Superman fans snatch up Action Comics #1000

The events for the week-long celebration in Canton have not yet been announced. However, officials expect it will be the biggest gathering in the history of football.

From: http://www.wtol.com/story/38007739/superman-fans-snatch-up-action-comics-1000

The Story That Made Me Realize How Lonely Superman Must Be

Superman relives his exit from Krypton.
Image: Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, Gaspar Saladino and Adrienne Roy (DC Comics)

When I was a kid, it seemed impossible that Superman might have any problems. Sure, he had adventures that threw setbacks in his path but he always overcame those. It wasn’t until I read Action Comics #500 that I ever thought that the Man of Steel could have the same kinds of persistent emotional vulnerabilities that normal folks deal with.

I don’t remember when I first read the “The Life Story of Superman,” by writer Martin Pasko, penciller Curt Swan, inker Frank Chiaramonte, letterer Gaspar Saladino, and colorist Adrienne Roy. However, I do remember how I first read it. That story originally appeared in Action Comics #500 in 1979 but my initial encounter with it was in a beat-up paperback titled The Superman Story. That volume was first published by Tor in 1983, which means—if I read it in that first year—I would’ve been 11 years old. The Evan of 1983 was skinny, gawky, and awkward as all hell, my introvertedness made more painful by my mother’s moving us to Long Island. Whether it was the borough of Brooklyn where I was born or the town of Hempstead that we’d just moved to, I never felt like I fit in anywhere. That’s probably why a story that showed Superman as someone who felt all alone in the cosmos hit me so hard.

“The Life Story of Superman” is exactly what it sounds like: a museum tour through the character’s fictional biography, narrated by Kal-El with highlights pegged to his coming-of-age. There’s also a standard, late-Silver-Age plot that has Lex Luthor surreptitiously planning to replace the Man of Steel with a quick-grown clone that’ll be loyal to him, but that’s not the part that I responded to as a kid. This comic was the first one to give me a sense of Superman’s emotions and, probably, the first time I experienced him as human.

Moreover, it fed into the sentimental relationship I was already subconsciously building with the character. My clearest early Superman memories are from 1978’s Superman: The Movie and I remember how reading this story helped me understand the character emotionally. I haven’t read this story in three decades but, coming back to specific moments calls up surprisingly powerful echoes. More specifically, I remember how they made me feel. The storytelling is all swollen with soap opera melodrama but there’s no denying the impact certain scenes have. Unexpected poignancy abounds through “The Life Story of Superman,” hidden in little throwaway beats.

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Superman reveals that kryptonite has triggered memory loss over the years.
Image: Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, letterer Gaspar Saladino and Adrienne Roy (DC Comics)

For example, Superman says years of Kryptonite exposure have eroded his ability to recall childhood memories despite having a super-brain. It’s a beat that sets up the hacked mind-prober ray that Lex will use to program his clone, but it’s also a panel that makes clear the secret toll Superman has been paying while saving the world.

Action Comics #500 boomed out in the grandiose, stentorian voice that typified the Julie Schwartz era of DC Comics. For its occasional moments of feeling staid, this comic was meant to be understood as important. Impressionable 11-year-old Evan soaked it all up, mostly because Pasko’s script is great at keeping characters’ emotions at the forefront. The scenes set on Krypton all land exceptionally well, especially the sequences centered on Jor-El and Lara’s frustration and desperation, as well as toddler Kal-El’s attachment to his pet dog Krypto. That first chapter culminates in Superman reliving his escape from an exploding Krypton as a child, and those panels hit like a hammer. That small, quiet panel of Superman shaking with silent sobs, surrounded by people who’ve shown up to celebrate an indestructible hero, is a thing of beauty.

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Helplessly watching a planet and parents die all over again is too much for even a Superman to bear.
Image: Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, Gaspar Saladino and Adrienne Roy (DC Comics)

If memory serves, it wasn’t until high school that I’d started to pay attention to the specific names of writers and artists who’d worked on comics I was reading. I remember thinking of penciller Curt Swan as a ham-n-egger, a dependable omnipresent machine that churned out unremarkable work. I distinctly recall that this comic started to change my perceptions of him and a long-blooming affection began. With the distance of decades, it’s easy to laugh at fraught scenes of Superman choking up and crying. But the way that Swan draws emotional reactions is forthright and guileless, and there’s a midcentury sentimentalism that seems to connect to Norman Rockwell and Leave It to Beaver. Combined with the thematic ambitions of Pasko’s script, the end product makes this comic feel like a milestone in execution—and not just because of its issue number.

Ooof. Poor Clark.
Image: Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, Gaspar Saladino and Adrienne Roy (DC Comics)

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I’d always had a sense of the emotional churn inside, say, Spider-Man and Batman. “The Life Story of Superman” made me start to think of the Man of Steel as someone who does just more than fly, punch, and smile. In particular, the dialogue from his reunion with Krypto is inspired and the smile that Swan draws on Superman’s face really makes it seem like he’s experiencing a moment of peak happiness.

