Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Episode #46: A Superman Halloween: "Red Glass"

When I began preparing to post episodes for this podcast, there were a few Superman stories that I immediately had in mind for specific times of the year. For instance, the story The Night of March 31st was a natural for the week of April Fool's Day. Another was the three issue story I will be sharing for this episode, Red Glass. It appeared in the Superman issues cover dated June 1991, and were published during the month of April, 1991. After you read the conclusion you may think that this story was also appropriate for April Fool's Day, but I'm getting ahead of myself. I could not find any reprint information about this story, so if you would like to read this story before listening to this episode, you will have to search for the individual issues in back issue bins or on ebay.

A note of caution: While the events of this story are not explicit, it might be too scary for small children who may be easily frightened. Use your discretion if you have preschoolers or young elementary age children, when you listen to this episode.

The specific issues were: Superman #56 (published on April 16, 1991, triangle #16 for 1991) cover titled Red Glass: First Symptoms, story titled Red Glass Part One: Breaking Up. The Adventures of Superman #479 (published on April 23, 1991, triangle #17) was cover titled Red Glass:Full Fever, story titled Red Glass Part Two: Falling Apart. Action Comics #666 (an appropriate number for halloween, published on April 30, 1991, triangle #18) was cover titled Red Glass: Crystalline Cure, story titled Red Glass Part Three: Picking Up The Pieces. The story was written by James D. Hundall, pencilled by Ed Hannigan, inked by Willie Blyberg, colored by Glenn Whitmore and covers by Andy Kubert. Dan Thorsland was the assistant editor and Mike Carlin was the editor of the Superman titles at this time, and is now an Executive Editor at DC Comics.

As noted above, these issues were published during the triangle era of Superman comics, when the various titles advanced a larger story in tight continuity. the triangle numbers were an aid to readers to guide them to the correct order each issue needed to be read in.

The story begins in Superman #56 with Superman stopping an attempted mugging. He is surprised to find that the intended victim is more afraid of Superman than she is of her would be muggers. She runs away from all of them, and the muggers beg Superman to spare their lives. Superman informs them that he doesn't kill. But the word kill comes out of Superman's mouth so loud that the sound waves vaporize the muggers and damages surrounding buildings. While citizens cower at Superman as he walks by, he is using his x-ray vision to follow the woman to a large building. When he arrives there Superman sees that it is a museum called the Museum of Dead Villains. Above the entrance is a huge piece of artwork of Superman standing over the bodies of his villains, with the title Superman's Day of Wrath.

Inside is the wreckage of Brainiac's robot skull ship, along with other relics. There are displays of Superman's villains with information how Superman killed them. One display holds Metallo's robot body, except for his cranium, which was vaporized by Superman's heat vision. Brainiac's display informs the viewer that he died by a blow to the head by Superman. The Prankster was dropped from space and vaporized in the atmosphere. Joker was placed in a cell on the moon, without food or water, and died after three days. Darkseid took the longest to kill, but not before the battle destroyed half of Apokolips. Superman finds a museum employee, who asks, "Why couldn't you have stayed away?" Apparently, Superman left the earth after killing all of his enemies. Nearby is a shelf of the skulls of many other Superman enemies, including Otis from the Superman movies of the 1970's.

Superman leaves the museum and meets Lois Lane on the sidewalk. She is a paraplegic because of the damage done to Joker's lair when he had kidnapped her. During Superman's battle with him Lois was left trapped in the rubble with her spinal cord crushed. And Lois is not at all happy with Superman for leaving her there. Superman has no recollection of these events, but this person does appear to be the real Lois. To be sure Superman uses his x-ray vision. But instead of x-ray vision, heat vision comes out of Superman's eyes, cremating Lois in her wheelchair. The citizens gather around Superman and almost riot against him. Thinking this is a plot against him created by Luthor, Superman flies to the LexCorp building. He finds Luthor in his penthouse office, now empty. Luthor is still alive, but Superman has bankrupted his corporation. Superman hears the ultrasonic signal from Jimmy's signal watch. Luthor tears the mask from his face to reveal a disguised Jimmy Olsen, who then opens his briefcase containing kryptonite. That ends the story in Superman #56.

