PLANS ARE COMING TOGETHER

Superman Ross Picture

This piece by Alex Ross (from the over sized Superman book be did with Paul Dini) perfectly sums up how I feel right now.

It’s been a long couple of days.  It seems like whenever I get into a routine with this blog something comes up to make it seemingly impossible to post everyday.  I am happy with the amount of posting I’ve done here this month.  I really am.  I just want to do more and real life…well, work mostly, seems to be standing in my way, mocking me, laughing at the thought of daily content.

Sigh.

I am firming up my plans for the Reign of the Supermen anniversary.  It’s actually going to spread over three sites if all goes well.  Towards the end of August I am going to devote an episode of my podcast, Views From The Longbox, to my recollections of that summer of ’93.  Over at the Superman Homepage I’m going to write a five part (rough estimate at this point, it could be less) series of articles that will explore the story arc as a whole, both in terms of what happened and the characters involved.  For this blog I want to start rolling out some of the neat stuff I have here at the Fortress from that era.  Magazines, trading cards and the like.  Overall it should be a fun experience and will hopefully satisfy whatever compulsion is making me so freaking nostalgic for that summer.

Oh and there’s going to be a contest too.  Stay tuned for that.

Should be fun.  At least I hope it is.

Oh well.  Off to grab a light snack and to turn over the laundry and going to bed.

More to follow…

NO SUPERMAN COMICS THIS WEEK

Really.  There weren’t any issues of the Superman titles out this week and for the first time in a long time I felt a strange sort of ache because of that fact.

I miss the days of a Superman book every week.  I really do.  When there were four of them I would sometimes complain about that fact but that only happened when the books were not up to par which is to say bad which is to say Joe Casey.  When done right the weekly Superman worked and worked well.  It was exciting.  It was fun.  It was nice to have something Supermanish to read when you picked up your books.

Man I’m feeling nostalgic for 1993.

Must find a way to channel this energy.

Hmmmm…

More to follow…

VIEWS FROM THE LONBOX EPISODE 47: THE HOMEPAGE JAMBOREE

Views Logo

I don’t usually cross pimp my podcast here, but it actually had something to do with Superman this week.  Steve Younis and Neal Bailey of the Superman Homepage came on the show and a grand time was had by all.

Well, what are you waiting for?  Check it out!

Neal, Superman, Steve and Mike

Man that was a lot of fun.  We’re going to have to do that again in the future.

TEN…I MEAN…FIFTEEN YEARS!

Return of Superman TPB

Has it really been fifteen years since the Reign of the Supermen?

I say that mostly in jest of course because it was only last year that we (as in the Superman fans we) “celebrated” the fifteenth anniversary of the death of Superman, so it would follow that the next year would mark fifteen years since his return, but still.  It’s kind of weird.

I mean so much happened to me that summer…heck, that whole year that it is kind of weird to think it has been a decade and a half since it all went down. 

So I guess I’ll have to figure out a way to mark the occasion.

More to follow…

LEARNING WITH SUPERMAN- THE LETTER S

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hRKBPTu8vw&NR=1

Before stumbling upon this via YouTube I had never seen it before.  I had heard of the short but I don’t remember it being part of the Sesame Street I watched as a kid.  Then again it aired a few years before my time with that series, so there’s that.

Still, kind of interesting to see.  I almost get the feeling that Superman was letting the storm damage the ship so he could make his point.

But maybe that’s just me.

More to follow…

THE ELECTRO BLUE SUPERMAN ERA WASN’T ALL THAT BAD REALLY

Superman Red/Superman Blue

I was thinking about this today.  In the grand scheme of things the storyline where Superman’s powers went all wonky on him leading to his gaining a whole new set of powers and a new costume wasn’t a terrible one.  It wasn’t the best story arc and the whole splitting into two thing didn’t do a whole heck of a lot for me, but looking at the past two decades worth of Superman stories that I’ve lived through as a whole I really can’t say that it was terrible.  Misguided?  Yes.  Poorly executed?  Not at all.  In fact one of my favorite Lex Luthor stories of all time happened during that year or so worth of stories.

(It was Superman (Vol. 2) #131, in case you were interested.  This was the issue where Lex Luthor took back his position of being Superman’s arch enemy after a few years of drifting around a bit.  And it had a great cover.)

