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Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

A well-preserved issue of the 1938 comic book that first featured Superman is heading to the auction block.

Profiles in History announced Friday that it will sell a copy of Action Comics #1 at a Dec. 19 auction in Los Angeles. The comic, which features Superman hoisting a car over his head on its cover, is expected to sell for between $800,000 to $1.2 million.

The auction house says the comic is in its original condition and has been rated in fine/very fine condition.

The sale comes a few months before the 80th anniversary of Superman’s debut.

The auction features other Superman memorabilia, including a costume worn by actor Christopher Reeve in 1983’s “Superman III.”

The Man of Steel is back on the big screen this week in “Justice League.”

From: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/rare-comic-showing-supermans-1st-appearance-auctioned-51220232

How Superman Returned From the Dead in the Comics

One of the worst-kept secrets of director Zack Snyder’s Justice League is that Superman returns from the grave, following his sacrifice in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Comics fans are accustomed to superheroes coming back from the dead, so it’s no big surprise, but how he comes back is still a mystery. Of course, the Man of Steel also famously died in comic books 25 years ago, so we thought it would be worthwhile to revisit Superman’s resurrection in the comics, to see whethre any of the same machinations of his return will also occur in the film.

RELATED: New Justice League Posters Silhouette Superman More

After Superman died fighting against the horrific monster known as Doomsday, DC Comics’ Superman titles quickly began to address how the world reacted to his death with “Funeral for a Friend.” It was a depressing series of issues, made even more so because it ended with Superman’s adopted father, Jonathan Kent, collapsing of a heart attack, right before the books then took a three-month hiatus, leaving Pa Kent’s fate a mystery. The story then picked up in Adventures of Superman #500 (the last issue written by Jerry Ordway, who was the sole remaining creator from the reboot of the Man of Steel in 1986). Pa Kent is in some version of the afterlife, where he encounters his adopted son and decides that rather than head back to his own life, he will instead risk everything to save his son. Jonathan then travels through a series of encounters with the horrors of his past (fighting in the war as a young man) and Kryptonian demons before ultimately getting Superman to agree to fight to live again. The two men then choose to forgo “going into the light” and instead try to return to the land of the living together.

Jonathan then awakens in a hospital, having seemingly been shocked back to life, with his experience chalked to a dream. However, he is convincing enough that Lois Lane flies back to Metropolis and checks out Superman’s tomb … and discovers that his body is not there!

RELATED: Justice League Will Feature the ‘True’ Superman, Cavill Says

That, of course, then led into the storyline known as the “Reign of the Supermen,” in which three of four new characters arrived, claiming they were a returned Superman, in a fashion (one of them, John Henry Irons, only claimed he was carrying on Superman’s legacy as a superhero. One of them claimed to be a cyborg version of Superman, as his original body had been too badly damaged by Doomsday. Another claimed to be a clone of the original Superman. The final one claimed that he had been changed by death into becoming more of a ruthless vigilante.

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From: https://www.cbr.com/justice-league-superman-return-from-dead-comics/

The death and resurrection of Superman, explained

Warner Bros.’ Justice League hits screens this Friday, and — you might want sit down for this. Even though Superman died in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last year …

Superman is clearly going to be in Justice League.

I haven’t seen the movie, but it’s really quite obvious that Justice League is going to be bringing the big blue guy back to life. And it’s likely that it’ll make references to The Death of Superman while it does it. So I’m going to lay out its basics for you.

What is The Death of Superman? Why is it such a big deal?

The cover of the Death of Superman trade collection, 2016 publication, DC Comics

Dan Jurgens, Bret Breeding, John Kalisz/DC Comics

The Death of Superman was a 1992 crossover between DC Comics’ multiple Superman titles in which Superman tragically died saving Metropolis from an inexplicable space monster called Doomsday. It’s been overshadowed since by the dominance of the never-death-always-resurrection of superheroes, but at the time, it was a genuinely well-done, surprising story that strove to be much more than a gimmick: It was about what the DC Universe would be like without Superman.

While the villain, Doomsday, was something of a daemon ex machina, his climactic fight with Superman was afforded plenty of visual weight in the series. The third-to-last comic in the arc had only three panels on each page; the second-to-last, only two. The final issue, Superman #75, was famously composed of only full-page splash panels.

In it, Superman and Doomsday go mano-a-mano in downtown Metropolis, hitting each other so hard the shockwaves shatter windows for blocks around. Full pages are given to Jimmy and Lois looking on in horror and Ma and Pa Kent hugging desperately as they watch the live coverage on TV — until the reader gets to two, final double page spreads of Lois Lane cradling Superman’s lifeless body in the wreckage of his city, his tattered cape blowing like a flag of surrender from a nearby girder.

