REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN COVERAGE

In the last post I featured the Wizard Superman Tribute Edition.  While Wizard was the most popular of the comic book magazines of the early ’90s it wasn’t the only one.  Just about all of the periodicals concerning the four colored world had some sort of Reign of the Supermen article or interview and a few of them even made it the cover feature.  Here are three of those.

While not as epic as the special they released around the time of the death (which I covered a few months back) the cover to this issue of Comics Values Monthly on this issue is awesome.  I was and still am a big fan of the various S symbols they created for the various Supermen and wish they would re-issue the T-shirts that Graphitti Designs put out in the summer of 1993.  The article by Neil Hansen is brief but solid and is mainly an interview with Mike Carlin with black and white preview images of the four Supermen to serve as the visuals.  It even makes a brief mention of Lois and Clark, which I thought was rather cool.

There was a time when I was a faithful buyer of Comics Scene Magazine.  1992/1993 was not one of those times.  I don’t know what led me to stop picking the magazine up every two months but I was not the collector then that I am today.  The preview images look great on the slick paper and the article not only teases Reign of the Supermen but also discusses the reactions to the death storyline and the commercial realities of comic book publishing.  Lois and Clark gets a mention and Superboy even gets his own sidebar with some quotes from Karl Kesel.  Maureen McTigue wrote the article and she would go on to work at DC.  I remember seeing her names in the letters pages in the late ’90s so it was neat seeing it here.

Comics Interview began publication in the eighties and was a fantastic magazine that featured, as the name suggests, interviews with comic book creators.  I managed to get my hands on a decent run of these back in the late ’90s thanks to the manager at the comic shop I went to at the time.  I was surprised to see that Comics Interview went on for as long as it did because most comic book magazines of the eighties were long gone by 1993.  I am glad it hung in there because this interview with Roger Stern is twelve pages long and not only covers Reign of the Supermen but also a bit about his run on Spider-Man and other fun bits of business.

And that is all for today.  I have recently scanned some more fun Death and Return related goodies and will hopefully be getting them out on a more regular basis now that Jeff and I are nearing the end of Reign of the Supermen.  I can’t believe we’re almost there as it seems we have been covering the story forever.  It’s been fun, though, and I know I will miss it when it is over.

More to follow…

WIZARD: SUPERMAN TRIBUTE EDITION

At the risk of sounding like an old man complaining about the kids playing on my lawn I have to say that comic fans today have it easy.  There are a plethora of websites and blogs out there that do nothing but cover the latest bits of “news” and gossip about the world of comic books.  You could probably spend all day searching through and reading all of them.  I am fascinated by this because I remember a time when if you wanted to know what was going on in the four colored world you read Wizard: The Guide to Comics.  For good or mostly ill Wizard was a force to be reckoned with.  If they pimped something and deemed it hot then hot it would be no matter how bad the comic was.  That may sound cynical because…well, it’s cynical but there is a grain of truth to it.

By 1992 and 1993 the magazine was firmly entrenched in the rectums of Image Comics and Valiant with Marvel still getting a fair bit of press as well.  Since DC had fallen to the number three position it got less coverage or at least that’s the way it seems when you look at the back issues.  I’m not saying there was any directive in the editorial department of the magazine to not cover DC’s books but I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case.

Even if there was some sort of bias I am surprised that Wizard gave little to no coverage to the Death of Superman.  There were no big write ups on the story.  The Man of Steel didn’t make Wizard’s cover the month Superman #75 came out.  It’s so strange.  I guess after the death actually came out and proved successful Wizard had a change of heart because on April 1, 1993 they released Wizard: The Guide to Comics Superman Tribute Edition.  Ostensibly it was a celebration of the Man of Steel but it also served to promote the then upcoming Reign of the Supermen storyline.  In any case it is an impressive magazine that even had some neat promo pieces.

Thanks to Christopher J. Warden for the scans of this ad aimed at retailers.

Because it was the nineties and cover enhancements were all the rage the cover to this special was not only a gate-fold affair but also had a foil/metallic look/feel to it.  The artists were Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding and featured Superman fighting Doomsday as Lois and Jimmy look on.