The Adventures of Superman #479 picked up the story from there, with Jimmy exposing his pal to kryptonite. He explains that when Superman killed Lois he killed Jimmy's wife. They fell in love when Lois turned to Jimmy for comfort after her paralysis. Luthor and a group of people (former LexCorp employees?) gather around the slowly dying Superman. Superman fades to black. He wakes up to a Metropolis that is nothing but rubble. A full page panel shows the city looking like a bombed out city (ala Hiroshima or Nagasaki). The Daily Planet building has toppled in one piece almost. Supoerman finds Booster Gold, barely alive under the Daily Planet globe. Booster points to Superman and whispers "Murderer" with his dying breath. Superman flies away in despair, and in the background we see the bridges connecting Metropolis also destroyed. He sees a lone staanding figure, but when he land next to it, Superman only finds a standing skeleton. Next to the skeleton is a boom box, with weird dialogue coming from its speakers, ", come in please. This is Houston. Do you copy?" Superman does not understand, he doesn't know anyone named Houston.Superman is then attacked by Guy Gardner Green Lantern, and the skeleton turns into the Martian Manhunter, who joins the fight. Superman kills both heroes in the battle. Manhunter's last words are, "...trapped - moon red glass." The issue ends with the army approaching Superman, ready to attack.

Action Comics #666 begins with the army opening fire on Superman. He flies away, but multiple fighter jets target Superman with missles which knock Superman out of the sky. then what seems the entire arsenal of the army targets Superman, turning the ruins of Metropolis into a gigantic crater, with Superman at its center. He is still alive, and is attacked by Firestorm and Captain Atom, whom Superman kills, along with the new Doom Patrol, who follow them. The army is also killed in the battle's shockwaves. Superman is finally alone, and is horrified by his actions.

Wonder Woman approaches, holding a large piece of green kryptonite, and tells Superman that he must pay for his actions. Superman, in his guilt and grief, agrees and takes the kryptonite. As this scene progresses, the background changes from the ruin of Metropolis to a cratered area resembling the moon. Superman is now wearing an oxygen mask and the kryptonite changes to a NASA device. In a flashback, a NASA scientist briefs Superman about a radioactive anomaly on the moon and asks him to investigate. He approaches a new crater and finds a glowing red crystal spire rising from the crater's center. Superman touches the crystal, creating a telepathic link. The crystal is a sentient being. It was traveling through the solar systems eons in the past, looking for a suitable planet for its children. It found Earth too violent and unsuitable. It was affected by increased solar activity and hit by a meteor. It crashed on the moon and had been trapped there ever since. Its first attempt to telepathically contact Superman caused the horrific delusions he experienced, when he was actually tearing up the lunar landscape. Superman digs out the crystaline being at super speed, which thanks him. Superman is also thankful that the being helped him face his darkest fears, and show him how to survive the bad as well as the good.

The last panel hints at the next storyline. The next issue that will be published is Man of Steel #1, the monthly title, picking up the title of John Byrne's original mini-series. It would be written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Jon Bogdanove, the July 1991 issue, published on May 14, 1991.

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

My Pull List is my spoiler free review blog of the comic books I read each week. It can be found at Send e-mail about this blog to

Thanks for listening to Superman Fan Podcast, and, as always, thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Superman and all related characters are copyright by DC Comics.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Episode #45: "Superman" #50: The Engagement of Clark and Lois!"

On October 23, 1990, Superman #50 (December 1990) was published. It was the concluding issue of the Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite four part story. It was written by Jerry Ordway, who also did the covers and art for Superman #49 and the main parts of issue #50. The other artists for issue #50 were Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Kerry Gammill, Dennis Janke, Curt Swan, and John Byrne.

