THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN LIVES: WHAT HAPPENED? TEASER TRAILER

Jon Schepp released a teaser trailer for his documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? and I am excited beyond belief.  It doesn’t come out until next year but hot damn am I excited about this.

I like the fact that Jon is taking his time with this.  He has a real passion for the material and he seems to be getting some top notch interview subjects.  It also looks like the movie is going to have a sense of humor to it, which is always nice.  You don’t want to make fun of the subject but having a good time and giving it some humorous moments will make for a more endearing viewing experience.  I can’t say for sure whether or not what Burton and Cage might have done with Superman would have been good or bad and to be honest I think that I would have initially hated the movie before coming to terms with it years later but I like that Jon is taking the time to uncover this facet of Superman’s history.

2014 is probably going to end up being the year of Batman but it looks like some neat Superman stuff is coming down the pike as well.

THE DEATH AND LIFE OF SUPERMAN

The same week Superman #82 hit the stands in comic shops Roger Stern’s novelization hit the shelves in bookstores.

While novelizations of movies and even televisions series were nothing new in 1993 and super-heroes stories had been told in prose form before this book was released there had never been, to my knowledge, a novelization of a specific comic book storyline.  I think this proves how popular the Death and Return of Superman really was.  To invest in not one but two different prose adaptations (one for the mainstream market and one for the young adult market) is simply amazing.

But why did they do it in the first place?

After some intense research (i.e. I re-read Mike Carlin and Roger Stern’s introductions in the 2002 Barnes and Noble re-release of the novel) all I could come up with is that Bantam Books wanted to put out a novelization so they reached out to DC who reached out to Mike Carlin who tapped Roger Stern for the writing gig.  Stern was, at the time, the most senior member of the writing team and had written a good bit of the reference material concerning Superman when you count Who’s Who entries and the Superman: The Man of Steel Sourcebook that Mayfair games put out in 1992, so he was the logical choice to tackle the “adult” version of the book.  If I had to hazard a guess as to why they wanted to publish the novelization I would have to say the answer is probably money.  Don’t forget that the Death of Superman made international headlines and sold millions of comic books.  There was gold in them thar hills, brother, and Bantam probably wanted a little bit of that cheddar.

That’s not me being judgmental, by the way.  I am glad they published this book.

Because it…is…awesome.

I have always liked this cover.  It’s simple and to the point and because of that I believe it  appeals to a broader audience.  The bleeding (a.k.a. weeping) “S” turning into the traditional “S” may seem obvious but that’s only because this cover worked so well.  The black background makes the reds and the yellows pop.  Everything about this cover works to draw the eye of a potential reader whether that reader had heard of Superman’s supposed demise or not.

There’s the back cover, just to be a completeist.

The most striking aspect of this book to me is its legacy.  I have talked to dozens of Superman fans (including my From Crisis to Crisis co-host Jeffrey Taylor and the webmaster of the Superman Homepage Steve Younis) that got into the Superman comics because of this book.  That’s an interesting perspective to me considering that I got into the Superman titles five years before the Death and Return went down.  To my mind reading this book and the story that inspired it was a given.  Other people found it to be their “in” to this era of the Man of Steel and to me it is easy to see why this was such a gateway drug for Superman.  In 416 pages Roger Stern not only told the story of Superman’s death and resurrection but also the entire Post-Crisis history of the Man of Steel, his world and his supporting characters.  Stern breaks everything down into a manageable, easily digestible form.  It’s all there.  Sure he makes some major and minor tweaks to the overall story but they all work for this version of the tale.  I really can’t say enough good things about this book.  If you have only read the comic book version of the Death and Return you owe it to yourself to read this version as well.  If you can find the previously mentioned 2002 re-release that Barnes and Noble put out that has new (and also previously mentioned) introductions by Roger Stern and Mike Carlin that give some cool insight into the death of Superman as a whole and why this book was written.  Here are the covers (front and back) of that edition.

Next time: I thought a skycap was someone that helped me with my bags.

More to follow…

DOOMSDAY AND BEYOND ART FINALE!

Today I wrap up my coverage of the artwork that Dan Jurgens and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez provided for the young adult novelization Superman: Doomsday and Beyond.  In this final installment we see Lois and Clark reunited and…an ad.

It’s a pretty cool ad, though.

Enjoy.

And there you have it, folks!  All of the beautiful art that Jurgens and Garcia Lopez did for the Young Adult novel.  I have a few more things to roll out as far as the Death and Return of Superman coverage goes but as weird as it is to type this I am close to wrapping this series up.  This doesn’t mean the Fortress is closing up shop, though.  I still have a bunch of Superman stuff to post about so stay tuned and as always…

More to follow…

DOOMSDAY AND BEYOND ART DAY 6

Today I present more of the artwork that Dan Jurgens and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez provided for the young adult novelization Superman: Doomsday and Beyond.  In this exciting installment we see the Man of Steel return and Superman and the Cyborg fight to the finish.

