SFX Superhero Special Pt.2…

SIISIIISGSIVIn conclusion to the Superheroes On Screen series started with this post, the 2003 UK SFX Magazine Superhero Special Collectors Edition turns its attention to the Super-Sequels and their much-lamented spin-off.  If you were hitherto unaware of the cheeky but clever special effect highlighted in the trivia box on the Supergirl page I recommend watching its conception in the excellent ‘making of’ special found on the Limited Edition DVD

Ordway’s Super-Debut…

Comic_Reader1Comic_Reader2Comic_Reader3Comic_Reader4The genesis of an artistic partnership that would thrive for decades to come, the collage above (top) represents the first published Superman piece by one Jerry Ordway.

Found on the impressive wrap-around cover of pulpy but highbrow magazine ‘The Comic Reader’ for its November 1979 issue, Ordway’s dynamic but realistic style was a perfect compliment to the characters as represented in Superman: The Movie.

Of arguably more interest, however, were the contents of the magazine and in particular, the views of comic-book purists on this fresh take of what was, at the time, a 40 year-old beloved flagship character.

Indeed, the excellent review of the movie (cropped and reformatted here for ease of continuity, click for larger) is referred to by Mike Tiefenbacher as ‘refreshing & wonderful’, highlighting the major differences between the movie and the comic book but interestingly not to its detriment.  In fact, many of the observations here (modelwork on the dam/turning back the world) are still hotly debated today and some are even prophetic (describing it as a benchmark/suggesting a Superboy TV series/longer TV edits) all of which make for great reading.

Tiefenbacher’s follow-up piece is an insightful, personal critique of the character’s evolution which incorporates everything from ‘The Great Superman Book’ by Michael L. Fleisher to Elliot S! Maggin’s Superman: ‘Last Son Of Krypton’.  The latter notable for its mistaken identity as the novelisation of the movie.

If this has whetted your appetite for vintage reviews by comic journalists you may want to check back soon for scans from from the ‘Comics Journal’ – a monster review spread over two posts..!

Shannon’s Loss…

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They say you should never have regrets.  They also say you should never meet your heroes.  Those fortunate enough to have positive experiences with the latter only serve to make the former more poignant here at SUPERMANIA.

In 1994 with the colossus of modern-day internet fandom in its infancy, the tradition of the Sci-Fi convention was quietly going about its business celebrating all things cult as it had for decades previously.

One such celebration was the annual Dixie Trek convention held in Atlanta, Georgia, where organiser and Superfan Ron Nastrom had listened to repeated pleas of fans over the years and had finally secured the first (and what would famously become only) special guest appearance of one Christopher Reeve.

Hired for a Q&A and autograph session lasting the afternoon, (read Ron’s fantastic account here) Reeve would characteristically both deny special treatment and insist on signing for all attendees (bottom pic courtesy of Capedwonder.com)  No-one there that day could’ve forseen the significance of this event anymore than the tragic incidents that would occur less than a year later.

This latest and most precious addition to the collection shown above is a rare signed copy of Convention Life Issue #1 from the session and has its own tale recounted here;

“I was Deputy Director of Security for the “Dixie Trek” Convention held in Atlanta at the CastleGate Hotel on May 13th through 15th 1994. Christopher Reeve was a guest speaker. He had another engagement in Los Angeles about a movie project but he had already committed to the convention. On Saturday, May 15th 1994, Mr. Reeve flew to Atlanta, gave a very moving speech, then signed autographs to everyone who wanted one. He even personalized them if the person wanted it. Being that I was running Security for his appearance, I was second in line to get him to sign. (I let the Director of the Convention go first!)

Knowing Mr. Reeve needed to get back to LA, we tried to rush the crowd along. Mr. Reeve wouldn’t have that. He signed every one. That was just the kind of man he was. Extremely Gracious! He flew back to LA that night. Personally, Superman really impressed me.

I forgot to get my own program signed but I got this one for someone else on my crew. I was very busy with security. Unfortunately, she had to leave the convention before I could give it to her. Then I never saw her again. It’s been sitting in a box in my closet ever since…”

While no amount of memorabilia could make up for missing out on such an opportunity, ‘Shannon’s’ loss is now certainly my gain…

Reeve Air…

Reeve_Hackmansm10 copyReeve_Directssuperman2 copyHappy new year to all from SUPERMANIA as the mission to bring you rare and unseen ephemera from the classic film series continues anew!

Feel free to explore the site as it evolves to incorporate new content, starting in the right hand column as pages dedicated to the Superman 1:1 figure and the full collection will be upcoming beside a revised intro page.

However we launch 2014 proper with unpublished stills provided courtesy of an old friend of the site who once again has been kind enough to share these all-new discoveries from his archive.

Longtime followers of SUPERMANIA may recall the fascinating set of pics provided by ‘Parkstreetparrot’ who was fortunate enough to be tipped off about the shooting of a new movie taking place on the final unopened stretch of what was to become the M25 London orbital motorway in the UK.

The new colour prints above show the filmmaking process with more clarity than ever as stars Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Jon Cryer and crew confer between setups for Superman IV: The Quest For Peace.

According to the source, word had spread fast that location shooting was taking place out in the open with minimal security so the British press had made a beeline to the site.  By this time, convinced he had enough material to sell to the press himself, the source left the scene only to miss the shooting of Superman flying off with Lex getaway car!  This would be the scoop that made all the papers the following day…