Saturday, March 29, 2008

Episode #11: All-Star Superman

This past Wednesday, March 26, 2008, issue #10 of All-Star Superman was published. I have discussed this title in past episodes, but I thought I would devote this episode exclusively to what I consider the best Superman comic book currently published.
If you have missed some issues, or have not read All-Star Superman at all, pick up All-Star Superman vol. I, which collects the first six issues of the title. That is the only collection so far, at least until DC gets to issue #12, and it certainly won't be the last. To avoid any spoilers, you may want to read some or all of the back issues before you listen to this episode.

The creative team of All-Star Superman is as follows:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Frank Quitely
Digital inks and colors: Jamie Grant
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Covers: Penciller: Frank Quitley; Digital arts and pencils: Jamie Grant
Series Editor: Bob Shreck; Editorial Assist: Brandon Montclare
Collected Edition Editor: Bob Joy

The story titles of the issues are as follows, with short, spoiler free descriptions (mostly):
Issue #1: . . .Faster. . .
Superman rescues a manned mission to our sun, with unexpected consequences for himself.
Issue #2: Superman's Forbidden Room
Superman, who had given Lois Lane a big surprise at the end of issue #1, celebrates her birthday by treating her to dinner at the Fortress of Solitude. Then he gives her a unique birthday present.
Issue #3: Sweet Dreams Superwoman . . .
One lucky woman gets to spend 24 hours with Superman's powers.
Issue #4: The Superman / Olsen War
We discover how black kryptonite affects Superman.
Issue #5: The Gospel According to Lex Luthor
Clark Kent interviews Lex Luthor in prison.
Issue #6: Funeral In Smallville
There are some things Superman is powerless against.
Issue #7: Being Bizarro
Superman battles Bizarro.
Issue #8: Us Do Opposite
Superman on Bizarro World.
Issue #9: Curse of the Replacement Supermen
Superman meets two lost kryptonians who come to Earth and are not impressed by him in the least.
Issue #10 Neverending
Superman tries to tie up loose ends.

There are several reasons I enjoy All-Star Superman.
The "continuity" of the story easily fits into any era of Superman, silver age, post-crisis 1980's, except for current continuity where Lois and Clark/Superman are married, of course.
While all of the issues are part of a larger storyline, each issue reads like a stand-alone story. Any issue can be your first issue of All-Star Superman, without being lost reading it without knowing what has happened in previous issues.
All-Star Superman contains the most unique and original characterization of Clark Kent. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely present Clark as a sloppy, slouching, loveable oaf, a big teddy bear. When he sees an emergency that requires his attention, he finds something to trip over. As he falls, he changes into Superman in front of everyone at super speed, performs his rescue, and then changes back to Clark on his way back onto his feet. If Superman really existed, Clark would be like this, and not just a mild-mannered nerd. It would make more sense hiding in plain sight with only a pair of glasses as a disguise, if Clark was a clumsy, sloppy guy.
There are many silver-age stories that remind me of elements of All-Star Superman, although I have of no idea of any specific issues that may have inspired Morrison and Quitely. Most silver age stories had Superman flying unaided in outer space, as well as through the time barrier. Most of Superman's friends have been to the Fortress of Solitude. I have reprints of Superman and Jimmy disquised as Nightwing and Flamebird in the bottle city of Kandor, beginning with a story first published in Superman #158. I recall reading stories, maybe some "imaginary" ones, where Superman gives one of his friends a serum to temporarilly give them super powers. Silver age stories are full of the effects of the various forms of kryptonite on Superman. Many stories show Lex Luthor in prison or breaking out of prison. There have even been silver age stories of Superman's descendents in future centuries. The silver age is replete with stories of various survivors of Krypton. And Superman has been shown using his heat vision to write in his giant diary constucted of metal pages, in Kryptonese. I have even read stories of Superman trying to tie up loose ends and solve super feats that he has failed to accomplish, despite his super efforts.

