We’ve all had that argument with our mothers, haven’t we? “Why do you keep all those old comics in your bedroom?” …“Duh, mom, cause they’ll be worth tons of money one day, geez!”. And your mother, frugal as she is, looks at her collection of porcelain cat figurines, and laments. “They better be!”
Well, sleep well tonight. As it’s been widely reported across the inter-webs, a CGC graded 8.0 (Very Fine) copy of Action Comics #1, whih we all know contained the debut of Superman, was sold for (pinkies to your mouth, gentlemen…) one million dollars!
The sale was brokered by Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo of ComicConnect.com. As covered well here, the copy of Action Comics is only 1 of an estimated 100 left in existence. Of those out in the world, the CGC Census lists only 42 copies, including one unrestored copy sitting at 8.5 VF+, and three restored copies at 8.0 or higher.
So, what does all this mean? Consider that amidst a nation in recession, with high numbers of unemployed citizens, and general financial malaise rampant throughout the nation, one more feather can be placed in the ‘Recession-Proof’ aftermarket for printed comic books. Sorry Apple enthusiasts; No iPad copy of Uncanny X-men will mint you one shiny nickel whilst there are printed copies and collectors out there. Now, obviously don’t expect all your copies of slabbed “Ultraforce” and “Darkchylde Summer Swimsuit Spectacular” are gonna mint you a cool Milly’… but hey, you never know. And your mother won’t know either.
Warning: We’re discussing Irredeemable #10, out in stores this week, and we’re probably going to spoil a minor plot point. You might want to read it first before you go any further.
Based on part of Irredeemable #10, I can tell that Mark Waid read Action Comics #442 at a very impressionable age– specifically “The Midnight Murder Show” written by Cary Bates, with art by Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger.
And he was struck by the sheer implausibilty of it all. And re-reading it, I can’t blame him.
Let me recap the plot a bit: Late night talk show host Johnny Nevada, host of GBS’s “The Midnight Show” has been kidnapped by the psychotic and trigger-happy “Touch” McCoy and his henchman, Louie, because all criminal henchmen in Superman stories are named Louie.
To catch the kidnapper, Superman hatches a plan to goad the kidnapper into shooting, which he will be able to hear with his super-hearing. So Superman goes on The Midnight Show and goads Touch into shooting his .45
at Carso– er, Nevada, which Superman will hear fire from across the
city, and can get there before the bullet travels the distance to hit
All well and good, except that Superman has forgotten that a .45 caliber bullet travels at 800 feet per second. In a 20 foot room, it will take 1/40th of a second.
that time, the sound of the gunshot will only travel 28 feet. It’s not
going to matter if he’s faster than a speeding bullet if he can’t hear
it before it hits the target.
We won’t even get
into the argument of how Superman knew how far away the shot was or the
exact direction to fly off in– suffice it to say that it’s a
completely implausible story.
I mean, really– TV networks caring about the hosts of their late-night talk shows?
[[[Superman]]] did not do well as an animated series despite three different studios attempting to tell his stories. Filmation debuted as a competitor to Hanna-Barbera with the 1966 Superman series then H-B told their stories in [[[Super Friends]]]. It seemed they didn’t fully know how to challenge someone with the amazing powers.
By the late 1980s, Ruby-Spears was a well established company, best known for their [[[Thundarr the Barbarian]]]. In 1988, it was their turn to try their hand with the Man of Steel and tomorrow, Warner Home Video releases Ruby-Spears Superman , a two-disc set collecting the thirteen episodes from the one season series.
This series came out just two years after Superman had been revamped from top to bottom by John Byrne and Marv Wolfman in the pages of [[[Superman]]], [[[Adventures of Superman]]], and [[[Action Comics]]]. Most of the changes from the comics are not reflected here, the exception being Lex Luthor as a business tycoon scheming to rid the world of Superman.
However, the producers clearly weren’t comfortable with this interpretation so borrowed heavily from the just completed film series. As a result, the Luthor here is not at all a threat and saddled with a dumb blonde, Jessica Morganberry, for a confidant rather than the more interesting, and far deadlier, Hope and Mercy.
Marv Wolfman was the story editor, chosen not because he helped craft this modern day version of the mythos, but based on his other animation credits. He surrounded himself with like-minded professionals including Martin Pasko and Steve Gerber (who may have written the best of the episodes) and got to work. Visually, the series was a cut above its predecessors thanks to the involvement of Gil Kane, no stranger to Superman. It’s fun seeing Kane’s unique designs come to life, if only more of his touch were evident in the main characters.
The characterizations for Clark Kent, Lois, Jimmy, Perry, and the Kents is virtually non-existant which undercuts much of the emotional impact of the stories. The threats, whether from the benign Luthor or extraterrestrial sources, are also largely unimaginative. Why his rogues’ gallery is absent is never addressed and again, that robbed the series of better stories. Wonder Woman guest stars in one episode and she’s diverting but not at all majestic or riveting to watch. Instead, we have tales that sometimes defy story logic or the laws of (comic book) physics.
