Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday versus #19

Superman vs. Plesiosaur

So this is the third Plesiosaurus we've featured in the Sunday versus posts so far, and Aquaman has failed to show up in any of them.


Script by E. Nelson Bridwell
Pencils by Kurt Schaffenberger
Inks by Kurt Schaffenberger

Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #72
Lois Lane's Aquaman Tricks!
February 1967
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Awesome Risso Pin-Up!

One of the highlights of the recent spate of Flashpoint mini-series has been Flashpoint: Knight of Vengeance, with Azzarello and Risso's return to the world of Batman (sort of).

Azzarello made his mark on Superman already, with the twelve-part For Tomorrow storyline that brought Jim Lee to the pages of Superman along with him. Risso, on the other hand, has not done a whole lot that I'm aware of.

There was his awesome variant cover for Superman #700, that was in itself an homage to the great Neal Adams cover for #233, but the only other thing that I can find is a pin-up from The Adventures of Superman #600.

Like a lot of Risso's work, it's very atmospheric and moody, which is not a side of Superman you see every day. I'm not sure I'd like to see Risso as a regular Superman artist by any means, but it sure would be a treat to see him give it a go for a one-shot or mini-series, if the tone was right.

Artwork by Eduardo Risso
Colors by Moose Baumann

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

Friday, July 29, 2011

And then there was this time...

...that Adolf Hitler took over the body of Superboy!

This strikes me as too soon, not even twenty years after WWII.

Hell, even 66 years later and I'd still balk at having one of history's worst mass murderers taking over the body of a young Superman.

At least they did make Hitler rather buffoonish looking, with that silly looking Psycho-Changer on his head.

Script by Edmond Hamilton
Pencils by John Forte
Inks by John Forte

Adventure Comics #314
The Super-Villains Of All Ages!
November 1963
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Weekly Panel of Steel #12

So having just got back from a business trip to Cincinnati last night, I was content to just let a regular post go up today even though we had an abundance of riches with comic books featuring Superman released yesterday. After all, there'd be time enough to do a Weekly Panel of Steel later on in the week, as I was just going to read one book before bed.

And you can probably see where this is going.

The one book I decided to read was Flashpoint: Project Superman #2, and damn if that book didn't knock me on my ass. Aside from the mini-series proper, there're two spin-off mini's that I'm enjoying immensely. The first one is the Frankenstein mini by Jeff Lemire, and the second is this one.

As soon as I think I know where they're going in each one, they throw a curveball into the mix. For Project Superman, it was the addition of Lois Lane. I should've guessed she'd show up, what with her dad a major player and all, but her showing up was a complete shock.

Even then, I didn't expect her to have any interaction with Kal, but then they had to go ahead and give us the Weekly Panel of Steel.

With Subject Zero ready to kill General Lane's daughter to make a point, Kal instinctively puts himself in harm's way to prevent it.

That just goes to show, you can take the solar radiation out of the kryptonian, but you can't take the super out of the hero!

Plot by Scott Snyder & Lowell Francis
Script by Lowell Francis
Art by Gene Ha
Colors by Art Lyon
Letters by Rob Leigh

Flashpoint: Project Superman #2
In These Small Hands
September 2011
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Superman Island

I'm not going to read it, so I can't say for sure, but there's no way the Spider-Island story starting today over in Amazing Spider-Man #666 can beat this!

Script by Marv Wolfman
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Frank Chiaramonte
Colors by Gene D'Angelo
Letters by John Costanza

Action Comics #513
The Return Of Superman Island
November 1980
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Silver Age Flaming C!

So last weekend, the world's greatest comic book store was having one of their semi-regular auctions, this one dealing with a whole lot of Silver Age books. I was able to pick up about 40 books for a little over 3 bucks a piece, filling in a bunch of holes in my collection.

While looking through my new found treasures, I came a across a character I was unfamiliar with.

One thought immediately sprung to this the first Silver Age appearance of The Flaming C?

He's obviously had some lasik surgery since his debut, and learned about the finer art of Jai Alai, but's just another crime fighting robot from the 27th century, who goes by the name of Captain Incredible, wreaking havoc in our time period.

Script by Cary Bates
Pencils by Al Plastino
Inks by Al Plastino

Action Comics #354
Captain Incredible!
September 1967
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, July 25, 2011

When did I miss this reboot?

So I'm getting psyched for Grant Morrison's upcoming reboot of Superman. So excited, that I've been going back and rereading some of the other endings and reboots that have occurred over Superman's career.

Somehow though, this particular revision of his origin came as news to me.

