SECRET FILES FRIDAY – JIMMY OLSEN

Welcome to another installment of Secret Files Friday!  I have gone and run out of Superman related Who’s Who entries to post so I have moved on the the Secret Files and Origins entries that popped up starting in late 1997.  While they weren’t as detailed as Who’s Who I have a real soft spot for the Secret Files and Origins line so I wanted to give them some love.  The week’s entry is Jimmy Olsen!)

Secret Files 1998 - 04 Jimmy Olsen

(originally published in Superman Secret Files and Origins #1, January 1998)

Secret Files 1998 - 00 Cover

FCTC EPISODE 200: THE LISTENER APPRECIATION EPISODE

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Episode 200: The Listener Appreciation Episode

Welcome to the two hundredth episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast!  This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index.  Part commentary.  Part history lesson.  All podcast.

This is it, folks!

The 200th episode of From Crisis to Crisis.

We never thought we would go the distance.

This time out we dedicate this entire episode to you the listeners starting with an interview with the one…the only…Dan Jurgens!  This will be Dan’s third time on the show and it is always amazing and awesome and other words that start with the letter “A” to have him come back.  As usual Dan is full of great stories about how the comics we’ve been covering came to be.  From the Toyman’s dark turn to Doomsday’s origin to Zero Hour Dan gives us a lot of fun anecdotes and explanations for why the stories went down the way they did.

After that we spend two hours diving into the email bag and read all of the cards and letters (so to speak) that y’all have sent over the past few months.  Topics include; why Jeff doesn’t like Max Landis, thoughts on Man of Steel and what we think we’ll see in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, how many hours it will take you to listen to all 200 episodes of this show, the timeline of the Post Crisis era, the deep, dark secret of J David Weter, what changes we would have preferred after Zero Hour, what we were really doing during all of the weeks there were no new episodes, the difference between die-cut and embossed and what makes for an interesting team-up character for the Man of Steel.

This episode was sponsored by Jason Sandberg.  Make sure you follow this link to check out his childrens’ book Candy and the Cankersaur, which looks like a lot of fun.

If the show Dorkness to Light (which Michael mentioned towards the end of the episode) sounds like a show you would like to listen be sure to follow this link.

And here’s that link to Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 9.  At the time of the recording of this episode there was no information about what was going to be included in the trade but since that time the full solicitation has been listed.  Be sure to look at the editorial reviews for a familiar name.

More than anything we would like to thank you for listening to the show.  Whether you’ve been there from the beginning or just joined us we appreciate that you choose to spend some of your precious time listening to us talk about the Post Crisis Superman.  It means a lot to us and from the bottom of our cold, dead hearts…thank you.

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You can subscribe to the show in two ways. First there is the RSS Feed and there is also the iTunes link. Are you on Facebook? Be sure to “like” the official FCTC page, which you can find by clicking on this link.

If you want to comment on the show or contact the hosts you can always private message Mike and Jeff, at the Superman Homepage, leave comments here or at the Homepage or here or email them by clicking this link. All questions, concerns, fears, trepidations and cheap shots are welcome.

Next Time: It’s time for another Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman episode.  This time out we’ll cover Metallo, The Chi of Steel and The Eyes Have It.

SECRET FILES FRIDAY – LOIS LANE

Welcome to another installment of Secret Files Friday!  I have gone and run out of Superman related Who’s Who entries to post so I have moved on the the Secret Files and Origins entries that popped up starting in late 1997.  While they weren’t as detailed as Who’s Who I have a real soft spot for the Secret Files and Origins line so I wanted to give them some love.  The week’s entry is Lois Lane!)

Secret Files 1998 - 03 Lois Lane

(originally published in Superman Secret Files and Origins #1, January 1998)

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FCTC EPISODE 199: MARCH 1995 PART 2

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Episode 199: March 1995 Part 2

Welcome to the one hundred and ninety-ninth episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast!  This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index.  Part commentary.  Part history lesson.  All podcast.