Needy much, Lana?
Image: Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, Gaspar Saladino and Adrienne Roy (DC Comics)
“The wind in your face in a way that no one else in the world can feel it…”
Image: Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, Gaspar Saladino and Adrienne Roy (DC Comics)

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Later, Superman explains what it meant to have Supergirl be with him on Earth and the talk of familial love leads the audience to ask the Man of Steel about his romantic life. In these scenes, we get the familiar canard that he can’t marry Lois because of how her life would be in danger. However, all the preceding emotional beats make this instance of that logic resonate more meaningfully. The story walks the reader through his loss and loneliness and, for me, it felt like he might really want and need to be with Lois, as opposed to merely enduring her marriage-crazy schemes from older stories.

That LL fetish…
Image: Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, Gaspar Saladino and Adrienne Roy (DC Comics)

In an editorial letter, writer and DC’s in-house continuity cop E. Nelson Bridwell runs down major events that have happened in Action Comics and wonders about the future:

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The beginning of E. Nelson Bridwell’s editorial letter in Action Comics #500.
Image: DC Comics
The end of E. Nelson Bridwell’s editorial letter in Action Comics #500.
Image: DC Comics

The 1,000th issue that Bridwell mused about just came out and the Man of Tomorrow that we have today owes a debt to the foundations laid by comics like Action Comics #500. The anniversary installment from 1979 came out long before images of Superman crying and quotes about how his feelings are his true invulnerability became latter-day clichés. He was a still a fairly static character meant to soar through done-in-one stories that would shore up a pillar of a publisher’s business. Part of that business was selling stories to be repurposed for the bookstore market. That paperback I read as a kid had no color and had skewed panels that were seemingly cut out and pasted onto a new compressed layout that did the story no favors. The cheap printing, transparent plot formula, and uptick in craft sophistication may prompt modern readers to laugh at Action Comics #500.

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A scan of “The Superman Story” paperback where “The Life Story of Superman” was reprinted.
Image: Curt Swan, Frank Chiaramonte, Gaspar Saladino, and Adrienne Roy (Tor Books, via Google)

But “The Life Story of Superman” had enough energy to break through to my heart and give me the sense that Superman had a heart too, one that yearned and broke just like mine. Pasko’s writing gave me a lesson I didn’t know I needed: All the super-strength in the world doesn’t make one immune from wanting connection with others and those connections make us who we are, even if we’re Superman. Especially if we’re Superman.

From: https://io9.gizmodo.com/the-story-that-made-me-realize-how-lonely-superman-must-1825328075

Action Comics #1000 Honors 80 Years of Superman With Another …

Superman’s 80th birthday bash doesn’t exactly go off without a hitch.
Image: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair (DC Comics)

Although Action Comics #1 launched in May 1938, DC Comics is celebrating 80 years of the Man of Tomorrow a little early with today’s release of Action Comics #1ooo, a bumper collection of tales reminding us about why we love the last son of Krypton so much. But a future-looking tale in the issue adds a new mystery around Superman’s origin.

Of course, this is nothing new when it comes to detailing how Krypton perished and an infant named Kal-El came to Earth. After all, 80 years is a long time, and part of the reason why Superman has endured over three quarters of a century’s worth of adventures is that he has grown and evolved as a character over those years, as beautifully illustrated in Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Alejandro Sanchez, and Tom Napolitano’s story in the anthology, “Never-Ending Battle.” Frankly, it’s one of only a handful of stories in Action Comics #1000 that does something relatively interesting with the celebratory retrospective nature of this special issue—wildly, DC already released the far-and-away best story in the issue, Tom King, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, and John Workman’s “Of Tomorrow,” over a month ago.

Superman meets a new foe in Action Comics #1000.
Image: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair (DC Comics)

But Superman has also lasted so long because of fresh twists and takes on his own past, modifying it and adding layers of mystery to keep the age-old tale of a dying world and a little boy in a rocket still as fascinating as it was back in 1938. The latest attempt at that shows up in the final story in Action Comics #1000, a preview of what’s to come now that Brian Michael Bendis has taken on writing duties for the Man of Steel after he surprisingly jumped ship from Marvel late last year.

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Featuring art by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair, and lettering by Cory Petit, “The Truth” sees Superman and Supergirl confronted by an unknown assailant, one that is more than happy to knock the pair about like they’re not some of the strongest people in the DC multiverse. Clark actually spends more than half of the issue knocked unconscious, while Kara battles the unseen foe and, weirdly enough, two civilians caught up in the fray drag Clark’s unconscious body to safety to, err, discuss the return of his red underwear.

Priorities, ladies, please!
Image: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair (DC Comics)

But when Clark wakes up and rejoins the fight, we finally get a look at who this powerful new threat is. And, if said threat is to be believed, they may not be that “new”—they’ve apparently hated and killed Kryptonians for a very long time. The assailant is a hulking alien named Rogol Zaar, who reveals that it wasn’t a natural disaster that wiped Krypton out of existence: He did.

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Say hello to Rogol Zarr, the scourge of Krypton.
Image: Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair (DC Comics)

Zaar has apparently then spent the years since taking out Kryptonian survivors, “cleansing” the galaxy of their “plague” as he dramatically puts it to Superman as he bores a gaping hole in Clark’s chest. That’s all we get, outside of a promise to learn more in Bendis’ upcoming Man of Steel series, but once again, 80 years on, the real reasons behind the death of Krypton have been changed again. That is, if Zaar really is as sinister as he claims to be.

