Welcome to another installment of Secret Files Friday! Each week I present another entry from the various Secret Files and Origins specials that started popping up in late 1997. While they weren’t as detailed as Who’s Who I have a real soft spot for the Secret Files and Origins line so I wanted to give them some love. The week’s entry is Martha and Jonathan Kent!
(originally published in Superman Secret Files and Origins #1, January 1998)
This time out Mike and Jeff return after one of their patented hiatuses to talk about three episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It’s a seriously mixed bag of shows this time out too. In Metallo a classic Superman villain is brought to the series in the form of Mallory’s boyfriend from Family Ties. This is followed by The Chi of Steel where Superman has to face off against evil martial artists while Lois and Clark completely ignore a story worth pursuing. Oh and sexism is bad, mmmkay? Finally there is The Eyes Have It where Superman loses his eyesight and hilarity ensues.
Thanks to everyone for being patient with us over the past year. We can’t promise it will never happen again but we can promise to do our very best to make sure it doesn’t.
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Next Time: We begin our look at the cover date April 1995 books, which include Superman: The Man of Steel #43, Superman #99, Superboy #14 and New Titans #119.
I realized when I got this booklet in the mail that if I had a time machine I would use it for purely selfish reasons. I don’t mean I would go back in time with a sports almanac and make an obscene amount of money betting on games or buy stock in companies destined to succeed. No, I would do things like go back in time and attend really cool conventions like this one.
I know. It’s weird. I don’t know what the Butterfly Effect would be by attending a convention you weren’t supposed to attend, so let’s be glad I don’t have access to a time machine.
The International Superman Exposition is one of those conventions. Superman’s 50th birthday in Superman’s hometown. If I am correct this was the convention where the very first Super Summit (the meetings Superman editors and creators would have to map out the next year’s worth of stories) took place which, to me, was history in the making. More than anything it’s an exposition all about Superman in the city of his birth.
I’m trying really hard not to totally geek out right now.
The contents of this booklet are interesting as well but there are no real visuals which is why I didn’t scan them. It starts with an opening letter from Neverending Battle, Inc., the non-profit group that organized the Exposition, stating the purpose of the exposition and some of the programming that will occur over the four day event. One of the neatest things about this “Who We Are” was seeing that not only was there going to be a giant Superman exhibit but it was also going to be the site of the 1988 Starfleet National Convention. So it was a Superman and Star Trek convention rolled up in one four day event.
After a schedule for the events of the exposition the booklet goes into the various workshops and panels that will be part of the show. There was going to be a Science Fiction track, a Comics at the Expo track and a Film-Video Program as well. This is followed by information on Neovention VII (a gaming convention that was going to be part of the expo), a break down on the 1988 Starfleet National Conference, how to set up exhibits and dealer’s tables, recommendations on how to get to Ohio with special rates for Continental and Eastern Airlines, membership information and hotel information.
I did a little digging into what actually went down at the Exposition and found this video from a local news station. The audio is only on one track but it’s the late Curt Swan and Jerry Ordway being interviewed so I can deal with it.
Again, I would have loved to have gone to this Exposition but I was 12 years old in June of 1988 and there was no way I was going to convince my parents to travel from Pennsylvania to Ohio. Getting this booklet was a real treat and I am glad I stumbled on it while searching eBay.
Now if I had that time machine I could do more than imagine what it was like but I don’t think that’s going to happen in the near future. Or the past. In the end it’s all wibbly-wobbly, timey-whimey.
This issue of AmazingHeroes is a recent find, so I haven’t had a chance to look through it as of yet but I still wanted to share the cover. I have a soft spot for Wayne Boring on Superman and this not only hearkens back to the Superman books of the 1950’s but also the George Reeves Adventures of Superman television series. Based on the table of contents this is going to be a great issue of this magazine.
When I first conceived this series of posts I knew that one of the first installments had to be a breakdown of what was going on in the Superman books right before the Electric Blue Era began. I figured this would be relatively simple. I’d re-read the comics, pick out the key moments and relate them in a hopefully entertaining fashion. The only problem I had was choosing a place to begin. By 1996 the Superman titles were essentially a weekly comic book and the continuity was dense. It was enjoyable and great for those following the books, but dense just the same. In the interest of keeping this installment from becoming a two-parter I decided that the best place to start was the first appearance of the Post-Crisis version of the Bottle City of Kandor.
Because that’s where the seeds of the news powers and costume were planted.
The Bottle City of Kandor first appeared in Action Comics #242 (July 1958). That was also the first appearance of Brainiac and it turns out the villain had a nasty habit of shrinking cities, putting them in bottles and leaving with them. Kandor became a fixture of the Fortress of Solitude during the Silver and part of the Bronze Age with Superman traveling there and having all sorts of adventures. Superman’s oath to find a way to enlarge the city was one of those soap opera elements that was frequently discussed but never resolved until the historic Let My People Grow from Superman #338 (August 1979). In that story, Superman managed to enlarge the occupants of Kandor but due to a problem with the process the ray the Man of Steel used only worked permanently on living matter. All of the Kryptonians were restored to their original heights but the buildings they lived in crumbled to dust. Van-Zee, one of Kandor’s leading citizens and a dead ringer for Kal-El, chose to be a glass half full kind of guy when dealing with this setback. He announced that after years of depending on Superman to care for them they can finally be the captains of their own destiny and rebuild their city through their own efforts.
There’s a lot more to Kandor’s Pre-Crisis history but we have a lot of ground to cover and I didn’t want to get lost in the weeds. Like most of Superman’s Pre-Crisis history Kandor was swept under the rug after the revamp in 1986. Krypton went from being this amazing, science fiction wonderland to a cold, dead world that practically deserved to be blown up. In the Post Crisis era Superman was the sole survivor of Krypton, emphasis on the sole, so a bottled city full of other Kryptonians was definitely off the table. So how do you have a Bottle City of Kandor when Superman is the last Kryptonian?
Below is a list of the books I picked up this week.
Justice League #14
The cover to Superman #16 looks amazing. The Justice Lords uniform is particularly awesome and now I want to see comic book stories featuring that version of the League…Lords…League. You get the idea. I am so backed up on books now that I don’t have much to say about the latest issue of Justice League.
I really need to get caught up.
The Post Crisis issues of Superman have officially left the Electric Blue era this week and have headed right into the Dominus story. Still no sign of Superman Red/SupermanBlue and for some reason the Superman Forever special isn’t available. Comixology and DC are leaving money on the table at this point.
Digital books I “picked up” this week include:
Action Comics (1938) #s 21, 745 and 746
Adventures of Superman (1987) #s 558 and 559
Superman (1987) #s 135 and 136
Superman: The Man of Steel (1991) #s 79 and 80.
I also picked up the issues of Supergirl, Steel, Aquaman, Teen Titans and Challengers of the Unknown that tied into the Millennium Giants storyline.
Other Superman books that became available this week include:
DC Comics Presents (1978) #s 47-49
Next week I am going to start picking up some of the past digital issues I’ve been meaning to get. I wanted to wait until they put out all of the books I’ll be covering for my Do The Clothes Make The Man feature because having the digital issues makes grabbing images that much easier. I do like that the Masters of the Universe issue of DC Comics Presents is available. That book went for crazy money for a time.
Welcome to another installment of Secret Files Friday! Each week I present another entry from the various Secret Files and Origins specials that started popping up in late 1997. While they weren’t as detailed as Who’s Who I have a real soft spot for the Secret Files and Origins line so I wanted to give them some love. The week’s entry is S.T.A.R. Labs!
(originally published in Superman Secret Files and Origins #1, January 1998)
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