What...was this when the Three Stooges were given the creative reins of the Superman titles?

Script by Leo Dorfman
Pencils by Ross Andru
Inks by Mike Esposito

Action Comics #365
Superman's Funeral!
July 1968
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday versus #18

Superman vs. Venusian Pterodactyls

I used to think it was silly when there would be dinosaurs from other planets show up, like these Venusian Pterodactyls, and they would look identical (more or less) to Earth dinosaurs. But if we have aliens from other planets that look identical to humans, why not dinosaurs too!

And besides, it just gives me more fodder for the Sunday Versus posts.

Artwork by Wayne Boring

Superman Sunday Strip
November 7, 1948
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Many Lives of Superman #9

The Many Lives of Superman


Script by Robert Bernstein
Pencils by Al Plastino
Inks by Al Plastino

Superman #157
The Super-Genie of Metropolis
November 1962
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, July 22, 2011

Delegating Justice of the Golden Age

There's a fine line between knowing when to do something yourself and knowing when to delegate.

Script by Jerry Siegel
Artwork by Joe Shuster

Action Comics #13
Superman vs. The Cab Protective League
June 1939
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Weekly Panel of Steel #11

Fair warning...this week's Panel of Steel is a bit on the spoilery side, so look away now if you're not up on your reading of Superman/Batman #86.

With that said, I've been enjoying the heck out of the artwork on this three part story, that I guess is going to hit the lights on the way out. Nothing against this story, but it seems a little anti-climactic, especially seeing how this title came out gunning for glory with its first issue.

But yeah, the artwork has been right up my alley. I've been a fan of Tomas Giorello with his work closing out the final issues of Dark Horse's Conan revamp, and subsequently pencilling just about all of the follow up series, Conan The Cimmerian.

While this issue doesn't quite have the stunning coloring job that Conan always seemed to be blessed with, it still looks pretty sharp...especially that last page.

Here's your last chance to avoid the spoilers about the story's antagonist, so let's get going with this week's Panel of Steel!

That's one way to kill a story, I suppose.

Script by Joshua Hale Fialkov
Pencils by Tomas Giorello
Digital Inks by Blond
Colors by Blond
Letters by Travis Lanham

Superman/Batman #86
The Secret Part 2 of 3
September 2011
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Overly optimistic visions of the future

So let's see, if I do my math right, that puts this panel square in 1984!

It's actually been 42 years, and I'm still waiting for NASA to open up a greasy spoon on the Sea Of Tranquility.

Script by Cary Bates
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Murphy Anderson

Action Comics #410
The Satanic Son Of Superman
March 1972
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Characters Continuity Forgot #5


You better hope he does, Kriss-Kross, because not too many other people do!

Would be double-agent and Russian spy, Kristopher Kross, was caught by Superman as he tried to smuggle some "computer components" and a "plutonium based power pack" over to the Soviet Union. After his getaway jet was disabled, he attempted to parachute to safety but was struck by lightning while clutching onto his stolen goods.

After finally being apprehended and turned over to the military, Kross finds that he has become physically fused with the high-tech equipment, giving him the ability to control technology. His power will now criss-cross the world, creating a network of chaos under his control!

And he would've gotten away with it too, if only Firestorm hadn't been around to disrupt the NASA satellites he was stealing energy from to beat on Superman with.

Alas, a super-villain moniker derived from your real name that perfectly suits your powers and modus operandi can only take you so far. In this case it was one issue, and poor old Kriss-Kross was never seen again.

Script by Gerry Conway
Pencils by Rich Buckler
Inks by Bob Smith
Colors by Gene D'Angelo
Letters by Ben Oda

DC Comics Presents #45
The Chaos Network
May 1982
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Weekly Panel of Steel #10

So I was too wrapped up in our celebration last week of The Man Of Steel mini-series' 25th birthday to post a Weekly Panel of Steel. I'm going to rectify that right now, somewhat belatedly and with the snark turned up to eleven.

Yes, that's right...our year-long Superman nightmare is almost over. The words "To Be Concluded" have never sounded sweeter.

Plot by J. Michael Straczynski
Script by Chris Roberson
Pencils by Jamal Igle
Inks by John Sibal
Colors by Marcelo Maiolo
Letters by John J. Hill

Superman #713
Grounded Part Eleven
September 2011
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunday versus #17

Superman vs. Cartoon Dinosaur

Yes...even across multiple media platforms, Superman still finds the time to teach a runaway dinosaur a thing or two.