Superman #131

The thing is that all things considered the Electro Blue era wasn’t as bad as some others.  In some cases it was a whole lot better. 

Here’s the thing; if I have learned anything from following a character for the past two decades it is that as bad as something might seem in a few years something may come along that is even worse.  The Electro-Blue Superman era is a good example of this.  I remember being miserable as a fan when they went into the whole Superman Red/Superman Blue thing.  Utterly miserable.  I wanted my classic Superman back.  I wanted the costume.  I groused like any self-respecting (or as close to self-respecting as they can get) fan would grouse.  I wasn’t online at the time so I did most of my bitching to my friends and the guys at the comic shop, but still, there was bitching. 

Believe me there was bitching.

Then it ended.  The costume and powers were restored.  The story that got us there was awful, but it got us there nonetheless.

Years go by. 

2002 rolls around and suddenly all three Superman books are, to put it lightly, the suck.  Steven Seagle on Superman.  Joe Casey on Adventures of Superman.  Joe Kelly on Action Comics.  To top it off they even cancelled Superman: The Man of Steel

It was a dark, dark time to be a Superman fan or for me to be a Superman fan, whichever works better for you.  Once they stopped the triangle numbering system everything went downhill.  Joe Casey wrote some terrible Superman stories.  Seagle’s work wasn’t all that much better and Joe Kelly started a downward slide that he never recovered from.  And I remember…vividly remember thinking one thing.

“Man, I really miss Electro Blue Superman.”

Time passes again.  Greg Rucka comes on Adventures of Superman.  Chuck Austen and Brian Azzarello leave Action and Superman and are replaced with Gail Simone and Mark Verheiden.  Things get better.  I look forward to getting my Superman comics again.

Then 2007 hits.  DC gives Action Comics a major push because not only is Richard Donner (the director of a little film called Superman: The Movie) going to co-write the book with Geoff Johns but Adam Kubert will be drawing it as well.  The first part of Last Son comes out.  Then the second.  Then…nothing.  The book gets pushed back.  Then it gets pushed back again.  Then Superman starts running late.  Then Superman Confidential starts running behind.  Stories start playing musical chairs.  It was a terrible, terrible year to be a fan of the Superman books and do you know what I kept thinking?

“Man, I really miss Electro Blue Superman.”

So, what’s my point?  Well, no matter how bad an particular era seems something can come along and make the one that you hate seem like the height of comic book excellence.  Many Superman fans hated when they changed his costume and powers, but those stories were at least interesting and the creators were trying to push the character forward.  It is possible for a concept to be flawed and the execution turn out to be pretty good.  When the concept is flawed and they botch the execution.  With the former you can respect that the powers that be were trying something new and did the best job they could.  With the latter…I hate to say this because it sounds extremely judgemental but when it comes to the latter I have very little patience. 

Ah, enough bile for one day.  Things are definitely looking up for the Superman books.  Geoff Johns is firing on all cylinders, especially with the current Braniac story.  James Robinson had a solid opening on Superman and the two books are apparently going to be connected soon, so hopefully things will even out for a little while.

And if they don’t, well I can always dig out those Electro Blue issues, can’t I?

More to follow…

FEELING A BIT LAZY TODAY or SUPERMAN PEANUT BUTTER

I had a really long and hard day so this post will not be as “exciting” as the ones I have done in the past.  I started typing out something substantial but the weight of the day and the fact that I pulled a muscle in my chest proved to be kind of a buzz kill, so I am going to take the lazy way out and go back to the YouTube well.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01_VRXI0C6s

Ah, Superman Peanut Butter.  I know I had some as a kid but for the life of me I can’t remember how it tasted.  I mean I’m sure it tasted like peanut butter because that would have been kind of a rip-off if it hadn’t.  “Hey, Mike, we got you some Superman Peanut Butter!”

“But this tastes like cod liver oil and feet,”

“Don’t be silly, son.  It’s peanut butter.  With a Superman logo on the lid.  Eat it.”

And another in a long line of psychological scars stemming from my childhood would have been born.