The storyline begins with Perry White and his wife Alice at the grave of their son Perry, Jr., who died at the end of the previous storyline. After they leave Lex Luthor pays his respects, because Perry, Jr. was actually the son of Lex Luthor. Way back in an issue of World of Metropolis, which featured Perry White, he returns to find his finacee Alice had an affair with his former friend Lex Luthor. Perry and Alice mend their relationship and marry, and Perry, Jr. is born within a year. They think he is their son, but it's soon enough after the affair that, while their son is mortally wounded, that they find out that Luthor is the actual father. While Luthor mourns his only known offspring a red rock flies out of nowhere and bounces off the back of Luthor's head. When he picks it up, one side of the red rock is a face that is talking to him, Mr. Mxyzptlk. They make a deal that Luthor can keep the red rock, and, when he rubs it, will make himself as powerful as Superman. Of course, in Luthor's ego and vanity, he thinks he will receive super powers. What happens is that Superman loses his powers, thus, Luthor is as powerful as Superman.

Superman uses his friend Prof. Hamilton, and Starman, a hero who had his own title for w while, to fool Luthor and Metropolis criminals that Superman still has his powers. Starman uses his pwers to change his features to double as Superman, and provoke Luthor to throw the red kryptonite at him. Hamilton then analyzes it.

Lois also has a crisis, with her mother falling very ill. She had worked at a LexCorp chemical plant and was contaminated in an explosion. Luthor used his genius to create a serum to keep Lois' mother healthy, but devises monthly doses as a way of giving him leverage to control Lois. Now the serum is losing its effectiveness, and Lois' mother is falling ill as a result.

In the first pages of issue #50, Clark finds his mother's heirloom ring in his suitcase, after he and Lois had visited Smallville during the Fourth of July. Ma Kent, being as perceptive as mothers are, saw how Clark and Lois loved each other and hid the ring that had been in the Clark family for generations in his suitcase. When he treats Lois to lunch at Dooley's, on the ground floor of the Daily Planet building, she asks for time to think about it. Clark, ever the gentleman, agrees. Their lunch is interupted by a phone call by Luthor, who shares his condolences with Lois. She returns the favor by telling Luthor what she thinks about him and his serum. Clark grabs the phone and uses the red kryptonite as leverage to get an interview. He brings it back to Luthor and asks a blunt question: Why does Luthor hate Superman. Luthor answers that he cannot believe that a person as powerful as Superman would not use his powers to rule the Earth. He then calls for sevurity to throw Kent out, but not before he breaks the agreement with Mxy and tells Clark that the rock came from Mr. M. Clark's powers return on the sidewalk in front of LexCorp, and he tests them by giving the security guards hot feet. The issue ends with Clark in the hospital waiting room after hours as Lois visits her mother with sister Lucy and dad Sam. Sam gives his endorsement of Clark, and then she meets Clark in the waiting room. In the hospital parking garage Lois accepts Clark's proposal and they kiss.

Their relationship began to change in Adventures of Superman #457, where Lois goes to Clark's apartment to escort her to a banquet both had been invited to, even bringing a bouquet to Clark. He had returned after the Exile In Space story. Clark had been feared dead when Intergang did a hit at his apartment. The actual victim was a down on his luck private detective who was hired by a computer expert named Amanda, who was fired by Luthor back in Superman #2 (1987), when he refused to acdcept her conclusion that Clark Kent was actually Sueperman. She had hired the P. I. to gather evidence to prove her conclusion was correct. While everyone thought Clark was dead Lois had begun to rethink her relationship with Clark. She began to go beyond their professional rivalry, which began when he earned his job at the Daily Planet by scooping the story of the century by interviewing Superman. She really began to think of him as a friend, at least.

