Episode 68: January 1991

Welcome to the sixty-eighth 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.

In this episode a bold new era of From Crisis to Crisis begins!

Okay, things aren’t that dramatic, but Mike and Jeff do begin the comic book year 1991 this week and not only does it usher in a price increase for the Superman books (from seventy-five cents to a whopping one dollar) but it also marks the beginning of the Triangle Numbering era. For those who may be unaware starting with the January 1991 Superman books and going all the way up to the end of 2001 the Superman titles had a little triangle somewhere on the cover that had the year and a number to let you know where that particular Superman comic fit into the overall continuity. So Superman #51 (which featured the first appearance of Mister Z) was 1991/1, Adventures of Superman #474 (a thought provoking issue where we see an untold tale from Clark’s past) was 1991/2 and Action Comics #661 (featuring Plastic Man) was 1991/3.

After that the boys cover the Adventures of Superboy #12, a goofy little tale where strange things happen in Smallville right around the holidays. Then Jeff goes into his thoughts on the first eight episodes of the third season of the  Adventures of Superboy television series with Mike providing color commentary. Then it’s Elsewhere in the DCU and Elsewhere, Elsewhere and things get kind of goofy because it was late and Mike was getting punchy.

The scans return this week as Mike finally got off his duff and scanned some choice images from the Superman books discuss in this week’s episode.

There was some moody art in this week’s issue of Superman and both this image and the one below were among the moodiest.  Ordway’s use of shadows was awesome here and showed that, as Bruce Timm and company would later figure out, sometimes Superman looks pretty neat in the dark.

The guys spent a lot of time talking about the Adventures of Superman issue this week and it features an image that had, to the knowledge of the hosts, had never been seen before.  Clark Kent…grabbing a beer…to consume.  Here’s the page.

This week’s issue of Action Comics featured Plastic Man and Woozy Winks.  Artist Bob McLeod made an interesting artistic choice by carrying over the “Plastic Man Vision” that Hilary Barta established in the Plastic Man mini-series from 1988.  Here are two examples of this from the issue.

And you thought that Ordway drew a large chin on Superman.

I mean it’s enough to make Clark Kent ponder.

Finally this week the back cover to this weeks batch of comics.  Splatterhouse.  Embrace the horror.

Next Week: The return of Terra-Man, Superman goes to Happyland and Clark has something really important to tell Lois.

Also some guy named Scott Gardner guest stars.

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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.

Seriously, let us know what you think.


  1. It’s only a video game. It’s only a video game.

    I get the feeling that TurboGrafx 16 was throwing a hail mary with that game because it was advertised like crazy, and what they probably should have been promoting were games like the original John Madden football (the one where the ambulance would come out on the field to haul away hurt players and hit other players in the process).

    Anyway … uh, Superman. I’m 20 minutes in and enjoying it as usual.

  2. SUPERMAN #51, at face value, seems like kind of a throw-away issue, but it sets up and plants seeds quite a few seeds for storylines and sub-plots over the next year. You mentioned most of them in the episode. But, I’m surprised you guys missed the last panel on page six that shows Mr. Z with a newspaper. Not only does it set up the name that pays off at the end of the issue, but the headline on the paper plants a seed for another storyline that will pay off in the months ahead.

    Issues like ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #474 always seem sappy and heavy-handed when taken alone. But, I really don’t mind them when taken in the progression of the ongoing storyline. Dan Jurgens did a lot of these (“Homeless For the Holidays,” the story coming down the road involving Clark’s neighbor, the Metropolis Mailbag issues) that shows “real life” issues and conflicts that couldn’t be solved by Superman punching a bad guy. They put forth a good message (i.e. drinking and driving is bad), even if you don’t agree necessarily with the tangentially-related politics.

    As for placement and Clark’s age, Clark couldn’t have been 18 yet at the time of the accident. Clark’s birthday is in February. In MAN OF STEEL #1, when Jonathan takes Clark to the field to show him the ship, he says it had been 18 years since he or Martha had been to the field. This was right after the championship football game, so this is late fall. In the flashbacks, it is explained that Clark just discovered he could fly a few months before (“late last summer”). Since Clark left Smallville shortly after learning his origin, the accident would’ve had to have taken place on a New Years Eve prior to that, meaning Clark would be no older than 17.

    On a further continuity note, though, Clark’s jersey number, the design of the football jersey and the physical depiction of the football coach are identical to MAN OF STEEL #1, so that’s pretty neat.

    ACTION #661… Plastic Man… well, a perfectly fine story, just nothing outstanding. Modern Age Plastic Man isn’t a character that, in my opinion, interacts well with Superman. But, still… good enough issue, just nothing great.

    Good episode, guys. It may seem crazy you’ve made it through four years of books already, but I have a feeling the next four are going to go even faster.

    (Also, I heartily second (or is that third?) the endorsement of Billy Hogan’s Superman Fan Podcast. Even for those well-versed in Superman history, it’s quite excellent.)

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