I have to admit that even today this magazine is extremely impressive.  Wizard went all out with this special and the articles and interviews are not only informative but entertaining as well.  They include:

  • My Life With Superman by Curt Swan and Patrick Daniel O’Neil.  This two page article gives a brief history of Curt Swan’s time as the Man of Steel’s main artist.
  • What a Long, Strange Journey It’s Been by Jack Curtis.  This is a very entertaining history of Superman by a long time fan.  It has a certain level of cynicism but you can tell the writer loves the character.
  • For Those That Came in Late... by Joel W. Tsherne.  Another history lesson, this time focusing on the Post-Crisis era.  If you came into the Superman books because of the Death of Superman this tells you everything you need to know since Man of Steel.
  • Through the Years…a blow-by-blow account of the Superman heavy hitters.  A list of the artists that left a mark on Superman.  Not so much an article as an art gallery.
  • The Men of Steel by Norman Bertson.  An extensive article about the Reign of the Supermen with loads of preview art.
  • Superman Writer With a Secret Identity by Patrick Daniel O’Neil.  This one is an interview with Golden Age writer Alvin Schwartz.  He really didn’t care for Mort Weisinger and it seems like he had good reason to dislike the editor.
  • Superman as Pop Icon by Patrick Daniel O’Neil.  Another interview, this time with Elliot S! Maggin.
  • Superman: The Man of Screen by Andy Mangels.  An overview of Superman on the radio, television and the silver screen.  It is very extensive and impressive and when I read this back in 1995 it was the first time I heard of some of the adaptations that Mangels discusses.
  • The “Lost” Origin of Superman by Robert J. Sodaro.  This is an article about the first Superman novel written by George Lowther which was released in 1942.
  • Superman’s Friends and Foes by Patrick Daniel O’Neil: A huge list of Superman’s villains and supporting characters.
  • The Hall of Shame: Superman’s Most Embarrassing Moments by Brian Cunningham.  It’s pretty much what it sounds like.  I like this article quite a bit.
  • More Powerful Than… by Brian Cunningham.  A listing of Superman’s powers and abilities.
  • Top 10 Perks of Being Superman.  An amusing David Letterman style Top 10 list with a sidebar on the lesser known forms of Kryptonite.
  • Superman Intelligence Quotient.  A 30 question Superman quiz.  It’s a good one too.
  • The Superman Price Guide.  Well, it was Wizard, so you just knew there was going to be a price guide.  This was where I first heard of the 1992 Superman Special that was originally supposed to be a Superman annual from 1991 until Armageddon 2001 came along.
  • “Remember the Time When…” A handful of comic book writers and artists talk about their favorite Superman stories.
  • The Importance of Being Superman.  This is an excellent editorial by Patrick Daniel O’Neil.

And that is it.  Again, this is an excellent magazine and if you can find a copy go ahead and pick it up.  Not only is it a good resource about Superman but it also has a bunch of entertaining articles and interviews as well.

Next time: A couple of other magazines that pimped Reign of the Superemen.

More to follow…

FCTC EPISODE 141: REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN PART 7

Episode 141: Reign of the Supermen Part 7

Welcome to the one hundred and fortieth episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast!  This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index.  Part commentary.  Part history lesson.  All podcast.

REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN CONTINUES!

This time out the boys (that would be Mike and Jeff) welcome podcaster Joshua Lapin-Bertone to discuss two EXTREMELY important issues of the REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN story line.  In ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #503, The Kid teams up with the Cyborg to help out in the remains of Coast City and that goes really bad for Superboy.  Then we find out the origin of the Last Son of Krypton in ACTION COMICS #690 and he’s someone we’ve seen before.

Okay.  He’s The Eradicator.  But this book is nearly twenty years old.  This shouldn’t be a shock.

Special thanks to Joshua for coming out to play on this one.  It was fun.  Which, isn’t a surprise.

You can subscribe to the show in two ways. First there is the RSS Feed and there is also the iTunes link.

If you want to comment on the show or contact the hosts you can always private message Mike and Jeff, at the Superman Homepage, leave comments here or at the Homepage or here or email them by clicking this link.  All questions, concerns, fears, trepidations and cheap shots are welcome.

Next time: REIGN OF THE SUPERMAN continues with ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #5, SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #25, and SUPERMAN #81.