Directed by Dave Fleischer
Produced by Max Fleischer
Story by Bill Turner & Tedd Pierce
Animation by Willard Bowsky & Reuben Grossman

Fleischer Studios' Superman
The Arctic Giant
February 26, 1942
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Awesome Byrne Cover

For today's entry into the Awesome Cover Gallery, I decided to add a coda to the weeklong celebration of The Man Of Steel that ended yesterday.

All of the covers for that mini-series followed the same basic theme, with the character who was the main focus standing on the right hand side of the cover, while a key scene from the issue played out behind them. It was a nice touch that tied the series together, and given that it came out on a bi-weekly basis and was ordered in huge numbers, I can imagine it looked nice on the racks in the LCS as the weeks piled up.

But in what has to be one of the first instances that I can remember, the first issue also shipped with a variant cover. I can't remember at the time if it was a 50/50 split or some type of retailer incentive variant, but the other cover for the first issue was a close-up of Clark's chest as he rips open his shirt to reveal the S-Shield underneath.

I suppose instead of describing it, I could just show it, eh? That is the point of today's post anyway...

Now the eagle-eyed readers among you might notice that this particular issue was signed by John Byrne himself! I'd like to tell you the story about how a wide-eyed sixteen year-old comic book fan waited in line all day to get this particular issue signed. I'd also like to tell you how John Byrne gently took the book from my trembling hands and with a wink and a nod, he signed my copy while thanking me for being a fan at the same time.

I'd like to tell you that story...but the truth of the matter is I just picked this particular issue up at my LCS yesterday for two bucks.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The fact that it's signed by such a key creator in the history of the Superman books, and not even that could get this issue marked up even a token fifty cents more than the unsigned copies.

R.I.P. John Byrne-era had a good, long run.

Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Dick Giordano

The Man Of Steel #1
July 1986
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Man Of Steel 25th Birthday Celebration Week - The New Beginning!

It's been fun looking back at the iconic The Man Of Steel mini-series, that launched a new direction and attitude for Superman that lasted a quarter of a century. That's not too shabby a legacy to leave behind, eh?

As we close things out, we'll finish up our celebration by looking at the last page of the final issue.

There's our boy! Coming to terms with his alien heritage, while at the same time recommitting himself to be not only America's protector, but humanities as well.

All in all, it was (and still is) a great little series, even if it did get a little wordy in the last issue. I hope everyone out there had some fun reliving some key moments from the beginning of the Superman era that comes to a close this September. I know I did.

Make sure to come back next week, as we go back to regularly plumbing the depths of the entire storied history of Superman on a daily basis.

Script by John Byrne
Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Dick Giordano
Colors by Tom Ziuko
Letters by John Costanza

The Man Of Steel #6
The Haunting
September 1986
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Man Of Steel 25th Birthday Celebration Week - The Super-Villain!

The crew at the Daily Planet weren't the only members of the supporting cast getting a little update in The Man Of Steel, as Byrne played around with a couple of villains as well. With Lex Luthor, Byrne really focused his ambitions and made him a true antagonist for Superman for years to come.

Gone was the mad scientist with a petty beef towards Superman that dated back to a science experiment gone wrong, resulting in the lost off Luthor's hair when Superboy saves him.

In its place is the Machiavellian businessman and philanthropist, who soon finds out that his money can't "buy" Superman like it can everything else that he wants. Combine that with the fact that Superman's public debut has just usurped his position as Metropolis' favorite son, and you have a truly desperate character who will stop at nothing to destroy Superman.

All that rage, anger, and disappointment is captured perfectly in Lex's mug shot after he's arrested.

The nerve of Superman, interfering with Lex's plans!

Script by John Byrne
Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Dick Giordano
Colors by Tom Ziuko
Letters by John Costanza

The Man Of Steel #4
Enemy Mine...
August 1986
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Man Of Steel 25th Birthday Celebration Week - The Intrepid Girl Reporter!

One of the more welcome changes that John Byrne brought to the Superman line with The Man Of Steel was an updating of the supporting cast. While Superman has arguably one of the best cast of players to interact with, they did need to be modernized just a bit.

Lois Lane benefited the most from the reboot, as she went from competent reporter to intrepid, persistent, confidant, reckless, and crusading journalist extraordinaire. Don't believe me? Then check out this panel...

That right there ain't your daddy's Lois Lane.

And while we're on the subject of Lois Lane...where's our Lois Lane comic book come September? I thought for sure after her co-starring role in Cornell's Action Comics (kind of) and her Flashpoint mini-series, that they were priming us for a new number one come September. Maybe with the second launch. I know that I would buy the hell out of a Lois Lane solo series.

