The Siegel Ruling: My Thoughts

Well it’s been a week since the news hit the Internet that the Siegels won a key battle in their litigation with Time Warner and for the moment they own fifty percent of the copyright to Superman. Reactions have been mixed and have ranged from entertaining to downright frustrating. I’ve been thinking about the whole thing for the better part of the week and here are my thoughts and feelings on the subject.

For those wanting the particulars you can get more information HERE and HERE.

The problem I’ve had writing this thing is that I didn’t know how to break down my thoughts in a way that anyone besides me would want to read. To keep things kind of simple I broke it down to the major questions surrounding the issue. It’s complicated or at least the way I feel is complicated so I thought that would be the best way to deal with it.

And here we go…

1. Do I think the Siegels deserved to be on the winning side of this ruling?

Well, yes and no. Frankly they are well within their rights to have sued for the rights thanks to the late Sonny Bono (who, by the way, played Mayor Frank Berkowitz in a first season episode of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) when he kicked started legislation that amended and changed the way heirs and estates could seek to recapture copyrights. So when it comes to the letter of the law they are entitled to do what they have done and since it is one of those laws that involve creative and intellectual properties I really can’t get all that upset about it since the law doesn’t impede on anyone’s civil rights and doesn’t, for example, tell a person they can’t drink out of that water fountain because they aren’t the right color.

That doesn’t mean that I agree with it. If Jerry Siegel was still alive and wanted to get the copyright back because the laws changed to allow him to do so then I would more than likely be behind him all the way. But this isn’t Jerry Siegel wanting to get the copyright back. It’s his widow and daughter. There is something to be said of Joanne and Laura having to live with Jerry’s struggle, especially Laura who had to deal with what her father went through her entire life. On the other hand there seems to be some evidence that some of what Jerry Siegel went through was kind of his own fault. I am not trying to say that he wasn’t screwed over. I’m simply saying that the apocryphal tale that Siegel and Shuster were the Davy and that DC Comics, in its many forms, was the evil Goliath set to keep all of the money for themselves and give nothing to Superman’s creators doesn’t ring true and is a tad naïve.

So it had to be rough for Joanne and Laura but that doesn’t mean I think they should have control of the copyright, but more on that in a bit.

2. Do I think that if you are against the Siegels in one form or another that you are against creator’s rights?

No, and what a stupid thing to say.

What is happening with the Siegels and creator’s rights are pretty different. Again, we’re not talking about someone claiming their intellectual property. We’re talking about an estate wanting money because of what their late husband and father created over seventy years ago. Do they deserve the money? Maybe. I mean DC and Warner Brothers were paying Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster a pension of sorts and if that pension extended to their heirs than by all means they deserve the money if the same deal that would have allowed Jerry Siegel to get the copyright back extends to them. But saying you don’t think that the estate deserves the money isn’t saying that a creator doesn’t deserve to be compensated if their creation becomes financially successful. There is a world of difference between saying that a person who creates a financially successful property deserves to be compensated and saying that the family of the dead creator deserves to be compensated for something they didn’t create.

A little harsh? Yes. If I created something that made a billion dollars in licensing would I want my wife and eventual children to still get a piece of that after I shuffled off this mortal coil? Yes, but I would make sure that such a thing was included in any kind of will that I would have written. Do I think Jerry Siegel would have wanted his family to be taken care of? More than likely, but the laws were different when he was alive and the Siegels are taking advantage of an amendment made after his death, which, like I said, is their right to do so even if I don’t agree with it.

3. So why don’t I agree with it?

This breaks down into two parts really.

Part one has to do with the fact that the Superman in Action Comics #1 is not the Superman currently running around in the comics and animated series and movies and so on. The only similarities is that Superman is Clark Kent, he was rocketed from a dying world as a baby, found by a kindly old couple and went on to work for a major metropolitan newspaper where he meets some woman named Lois Lane. Those are integral to the mythos, so to speak, but the supporting cast; Perry White, Jonathan and Martha Kent (originally it was John and Mary), Jimmy Olsen, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Metallo and so on were all created later, sometimes decades later and sometimes, in the case of Jimmy Olsen, in another medium altogether. There is a difference between being the defender of truth, justice and the American Way and being the champion of the weak and oppressed, though Superman did spout that particular line at least once during the Silver Age. Since the late forties Superman would never level a slum to force the government to build new, better housing or declare war on all unsafe drivers. I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other, it’s just the Superman we all think of when we think of Superman is in just about every important way totally different from the one that was originally presented in Action Comics #1. The spirit is still there, but the trappings aren’t.