From: https://io9.gizmodo.com/action-comics-1000-honors-80-years-of-superman-with-an-1825366834

Action Comics #1000: the 10 most important issues from 80 years of Superman

Eighty years ago today, the first issue of Action Comics was released, with the now iconic cover showing Superman lifting a car over his head as hoodlums flee. It was comic book readers’ first introduction to the character, starring in the lead story by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Now, Action Comics has become the first monthly comic book to hit its 1,000th issue. In the manner of major book and film releases, #1000 got a midnight release, with studio DC Comics encouraging comic book lovers to mark the historic issue, which includes stories from artists and writers including Brian Michael Bendis, Scott Snyder, Louise Simonson, Jock, and Marv Wolfman. But what are the most important issues in Action Comics’ 80-year history? Try these for starters:


Superman Vs the Cab Protective League

(#13, June 1939)

Forget Superman, it’s Uberman: Clark Kent is taking an innocent cab ride when his taxi is rammed by a rival firm’s vehicle. It’s the work of an organised racket aiming to take down innocent cabbies – but Superman’s having none of that.

Apparently, this is the first issue where Superman is shown actually flying, which makes you wonder: why does he bother with taxis at all?


The Man Who Hated Christmas

(# 105, February 1947)

Remember that famous 1940s Captain America cover where he’s shown punching Hitler? Well this is DC’s tilt at a titanic, though less hateful figure, as Superman physically assaults Father Christmas by forcing him down a chimney (he may actually be trying to help).

Santa is a little too portly to fit, because evil millionaire Jasper Rasper has decided he hates Christmas and fed Santa sweets laced with “a new wonder drug which causes fatty tissue to multiply at miraculous speed!” And like the Joe Wicks of his day, Superman puts Santa on a high-intensity training regime. All just in time for Christmas.


The Key to Fort Superman

(#241, June 1958)

Now we’re getting somewhere – specifically, the North Pole. But don’t worry! No Santa Claus here: it’s just Superman wielding a gigantic golden key, which unlocks his Fortress of Solitude, introduced for the very first time in issue #241.

The Fortress is like a super man-cave, where Superman keeps all his stuff (an alien zoo, a big metal diary in which Superman pens his memoirs, a chess-playing robot – all true). But you know that mate who keeps turning up when you’re just wanting to chill out on your own? Here, that’s Batman. Hasn’t he got his own cave to hang out in?


The Unemployed Superman

(#368, October 1968)

Thirty years after his debut, Superman was put ignominiously out of work. And he didn’t even get a carriage clock. Our hero has been off doing something space-y, and when he comes back, he finds that Earth has become a very different place. All criminals have turned over a new leaf. War has been abolished. There aren’t even any natural disasters.

It’s all thanks to the Sentinels, a group of mysterious aliens who’ve sorted everything out, and who tell Superman he can toddle off to a distant planet where his powers don’t work. Stupidly, he believes them. (For a bit).


The Super-Cigars of Perry White

(#436, June 1974)

File this one under “Things they’d never get away with today”. In his Clark Kent guise, Superman works as a reporter at the Daily Planet, where his boss is Perry White, who once helped Superman with some problem bothering some mutants from another planet somewhere. To show their gratitude, the aliens give Perry White some special cigars, and every time he smokes one he gets super powers just like Superman.

To think it would be only a few years later Superman would be having a pop at evil smokey joe and the UK’s Health Education Council villain Nick O’Teen.


Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow

(#583, September 1986)

In the 1980s, DC embarked upon what would become an almost annual tradition in the world of superhero comics – completely rebooting its tangled continuity with a cross-title event called Crisis on Infinite Earths.

As a way of saying goodbye to the old Superman, DC published a two-part story, started in Superman and finished in Action Comics, the end written by none other than Alan Moore. It’s actually a quite lovely “imaginary story” that brings in pretty much every aspect of the character’s legend of the preceding half-century … and ends with a knowing wink.


Where There Is a Will…

(#642, June 1989)

This issue is notable for what actually wasn’t in it, which should have been a story written by Neil Gaiman. For a period in the late 1980s, Action Comics became a weekly, with a rotating roster of characters in the main story. This was the last issue before the comic returned to a monthly schedule, and Gaiman’s story featured Superman and Green Lantern in their alter-egos Clark Kent and Hal Jordan.

However, DC ruled that Kent and Jordan shouldn’t know each other’s secret identities, so pulled it (and replaced it with something a bit similar by another writer).


Swan Song

(#700, June 1994)

In the early 1990s, Superman died at the hands of villain Doomsday (an event that even made international mainstream news) and then was resurrected, a miracle that occurs in comics quite a lot.

When he comes to, Superman has very long hair, and Metropolis is bombed and lies in ruins. Meanwhile, Lois Lane has been doing some investigating and discovered that Lex Luthor is, in fact, a clone and not his own son. It all got a bit Dynasty at this point.


Last Son

(#851, August 2007)

Although the Christopher Reeve Superman movie had introduced the evil Kryptonians led by General Zod 30 years before, those characters weren’t folded into the main DC continuity until this storyline, which was co-written (with Geoff Johns) by Richard Donner, director of the 1978 movie.

It was also presented with a 3D cover to try to give the reader that full, freaky Phantom Zone (the other-dimensional Guantánamo Bay where Superman routinely chucked evildoers) experience.


Superman Vs The City of Tomorrow

(#1 or #904, November 2011)

In 2011 DC had another reboot, and all the publisher’s comic numbering was reset back to #1, though this was in fact #904 of Action. The comics have since been retroactively dual-numbered to preserve the ongoing numbering of the comic.