Next week is April Fool's Day. For this first April Fool's Day episode I will present a unique Superman story commemorating this special day.
Check out this and all episodes at Send e-mail to:

Don't forget to pre-order the book Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, written by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustrated by Ross Macdonald, and published by Knopf Books for Young Readers. Check out their web sites:, and The book will be published on August 26, 2008, and can be pre-ordered from

Also check out my other blog, My Pull List at, and send e-mail to

Thanks for listening to Superman Fan Podcast, and as always thanks to Jerry and Joe.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Episode #10: Happy Birthday, Mark Waid!

Mark Waid was born on March 21, 1962 in Hueytown, Alabama. He is known for his encyclopedic knowledge of DC Comics history and trivia, especially Superman. E. Nelson Bridwell served DC Comics in the same manner in the 1960's and 1970's. For an example of Mark Waid's knowledge, listen to the Fanboy Radio podcast episode Stump Mark Waid, episode #295. Also check out episode #30 for another Mark Waid interview.
He began his comic book career as a writer and editor for Fantagraphic Book's Amazing Heroes magazine, which ceased publiccation in the early 1990's.
Mark Waid moved on to DC Comics as editor on a number of titles, Secret Origins, Legion of Super-Heroes and Doom Patrol, among others. Check out the DVD Countdown to Wednesday, where Mark talks about the advantage working as an editor was for him when he began his writing career. (Order it from, or pre-order it from New copies of the DVD will be available from Amazon on June 1st.)
Some highlights of Mark Waid's prolific writing career:
Mark Waid worked for the short-lived Impact Comics DC imprint, (which licensed MLJ Publications, better known as Archie Comics, old superhero characters) writing for The Comet and Legend of the Shield.
His breakthrough came in 1992, when he became the writer for The Flash. He worked with artists such as Greg LaRocque and Mike Wieringo. His run, along with later Flash writer Geoff Johns, marked a resurgence of popularity in the character.
He moved to Marvel to write Captain America, but his tenure on the title was cut short for the Heroes Reborn storyline.
In 1996 Waid wrote the mini-series Kingdom Come, drawn and originally proposed by Alex Ross. This trade paperback ranks up there close to Watchmen as some of my favorite graphic novels.
Mark Waid returned to Marvel in 2002 to write Fantastic Four.
2003's Superman: Birthright was Mark Waid's retelling of Clark Kent/Superman's origin, from when he left his home on the Kent farm to his premiere in Metropolis as Superman.
From 2004-2007 he wrote the rebooted Legion of Super-Heroes, as well as the 2005 relaunch of The Brave and the Bold, with artist George Perez. He also worked on the weekly comic 52 from 2006-2007, along with writers Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and writer/artist Keith Giffen. Mark Waid also returned briefly to The Flash.
Since last year Mark Waid has served as editor-in-chief of Boom! Studios.
I would like to highlight some of my favorite Mark Waid written comic book titles.

Metamorpho (mini-series) DC Comics, 1993.
Editor: Brian Michael Augustyn, Assistant Editor: Ruben Diaz
Cover artist: Graham Nolan
Plot: Mark Waid and Graham Nolan, writer: Mark Waid, penciller: Graham Nolan, inker: Ron Boyd, colorist: Tom McGraw, letterer: Tim Harkins.
In this four issue mini-series, fellow archaelogist Jillian Conway finds Rex Mason (Metamorpho), and informs him that she has translated the hieroglyphics in the pyramid that contained the metero that transformed him. She has discovered that using the orb, now in possession of Simon Stagg, Rex's father-in-law and nemesis, that was created from the meteor in ancient Egypt, will cure him. After a series of events, she takes Rex's son, along with Stagg and the orb, to the pyramid. Rex follows them and finds the same hieroglyphics that Jillian did, but finds that she mistranslated the key part.
I'll leave the rest for you to read. I could not find a trade paperback reprint from DC Comics, so you will need to find it in the back issue bin of your local comic book store, or on e-bay.