The aftermath of The Death of Superman was given enough time and space to really count, leaving a gigantic mark on the DC Universe. Most of the new characters invented just for The Death of Superman and its follow ups are still prominent in the DCU today, and its reverberations were felt in completely different pillars of the setting. The heel turn of Hal Jordan, the greatest of the Green Lanterns, into the fear-based villain Parallax, has its roots in the events of Death of Superman, as one example.

Just like in the comics, the DC movies appear to be using Superman’s death as a catalyst for greater events in the setting — the formation of the Justice League — and just like in comics, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had him go down at the hands of that big guy covered in bone protuberances, Doomsday.

How did Death of Superman come about?

Fun fact: Superman probably would not have died in 1992 if Warner Bros. hadn’t made Lois and Clark and a DC writer hadn’t made a joke.

See, Superman hadn’t been selling particularly well in the early ‘90s, since the departure of writer/artist John Byrne, who had successfully redefined the character for the modern era after the Crisis on Infinite Earths. In an effort to halt that slide, editorial had upped the romance in the book, but with a bit of a twist — this time around, Lois found herself falling for Clark Kent, instead of her classic infatuation with Superman. Clark proposed marriage to her, and then revealed that he was Superman.

But their wedding wound up being editorially postponed for cross-corporate synergy. Warner Bros. was developing a new Superman-based television series that would have the romance between Lois and Clark as its primary element, and the temptation of a simultaneous wedding between the comic book versions of the characters and the TV versions was too tempting. (It wouldn’t actually happen until 1997.)

In the meantime, the comics had to do something instead of a wedding story — a year’s worth of planning had just been put on hold pending the eternity of a television production schedule. And writer Jerry Ordway made a joke that slowly became less and less funny and more and more plausible: “Let’s just kill ‘im.”

How did Superman die?

How Superman dies is actually pretty simple: A mysterious and terrible monster known only as Doomsday arrives on Earth, with the apparent goal of nothing but destroying everything in his path. Superman is the only force on Earth that can slow him down. Eventually, the two come to blows in downtown Metropolis, and with a mighty simultaneous punch, battle each other into mutual defeat.

Underneath all the drama, though, it’s fair to admit that what happens is that a monster shows up and he and Superman punch each other to death.

How did Superman come back?

In the aftermath of Superman’s death, a few Superman “pretenders” cropped up in Metropolis, with varying success. Two turned out to be villains, and two to be good guys after all. One of them helped Superman resurrect himself in a very complicated and comic book-y way.

Oh, come on, spill the details

*a sigh as long as a thousand winters*

The Eradictor posing as Superman, the Last Son of Krypton, from Action Comics Annual #5 (1993), DC Comics

Jeph Loeb, Lee Moder/DC Comics

OK, so this Superman with granny shades here? This is the Eradicator, an ancient, intelligent Kryptonian weapon that’s gotten kind of xeno-supremacist after the destruction of the culture that invented him. In the aftermath of the Death of Superman it was eventually revealed that the Eradicator stole Superman’s body from his crypt and placed him inside a Kryptonian device in the Fortress of Solitude called the regeneration matrix.

The matrix allowed the Eradicator to siphon off Superman’s powers and pose as him, and it eventually revived Superman, but the Eradicator made sure to note, as if a forward-thinking DC editor was speaking directly through him, that it was vanishingly unlikely that the regeneration matrix would work a second time. “In fact,” he told Superman, “it’s safe to say this would not be possible ever again.”

Upon returning, for a while he had a mullet and wore a black costume with a white ‘S’ symbol.

Superman returns to Metropolis after his death in a new costume (ft. Supergirl, Lois Lane, Superboy, Steel and Lex Luthor), from Superman #82 (1993), DC Comics.

Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding/DC Comics

Which brings us back to Superman’s death and resurrection and Justice League

More than a year ago, Henry Cavill made a little Instagram tease of his new costume for Justice League, featuring the chest piece of a brand new Superman suit. It’s sort of unclear whether the costume is actually black, or if the picture has a greyscale filter on it.


A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on Aug 15, 2016 at 11:58am PDT

But many fans theorized that this was a reference to Superman’s briefly used post-resurrection costume, with its white-on-black super symbol. When Justice League comes out this Friday, we’ll find out whether it’s a big reference to the story of the comic book — or if this was just a red herring.

And if Superman’s going to have the black suit … he better have the mullet, too.

Seriously, please let there be a mullet.

From: https://www.polygon.com/2017/11/14/16585682/superman-death-explained-comeback-resurrection

DC Comics fires Superman editor Eddie Berganza following allegations of sexual misconduct

Multiple women, including former comics journalist and former editor Janelle Asselin, are accusing DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza of sexual harassment and assault, BuzzFeed reports.

In response, DC — which the BuzzFeed report alleges ignored reports about Berganza’s behavior for years, and promoted him at one point to editor-in-chief of the company — first suspended him, and then fired him on Monday after an internal review.