On the last page of Adventures of Superman #466, Clark and Lois kiss at her apartment. The next Superman issue, Action Comics #653, opens with Clark waiting at the elevator with a rose for Lois as she leaves the elevator. Superman #46 ends with the two of them kissing on a hill outside Smallville as the Fourth of July fireworks exploded overhead. The next issue, Adventures of Superman #469, opens with Clark and Lois spending time with Lana and Pete. Clark eventually revealed his secret identity to Lois at the end of Action Comics #662. After Superman #118 came Superman: The Wedding Album. In these last two issues DC rushes Clark and Lois to the wedding chapel.

One of the special features to Superman: Doomsday was the Superman creative team discussing their original plans to marry Clark and Lois in Superman #75. When the ABC show Lois and Clark wanted to have them marry on their show first, the DC creators decided to do the Doomsday story for #75. After the wedding on Lois and Clark and the show's cancellation, then the DC executives wanted to have Clark and Lois marry in the comics.

Next week for Halloween: Red Glass in Superman #56, The Adventures of Superman #479 and Action Comics #666 (appropriate for Halloween, huh?)

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

My Pull List is my spoiler-free comic book review blog of the comic books I read every week. It can be found at Send e-mail to this blog to

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

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Episode #44: A Superman Double Feature: "Lois Lane, The Super-Maid of Krypton" & "Superman Under The Red Sun"

One of the presents I received for my birthday at the end of September was Showcase Presents: Superman vol. IV. For this episode of Superman Fan Podcast I thought I would share two stories from this volume.

The first story is Lois Lane, The Superm-Maid Of Krypton from Superman #159, the February 1963 issue, published on December 20, 1962. I first became aware of this story while reading DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories. This story was not re-printed in this volume, but the cover to this issue was one of the covers included of other "imaginary stories" (As Alan Moore would say, "Aren't they all?"). This story was published during the Mort Weisinger era. The cover was drawn by Curt Swan and inked by George Klein, the artistic team for the story inside the issue. Edmund Hamilton wrote the story.

In this story Lois Lane's father is a brilliant scientist who theorizes that the Earth's sun is about to go nova. In order to not falsely alarm the population, he performs his research in seclusion. Unfortunately he proves his theory right, but too late to find a solution. All he can do is to launch his toddler daughter Lois in a spaceship to Krypton, using a power ray that will also give her super powers on her new planet.

She is found by a couple who are in a Kryptonian jungle searching for new animals for a Kryptonian zoo. When they return to their home in Kryptonville, her neighbors are Jor-El and his son Kal-El. Lois becomes Super Maid. After becoming a public super hero, her parents die when they contract Virus-X in a distant jungle. She leaves Kryptonville for Kryptonopolis and becomes a nurse at a hospital where Perry White is the grouchy hospital administrator, and Jimmy Olsen is an orderly, with different names of course. Kal-El is a doctor. Another doctor Lu Thoria becomes Super Maid's female nemesis. Super Maid also learns that radioactive pieces of her home planet, Earthite, weaken and may kill her.

Super Maid foils Brainiac's attempt to shrink a Kryptonian city and capture it. Lu Thoria uses Brainiac's technology to destroy Super Maid, but the super heroine, with help from an elderly Jor-El, defeat Lu Thoria and learn that her turn to evil came from a side effect from an experiment that exploded in her face. The find a medical cure which has the added benefit of restoring her hair, which she had lost.

Later, Super Maid and Jor-El are walking in a Kryptonian jungle and find a strange new version of Earthite. It acts like Red Kryptonite, except that Earthite removes her super powers permenantly, but give super powers to Jor-El.

The second story, Superman Under The Red Sun, is reproduced on the cover, which is why I decide to include it in this episode. It was published in Action Comics #300, May 1963, appearing on the newsstands on March 28, 1963. It also was a Mort Weisinger production, written by Edmund Hamilton and drawn by Al Plastino. The cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by George Klein.

Superman discovers a Superman Revenge Squad spaceship orbiting Earth. He chases it out of orbit, until they both travel fast enough to break the time barrier. Superman lands on Earth at 1-million A. D. The sun by this point is a red star, meaning that Superman has no super powers. The Superman Revenge Squad planned for this to happen, to permanently maroon Superman in the distant future, with no super powers. Superman discovers that he is alone on Earth. In the Hall of Telepathic History he learns that the people of Earth battled a deteriorating environment until giant space arks carry Earth's population to another planet.

