ram-Man (1983)
This is the first comic appearance of He-Man. It likely predates DC Comics Presents #47
Masters of the Universe Preview #0 1999
A reprint of the 1982 comic insert, originally included in the Lex Luthor Skeletor Toys R Us 2 Pack
Silly Putty DC Justice League mini-comics (2003)
1 Batman 2 Superman 3 The Flash 4 Wonder Woman
Silly Putty Man Meets the Space Pirates (1978)
Silly Putty Man Meets the Eggomeany
These were packaged with Silly Putty Man Adventure Kits
Super Powers Collection (1983-1984)
Over 20 different mini-comics included with action figures
Super Powers Special Edition 1985
Reprints Super Powers #5. Toy Fair giveaway. Double cover w/ the original Super Powers #5 cover inside. Includes pin-ups by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Jack Kirby and Brian Bolland in addition to 3 pages of Kenner marketing text.
Superman Faster Than With Jeff Gordon #1 2006
Polybagged. This comic appears to be polybagged with the Motor Authentics 1/24th scale Jeff Gordon Superman Returns diecast from the RCCA club. Only 1800 made. However, there is a report that at least one sports memorabilia store had a stack of these at the time. In any case, this comic is not exactly plentiful.
Superman's Buddy 1954
This 4 page color comic was packaged with a Superman costume.
Superman's Buddy 1957/1958
This is the same as the 1954 version but only blue ink.
Superman: Man of Steel, Doomsday is Coming (Kenner) 1995
Packaged with Hunter-Prey Superman and Doomsday 2-pack
Superman Man Of Steel Superboy vs King Shark Kenner Giveaway Promo
Superman: Man of Steel, Target Superman (Kenner) 1995
Packaged with Masscre and Full Assault Superman 2-pack
Superman: Man of Steel Co-Starring Batman (Kenner) 1995
Packaged with Cyber-Link Superman and Cyber-Link Batman 2-pack sold at retail Also has a Platinum Edition Variant, which came with the 2-pack sold at comic and hobby stores
PROMO COMICS PROMOTING DC COMICS
52 Week One (2006)
Our understanding is that this was available at the 2006 Diamond Retailer Summit but also at other conventions if you had a DC Nation button.
52 Week One (2006) DC Nation
Our understanding is that attendees at SDCC 2006’s DC Nation received a voucher for this promo which then had to be redeemed at the DC booth.
Amazing World of DC Comics Special Edition #1
Celebrating the Super DC Con ‘76
American Carnage #1 SDCC Special Edition 2018
A flipbook with a Sandman Universe preview
This edition was released only to the direct market. Reprints Batman #1 (2016)
Batman and Other DC Classics (1989)
Includes Batman’s origin from Batman #47 (1948), Camelot 3000, Justice League (1987) and New Teen Titans.
Batman Beyond Special Origin Issue (1999)
This free issue arrived in stores on May 12. DC Publisher Paul Levitz explained at the time, "Retailers asked us to follow up the Cartoon Network giveaway issue with a more direct bridge to our main comics, and Batman Beyond was a perfect candidate." This special issue of Batman Beyond reprinted the two-part origin story that ran in issues #1 and #2, re-edited to fit one 32 page issue.
Batman Beyond Special Origin Issue, Six Flags Edition
In the same announcement of the free Batman Beyond comic sent to comic stores, it was also announced that the comic would be available at three Six Flags theme parks (Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, TX, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles, CA, and Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ). Instead of a blank UPC box, the Six Flags edition has “Compliments of Six Flags” in the UPC box. Like its comic store counterpart version, this one also reprints the two-part origin story that ran in issues #1 and #2, re-edited to fit one 32 page issue.
Batman Dark Victory #0
Given away at a Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale signing at the DC Comics booth at Wizard World. Also bagged with every copy of Wizard #97. The version with Wizard World Chicago on the cover can be challenging to find.
Batman Day Special Edition #1 (2017)
Reprints the first chapter of BATMAN VOL. 3: I AM BANE and has an original 3-page Harley Quinn story by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Bret Blevins.
Cover homage to the Dark Knight Returns.
