I have a segment on Radio KAL,  the Superman Homepage’s podcast, called Bailey’s Bookshelf.  It’s a pretty simple bit of business; every month I go to the bookshelf here at the Fortress and find a Superman trade or hardcover to talk about.

If you haven’t seen it before, this is that bookshelf.

This month I covered John Byrne’s Man of Steel and during the course of the five minutes I chatted about it I mentioned that I own five different versions of the Man of Steel trades.  This is what you call an addiction.  Some people would say that I am a completist and those people have a similar OCD that I do when it comes to collecting things.  When it comes to Superman it’s on like Donkey Kong.  I get obscure and weird stuff because I want them.  Not need them.  WANT them.  So for grins I thought it would be fun to post the covers of the various versions of Man of Steel that grace the action figure and trade filled shelf.  This is the closest I get to a multimedia event.  Hope it works out.

Here’s a page break because I cross post this to Live Journal and I really don’t want to kill any of my friends’ Friends Pages.

This is the front cover to the first trade paperback edition of Man of Steel that DC released to comic book shops.  It’s a very striking cover and I like it.  Simple and to the point.  I bought this last year off of eBay for a song, which proves that eBay can be your friend at times.

This was the cover to the Ballentine Books edition of the trade.  I am working under the assumption that for some reason there was an edition sent to comic shops (see above) and this edition that went to the mainstream bookstores.  Whatever the case this was a real find to me.  I had seen pictures of it and thanks once again to eBay it is now mine.

Here’s the back cover.

That is one amazing tie that Dick Giordano is wearing in that photo.

This version has a very special place in my heart.

After Man of Steel came out Diamond Distributors put out a special edition “trade” to retailers.  I put quotes around trade because this isn’t a reprinted collection.  It is the six issues bound under one cover.  I found this at Titan Games and Comics and for about three years just stared at it, wanting to make it mine and yet never doing so.  When my wife and I started dating back in 1999 Rachel got me a gift ceritificate to Titans because she had no idea what to get me.  That’s when I became convinced that she was a keeper.  Here’s a woman that braved a comic shop on the heavy gaming day to find me something.  I used the gift certificate to buy this edition and if an asteroid ever hits the Earth I will seal and bury this so future life forms can find it.

This edition is one of the many reasons I love my wife.

And it’s really eighties, which is keen.

The quick and dirty edition of Man of Steel.  This was released in the early nineties as a cheap way to get the story out there.  I bought this when I was a senior in high school and it marked the first time I bought a trade of a bunch of comics that I already owned.  At $7.50 it was hard to pass up.


Back in 2003 DC started releasing trades of the John Byrne/Marv Wolfman Superman books that pissed off a legion of fans (pun intended) back in 1986.  I was shocked that they did this because it happened right around the time that Superman: Birthright came out.  Why in the name of Rao would they release a trade of an origin that was in the process of being undone?  It didn’t matter.  I loved the fact that they were reprinting that material because it was MY Superman and now a new generation had a cheap way to read it for the first time.

And that’s it.  At some point I would love for DC to release an Absolute Edition of Man of Steel or even a hardcover.  I think the story deserves it and yes that it me being completely biased.  Seriously, if you should track down a copy and give it a go.  I can’t guarantee that you’ll like it but I will say it is worth the ten to fifteen bucks that it will set you back.

More to follow…

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  1. jesse greco says:

    I believe John Byrne ruined superman in the 80s. made the character to weak. I like what dc did now making him more powerful then byrnes version. John Byrne sucks.

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