In this issue, wrtier Grant Morrison took over with artist Rags Morales to take Superman back to basics, resetting the continuity to tell the story of the nascent DC universe afresh. And guess what? Superman wore short sleeves and didn’t wear his red underpants. Thankfully for purists, he gets his knickers back on in number 1,000.

From: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/apr/18/action-comics-1000-the-10-most-important-issues-from-80-years-of-superman

Superman Turns 80. The Red Trunks Still Fit.

Superman, created by the writer Jerry Siegel and the artist Joe Shuster, was introduced on April 18, 1938, in Action Comics No. 1. The Man of Steel struck a chord with readers and, faster than a speeding bullet, he became a multimedia sensation, with his adventures chronicled on radio, stage, film and television, and his image on a kaleidoscope of merchandise and collectibles. “If everybody doesn’t know by now who Clark Kent and who Lois Lane is, you’re not paying attention,” said Maggie Thompson, a senior editor of the Comic Buyer’s Guide, which covered the industry from 1971 to 2013. On Wednesday, Superman turns 80 years old and — great Caesar’s ghost! — DC Entertainment will publish Action Comics No. 1,000. Here are some memorable issues on his journey to that milestone. Happy Birthday, Kal-El!

Action Comics No. 1 (April 1938)

From: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/17/arts/superman-turns-80-action-comics-1000.html

Brian Bendis decided to write Superman comics for DC after a trip to …

Brian Michael Bendis makes his DC Comics debut this Wednesday (April 18) with a Superman story in Action Comics #1000 and artwork by Jim Lee. This is just an appetizer for Bendis’ takeover of the Man of Steel title for the publisher, something he’s voiced his excitement about on several occasions due to the fact that like the character’s creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, Bendis is also a Jewish kid from Cleveland, Ohio. 

While speaking to The New York Times about his new comic book endeavours at DC, including his imprint of Jinxworld, the writer revealed the moment that he decided to work on Superman. It’s only fitting that the moment of truth (justice and the American way) occured in a library in Cleveland. While home for the wedding of his brother Jared, Bendis came upon an exhibition all about the Man of Steel, titled “Superman: From Cleveland to Krypton.” Seeing such an impressive collection of the superhero’s appearances in comics, television, film, and radio, he realized that this would be the next chapter of his career. 

“O.K., God,” Bendis said to himself, almost as if a burning bush had just spoken to him. “I get it. Do Superman.”

Indeed, his ethnicity as a Jew will play into his take on the character, Bendis said while answering a fan’s question at C2E2. After all, Superman was created by two Jewish guys and several elements of his persona were derived from Judaism, its language, and traditions. Superman’s birth name, for instance, Kal-El, is actually Hebrew for “Light of God.” Bendis joked that Clark would be receiving a Bris Milah (a ritual circumcision); let’s just hope the recovery time doesn’t take too long. 

From: http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/brian-bendis-decided-to-write-superman-comics-for-dc-after-a-trip-to-the-library

Sunday Conversation: DC Entertainment publishers talk about redefining Superman at 80

Here’s the challenge for Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, the publishers of DC Entertainment comics as the company celebrates 80 years of Superman and the release of “Action Comics” #1000: What can be done to shake up the Man of Steel?

“’Action Comics’ was defined by Superman since he was on the cover of the first issue. [He’s the] first superhero character. It ultimately not just defined Superman himself, but the genre of superheroes,” says DiDio. “That’s why we love celebrating ‘Action Comics’ #1000, ’cause it wasn’t just about Superman, but really, this entire business is built on that idea.”

DC is also releasing a compilation of Superman comics highlighting some of the key storylines that defined the character. Earlier this year, it was announced that Brian Michael Bendis, a longtime influential Marvel writer who recently defected to DC Comics, would be shaping Superman’s new direction.

“Brian’s really going to put his mark on the character and redefine the mythology of the character,” said Lee. “That’s exciting ’cause it shows that even after 80 years, there are new ways to rekindle and reignite the mythology.”

We sat down with the duo, with Lee calling in from South-by-Southwest (“It’s like Comic-Con without the superheroes!”) and DiDio at the Burbank headquarters of DC Comics to talk Superman, legacy and moving forward.

[“Action Comics”] ultimately not just defined Superman himself but the genre of superheroes.

Dan Didio

'Action Comics'
The first issue of “Action Comics” and the first featuring Superman sits in the archive at DC Comics. Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times


Jim Lee: It’s interesting that you note that collectors and fans like the appeal of the first issue, but I’ll tell you that historically, the next most important number is 100, and historically, this is the first time that a thousand has been reached. We’re already seeing huge interest in this issue as a milestone issue and that fact that it’s the first book to hit this number. I feel like the marathon runner who just stepped across the finish line and got to work on the thousandth issue given all of the incredible stories that were created prior to it.

Dan DiDio: The reality is that we wanted to embrace the history of the character. The best part about “Action Comics” #1000 itself is that while the story that Jim and Brian Bendis are doing is leading into ultimately the new direction of Superman, there are so many different standalone stories in that [80 years of Superman] book that really capture the essence of this character. So with all the promotion and attention around #1000, I think you’re going to get this beautiful package of so many stories with all the depth and all the history of who Superman is. If you’re a brand new fan or just have casual awareness of Superman, this is the place to start.

