Today would’ve been Christopher D’Olier Reeve’s 68th Birthday – as is customary here at SUPERMANIA I like to showcase a little exclusive to celebrate and the above is quite the rarity. Indeed, this seldom-seen, jumbo 128-page one-off Special ‘Competition Edition’ comic hails all the way from Australia and is stuffed with content featuring stories from the Siegel & Shuster days right up to the present day of 1978.
There’s some thing for everyone in this DC Comics authorised anthology issued by Murray publishers, but of particular note to Superman Movie fans is the collection of ‘Movie Reports’, which had previously been published sporadically by DC across their entire range of titles. The five chapters above represent the only volume they have ever been collected in (although re-formatted and incomplete). There would also be a follow-on with issue #5 featuring Movie Reports on Superman II sandwiched between more reprints in what became a seven-issue run ending in 1982.
This little relic and thousands of others like it may be insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but in uncertain times like today, when a hero is needed more than ever, they serve as a nostalgic reminder of happier days when to us, The Man of Steel was real.
Rest in Peace ‘Toph…
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…