Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Characters Continuity Forgot #4

The Atom-Master!

A mad scientist of sorts, who with the use of his special helmet, is able to rearrange the dust in the air and materialize it any form he desires.

His original crime spree was cut short by Superman, Batman, and Robin, but never count on a renegade scientist to stay idle for too long. Unfortunately for him, his return to the big time years later was as a member of the Forgotten Villains! And true to form, he has remained forgotten to this day.

He did have a redemption of sorts, turning against the Enchantress at the last moment to prevent her from taking over the world. I think he should count himself lucky, as it's rare for a character that continuity forgot to have a relatively complete and satisfactory storyarc.

If you can call three appearances over 25 years a storyarc.

UPDATE: And yes, for those of you keeping score at home, this is the same Atom-Master who created the illusion of the T-Rex from the last Sunday versus post.

Script by Marv Wolfman
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Dave Hunt
Colors by Gene D'Angelo
Letters by Ben Oda

DC Comics Presents #77
Triad of Terror!
January 1985
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, May 30, 2011

Ten years ago today...

Superman was getting his ass (and jaw) handed to him by General Zod.

Or at least a General Zod, as there have been what, about half a dozen versions of him floating around since the silver age (with the latest one quite literally "floating around" the Phantom Zone)?

I suppose that is a topic begging for a theme week...stay tuned.

Script by Joe Kelly
Pencils by Duncan Rouleau
Inks by Jaime Mendoza and Duncan Rouleau
Colors by Rob Schwager
Letters by Comicraft

Action Comics #779
King Takes Pawn
July 2001
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday versus #11

Superman vs. Tyrannosaurus Rex Illusion

Now I'm sure I'm testing the boundaries of the rules here, but any excuse to show a little more Dick Sprang art and I'm all over it.

Script by Bill Finger
Artwork by Dick Sprang

World's Finest Comics #101
The Menace Of The Atom-Master
May 1959
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Mr. Mxyzptlk Meets Mike

It's been 90 days since our last Mr. Mxyzptlk sighting, and since it's time for our regular Saturday pin-up post let's kill two birds with one stone and see if we can find a Mxy pin-up.

Mission accomplished.

Script by Jon Bogdanove & Louise Simonson
Pencils by Jon Bogdanove
Inks by Dennis Janke
Colors by Glenn Whitmore
Letters by Ken Lopez

Superman: The Man Of Steel #75
The Death Of Mr. Mxyzptlk
January 1998
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, May 27, 2011

Learn to relax, Clark!

Enjoy the long weekend!

Just try to relax a little bit better than Clark, or you're liable to end up traipsing through the Appalachian mountains trying to convince a reluctant heir to use his inheritance for the greater good.

Script by Bill Kunkel
Pencils by John Calnan
Inks by Tex Blaisdell
Colors by Anthony Tollin

Action Comics #471
The Long Weekend
May 1977
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Weekly Panel of Steel #6

There's only one contender for the Weekly Panel of Steel this week, as far as I can tell. It shouldn't matter anyway, for when you have a comic as good as Paul Cornell's Action Comics has been, it should be relatively easy to find a winning panel.

Good thing too, as we've been without a Panel of Steel all month long. Better late than never, I suppose.

This weeks pick comes two pages in after Superman gets tired of listening to the Cyborg Superman prophecy their destruction. After all, with three Doomsday's bearing down on them, they don't have time to listen to his nonsense.

One punch to the chest later, and the Cyborg Superman's central node is now in Superman's control.

God damn, if it isn't nice to see a confident Superman again, much less one with a little sense of humor too! That made this weeks Panel of Steel an easy choice.

Script by Paul Cornell
Artwork by Kenneth Rocafort
Colors by Brad Anderson
Letters by Rob Leigh

Action Comics #901
Reign Of The Doomsdays Part 1
July 2011
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

And then there was that other time...

...that Superman scooped up a handful of plasma straight from a solar prominence, which he then used as bait back on Earth to lure a runaway solar sponge, which was wreaking havoc on Metropolis Beach, in front of a giant mirror which Superman constructed using some spare construction parts, causing it go go supernova.

What can your superhero do?

(Thank god there always seemed to be a spare construction yard around during the silver age)

Script by Edmond Hamilton
Pencils by Dick Sprang
Inks by Stan Kaye

World's Finest Comics #96
The Super-Foes From Planet X
September 1958
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Action Comics Weekly begins

So it was twenty three years ago today when Superman took a sideline role in his inaugural title. For the next nine months or so, he would only appear in a two-page serial strip in each issue. It's not necessarily one of the highlights of Action Comics' storied 70+ year run, but it featured art by Curt Swan so it was at least pretty to look at.

Here's a shot from that first issue, with Superman getting ready to take action!

