Thursday, March 31, 2011

Nothing exciting happened today --

--Will blog Superman 101, as usual, tomorrow.

Script by Jerry Siegel
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Shelly Moldoff

Superman #145
The Night Of March 31st!
May 1961
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Short Tempered Justice Of The Golden Age

I guess even Superman is allowed to wake up on the wrong side of the Fortress of Solitude every now and again.

Script by Jerry Siegel
Artwork by Joe Shuster

Superman #4
Luthor's Undersea City
Spring 1940
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Characters Continuity Forgot #2


It's the alien from the Andromeda Galaxy who is allergic to super-heroes!

It's probably for the best then that he hasn't appeared since 1977, as it's not like there hasn't been any shortage of superheroes over the decade. Hell, the 90's probably would've killed him outright!

Script by Cary Bates
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Tex Blaisdell

Action Comics #463
Die Now, Live Later!
September 1976
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, March 28, 2011

Adventures with outdated technology

I wonder if Superman still has these cassette tapes in a dusty old box in the Fortress attic?

Remind me to double check at the next Fortress of Solitude garage sale.

Script by Beppe Sabatini
Pencils by Howard Bender
Inks by Bob Oksner
Colors by Gene D'Angelo
Letters by Milt Snapinn

Action Comics #572
SOS from Nowhere!
October 1985
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday versus #3

Superman vs. Tyrannosaurus Rex

Our weekly experiment to see how many different stories of Superman fighting Dinosaurs we can highlight, continues apace...3 posts strong!

Script by Roger Stern
Artwork by Bob McLeod
Colors by Glenn Whitmore
Letters by Bill Oakley

Action Comics #664
Time & Time Again Phase Five
Many Long Years Ago...

April 1991
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, March 26, 2011

J.G. Jones

Today's featured pin-up comes from a man who absolutely nailed the essence of the DCU down into a single image on a weekly basis for the covers of 52. The great thing about his covers was there ability to convey a whole issue's worth of drama and characterization in just a single image.

We're talking about none other than J.G. Jones, and here's his take on Clark revealing his other identity to Lois.

Fantastic stuff!

Artwork by J.G. Jones
Colors by J.D. Mettler

The Adventures Of Superman #600
March 2002
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Fun with Grundy

Speaking of an army full of Solomon Grundys...

...there was also that time that Superman had to stop an army of them from rising up from the sewers of Metropolis and destroying the city.

I know that his thing is constant reincarnation, but who knew that Grundy had such a predilection for getting himself cloned as well?

Script by Steve Englehart
Artwork by Murphy Anderson
Colors by Jerry Serpe
Letters by Ben Oda

DC Comics Presents #8
The Sixty Deaths Of Solomon Grundy!
April 1979
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Weekly Panel of Steel #4

It's kinda slim pickin' for a Panel of Steel this week as Superman only made one appearance, and that was in the pages of Superman/Batman #82.

The story continues to chug along quite nicely as Batman and Detective Chimp uncover some important clues into the disappearance of Superman, while Superman himself begins to find his footing in the not too distant future under a magically reanimated sun.

It sounds crazy, but then again the best comic books usually are. Cullen Bunn continues to impress with a very clever script (I love the magic world Batwing! If only this was a Batman themed blog that would've been the panel of the week right there.) and Chriscross makes it all look pretty. There wasn't really one panel of Supes that stood out, however, as Batman took the center stage for most of this issue. Luckily for us we are saved with a stunning cover by Travel Foreman and Val Staples!

I love the blue monochrome look to whole thing, with the focal point being Superman's glowing white hand. The blue gradually gets darker as the light recedes from his hand, giving the battle between Batman and an army of Solomon Grundys in the background an especially eerie feel.

The highlights in the sword are a nice touch and tie the whole image together, letting us know that the rules are somewhat different on this magically influenced earth.

Good stuff, and well worth the price of admission alone. The fact that you got a kick-ass twenty page story to back it up makes it even better.

Artwork by Travel Foreman
Colors by Val Staples

Superman/Batman #82
May 2011
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Unorthodox super power usages

I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure X-Ray Vision doesn't work that way.

Script by Leo Dorfman
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by George Roussos

Action Comics #382
Clark Kent, Magician
November 1969
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The old switcheroo...

At last, after forty years of super-villain shenanigans, the true meaning of evil is about to make itself known.

And brought on by Superman, no less!

Now we all know that that's not the real Superman.

Bonus points for anyone out there who knows which one of the super-villains at their feet is the real Superman.