Enjoy.

Next time: Superman and Lois reunite and “Buy Our Books!”

More to follow…

DOOMSDAY AND BEYOND ART PART 5

Today I present more of the artwork that Dan Jurgens and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez provided for the young adult novelization Superman: Doomsday and Beyond.  In this exciting installment we see the war of the Supermen!

Enjoy.

Next time: Superman returns and Superman versus the Cyborg!

More to follow…

DOOMSDAY AND BEYOND ART DAY 4

Today I present more of the artwork that Dan Jurgens and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez provided for the young adult novelization Superman: Doomsday and Beyond.  In this exciting installment we see Supergirl and Lex make a shocking discovery and Jonathan Kent fighting “Jor-El” for the soul of his son.

Enjoy.

Next time: War of the Supermen!

More to follow…

DOOMSDAY AND BEYOND ART PART 3

Today I present more of the artwork that Dan Jurgens and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez provided for the young adult novelization Superman: Doomsday and Beyond.  In this exciting installment we see a hero fall and a funeral for a friend.

Enjoy.

Next time: An empty casket and a father fights for the soul of his son.

More to follow…

DOOMSDAY AND BEYOND ART PART 2

Today I present more of the artwork that Dan Jurgens and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez provided for the young adult novelization Superman: Doomsday and Beyond.  In this exciting installment we see Kal-El seconds after he arrives on Earth, Doomsday seconds after he escapes from his underground prison and the Man of Steel and Doomsday slugging it out.

Enjoy!

Next time: A hero falls and a funeral for a friend.

More to follow…

DOOMSDAY AND BEYOND ART PART 1

The Death and Return of Superman was so epic it received not one but two novelizations.  The first was written by Roger Stern and aimed at a more general audience.  The second was written by Louise Simonson aimed at a younger crowd.  Part of me wants to poke fun at the fact that there was a “young adult” version of Superman getting killed but I have a lot of good will in me at the moment and can’t bring myself to do so I’ll distract myself with the awesomely awesome cover to the “young adult” version.

That’s Alex Ross’ first mainstream Superman piece, by the way.  In case you are interested in such things.

Anyway, in addition to having that awesomely awesome cover there were a handful of illustrations inside the books as well.  To say that the art for these illustrations is amazing is a bit of an understatement.  They are gorgeous, which makes sense considering the artists responsible are Dan Jurgens and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez.  These are two men that defined Superman for two generations so it was great to see them provide the art for this book.

Jeff and I are heading into the home stretch of our coverage of Reign of the Supermen.  In fact next week we’ll be covering Superman #82.  It’s really weird to type that.  Sure we have a few episodes after that to wrap up the Death and Return of Superman as a storyline but next week we’ll be talking about the book where Superman truly returned.  To celebrate this I thought I would devote the next seven entries to the Jurgens/Garcia-Lopex fueled illustrations from the “young adult” novelization.  I will be going two at a time and to start this series off we have a bunch of head shots of the most important players in the Death and Return of Superman.

Okay…maybe “most important players” might be a bit of an exaggeration in the case of Charlie and Mitch.  Sure they are in the book and to be fair Mitch was present for a couple of key moments but when you compare them to Mongul or even Director Westfield they seem to be…less important.  That’s just me though.  Well, me and my snarkiness.  Sometimes it is a beast I can’t slay.

On the other hand…BIBBO!

Because Bibbo is awesome.  I will accept no arguments on this front.  I am even willing to go out back and slug it out with whoever disagrees with me.

Bibbo’s my fav’rit.  He really is.

Next time: Origins, Doomsday and even more Doomsday.

More to follow…

DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN ON THE SNES – LEVEL 1

Today I present the first level of The Death and Return of Superman video game for the Super Nintendo.  I recently snagged a copy of this and have been trying to find the time to seriously play it as my wife and I actually have a working SNES in the house.  So far I have gotten through two levels and while it is far from the best Superman game out there it is a lot of fun.  At least to me.  I freely admit that that opinion could simply be nostalgia talking but at the same time I didn’t own this game when it first came out so I don’t know if I can be nostalgic about something I didn’t have in my misspent youth.

Anyway, here’s a video I found on YouTube of the first level.  This is as close of an adaptation of Superman: The Man of Steel #18 as we may ever get.  Enjoy.

More to follow…