SECRET FILES FRIDAY – SCORN

Welcome to another installment of Secret Files Friday!  Each week I present another entry from the various Secret Files and Origins specials that started popping up 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 Scorn!

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

SPECIAL REPORT FROM WIZARD: THE GUIDE TO COMICS #66

When I first mentioned on Facebook that I was going to be covering the Electric Blue era of Superman someone (I apologize because I honestly forget who) asked if I was going to post the costume ideas that were in an issue of Wizard: The Guide to Comics around the time the big change was announced.  This led me to start digging through my Wizard collection because I honestly remember two different articles and one of those may not exist.  I have this dim memory of readers submitting their ideas for Superman’s new look, which may or may not have happened.  The second article, which was very real, was one that I found in Wizard: The Guide to Comics #66.

Two things stick out to me about this article with the first being Dan Jurgens quote about how this change will be the new status quo.  He said, “I guess if we get a billion letters saying it sucks, we’ll probably back out, but I highly doubt that’s going to happen.”  That quote is interesting not because the new look only lasted a year but because of something another writer on the Superman books at the time said in another Wizard publication.

 More on that next week.

That’s a tease.

Because I can do that sort of thing.

The second part that stuck out to me was the ideas other artists had for Superman’s new look.  J. Scott Campbell seems to prefer letting classic costumes stay classic.  Kevin Lau’s design was similar to more recent Superman costumes in video games and other media.  Jerry Ordway’s remarks about the underpants surprised me but his ideas were on point for the ’90s.  Joe Quesada’s design was…not to my liking.  Andy Kubert’s remarks seemed like he preferred a sleeker look for the Man of Steel.  John Romita, Sr.’s idea for Superman wasn’t surprising as it was very Marvel.  Oddly enough the new look that was chosen for Superman is very close to his idea with some minor tweaks.

 I dug the Visual Evolution of Superman that ran at the top and bottom of the second and third pages of the article.  Wizard was usually good about giving a sense of history of the character they were writing about during this era.  In the end this article did exactly what it was supposed to do; tease the upcoming change and give us just enough information to get us interested.

So to the person that was asking for this article to be posted…here you go.  I hope this is what you were looking for.

THAT COVERS IT – COMICS FEATURE #49

I found this issue at a local comic shop and picked it up solely because I liked the cover.  To me it is a great encapsulation of what was going on with my two favorite heroes in 1986.  To be fair it’s just the art from the Man of Steel house ad placed on top of a page from what has become commonly known as The Dark Knight Returns but it hits me right in the nostalgia center of my brain.  That’s kind of weird because I didn’t start collecting comics until about a year after this but I have found it is possible to feel nostalgic for a comic or comic era you weren’t present for.

I need to dig into this soon.  No matter what the Rolling Stones say time is never on my side.

DO THE CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN INSTALLMENT 4

Installment 4: Adventures of Superman #545

Adventures of Superman #545

“Power Crisis!”

  • Cover Date: April 1997
  • Released on February 19, 1997
  • Triangle Number: 1997/16
  • Writer: Karl Kesel
  • Pencils: Scot Eaton
  • Inker: Jose Marzan, Jr.
  • Editor: Joey Cavalieri

Spoiler Free Synopsis

Dinner plans change.  Complications with super powers continue.  An old enemy returns.  Dr. Electron gets atomized.

Continue reading “DO THE CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN INSTALLMENT 4”

SECRET FILES FRIDAY – THE GUARDIAN

Welcome to another installment of Secret Files Friday!  Each week I present another entry from the various Secret Files and Origins specials that started popping up 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 The Guardian!

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

DO THE CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN INSTALLMENT 3

Installment 3 – Superman #120

Superman #120

“The Kandor Connection”

  • Cover Date: April 1997
  • Released on February 12, 1997
  • Triangle Number: 1997/15
  • Writer: Dan Jurgens
  • Pencils: Ron Frenz
  • Inker: Joe Rubinstein
  • Editor: Joey Cavalieri

Spoiler Free Synopsis

Strange things are afoot in the City K.  Clark starts feeling out of sorts.  An unexpected visitor.    A trip to the arctic doesn’t go as planned.  Freedom.

Continue reading “DO THE CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN INSTALLMENT 3”

SECRET FILES FRIDAY – MARTHA AND JONATHAN KENT

Welcome to another installment of Secret Files Friday!  Each week I present another entry from the various Secret Files and Origins specials that started popping up 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 Martha and Jonathan Kent!

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

DO THE CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN INSTALLMENT 2

Installment 2: Final Nights, Marriage and Revenge

When I first conceived this series of posts I knew that one of the first installments had to be a breakdown of what was going on in the Superman books right before the Electric Blue Era began.  I figured this would be relatively simple.  I’d re-read the comics, pick out the key moments and relate them in a hopefully entertaining fashion.  The only problem I had was choosing a place to begin.  By 1996 the Superman titles were essentially a weekly comic book and the continuity was dense.  It was enjoyable and great for those following the books, but dense just the same.  In the interest of keeping this installment from becoming a two-parter I decided that the best place to start was the first appearance of the Post-Crisis version of the Bottle City of Kandor.

Why?

Because that’s where the seeds of the news powers and costume were planted.

The Bottle City of Kandor first appeared in Action Comics #242 (July 1958).  That was also the first appearance of Brainiac and it turns out the villain had a nasty habit of shrinking cities, putting them in bottles and leaving with them.  Kandor became a fixture of the Fortress of Solitude during the Silver and part of the Bronze Age with Superman traveling there and having all sorts of adventures.  Superman’s oath to find a way to enlarge the city was one of those soap opera elements that was frequently discussed but never resolved until the historic Let My People Grow from Superman #338 (August 1979).  In that story, Superman managed to enlarge the occupants of Kandor but due to a problem with the process the ray the Man of Steel used only worked permanently on living matter.  All of the Kryptonians were restored to their original heights but the buildings they lived in crumbled to dust.  Van-Zee, one of Kandor’s leading citizens and a dead ringer for Kal-El, chose to be a glass half full kind of guy when dealing with this setback.  He announced that after years of depending on Superman to care for them they can finally be the captains of their own destiny and rebuild their city through their own efforts.

There’s a lot more to Kandor’s Pre-Crisis history but we have a lot of ground to cover and I didn’t want to get lost in the weeds.  Like most of Superman’s Pre-Crisis history Kandor was swept under the rug after the revamp in 1986.  Krypton went from being this amazing, science fiction wonderland to a cold, dead world that practically deserved to be blown up.  In the Post Crisis era Superman was the sole survivor of Krypton, emphasis on the sole, so a bottled city full of other Kryptonians was definitely off the table.  So how do you have a Bottle City of Kandor when Superman is the last Kryptonian?

Continue reading “DO THE CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN INSTALLMENT 2”

SECRET FILES FRIDAY – S.T.A.R. LABS

Welcome to another installment of Secret Files Friday!  Each week I present another entry from the various Secret Files and Origins specials that started popping up 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 S.T.A.R. Labs!

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