Script by John Byrne
Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Dick Giordano
Colors by Tom Ziuko
Letters by John Costanza

The Man Of Steel #4
Enemy Mine...
August 1986
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Man Of Steel 25th Birthday Celebration Week - The World's Finest!

So up until I read The Man Of Steel mini-series originally, old Superman and Batman had been the best of buddies since their days chasing the Legion of Doom around in the old Super Friends cartoon. At the time, it was still a bit of a novelty to read and experience their "first" meeting, and it was fantastic that John Byrne gave us a whole issue devoted to it.

While the villain they encountered was a bit of a lame duck, the issue did give us quite a few nice visuals, like this one...

It's a clever little twist, that gives Clark the upper hand initially. And if you know Batman, this wasn't the best of ways to introduce yourself. I'm pretty sure calling the future half of the World's Finest duo an "outlaw," doesn't help much either.

Script by John Byrne
Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Dick Giordano
Colors by Tom Ziuko
Letters by John Costanza

The Man Of Steel #3
One Night In Gotham City...
August 1986
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Man Of Steel 25th Birthday Celebration Week - The Super-Hero!

As far as iconic images from the original The Man Of Steel mini-series goes, it's hard to beat the full page splash of Clark taking flight as Superman for the first time, in the costume that his mom made.

As well as being just about as classic an image of Superman you'll find, it was also a helluva way to bring the first issue to a close.

Script by John Byrne
Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Dick Giordano
Colors by Tom Ziuko
Letters by John Costanza

The Man Of Steel #1
Epilogue: The Super-Hero
July 1986
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Man Of Steel 25th Birthday Celebration Week - The Rocket!

We interrupt our regular Sunday versus feature to bring you this special report. So don't go straining your eyes looking for Superman punching out a dinosaur in today's panel, as it ain't there.

What we do have in it's place, is a very special anniversary to celebrate. So special, in fact, that we're turning it into this month's theme week.

It was on this day, July 10th, back in 1986 that The Man Of Steel #1 was released!

It's hard to believe that it's been 25 years since John Byrne was brought in to work his magic with Superman! His story has been revised once or twice in the intervening years, but Byrne's story set the pace for the Superman that we're reading today. And aside from some of the fashions, it still holds up quite nicely to today's standards.

Now I never read this series until years later, as I didn't became a regular Superman reader until the year before they killed him off. Even so, there's images from this series that stuck with me. Byrne's artwork has been the standard image that my brain goes back to when someone mentions Krypton, or Clark, or Lois, or Smallville, etc...

With that in mind, let's spend the week reminiscing about those images and relive the story one more time.

One of the more iconic and lasting images from this series was the birthing matrix. So as we begin the week, we might as well start at the very beginning with the rocket's escape from an exploding Krypton.

So make sure you come back all week, as we'll be taking one last look at the Superman of the last 25 years before things get restarted in September. Which brings me to a quick sidebar, if you have a few minutes to spare.

There's been a fair amount of criticism about DC trashing a particular generations version of Superman. I personally think these people are being a bit reactionary and, dare I say it, a bit selfish too. Let's look at some quick numbers.

From Superman's first appearance to the birth of the Silver Age was 18 years.

From the Silver Age to the beginning of the Bronze Age was 15 years.

From the Bronze Age to the beginning of Byrne's reboot was 15 years.

And from Byrne's reboot to the September relaunch? 25 years!

So to everyone ready to burn DC at the stake because they're rejiggering "your" Superman, you guys have had the longest run. I say enjoy the books in your longbox, and take a deep breath, and come back in September to read the actual books. You never know, you might actually find something you like.

All right, I'm off of my soapbox now. I promise to enjoy the rest of this week with John Byrne's Superman and no more op/eds.

Script by John Byrne
Pencils by John Byrne
Inks by Dick Giordano
Colors by Tom Ziuko
Letters by John Costanza

The Man Of Steel #1
Prologue: From Out Of The Green Dawn...
July 1986
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Awesome Wrightson Pin-Up

For today's pin-up special, we're going to get back on track with featuring artists not traditionally associated with drawing Superman on a regular basis.

And who do we have on tap for today? None other than Bernie Wrightson!

Even out of his element, that guy can still give you a very evocative and transfixing image. Good stuff.

Artwork by Bernie Wrightson

Superman #400
October 1984
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, July 8, 2011

Adventures in super-dating

The things us guys will do to make time with the ladies...

I wonder how many times Clark went Jitterbugging in his zoot suit after they became a couple. I'm willing to bet it's somewhere close to zero. Unless it was a cover for them to write an expose on Intergang's iron-clad grip on the underworld jitterbug criminal scene, because that obviously wouldn't count.

