Celeb Parade…

CP_1CP_2CP_4CP_3Join SUPERMANIA in celebration of what would have been Christopher Reeve’s 62nd birthday with a lookback at this pulpy vintage one-shot tribute magazine dedicated to the star.

Responsible for similarly cheaply-printed fare as Star Blaster and Movie Monsters (littered with reprinted articles from both their crude pages) SJ Publications rushed this 100% unofficial edition to newsstands in the wake of Superman: The Movie’s success and the upcoming premiere of Superman II.

Leafing through the badly reproduced photographs and lowbrow contents (the article on Superman II’s storyline almost hilariously inaccurate) one cannot help a wave of nostalgia especially coming across a splash page (bottom) where the message seems particularly poignant.

Happy birthday, ‘Toph…

“Happened To Be In Niagra Falls…”

Close Friends: Christopher Reeve and margot Kidder have become good friends since both shot to stardNiagra4Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve on set in Niagra FallsNiagra3SUPERMANIA is proud to present yet another contribution to the archive in the form of these rare stills rediscovered by Superfan Matt Derby.

Relaxing between takes on location at the magnificent Niagra Falls in Ontario, Canada for scenes shot by Richard Lester for Superman II are Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeve, (top pic) and later before the cameras together in character for their assignment to expose a local ‘Honeymoon racket.’

Casually signing pictures for eager onlookers/fans while shooting scenes as Superman (bottom pic) Reeve returns to the same location later clad in shades and dressing gown (a common practice between takes on all the movies) in a rare behind the scenes moment during the shooting of the falls rescue…

More rare images for the Supermovies to come, stay tuned..!!

Great Minds…

SIV_BoxOwen_Set4jpgOwen_Set2jpgOwen_Set5jpgThey say great minds think alike – and so it would seem SUPERMANIA was not alone in its mission to plug a 20+ year hole in the collectors album of Superman trading cards.

While SUPERMANIA and A Tribute To Christopher Reeve had been collaborating over a two-year period to produce an authentic-looking set of ‘Movie Photo Cards’ based on Superman IV: The Quest For Peace in the UK, talented and prolific artist Andrew Owen – unbeknownst to us – was working on a similar project down under.

Though artwork and accompanying text chronicling the full, unedited cut of the film had indeed been completed (see early examples here) by the UK team, the project had stalled due to the unavailability of vintage-style card on which to print.  During the trial and error with various printers a search for cards from the era quite randomly threw up the images above.

At first there was disappointment that despite all our efforts we had been pipped to the post as here, evidently, were a set of equally accomplished replica trading cards for Superman IV.  Not only that, there were authentic wrappers and even a box – perfectly rendered and way beyond the ambition of what we had planned.

Rather than admit defeat and let years of hard work go to waste, SUPERMANIA sensed an opportunity and reached out to Andrew in the hope of extending the two-man team to three.  Thankfully Andrew proved instantly to be a gentleman and fellow Superfan and, upon seeing our efforts for himself, volunteered his help.

It is therefore with considerable delight that SUPERMANIA can confirm the card set is coming soon and will now comprise of a set of 99 cards, two loose wrappers (third pic) and a box (top pic).  Although dates and availability are TBA we hope to have the project done by Christmas.  All art is subject to change (please note the cards in the photo’s above are Andrew’s designs – NOT the final cards that will be offered here) and all updates will be featured exclusively here…

Going Live…

img2 (2)img5 (4)img3 (4)img2 (1)When the Propstore of London declare the assortment of Super lots above is from ‘The most exciting live auction of contemporary props and costumes ever offered in Europe’ you’d better believe it.

In an astonishing portfolio that makes such collections offered by Profiles In History look like a yard sale, Propstore has assembled some of the most iconic pieces from decades of cinematic history all going under the gavel from October 16th.

The Superman series is well-represented with some rare and highly-desirable lots (some never before exhibited to the public) from storyboards, (shown extensively in the many Superman ‘Making Of’ documentaries on DVD) to beautiful production artwork (of the Artemis II module from Superman II, bottom Pic) by Harry Lange.

Alongside the mock Daily News newspaper (top) and fabulous example of Christopher Reeve’s autograph (on a rare still), the highlight must be the production-used bust of Reeve created by Stuart Freeborn.  Though variations of his lifecast are somewhat common now, this full-head plaster model is utterly unique in its purpose of crafting hairpieces for the late actor.