Is that important?

Yes, and that leads into the second part which is the only reason the Siegels are able to get a sizable chunk of money for all domestic Superman related products and such since 1999 is that DC Comics (through the various publishers, editors, writers, artists and such) were in control of the character.

My opinions on this matter stems from an interview I read with Will Eisner in a book titled Comic Book Rebels. Here’s the passage:

CBR: Do you agree this has been the greatest injustice against creators-that it’s always been assumed in this particular industry that it’s the publisher who should own all rights to a character or comic book title?

Eisner: Injustice or rip-off is not a fair description. There are two sides to it. A publisher-just as the artist-works within the framework of what the market will bear. The publisher essentially felt he needed to have ownership because what he was doing was investing his money on a property, and he was not about to waive proprietorship. The publisher saw is in the long term and was prepared to promote, develop and sustain the property. The creating artist neither had the resources or staying power. As a matter of fact-and this is a fact-there isn’t a major superhero that has survived through today that is still being done by its originator.

Superman and Batman, for example, are the result of years of exploitation and creative refinement by many, many brilliant artists and writers. Thousand and thousands of dollars in investing in promotion and exploiting of ancillary product. Which the publisher claims he might not have done if he didn’t own the property-or if his lease on that property was at the whim of some artist. On the other hand, the artist could not do it all himself. The real unfairness lay in the fact that creators did not share n the form of royalty. It took many years for that to happen.

Two things stand out to me in that quote; one, it is unfair that Siegel and Shuster didn’t get more money, something that was rectified to a certain extent in the mid-seventies when Neal Adams and others pretty much shamed DC and Warner Brothers into coughing up some much deserved money. Bear in mind that I am not in anyway saying that Siegel and Shuster weren’t screwed out of a lot of cash because I think they were.

On the other hand the only reason Superman got as successful and remained in consistent publication even during the times when comic books were on life support is that a big company was pumping money into the property and keeping it in the public consciousness. I’m not saying everything the various powers that be have done over the years have been all sunshine and lollipops but at the same time to not give DC and it’s various owners credit for keeping Superman alive is unfair.

So to me, while I believe that the Siegels are entitled (not deserve, entitled) to a good deal of money I don’t think they should have any say in the day to day business of Superman. I just don’t think they’re qualified and being the widow and daughter of a creator doesn’t automatically mean they you can step into a creative role.

4. What happens next?

From the looks of it a lot of legal maneuvering. From the most recent update it seems that the word settlement is in everyone involved’s future. Things are far from over and then there’s the fact that the Shuster estate can get involved in a few years and that the character goes into public domain in 2033.

So again, what happens next?

Best case scenario (to me): The Siegels and Warner Brothers come to a financial agreement that leaves the day to day publishing duties to Warner Brothers and DC. Joanne and Laura collect royalties and DC and Warner Brothers continue to crank out comic books, movies, television series, etc. The only downside here is that DC and Warner Brothers might be reticent to start new titles or movie projects because of the money they would have to pay, but given how much money was wasted on getting a new Superman movie together before Superman Returns it seems like this is something that can be worked around. Warner Brothers settles with the Shuster Estate as well and they get a nice bit of cash. As long as everybody remains calm and doesn’t get too greedy things would be different but relatively normal.

Worst case scenario (again, to me): DC loses fifty percent of the copyright to the Siegels and then fifty percent to the Shuster estate and no longer has any control over the core components of Superman. They either have to create an entirely new character thus having to start continuity over yet again or cease publishing the comics. Superman becomes a character like the Lone Ranger or the Green Hornet; something controlled by an estate. Bad management leads the character to lapse into obscurity and Superman becomes a footnote in the history of culture.

Do I think either will happen? Well, more the first than the second but I honestly believe that no one knows where this is all going to end up.

5. Am I worried?

Honestly?

A little. Yeah. But not too much and not enough to get truly upset. I still have all of my Superman comics. I will still be able to buy back issues and, as long as they are published, trades and DVDs and all of that. I am hoping for the best but somewhat preparing for the worst.

In the end what will be, will be. I hate to get all Zen about the whole thing but there are very few people that have control over the situation and most of us are merely commentators on what is unfolding.

It is interesting, though. I can certainly say that. This thing may end up being the big comic book story of 2008. For right now, though, I’m going to sit and read and wait and comment when I feel the need.

More to follow…

RANDOM THOUGHT: 04/05/2008

A odd thought occurred to me the other day.

