Episode 26: August 1988

Welcome to the twenty-sixth 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.

It is a packed episode this week as Jeffrey and Mike talk about four different comics featuring the Post-Crisis Superman that took place on or around the cover date of August 1988.  First up is Superman #20, which crosses over in the most bizarre fashion with Doom Patrol #10.  This crossover actually takes place between two panels of Superman #20, so that was kind of weird.  After covering those books the boys take on Adventures of Superman #443, which Jeffrey liked a lot more than he thought he would and Michael didn’t really like it at all.  Finally, Superman Annual #2 came out this month and much love is given to that story.

All of this and Michael’s snoring dog too.  This episode has everything.

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Seriously, let us know what you think.

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  1. Erik Larsen’s rendition of Superman has never done it for me. I agree that his later work on the Savage Dragon/Superman crossover issue was more pleasing/refined than Doom Patrol #10, but there’s still something about Larsen’s take that grates me the wrong way — perhaps it’s the not-quite-Kirby angularity of it all or the seeming lack of underlying design sense. Or perhaps I’m simply the one idiot who doesn’t “get” Erik Larsen’s Superman. 😉

    Either way, depending on the creative team involved, the Superman in non-Byrne/Wolfman/Ordway stories of 1986-88 often doesn’t feel “right” for what had been established as the post-Crisis-1985 Clark Kent/Kal-El, especially in terms of his personality and characterization. (The Roger Stern-penned stories in Action Comics Weekly are okay enough, but they feel Bronze Age to me.) I’m not waxing nostalgic for the “good old days,” merely suggesting that B/W/O had it about as right as one could ever hope and, as important, they were/are a tough act to follow.

    Which isn’t to take away from Roger Stern, Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson, and many of the others who have come along in the years since. There’s been plenty of stellar work in the 23 years since Byrne rebooted the Man of Steel. But during that time in particular, there seemed to be discrepancy — one identified by Byrne in the years since, I believe — between what the main titles were doing and how other editorial offices perceived the character (and S-franchise) during this initial post-Crisis-1985 period. One was “modern” by 1980s standards and fresh; the other dated and very Bronze Age (as under Julie Schwartz) in its stylings.

  2. Charlie says:

    I wonder if Superman’s portrayal outside of the main books had anything to do with creators who either worked on or just preferred the Pre-Crisis Superman at the time. Kupperburg, for example, had worked on Superman and Superboy shortly before the reboot, and if he was at the infamous “we’re rebooting Superman, none of you will be working on the character anymore” meeting, he might have had a little resentment.

    This also seemed to happen later on too, even after Byrne left. Heck, even when he had different powers. Since the creators grew up reading the Pre-Crisis Superman, that was the version used when he would guest star. And they would try to make him cool again. Look at Grant Morrison’s JLA for example.

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