Kingdom Come DC Comics 1996
Writer: Mark Waid, artist: Alex Ross, letterer: Todd Klein
While working on Marvels with Kurrt Busiek, Alex Ross created a proposal for a mini-series that became Kingdom Come. DC Comics hired Mark Waid to write the mini-series, because of his knowledge of DC history and trivia. To read Ross's original proposal and samples of art from this title, find Wizard Entertainment's Alex Ross Millennium Edtion (2003). I could not find a copy from Wizard's web site, so you will have to try vendors on, e-bay, or your local comic book store.
In the near future, Superman has been retired for a decade. The children and grandchildren of the super heroes we are familiar with are running amok all over the world. A nuclear disaster in the midwest summons the Spectre, who uses an elderly minister, modeled after Alex Ross's own minister father, as a guide through the upcoming super hero armageddon.
Part of the fun of reading Kingdom Come is searching the background in several scenes and picking out some of the super heroes, especially in a bar scene and the final super battle.

Fantastic Four: Imaginauts (FF 60-66 and 56) (2003) and Hearafter (FF 509-514) (2004) Marvel.
Imaginauts looked behind the scenes of the Fantastic Four to the business behind the heroes, which allows the FF to be adventurers and super heroes. And Johnny Storm is the most unlikely person to be made Chief Financial Officer by his sister, Sue Richards. Issue #56, Remembrance of Things Past, written by Karl Kesel and drawn by Stuart Immomen is also a treat to read as it explores Ben Grimm's Jewish roots.
Hereafter issue #511 takes Reed, Sue and Johnny to Heaven, after their latest super hero battle with Dr. Doom. Doom possesses Ben's body, forcing Reed to to kill Ben to defeat Doom. Reed's face is also scarred from a blast from Doom's glove. Reed takes Ben's body back to the lab and places it in apreservation tank. Reed discovers a spark of life still in Ben, prompting their trip to Heaven, where they meet God in the form of a famous comic book artist.

Legion of Super-Heroes: vol. I Teenage Revolution (2005) and vol. II Death of A Dream (2006) DC Comics
Although in recent years there seems to have been too many "reboots" of the Legion, the angle Mark Waid takes on the Legion is very original. He looks at the Legion as more of a youth movement than an organized group of crime-fighting super heroes.

Pre-order the book Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman from or your local book store. It is written by Marc Tyler Nobleman and illustratedby Ross Macdonald. Check out their web sites:, and the book will be published by Knppf Books for Young Readers and is scheduled to be published on August 26, 2008.

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at Send e-mail about Superman Fan Podcast to

Also check out my other blog, My Pull List, where I blog about the comic books I buy each week. You can find this blog at Send e-mail about this blog to

Thank you for reading this blog and listening to Superman Fan Podcast, and as always thanks to Jerry and Joe.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Episode #9: Featuring the book: "Superman at Fifty! The Persistence of A Legend"

Since this year is the 70th anniversary of Superman's publication, as well as the year that a new young reader's book aboiut his creators will be published, I thought I would feature a book that was published during Superman's 50th anniversary, Superman At Fifty! The Persistence of A Legend", edited by Dennis Dooley and Gary Engle. It was published by Collier Books in 1988.
The editors collected essays from a group of people who each explored an angle of Superman's history and his influence on pop culture.
The book was divided into four parts, each illustrated by a title page from a Superman story from the golden or silver ages of comics:
Part I: The Origins
Part II: The Evolution
Part III: The Persistence of A Legend
Part IV: The Unanswered Questions

Part I: The Origins contains one chapter, written by Dennis Dooley, titled, The Man of Tomorrow and the Boys of Yesterday. It is a short history of the creation of Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. It details the inspirations the two teen-agers drew from in creating Superman, one of the first such accounts for a mass market audience. Other accounts were written previously in various newspaper articles or comic book publications.

Part II: The Evolution contains the majority of chapters which detail his development in mass market media and various influences on pop culture.
Chapter 2: Drawing Superman by Curt Swan, is an essay where he reminisces about his thirty year career drawing Superman and how he fell into a comic book art career after his service in World War II. This chapter was the feature of this episode of Superman Fan Podcast, since Curt Swan, as detailed in a previous episode, is my favorite Superman artist.
Chapter 3: The Man of Steel and Me by Dennis O'Neil. He looks back to how he was hired by Julius Schwartz to write for Superman after Mr. Schwartz was appointed Superman editor after Mort Weisinger retired. Mr. O'Neil describes the unique problems of writing for an all-powerful super hero.
Chapter 4: The Man Who Changed Comics by the editors, Dennis Dooley and Gary Engle, explores another Cleveland native who infuenced and changed comic books, Harvey Pekar. (Check out his comic book series, American Splendor, and the movie by the same name.)
Chapter 5: From Panel to Panavision by Phillip Skerry and Chris Lambert, is a history of Superman on firm: the Fleischer Studios cartoons, the Kirk Alyn Saturday movie serials, the George Reeves TV show and the Christopher Reeve movies.