MAN OF STEEL WATCH INSTALLMENT 2

After a two week and change delay the wife and I finally got to see Amazing Spider-Man last Saturday.  We had been meaning to since the day it came out but the time just wasn’t there.  Because we were seeing ASM and not Dark Knight Rises I was faced with a bit of a dilemma; how do we see ASM but still manage to see the Man of Steel teaser trailer that was going to be shown before Dark Knight Rises?  I concocted a plan where my wife and I would time when we would choose to see ASM at just a few minutes after DKR started so I could sneak into the DKR theater all Mission Impossible style complete with the Danny Elfman version of the theme, watch the trailer, sneak back out and go see ASM.  This plan was full of peril (and by”peril” I mean “we might have gotten kicked out of the theater and wasted $17.50”) but I was determined to see the MOS teaser.

Turns out I don’t have to do any of that because the teaser is online.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jKWJZsjm5U&feature=player_embedded

Now I don’t want to say too much about the teaser itself because we don’t see a whole lot of footage.  There are images of a bearded Clark in Alaska, an image of Clark hitchhiking like David Banner, some footage of a kid running around his backyard and the bad ass shot at the end of Superman breaking the sound barrier.  I do like the tone of Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent’s narration and am more convinced that the darkness and seriousness of this film is going to hinge on Clark choosing his destiny.  I have some thoughts on that but those will have to wait.  There is another version of the trailer with Russell Crowe as Jor-El narration that I like quite a bit.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-toIu5JscE&feature=player_embedded

Because the Internet is, well, the Internet my first reaction to the teaser was that people were probably going to complain about how short it was and Facebook soon proved me right.  This is not a judgment call, merely a cynical observation.  This led to my second reaction, which was to think about about the first teaser trailer to Superman: The Movie.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSmaEJW3fCg

I don’t know how audiences reacted to the teaser in 1977/78 but given the fact that comic book based movies were pretty much non-existent at the time I am working under the assumption that some people probably lost their damn minds when they saw the big, red S on the screen at the end of the trailer.  I am sure there were people that thought it was crap but I think it shows how far we have come in terms of movie trailers, comic book movies and as a viewing audience that a bunch of guys in suits sitting around a conference table in 1977 watched the video above and said, “Yup, that’s the trailer for us.  People will love this!”

The second teaser had a bit more information about the film.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvpDDHJGFoE

This is actually my favorite of the teaser trailers for Superman: The Movie as it shows stills from the film, has some great narration and puts the John Williams’ music to good use.  I first saw this trailer in 1999 or so back when the web was still pretty much in its infancy and in all honesty I get the same hairs standing on the back of my neck feeling now that I did back then.  It’s just an excellent teaser trailer.

There was a third teaser released after the film was in theaters, which is kind of weird but I like it anyway.  It’s not nearly as epic as the previous trailer but it does the job.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAjOUhg8jL8

If your tastes run towards the more bombastic here’s another teaser.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jL6CyWPs8mw

There was a joke trailer that I have kicking around my hard drive but I can’t seem to find it on YouTube.  I feel bad about discussing it and then not showing the video but I wanted to mention it just to cover all of the bases.

In all honesty it is extremely unfair to compare the Man of Steel teaser with the one released for Superman: The Movie.  As I hinted at earlier movie trailers and comic book movies themselves were different beasts back then.  It would be more appropriate to compare Man of Steel with 2006’s Superman Returns.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CuJ08nwJpA

I really liked this trailer when it first hit the Internet.  At the time I was excited that they were playing in the same universe as the Christopher Reeve films and while I have changed my mind on that subject the trailer still works for me.  My favorite part is the shot of the people looking up in the sky, which gave the movie a sense of wonder.  I am still a bit miffed that the Krypton scenes hinted at in this trailer were excised from the final cut.

All in all I am satisfied with the trailer we were given for Man of Steel.  Sure I would have preferred more footage and a better shot of Superman but I see what they were going for.  I kind of like the air of mystery this film has about it.  It isn’t as exciting or even epic as the previous trailers but it gets the job done.

It’s going to be a long wait until the first full trailer is released.

