Continuing on with our look at CANCELLED COMIC CAVALCADE #1, one of the rarest DC non-publications, which was simply a set of photocopies of issues and pages that were spiked during the massive line reduction and layoff that was nicknamed the “DC Implosion” . The idea behind the DC Explosion was that each title would increase its page count as well as its price, but this decision, combined with a brutal winter, proved to be a disaster. As a result, a big chunk of the line was discontinued, and these stories that weren’t going to see print were copied and bound into two collections in order to secure copyright to the material.

The back-up series for BLACK LIGHTNING was intended to be The Ray. It’s anybody’s guess why this obscure character, who had been purchased from the defunct Quality Comics and had lain dormant for decades before reappearing as a part of the Freedom Fighters, was selected for this spot, but there you are. This particular story never saw print, but it was plotted by Mike W. Barr, scripted by Roger McKenzie, illustrated by John Fuller and inked by Bob Wiacek.

The story recounts the slightly-absurd origin of the Ray, a series of events that would have happened more than thirty years prior. But it sidesteps the rest of the hero’s history after that, fortunately, as it’s complicated stuff: his Earth lost World War II and so the Nazis ruled the place for decades until the Justice League and the Justice Society helped the few remaining heroes overthrow the Fourth Reich regime. Bored in the liberated nation, those Freedom Fighters emigrated to Earth-One, the main DC Earth, where they embarked on a series of adventures. None of this is terribly relevant to this story, though, and so it’s mostly excised.


  1. I guess Roy Thomas switched the Ray’s (and “Earth X’s”) backstory years later in “All-Star Squadron” (“America’s A.S.S.”- I read that from Tom). The Quality heroes seemed native to “Earth 2”, & Uncle Sam took them, along with the JSA’s Hourman, over to Earth X to turn the tide against the Nazis there. I think those were the A.S.S. issues (call a Dr.) with Baron Blitzkrieg (a villain I wish DC’d bing back in “Wonder Woman” to continue the fine comics tradition of punching Nazis). “Herr Baron” also hopped Earths. And the Red Bee got his stinger plucked. 😦

    I didn’t care for the slightly darker, downward pointed “lighting” design on the Ray’s shirt here. I’ve seen it before during his Bronze Age appearances. Roy didn’t use it in “A.S.S”. The art here reminds me of later conservative artists, like Paul Ryan. Alex Ross probably perfected the original Ray’s golden suit in “Kingdom Come”, giving it a much more metallic, shimmering look. And Joe Q made some of his bones on a miniseries in 1992, I think, drastically redesigning the look for the Golden Age Ray’s son & heir, also conveniently named Ray Terrill.


  2. Are you able to provide names to everyone on the cover? The only two I don’t know are located on the left side of the cover: the “cowboy” and the “barbarian.”


    1. The “cowboy” would be Aaron Hope, aka The Deserter.

      He was a new character originally planned to appear in SHOWCASE, and then when that book got canceled, in his own series, THE DESERTER.

      As far as I know, he’s never appeared anywhere other than CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE.

      Liked by 1 person

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