Script by Cary Bates
Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Murphy Anderson

Action Comics #419
The Most Dangerous Man On Earth!
December 1972
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Weekly Panel of Steel #9

I'm just having too much fun with Flashpoint to not make it the Weekly Panel of Steel two weeks in a row!

We got a taste of what Superman was going to be all about in last week's Flashpoint: Project Superman #1, but here we see the real deal in action.

Kept in isolation and away from the sun for thirty years, Kal-El has become a pale, withered version of the hero we all know and love. He's the subject of a jailbreak, as Barry tries to assemble the Justice League from his memories, and what better place to start than with the man of steel.

I love how we see the power inherent in Superman in this panel, not with any sort of showy fashion, but by the awe reflected in Batman, Flash, and Cyborg's faces as they witness Superman flying for the first time.

So far, this mini-series is delivering on all levels, and I'm enjoying the heck out of Superman's part in it.

Script by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Andy Kubert
Inks by Sandra Hope
Colors by Alex Sinclair
Letters by Nick J. Napolitano

Flashpoint #3
Chapter Three of Five
September 2011
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Superman Sketchbook #6

Today's sketch is a real treat from a Superman artist who kinda got the short end of the stick, Ivan Reis.

The spring of 2004 was a time of rebirth for the Superman titles, as the Loeb/Kelly/Casey era was wrapping up, paving the way for all new creative teams. Superman was given to Jim Lee and Brian Azzarello to sheppard, while The Adventures of Superman was left in the capable hands of Greg Rucka.

And Action Comics? Visually, it was on the right track with Ivan Reis on hand for the pencils. And boy, did that book look good. As for how it read, that's another question entirely, as teamed with Ivan was none other than Chuck Austen! While his run on Action was nowhere near the train wreck that Uncanny X-Men was under his guidance, he did give it the old college try. That, however, is probably an avenue best left explored in some posts of its own right.

For today, let's just look upon some unencumbered pencils from the now superstar artist, Ivan Reis.

Pencils by Ivan Reis
Inks by Marc Campos

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Exclamations that never quite caught on

Never mind the floor, Superman, Ollie's mother has a laundry emergency that needs tending to!

Quick everybody! Darn those socks!

Script by Gerry Conway
Pencils by Dick Dillin
Inks by Frank McLaughlin
Colors by Gene D'Angelo
Letters by Ben Oda

Justice League Of America #182
September 1980
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Art by Bob Oksner
Photo uncredited

Limited Collectors' Edition C-48
October/November 1975
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday versus #16

Superman vs. Rampaging Dinosaur Horde

Sixteen Sunday battles versus dinosaurs in, and I don't think Superman is taking this seriously anymore. Skipping into a raging pack of dinosaurs?

It's like you're not even trying anymore.

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

Action Comics #516
Time And Time Again!
February 1981
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Many Lives of Superman #7

The Many Lives of Superman

Editor In Chief!

Script by ?
Pencils by Al Plastino
Inks by Al Plastino

Action Comics #302
The Amazing Confession of Super-Perry White!
July 1963
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, July 1, 2011

Famous' Firsts - Grant Morrison

It's the first of the month, so that means it's time once again to check out the longboxes for the first time certain creators got the opportunity to work on Superman. With the relaunch coming in September, I thought it might be fun for the next three months to look at the first time the creators involved with the new titles had a chance to write and/or draw Superman.

To start things off, we'll travel all the way back to 1988 when a young upstart from Scotland first starting working with DC Comics, Grant Morrison!

He's long claimed that he is a big Superman fan, and if you ever needed any proof beyond reading All-Star Superman, you have to look no further than his second ever issue for DC as he brings Superman in for a quick cameo.

Grant Morrison had just rescued Animal Man from obscurity and was at the beginning of what would become one of his many landmark runs. The second issue sees Buddy Baker having a few doubts about becoming a super-hero again, when Superman stops by for a little unintentional inspiration on a rooftop. Well, it's more Superman just being Superman than a straight up pep talk, but seeing the master at work gives Animal Man a little extra pep in his step.

And as quickly as he swooped down, he's gone. Grant would continue to use Superman as an occasional cameo or guest appearance in all of his regular DCU work, but it wasn't until he relaunched the JLA that he really got to dig his claws into him.

Come September, it's going to be a good time to be a Superman fan.

Script by Grant Morrison
Pencils by Chas Truog
Inks by Doug Hazlewood
Colors by Tatjana Wood
Letters by John Costanza

Animal Man #2
Life In The Concrete Jungle
October 1988
Copyright (c) DC Comics