More to follow…

MAN OF STEEL WATCH: INSTALLMENT 1

In an effort to get things going again around here (and there is more Death and Return of Superman stuff coming folks, I promise) I thought it would be fun to start a new feature that will have no set release schedule called Man of Steel Watch.  With the new Superman film less than a year away I felt it was time to start commenting on the production here at the Fortress.  I had thought about doing something like this before but frankly in this day and age of camera phone set pictures showing costumes in the wrong light and the minute by minute coverage that sites better equipped to handle such things were and are giving that it was best to leave that sort of things to the professionals.  However when the big announcements and trailers and posters are released I thought it would be fun to post about them as well as the random thought that occurs to me about the movie.  In this first installment I wanted to talk about the poster that was released in July of 2012.

As the copy suggests this poster was released at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con.  I have yet to sit down and watch the whole Man of Steel panel but I did get to see the footage from the film that was shown, though to be fair that footage was taken by a camera phone towards the back of the room, so the quality was…not so good.  I did like what I saw and heard, though and much like the Spider-Man costume from the recent Amazing Spider-Man film the Superman costume looks a lot better on screen than in the previous mentioned camera phone pictures that were floating around some months ago.

They also released this poster and I have to say I rather like it.  Sure it’s all shadowy but I am assuming that Warner Bros and more importantly the marketing department are trying to keep a full, public showing off of the costume to a minimum to create a sense of mystery about it, kind of like that first image they released towards the end of 2011 of Superman and the vault.  Also I have a feeling that the movie is going to have a darker, more introspective tone to it, which I still have mixed feelings about but I am trying to stay positive and as long as they get the basics of the character right I should be fine with it.  So a poster bathed in shadow does make more sense if that is the direction they want to go in.

What I can say for certain is that I love the S shield design they have gone with.  I was going to write that it is very much like the S worn by the Earth-2 Superman before the Crisis on Infinite Earths but that design went through a number of changes through the sixties, seventies and eighties.  I guess I should say it is very much like the S shield of the Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Superman as drawn by George Perez or even Wayne Boring and Jerry Ordway.

I have loved that S design since I first saw it at the age of 13 so the fact that the movie S has a similar look and feel makes me very happy.  It’s not that I hate the classic S or even the S from Superman Returns.  On a personal level I just prefer this one.

And that is it for this installment.  As I mentioned at the top this is going to be a very irregular feature here at the Fortress though I can promise a new installment in just a day or two since the first teaser trailer has hit the Internet and I have a few things to say about it.

As always…more to follow…

FCTC EPISODE 140: REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN PART 6

Episode 140: Reign of the Supermen Part 6

Welcome to the one hundred and fortieth episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast!  This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index.  Part commentary.  Part history lesson.  All podcast.

REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN CONTINUES!

This week Mike and Jeff continue their coverage of the last act in the DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN saga.  Joining the boys for an even longer than usual but fun episode is the legendary Scotty V!  Scotty is the co-host of RADIO KAL as well as hosting the GREAT SCOTT segment on the weekly Speeding Bulletins over at the Superman Homepage and wanted in on the REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN action.  He chose a good episode to be a part of too because this time out the boys and Scotty look at the tipping point for REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN.  Cover date August 1993 begins with SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #24 where the Man of Steel and the Last Son of Krypton duke it out before Lex Luthor II manipulates a confrontation between Steel and the White Rabbit.  Then, in SUPERMAN #80…You know what?  I can’t even hint at what happens in this issue.  It features an event and two revelations that are huge to REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN and to the DCU for the next decade now that we think about it.  So you’ll just have to listen for that one.  Finally Jeff puts on his newscaster face to tell us what was going on in the real world in the MEANWHILE AT THE DAILY PLANET segment.

Quick heads up; the introductory conversation is longer than usual.  And there is a lot of SMALLVILLE talk in there.  Just wanted you to know.

Mike and Jeff would like to thank Scotty V for coming out to play yet again.  He, like all of the other guest hosts, is welcome back anytime.

You can subscribe to the show in two ways. First there is the RSS Feed and there is also the iTunes link.

If you want to comment on the show or contact the hosts you can always private message Mike and Jeff, at the Superman Homepage, leave comments here or at the Homepage or here or email them by clicking this link.  All questions, concerns, fears, trepidations and cheap shots are welcome.

Next time: Josh Bertone comes back to the show to discuss ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #503 and ACTION COMICS #690!