Superman discovers strange new animal species populating the Earth, including some that float in the air. He uses one of them to carry him to the Fortress of Solitude, where he hopes to find the bottle city of Kandor to help him return to his own era. But even the city is gone, restored in some now distant past. All that is left is a miniature Kandorian home and rocket. Superman uses the still operating shrinking ray to shrink him enough to use the rocket to travel through the time barrier and return to his own time.

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at Send e-mail about this podcast to Expanded show notes can be found at

My Pull List is my spoiler free review blog of the comic books I read every week. It can be found at Send e-mail to

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

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Episode #43: Kirk Alyn & Gregory Reed: Superman Actors

Kirk Alyn was born on October 8, 1910, as John Feggo, Jr. in Oxford New Jersey. His parents were Hungarian immigrants. Alyn attended Columbia University. He is best known for portraying Superman in two movie serials, Superman in 1948, and 1950's Atom Man vs. Superman. Kirk Alyn began his acting career as a chorus boy on Broadway, and had roles in a number of notable musicals in the 1930's, Girl Crazy, Of Thee I Sing and Hellzapoppin'. He was also a vaudville singer and dancer. Alyn moved to Hollywood in the early 1940's to begin a film career, but was limited to small parts in movies until he won the role of Superman.
Kirk Alyn married actress Virginia O'Brien in 1942. They had two sons and a daughter, but divorced in 1955.
Like other Superman actors Alyn was typecast after he was finished portraying the Man of Steel. He starred in a number of other serials, Federal Agents vs. Underworld, Inc. (1948), Radar Patrol vs. Spy King (1950) and Blackhawk (1952). Alyn had a variety of small roles on film and television, and retired after his final film role, Scalps, in 1983.
Kirk Alyn did have a cameo in Superman: The Movie (1978), in the Smallville part of the film. When the teen Clark Kent races the passenger train across the railroad tracks, Alyn is the father of the young Lois Lane who told her something like, "Lois, be quiet and read your book." Playing his wife was Noel Neill, who began her acting career portraying Lois Lane in the first Superman serial.
Alyn portrayed Clark Kent as the traditional meek, mild-mannered reporter, pitching Clark's voice a little higher, and voicing Superman's lines in a deeper tone. Because of the limited special effects of the day, Alyn was not shown flying as Superman. Except for closeups in front of a blurry background, the flying Superman was an animated figure. Kirk, in costume, would either run behind a stage prop for take-off, or run from behind a prop after the animated Superman landed there.
Kirk Alyn published his autobiography, A Job For Superman, in 1974, which is now out of print. He died from natural causes in Woodlands, Texas in 1999.
Superman (1948) was a 15 part serial, as most were, and was produced by Columbia Studios. Thomas Carr and Spencer Gordon Bennet directed the episodes. Carr would also direct many episode of the 1950's Adventures of Superman TV show, which starred actor George Reeves. Kirk Alyn was uncredited, as DC Comics mandated that Superman was to be portrayed as a real person, so the actor plaing Superman would be uncredited. This was true also for the 1950's TV show. The first edisode, Superman Comes To Earth, was released on January 5, 1948. The serial quickly told the story of the infant Superman's escape from the doomed planet Krypton and being raised on the Kent farm, to Clark Kent joining the staff of the Daily Planet. Joining Alyn and Neill iin the cast was Tommy Bond as Jimmy Olsen and Pierre Watkin as Perry White. Carol Forman portrayed the villainess Spider Lady.
Spencer Gordon Bennet directed the sequel, Atom Man vs. Superman (1950). Lex Luthor (Atom Man) was portrayed by Lyle Talbot, wearing a bald cap. In this serial, Luthor menaces Metropolis with his deadly inventions, one of which could de-materialize a person and re-materialize him at another location (Star Trek's transporter beam twenty years early, maybe?). Luthor attempts to synthesize artificial kryptonite, placing his creation at the launch of a ship. Superman attends, and when he gets close to the kryptonite, he faints. Two ambulance attendants take Superman away, but they are really Luthor's goons. Luthor places Superman in a device which sends Superman to "the Empty Doom" (Phantom Zone). When Superman escapes the Empty Doom, the Daily Planet's headline reads, "Superman Returns". Atom Man vs. Superman is concidered by many to be the stronger of the two serials, although I have not viewed either serials, except for some episodes aired on the AMC movie channel on cable years ago.