And super-double bonus points to anyone out there who knows the identity of the rather generic looking fella on the right.

And super-triple bonus points to anyone out there who knows what blockbuster series took this storyline and expanded upon it almost three decades later.

Script by Gerry Conway
Pencils by Dick Dillin
Inks by Frank McLaughlin
Colors by Gerry Serpe
Letters by Ben Oda

Justice League Of America #166
The Long Way Home
May 1979
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, March 21, 2011

Scary monsters

In a rare Superman 101 exclusive, we have uncovered original story notes from Jim Shooter to Curt Swan for the lead story in Action Comics #451.

JS: All right Curt, we need a really scary monster for page 12.

CS: How about a beast with horns!

JS: Nah, been done.

CS: We could do one that spits acid?

JS: Borrring...

CS: Two heads? The kid's love a beast with two heads!

JS: No, I'm thinking of a giant! Give him six arms and no shoulders, and instead of a head give him a bowl of bananas!

CS: A bowl of bananas? Are you sure?

JS: Yeah, you're right...that might be too scary. Why don't you give him a banana peel mustache as well, and we'll call it a day.

Script by Jim Shooter
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez

Action Comics #451
The Great Super-Hero Contest!
September 1975
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday versus #2

Superman vs. Spinosaurus

As promised earlier in the week, here's Superman fighting dinosaurs from this week's issue of Power Girl!

(What exactly is Sunday versus...? Click over here for the background.)

Script by Judd Winick
Artwork by Sami Basri
Colors by Jessica Kholinne
Letters by John J. Hill

Power Girl #22
Up, Up & Away part one
May 2011
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Many Lives of Superman #3

The Many Lives of Superman


Script by Leo Dorfman
Pencils by Al Plastino
Inks by Al Plastino

Action Comics #337
From Riches To Rags
May 1966
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, March 18, 2011

Questionable Role-Modeling

Using your heat vision to light the cigar of your desperately ill friend, while he lies hooked to life support in his hospital bed.

Script by Elliot S! Maggin
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Dan Adkins
Colors by Anthony Tollin
Letters by Ben Oda

Superman #376
The Ozone-Master Comes Calling!
October 1982
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Weekly Panel of Steel #3

It looks like we have two contenders for up for the honors of The Weekly Panel of Steel for this week. If you're new around here, here's how it works. Every Wednesday I take a gander at what new books were released featuring Superman, and I then highlight a particular panel that I think nailed it.

What is "it"? depends, so to speak. It could be a character moment, it could be a bombastic action scene, but it probably won't be of Superman just walking (that I can guarantee you).

Superman popped up in the pages of Power Girl #22 to help take care of Manhattan's-- dinosaur problem? It's actually a very fun issue, and there's definitely one or two panels I could've easily picked. I think we'll hold off though, and save one of those for the Sunday versus posts. After all, we're currently featuring dinosaurs!

The other book that featured Superman was his titular series, Superman #709. Without getting too far off on a tangent, I haven't been the biggest (or any sort of) fan of JMS' Grounded storyline and am most happily ticking off the months until they put it to rest. The last couple of issues, however, have been showing some promise and to that end, I can't thank Chris Roberson enough. Here's hoping the Superman editors take note of that and let him do some of his own thing when he gets done making lemonade from the lemon that he was handed.

I also haven't really been a fan of Eddy Barrows either. I generally like his stuff, but just not on Superman. I can't quite put my finger on it, but Superman's posture seems off, if that makes any sense. This issue's race between Superman and the Flash, however, brought some new life to his pencils that I rather enjoyed. Seeing the difference between his work in the action scenes, compared to the standing around and talking scenes, and I have to wonder why they decided to go with Barrows for this particular storyline in the first place? It's a little too square peg/round hole for my tastes.

Anyways...after that long preamble, I am quite happy that I was able to find a panel from Superman #709 that I rather liked.

That right there is a Superman that we haven't seen in the pages of this title for a long, long time. Strong, determined, and helping a friend.

Script by Chris Roberson
Pencils by Eddy Barrows
Inks by J.P. Mayer
Colors by Rod Reis
Letters by John J. HIll

Superman #709
Grounded Part Seven
May 2011
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mad Scientist P.S.A.

SUPERMAN: And the marijuana...who taught you how to do this stuff?

PROFESSOR: From you, all right...I learned it from watching you!

(and here's the context for today's post, for those of you born well after the 80's)

Script by Gerry Conway
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Tex Blaisdel

Action Comics #467
Stop It, Superman--You're Wrecking The World!
January 1977
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Super Quiz #1

Here's a quick Super Quiz for today's post.