Within comics culture, Berganza’s alleged behavior has for years been an open secret, the subject of blunt gossip and open speculation. He rose through the ranks at DC to become the company’s executive editor in 2010, despite persistent rumors regarding his inappropriate workplace behavior. In 2012, Berganza assaulted a woman in a widely witnessed incident at a con, after which he was effectively demoted, moved to the still-prestigious position of group editor for the Superman universe. At the time of his suspension, he was overseeing popular DC titles, like its best-selling Dark Nights: Metal series.

In 2016, when DC fired popular veteran Vertigo editor Shelly Bond, the comics community teemed with anger, questioning why capable women were being fired when Berganza, a rumored serial harasser, was allowed to remain.

The answer, as we’ve seen far too frequently in recent weeks with the Harvey Weinstein scandal and subsequent wave of allegations against men accused of sexual assault and harassment, is that women in the industry were afraid to publicly accuse him for fear of it harming their careers.

Those fears were apparently well-founded: As BuzzFeed notes, “among the women who reported Berganza to human resources, none still work for DC,” and all have moved away from working in mainstream comics publishing.

According to BuzzFeed, Berganza “developed a reputation for making offensive jokes or line-crossing comments in the presence of or at the expense of women.” Asselin, who was an associate editor at DC between 2008 and 2011, told BuzzFeed, “People were constantly warning other people away from him.”

An anonymous former employee for DC described his behavior as “a gross open secret” that “everybody … stomached.”

Berganza had an established pattern of behavior backed by an established code of silence

The allegations outlined in BuzzFeed’s report all follow a similar pattern: Berganza forced himself on multiple women, none of whom felt able to report the incidents:

  • Cartoonist and editor Joan Hilty told BuzzFeed that at a staff party in the early 2000s, Berganza repeatedly and forcibly tried to kiss her, even after she told him no.
  • Liz Gehrlein Marsham told BuzzFeed that at another staff party in 2006, just after she had started working for DC as an editor, Berganza used the excuse of taking a selfie to kiss her, then tried to kiss her again, sticking his tongue in her mouth while she was eating. Later that night, Marsham says, he tried to grope her.
  • Another woman who spoke to BuzzFeed anonymously says that in 2012, Berganza forcibly kissed her in a hotel bar while attending WonderCon. The woman says multiple people had to pull Berganza off her after he stuck his tongue in her mouth. The woman did not report the incident to DC — she was not an employee and says she was afraid doing so would jeopardize her or her partner’s prospects in the comics industry — but dozens of witnesses allegedly saw the incident occur.

The women in BuzzFeed’s report all emphasize the competitive nature of the comics industry, where legions of fans dream of working at Marvel and DC, as contributing to the pressure they felt to stay silent. “A lot of people at DC will be mad at me and consider this a betrayal,” Marsham told BuzzFeed.

Though neither Marsham nor Hilty reported Berganza to their supervisors or to HR after these incidents, they both, along with at least three other DC employees including Asselin, went to HR as a group with their concerns in 2010, when Berganza was being considered for the role of executive editor. HR reportedly did no follow-up with any of these employees, and despite their complaints, Berganza was promoted to executive editor — a blow Asselin called “massively demoralizing.”

Marsham says that when Berganza began overseeing books she was editing, she withdrew from the editing process altogether to avoid him — with no intervention from her supervisors. Eventually she and all of the other women involved in the group complaint left DC.

After the 2012 WonderCon incident, Berganza reportedly apologized to DC’s all-male staff for his behavior and pledged to change. He was demoted to group editor, but the incident was not publicly acknowledged by him or DC.

In response to the allegations made in the BuzzFeed report, DC issued a statement to the Hollywood Reporter on November 11 announcing that it had suspended Berganza.

“DC Entertainment has immediately suspended Mr. Berganza and has removed him from performing his duties as Group Editor at DC Comics,” the statement confirmed. “There will be a prompt and yet careful review into next steps as it relates to the allegations against him, and the concerns our talent, employees and fans have shared.”

The statement did not appear to address whether current DC editor-in-chief Bob Harras or other staff knew about the allegations against Berganza before the BuzzFeed report.

On social media after the BuzzFeed news broke, comics fans called for both Berganza and his supervisor, Harras, to be fired:

Several former and current DC employees whom BuzzFeed spoke with insist Berganza has fully reformed and repented. A DC spokesperson told BuzzFeed that “DC and WB are unequivocally committed to cultivating a work environment of dignity and respect, one that is safe and harassment free for all employees,” but did not comment on the specific allegations against Berganza.

While the comics industry has evolved slightly since these incidents took place, DC Comics in particular has struggled with charges of institutional sexism, and the dominance of white male creators on its staff and in its titles has manifested itself in surprising ways. DC’s silence regarding the allegations against Berganza was perceived by many within comics culture as tacit support for him over the women whose complaints were reportedly ignored.

And that perceived support may have been what kept, and continues to keep, women like Marsham from being able to do their best work in the industry — and may have, in turn, prevented DC from recruiting and working with some of the best creators in the business.

