Big Adventure…

Japan_II_1-001Japan_II_2Japan_II_3Japan_II_4Another vintage rarity from the SUPERMANIA archive – enjoy this obscure Japanese promotional centrefold from an unknown publication announcing the release of Superman II.  Though the text is a mystery this tabloid-size pull-out is chock-full of typically superb imagery and various ads for merchandise…

Presented By…

PH_Costume4PH_Costume2PH_Costume3PH_Costume1SUPERMANIA is again proud to host another outstanding fan contribution, this time from arguably the most prolific archivist of The Man Of Steel across all genres.

Famed for making his Superman obsession a lifestyle, Cleveland-based Jamie Reigle has dedicated his life (and a considerable fortune) to the upkeep of some 40,000 items of memorabilia (read more here) and makes the pilgrimage to Metropolis, Ill. every year to showcase and sell items at the Annual Superman Celebration.

Kindly loaning the original unpublished pics above to be scanned exclusively for SUPERMANIA, Jamie’s visit to Downtown Disney’s Planet Hollywood restaurant in Orlando is a further chronicle of the screen-used Christopher Reeve Superman costume (Presented by by Reeve himself according to the sign, third pic). first documented in this post as a free hanging display before being relocated to the lobby in an acrylic case .

As we know, the costume was used in the screentests for the SuperBoy TV Series and used again in a subsequent episode before being incorporated into PH’s considerable prop collection in the early ’90’s.  These pics are the earliest examples of the display as the suit, fading onset aside, looks to be in pristine condition.  As discussed in earlier posts, the current whereabouts of this costume is unknown so any record of its existence is a welcome addition to the site…

For a multitude of Super-treasures old and new please visit Jamie’s website supercollectibles.com..!

Action #900…

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A DC Comics milestone suitably celebrated with a 96 page spectacular, 2011’s Action Comics #900 would court considerable controversy, but not in the tradition fans may have expected.

Unusually for the comic-book universe, one of the many anthology stories in this issue would cross over into international news headlines due to Superman’s renouncement of one of his defining attributes – upholding ‘Truth Justice, and the American way.’

Ironically in a collection also featuring Superman: The Movie director Richard Donner as a guest writer, this publication slams the book firmly closed on the ‘classic’ Superman interpretation and in retrospective, clearly paves the way for what would evolve into the ‘Man Of Steel’.

David Goyer (yes, that one) in a short story entitled ‘The Incident’ manages to plunge Superman into real-world controversy (something the late screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz always insisted the character should always avoid) by attending a peaceful protest in Iraq.  When questioned about his actions by US Officials, Superman at once declares that the world is now a smaller place and ‘Truth and Justice isn’t enough anymore’ (third pic), effectively ending his status as a representative of the US.  While the story is well-crafted, the notion of Superman becoming politicised and being anything other than ‘A Friend’ seems somewhat irresponsible writing given the ramifications.

Continuing SUPERMANIA’s series of posts for recommended comic reading for fans of the classic Superman series is a challenge in this instance, not least by the contribution of two of its greatest contributors (Donner and artist Gary Frank) but for what a wasted opportunity this was to unite them.  Indeed, Frank’s wonderful art (still shamelessly channelling Reeve) is relegated to a few pages (second pic) in a large chunk of otherwise poorly illustrated Saturday morning cartoon silliness that is the first story ‘Reign Of Doomsday’ (the finale of the ‘Black Ring’).

The worse news is that Donner’s mini-screenplay (written with Derek Hoffman) somehow manages to be utter tripe, a poor soulless attempt to merge Superman with the movie ‘Hancock’ (even acknowledging Superman’s nemesis as ‘like Will Smith’) and similarly failing to engage at every turn. Presented as storyboards (feebly rendered by Matt Camp) with accompanying dialogue and story notes (bottom pic) its astonishing to think that Donner may have had anything to do with it.  It has to be read to be believed.

There is little more to be enjoyed beneath the moody cover (by David Finch) but the absolute highlight of the whole issue is a somewhat abstract story entitled ‘Life Support’ with mature, sharp dialogue (by Damon Lindelof), lavish art (by Ryan Sook) and an indisputably epic, cinematic tone.  Amazing how something as simple as Jor-El’s recruitment of an aide to build a part for will become Kal-El’s StarShip can be told so elegantly and effectively.

Only this and the tiny vignette ‘Friday Night In the 21st Century’ by the always-dependable Geoff Johns (coupled with Gary Frank’s art) emerge worthy of the ‘spectacular’ status as declared.  A landmark issue to be sure, proving, if little else, June 1938 was a long time ago…

Movie Reports…

sutghf6ytgft67ty5t4df5t4r546trdg6yrtgstr4trsdfSUPERMANIA is proud to host these fascinating long-forgotten yellowed pages from deep within various Silver Age DC Comics.  Collated and contributed by Superfan Ethan Clark from (the top), Worlds Finest #251 & #252, House Of Mystery #257 and Batman Family #18 & #19 respectively, they form a valuable documentation of the buildup to release of Superman: The Movie.

With the advent of what would become the ‘Event’ movies of the late ’70’s early ’80’s and the most revered fictional character of the all making his cinematic debut, what better forum to generate advance word than within the comic-book readership?

In what would be so much rapidly-circulated internet noise today, these well written and researched reports profile everything from the Producers, (third pic), actors, (second and fifth) and even the Special Effects (where we learn for the first time Reeve’s cape flapping device was the creation of John Richardson).

However its the advance screening writeup by Mike Gold (top) that really fires the imagination.  Though as we all know the picture didn’t meet its planned release date of Summer 1978 I envy the excitement of any child old enough to read and comprehend that article and the anticipation it creates, and for once, having the finished product more than exceed the initial promise…

Computor Games..?

Badge3Badge4Badge1Badge2-001This latest addition to the SUPERMANIA archive is a generous gift from longtime Superfan Chris King.  Distributed in 1983 by Present Needs Ltd, this complete set of four promotional pinbacks were a mainstay of local comic shops for years (bagged separately on a blue backing board) and, according to Chris, available in the foyer of the cinema where the movie was screening.

Featuring sharp, colourful graphics, besides the obvious spelling faux-pas (third pic down) the most curious concoction is easily the last button (fourth pic) where a still from the computer showdown is paired with a still from the junkyard sequence for a supposed ‘reflection’ (with the help of a laughably rendered mirror).

Like many promotional items from Superman III these, although considered ‘shelf warmers’ at the time, are increasingly rare as a set today…