This time out Mike and Jeff not only cover the back half of the cover dated March 1995 Superman titles but they also welcome a guest.  Joining the boys is Russell Burlingame who is not only a fan of this era but is also a head writer over at ComicBook.com.  After getting Russell’s history with Superman (or maybe his conversion story would be more appropriate) the boys and guest dive into Adventures of Superman #521, which features the return of the Thorn.  It also features her seeing if the 100 is back in business as well as the Riot Grrrls, because someone apparently liked them.  Then in Action Comics #708 Mister Miracle stops by and gives Superman a hand with the return of Death Trap.  This is followed by looking at the ancillary titles in the form of Steel #13, Showcase ’95 #3 and Outsiders #16.  Finally the boys and guest take a trip down memory lane with Elsewhere in the DC Universe.

For those interested here are the covers to the ancillary books we discussed in this week’s episode.

During the episode Mike gives another shout out to Trentus Magnus, host of Trentus Magnus Punches Reality.  Not only does Trentus talk about the Adventures of Superman issues in episode 95 of his show but he also talked about Dead Again in episode 123.  Be sure to head on over to Two True Freaks, click on the Trentus Magnus Punches Reality link and scroll down to check those out because it’s a great show and Trentus is a lot of fun.

You can subscribe to the show in two ways. First there is the RSS Feed and there is also the iTunes link. Are you on Facebook? Be sure to “like” the official FCTC page, which you can find by clicking on this link.

If you want to comment on the show or contact the hosts you can always private message Mike and Jeff, at the Superman Homepage, leave comments here or at the Homepage or here or email them by clicking this link. All questions, concerns, fears, trepidations and cheap shots are welcome.

Next Time: It’s the 200th episode.  We have an interview.  And emails.  It’s a lot of fun.

 

FCTC EPISODE 198: MARCH 1995 PART 1

FCTC_Ep_198_LargeEpisode 198: March 1995 Part 2

Welcome to the one hundred and ninety-eigth episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast!  This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index.  Part commentary.  Part history lesson.  All podcast.

Happy New Year, everyone!

In a rare bit of happenstance this episode is hitting the Internet on December 31st, which means nothing to people reading this in the weeks, months and hopefully years to come but for you lucky few who catch these things when they drop it’s a holiday.  Things return to normal this time out with the first half of the March 1995 cover dated Superman books.  First up is Superman: The Man of Steel #42 a book so “good” that Mike promptly forgot that he was supposed to do the synopsis.  Then in Superman #98 Superman and Cat Grant visit the Toyman to see what made him go from a murderer to the killer of children. After discussing Superboy #13 (which is the first part of the Watery Grave storyline) the boys discuss Superman: Kal, an Elseworlds story that takes place in medieval times by Dave Gibbons and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (Praise Be His Name).  Finally Mike and Jeff hop into a cab, pay their $6.50 and take you to a segment they like to call Meanwhile, At The Daily Planet.

At one point in the episode Mike mentions that he was on an episode of Supergirl Radio where he and Rebecca Johnson (one of the hosts of the show) talk about Cat Grant.  You can find a link to that episode here.  Give the show a listen.  It’s really good.

Usually we post the covers to the other comics we talk about in the episode.  This time out we only have the Superboy cover, so here it is in all its glory.

Superboy (1993) #013

You can subscribe to the show in two ways. First there is the RSS Feed and there is also the iTunes link. Are you on Facebook? Be sure to “like” the official FCTC page, which you can find by clicking on this link.

If you want to comment on the show or contact the hosts you can always private message Mike and Jeff, at the Superman Homepage, leave comments here or at the Homepage or here or email them by clicking this link. All questions, concerns, fears, trepidations and cheap shots are welcome.

Next Time: The boys finish up the March 1995 books with Adventures of Superman #521, Action Comics #708, Steel #13, Showcase ‘95 #3 and Outsiders #16

MERRY CHRISTMAS 2015 a.k.a. SUPERMAN’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE

For years I had a supposed comedy bit that I repeated on Christmas day based on this piece of Alex Ross art.

It was a funny bit.  Sort of.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  Anyway, this year I went to repost said bit and it just didn’t feel right.  My sense of humor hasn’t changed all that much but it really didn’t reflect what I wanted to post on Christmas Day this year.