Update: Buzzfeed reported on November 13 that Berganza has been fired following an internal review. Representative for DC and Warner Bros told Buzzfeed they were “committed to eradicating harassment.”

From: https://www.vox.com/culture/2017/11/13/16635656/eddie-berganza-suspended-dc-comics-allegations

DC Comics fires Superman editor Eddie Berganza following sexual misconduct allegations

Warner Bros and DC Entertainment have fired editor Eddie Berganza amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

BuzzFeed on Friday published a lengthy examination of the comic book editor who has shepherded such high-profile properties as Superman and Wonder Woman — comic book characters that would leap to the entertainment mainstream through movies and television shows.

The New York office had a reputation within the industry as being a difficult place for women to work under Berganza. When the publisher fired its high-profile Vertigo editor Shelly Bond in 2016, coverage focused on a culture that was hostile to women.

“DC Entertainment strives to foster a culture of inclusion, fairness and respect,” the company said at the time. “While we cannot comment on specific personnel matters, DC takes allegations of discrimination and harassment very seriously, promptly investigates reports of misconduct and disciplines those who violate our standards and policies.”

Berganza was disciplined following a 2012 incident and sought help, and there have been no reports of subsequent misconduct. However, in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein revelations, and the social media empowerment of victims embodied by the #metoo movement, the revelations created immediate backlash.

Talent said they would refuse to work with him, and that signaled the end of his tenure at the company.

“We are committed to eradicating harassment and ensuring that all employees, as well as our freelance community, are aware of our policies, are comfortable reporting any concerns and feel supported by our company,” the company said in a statement.

From: http://deadline.com/2017/11/dc-comics-fires-superman-editor-eddie-berganza-sexual-misconduct-allegations-1202207189/

Multiple women allege sexual misconduct by top DC Comics editor (update)

Five women have come forward to speak publicly about incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct they experienced at DC Comics from one of its top editors for the first time, in a Buzzfeed report published today.

That editor is Eddie Berganza, the group editor of the Superman office, who has been working at DC for over two decades and is currently overseeing Dark Knights Metal, DC’s bestselling crossover.

Former female DC staffers described incidents with Berganza to Buzzfeed, from inappropriate comments to groping and unwanted kissing. Five female employees filed a group HR report on his behavior in 2010, motivated by the news that he was in the running for the position of executive editor. Those five women told Buzzfeed that they were assured that measures would be taken, but Berganza was still promoted to executive editor. The position was redefined so that he wouldn’t interact directly with subordinates.

In 2012 he was demoted to group editor after an incident in which he forcibly kissed the girlfriend of one of DC’s freelance artists — at the time, an up-and-coming comics professional herself, who anonymously described her experience to Buzzfeed — shoving his tongue down her throat.

Berganza’s behavior has been a more and more open secret over time in the comics and comics-fan communities. The last time discussion of it came to the fore was in 2016, when DC fired Shelly Bond, a prominent, long-time editor of the company’s Vertigo imprint. How could DC fire Bond in good conscience, went the outcry, when a known sexual harasser got to keep his role? Rumors have also consistently circulated that DC had “quarantined” the Superman office where Berganza worked — on titles which include Supergirl and Wonder Woman — to make sure that no female staffers, artists or writers worked directly with him.

Last year’s renewed public conversation prompted allegations against another DC staffer, leading DC Comics to release a statement saying that it “takes allegations of discrimination and harassment very seriously, promptly investigates reports of misconduct and disciplines those who violate our standards and policies.”

The May 13, 2016 statement, linked above, also said that the company would be reviewing its policies, “expanding employee training on the topic and working with internal and external resources to ensure that these policies and procedures are respected and reinforced across the company.”

Today, DC Comics sent Polygon the same statement regarding the allegations first reported by Buzzfeed. The full statement can be read below.

DC and WB are unequivocally committed to cultivating a work environment of dignity and respect, one that is safe and harassment free for all employees. We take all claims of harassment very seriously and investigate them promptly. Employees found in violation of the policies are dealt with swiftly and decisively, and subject to disciplinary actions and consequences.

Update: DC Comics has suspended Berganza, removing him from his duties at the company, according to a statement sent to Polygon. The publisher is also conducting a review of the allegations against him. DC Comics’ full statement can be read below.

DC Entertainment has immediately suspended Mr. Berganza and has removed him from performing his duties as Group Editor at DC Comics. There will be a prompt and yet careful review into next steps as it relates to the allegations against him, and the concerns our talent, employees and fans have shared. DC continues to be extremely committed to creating a safe and secure working environment for our employees and everyone involved in the creation of our comic books.