Batman Grendel Ashcan (Platinum) 1993
The Platinum is one of the rarest ashcans, only awarded to 25 winners of a contest. The red version of the ashcan was included with Hero Magazine #1.The gold version of the ashcan was distributed one per every 25 Hero price guides ordered by retailers.
Batman Lil’ Gotham Batman Day 2018 Special Edition #1
Batman: Nightwalker Special Edition (2019)
Batman / Superman #1 NYCC Acetate Edition (2019)
Only distributed to attendees of the DC Nation panel at NYCC 2019
Border Town #1 San Diego Comic Con Special Edition (2018)
SDCC 2018 giveaway. Similar to American Carnage, a flipbook with The Sandman Universe Free Advance Preview Edition.
Books of Magic 1993 Preview
Chiaroscuro Preview 1995
Countdown #51 DC Nation (2007)
Distributed at conventions and panels during 2007
Free giveaway at various conventions during 2018 including Awesomecon, C2E2, SDCC and Wondercon. Wraparound cover.
Dark Knight Universe Presents: Wonder Woman #1 (2016)
This is an unusual promo because this 14-page mini-comic was also bound into DK III: The Master Race #2. However, an unbound copy was distributed as a giveaway during SDCC 2016.
Dark Knights: The Batman Who Laughs Special Edition
Giveaway for Batman Day 2019. Reprints The Batman Who Laughs #1 (2017).
DC Comics 2000 A.D. Preview ( Rebellion ) 2004
DC Comics New 52 Preview Sampler (2011)
Comic shops worldwide gave away copies for free to launch the New 52. Includes a 6-page preview of Justice League #1 (2011) and the cover art for all New 52 #1 launch titles. This promo was also distributed at both the DC and Warner Bros. booths at SDCC 2011. - NOTE: This book has retailer specific variants with their logo information printed on cover
DC Versus Marvel/Marvel Versus DC Consumer Preview (1995)
This giveaway was published by DC Comics. It is unclear if a version published by Marvel exists.
DC Sampler #1-#3 (1983-1984)
DC Sneak Previews #1 (1991)
DC Super Hero Girls Batman Day Special Edition #1 (2017)
Preview of the all-ages original graphic novel, Super Hero Girls: Out of the Bottle.
DC Super Hero Girls Halloween Fest Special Edition #1 (2016)
DC Super Hero Girls 2017 Halloween Comic Fest Special Edition
DC Super Hero Girls Wonder Woman Day Special Edition #1 (2017)
One of two comics free on Wonder Woman Day 2017. Features a chapter from the DC Super Hero Girls Vol. 3: Summer Olympus, with a new cover by Yancey Labat. There are two versions, a direct market comic shop version and a bookstore version. The only difference between the two versions is the barcode.
DC’s Young Animal Ashcan Edition (2016)
Detective Comics #27 Special Edition (2014)
Batman Day 2014 giveaway
DMZ #1 (2008)
SDCC 2008 convention exclusive giveaway
Doomsday Clock Ashcan (2017)
A fully lettered ashcan given to those who attended the Doomsday Clock panel at New York Comic Con in 2017
Final Night Preview (1996)
The Flash #½ (2004)
Available through a mail-in coupon from Wizard Magazine #159
The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 (2007)
Distributed at conventions and panels during 2007
Genesis Preview (1997)
Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Special Edition #1 (2012)
Green Lantern #29 Special Edition (2010)
SDCC 2010 giveaway. Reprints Green Lantern #29 (2008). Also includes Green Lantern Emerald Warriors sneak preview. Interior cover has a letter from Geoff Johns.
Gross Point Preview (1997)
Harley Quinn Batman Day Special Edition (2017)
Batman Day 2017 giveaway, reprints Harley Quinn #11 (2017)
Harley Quinn Breaking Glass Special Edition
Hex Wives #1 (2018)
Given to retailers at the Diamond breakfast and attendees of the Vertigo panel at NYCC 2018
Hill House Comics 2019 Sampler
NYCC 2019 giveaway. This 24-page sampler was also sent free to comic shops in quantities based on their orders of DCeased #1. Contains preview pages from Basketful of Heads, The Dollhouse Family, The Low, Low Woods, an interview with Joe Hill and a checklist of every Hill House Comics title.
