An ashcan copy is a term that originated in the Golden Age of comic book publishing, meant to describe a publication produced solely for legal purposes (such as copyright), which was not normally intended for distribution. The term Golden age is best known from Greek mythology and legend but can also be found in other ancient cultures (see below A comic book (often shortened to simply comic and sometimes called a comic paper or comic magazine) is a Magazine or Book of narrative To publish is to make content Publicly known. The term is most frequently applied to the distribution of text or images on paper or to the placing of content Copyright is a legal concept enacted by Governments, giving the creator of an original work of authorship Exclusive rights to control its distribution usually for Distribution (or place) is one of the four elements of Marketing mix.
The word "ashcan" is an older synonym for wastebasket, trashcan, or other garbage receptacle. This article deals with the general meaning of the term "synonym" The implication is that the printed material will go straight from the printer to the trash, which was often the case. Ashcan editions frequently contained unlettered stories, unfinished art or even just whatever wastepaper had been conveniently available at the time. The goal in making them was to get something out with the wanted title slapped on as quickly as possible so that the publisher could make some claim to having been the first in print if a competitor tried to publish a similar title.
One example is Flash Comics #1 by Fawcett Comics which introduced Captain Thunder (later Captain Marvel). Fawcett Comics, a subsidiary of Fawcett Publications, was one of several successful Comics publishers during the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s Captain Marvel is a fictional Comic book Superhero, originally published by Fawcett Comics and later by DC Comics. This particular example of ashcan publishing was in vain, as a competitor had already beat Fawcett to publishing a "Flash Comics". Flash Comics was an anthology comic book published by All-American Publications and later National Periodicals ( DC Comics)
Other entertainment industries have equivalents. The most famous film example is the 1994 version of The Fantastic Four, produced by Roger Corman, allegedly only to maintain the license to the property. The Fantastic Four is an unreleased low-budget Feature film completed in 1994 Roger William Corman (born April 5 1926) sometimes nicknamed "King of the Bs" for his output of B-movies (though he himself rejects this as inaccurate The movie had a two million dollar budget and was not distributed.
In modern comics, ashcans may be used as a promotion or as an inexpensive format for independent self-publishing. The term is sometimes synonymous with minicomics. A minicomic is a small creator-published Comic book, often photocopied and stapled or with a handmade binding