COLLECTED EDITIONS: SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL VOL. 1 (REVISED)

(Collected Editions is a listing of the various trade paperbacks, hardcovers, omnibuses, etc. that are in my Superman collection.  The goal is to not only inventory my collection of trades, hardcovers, etc. but also to display said collection and produce something resembling a resource for other Superman readers, collectors and fans.)

This edition of Collected Editionsis what golfers would call a mulligan.  In golf, a mulligan is a stroke that is replayed from the spot of the previous stroke without penalty, due to an errant shot made on the previous stroke.  While I did not make an error with the first version of this post I wanted to re-do it with better scans and to make it a part of this section of the Fortress.  So if you have been following this blog for some time you might feel like you have seen it before.  This paragraph is my clunky attempt to give y’all a heads up.

Several years back I posted about the various trade paperback iterations of John Byrne’s Man of Steel mini-series.  At the time I just wanted to show off the covers and admit to having some sort of addiction that compelled and continues to compel me to buy every collected edition version of the Man of Steel that DC releases.  It started out as a lark really.  I noticed there were other versions and thought it would be fun to have them in my collection.  That fun quickly turned into an obsession and over the course of eight or so years I bought all of the different versions that I could find.

I have said it a hundred times…my comic collecting is not a hobby.  It’s an addiction.

Anyway, DC initially released two different versions of the Man of Steel as a collected edition both with a cover price of $12.95.  There was one that went to comic shops, which looked like this.

With a back cover that looked like this.

The contents of the trade were as follows.

  • An acknowledgement from John Byrne to the Superman creators that came before.
  • A forward by Ray Bradbury titled Why Superman? Why Today? This was written specifically for the collected edition.
  • An introduction by John Byrne titled Superman: A Personal View. This was from the back cover of Man of Steel #1.
  • Man of Steel issues 1 through 6.

There was no cover gallery to speak of though for this printing but for this version and the next one all seven covers (six standard and the “collector’s edition” cover to issue one) were shown in the margins of the John Byrne text piece.

Apparently DC thought that it might be a good idea to put out another version of the trade to the bookstore market.  This version was released in association with Ballentine Books and had a different front and back cover.

The differences between the two versions is striking.  The version sold in comic shops has a more “comic booky” look to it with a beautiful shot of John Byrne’s Superman flying into the sky.  The back cover to the comic shop iteration has pretty extensive bios of both John Byrne and Dick Gordano.  The Ballentine edition is more…mainstream  The shot of Clark Kent opening his shirt to reveal the S underneath has a more painted look to it and both the colors and the layout screams 1980’s to me.  The back cover to the Ballentine edition not only has more professional looking photos for Byrne and Giordano (with abbreviated bios) but the copy seems geared to selling Man of Steel to a more general audience.  The phrase, “THE REMAKING OF LEGEND OF FOR THE EIGHTIES – FULL COLOR THROUGHOUT!” isn’t something that you would find on something meant for the comic shops because that audience probably knew about the revamp of Superman where the non-comic reading audience wouldn’t know unless they happened to see the spot on Entertainment Tonight or saw John Byrne on the Today Show.  This is all theory, by the way.  I haven’t spoken to anyone in a position to know to confirm this but given all of the evidence I have (i.e. looking at the two books and remembering the eighties) I think I am on to something here.

A few years later DC put out another edition of Man of Steel.   Not only was it cheaper by about five dollars ($7.50) but it was also on a less heavy paper.  The contents are exactly the same at the previous edition(s) with a cover that is more simplistic but at the same very striking.

The back cover was the same as the direct market (comic book store) edition.

In 2003 DC started releasing a line of trades under the Superman: The Man of Steel banner.  Excited does not even begin to describe how I felt at the time because the line was going to reprint the Post Crisis material in what they referred to as chronological order.  At the time I was rather surprised that DC decided to put these out because by that point the continuity had shifted away from the John Byrne origin but I eagerly snapped up each volume.  With a name like Superman: The Man of Steel it is no surprise that DC led off with the Man of Steel mini-series at the bargain price point of $9.95.

One of the best elements of the S:TMOS line of trades were the covers that Jerry Ordway produced for them.  Each one had a main image of Superman filling two-thirds of the image with a line up of characters that appear in that particular trade at the bottom.

The back covers to the line were rather cool as well with a Superman image at the top left corner as well as some copy describing the contents of the book and a preview image of the next volume in the line.

Finally I have something that is not so much  trade paperback as six issues of a comic bound together with a cover that could only have been designed in the mid-’80s.

Because nothing screams the eighties like a computer looking grid pattern.

This is actually the most cherished Man of Steel collected edition I own as it was purchased for me by my wife shortly after we started dating.  Well, technically it was purchased for me by my wife shortly after we started dating.  Rachel, bless her soul, ventured to the comic shop I was frequenting at the time (Titan Games and Comics) to find me a present for our one month anniversary (because we’re sappy like that) and even though I told her that I wanted this book (which had been on the shelf for years) and even though I described what this book looked like she didn’t want to get the wrong thing, which I totally understand.  For the uninitiated a comic shop can be a daunting, sometimes scary place and considering she went up there on gaming day I can see why she would have been thrown off a little.  Luckily the manager (and good friend) Chuck was there to help her and they decided that a gift certificate would be the way to go.  So either way I got the book.  This is one of the many reasons my wife is my awesome and why I married her.

Near as I can figure this book was put out as some kind of Diamond exclusive.  If I am remembering the story correctly Chuck (the previously mentioned manager and friend) got it while working for that comic book distributor and hung on to it for years until he decided to put it on the shelf.  So really I’m not sure where it actually came from.  I am curious if this is the version of Man of Steel that was given away as part of a…giveaway in the January 1987 cover dated Superman books.  No matter where it comes from I like this book quite a bit.  It is literally all six issues, ads and all, bound together into one volume.  The corners are banged up a bit but the book is still in fairly good shape.

And the back cover is neat as well.

And that is it for Man of Steel.  If this is your first Collected Editions of Steel (hello, future people) I promise that they are not all as…involved as this one.  This is the only one that really has any multiple printings.  Usually these will be/are a rather simple affair.  Cover.  Description.  Peace out.  I wanted to take a little bit more time on this one.

To follow the series as it progress check out the following links:

More to follow…

5 thoughts on “COLLECTED EDITIONS: SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL VOL. 1 (REVISED)

  1. Keith Samra

    This is awesome Mike, I’ve got 2 different versions of this trade myself, but one of mine is different to all the ones you have here. I’ll send you the scans of the front and back cover.

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