From: https://www.polygon.com/comics/2017/11/10/16635592/dc-comics-eddie-berganza-sexual-misconduct-report

DC Comics Wins Battle Over Jesus-Oriented Superman Logo

The idea of rights (and the subsequent usage of those rights) has become a significant issue in the world of comic book heroes over the years. Companies like Disney and Warner Bros. have gone to great lengths to ensure that properties like Superman, Batman, and Captain America never enter the public domain, as that would give anyone the right to use these images and the worlds that they conjure. That’s ultimately why we can have several films, and TV shows debut every year featuring a character like Sherlock Holmes (who very much exists in public domain), while we can only get the Batman movies made by the folks at Warner Bros. and DC Comics.

From: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/1724290/dc-comics-wins-battle-over-jesus-oriented-superman-logo

DC Comics Wins Battle Over Jesus-Oriented Superman Logo

The idea of rights (and the subsequent usage of those rights) has become a significant issue in the world of comic book heroes over the years. Companies like Disney and Warner Bros. have gone to great lengths to ensure that properties like Superman, Batman, and Captain America never enter the public domain, as that would give anyone the right to use these images and the worlds that they conjure. That’s ultimately why we can have several films, and TV shows debut every year featuring a character like Sherlock Holmes (who very much exists in public domain), while we can only get the Batman movies made by the folks at Warner Bros. and DC Comics.

From: https://www.cinemablend.com/news/1724290/dc-comics-wins-battle-over-jesus-oriented-superman-logo

New Series from The Walking Dead Creator Robert Kirkman …

Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics, which debuts on Sunday, shines a light on some of the lesser known aspects of comics’ well-known origin stories. Instead of detailing how Superman came to Earth or how Bruce Banner became the Hulk, the ambitious six-part series takes a look at the men and women behind the four-color characters and their struggles. While some of the stories will be familiar to comic book fans, they may also reveal a few new wrinkles worthy of appearing in DC Comics’ own Secret Origins series. Here is a preview of some of those stories.

The Timely Origin of Marvel Comics

While the debut episode, The Mighty Misfits Who Made Marvel,” begins as a tribute to well-known Marvel goodwill ambassador Stan Lee, Secret History lives up to its name by devoting much of its length to Lee’s 1960 co-conspirator Jack Kirby.

As Lee recalls, Kirby and writer Joe Simon were the “comics department” at Timely Comics, the publishing company we now know as Marvel Comics. Joining the group in the late 1930s, Lee would soon find himself running the place as both Kirby and Simon walked out when Timely’s owners (including Lee’s cousin Martin Goodman) declined to give them a piece of the lucrative Captain America profits. And as Secret History illustrates, this pattern repeats throughout both Kirby and Lee’s careers.

The story is familiar to fans of comic book history, in fact, it is almost as important as Bruce Wayne’s terrible night in Crime Alley. But Secret History unveils new facets of Marvel’s meteoric rise in the 1960s and the falling out between Kirby and Lee. The latter definitely has his say, telling it for the 10,000th time while wearing one of his trademark sweaters. But the episode also assembles an impressive panel of comic book talent and historians to offer Kirby’s case as well.

Portions are animated in the style of Marvel’s late 1960s Spider-Man and Iron Man cartoons — themselves a point of contention for Kirby, whom Marvel perceived as a “jobber” unworthy of any additional recognition or compensation. The animation also frames a snippet of archival audio many fans may have never heard before: a radio show interview with Kirby and Lee long after the former departed Marvel.

But the rough-and-tumble comics corporate world and its treatment of the creators responsible for its icons very much informs the first three episodes. The second part, “The Truth about Wonder Woman,” may not revolve around the boss’s office the way the first or second episodes do, but it illustrates how the character’s creator(s) and original philosophy faded into obscurity once the company brought in new writers for the series.

Marston and His Wonder Women

The case of William Moulton Marston, his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and his live-in girlfriend Olive Byrne is worthy of its own feature film – in fact, it has one: Professor Marston the Wonder Women. But Secret History changes its pace and style to reflect a story often told in comic book circles through giggles thanks to the alternative lifestyle at its core. Narrated by Keri Russell, the episode melds new interviews with historians and former Wonder Woman Lynda Carter with dramatizations of Martson’s life. In at least a few moments, the interview subjects are literally in the same room as the dramatized events.

And it doubles back to the corporate intrigue as Elizabeth Martson and Olive Byrne find themselves erased from the character’s history after Marston’s untimely death. The character herself changes with the arrival of new writer Robert Kanigher in the late 1940s and receives a radical reinvention in the 1960s. The progressive hero disappears into a white catsuit and some of the more regressive ideas of DC Comics’s editorial office and writer Mike Sekowsky.

Unfortuntately, both Kanigher and Sekowsky’s names — and their contributions to comics’s history — are omitted.

Granted, both of those men, or people like Spider-Man co-creator Steve Dikto or indie comics legends like Trina Robbins, could easily become the focus of season 2 episodes should AMC and executive producer Robert Kirkman decide to tell the stories of people the general public may not recognize.