Both movie serials are available on DVD, as well as all six seasons of the 1950's Adventures of Superman TV show, starring George Reeves.
Another movie serial based on a comic book that Kirk Alyn starred in was 1952's Blackhawk. Quality Comics was the original publisher, and the character was created by Will Eisner, Chuck Cuidera and Bob Powell in the Eisner & Iger studio. DC Comics bought the characters after Quality Comics went out of business. Spencer Gordon Bennet and Fred F. Sears directed this also fifteeen part serial, subtitled Fearless Champion of Freedom.
Kirk Alyn played Blackhawk, and Carol Forman protrayed Laska, a foreign spy working for a mysterious Leader. Blackhawk was the last aviation serial, filmed near the end of the serial era. I don't have any research to back it up, but I would guess that increased production costs and the rise of television combined to make serials extinct, but I digress.
The Blackhawks are an international squad, but all speak with English accents. They must prevent Laska from stealing the experimental super fuel "Element X". Some critics consider it a lackluster serial. It was made on a very slim budget, like most serials were.
While several actors named Gregory Reed are listed at, the Gregory Reed mentioned in this episode is not a real person, but a minor character in Superman stories who appeared in about a half dozen stories:
Action Comics #414, July 1972 (published May 30, 1972) Superman vs. Superstar
Action Comics #445, March 1975 (December 31, 1974) Count Ten, Superman--And Die
Superman #297, March 1976 (December 11, 1975) Clark Kent Forever-Superman Never
Superman Family #206, March/April 1981 (December 8, 1980) Strangers At The Heart's Core
Superman #399, September 1984 (June 14, 1984) The Man Who Saw Superman Die
DC Comics Presents Annual #4, 1985 (July 18, 1985) Superman and Superwoman: Welcome To Luthorcon III
I can only guess, but it seems Gregory Reed is an homage to George Reeves. (It seems since Reeves, every Superman actor must have a last name beginning with R.
The only Superman story I have read, although I don't have that copy any more, was Action Comics #445, Count Ten, Superman -- And Die. I was able to find a web site that had a plot summary of the story,, from which I sharing the plot here.
The story begins with Superman blasting through a mountain to assist a construction project, then flying to Metropolis. Back at Metropolis the actor Gregory Reed, dressed as Superman, and looking exactly like Superman, is giving a lecture. He is sharing with the audience his experiences when his face was horribly disfigured in an accident. Superman performed surgery to restore his face, and Reed requested that his features be made identical to Superman. After the lecture Reed answers reporters' questions, is hit by a pulse-bolt from space, and faints. It came from a spaceship belonging to the Superman Revenge Squad. The real Superman appears and takes the unconscious Reed to the hospital. Superman is then hit by another pulse-bolt. SR Ozega explains that the pulse bolt is a lethal poison that will kill Superman as soon as he uses his superpowers ten times.
Afther flying Reed to the hospital, Superman rescues skydivers from a vengeful pilot, stops an avalanche and repairs a railroad tressle. That's four super feats.
Lois Lane visits Reed in the hospital, and finds an unusually emotional Clark already there. The Superman Revenge Squad are monitoring Clark Kent (knowing Clark's secret identity) and Ozega explains that the emotions are a side effect from the pulse bolt.
Later, Superman removes a shark from Metropolis harbot, extinguishes a warehouse fire, stops a robbery and saves an airliner from crashing, now eight feats.
The next morning, Clark Kent is again emotional at the Daily Planet offices.
Superman prevents two cars from crashing head on, and then saves a boy who had fallen out of the window of a high rise building. After landing, Superman falls dead, and the Superman Revenge Squad leaves Earth orbit. After the ship leaves, Superman appears and reveals that Gregory Reed performed five of the super feats with the help of a super power pill Superman had invented. Superman and Reed fly away.
When the Superman Revenge Squad ships returns to its hidden base, it is destroyed as a reward for its failure.
The websites and had no plot summaries of the other stories, or reprint information, so I will have to try to find copies of the individual issues in back issue bins, and then share these other stories on future episodes.