What is the significance of posting this cover today, on the 15th of March?

I'll post the answers in the comments section tomorrow, if no one speaks up.

Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by George Klein

Superman #157
November 1962
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, March 14, 2011

Superman Sketchbook #2

It's time for another trip into the Superman Sketchbook, this time featuring the artwork of Elias Khasho!

He's a storyboard artist and director who lives in Sweden, and as fate would have it, one of his favorite superheroes just happens to be Superman. Check out this awesome sketch, if you don't believe me.

Thanks to Elias for allowing me to share his sketch here.

Be sure to check out his deviantART site for more pics of Superman.

This sketch is pretty awesome too!

Artwork by Elias Khasho

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday versus #1

It's time for the debut of another regular feature here at the 101. This one coming into existence for no other reason than it's an excuse for me to post some awesome visuals (not to mention getting to use a killer pun in the title), it's...

Superman vs. Dinosaurs

Come back every Sunday and we'll have a new pic of Superman fighting dinosaurs until I run out of stories. I'm thinking I'm probably set until the end of the year, but we shall see.

Script by Jerry Siegel
Artwork by Joe Shuster

Superman #4
Luthor's Undersea City
Spring 1940
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Best Worst of 90's Cover Gimmicks Week, Day #7

It's been a wild and crazy week, looking back at the best worst of what the 90's were able to get away with putting on the front of a comic book. We close out our week long celebration with the most interactive cover gimmick of all time.

Drum roll, please...

Superman: The Man Of Steel #30

Now, it looks pretty bland from the scan, but that's before we get to put the colorforms on it.

That's right...colorforms! Now you can create your own knock-down, drag-out fight between Superman and Lobo. It seems everyone else did in the 90's, so why not you?

And because it's a celebration, I'll break the one pic per day rule to have a little fun with this cover. Enjoy!

A special thank you to my four-year old son for agreeing to put his artistic expertise to good use with the colorforms. He had fun, as I believe his exact words were "This is the greatest arts and craft project of the day, thanks Dad!"

No, thank you 1990's!

Pencils by Jon Bogdanove
Inks by Dennis Janke
Colors by Glenn Whitmore

Superman: The Man Of Steel #30
February 1994
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Best Worst of 90's Cover Gimmicks Week, Day #6

As far as gimmicks go, our entry for today actually makes a lot of sense for comic books...the lenticular cover!

Superman Forever #1

What other gimmick captures the action and movement that are such a big part of the stories contained within them? In my opinion, none of the other ones can.

With the cover to Superman Forever #1, Alex Ross outdid himself with a multitude of painted images (six, maybe?) that show Clark Kent transforming into Superman and flying off.

I assure you that the actual cover is more impressive than my scanned copy, so check it out the next time you're wandering around the comic book store.

Oh, and if you have a spare $60,000 laying around, the original artwork for this cover can be yours!

Artwork by Alex Ross

Superman Forever #1
June 1998
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Best Worst of 90's Cover Gimmicks Week, Day #5

There has been a wide variety of cover gimmicks over the years, but here's one that I don't know if I've ever seen used again...the removable translucent cover!

The Adventures Of Superman #500

I can't decide if they left this alone in deference to the historic significance of this issue? Or if it's just a rather lackluster gimmick.

I'm guessing the latter, as once you remove the translucent cover and put it back into place it sort of loses it's appeal. Yeah, those are air bubbles and aren't supposed to be part of the ethereal effect of Superman hovering between life and death.

Artwork by Jerry Ordway

The Adventures Of Superman #500
June 1993
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Best Worst of 90's Cover Gimmicks Week, Day #4

Our next cover gimmick is actually one that I still have a lot of time for, the chromium cover!

Superman (Vol. 2) #82

From a visual standpoint, they hold up nicely and really make the colors pop. If any gimmick has to make a comeback, we could do a helluva lot worse than this one.

It's gotta be better than polybags, eh Johnny Storm?

Pencils by Dan Jurgens
Inks by Brett Breeding

Superman (Vol. 2) #82
October 1993
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Best Worst of 90's Cover Gimmicks Week, Day #3

Cruising right along, today's entry in our week long celebration of 90's excess is a rather whimsical one.

Superman Red Superman Blue #1

It's kind of a clever play on the two different colored Supermen (one blue and one red) by having the cover be three dimensional with the classic red and blue triple images.

With that being said, it seems a bit of a wasted opportunity that the only thing in 3-D for this book is the cover. It's a 50+ page jam book, which would seem to lend itself quite naturally to this type of gimmick.