From an animation standpoint, the series suffers lapses when characters stand in front of oncoming energy blasts or runaway trains when they should be in motion. The voice casting is off for most characters and is unmemorable. This is far from Ruby-Seaprs’ finest moments.
The most interesting aspect of the series is that each episode concludes with “The Superman Family Album”, four minute vignettes in chronological order, detailing Clark Kent’s journey from adoption through the first time he donned his costume. Unfortunately, all the heart-warming elements we loved from the previous incarnations are gone. Instead, Clark is an impatient brat who demonstrates his powers without ever once being taught about the responsibility that comes with them. We jump a few years and he’s suddenly more mature if no less patient, and we never see the lessons the Kents imparted that made him the World’s Greatest Super-Hero. In her introduction, Lana arrives as a blonde, and her relationship with Clark is given short-shrift. Similarly, Lois’ introduction to Superman is badly handled and devoid of emotion. A great idea, terribly wasted with poor creative choices.
The 13 episodes look nice, and the soundtrack, inspired by John Williams, is a cut above but overall, they are less than wonderful adventures.
The box set comes with one unique extra: “[[[Corruption of the Corrupt: The Rise of LexCorp]]]” which attempts to place Luthor’s comic book characterization into the context of the times. Educators and authors along with Superman editor Mike Carlin contribute their thoughts and it’s somewhat engaging, but has little to do with the animated series, certainly it has no resemblance to the Luthor depicted here.
It’s going to be an exciting year for the Man of Steel: Superman group editor Matt Idelson, writers Geoff Johns (Adventure Comics, Superman: Secret Origins), Greg Rucka (Action Comics), James Robinson (Superman), Sterling Gates (Supergirl), and Renato Guedes (Superman) discussed what the future holds for the current New Krypton status quo and answered fan questions. CBR has the liveblog, but here are some highlights:
“Hunt for Reactron” will be a Supergirl/Action
crossover in October, with both series co-written by Gates and Rucka
for the arc. “It’s a big story with a lot of big, crazy action. And a
lot of fighting,” Gates said.
Geoff Johns briefly ran down what would appear
in Adventure Comics, drawing laughter when he mentioned “the good
Teen Titans.” He also said, “If you don’t like Krypto, don’t read our
The final three issues of the 12-issue World of
New Krypton will be an arc tying together developments on Earth with
those on New Krypton.
“Coming out of ‘Codename Patriot,’ we’re going to finish the finish
the book up to #700, with ‘Mon-el, Man of Valor,’ which will see him
return darker, with a new purpose, and a new costume.”
The Superman Annual will be about the history of Daxam with art by Javi Pina.
Sterling Gates mentioned September’s Supergirl Annual, which is
the origin of Superwoman. “Secret Files” comes out in conjunction with
“Codename Patriot,” with art by Jamal Igle, Francis Manapul, and more.
“You’ll see every Legion in Adventure Comics eventually,” Johns said.
A copy of Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of
Superman, was bought at auction for $121,000 on Friday, after 33
bids. The CGC 2.5 book was sold through ComicConnect.com and its parent site, Metropolis Collectibles.
At $121,000, it doesn’t even crack the top ten for most valuable comics. For a good estimate of what the most valuable books in the world are, read this article. Even better, read the comments– it’s got character names straight out of Damon Runyon.
And sadly, my dad is not getting this for Fathers Day. But it’s the thought that counts, right?
A copy of Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, was bought at auction for $317,200 on Friday, after 88 prior bids. The CGC FN: 6.0 book was sold through ComicConnect.com and its parent site, Metropolis Collectibles.
There are two neat extra tidbits to this story, according to the AP story:
The winning bid for the book was submitted Friday evening by John Dolmayan, drummer for the rock band System of a Down, who is also a dealer of rare comic books. (He bought it for a client.)
The man who had previously owned the book purchased it in a secondhand store in the early 1950s when he was nine years old… for 35 cents. AAAAAAAAAGH!
Fox is working on a pilot for the Human Target, based on the cult DC Comics character Christopher Chance, created by Len Wein, Carmine Infantino, and ComicMix contributor Dick Giordano. Christopher Chance operates by impersonating his clients in order to eliminate threats to them, making himself the target. The character first appeared in Action Comics #419.
The Human Target has already been turned into a TV series back in 1992, starring Rick Springfield. The new pilot is written by Jericho co-creator Jonathan Steinberg, and comes from Warner Bros. TV, McG’s Wonderland Sound and Vision and DC Comics. (Via Hollywood Reporter.)
DC Executive Editor Dan DiDio told Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times that he’s really excited by the titles coming out these next few weeks that wrap up long-running events including Final Crisis and Batman R.I.P.
“We did Countdown to Final Crisis and Final Crisis itself so this has been a long story for us. I feel we’ve accomplished a lot of goals and we created a lot of excitement. But more importantly it’s a point of change for us in DC Universe again. And once you know the ending is coming, it’s in sight, that’s when you start getting worked up about what’s coming up next. That’s what I really get jazzed about. We have two really big events that spin out of Final Crisis each in its own way and affecting our key franchises, Superman and Batman. The first thing we’re going to see is called Battle for the Cowl, that’s going to be a book that features nearly every member of the Batman family
“We have a writer-artist team on this right now that’s scouring every book possible to see what they can include in these two-page spreads they want to build of all the characters that inhabit the Batman universe. So it’s a lot of fun for us. I always like those things because it’s a big noisy adventure book. And whenever you do one of those, the level of excitement is always right there on the page. You hopefully have people respond properly to that.”