Script by Roger Stern
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by John Beatty
Colors by Tom Ziuko
Letters by Bill Oakley

Action Comics Weekly #601
Faster Than A Speeding Bullet!
May 24, 1988
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, May 23, 2011

A little known fact about Superman robots

The best way to shut down a runaway Superman robot is to give it a double wet willy!

I'm surprised the Prankster never thought of that.

Script by Cary Bates
Pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger
Inks by Dan Adkins
Colors by Anthony Tollin
Letters by Milton Snapinn

The Superman Family #195
Lois Lane's Super-Risk
May/June 1979
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday versus #10

Superman vs. Purple Plesiosaur

They could have been purple, you never know.

Script by Jerry Siegel
Artwork by John Sikela

Superman #3
September/October 1941
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Many Lives of Superman #6

The Many Lives of Superman

Swamp Thing!

Script by Elliot S. Maggin
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Vince Colletta

Superman #273
The Wizard with the Golden Eye!
March 1974
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, May 20, 2011

C-List Villain Week - Terra-Man!

It's time to close out our week of c-list villains with the rootenest, tootenest c-lister this side of the milky way galaxy.


His origin story is kind of a neat twist on the old "white man raised by indians" plot. Back in the old west, after his father was killed by aliens, Toby was taken under their wing and raised by aliens. Mastering their technology and weapons, he becomes an interstellar outlaw and eventually a Superman villain.

If there was ever a c-list villain who was one decent story away from getting drafted to the big leagues, it's probably our boy Toby Manning here.

Alas, I don't know if he has a good story in him. It's hard to take him seriously when every one of his schemes and weapons is based on some old west trope like tumbleweeds, cactus', or branding. Even the master of Rebirths, Geoff Johns himself, didn't give him much more than a passing cameo in 52. Granted, it was a memorable cameo, what with getting ripped in half and all.

The sad thing is, is maybe that was his one decent story. I bet if you asked ten comic book fans to name their favorite Terra-Man story, his bit in 52 would be the only story most people could remember.

Rest in peace, ya darn c-lister!

Script by Paul Kupperberg
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Dave Hunt
Colors by Anthony Tollin
Letters by Milt Snapinn

Superman #377
Terra Times Two!
November 1982
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, May 19, 2011

C-List Villain Week - Bloodsport!

Today's C-List Villain made his debut early on in Byrne's run, but never quite caught on with any sort of lasting impact.


Yeah, he managed to show up a handful of times here and there, but I defy anyone to name for me the definitive Bloodsport story that wasn't Superman #4.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Someone must have thought the gimmick of teleporting weapons from a secret warehouse was a good enough one for a recurring villain, that they tried it again with another person taking on the persona of Bloodsport. Although this was the 90's by now, and it was no longer bad-ass enough to just have the word blood as part of your name. No, this time let's make him a hard core racist to boot!

Where are they now? I think they're both dead? Maybe? But someone is running around as Bloodsport again?

I suppose I could pull the longboxes and double-check, but after all, he's just a c-list villain.

Script by John Byrne
Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Karl Kesel
Colors by Anthony Tollin
Letters by John Costanza

Superman (Vol. 2) #4
April 1987
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

C-List Villain Week - The Atomic Skull

It's day three of C-List Villains Week, and on tap for today is a character referenced earlier in the week. Yes, so lame he showed up twice!

The Atomic Skull

Albert Michaels was a brilliant, if slightly un-hinged, scientist. Unfortunately for him, he is afflicted by a neural disorder that gives him painful seizures. Unable to find a cure by himself, he puts his hopes into the criminal organization SKULL. They implant a nuclear powered device into his brain that channels his seizures into atomic brain blasts, and the Atomic Skull is born!

It's only after Superman puts the best and brightest SKULL scientists behind bars, that the Atomic Skull blames Superman for his condition as he has ruined his chance for them to finally cure him. I suppose breaking the scientists out of jail would be infinitely harder than just destroying Superman, but I guess there's the reason he's just a c-lister.

Script by Martin Pasko
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Dan Adkins
Colors by Jerry Serpe
Letters by Ben Oda

Superman #323
The Man With The Self-Destruct Mind!
May 1978
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

C-List Villain Week - The Anti-Superman Gang!

By all rights, these next guys should be d-listers, but they make me laugh so I always give them the benefit of the doubt.

The Anti-Superman Gang

They never let an opportunity escape them to take advantage of Superman's weakness to Kryptonite, but the fact that they're essentially the Keystone Kops of Superman's Rogue Gallery means that he usually doesn't have much to fear from them.

You also have to admire their fashion sense. Oh for the good old days, when you wouldn't be caught dead going to an assassination without a three piece suit on.