Superman Returns is a kind of microcosm of how I feel about Superman in general.

Superman Returns Fortress Shot

I like some parts.

I didn’t like others.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed it.

But at the same time I can’t say that everything about it was good or perfect.

Weird.

All of my feelings about one character as seen through one film.

More to follow.

ACQUISITION FOR 04/04/2008

And here’s where everyone shakes their head and gives me that…look.

Trial of Superman TPB

This particular trade comes from a time in the Superman books where things were getting a little…wonky.  It was two years past Reign of the Supermen and despite some rather good stories coming out of the Superman titles this was the time period where the books started to get a little crowded with supporting characters. 

I don’t think I’m alone in my lack of enthusiasm for Alpha Centurion and if you don’t recognize that name you have either blissfully forgotten him or are blissfully unaware of him.  Either way there’s bliss involved, so that’s good.

Oddly enough I remember very little about this story and it has nothing to do with denial or the quality of writing and art.  This arc came about during one of the bigger transition periods of my life.  In the middle of The Trial of Superman I made the big move from Pennsylvania to Georgia.  I had to close my box down at the comic shop I called home in Emmaus, PA and had to put the books that were in there had to be put back on the shelf because, well, I was out of money, which is why I had to move in the first place.  With some borrowed cash and misguided priorities I managed to catch up during the move and finally read the whole thing but because of what was going on at the time I can’t remember the particulars of the story.

Guess I have my chance to read it again.

Well, I’ve had the chance to re-read for thirteen years now.  I mean I have the comics and everything.

And now I have the trade to put on the book shelf.

More to follow…

THE NEW STUFF: COMIC BOOK WEEK 04/02/2008

Another week…another trip to Titan Games and Comics.

Kind of a light week Superman wise.  Here’s what I bought with somewhat decent scans to go along with them.

Click on the image to see a larger version.  Because I care.

Action Comics #863

It is nice to be in the “looking forward to the next issue” mode with Action Comics again.  While I thought it was kind of slow to start “Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes” has turned into a solid storyline that I am really digging on.  Can’t wait to read this one.

Superman 3-2-1 Action!

I ordered this because I buy just about all of the Superman trades and Showcases that come out.  I wasn’t much on these issues when they came out so I will be waiting to go through this trade until after I can get the sour taste of Countdown out of my mouth.

Superman #315

Another back issue.  Well, when I started reading Superman (vol. 1) #316 it seemed like I needed to read the previous issue and luckily Titans had a copy.  Yeah me.

Red Son 2

That is one bad ass looking figure.  The cleaning out of the box continues in baby steps, but I am glad I finally picked this figure up.

Oh, I took some nicer pictures of the figures I bought last week.  

Last Son Set

Super Squad Superman

Well, that’s it for this week.  Now off to read my books.

More to follow…

Rest In Peace: Jim Mooney

It took me a few days to get to this and I kind of feel bad about that. 

Jim Mooney died. 

Now I will fully admit that I have not been the biggest fan of Jim Mooney’s artwork but that isn’t because I didn’t care for it.  I just wasn’t all that familiar with Mr. Mooney’s work.  Some other bloggers have talked about this with anecdotes and artwork (such as Heidi Meeley of Comics Fairplay) but I thought I would give a few thoughts myself.

As I wrote I’m not up to speed on Jim Mooney’s career but there was one place I came across his work and really liked it.  The Superboy series from the early nineties that was tied into the syndicated television series.  He drew the first eight issues of that book and I really dug his art.  His work had a smooth feel to it and I thought the comic complimented the series nicely.  As much as I respect the late Curt Swan’s work I was a little bummed when Mooney left the series with issue nine.

This is indeed a sad passing.  In looking at his work he was an obviously talented artist and from all accounts a nice guy.  My best to his friends and family.

More to follow…

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: FINAL CRISIS- LEGION OF 3 WORLDS

I will fully admit that I have been pretty down on the majority of the new comics hitting the stands, even the Superman ones to a certain extent.

But this…this has me excited.

Legion of 3 Worlds 1

Legion of 3 Worlds 2

Images snagged from Newsarma.  Click on images for a slightly larger version.

Superman.  Superboy Superman Prime.  The Legion of Super-Heroes.  The Legion of Super-Villains.  Geoff Johns.  George Perez.

Oh yeah, I’m there.

More to follow…

“THE NIGHT OF MARCH 31st!”

So the question for the day is what does this cover have to do with April Fool’s Day?