Part III: The Persistence of A Legend explores Superman's influence on pop culture.
Chapter 6: What Makes Superman So Darned American by Gary Engle, explores Superman as the Great American Hero.
Chapter 7: A Flag With A Human Face by Patricia L. Engle looks at Superman as defender of Truth, Justice and the American Way.
Chapter 8: Reading Superman by Fredrick N. Smith, who searches for the literary roots of Superman and reading his stories from a literary perspective.
Chapter 9: Spuerstar, Super Mom, Super Glue, Superdooper, Superman by David Guralnick is a grammatical search of the use of the word super in the English language.
Chapter 10: Female Meets Supermale by Joanna Conners looks at the relationship between Lois Lane and Superman from a Freudian perspective.
Chapter 11: Pop Goes the Hero by David Galloway; a look at Superman's influence on pop art.
Chapter 12: St. Clark of Krypton by Edward Mehok compares the deeds of Superman to saints of the past.
Chapter 13: The Art and Science of Leaping Tall Buildings by John D. McGervey examines Superman's powers through the laws of physics.
Chapter 14: Superman and the Dreams of Childhood by Jane W. Kessler, looks at Superman as seen through childhood fantasies, and reading his stories from the perspective of a child.
Chapter 15: The Good, the Bad and the Oedipal by Lester Roebuck explores Superman through his villains, highlighting a story in Superman #70, July 1964, where Lex Luthor travels into the past, to woo a still single Lara away from marrying Jor-El, thereby eliminating Superman from existence.
Chapter 16: Necessary Heroes by Lee K. Abbott. This last chapter looks at Superman's influence on the son of a dysfunctional family next door, and on the author.

Part IV: The Unanswered Questions, the final section of the book contains a number of questions tackled by a group of Cleveland natives from different walks of life. They ask questions like:
Is Superman the only human being who can fly? by Buster Jackson
Who would Superman have voted for for President? by John J. Boyle
What breed of dog is Krypto? by Melissa Spirek
Is Superman Jewish? by Scott Raab
The sectionends with a fun Superman trivia quiz, Are You A True Fan of Superman?, by Tim Gorman, with the answers on the next page.

During this anniversary year for Superman this might be a fun book to check out, and see what Superman was like twenty years ago. I haven't found any current edtions of this book on, so you might have to check out your local library, used book store or e-bay.

Don't forget to pre-order the book: Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, written by Marc Tyler Nobleman, and, and illustrated by Ross Macdonald, The book is published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, and is scheduled to be released on August 26, 2008. This book can be pre-ordered online at

The Superman Fan Podcast web site can be found at: Send e-mail about the podcast to

Also check out my other comic book blog, My Pull List at Send e-mail about this blog to

Thank you for listening to Superman Fan Podcast, and as always, thanks to Jerry and Joe.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Episode #8: Featuring Comic Book Artist Rick Burchett

Thanks to the following websites for being a valuable resource in preparing this episode:

During this 70th anniversary of the publication of Superman, an all ages book about his creators is coming out in late summer of this year. Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman is written by Marc Tyler Nobleman, illustrated by Ross Macdonald, and published by Knopf Books for Young Readers. It will be about 40 pages long, and is scheduled to be published on Tuesday, August 26, 2008. Copies can be pre-ordered on If you are interested in other work by the writer and illustrator, check out the following web sites. Marc Tyler Nobleman has two: and Ross Macdonald's web site is Check them out, and if you have young readers in your home, or know some, they might be interested in this book. Who knows, they might even become interested in reading the actual Superman comic book stories. A good place to start might be the volumes of Showcase Presents: Superman and Superman Family. Look for them at your local comic book store, like Bad Apple Comics at the Lake Square Mall in Leesburg Florida,

According to the Superman Comics History web page on the Superman Homepage website, Rick Burchett was born on March 9, 1952, which would make him 56, if my math is correct. So, Happy Birthday, Rick!