Lee: I feel like that’s Brian’s story to tell. All I can say is that it will be startling. It will be interesting. It will be illuminating. It will usher in a new era for the character, which is what you want. We didn’t want to do a celebratory issue that didn’t mean anything. In walks Brian with this great idea, this great premise, to redefine the character and it unlocked all these other ideas.

DiDio: Let me spoil it a little bit. Brian’s stuff really does challenge the origin of Superman and calls in some new elements that reinterpret everything that’s happened to him up until this point. The piece that you’re going to see in “Action Comics” #1000 takes place after the events in “Man of Steel,” so you get kind of a preview of what’s to come. We introduce a new villain and there’s lots of story beats inside there. More important, when you have as many people buying into this, it becomes a great launchpad for everything that Brian wants to do as well as to get a sense of the scope of the DC Universe.

DiDio: It’s the accessibility and relatability of the character that creates our constant need to really contemporize him and move the stories forward. With so much other media with our characters these days, it’s essential for us to stay as innovative as possible. So we always feel like we have to be in front of them in our storytelling — reviewing them and finding ways to freshen them up. I think Superman is the perfect example. You’ve seen so many iterations, but he’s always true to what he is, though he’s still built on today’s ideas.

Lee: We’re longtime fans of his work at Marvel and really jealous that they had such a prolific writer [who] was driving so much of their narrative, their mythology and their universe. So, we knew he’s a creator with big ideas. That’s what you want on your biggest character and your biggest issue. He just came in with a passion that you see was a trademark for the work he did at Marvel. He’s not a guy [who’s] scared of exploring, experimenting and really burrowing down into what makes characters tick. As Dan alluded to before, we do not keep these characters encased in amber for all eternity. We need to really keep them modern and fresh, and that requires risk and that requires change and that requires modernizing the mythologies. And we have a fearless writer in Brian, and that’s something that doesn’t happen very often.

Jim Lee's rendition of Superman
Jim Lee’s rendition of Superman for “Action Comics” #1000. DC Comics

We need to really keep [characters] modern and fresh, and that requires risk and that requires change and that requires modernizing the mythologies.

Jim Lee

DiDio: It goes back to what we’re celebrating — 80 years of Superman. A lot of times when you have a character for that long, you don’t change the character that much. So what we try to do is bring in fresh voices, a fresh set of eyes and new perspectives.

DiDio: We do a level of evaluation on all our books, but you have to understand our perspective as publishers. It’s not just about the DC Universe, it’s our entire publishing line. When you encapsulate our entire lines, from what we’re doing now with the introduction of the young adult line, the introduction of a mature line — if you look at the aggregate, we are really diversifying our talent pool and our perspectives on our characters. The goal is to play to everybody’s strengths and what works best and really find a way to expand out the universe with a much more ambitious publishing schedule.

Lee: To echo what Dan said. I don’t know how familiar you are with our other lines — DC Zoom, DC Ink, the Sandman Universe, even the upcoming Milestone line. There’s a lot of diversity in our ranks, and it really mirrors the audience that buys and reads our content. It’s been a real interesting past couple of years as we’ve ramped up all of these different initiatives, and now that they’re up and running, I think you can just look at the range of creators that we have. I don’t think we’ve ever had as diverse and interesting of a group of creators lined for the entire publishing slate than we do now.

DiDio: As comics, we should be the leaders in some ways for a lot of the creative choices. The interesting part about Superman is that he has this weird synergy with the other mediums. We talk about Jimmy Olsen and kryptonite coming from the radio show, and we’ve seen characters being created in other media that we’ve been able to work back through, but still, from our standpoint, we want to be at the forefront of what’s going on. It’s great to see these things happening — the launch of the “Krypton” show and the fact that “Supergirl” is on the air and other things happening — but for us, it’s about the comics. It’s a publishing moment and we want to celebrate it in that fashion.

Lee: “The Bachelor” because I enjoy celebrating young people who are on TV for the right reasons.

DiDio: Mets baseball

DC honchos
Co-publishers at DC Entertainment, Dan DiDio, left, and Jim Lee. Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

[email protected]

Follow me on Twitter: @Storiz

From: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/herocomplex/la-et-hc-sunday-conversation-superman-20180413-htmlstory.html

Sunday Conversation: DC Comics publishers talk about redefining Superman at 80

Here’s the challenge for Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, the publishers of DC Entertainment comics as the company celebrates 80 years of Superman and the release of “Action Comics” #1000: What can be done to shake up the Man of Steel?

“’Action Comics’ was defined by Superman since he was on the cover of the first issue. [He’s the] first superhero character. It ultimately not just defined Superman himself, but the genre of superheroes,” says DiDio. “That’s why we love celebrating ‘Action Comics’ #1000, ’cause it wasn’t just about Superman, but really, this entire business is built on that idea.”

DC is also releasing a compilation of Superman comics highlighting some of the key storylines that defined the character. Earlier this year, it was announced that Brian Michael Bendis, a longtime influential Marvel writer who recently defected to DC Comics, would be shaping Superman’s new direction.

“Brian’s really going to put his mark on the character and redefine the mythology of the character,” said Lee. “That’s exciting ’cause it shows that even after 80 years, there are new ways to rekindle and reignite the mythology.”

