…Far Beyond Those Of Mortal Men…

Super_Powers1 Super_Powers2 III_PowersSuper_Powers3Enjoy this fascinating gallery of Super-Diagnostics amassed over the ten year period of the Superman motion picture series.  Mainly culled from Japanese movie magazines, (with the exception of the Superman III laserdisc insert, third pic down) these fun diagrams (presumably) list Superman’s great powers in seemingly exhaustive detail while still finding space for cast & crew credits and even a rogues gallery. (bottom pic)  Should anybody wish to translate the copy I would be more than happy to host it here…

Secret Origin…

Origin_CoverSecret_1Secret_2Secret_3

Continuing SUPERMANIA’s ongoing series of posts dedicated to comic reading specially selected for fans of the Movie series, the above may well represent the best and purest interpretation to date.   Indeed, writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank may well have created a satisfactory substitute for what was long thought to be a lost cause – a virtual comic adaptation of Superman: The Movie.

Having already wowed fans old & new with with their shamelessly cinematic Superman: Brainiac series, this dream-team pairing next applied their epic take on his ‘Secret’ origins, in a bold revision not attempted since John Byrne’s definitive Man Of Steel in 1986.

Over the course of six spellbinding issues, Johns & Frank manage to spin a tale of considerable substance, cherry-picking from all of the best influences from all the Man Of Tomorrow’s rich history and many incarnations, ultimately producing a graphic novel I could only describe as a precious gift to fans of the classic Superman Movies.

Indeed, there are so many rich references and sweet homage to Richard Donner’s pictures I could easily make extensive posts on every issue.  As for the collection, however, beyond the main players (Christopher Reeve’s Superman/Clark Kent written and illustrated to perfection) find mentions of obscurities such as Gil Friesen to nothing short of a glorious re-interpretation of the double jeopardy scene from Superman: the Movie.  Interspersed with some classic comic-book action (featuring outstanding re-imaginings of villains The Parasite and Metallo, Johns also invests considerable time & energy into addressing much of the ambiguity regarding the Superman mythos (Including the invention of the costume and the cute necessity of Clark’s glasses) in a contemporary fashion Christopher Nolan would certainly approve of.

For all its stylish integrity, however, the book does have one fairly significant and questionable failing – the re-introduction of Superboy.  In a baffling second issue, Superboy comes to terms with his Superhero obligations with the help of the Legion Of Superheroes. In a move of such incomprehensible silliness totally at odds with the rest of the tone established by issue 1, Superboy travels in time for an adventure in the distant future.  Even the sweetly contrived arrival of Krypto The Superdog can’t save the issue from ruining what would otherwise be an exquisite collection.  Obligingly, the story does not suffer by its deletion, so the reader can easily skip from issues 1 to 3 with little or no fallout.

Despite my longing for the Johns/Frank pairing to continue on the character in his regular run until the end of time, this book, tragically, to date, this is their epitaph.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for sharing their vision whilst applying Christopher Reeve’s persona to a tale worthy of the affection we clearly share of his interpretation to this day…

Just In A Slump…

Junkyard Ed1Junkyard Ed3Junkyard Ed2424062_485876191454549_543618378_nBrand new for 2013 from the house of Action Costumes come this surprise addition to their unbeatable line of Superhero apparel, this time in the form of the ‘Junkyard Edition’ costume from Superman III.  From the pre-order listing;

This Costume has been inspired on the one used by Christopher Reeve for the Superman III Movie from 1983.

Who brought to life one of the most Evil Superheroes of all times for the Junkyard first fight between our hero and his Dark Side.

This is the best Superman Evil Costume Silver Edition ever seen by the moment!!

However colourful the use of English in the description (Action originates in Argentina) there can be no doubt about the tailoring excellence as shown in the pics above, perfectly capturing the look of the costume as it suffers degradation due to the effects of Kryptonite.  If you’re looking to hang out in bars downing whiskey while flicking peanuts and being generally abusive this is the suit to be seen in…

Experiment, Freako…

Lenny_NukeLuthors_LairHowler_Co Confrontation!More from the SUPERMANIA collection of exclusive behind the scenes material, this time on the Elstree Studios set of Luthor’s Lair atop Metropolis Tower.  These never-before-seen pics convey the considerable scale and splendid Art Deco design of Production designer John Graysmark’s set arguably better than what’s seen in the finished picture.  From the top, a candid moment between actors Jon Cryer (Lenny Luthor) and Mark Pillow’s Nuclearman, Gene Hackman awaiting direction with his dance instructor while Sidney J. Furie confers with crew, actors William Hootkins, Stanley Lebor and Jim Broadbent (in his first film role) converse with Hackman & Cryer relaxing between takes, and shooting the face off between Nuclearman and Christopher Reeve’s Superman toward the end of the picture…

No. 1183…

DSC_1891DSC_1898DSC_1899DSC_1892Back in an age where ‘Limited Edition’ meant just that, this hardback behemoth was released to celebrate the Man of Steel’s 50th anniversary in 1988 and restricted to 2500 copies.  Published by Russ Cochrane Ltd. In association with DC Comics and grandly mounted inside a slipcover box embossed with a metallic ‘S’ shield,  (bottom pic) ‘The Adventures Of Superman Collecting’ created and designed by Harry Matetsky (written and edited by Amanda Matetsky) is a celebration of paraphernalia charting the evolution of Superman’s comic origins to the multi-million, multi-media property of ‘today’.

Beautifully presented, this volume opens with a detailed summary of Siegel & Shusters creation and their battle to bring it to a wider audience before abandoning any further depthy insights in favour of a simple picture book showcasing a plethora of rare and obscure vintage treasures (nicely photographed by Robert Scott) contributed for documentation by many a dedicated fan.

Less flashy and more conservative than Chip Kidd’s Batman Collected published some years later, there is still much here to please the nostalgic eye, such as the colour-guide celluloid for Max Fleisher’s Superman cartoon and the first jointed Superman doll (released by the Ideal Novelty & Toy Co. in 1940).  However In its 215 pages, you would be forgiven for expecting more coverage of action figures yet curiously, few more are mentioned save for an overcrowded group shot spread over two pages at the back.  This means there is no mention of the revolutionary Mego figures in either scale of the late ’70’s – a baffling omission.

Thankfully, there are features devoted to merchandise derived from Superman’s appearance in other media, including the cartoons, Movie serials and TV Series.  The Superman Movies are also bestowed with two pages per picture (second & third pics) though the range of memorabilia on show is barely representative of the unprecedented marketing drive initiated by Warner Brothers at the time.

And therein lies the only criticism you could possibly level at this volume, that for all its grandiose presentation there eventually amounts to little more than an elaborate auction catalogue in content.  Perhaps this explains why (besides the expense – I first saw this book 20 years ago with a £100 cover price!) after an initial rush, sales dwindled and perfect, unread copies still occasionally become available.  An absolute must for the Superman historian, and to date still the definitive (and only) book on the subject, this edition is long overdue an update, or at least, a well-earned Volume II…