Superman Vol. 1 #145

Cover taken from the Grand Comic Database.

Beneath this rather drab cover is a story titled “The Night of March 31st!“, which was written by Otto Binder and had art by Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff.  Even by Silver Age standards this was kind of goofy. 

In the splash panel on the first page of the story we see Superman streaking towards a ship where sailors are pulling Lori Lemaris, Superman’s mermaid ex-girlfriend, aboard and darn it all if the she isn’t pulling a Daryl Hannah and suddenly has legs.  Superman himself looks kind of goofy as well.  His left leg looks perfectly normal but the right leg has a sock and show instead of a red boot.  Things continue to be all about some strange when in the third panel on the page Clark hears the phone ring and uses his telepathic powers to find out that the caller is Perry White. 

And things just get weirder from there.  For the next seven and half pages Superman is suddenly without his cape for a panel, is faced with what a Bizarro Perry White who speaks perfect English, discovers that his cousin has revealed herself publicly without his consent, receives a visit from Streaky and Krypto while in his Clark Kent disguise at the office, has to deal with Lois being in love with Mr. Mxyzptlk, buys some ice cream from Lana Lang and is not only serenaded by Lex Luthor, Brainiac and Bizarro but finds that they have discovered his secret identity by reading a comic book they found at a newsstand run by Ma Kent.  The story ends with Superman passing out and crushing the bottle city of Kandor.

This is quite possibly one of the single greatest Superman stories published in the Silver Age.

No, I’m not kidding.

Apparently this whimsical tale was part of something called “The Great Boo-Boo Contest.”  I first ran across this story in the pages of The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told which, if memory serves, I got sometime during the summer of 1988.  On the bottom of the eighth page was a half a page worth of text about what the heck was going on in the story.  In reading it I get the feeling that the explanation is from Adventure Comics #339, where the story was first reprinted as a Hall of Fame classic since it discusses the story in the past tense.  In the original I am going to assume that there the empty area was used as ad space.  According to the guy writing the text piece (presumably Edmond Hamilton since it is signed Ed) even though the story is titled “The Night of March 31st” all of the action takes place on April 1st.

April Fool’s Day.

Ed goes on to explain, “In fact, this was the story on which our ‘Great Boo-Boo Contest’ was based a few years ago.  We received over 30,000 letters pointing out the goofs in the story,” and then lists some of the boo-boos that were made on purpose before challenging the reader to spot even more.

So in the spirit of April Fool’s Day (which is a holiday I have very little patience for actually) here are the boo-boos I found. 

Yeah, I’m not posting the story panel by panel because the only versions of the story I have are in the hardcover and softcover editions of The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told and those don’t scan easy.  If at some point I get this issue I’ll come back and through the scans in.  I hope you will be amused anyway.

Page 1: Panel 1- Superman is wearing a shoe and sock instead of his boot.

Page 1: Panel 3- Clark claims to have telepathic powers.

Page 2: Panel 3- Superman flies into action without his cape.

Page 2: Panel 4- Superman smashes through Perry’s wall instead of using the door.

Page 2: Panel 5- Perry White seems to be a Bizarro but speaks perfect English.

Page 2: Panel 6- Superman flies through the window instead of opening it.

Page 3: Panel 1- Superman’s right sleeve is from a dress shirt.

Page 3: Panel 2- Lori Lemaris has legs.

Page 3: Panel 5- Superman is missing his left boot.

Page 3: Panel 6- Supergirl has vacuum breath.

Page 4: Panel 1- Superman is wearing Clark’s pants.

Page 4: Panel 2- Jimmy is wearing a tux and there is a pay phone on Clark’s desk.

Page 4: Panel 3- Krypto has a short tail.

Page 4: Panel 4- Streaky says “Eeeoww!” instead of the traditional Meow.

Page 4: Panel 5- Clark is wearing a bow tie.

Page 4: Page 6- Clark is not wearing his glasses.  Streaky says “Arf, arf” and Krypto says, “Meeow”.

Page 5: Panel 1- Clark is still not wearing his glasses and his tie is solid black.  Krypto feels pain from banging his leg.

Page 5: Panel 2- Clark is once again without his glasses and his tie is still solid black.  Lois’ hair is longer. 

Page 5: Panel 3- Clark’s tie is white and black and he is wearing short pants.

Page 5: Panel 4- Clark changes to Superman in front of two onlookers.

Page 5: Panel 5- Superman is wearing glasses. 