DiDio revealed that one status quo-changing element will be Superman vacating Action Comics in the near future. The only time he was absent from the book was during the months he was dead and others vied for the right to inherit the name.
“So this is a lot of fun for us,” he said with a laugh. “I think that’s going to get people excited and scratching their heads and wondering what’s going on. In his own book, Superman, there will be a dramatic turn as the hero leaves Earth and it seems like he’s leaving for good. We’ll follow his adventures in space more so than his adventures on Earth, and that’s a big and exciting thing. We’re also bringing back one of the old-time favorite titles of DC Comics, Adventure Comics. It will be back with a new No. 1 and with new stars but old stars at the same time. It’ll be pretty easy to guess who will be the stars of Adventure Comics if you know who the title was most identified with…”
The title was the home to the Legion of Super-Heroes from issues 300 through 380 and with their title cancelled, they are the most likely feature. DiDio stressed the Legion will remain vital to the DC Universe once their current miniseries Legion of Three Worlds conlcudes in early 2009.
It’s no secret that Mark Millar wants in on Warner Bros.’ announced Superman relaunch. He’d hoped to write what ended up being Superman Returns, but was held back due to an exclusive contract with Marvel Comics. Recently, Millar put himself back in the mix for Kal El’s next adventure, alleging the attachment of a "big Hollywood action director" to his vision.
Empire Online has an interview with the Superman: Red Son writer about his take on the character’s film future. Millar hopes to film an eight hour saga, split over three years ala Lord of the Rings.
He unveils details of the would-be film, describing it thusly:
"I want to start on Krypton, a thousand years ago, and end with Superman alone on Planet Earth, the last being left on the planet, as the yellow sun turns red and starts to supernova, and he loses his powers.
"It’s gonna be like Michael Corleone in the Godfather films, the entire story from beginning to end," Millar continues. "You see where he starts, how he becomes who he becomes, and where that takes him. The Dark Knight showed you can take a comic book property and make a serious film, and I think the studios are ready to listen to bigger ideas now."
Millar says he understands what Bryan Singer went for with Superman Returns. "[Singer was going for an] homage to Richard Donner’s original vision," he says, "but I think you should pay homage by doing something completely different."
Unsurprisingly, Donner was tickled pink at Singer’s tribute to the 1978 Superman. However, in the face of an inevitable reboot, Donner agrees that a comic book writer should tackle the character… just not Mark Millar.
"I’d like to see Geoff Johns take a crack at Superman," Donner told the L.A. Times earlier this month. "I think he would be startling. Did you read his comics? There it is. It’s there on paper."
Johns, who previously worked as an assistant to Donner, collaborated with the filmmaker on a string of Superman comic book arcs, including "Last Son" and "Escape From Bizarro World." Clearly, then, he’s biased on the situation, but can he be blamed? Johns has written some truly excellent stories in Action Comics, most notably his recent "Brainiac" five parter that re-killed John Kent and leads into the current "New Krypton" arc.
Maybe it is Johns who should tackle the Man of Steel, but by all accounts, it sounds like Millar’s first on line. Who do you think would be the better man for the project? Sound off below!
In today’s Action Comics #870, Jonathan Kent dies. Again. While this is his first death since 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths, it’s a significant alteration to Superman’s status quo.ComicMix asked historian John Wells to take a look back at the character’s role in Superman’s life. Graphics were selected and are courtesy of our pal Mark Waid.
A bitterly fought election had come to a close but the victor had little time to enjoy himself. Instead, still in a rage over a blackmail attempt targeting his family, Jonathan Kent clutched his chest and collapsed, dying in the arms of his wife and son. Speaking of this pivotal event in Smallville’s 100th episode (January 26, 2006), executive producer Al Gough told TV Guide that this was “part of the Superman mythology that was always going to have to be told.” But did it really correspond with the comics?
In the beginning, Ma and Pa Kent didn’t exist at all. As far as Action Comics #1 (June 1938) was concerned, the infant Superman was simply discovered by a passing motorist and dropped off at an orphanage. And, even with a considerably longer account, the 1939 Superman comic strip stuck to that particular detail. Ultimately, it was 1939’s two-page origin at the front of Superman #1 that set down many of the details that fans would consider sacrosanct. Here, the Kents were actually shown discovering the super-baby’s rocket and asking a relieved orphanage to adopt him. And, as the vignette concluded, Clark Kent was seen standing at his foster-parents’ graves, inspired to honor their memory by becoming Superman.
The subsequent Superman radio show sidestepped the issue of Clark Kent’s formative years altogether. In this one, the passing motorist didn’t find a baby. Inside this rocket, he found a full-grown Superman ready to take on the world. Yikes!