The thing that gets me about that commercial is the fact that the Dad is shown to be sneaking a taste.  This bothers me on two levels.  One, why wasn’t he at least using a spoon or knife, which is just gross and two, why was he having to sneak a taste in the first place?  Are parents not allowed to eat the official peanut butter of the Man of Steel?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIfV1NgrPdY&feature=related

Do you get the feeling from this commercial that Superman hangs around grocery stores waiting to pimp his smooth and creamy peanut butter?  I mean the Dad here was fine with his own brand but Superman had to go and butt in.  Kind of makes you wonder what would have happened if the guy had said no.

DAD: Our brand is just fine.

SUPERMAN: Have you ever tried my delicious and wholesome peanut butter, sir?

DAD: No, but I’m sure it’s great.  We’ll get it next time.

SUPERMAN: Are you sure you don’t want to try it?  It’s creamy and smooth.

DAD: That’s fine, but we already have some peanut butter at the house, so we’ll get it next time.  I promise.

SUPERMAN: What if there isn’t a next time?

DAD: What?

SUPERMAN: Well, you know, sir, accidents happen all the time.  It would be awful if something happened to your wife and daughter.

DAD: Are you…are you threatening me?

SUPERMAN: Not at all, sir.  I am merely pointing out that on abandoned stretches of road things happen.  Tires blow out.  Tornadoes pop up.  Meteors can fall and crush the life out of your spouse and your cute little girl.  Or maybe you’re daughter is crossing the street and a car careens out of control.  Or maybe your wife runs into a gang of hoodlums in the middle of the night.  Sure would be a shame if my attention was elsewhere at the moment.

DAD: Okay, okay, okay.  I’ll buy the damn peanut butter.

SUPERMAN: Good choice, sir.  Now no one will get hurt.

DAD: What?

SUPERMAN: Now everyone can enjoy my peanut butter.  Good-bye.

Superman sure can be a jerk sometimes.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUn2B0fAgGg&feature=related

What is so top secret about this peanut butter that not only is Lex Luthor willing to torture Superman into revealing it’s secrets but that Superman won’t say something like, “We use fresh peanuts, that’s it.”  Either Superman is hiding something about his peanut butter or Lex Luthor is a moron.

It’s a fifty/fifty shot really.

That’s it for today.  I’ll have something more substantial tomorrow.  Promise.

More to follow…

FLASHBACK- ABC INTROS FOR SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE

I’ve certainly been on a YouTube kick over the past few days, haven’t I?

Oh well I say go with it.

The great thing about YouTube is that it has the ability to trigger certain memories, most of them fond ones, of a certain time and place.  The first video I found today takes me back to 1982.  My family was living in a rented house in Mountain Top, PA and Superman: The Movie was coming on ABC.  It may have been the first time.  It may not have.  Memories from that time are sometimes sketchy, but I know that I sat there and watched most of it before I had to go to bed.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rY9N9Gs0YwI&feature=related

The next video I stumbled across is neat in that it not only has the ABC opening from the particular affiliate that was showing the movie for the very first time but it also has some of the ads leading up to the premiere and even one for Atari, which just takes me back like you wouldn’t believe.  They even threw in some snippets of one of the deleted scenes that were put into the television version.  This is the last time we would get to see them legitimately until the Special Edition in 2001.  More than anything this video reminded me that the first time Superman: The Movie played on ABC it was a two night event to which I say, “As well it should be!”

I’m sure the die hard fans of That’s Incredible were crushed. but it didn’t bother me in the least.

The narrator of this opening sounds like William Woodson, who narrated most of the various Super Friends series.  Listening to it I half expect him to intone, “Later, at the Hall of Justice!”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kay-eRh4Phg

Finally, another ABC intro that was obviously before a Yuletide showing of the movie.  Sure it doesn’t have a whole lot more to it, but I think it is neat just the same.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2khYg5BbOpc

Part of me really misses the excitement of this movie coming on television.  If I want to see it now I can watch up to four different versions at my leisure, but there was a time where I had to wait for it to come on.  Thankfully I have not lost my love of the film, so I still have that.

More to follow…

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: SUPERMAN TRADES FOR ’09

Superman Book Shelf

I believe I have mentioned in previous posts that I am one of the crazy few that collect and read Superman and Superman related comics both in their monthly form as well as in their hardcover or trade paperback editions.  I just can’t help myself.  I like having them on the shelf and as I have said many times in the past sometimes it is just easier to walk over to the bookshelf than it is to dig through boxes of comics, though this reasoning doesn’t hold up when you consider that less than two feet to my right sit the short boxes which contain my Superman comics.