The Boys from Cleveland

The series’ emphasis on the overlooked aspects in the history of the marquee characters is underlined by the third episode, “Trials of Superman” and its recreation of the three times Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster took DC Comics to court to get their character back. All of their attempts failed and both creators would live near poverty before Warner Bros. — DC’s eventual owner —was shamed into giving both men a lifetime pension. The episode gets to the heart of the injustice visited upon Siegel and Shuster and even names two men seemingly at the heart of DC’s callous indifference toward Superman’s creators: National Periodical bosses Harry Donnenfeld and Jack Lebowitz.  The pair ran DC ruthlessly and showed Siegel and Shuster less consideration that Lee would show Kirby.

And while the pain and corporate intrigues make for entertaining – and touching – secret origins, Secret History of Comics still celebrates the extraordinary accomplishment of disadvantaged kids who built the foundations of modern media empires. It is easy to forget that superheroes – their four-color fashions, powers, and thirst for justice – did not exist prior to Siegel and Shuster’s astounding innovation. People like Marston, Kirby, and Lee extended the idea into something richly diverse and endlessly enduring.

Subsequent episodes in the series will focus on the effect of 9/11 had upon the industry and the creation of Milestone Media and Image Comics in the 1990s. The latter two will be of particular interest as both companies were direct responses to the issue of ownership touched upon in the first three parts of the series. Image was founded by a group of ex-Marvel artists who sought greater creative control and ownership of their characters media rights. Milestone Media was an attempt by writers and artists like Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle to diversify the landscape of superhero comics. And certainly, the struggle for comic book creators to win complete control of their creations is an important secret history worth telling.

Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics premieres Sunday, November 12 at 11/10C on AMC.

From: https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/robert-kirkman-s-secret-history-of-comics-reveals-origin-stories-of-top-characters-like-superman-wonder-woman-x-men/

Men Of Steal: 7 Failed Blatant Superman Rip-Offs (And 8 Who Are More Powerful)

Superman is recognized as not just the standard to which all heroes are held to in comic books, but he’s also one of comics’ mightiest heroes. He’s moved planets, flown at hundreds of times the speed of light, time traveled for fun, and even sneezed away an entire galaxy. Few characters present a genuine challenge to the Man of Steel; some readers insist Kal-El is simply too powerful, since his writers almost never let him lose. With a character as popular as Superman, it’s no surprise he’s inspired plenty of copycats too. Nearly every comic book company has created their own Superman analog, or rip-off as the case may be. Sometimes these characters are stronger than Superman and other times they were weaker.

RELATED: 15 On-Screen Versions Of Superman Ranked From Weakest To Most Powerful

Regardless, it’s to Superman’s credit they exist. Readers can tell immediately when they’ve come across a Superman analog and are then intrigued to see where a particular story goes. At the end of the day, all these Superman rip-offs are a testament to Superman’s legacy and the amount of influence he’s had on creators and our world. Today at CBR we’re looking at 15 Superman rip-offs, eight of which are stronger than the Man of Steel, while seven are weaker.


A member of the Strontian species, Gladiator is the leader of the Shi’ar Imperial Guard and is one of the strongest beings in Marvel Comics. He’s also a direct homage to Superman. Gladiator’s name was inspired by Philip Wylie’s novel Gladiator, the novel that inspired Superman. His alter-ego, Kallark, is a portmanteau of Superman’s Kryptonian name, Kal-El, and his Earth name, Clark Kent. Now let’s talk about his powers.

Gladiator has all of Superman’s abilities and the number of awe-inspiring feats Gladiator has committed is too long to list. Still, a few of them are he’s flown across galaxies in seconds, kicked Thor’s hammer across a city, hit Wonder Man to the center of a planet, and destroyed an entire world with one punch. With all manner of sensory powers too, Gladiator’s has no real weaknesses and is as strong as he wills himself to be.


Thor Odinson is easily one of the mightiest heroes in Marvel Comics. The son of Odin and Gaea, the goddess of Earth, Thor boasts Superman-level strength. He also has invulnerability, a kinship with the elements, and can wield the mystical hammer Mjoinir. Both Thor and his hammer are capable of destroying planets; Mjoinir can warp reality, control massive storms, let him fly at light speed, teleport, and do nearly anything.

Mjoinir boosts Thor’s incredible strength and channels his power, but in extreme circumstances Thor can summon his elemental power by himself. A magical being, Thor is made up of one of Superman’s weaknesses. The only reason Thor is listed as weaker is because the two fought during the JLA/Avengers crossover; Superman won. Still, the fight left Superman completely drained, admitting Thor was the toughest opponent he’s ever faced. Written differently, it’s conceivable Thor would win.



Imbued with the power of a million exploding suns, the Sentry is Marvel’s dark heroic version of Superman. After drinking an experimental super-solider formula, Bob Reynolds became the Sentry and became privy to ridiculous power. Occasionally, the Void, the Sentry’s darker, manifests and creates pandemonium. The Void is so powerful he easily broke every bone in the Hulk’s body. Later he joined Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers and defeated the Molecule Man.