Humanoids Preview 2004
In 2004, DC and Humanoids, a publisher of high-end and avant-garde European graphic novels, announced an agreement for DC to publish 36 English-language books per year and retain the rights to those titles.
The Intimates #1 Ashcan (2005)
This limited edition promo variant was given out by Wizard World Texas to advance-ticket holders, at the The Intimates panel during that event and at the DC booth to those getting signatures from the creative team. It contains a 4-page preview for the Intimates as well as a 3-page preview of The Question.
The Intimates #1 (2005)
Variant promo cover for the first issue of the Wildstorm series.
2019 Jinxworld Sampler
Includes Pearl/Cover/United States of Murder. Unlike the 2018 Jinxworld Sampler, this one was free.
JLA: Liberty and Justice Preview Book (2003)
Free 8-page full-color preview. Five different Alex Ross covers with the same contents were produced: The Flash (Wizard Word East, Philadelphia), Green Lantern (Wizard World Chicago), Martian Manhunter (Wizard World Texas), Aquaman (San Diego Comic Con) and a team cover of unknown origin.
Justice League of America #27 (2009)
Mera Tidebreaker Special Edition
Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse Preview (1997)
More Weird Mystery Tales (1996)
Promotes Challengers of the Unknown and The Book of Fate, whose characters invade the offices of DC Comics at 1700 Broadway in New York and run into Mike Carlin. John Paul Leon and Bill Reinhold handle the art duties.
The New Dynamix #1 (2008)
Naomi #1 Special Convention Edition (2019)
The indica simply states Naomi #1, but we’ll go with the cover title. This Naomi #1 Special Convention Edition was available as a giveaway at the DC booth at SDCC and NYCC
The New Age of DC Heroes Sampler (2018)
Free at various conventions during 2018
Nightwing #½ (1997)
Available through a mail-in coupon from Wizard Magazine #77
Number of the Beast #1 (2008)
Free convention exclusive variant
Saga of the Swamp Thing Special Convention Edition 2009
Scooby Doo Apocalypse #0 (2016)
Seekers into the Mystery (1996)
Super Sons Special Edition
Features a chapter from the Polarshield Project graphic novel
Teen Titans #½
Available through a mail-in coupon from Wizard Magazine #149
Teen Titans Raven Special Edition 2019
NYCC 2019 giveaway featuring the first chapter of the graphic novel.
Unwritten #1 Ashcan
13 page preview ashcan of the first issue. Provided to attendees of the Unwritten panel during the Bristol Comic con in 2009. Also may have been given away at SDCC
Vertigo Sampler 2012
Vertigo Defy 2013, 2014
The 2013 preview book featured a Sandman cover by J.H. Williams III and sneak peeks at Vertigo projects including 100 Bullets: Brother Lono, American Vampire, Astro City, Collider, Fables, The Fables Encyclopedia, Fairest, Trillium,The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice and The Wake.
This 32-page preview book gave advance looks at new Vertigo series, including Art Ops, Clean Room, Jacked, Last Gang in Town, Lucifer, Red Thorn, New Romancer, The Sheriff of Babylon, Slash & Burn, Survivors’ Club, Twilight Children and Unfollow.
Watchmen #1 Special Edition (2019)
SDCC 2019 exclusive. Reprints part of Watchmen issue 1.
Weird Mystery Tales (1996)
Mini-comic with black and white interiors to promote upcoming “Dark Side of DC” titles like Night Force and Scare Tactics. The six page story is indeed weird, as monsters invade the DC Comics offices at 1700 Broadway.
One of two comics free on Wonder Woman Day 2017. Reprints Wonder Woman #1 by Greg Rucka and Liam Sharp. There are two versions, a direct market comic shop version and a bookstore version. The only difference between the two versions is the barcode.
Wonder Woman SDCC 2016 exclusive (2016)
Given to attendees of the Wonder Woman 75th panel. Reprint of Wonder Woman 1 (Rebirth)
Young Justice #1 2019
Zero Hour Ashcan (1994)
Sent to retailers but also given away at DC Zero Hour panel at SDCC 1994
Zero Hour Sampler (1994)
Though the cover would suggest this is called “Zero Month Sampler”, the indica states otherwise.