This week marks the 26th anniversary of the worldwide release of Superman IV: The Quest For Peace on unsuspecting moviegoers everywhere.
Like it or loathe it, the closing chapter of the Reeve series remains as shrouded in controversy as its three preceding pictures but for all the wrong reasons. To date still unreleased in its entirety and tucked away embarrassingly in many a boxset collection, it remains today more a guilty pleasure than a Batman & Robin style disaster.
At a glance the images above would seem to represent a Movie of equal quality to the first two rather than the Corman-esque travesty it actually became. From the advertising campaign headed by veteran Bond poster artist Daniel Goozee’s painting (rare ‘clean’ version shown, top) to the supporting cast carried over a ten-year period (featuring Gene Hackman (bottom) and at its heart, the assured presence of Reeve himself with a story he co-wrote. What could possibly go wrong…? 26 years later we are still wondering…
As SDCC closes its doors for another year and fans slowly digest/debate the vast amount of cool stuff shown and/or on offer, SUPERMANIA presents another exclusive on a revelation at the show you may well have missed –
Peeping out modestly on display at the Propstore Of London’s very busy booth was this pair of exquisitely sculpted portrait heads from Superman II. Mounted on a handsome black plinth with the movie title (inscribed Mount Rushmore Zod & Ursa) the display is so fresh it has yet to be listed on Propstore’s website. While it seems evident exactly what this piece is and its purpose, a keen-eyed fan familiar with the specific scene from Richard Lester’s Superman II may notice these are full head casts and appear different from the final miniature (where all three Supervillians are integrated into the rockface.)
Unlike the giant foreground miniature of Abraham Lincoln (read about its rescue from the Pinewood Studios skip here) these heads are no more than 10″ tall and even though they have been painted to resemble construction from blocks they lack the dark detailing seen in the final shot.
So what do we really have here? Its well established Propstore had a great relationship with the late, great Stuart Freeborn and these could well be his masters for the final miniature. While it seems clear they are original sculpts (as opposed to lifecasts) in plaster(?) It remains entirely speculative until Propstore releases the details of this fine piece when it finally comes up for sale at what will surely be a price worthy of its villainous subjects…
Those of you lucky enough to be attending this years San Diego Comic-Con are in for a historic Super-treat courtesy of DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers.
To coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Man Of Steel, an elaborate showcase of genuine costumes celebrating the many live-action incarnations of Superman from the small & silver screen is currently being exhibited among the hordes of pop-culture memorabilia (credit to respective photographers for the pics above).
From CNET.com; Leith Adams, movie poster expert and the Executive Director of Warner Brothers Corporate Archive, delves into the secret history of Superman’s on-screen costumes. “I was always told, ‘You can’t save everything, Leith,'” he recounted. But when it comes to some classic Superman suits, Adams was able to save the day. Or at least, the fabric.
Featuring one Henry Cavill costume too many and a George Reeves costume too little, (with original Reeve costume re-housed from the DC Comics 75th anniversary in Valencia a few years back) this is also the first time a complete ‘evil’ Superman costume has been made available to view in public. The showcase will presumably run until the close of this years con on Sun 21st and may well be the only location (save for the Warner Museum) this Super-collection will ever be assembled again…
Few exclusives for the annual SDCC (San Diego Comic-Con) are more feverishly anticipated than the strictly limited edition figures presented by Hot Toys. No-one could’ve forseen, however that 2013’s assortment would include a variant from the classic Superman Movie franchise (MMS 207, offered alongside figures from G.I. Joe and Captain America respectively).
While its gratifying in the extreme that Hot Toys are still producing figures based on the license (with hopefully more to come?) one is conflicted about the ‘Evil Version’ from Superman III, much like the character himself.
A cynic might say it would appear Hot Toys have recalled all their unsold units of their hugely popular Superman: The Movie figure and casually applied a layer of black spray paint whilst simultaneously jamming it onto a rejected base for their thunder-thighed Man of Steel figure. Others may say its a cunning must-have variant (apparently limited to 600 units) from a beloved franchise.
Before you decide which camp you’re in you may want to consider – Is this really just the exact same figure as previously released albeit with new stubble paintjob/blackend suit? Ah, yes it is. But then you may wonder – Given all the iconic expressions from the Junkyard sequence surely another ‘enraged’ headsculpt would be more appropriate? Indeed it would. Next you may think – And why is it so slight on accessories? There are so many cool things that could’ve been included such as the Whiskey Bottle, Dirty Kryptonite chunk, Steel Girder and shattered Clark Kent Glasses – Seems almost evident, no? And finally you could be forgiven for asking – What’s with the base? What a wasted opportunity to have him emerging from split tyres just like in the movie!! Well, quite. Hopefully you’ll be too busy noticing they didn’t even take the initiative to fix the artwork for the chest shield to notice the base is better suited to the Chitauri from The Avengers.
Unlike previous posts where due to the uniqueness and quality of the original figure I was passionate about promoting it whilst campaigning to fix some of the details, there will be no such endorsement this time. While I’m overjoyed the line still rightly makes a contribution to the Christopher And Dana Reeve Foundation this effort (or lack of) does not earn itself a place in my collection, will it earn one in yours..?