For a frame of reference, the Molecule Man can create whole universes, is feared by Galactus, and can control the molecules of the universe. The Sentry won by shifting his molecules ahead in time and acquired the ability to also alter matter, but at a greater level. Throughout “Siege” he killed Ares, destroyed Asgard, and then required a nuclear explosion and Mjonir’s mightiest strikes to die. Unleashed, the Void is privy to nearly any power imaginable.



Robert Kirkman’s Invincible started off as something of a satire on superhero comics, but since its inception, the series has evolved into something more. Incredibly epic, Invincible maintains a massive fanbase. Early on in the series, we’re introduced to Mark Grayson’s father, Nolan Grayson, who serves Earth as the planet’s greatest superhero Omni-Man. It’s a complete rip-off of Superman, but that’s the general idea. Like Superman, Nolan comes from an alien world of hyper powerful beings called Viltrumites.

Unlike Kryptonians, Viltrumites seems to get slightly stronger with every battle. Omni-Man is remarkably strong, but Superman dwarfs him easily. Even though Omni-Man might not be as strong or have super sensory powers, he and his race do have the uncanny ability to survive mind-boggling injuries. Nolan and his son have been impaled, lost limbs, and even been nearly torn in half; all injuries that have killed Superman, but they survived.


Hyperion flying

Hyperion was the first character Marvel created as an answer to Superman. Allying himself with the Squadron Supreme and the Avengers, the neigh all-powerful being is considered one of the strongest super-humans in the entire Marvel Multiverse. Originally introduced as a villain, the only one who could challenge him was Thor.

Heralding from Earth-13034, when he arrived to Earth-616, he became even stronger, his already great power amplified by startling degrees. Hyperion’s power comes from the Sun and the Sun in this universe was less filtered. Hyperion’s powers are nearly identical to Superman. He has Atomic Vision, which can fire heat blasts of 12,000 degrees. His feats of strength and durability are also similar, but taken up a notch. He’s held two universes apart, slowed down a hurtling planet single-handed, and his invulnerability is so great, Hyperion survived being sandwiched between two Earths smashing into each other.


sun god

Sun God, or Zoran, was born in another universe. He’s also the strongest being in his universe. A member of the Great Society, an unabashed rip-off of the Justice League, Sun God was his team’s Superman. After Sun God’s team defeated an Incursion, they battled the Illuminati, comprised of Mr. Fantastic, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, the Hulk, Beast, Black Bolt, and Namor.

Throughout the fight, it’s pretty clear that Sun God is the strongest hero of both groups. Taking on the Hulk, Zoran is hit multuple times by a full-strength Hulk, but to little effect. He then knocks out the “strongest on there is” with just two blows. Still, despite his power, it’s clear he’s not quite as powerful as Superman. He doesn’t have Superman’s speed and lacks a few powers like ice breath. It wouldn’t be easy, but Superman would take him.



Every comic book company needs a Superman and in the ‘90s, Image Comics’ Man of Steel came in the form of the character Supreme. Supreme’s power is off the charts, putting anything and everything Superman has done to shame. He’s almost too strong to make for an entertaining character. He’s endured the vortex of a black hole without any trouble and he’s so fast he can throw millions of faster-than-light punches in milliseconds.

To get a sense of Supreme’s strength, let’s look at his much weaker little sister: she once moved the universe with sheer muscle power. Composed of molecules that are in flux Supreme can immediately adapt to any opponent For example, Supreme can analyze his opponent’s atomic structure and develop new powers to cancel them out.


The most famous Superman analog, Captain Marvel debuted in Whiz Comics to serve as a to challenge Superman comics back in the day. Since then, the living god has gone on to become one of DC’s most popular superheroes. Incredibly strong, Captain Marvel is a being of magic. On a technical level and on paper, Captain Marvel should be able to easily defeat Superman. He’s nearly as physically strong, but he comes supplied with incredible magic, one of Superman’s primary weaknesses.

Yet Superman is the more popular character, so even though you’ll see Captain Marvel slugging it out and occasionally hurting the Last Son of Krypton, you won’t see him beat Superman is a straight-up fight. No matter, Captain Marvel is strong enough to move stars; he can fly at light speed, hypnotize people, and even throw his patented magical lightning at enemies.


mister majestic

Mister Majestic was Wildstorm’s answer to Superman. Yet whereas Mister Majestic and Superman have similar abilities, the former’s powers are astronomically stronger. He’s leagues faster and has more endurance; he traveled for months at speeds greater than light. Along with the strength to break worlds in half and his frightening speed, Mister Majestic’s powers also include firing energy beams from his hands, invisibility, telekinesis, and telepathy.