Rick began his career in St. Louis, working in advertising. He began his comic book career in the 1980's, working for a variety of publishers: AC Comics, Capital, First, Impact, Pacific and Vertigo. His first DC work was for the Blackhawk feature in Action Comics Weekly, which ran from 1988-1989, with a few breaks. Each story, except for the two page Superman comic strip style in the center spread, was about seven or eight pages long and were done in an episodic style. After Action Comics went back to a monthly schedule, Rick pencilled the short-lived Blackhawk series, 16 issues and one annual.

Most of Rick's work for DC was on their titles that were based on the then WB network animated series adaptions of Batman and Superman. He did pencils, inks and covers. Of the 66 issus of Superman Adventures, Rick pencilled or inked fourteen of fifteen issues, pencilling only the cover for issue #14. He exclusievely did the covers for issues 16 - 29.

His recent comic book work was for other publishers. He drew the stories collected in Queen and Country: Declassified, vol. II, written by Greg Rucka and published by Oni Press in 2006. During 2006 - 2007 he pencilled She-Hulk, written by Dan Slott and published by Marvel.

Rick Burchett has won two Eisners. He won the first in 1996, along with Paul Dini and Ty Templeton for their work on The Batman and Robin Adventures. His second Eisner was awarded in 1999, with Ty Templeton and Terry Beatty for Batman: The Gotham Adventures.

Reprints of Superman Adventures were collected by DC in the following trade paperbacks:
Superman: The Adventures of The Man of Steel (1998)
Superman Adventures vol's. I & II (2004), vol's III & IV (2006)

Rick Burchett Checklist for Superman Adventures:

