Say the words and a certain contingent of Superman fans will either start laughing, cracking jokes or hit the ground and cover their head like a Vietnam Vet hearing a car backfire.
For those of you who have blocked it out of your minds or have only heard about it in hushed whispers I cast your memory back to 1997 when DC decided that the Man of Steel needed a change and the best way to change the character is to give him new powers and a new costume. It looked a little like this.
Was it the best idea ever? Not really. As a matter of fact for a long time this was my gold standard of when the Superman books went off the rails. Now I’m not so sure because there have been a couple of years after that where the books were a true chore to read and this era looks pretty good in comparison.
In any case I didn’t bring you here today to talk about the pros and cons of that storyline. I am re-reading it so I may do that at some point in the future but for right now I want to show off what four bucks can get you on eBay these days.
This is a packet that was sent to comic shops back in January 1997 to prep for the big change over. No matter what anyone thinks of the actual story there is no denying that it was a big deal. I will admit that the text on this packet, “Who says things never change?” is kind of amusing in retrospect but I can’t fault DC’s marketing department for doing their job.
So what came inside this packet?
I am a big fan of comic book promotional posters so these were a real treat. While I thought the idea of changing Superman’s powers and costumes was wrong headed I did like the costume itself. Twelve years later I look at these posters as a piece of Superman’s history so instead of being a reminder of a bad story they now serve as reminders of a particular era, so getting these posters makes me smile and yes at some point both of them are going up on the wall. Don’t know when but they will be there.
These are neat. They are rack cards for the five Superman titles that were coming out at the time. A shop owner would put them on the rack behind the particular issues to draw attention to them. I have no idea what I am going to do with these. Hanging them on the wall springs to mind but I may just put them behind the several versions of the Superman Red and Superman Blue figures that I have. In any case I think they’re cool.
So that’s what four bucks will get you on eBay. In a few weeks I will be covering 1997 on my podcast, Views From The Longbox, so this storyline will be discussed. I am hoping to have the issues re-read by that point so that I can have a firmer opinion of the Electro-Blue era beyond my memories of what happened at the time. Maybe I’ll look more favorably on it.
Or maybe I’ll just shake my head and wonder what the hell those people were thinking. Time will tell.
More to follow…