Remember when I posted the complete contents of Superman #75? That was a lot of fun and people seemed to enjoy it. There was so much to go through…so many cool little artifacts to uncover and share. It was like National Treasure if the point of that film was for Nicolas Cage to find a sealed copy of the death of Superman and not whatever the heck he was trying to find in that movie I have never seen.
Anyway I thought I should give the same treatment to Adventures of Superman #500 since it too was a polybagged issue with an S on the cover. Sadly Adventures #500 is not as exciting as Superman #75 was, but it still worth looking at.
So here we go.
Like Superman #75 Adventures of Superman #500 came in three flavors. There was a newsstand edition that was released to…well…newsstands and had a gorgeous Tom Grummett/Doug Hazlewood cover.
The direct market edition of the book had a white bag with a non-bleeding/weeping S on the front. As I mentioned on the episode of From Crisis to Crisis where Jeffrey Taylor and I covered this issue (which can be found here and here) I had gotten my hands on the newsstand version first. A few years later I found the bagged edition for $5 at a one day comic show and that seemed to be (at the time) a fair price. Now you can find that bad boy in the fifty cent bin, but that is beside the point.
The back of the bag looks a lot like this.
If you compare this collector’s edition bagged Superman comic to Superman #75 (which you can do by clicking on this link) you will see that the contents of the supposed return are not as… impressive as the death. The easy shot to take at Adventures #500 is that all it had was eight extra pages and a promotional trading card for the Bloodlines set while Superman #75 was epic in its extras. I am not convinced it is an apples/apples comparison. With the death DC was in uncharted territory and while I love all of the bits of business that came in Superman #75 it was, in all honesty, a bit much. The armband was a nice touch and I liked the obituary, but frankly the stamps were a bit on the useless side. Also Adventures #500 was a different sort of beast. It wasn’t the actual return of Superman, so putting it in the bag and having the extra content was just enough for the story inside.
I could live without the card though. Bloodlines was bad.
I mean really bad.
Holy crap did that “event” suck out loud.
I mean it was admirable to try and create a bunch of new characters to compete with Image and Marvel but the end result was pretty @#$%ing awful. The fact that that “event” got a trading card set shows how far out of control the early nineties comic book landscape got. It’s the comic book equivalent of waking up buck naked next to the chick that was wearing a lamp shade on her head at the party the previous night. You remember that party, right? You don’t? Maybe that’s because you were @#$%-faced drunk. And as the woman wakes up (still wearing the lamp shade, by the way) she looks at you, smiles and then vomits all over you and the bed and the floor and it is at that moment that you realize because this has already happened to you three times before you might have a problem with alcohol.
Yeah, that’s a good way to describe Bloodlines and what it represented for comics in the nineties.
The eight extra pages were cool. Stay tuned over the next four days to see them if you haven’t had the chance to yet.
Here is the front and back of that card.
I wonder what the marketing meeting was like when they decided to include the Bloodlines card.
DC Marketing Guy #1: So we’re about to put out Adventures of Superman #500. Superman #75 sold pretty good, so what should we do for this one?
DC Marketing Guy #1: Come on. Someone has to have an idea.
DC Marketing Guy #2: In all honesty I think we did all we could do with that sort of thing.
DC Marketing Guy #3: And really it was lightning in a bottle. How can we top that?
DC Marketing Guy #2: Bob’s right. I mean that book had a poster, an armband, stamps, a trading card promo…
DC Marketing Guy #1: What was that?
DC Marketing Guy #2: A trading card promo?
DC Marketing Guy #1: Brilliant! We have that Bloodlines thing coming up. We can tie the return of Superman into that card set.
DC Marketing Guy #2: You know that Bloodlines thing is awful, right?
DC Marketing Guy #1: That’s not the point. We can try and sell the card series like it has something to do with the Reign of the Supermen. That way all of those people buying that series will buy the Bloodlines cards and the comics as well. This is great.
DC Marketing Guy #3: Isn’t that a little disingenuous? I mean we built up a lot of good will with the people reading Superman. It’s like we’re misleading them.
DC Marketing Guy #1: I fail to see the problem.
DC Marketing Guy #2: I mean the only thing worse than that would be to include a chase card in the set that had an offer for a special card featuring the “one, true Superman” that you could only get by sending the chase card in thereby forcing people to buy pack after pack or maybe an entire box of the cards to find the chase card so they could get the “one, true Superman” card.
DC Marketing Guy #1: (beat) Go on.
DC Marketing Guy #2: I hate you, Bill.
The cover to the bagged edition was drawn by Jerry Ordway and had this neat translucent thing going on with the hand of Jonathan Kent reaching out to Superman, who looked as if he was trapped beyond the misty veil of death.
Then, after you’ve finished appreciating the awesomeness that is Ordway’s artwork you notice that there is some kind of plastic thing on the cover. Suddenly you are five years old again and you start picking and picking and picking until you peel the little plastic thing off and are left with this.
Now it looks like Superman wants to shake hands with you, which is pretty cool.
Finally there is the Platinum version of the book. I managed to snag one for a pretty decent price last year at my current comic shop of choice (Dave’s Comics in Fayetteville, GA) and was beyond thrilled to own a copy.
There has been a bit of discussion over on From Crisis to Crisis about whether or not I should open my platinum edition of Superman #75. I keep saying no, one of our listeners says I should do it and Jeffrey keeps trying to convince me that it has an alternate ending. Despite wanting to keep that comic inside of a bag that has acids on it that are no doubt eating the book “alive” even as you read this I will admit that I am curious as to what that version of the death of Superman looks like. Thanks to my good friend Alan Leach, Jr. I don’t have to wonder what the Platinum Adventures of Superman #500 looks like. He had one out of the bag and sent me a scan.
And that is the long and short of Adventures of Superman #500, but the fun isn’t over yet. As I mentioned earlier in the post I will be spending the next four days posting the eight extra pages that were in the bagged/collector’s edition of this book. The art is amazing so if you haven’t seen them yet check back over the next few days.
More to follow…