As significant and reliable a gift to fandom as its sister publications Starlog and Fangoria, vintage publication Comics Scene was regarded as a pre-internet bible for the medium and its various transitions to the big & small screen.
Indeed, arguably the most compelling aspect of the magazine were ‘The Comics Screen’ found in the back pages which featured an alphabetical list of all the comic-book based films either in production or ‘development hell’ where many would languish (and remain unmade to this day).
Toward the end of the ‘S’ column in Issue #1 of the second volume (the first being a short run between 1982-83), however, Superman IV was not only listed as in release but also on the cover of the special (top pic) for the start of a revival of the periodical which would last until 1996.
Consistently running pieces on the comics industry alongside the cinematic adaptations, the Superman double-whammy would be interviews with actor Christopher Reeve and comic-book writer/artist John Byrne, who, on the back of his huge success with origin-revision Man of Steel was now heading up the monthly Superman book. While Byrne speaks candidly about his process of ‘clearing off the barnacles’ from fifty years of mythos to get back to basics, Reeve offers his personal insights into the development of the character and his recent intervention in the arms race (above).
Decades later, its interesting to note that Byrne’s highest hopes were that his Superman be remembered in the same regard as Neal Adams or Curt Swan’s while Reeve’s desire was the character remain a leader rather than a muscleman. Between them, both of these ideals and many more besides would come to pass, building a better Man of Steel for the 80’s and beyond…
Join SUPERMANIA as we spin the world backwards in time to 1979, where Superman reigned supreme at the box-office and ABBA ruled the airwaves.
And speaking of our Swedish friends, DC Comics in Europe at the time were being published by Semic Press as the adventures of Stalmannen – featuring reprints of ‘current’ stories mostly featuring art by Curt Swan and translated accordingly –
Free from the restrictions of DC in the US however, opportunities were provided for awesome photo covers (top pic) and contained unusual features like a page dedicated to snapshots of kids in their finest Super-Costumes.
For the February’79 release of Superman: The Movie in Sweden the publishers celebrated by holding a competition (or lottery) to attend the premiere (second pic) and in a later issue (third pic) the back cover featured an ad for some pretty unsavoury looking confectionery based on the film – the packaging for which making them somewhat of a scarce collectors item today…
At the dawn of DC Comics properties conquest of the silver screen, modern day successors Marvel would gamely go along for the ride in early 1979 with both this fun publication above and its more highbrow twin Starburst (to be featured in an upcoming post).
While Pizzazz may well have been ‘humour in the Marvel manner’, the articles featured about ‘The Big Palooka’ were very well-written and offered some great insights into the upcoming movie and probably best of all, a preview of Richard Donner’s Superman II, where actress/stuntwoman Ellen Bry (fresh from her appearance in The Amazing Spider-Man TV pilot, or feature if you lived in the UK) speaks out regarding a scene that wouldn’t surface publicly for another thirty years…
In an era where cereal premiums and movie promotions really gained momentum, the Nabisco Company had wisely remained faithful to the Superman movie franchise after a successful campaign backing Superman II a few years earlier.
Always looking for new gimmicks to push product out to kids (and ensuring its longevity by making their giveaways a collectable series) the ‘Action Replay Games’ found in special packs of Shreddies were a cunning use of nothing so special as laminate cardboard that would wipe away felt-tip pen.
Based on various scenes from Superman III this handsomely illustrated (with art provided by the stalwart Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez) series of six cards were an instant hit but by their very nature would deteriorate quickly (quicker still had you not read the instructions & used ball-point pen) and so would ultimately be disposed of, making them a rarity in the years to follow.
SUPERMANIA therefore, is proud to present not only the comic book ad (bottom pic) but scans of an original pristine Shreddies cereal box detailing all the fantastic artwork (and some rare stills) used in the promotion.
And coming soon – the complete set of ‘Action Replay’ games reproduced front & back in resolution suitable for printing…
Presented as a companion to reccommended comic reading for fans of the classic Superman features, enjoy this vintage piece on Superman’s 50th anniversary from the pages of UK Midweek magazine. Beneath the splendidly colourful cover illustrated by John Byrne is Rob Ryan’s informative but somewhat cynical piece, managing to condense the highlights of an American icon over almost two pages. While the Superman Movie series gets a very brief mention (including still from Superman IV) the biggest revelation to SUPERMANIA is that Superman’s birthday is February 29th..every four years…