Goosebumps…

SUPERMANIA brings you a first-hand report from the halls of the Art Ludique-Le Musée in Paris, currently housing the largest archive of DC Comics related exhibits from both page and screen ever to be assembled.

First reported here and now extended until January next year, word on the museum’s Facebook page is ‘The Art of DC – Dawn of the Superheroes’ is destined for the UK in 2018, just in time for the 40th anniversary of Superman: The Movie.

For now, however, please enjoy the superb images and insights from Superfan Graham Holden as he takes you on this exclusive walkthrough…

“Having heard about “The Art of DC – Dawn of the Super Heroes” exhibition around the time it was originally due to close in September, I was excited to hear it had been extended to early January 2018 so I had to pay a visit.  The only concern I had was that the exhibition itself was being held at Art Ludique-Le Musée in Paris and not closer to me in the UK.

When I walked into the exhibition, I was immediately thrilled to hear John Williams’ classic Superman theme playing on a continuous loop and soon as I turned the corner, there stood the holy grail I had come to see above everything else…a near perfect Superman The Movie costume as worn by Christopher Reeve.  The Superman costume colours were vibrant and in great condition, with a small bit of wear on the oval belt buckle. I was very surprised by just how great the costume looked, you’d never have guessed it was over 40 years old.  Alongside it stood a Clark Kent suit with unbuttoned shirt and Superman tunic beneath it from Superman II, It’s a moment any fan of Superman – especially the Christopher Reeve series – will get goosebumps seeing these iconic costumes with the iconic theme playing around you at the same time.

I felt like a kid standing face to face with the Man of Steel himself and was very happy I’d made this pilgrimage to see this exhibition. Around the same area were a number of storyboard drawings and preproduction designs from both Superman I &II, including an alternative look at Krypton technology and The Phantom Zone with Jor-El and the villains sketched out.

There were also small Superman and Lois Lane models side by side in a display case, used for their romantic night time flight over Metropolis.  You could tell from the detailing on the Superman model that the same fabric used to make the costumes worn by Reeve had also been used in the miniature.

As I spent considerable time taking in these exhibits and looking over them again and again, numerous visitors were entering and the reaction to seeing Christopher Reeve’s Superman costume was the same as mine, pure joy and excitement with lots of photographs and selfies taken.

As for the rest of the exhibition, we were treated to much more original comic book artwork from the world of DC Comics, as well as costumes, props and production artwork from Superman Returns, the unmade Superman Lives and Batman ’89, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, Batman & Robin and The Dark Knight trilogy.
Also the more recent efforts of the DCEU with Man of Steel, Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonderwoman and the recently opened Justice League.

Thank you DC Comics, Warner Brothers and Art Ludique-Le Musée for creating this exhibition and allowing this fan from the UK and many others, the chance to enjoy such a priceless experience…”

Graham Holden 03/12/17

R&B…

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…

Stalmannen..!

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…

The Big Palooka…

15674412844_507e143127_o16110687069_5d4b9c165a_o (1)16270889756_e9166034a3_o16295037591_92f498d16f_oAt 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…

Squaring Up…

Pictures9-001Shreddies_Front-002Pictures10SUPERMAN SHREDDIES AD SEPT83In 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…