Page 6: Panel 1- Lois is wearing a glove and and has a pony tail.  Superman is still wearing glasses.

Page 6: Panel 2- Superma is still wearing glasses.

Page 6: Panel 3- Superman is wearing glasses and not wearing his cape.

Page 6: Panel 4- Mxyzptlk is wearing glasses and Superman is wearing Mxy’s hat.

Page 6: Panel 5- Superman is still wearing glasses.

Page 6: Panel 6- Superman still has those glasses and his S is backwards. 

Page 7: Panel 1- Superman in glasses.  Actually he wears glasses for the entire page.

Page 7: Panel 2- There is a man in a parka in the right background and on the left are palm trees and chickens.

Page 7: Panel 3- The Leaning Tower of Piza (which Superman would later straighten and then un-straighten in Superman III) is in the background and a nearby apartment building has a “deluxe penthouse” that is a log cabin.

Page 7: Panel 4- Superman with glasses.

Page 7: Panel 5- Superman with glasses.

Page 8: Panel 1- Superman in glasses. 

Page 8: Panel 2- Superman in glasses.  Ma Kent is in the newstand.  Brainiac is wearing a hat.

Page 8: Panel 3- Superman in glasses.

And that’s about it I think.

So I hope you enjoyed that little trip in the Way Back Machine.  I’m normally not the biggest fan of Silver Age stories but this one always makes me smile.

More to follow…

THE NEW STUFF: COMIC BOOK WEEK 03/26/08

I’ve done this in some of my other blogs so I thought it might be worth a lark to continue it here.

Here is a rundown of the Superman related books and such that I bought for the comic book week of March 26, 2008

New Issues 

All-Star Superman #10

Brave and the Bold #11 (Which came out last week, but my shop was shorted it’s order last week and got more in this week)

Back Issues

Superman (Vol. 1) #s 316, 317, 320, 323 and 328

Action Figures

Bizarro, Zod and Ursa from the Last Son line.

Superman from the Reactivated Series 4: Super Squad line.

Now you might think, “My God, Mike!  Why so many action figures?  You win the lottery or something?”  Or maybe you’re thinking that I’m a lightweight for only getting four.  Somewhere in between you have me, a guy who is finally caught up on the bills and trying to clean out his somewhat but not completely out of control box. 

The figures are actually kind of nice.  I was very excited about the Super Squad Superman figure since I am a big fan of not only the Earth-2 Superman but of the mid-seventies run of All-Star Comics as well.  I have not committed myself to buying the whole line but it is still neat to see them get the action figure treatment.  The only thing I was remotely disappointed in was the fact that the S on Superman’s chest was changed from the initial image released by DC and the final product.  Here’s the promotional image from DC Comics’ website.

DC Super Squad Promo Image

Here is the kind of sucky picture I took with my digital camera of the figure I brought home today.

Super Squad Blister Pack

Oh well, change of S notwithstanding it is still a kick ass figure.

The Last Son line I ordered when they first solicted them not knowing that the storyline was going to suffer endless delays.  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  Kubert was sick.  It’s not fair complaining when a man gets sick, but still.  The figures are rather nice, though.  I’m not too keen on the Superman because he looks…well, he looks like he has a hump.  But Bizarro, Zod and Ursa look great. 

The back issues were a total impulse buy.  I have been meaning to get back to my Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths collection and while these particular issues weren’t in the best of condition I wanted them just the same.

Plus, the cover to Superman (Vol. 1) #317 is a classic.

Superman Vol 1 #317

I need to get a new scanner. 

As for the new issues, well it was a mixed bag.  I haven’t decided if I want to write a review/analyze All-Star Superman #10 but for now let’s just say that while I think the title is well written I don’t think this is the Superman for me.  Brave and the Bold#11 was a lot of fun.  I haven’t been following the title, but throw back to the seventies as personified by Steve Lombard wanting to play a practical joke on Superman aside I thought it was a solidly written issue and you can’t beat Jerry Ordway art.

So all in all a good week.  Now I am off to rip open my Last Son figures and go to bed.

More to follow…

MAYFAIR: THE SUPERMAN CONNECTION PART 1

In 1985 Mayfair Games unveiled the DC Heroes Role Playing Game.  Given how comic fandom and gaming fandom tend to cross paths from time to time this seemed like a good idea.  Marvel had put out a system through TSR a year before, which seemed to be fairly well received.  DC Heroes had it’s share of players but from what I understand it wasn’t as good.  I am not a gamer myself and have only played one or two RPGs in my lifetime so I am taking the word of friends of mine who either played or looked at Mayfair’s system and from what they tell me the structure of the game left a lot to be desired, particularly the way the stats and the gadget rules were laid out.  However those that played the system told me that once you got around that a fun time could be had by all.