We sat down with the duo, with Lee calling in from South-by-Southwest (“It’s like Comic-Con without the superheroes!”) and DiDio at the Burbank headquarters of DC Comics to talk Superman, legacy and moving forward.

[“Action Comics”] ultimately not just defined Superman himself but the genre of superheroes.

Dan Didio

'Action Comics'
The first issue of “Action Comics” and the first featuring Superman sits in the archive at DC Comics. Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times


Jim Lee: It’s interesting that you note that collectors and fans like the appeal of the first issue, but I’ll tell you that historically, the next most important number is 100, and historically, this is the first time that a thousand has been reached. We’re already seeing huge interest in this issue as a milestone issue and that fact that it’s the first book to hit this number. I feel like the marathon runner who just stepped across the finish line and got to work on the thousandth issue given all of the incredible stories that were created prior to it.

Dan DiDio: The reality is that we wanted to embrace the history of the character. The best part about “Action Comics” #1000 itself is that while the story that Jim and Brian Bendis are doing is leading into ultimately the new direction of Superman, there are so many different standalone stories in that [80 years of Superman] book that really capture the essence of this character. So with all the promotion and attention around #1000, I think you’re going to get this beautiful package of so many stories with all the depth and all the history of who Superman is. If you’re a brand new fan or just have casual awareness of Superman, this is the place to start.

Lee: I feel like that’s Brian’s story to tell. All I can say is that it will be startling. It will be interesting. It will be illuminating. It will usher in a new era for the character, which is what you want. We didn’t want to do a celebratory issue that didn’t mean anything. In walks Brian with this great idea, this great premise, to redefine the character and it unlocked all these other ideas.

DiDio: Let me spoil it a little bit. Brian’s stuff really does challenge the origin of Superman and calls in some new elements that reinterpret everything that’s happened to him up until this point. The piece that you’re going to see in “Action Comics” #1000 takes place after the events in “Man of Steel,” so you get kind of a preview of what’s to come. We introduce a new villain and there’s lots of story beats inside there. More important, when you have as many people buying into this, it becomes a great launchpad for everything that Brian wants to do as well as to get a sense of the scope of the DC Universe.

DiDio: It’s the accessibility and relatability of the character that creates our constant need to really contemporize him and move the stories forward. With so much other media with our characters these days, it’s essential for us to stay as innovative as possible. So we always feel like we have to be in front of them in our storytelling — reviewing them and finding ways to freshen them up. I think Superman is the perfect example. You’ve seen so many iterations, but he’s always true to what he is, though he’s still built on today’s ideas.

Lee: We’re longtime fans of his work at Marvel and really jealous that they had such a prolific writer [who] was driving so much of their narrative, their mythology and their universe. So, we knew he’s a creator with big ideas. That’s what you want on your biggest character and your biggest issue. He just came in with a passion that you see was a trademark for the work he did at Marvel. He’s not a guy [who’s] scared of exploring, experimenting and really burrowing down into what makes characters tick. As Dan alluded to before, we do not keep these characters encased in amber for all eternity. We need to really keep them modern and fresh, and that requires risk and that requires change and that requires modernizing the mythologies. And we have a fearless writer in Brian, and that’s something that doesn’t happen very often.

Jim Lee's rendition of Superman
Jim Lee’s rendition of Superman for “Action Comics” #1000. DC Comics

We need to really keep [characters] modern and fresh, and that requires risk and that requires change and that requires modernizing the mythologies.

Jim Lee

DiDio: It goes back to what we’re celebrating — 80 years of Superman. A lot of times when you have a character for that long, you don’t change the character that much. So what we try to do is bring in fresh voices, a fresh set of eyes and new perspectives.

DiDio: We do a level of evaluation on all our books, but you have to understand our perspective as publishers. It’s not just about the DC Universe, it’s our entire publishing line. When you encapsulate our entire lines, from what we’re doing now with the introduction of the young adult line, the introduction of a mature line — if you look at the aggregate, we are really diversifying our talent pool and our perspectives on our characters. The goal is to play to everybody’s strengths and what works best and really find a way to expand out the universe with a much more ambitious publishing schedule.

Lee: To echo what Dan said. I don’t know how familiar you are with our other lines — DC Zoom, DC Ink, the Sandman Universe, even the upcoming Milestone line. There’s a lot of diversity in our ranks, and it really mirrors the audience that buys and reads our content. It’s been a real interesting past couple of years as we’ve ramped up all of these different initiatives, and now that they’re up and running, I think you can just look at the range of creators that we have. I don’t think we’ve ever had as diverse and interesting of a group of creators lined for the entire publishing slate than we do now.

DiDio: As comics, we should be the leaders in some ways for a lot of the creative choices. The interesting part about Superman is that he has this weird synergy with the other mediums. We talk about Jimmy Olsen and kryptonite coming from the radio show, and we’ve seen characters being created in other media that we’ve been able to work back through, but still, from our standpoint, we want to be at the forefront of what’s going on. It’s great to see these things happening — the launch of the “Krypton” show and the fact that “Supergirl” is on the air and other things happening — but for us, it’s about the comics. It’s a publishing moment and we want to celebrate it in that fashion.

Lee: “The Bachelor” because I enjoy celebrating young people who are on TV for the right reasons.