Majestic even possesses his own variation of heat vision; it’s so potent, Majestic altered the composition of Jupiter, changing the planet down to a pre-atomic level and turned a star ingot into a replacement for the sun. Majestic boasts an insane intellect, which lets him invent anything in moments and outthink his foes in nanoseconds. He even once combined his powers to mine his own minerals, smelt them, and manually reshape them, creating components for super-technology in less than a second.



Appearing in The Mighty comic series, Alpha One was originally a navy solider who became lost at sea. After getting exposed to irradiated water thanks to a nuclear test, he acquired powers and became his world’s first superhero. Alpha One’s power set is pretty much the same as Superman’s, yet he’s not on par with the Man of Steel. Alpha One Has super strength, letting him stop runaway trains with only marginal effort and he’s close to being invulnerable.

He can fly and also sports all of Superman’s super sensory powers like heat vision, X-ray and telescopic vision, and super hearing. Alpha One is the strongest hero on the planet, only because there really aren’t many other characters to challenge him. In a match with Superman, it’s pretty clear Alpha One wouldn’t prove victorious.


Blue Marvel

It’s impossible to deny the resemblance and similarities shared between Blue Marvel and Superman. Adam Brashear served his country in the military, but then later discovered he had powers. Adam adopted the superhero alias the Blue Marvel and saved the country numerous times. He was forced into retirement by the government because he was black. Blue Marvel might be the strongest hero on Earth. He received his powers by getting exposed to radiation from the event horizon of the Negative Zone.

Labeled an Alpha-Level threat, a term designated for planet-destroying entities, Blue Marvel’s limits are unknown. An “antimatter reactor”, he can manipulate all antimatter; one-gram contains the energy of a nuke. He’s beaten the Sentry and the Ultimate Hulk with one punch and even Hyperion fears him. Additionally, he has unlimited molecular and energy manipulation, allowing him to transmute matter and energy.


Apollo DC Comics

Belonging to the superhero group Stormwatch, Apollo is unquestionably mighty, one of the strongest beings in the Wildstorm Universe. Like Superman, Apollo’s abilities are powered by solar energy, which he’s able to absorb from the Sun’s UV rays. He can store vast amounts of energy inside his body to discharge whenever he wants. Though if he loses exposure to sunlight, Apollo’s powers will quickly leave him.

Capable of withstanding diving into the Sun without any discomfort and flying at speeds that make him nearly invisible, those who can challenge Apollo are few. It was also heavily implied that he was stronger than the New 52 Superman, although the New 52 Superman is the “weakest” Superman incarnation and turned out to just be an aspect of the “real” Superman.



Coming right out of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable comic book, the Plutonian answered the question, what if Superman went crazy and started murdering everyone? This was even before the Injustice comics and whatnot, so the premise really intrigued comic readers.

The Plutonian’s origin is something of a mystery, but it’s been speculated that he might have been an orphaned mutant or an alien refugee. Though he was Earth’s greatest hero he went crazy and started killing his former teammates. Plutonian possesses all of Superman’s powers and has even more frightening abilities. Whereas Superman gets his powers from the sun, the Plutonian gets his powers from manipulating matter up to the atomic level; his abilities are psionic in origin. As a result, the Plutonian’s powers are greater that Superman’s. Additionally, even the Plutonian doesn’t know how powerful he is; if his powers were truly unleashed, he could manipulate reality and alter probability.


While Icon might not be quite as powerful as Superman, he’s close enough so that it barely makes a difference. Even so, he’s technically weaker and that’s why Icon is here. Similar to Superman, Icon, or Augustus Freeman, is an alien who crash-landed on Earth, albeit in the American South in 1839. Eventually he escaped slavery thanks to the Underground Railroad and would later join the Justice League.

While Icon was en route to Earth, his DNA was altered by his ship so he looked human. A side effect was that he was endowed with incredible abilities. Like Superman, he was exceptionally powerful under a yellow sun and is nearly the physical match for Superman, both in terms of strength and speed. Icon can also manipulate positrons, the antimatter counterpart of electrons. Despite this, he’s tried beating Superman and he’s failed.



One of the Avengers’ most powerful villains and strongest mortals in the universe, Count Nefaria is a monster of a villain. Not only does he have Superman’s powers, Count Nefaria also has Wonder Man’s powers and is made of ionic energy. Nefaria’s feats are absolutely ridiculous. His strength is off the charts, as he’s taken on the combined forces of all the Avengers and the Thunderbolts simultaneously. He can easily toss around skyscrapers, he’s beaten Wonder Man effortlessly, and Nefaria is ever stronger than Thor and an enraged Hulk.

Mjoinir can’t hurt him; he’s caught the mystical hammer with one hand, without it affecting him. Nothing really can. He’s even withstood temperature-based attacks three times hotter than the surface of the Sun. Furthermore, he’s an energy vampire and can drain various opponents of their energies. The exact limits to his powers are unknown.

Do you agree or disagree with this list? Let us know in the comments!

From: https://www.cbr.com/failed-superman-ripoffs/

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