Script by Otto Binder
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Jack Abel

Action Comics #377
The Cage Of Doom!
June 1969
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, May 16, 2011

C-List Villain Week - The Master Jailer!

It's time to set aside your own dreams of petty revenge and file your own half-though out plans of world domination for another day, for this week we'll be taking a tour through Superman's rogue gallery focusing on those villains who dared to dream the impossible dream...taking on Superman!

That's right, today is the first day of C-List Villains Week here at Superman 101. Now the sad thing is, I have enough material to make a C-List Villains Month, so to start it out will be five of my favorite also-rans. Feel free to pipe in as the week goes by if you have a particular favorite c-lister you'd like to see covered and we'll revisit this theme again in the future.

For now, however, let's see who the first chump up on the chopping block is.

The Master Jailer

Everyone has that one character that they like for no apparent good reason, and our boy Carl Draper is mine. He doesn't have any particular strong storyline to add to his pedigree, and he was only briefly touched upon in recent days, but to hell with it-- I think he's cool.

Carl was a fellow student of Clark's at Smallville High, who was a member of the geology club who was rescued by Superboy after their spelunking field trip went awry. The sad thing about it, was that Carl was on the verge of rescuing them himself. Realizing that his one chance for high school glory was snatched from him by Superboy, he held a grudge well into his adult life.

Channeling that anger with his love of traps and locks, he became a master architect who specialized in building prisons. When the name of his super-prison was changed from Draper's Island to Superman's Island...that was the last straw. It was only a matter of time now before he would become the Master Jailer and lock up Superman so that he could show the world once and for all what a great man he was!

His gimmick was pretty cool. He could steal the powers of whoever he had locked up in his prison, storing and releasing them from his old-timey jailer's keyring. For his debut story that was Metallo, Parasite, and the Atomic Skull (one of whom we'll be seeing later this week). He managed to get the drop on Superman enough so that his first appearance spans two issues, which I guess is impressive enough.

Unfortunately, he's only had a handful of appearance both pre and post crisis, so a c-lister he shall remain.

Script by Martin Pasko
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Frank Chiaramonte
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Letters by Ben Oda

Superman #331
Lockup at 20,000 Feet!
January 1979
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday versus #9

Superman vs. Tyrannosaurus Rex

Present...past...it doesn't really matter, as punching dinosaurs is just plain old fun during any epoch!

Script by Mark Evanier
Pencils by Alex Saviuk
Inks by Frank McLaughlin
Colors by Michele Wolfman
Letters by Ben Oda

DC Comics Presents #64
May You Live In Interesting Times!
December 1983
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Awesome Jurgens Cover

I love how perfectly Dan Jurgens captures each of the different Supermen on the cover of Superman (Vol. 2) #138.

From the barrel-chested Curt Swan influenced Superman on the left to the Golden Age Superman climbing up from the palm to the brash Superboy in the back. It's an awesome composition, made even better by the fact that the "normal" Superman is the only one to realize where the true threat lies...that of Dominus leering in the background.

I'm envious of whoever owns the original artwork for this cover, as you have a hell of a piece celebrating Superman through the years.

Pencils by Dan Jurgens
Inks by Joe Rubinstein

Superman (Vol. 2) #138
September 1998
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, May 13, 2011

Déjà vu

Superman #711


The Adventures Of Superman #572

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

Superman #711
Grounded Part Nine
Copyright (c) DC Comics


Script by Rand Frenz
Pencils by Ron Frenz
Inks by Sal Buscema
Colors by Glenn Whitmore
Letters by Steve Dutro

The Adventures of Superman #572
Who Is Strange Visitor?
Chapter Two

November 1999
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Ivan Reis Brand Lemonade

So I was thinking the other day that this blog has definitely been skewed toward the Bronze Age Superman of late. I guess you can lay the blame for that square at the feet of the world's greatest comic book store by having some killer auctions lately where I've been filling in the blank spots in my bronze age collection at a nice, brisk pace.

So I made the mental note to try to get some more posts featuring newer material up and posted.

And that got me thinking to the rather sorry state of the current Superman books over the last two years (don't worry Cornell, that broad brush attack exempts your Action run).

And that got me thinking to the last time the Superman books were nigh unreadable, back in the summer of 2004.

There was, however, one shining beacon of competence in that era and that was Ivan Reis. I may have read one or two other issues by him before he came aboard with this issue, but his run on Action made me a fan and I've dutifully kept up with each of his new projects.

Unfortunately, he was paired with the (...looking for a polite adjective...) one-of-a-kind Chuck Austen. It's a shame, as he had the energy and the action to make a really solid run, but the story was just all over the place and ended up getting ghost written for the last two issues.