DiDio: Mets baseball

DC honchos
Co-publishers at DC Entertainment, Dan DiDio, left, and Jim Lee. Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

[email protected]

Follow me on Twitter: @Storiz

From: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/herocomplex/la-et-hc-sunday-conversation-superman-20180413-htmlstory.html

Sunday Conversation: DC Comics publishers talk about redefining …

Here’s the challenge for Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, the publishers of DC Comics as the company celebrates 80 years of Superman and the release of “Action Comics” #1000: What can be done to shake up the Man of Steel?

“’Action Comics’ was defined by Superman since he was on the cover of the first issue. [He’s the] first superhero character. It ultimately not just defined Superman himself, but the genre of superheroes,” says DiDio. “That’s why we love celebrating ‘Action Comics’ #1000, ’cause it wasn’t just about Superman, but really, this entire business is built on that idea.”

DC is also releasing a compilation of Superman comics highlighting some of the key storylines that defined the character. Earlier this year, it was announced that Brian Michael Bendis, a longtime influential Marvel writer who recently defected to DC Comics, would be shaping Superman’s new direction.

“Brian’s really going to put his mark on the character and redefine the mythology of the character,” said Lee. “That’s exciting ’cause it shows that even after 80 years, there are new ways to rekindle and reignite the mythology.”

We sat down with the duo, with Lee calling in from South-by-Southwest (“It’s like Comic-Con without the superheroes!”) and DiDio at the Burbank headquarters of DC Comics to talk Superman, legacy and moving forward.

[“Action Comics”] ultimately not just defined Superman himself but the genre of superheroes.

Dan Didio

'Action Comics'
The first issue of “Action Comics” and the first featuring Superman sits in the archive at DC Comics. Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times


Jim Lee: It’s interesting that you note that collectors and fans like the appeal of the first issue, but I’ll tell you that historically, the next most important number is 100, and historically, this is the first time that a thousand has been reached. We’re already seeing huge interest in this issue as a milestone issue and that fact that it’s the first book to hit this number. I feel like the marathon runner who just stepped across the finish line and got to work on the thousandth issue given all of the incredible stories that were created prior to it.

Dan DiDio: The reality is that we wanted to embrace the history of the character. The best part about “Action Comics” #1000 itself is that while the story that Jim and Brian Bendis are doing is leading into ultimately the new direction of Superman, there are so many different standalone stories in that [80 years of Superman] book that really capture the essence of this character. So with all the promotion and attention around #1000, I think you’re going to get this beautiful package of so many stories with all the depth and all the history of who Superman is. If you’re a brand new fan or just have casual awareness of Superman, this is the place to start.

Lee: I feel like that’s Brian’s story to tell. All I can say is that it will be startling. It will be interesting. It will be illuminating. It will usher in a new era for the character, which is what you want. We didn’t want to do a celebratory issue that didn’t mean anything. In walks Brian with this great idea, this great premise, to redefine the character and it unlocked all these other ideas.

DiDio: Let me spoil it a little bit. Brian’s stuff really does challenge the origin of Superman and calls in some new elements that reinterpret everything that’s happened to him up until this point. The piece that you’re going to see in “Action Comics” #1000 takes place after the events in “Man of Steel,” so you get kind of a preview of what’s to come. We introduce a new villain and there’s lots of story beats inside there. More important, when you have as many people buying into this, it becomes a great launchpad for everything that Brian wants to do as well as to get a sense of the scope of the DC Universe.

DiDio: It’s the accessibility and relatability of the character that creates our constant need to really contemporize him and move the stories forward. With so much other media with our characters these days, it’s essential for us to stay as innovative as possible. So we always feel like we have to be in front of them in our storytelling — reviewing them and finding ways to freshen them up. I think Superman is the perfect example. You’ve seen so many iterations, but he’s always true to what he is, though he’s still built on today’s ideas.

Lee: We’re longtime fans of his work at Marvel and really jealous that they had such a prolific writer [who] was driving so much of their narrative, their mythology and their universe. So, we knew he’s a creator with big ideas. That’s what you want on your biggest character and your biggest issue. He just came in with a passion that you see was a trademark for the work he did at Marvel. He’s not a guy [who’s] scared of exploring, experimenting and really burrowing down into what makes characters tick. As Dan alluded to before, we do not keep these characters encased in amber for all eternity. We need to really keep them modern and fresh, and that requires risk and that requires change and that requires modernizing the mythologies. And we have a fearless writer in Brian, and that’s something that doesn’t happen very often.

Jim Lee's rendition of Superman
Jim Lee’s rendition of Superman for “Action Comics” #1000. DC Comics

We need to really keep [characters] modern and fresh, and that requires risk and that requires change and that requires modernizing the mythologies.

Jim Lee

DiDio: It goes back to what we’re celebrating — 80 years of Superman. A lot of times when you have a character for that long, you don’t change the character that much. So what we try to do is bring in fresh voices, a fresh set of eyes and new perspectives.

DiDio: We do a level of evaluation on all our books, but you have to understand our perspective as publishers. It’s not just about the DC Universe, it’s our entire publishing line. When you encapsulate our entire lines, from what we’re doing now with the introduction of the young adult line, the introduction of a mature line — if you look at the aggregate, we are really diversifying our talent pool and our perspectives on our characters. The goal is to play to everybody’s strengths and what works best and really find a way to expand out the universe with a much more ambitious publishing schedule.