Issue #1: Men of Steel Cover Date: Nov. 1996, Released: September 5, 1996.
Editor: Mike McAvennie, Cover: penciller: Ty Templeton, inker: Rick Burchett
Story: writer: paul Dini, penciller: Ty Templeton, inker: Rick Burchett, letterer: Richard Starking, colorist: Linda Medley.
Issue #2: Be Careful What You Wish For Cover Date: Dec. 1996, Released: October 2, 1996.
Cover: penciller: rick Burchett, inker: Terry Austin, colorist: Marie Severin.
Story: writer: Scott McCloud, penciller: Rick Burchett, inker: Terry Austin, letterer: Lois Buhalis, colorist: Marie Severin.
Issue #3: Distant Thunder Cover Date: Jan. 1997, Released November 6, 1996.
Cover: penciller: Rick Burchett, inker: Terry Austin, colorist: Marie Severin.
Story: writer: Scott McCloud, penciller: Rick Burchett, inker: Terry Austin, letterer: Lois Buhalis, colorist: Marie SEverin.
Issue #4: Eye to Eye Cover Date: Feb. 1997, Release date: December 4, 1996.
Cover: penciller: Rick Burchett, inker: Terry Austin, colorist: Marie Severin.
Story: writer: Scott McCloud, penciller: Rick Burchett, inker: Terry Austin, letterer: Lois Buhalis, colorist: Marie Severin.
Issue #5: Balance of Power Cover Date: March 1997, Release Date: N/A.
Cover: N/A. NOTE: Rick Burchett did not work on this issue.
Story: Scott McCloud, penciller: Bret Blevins, inker: Terry Austin, letterer: Lois Buhalis, colorist: Marie Severin.
NOTE: The credits for the following stories are as follows, except where noted:
Issue #6: Seonimod Cover Date: April 1997, Release Date: February 5, 2007.
Issue #7: All Creatures Great and Small, Part I, Cover Date: May 1997, Release Date: March 5, 1997.
Issue #8: All Creatures Great and Small, Part II Cover Date: June 1997, Release Date: April 16, 1997.
Issue #9: Return of the Hero, Cover Date: July 1997, Release Date: May 7, 1997.
Penciller: Mike Manley.
Issue #10: Don't Try This At Home, Cover Date: Aug. 1997, Release Date: June 4, 1997.
Issue #11: The War Within, Part I, Cover Date: Sept. 1997, Release Date: July 2, 1997.
Issue #12: The War Within, Part II, Cover Date: Oct. 1997, Release Date: August 6, 1997.
Issue #13: Grand Slam, Cover Date: Nov. 1997, Release Date: September 3, 1997.
Cover: penciller: Bret Blevins, colorist: ?
Issue #14: Stop the Presses, Cover Date: Dec, 1997, Release Date: Ocotber 8, 1997.
Story: writer: Mark Evanier, penciller: Neil Vokes.
Issue #15: Maximum Effort, Cover Date: Jan. 1998, Release Date: November 5, 1997.
Colorist: Rick Taylor.
Note: Rick Burchett drew only the covers for the following issues:
Issue #16: Clark Kent, You're A Nobody, Cover Date: Feb. 1998, Release Date: December 3, 1997.
Cover: penciller: Rick Burchett ?
Issue #17: Superman's Pal's Pal, Cover Date: March 1998, Release Date: January 7, 1998.
Issue #18: It's A Super Life!, Cover Date: April 1998, Release Date: February 11, 1998.
Issue #19: The Bodyguard of Steel, Cover Date: May 1998, Release Date: March 11, 1998.
Issue #20: Hide 'N' Seek, Cover Date: June 1998, Release Date: April 8, 1998.
Issue #21: Note: Rick Burchett was not credited for any art on this issue.
Issue#22: War Games, Part I, Cover Date: Aug. 1998, Release Date: June 10, 1998.
Issue #23: War Games, Part II, Cover Date: Sept. 1998, Release Date: July 7, 1998.
Issue #24: Power Corrupts, Super Power Corrupts Absolutely, Cover Date: Oct. 1998, Release Date: August 12, 1998.
Issue #25: (Almost) The World's Finest Team, Cover Date: Nov. 1998, Release Date: September 9, 1998.
Issue #26: Yesterday's Man of Tomorrow, Cover Date: Dec. 1998, Release Date: October 14, 1998.
Issue #27: How Much Can One Man Hate?, Cover Date: Jan. 1999, Release Date: November 11, 1998.
Issue #28: Jimmy Olsen vs. Darkseid, Cover Date: Feb. 1999, Release Date: December 9, 1998.
Issue #29: Bride of Bizarro, Cover Date: March 1999, Release Date: January 6, 1999.

You can find the Superman Fan Podcast web site at: Send e-mail about Superman Fan Podcast to:

Check out my other blog: My Pull List at Send e-mail about this blog to

As always, thanks to Jerry and Joe.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Episode #7: Happy Birthday, Superman!

Superman's traditional "Earth" birthday is February 29, and, since this year is a leap year, "Happy Birthday, Superman!"
What about his Kryptonian birthday? According to several sources, it's the 38th day of the month of Erox, in the year 9998.
I searched the internet but could not find anything that detailed the Kryptonian calendar: how many days in the year, how many months, how many days in each month. the only information I could find was this forum: Several members of this forum gave the length of the Kryptonian year as 1.38 Earth years.
But are these Superman's only birthdays?
There is May 3, 1938, according to, this is the approximate date that Action Comics #1, cover dated June 1938, first was on sale.
Then there is June 18, or June 10, according to other sources. this is given as Clark Kent's birthday. It also corresponds to Kal-El's "Earth Day", or the day his rocket landed on Earth, to be found by the Kents.
The Key to Fort Superman, from Action Comics #241, cover date June 1958, not only introduces the Fortress of Solitude familiar to silver age readers, but also commemorates a unique celebration of Superman's Earth Day.
Editor: Mort Weisinger
Cover: penciller: Curt Swan, inker: Stan Kaye
Story: writer: Jerry Coleman, penciller: Wayne Boring, inker: Stan Kaye.

To e-mail about Superman Fan Podcast:
Superman Fan Podcast can be found at:

I also have a blog about the comic books I read each week, called My Pull List, which can be found at E-mail about this blog can be sent to

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