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

My Pull List is a spoiler free review blog of the comic books I read every week. It can be found at http://mypulllist.blogspotcom. Send e-mail about this blog to

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

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Episode #42: "All-Star Superman": The Review

Note: Superman Fan Podcast episode #11 looked at the first ten issues of All-Star Superman.

All-Star Superman issue #12 was finally published on Wednesday, September 17, 2008. It's hard to believe that issue #1, cover dated January 2006, first appeared on November 16, 2005. So it took almost two years for twelve issues to be published. However, the quality of the stories offset any potential loss of interest in the title, at least as far as I'm concerned.
Issues 1-6 were collected in All-Star Superman, vol. I, released in January 2006. Volume II is scheduled for publication in February of 2009. Check with the web site for information.

The All-Star line was supposed to be almost DC Comic's version of Marvel's Ultimate line. They would take DC's top heroes and put them in continuity free stories crafted by the industry's best creators. So far the only other All-Star title DC has published has been Frank Miller's and Jim Lee's Batman & Robin, which was published first but has had even longer delays between issues.

DC had previously announced that Adam Hughes was supposed to create All-Star Wonder Woman, but no publication date has been set. Plus Adam is recuperating from a recent injury to his drawing hand.

All-Star Superman won the 2006 Eisner for Best New Series, and won the 2007 Eisner for Best Continuing Series.

According to, Chip Kidd created the All-Star Superman logo design.

Bob Schreck was the editor, with Brandon Montclaire serving as assistant editor. Grant Morrison wrote this series, which was pencilled by Frank Quitely. Jamie Grant did the digital inks and colors. Phil Balsman lettered issues 1-8, and Travis Lanham lettered issues 9-12.