Lee: To echo what Dan said. I don’t know how familiar you are with our other lines — DC Zoom, DC Ink, the Sandman Universe, even the upcoming Milestone line. There’s a lot of diversity in our ranks, and it really mirrors the audience that buys and reads our content. It’s been a real interesting past couple of years as we’ve ramped up all of these different initiatives, and now that they’re up and running, I think you can just look at the range of creators that we have. I don’t think we’ve ever had as diverse and interesting of a group of creators lined for the entire publishing slate than we do now.

DiDio: As comics, we should be the leaders in some ways for a lot of the creative choices. The interesting part about Superman is that he has this weird synergy with the other mediums. We talk about Jimmy Olsen and kryptonite coming from the radio show, and we’ve seen characters being created in other media that we’ve been able to work back through, but still, from our standpoint, we want to be at the forefront of what’s going on. It’s great to see these things happening — the launch of the “Krypton” show and the fact that “Supergirl” is on the air and other things happening — but for us, it’s about the comics. It’s a publishing moment and we want to celebrate it in that fashion.

Lee: “The Bachelor” because I enjoy celebrating young people who are on TV for the right reasons.

DiDio: Mets baseball

DC honchos
Co-publishers of DC Comics, Dan DiDio, left, and Jim Lee. Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

[email protected]

Follow me on Twitter: @Storiz

From: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/herocomplex/la-et-hc-sunday-conversation-superman-20180413-htmlstory.html

Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman Deluxe Edition Review



DC Comics has a lot to be proud of and one we can all appreciate this month is Action Comics reaching the historic 1,000th issue. To celebrate, DC Comics has released a 384-page book celebrating the 80 years it took to reach this milestone. This book features 19 stories (one of which a long lost tale never published) and multiple opportunities for those well aware of Superman’s importance to chime in with thoughts and essays on the series.

So what’s it about?

The official summary reads:

Superman and DC celebrate the anniversary of an American cultural touchstone moment with this original graphic novel anthology ACTION COMICS #1,000: 80 YEARS OF SUPERMAN, which features a previously unpublished Golden Age Superman epic! The official companion book for the ACTION COMICS #1,000 comic book.

Why does this matter?

This book doesn’t just honor Superman (though the majority does), but it also honors early Action Comics characters like Zatara Master Magician and the Vigilante. It’s easy to forget this series wasn’t only about Superman in its early days — it was very much in the variety style of comic storytelling of the time. This series very much inspired the industry and it’s why it deserves such a lengthy book celebrating it.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?


In the first issue of ‘Action Comics’ Superman jumps more than flies.

As a whole, this book is a great way to celebrate Superman and the beginnings of Action Comics. Paul Levitz delivers the introduction, which gives a broad stroke of the importance of this series and setting up Laura Siegel Larson’s foreword which follows it. Levitz gives readers a nice historical view of the series and he even writes a new tale that wraps the book up (with art by Neal Adams). Jules Feiffer, Tom DeHaven, Marv Wolfman, Larry Tye, and Gene Luen Yang all chime in with their thoughts, helping to flesh out the greater meaning behind Superman and the series itself. These essays are spread out between important single issues of Action Comics. The book can’t reprint, of course, but it gives a nice taste of how the character has evolved over the decades and different writers and artists have breathed new life into the character. You get the impression this character is timeless after reading this book, and it makes a strong argument that the series will never fold, nor should it.

Collected here are 19 single issue stories highlighting different moments in Superman’s history, starting with #1 and moving through history with Action Comics #2, as well as #42, #64, #241, #242, #252, #285, #309, #419, #484, #554, #584 (by John Byrne), #655, #662, #800, #0 (Grant Morrison’s “New 52” issue) and wrapping up with a brand new story by Paul Levitz and Neal Adams titled “The Game.” Included in this batch of stories is an unpublished issue by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster titled “Too Many Heroes” which exists thanks to the help of Marv Wolfman (who delivers a generous essay on Superman and his preserving this story).

I suspect this book may win an Eisner as it has a historical feel that brings your attention to the importance of the series. It feels thorough even though it’s not delivering every issue and allows new readers to jump in and revel in the history of the character, coming away a little more informed for it. As you read these stories you’ll note the art gets more detailed, the stories more mature, and yet the spirit of Superman never wavers. His ability to inspire hope is never lost and it’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t changed that much, yet remains a beloved character.


Some of Superman’s weirder stories can be the most entertaining.

It can’t be perfect can it?



If you were an alien race and came upon this book it’d be a good way to understand the character, but if you wanted a fulfilling taste of a story arc you’d probably feel a bit short-changed. It’s nice to see such historic issues reprinted here, but it’s not going to deliver the type of comic reading experience one might expect.

Is It Good?

This is a good collection as it shines a light on why this series has existed for so long but also how it’s changed. The essays by the multiple voices give different perspectives, from the daughter of Jerry Siegel to a professor of journalism. This work also offers two new stories, a long-lost Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster story, and another one from Paul Levitz and Neal Adams. I suspect this combined with the 1,000th issue would be a fine way to honor the character and gain a sense of what makes it so iconic. You’re guaranteed to gain a better sense of comic history by reading this book.

From: http://www.adventuresinpoortaste.com/2018/04/11/action-comics-80-years-of-superman-deluxe-edition-review/

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