I think it’s because the meaning for the holiday has changed for me.  I realize I have an international audience and that not everyone that comes to this blog celebrates Christmas.  Even those of us that do celebrate the holiday have different opinions on how to honor it and even what Christmas means.  There is a lot of talk about a “War on Christmas” and how we need to remember the “reason for the season” and all that.  I think the concept of a “War on Christmas” is largely manufactured by the big news outlets in an effort to get ratings but I can get behind the whole “reason for the season” thing even though, again, that can mean different things to different people.  For some it is about family.  For others it is to honor the birth of Christ.  I think both are equally valid.

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So the question became what am I going to post if I scrap the usual gag thing I usually put up.  I thought about posting the picture above this paragraph and calling it a day but a thought kept nagging me that I should do more and that more should have say something that reflects both my feelings about Christmas and how Superman would view the holiday season.  Luckily the 1940’s radio series came through with both.

I can honestly say that I couldn’t have put it better myself.  It’s interesting that many of the sentiments expressed in a message from the mid forties still resonates today.

It is my sincerest hope that if you celebrate Christmas you are able to spend it with those that you love and to the people that can’t make it home…to those that have to work on the holiday…to the men and women serving in the armed forces and might be thousands of miles from their friends and family I want you to know that my thoughts are with you today.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

FCTC EPISODE 197: MORE LOIS AND CLARK SEASON 2 TALK

FCTC_Ep_197_LargeEpisode 197: More  Lois and Clark Season 2 Talk

Welcome to the one hundred and ninety-seventh episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast!  This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index.  Part commentary.  Part history lesson.  All podcast.

The Christmas/Yuletide/Holiday cheer continues this week and Mike and Jeff go back to the format of covering a few episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman as their own separate shows instead of putting them at the end of a regular episode.  So the boys have three episodes to talk about starting with That Old Gang of Mine.  This “classic” episode has clones of Al Capone, John Dillinger and Bonnie and Clyde showing up in Metropolis.  Also Clark Kent dies.  Both of these sentences are true.  Then there’s Bolt From The Blue, an episode where a down on his luck guy gets super powers via lightning.  It’s not a really good episode but it has some fun moments.  Jeff seemed to like that one more than Mike, a situation that is reversed with the next episode.  Seasons Greedings is Lois and Clark’s first Christmas episode and features someone they call Winslow Schott who should be the Toyman but they never call him Toyman, which is probably for the best.

Mike still liked the episode.  Jeff less so.  Both liked that Dean Cain wrote it.

During one of the breaks we played a song called That’s Why They Call Him Santa Claus.  That particular carol was performed by a very talented musician named Jamie Kelley.  Jamie is not only a fantastic singer and performer but he is a huge Superman fan.  Michael had the pleasure of meeting him during the 2008 Superman Celebration where Jamie was the spitting image of the nineties era Clark Kent and Superman.  Be sure to check out Jamie’s music over at his website!

You can subscribe to the show in two ways. First there is the RSS Feed and there is also the iTunes link. Are you on Facebook? Be sure to “like” the official FCTC page, which you can find by clicking on this link.

If you want to comment on the show or contact the hosts you can always private message Mike and Jeff, at the Superman Homepage, leave comments here or at the Homepage or here or email them by clicking this link. All questions, concerns, fears, trepidations and cheap shots are welcome.

Next Time: Things return to normal with the first half of the March 1995 cover dated Superman books.  Comics covered will be Superman: The Man of Steel #42, Superman #98, the Elseworlds tale Superman: Kal and Superboy #13.

THE GIFT

Superman has been featured in Christmas themed stories almost from the moment the character first hit the newsstands.  It’s kind of a no-brainer when you think about it.  Here is a character that embodies the concept of selflessness and here’s a holiday which has come to mean giving of yourself to not only your family and friends but to those less fortunate than you.

It’s the comic book version of, “You put your chocolate in my peanut butter.”

