Last year DC Comics solicited a hardcover collection titled Superman: The Man of Tomorrow Volume 1. It was going to reprint Superman (Vol. 2) issues 23-27 and Adventures of Superman issues 445-450. To say I was excited about this is an understatement. That collection would have not only collected some of my favorite Superman comics but it would have also picked up where the Superman: The Man of Steel line of trades had left off.
Then the hardcover was cancelled.
To be fair it was “resolicted” with a later release date, but that is what DC does to collected editions that, for a variety of reasons, won’t be coming out. Maybe there was a last minute glitch. Maybe the pre-order sales weren’t what DC wanted. No matter the reason, the book was not to be and I was actually depressed over it.
Not “oh woe is me, my life is awful” depressed but bummed out in a major way.
Because of that, the Amazon listing for a Superman: Exile Omnibus has me excited but in a very cautious way.
I mean I have to keep my emotions in check. They let me down before.
Maybe putting the Man of Tomorrow in hardcover was a bad idea.
Maybe a softcover would have been a better idea.
Putting those issues and the Exile arc into hardcover is, to paraphrase the movie High Fidelity, like asking for $40, getting turned down and then asking for $100 instead.
So I am not going to get too excited.
Or get my hopes up.
Oh who am I kidding? I am so freaking excited for this I just might bust!
There are two reasons for this, the first being personal. Exile was a watershed moment for me as a Superman fan, reader and collector. It was the storyline that made getting the next issue non-negotiable. That story was when I became emotionally involved with the comics I was collecting. Others have talked about the idea that collectors have their own Golden Age of comics and this was mine. I am more nostalgic about that era of Superman than any other in my three decades of buying the comic book adventures of the Man of Steel.
So there’s that.
The second reason is that Exile is one of the single most important storylines of the Post Crisis era because without Exile you would never have gotten The Death and Return of Superman.
I’ve made this argument before but it bears repeating. Before Exile the Superman titles were connected but still separate. Before it went weekly Action Comics was a team-up book that only tied into the other two Superman titles during company wide crossovers or when DC was trying to explain how the Legion could be inspired by Superboy when Superboy didn’t exist anymore. After John Byrne left the series the titles started getting more and more intertwined and Exile was the first time that an extended storyline bounced between both books.
After Exile the books went in their own directions but that connected feeling started creeping in more and more and by the fall of 1990 the Triangle Numbering System was a thing, You had three and then four creative teams, each with their own ideas and takes on the main and supporting characters, but there was an ongoing narrative that led to the four separate titles acting ostensibly as a weekly comic book. This led to bigger stories like Time and Time Again, Return of the Krypton Man and Panic in the Sky.
The reasons for Superman dying and then coming back are many and have more to do with a television series than anything else but the mechanics of that epic and the idea that you could tell an extended story over several titles for nearly a year was only plausible because Exile proved that it could work.
And that’s why I’m excited.
And that’s why this needs to happen.
So please…if you have any desire to see this book happen pre-order it. And spread the word. We need to show DC that this is something we want to buy.
The creative teams involved deserve it. We deserve it.
Let’s make it happen.
If not us, who?
If not now, when?
I mean you could argue we could wait until it is solicited in Previews, but let’s get a jump on that.