Although in hindsight, I suppose it shows a very commendable amount of restraint for the time period.

Pencils by Dan Jurgens
Inks by Brett Breeding
3-D Separations by Ray Zone

Superman Red Superman Blue
February 1998
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Best Worst of 90's Cover Gimmicks Week, Day #2

Day two of our celebration of the best worst that the 90's were able to throw at us continues with a cover that is probably the most generically 90's of the bunch.

Action Comics #695

It's got silver foil and a raised cover!

One of those gimmicks alone would've been good enough in the heyday of 1994, but with two of 'em...look out!

But you know what makes this one worthy of celebration? It's the fact that it was entirely unwarranted. The biggest thing that happens this issue is that it introduces us to Cauldron. You remember him, don't you? The villain so important he went on to have two whole other appearances in the intervening 17 years.

That, my friend, was what the 90's were all about.

(Not to mention gratuitous Lobo appearances)

Sketch by Ed Hannigan
Pencils by Jackson Guice
Inks by Jackson Guice
Colors by Susanne Bourdages

Action Comics #695
January 1994
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Best Worst of 90's Cover Gimmicks Week, Day #1

All right, I've held off long enough and tried to spare you all the pain that those of us collecting comics in the 90's had to live through week by week. Whereas we had a whole decade of nonsense to put up with, I'm only going to hold this blog hostage for a week as we go through some of the most infamous cover gimmicks that found their way into the Superman titles.

That's right, it's time for our very first theme week here at Superman 101, so strap yourselves in and let's get started.

To kick things off, we might as well begin with the grand-daddy of 'em all. The Superman book that if you only have one in your collection and you're over the age of thirty, it's probably this one.

The Death of Superman (and conversely the birth of the speculator market).

Superman #75

Now that's actually not the cover, but the black polybag that held all of the extras in place. You don't think I'd be stupid enough to actually open it, do you?

If you did, however, you'd find items like a memorial poster, a black armband, a Daily Planet obituary, commemorative stamps, and a trading card! And for what was probably novelties sake, they did throw in an actual comic book.

All it's missing is a pog and something that glows in the dark and it'd be like the 90's went on a bender and threw up in the black polybag.

(And I did open up this copy, as that only increased the value of my other four unopened copies! That is how it works, right?)

Superman (Vol. 2) #75
January 1993
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bill Sienkiewicz Pin-Up

Superman #400 is truly one of the stellar issues for any Superman fan's collection, as it features a bunch of pin-ups by a veritable who's who of the industries finest in the mid-80's. Take a look at some of these names...Brian Bolland, Jack Davis, Steve Ditko, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Jerry Robinson, Berni Wrightson! And that's not even all of 'em.

I'm sure I'll get around to posting most of them sooner or later, but this one really jumped out at me.

That is one fine piece of work by Bill Sienkiewicz.

Artwork by Bill Sienkiewicz

Superman #400
October 1984
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, March 4, 2011

Superman Hulks Out

Faster than a speeding bullet!

More powerful than a locomotive!

Able to appropriate catchphrases in a single bound!

Script by Len Wein
Pencils by Irv Novick
Inks by Pablo Marcos
Colors by Gene D'Angelo
Letters by Milt Snappin

Superman Special #3
Amazo Means Mayhem!
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Steve Epting on Superman

Steve Epting has spent most of his career over at Marvel, but he did dabble with the Man of Steel for a half-dozen issues or so at the tail end of the nineties. I was a huge fan of his work from The Avengers, so I was partial to his pencils when he came onboard and there's something very "Superman-esque" about his rendition. Enjoy.

Classic stuff.

Script by Dan Jurgens
Pencils by Steve Epting
Inks by Joe Rubinstein
Colors by Glenn Whitmore
Letters by John Costanza

Superman (Vol. 2) #150
Earth's Final Hour
November 1999
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is this still current continuity?

I'm only guessing here, but you gotta figure this is no longer canon.

Thank god for back issues!

Script by Edmond Hamilton
Pencils by Wayne Boring
Inks by Stan Kaye

Superman #106
Superman's First Exploit
July 1956
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Famous' Firsts - John Byrne

It's the first day of the month, and around here that means we celebrate new beginnings with a look at Famous Firsts in the world of Superman.

Today's first?

It's the first published work of John Byrne featuring Superman, from the pages of Superman #400! This is two years before he would go on to reboot the entire franchise with Man of Steel #1.

Artwork by John Byrne

Superman #400
October 1984
Copyright (c) DC Comics