Of all the myriad Christmas themed stories I think one particular creator stands out more than others and that’s Dan Jurgens.  Now I will admit to being a little biased here but when you look at the ten or so years Dan spent writing and/or drawing Superman he produced some of the most memorable Christmas based stories.  He drew the Roger Stern written Home For The Holidays in Adventures of Superman #462, which is the touching story of the Daily Planet staff discovering that one of their own is not only homeless but has been living out of a storage closest.  Metropolis Mailbag in Superman (Vol. 2) #64 was written by Jurgens with art by Jackson Guice revealed that around the holidays Superman visits the Metropolis Post Office and answers some of the mail that he receives.  Jurgens followed this up the following year by writing and drawing Metropolis Mailbag II in Superman (Vol. 2) #76, which saw the heroes of the DC Universe getting together to keep the tradition of answering mail alive even after Superman died in the fight with Doomsday.

One of my favorite Jurgens fueled Christmas stories was a three page tale that appeared in DCU Holiday Bask II, which came out in 1998.  The Gift is a deceptively simple story due in large part to the fact that it doesn’t contain any dialogue.  All of the story telling comes through in the art and Jurgens sticks the landing time and again over the course of the three pages.

  The Gift Page 1

The Gift Page 2

The Gift Page 3

When I was a junior in high school I took a creative writing course and one of our assignments was to write a short story where we had to establish what season the story was taking place in without specifically writing that it was set in summer or winter or fall or spring.  The idea was to be able to rely more on showing something rather than simply telling the audience outright.  It’s easy to begin a story with, “On the twenty-fourth of December.”  It’s more descriptive and leaves some of the work up to the audience to begin with, “A light dusting of snow could be seen through the living room window.  The Christmas tree was fully decorated and nearly bursting with presents that would be opened the next day.”

Going with that idea and sticking with it Jurgens gives us everything we need to know about when this story was set not only in terms of the season but where it fits into the Post Crisis Superman’s history without a single caption.  We know it’s winter because of the snow.  We know it’s around Christmas because there is a giant replica candy cane in the background and the presents littering the street.  We know it’s early in Superman’s career because Lex Luthor still has hair.  We know that the battle with the robot was intense because Superman’s cape is in tatters.  We know that while Superman is delivering the robot to Luthor the battle actually took place up and down the east coast thanks to the newspaper headline.  It’s sequential storytelling at its finest and if you want to just breeze through the three pages you can but if you want to take your time with it Jurgens gives us a lot of meat on the bone, so to speak.

I also love the interaction Superman has with Lex.  The first four panels on page 2 are the perfect encapsulation of the Superman/Lex dynamic from the first four years of the Post Crisis era.  Superman has just stopped one of Luthor’s machinations that can’t possibly be connected to the billionaire, Superman gives Lex a taciturn expression, Lex feigns ignorance, Superman flies off, Lex glowers.  Again, with no dialogue Jurgens manages to convey a range of emotions and lets you know the main beats of Lex and Superman’s relationship.

More than anything I love that last page.  One of my favorite aspects of the Post Crisis era was Clark’s relationship with his adoptive parents.  Letting them live into his adulthood gave him a place to come and be himself.  On the farm he wasn’t a reporter and he wasn’t the world’s greatest super-hero.  He was Jonathan and Martha’s son.  The gift and the note from “Santa” fits perfectly with how the Kents were portrayed during this time period and I am enough of a softie to be touched by the sentimentality of the scene.

You know, I love the Metropolis Mailbag issues.  I love Pre-Crisis Superman related Christmas stories, especially the DC Comics Presents issue where Superman teams up with Santa Claus.  In fact I can’t think of a Christmas tale featuring the Man of Steel that I don’t like but this simple three page story is my absolute favorite.  Not only does it hit me right in my Superman sweet spot but it’s also a good example of why comics are a unique form of storytelling.  “Silent” stories (as in stories with no dialogue) were nothing new to the medium when DCU Holiday Bash II came out and to be honest I am not the biggest fan of them but this one is one of the exceptions that proves the rule, so to speak.

It also makes me smile every time I read it.

And maybe that’s the only reason I really need.