I’m just weird that way when it comes to trades and hardcovers.  I’ve learned to live with it.

Thanks to Chris Marshall of the Collected Comics Library (both a podcast and a blog) I now have an idea where some of my money is going to end up in 2009.  Chris devoted a recent episode to the trades and hardcovers DC is going to release in the first quarter of 2009 and beyond so I can start making plans on how much blood to sell and what organs to put up on eBay.

Before I get into the list and my commentary I highly recommend Chris’s podcast.  He’s a good solo podcaster and if you are a fan of trades and such then this is definitely worth the thirty or so minutes a week it takes to listen to an episode. 

And here we go.

Superman: For Tomorrow: Absolute Edition ($99.99)

Superman finally gets an Absolute Edition.

And it had to be this one.

I was not a big fan of For Tomorrow.  Frankly I thought the story was boring and when you have an artist like Jim Lee the story should not feel boring.  Brian Azzarello wrote a long, protracted story that basically had six months of Superman talking to a priest and going over the same themes again and again and again to no real end outside of being kind of pretentious.  Of all the Superman stories to put into an Absolute Edition they pick one of the few I really don’t care for.

I’m going to pick it up.  I will probably go through an online dealer like In Stock Trades because they usually have some nice deals and free shipping if you order over fifty dollars worth of merchandise.

So I’ll buy it.  Doesn’t mean I have to pay full price.

Showcase Presents: Superman Family Volume 3

I like the reprints, so this is a lock.

Superman Chronicles Volume 6

It does my heart good that DC is continuing to publish this series.  Barring a sudden influx of crazy lottery winnings it is not likely that I will ever be able to afford the Golden Age Superman comics.  The production values are nice and the price can’t be beat.

All-Star Superman Vol. 2 -Hardcover

This collects All-Star Superman #s 7-12.  I still need to buy the first hardcover and while this is not strictly my cup of tea when it comes to Superman I still enjoy and respect what Morrison is doing with this series.

Superman: Atlas -Hardcover

The credits on this one list both James Robinson and Jack Kirby, so everyone is working under the assumption that this will include both James Robinson’s first arc on Superman but also the first appearance of Atlas from the pages of First Issue Special.  The story arc’s introductory chapter was good and it would be nice to have the first appearance as well.

Superman: Brainiac -Hardcover

The first chapter of this story blew me away and barring acts of God and the involvement of some minor level demons I can’t see this story getting anywhere near the suck. 

Superman: Kryptonite Nevermore -Hardcover

YES!

BOO YAH!

SWEET!

With my growing love and appreciation of the Bronze Age this book is coming out at just the right time.  One of the first Superman comics I read was Superman (Vol. 1) #233 (in the pages of Superman: From the Thirties to the Seventies) so this volume has a certain amount of nostalgic attraction.  I have most of this storyline in single issue form, but to have the whole thing in a hardcover will be all about some awesome.

Superman: Shadows Linger -Trade Paperback

Word on the street is that this is another collection of Kurt Busiek stories.  Further word is that it might contain the Insect Queen story, which while not my favorite storyline of the past year wasn’t all that bad.

Supergirl: Way of the World -Trade Paperback

I have yet to pick up any of the Supergirl trades, so I will more than likely buy the earlier ones before I buy this volume.  The series has really picked up over the past year, so it might be time to get caught up on the trades.

There are also some trades that I probably won’t buy but more than likely contain Superman, so if you are interested here they are.

  • Showcase Presents: Justice League of America Volume 4
  • Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 3
  • Justice League of America Volume 4: Sanctuary -Hardcover
  • Justice League Unlimited Volume 3 -Trade Paperback
  • Justice Society of America: Kingdom Come Part 3 -Hardcover
  • Justice Volume 3 -Trade Paperback
  • Super Friends: For Justice -Trade Paperback

And there you go.  Of course all books are subject to being pushed back or not put out at all, so keep that in mind.  In any case there looks to be a good number of Superman trades coming out next year and some of them have me really excited.

More to follow…