Enough about that unfortunate bit of business, let's look at some of Ivan Reis' work from his debut issue. And because you've all been so polite during my preamble, I'll give you a page with no dialogue so we can enjoy it that much more.

Script by Chuck Austen
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Inks by Marc Campos
Colors by Guy Major
Letters by Comicraft

Action Comics #814
Another Day At The Office
June 2004
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ease up there, Superman!

It's an effective take down, I guess, if not entirely chivalric.

(psst...it was just a Superman robot, so no harm done. Superman would never treat a woman like that...not when he can program a robot to do it for him.)

Script by Cary Bates
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Tex Blaisdell
Colors by Jerry Serpe

Action Comics #473
The Great Phantom Peril!
July 1977
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Terrible Two's

With super babies come super tantrums.

Script by Martin Pasko
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Tex Blaisdell

Superman #286
The Demon In Superboy's Body!
April 1975
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hate, Hate, Hate

It's good to see that Luthor had a spare tape installed as a backup, just in case his robot ran into someone other than Superboy or the Legion of Super-Heroes that it needed to hate.


Script by Jerry Siegel
Pencils by John Forte
Inks by John Forte

Action Comics #377
The Face Behind The Lead Mask!
June 1969
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday versus #8

Superman vs. Mr. Lava-Lizard

Script by Cary Burkett
Pencils by Irv Novick
Inks by Frank McLaughlin
Colors by Gene D'Angelo
Letters by Ben Oda

World's Finest #282
The Joy-Bringers!
August 1982
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chris Bachalo Pin-Up

Now here's a pin-up from an artist who I grew to love during his Vertigo days, but has pretty much called Marvel his home for the last dozen years or so...Chris Bachalo!

He doesn't do much DCU work anymore, much less Superman stuff, so this piece is a one of a kind!


Artwork by Chris Bachalo

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

Friday, May 6, 2011

Accomodating Justice of the Golden Age

Be careful what you wish for, boys!

Script by Jerry Siegel
Pencils by Leo Nowak

Superman #12
September/October 1941
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Neptunian Hot Dogs!

If you ask me, Lois, I think I'm more amazed that the Neptunian's have a food identical to an Earth hot dog, only comically over-sized.

I just can't lose any sleep over mustard on the inside.

Script by Robert Bernstein
Artwork by Al Plastino

Superman #145
The Interplanetary Circus!
May 1961
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Superman Sketchbook #4

It's time for another trip into the Superman Sketchbook, this time featuring the artwork of Kevin Shriver! He's an illustrator based in the San Francisco area, who has a few pictures of Superman posted on the internet, interspersed among some movie characters.

This one was my particular favorite!

I see a little Mort Drucker mixed with a hint of Wayne Boring, which all boils to a nice sketch. Thanks to Kevin for allowing me to share his sketch here.

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

This picture of a motley assortment of Superman supporting characters is pretty awesome too!

Artwork by Kevin Shriver

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Loss of a good thing

And people say we're better off without word balloons in comics anymore...

Look at all of that heartfelt emotion and back-stabbing drama we're missing out on!

Script by Jerry Siegel
Pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #65
The Musical Murder Of Superman!
May 1966
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, May 2, 2011

Now here's a guy who paid attention to the little details

So I'm reading through a stack of The Superman Family issues that I picked up at a recent auction held by my LCS, and came upon something interesting.

Remember that post where Superman was flying through space listening to the "music of the spheres" on his portable cassette recorder? Here's a link in case you forgot.

Well it turns out that that wasn't just a one-off occurrence like I had assumed.

I wasn't reading the Superman books regularly during the late 70s, but was this a regular thing then? And as if continuity isn't confusing enough sometimes, this is actually the Earth-2 Superman and the previous post is the Earth-1 Superman!

Now I know you're sitting back in your chair thinking "damn, this couldn't get any more interesting", but you'd be wrong!

The previous post of Superman zipping through space recording the music of the planets was written by a writer I had never heard of before, but with an unforgettable name...Beppe Sabatini!

And who should have a letter printed in this very issue, some six years prior?

That's right, Beppe Sabatini!

I suppose it's possible that there could be two Beppe Sabatini's in the world, but narrow the field down to how many of them can be connected by Superman's taste in intergalactic space music, and I think we're looking at the same guy here.

If you're out there Mr. Sabatini, drop by and say hello.

Script by Cary Bates
Pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger
Inks by Dan Adkins
Colors by Anthony Tollin
Letters by Milton Snapinn

The Superman Family #195
Lois Lane's Super-Risk
May/June 1979
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday versus #7

Superman vs. Generic Prehistoric Beast

Swing your partner 'round and 'round
With a pocket full of kryptonite to hold you down.

Script by Jerry Siegel
Artwork by John Sikela

Superman #13
November/December 1941
Copyright (c) DC Comics