For those wishing to view the calibre of artefacts in person, selection of 200 lots will be on display at the Vue Cinema in White City from the 1st to the 16th of October.  Bidding is multi-channel and open now so don’t miss the opportunity to secure your dream item…

Superangebot…

Mego_German_Ad-0016014840610_54e2004ff2_o-001Super_Ad

Translated from the German of the rare print ad (second pic) as ‘Super Offer’ it may come as a surprise that the now-beloved line of toys based on Superman: The Movie were neither a big hit with its target audience, or indeed, its star, who apparently was not too enamoured with the idea of being further immortalised in plastic.

Already constrained by a licensing deal that limited usage of designs directly from the movie, it is now the stuff of figure-collecting legend that the Mego Corporation were forced to market the newest addition to their World’s Greatest Superheroes line as a mere representation of its cinematic counterparts rather than the faithful adaptations it would become so renowned for with later Sci-Fi properties.

While the 1/6 line may have been outfitted in garish costumes torn straight from the comic book page and packaged in boxes with similar slapdash art, Mego did not compromise on the portraits, (despite the leading man’s objections) where convincing (for the time) likenesses of the actors (created by Ken Sheller) topping off the patented muscular bodies were highlights of the collection.

Charged with maintaining the history of the fondly remembered company itself is the Mego Museum website, where recent interviews given by its former creative team reveal further interesting details about the conception and development of the Superman line – the first excerpt below from a chat with Harvey Zelman;

MM: Did you have a lot of input on lines like the Worlds Greatest Superheroes?

HZ: Oh yeah, it was one of my big lines.

MM: How did you choose characters?

HZ: You have to understand the relationship that we had with [ then president of DC Sol] Harrison (Editor’s note, Sol’s son Marty worked at Mego in the mid seventies) We get a lot of advanced comic books, we knew who all of the characters were, we knew Superman was going to be the big star and all the other characters were going to be “B” players.

The greatest thing we came up with in those days was the flying Superman on a string. I don’t remember what we called it, that was my item. I remember hooking up that up at a toy show and in those days we didn’t have what we do now, so here was Superman flying all over the place, that was really cool.

MM: With the individual characters, what were some of your favourites to work on?

HZ: Superman, I remember when they went out to the movie and they came back, they said “Chris Reeve, he [doesn’t like us] ” He didn’t want the licensing deal, I don’t know what the problem was, those stories are true.

MM: He didn’t want to be made into an action figure?

HZ: No he did not but what was really great and I remember sitting down with everybody and they lined up all the still frames from the movie and we got the insight of what was going on. Sitting there in the meeting saying :OK, we gotta do a Fortress of Solitude, we gotta do this, we gotta do that’ {Editors note, Actual notes from one of these meetings can be found in the Vincent Baiera interview) and that’s how great Mego was. We’d show Marty and say “this is what we want to do” and he’d say “Fine, do it” and we just cooked.

Reeve’s intriguing conflict with the toy giant takes on an even bigger twist due to the baffling involvement of a certain James Bond Producer as cited by Bill Baron – Mego VP of RND;

MM: You were on the set of Superman the Movie weren’t you?

BB: Yeah, Lenny Jacobs (The movie’s licensor) outfit ran me out there. Christopher Reeve was [really ticked off about his licensing deal] and he didn’t realize it wasn’t me [who had done the deal] it was Cubby Broccoli. I had to say “Whoa Superman!” (Laughs). He seemed like a really nice guy. Len said to me, “I’d like to take you out there and see what’s going on” This was the set of second movie. It was mainly a PR thing; I took some pictures but the next year Superman really kind of faded. It was a good franchise but you need good product too.

MM: Mego didn’t do anything for Superman II?

BB: We had a twelve inch line for the first one but for the second one, I can’t remember what happened.

MM: I have read that the first Superman the Movie didn’t do much for Mego sales.

BB: No, I don’t think it did, it was a loser.

From the top, TV Commercial for ‘The World’s Greatest Superheroes’ Superman figures, a print ad from Germany representing the only instance of promotional material from the movie, an ad taken from a Superman comic book of the era, and finally a full-page ad of Superman memorabilia presumably taken from a Warren Publications magazine…