A few years ago thanks to a good friend and some luck I managed to get my hands on both the original 1985 First Edition of the game (to go with a bunch of sourcebooks another friend gave me) and the 1989 Second Edition.  Now despite having no real desire to start a campaign or the patience to teach myself the system I was excited to get both of them.  They’re neat to look at and neat to own.  I’ll get into the two Superman Sourcebook that Mayfair published in future posts but for today I thought it would be fun to go through both of the Editions that I own and see what Superman type stuff they contain.

First up is the original box art from the first edition.  You can really tell that this edition was released in the mid-eighties.  The New Teen Titans are heavily featured right down to the “FEATURING THE NEW TEEN TITANS” logo.  The New Teen Titans was DC’s hottest book at the time and had a pretty big fan base, so it makes sense that they would be prominently displayed.  Then there’s John Stewart serving as Green Lantern on this cover.  Around the mid-eighties Hal had given up being GL, so it’s kind of interesting that they would use John on this particular licensed product since other merchandise, like the Super Powers action figure line, had Hal and seemed only mildly interested in what was going on in the comics.  Finally, you had the mid-eighties Brainiac ship in the background.  I have such a nostalgic love for that design and yes I know that has a lot to do with the fact that I was into the Super Powers action figures while growing up. 

It would have been really awesome if they had made a skull ship toy.  Apparently plans were drawn up for one as can be see HERE but, alas, it was not to be.

(In the interest of full disclosure I did not scan this cover image.  I snagged it from another site and now can’t remember exactly where I got it from, but the box was too big for my scanner.)

DC Heroes First Edition

You have to love the tag line for this edition.  “Be Part of the Legend”.  That’s almost as good as the Super Powers tag line, “Who wins? Who loses? You decide!” but doesn’t quite get there. 

Inside Superman gets some decent attention.  He and the old school, eighties power armor Lex Luthor (another design I will forever dig on because of it’s association the Super Powers line) are featured on the cover of the Gamemaster’s Manual.

Gamesmasters Manuel

He also gets the right hand side of the Game Master’s screen.

Gamemaster's Stand

Now that is classic, eighties Superman right there. 

To go along with the game (and I guess to make playing certain characters easier) Mayfair also included cards that had a picture of the character and their stats.  The Superman related cards were:

Superman (of course)

Superman Mayfair Card 1

Lex Luthor

Lex Luthor Mayfar Card

And Brainiac

Mayfair Brainiac Card

They also had smaller, stand ups type cards as well.

Stand Ups

The second edition of DC Heroeshad a sleeker look to it.  Gone was the George Perez group shot and in was a simple Superman/Batman shot.  The Superman image looks to be the one from the Gamemaster’s Screen.  Again, this isn’t my scan of the front of the box.

DC Heroes Second Edition

There were far less graphics on the various books inside the box and it seemed as if Mayfair was going for a sleeker feel to the system.  This edition also had the then up-to-date histories of the characters from the DCU.  I kind of feel bad for Mayfair when it came to the original system.  They had to put together all of that background material and right when they release the game DC goes and pulls a Crisis on Infinite Earths on them.   

Or maybe they couldn’t afford the rights to the graphics.  It’s fifty-fifty either way, really.

What this addition did have was trading cards…sort of.  Instead of the boxy kind of cards from the previous editions they went with a simpler character image on one side, stats on the back approach.  It was an interesting set, mainly because it included cards for characters from the Watchmen, which were kind of neat.

The Superman related cards were:

Superman

Mayfair Superman Second Edition

Lex Luthor

Mayfair Lex Card 2

And Mr. Mxyzptlk

Mr. Mxyzptlk Card Second Edition

I am kind of curious as to why they included Mr. Mxyzptlk.  Maybe it had something to do with the fact that at the time Superman did not have any visually appealing villains.  I mean they had to include Lex Luthor.  That was kind of a given, but the rest of the Man of Steel’s rogues up to that point weren’t the most impressive in the looks department.  Still, you have to give the Mayfair people props for including the imp from the Fifth Dimension.  Sure he got some face time on the Super Friends and Super Powers animated series but other than that he was pretty obscure.

In the next “thrilling” installment: the first Superman Sourcebook.

More to follow…