In an interview on the web site Comics Bulletin,, Grant Morrison talked about his preparation for All-Star Superman. He began his research by reading all of the Superman stories on his bookshelves, from the original Siegel/Shuster stories, through the '50's Weisinger era, the Schwartz/O'Neil depowered '70's, Byrne revamp, the Carlin/Jurgens '90's stories and recent stories. What impressed Morrison was not the differences between versions, but the similarities. He saw an archetypal soul of Superman which was a common thread through all of these diverse versions of the character.This core of Superman was what Morrison wanted to portray in the pages of All-Star Superman. He saw this story as a re-embergence of the pre-Crisis Superman, with 20 years of history that had not been seen before. Morrison began this story assuming most people were aware of Superman's origin and relationships with his supporting cast, so he jumped into the story.
Issue #1 began with a four panel, eight word summary of Superman's origin, and jumped into the story.
Issue #1: Faster: Superman saves a manned mission the the sun led by Dr. Quantum of the DNA Project. Luthor had previously converted a member of the crew into a walking bomb, set to detonate once the spaceship reached the sun. The close proximity to the sun overcharged Superman's cells with solar radiation and causing them to burst, meaning that Superman was dying. This was Luthor's ultimate goal in his attack on the sun mission. Superman ends the issue by beginning to tie up the loose ends of his life, first by revealing his secret identity to Lois Lane.
Issue #2: Superman's Forbidden Room: Superman treats Lois to a special birthday by taking her to dinner at his Fortress of Solitude. At the end of the issue he gives her his present for her, super powers for a day.
Issue #3: Sweet Dreams Superwoman: Lois spends a day with super powers, flying with Superman. They meet Samson and Atlas, who are a nuisance to Superman. He saves Lois' life by answering the unanswerable question, and then treats her to dinner at the undersea city Poseidonis, and then share a kiss on the Moon. At the end of the day Lois is still not convinced that Clark Kent is Superman.
Issue#4: The Superman / Olsen War: Jimmy spends a day as head of the DNA Project, where black kryptonite is discovered. It turns Superman evil. Jimmy uses the Doomsday serum to stop Superman.
Issue #5: The Gospel According To Lex Luthor: After Luthor is sentenced to the electric chair for his crimes, Clark Kent interviews Luthor in prison.
Issue #6: Funeral In Smallville: Pa Kent dies, witnessed by Superman from the future and some of his descendants.
Issue #7: Being Bizarro: Superman battles a carnivorous Bizarro World, where people are changed into Bizarro clones when a Bizarro touches them. Superman ends the issue on the Bizarro World.
Issue #8: Us Do Opposite: Superman escapes Bizarro World with help from Zibarro, the imperfect perfect Bizarro clone.
Issue #9: Curse of the Replacement Supermen: Superman meets two kryptonian astronauts who had been lost in space. They are not impressed by what Superman has done on Earth and begin changing Earth to a duplicate of Kryptonian civilization. They ridicule Superman and even defeat him in a fight. In spite of their treatment, Superman saves their lives when the minerals in their bodies begin converting to kryptonite, from exposure to a radioactive cloud in space. He beams them into the Phantom Zone, where they bring law and order to the Phantom Zone prisoners.
Issue #10: Neverending: Superman spends this issue tying up loose ends. He flies a bus load of perminally ill children around the world. Then he solves the problem of solving the problem of restoring the bottle city of Kandor, with help from Dr. Quantum. Superman creates a world without Superman in an infant universe, called Q Earth, in a special chamber of the Fortress of Solitude. He then prevents a subway train from derailment, defeats a senile villain driving a giant robot and saves a teen from committing suicide. Superman transports Kandor to their new home on Mars, uses his x-ray vision to catalog his kryptonian DNA, then gives human and kryptonian DNA to Dr. Quantum with instructions on how to combine the two strands lf DNA. Throughout the issue Superman intermittently writes his last will and testament in his giant diary, writing in kryptonian. At the end of the issue Superman takes the members of the Kandor Emergency Squad to the same hospital he visited at the beginning of the issue, to cure the children's terminal illnesses. The issue ends on Q-Earth, where two young friends create a new character, the Superman of Action Comics #1.
Issue #11: Red Sun Day: Luthor's execution does not go as planned, as he took a serum that gave him super powers before his execution. Superman gives final intructions to a Superman robot to serve as caretaker of the Fortress of Solitude. He wears a special space suit as he locks the Fortress behind him and takes the rest of his robots into space to battle the tyrant sun. One of the robots admits that Solaris hacked into its neural net to steal the super power formula, before it sacrifices itself in atonement. Superman succeeds in defeating the tyrant sun. Clark Kent then rushes into the Daily Planet offices, with the headline story of the century on his laptop, Superman Dead, before he collapses on the floor. The outer wall explodes as Juthor attacks the Planet offices.
Issue #12: Superman In Excelsis: The issue begins with a kryptonian skyline, as Jor-El hurries his son Kal-El into a flying car, during an earthquake. Jor-El says that he and all of Krypton is dead, and Kal has joined them. Jor-El presents Kal with a choice, remain dead or return to life to defeat evil "one last time". The scene changes to the Daily Planet offices, where Luthor lords it over the Planet staff. The scene shifts back to "Krypton" where Jor-El informs Kal that eventually he will not be alone because the people of Earth will "join him in the sun". Then Krypton seems to explode again. Clark revives, and shoots Luthor with a gravity gun. Jimmy Olsen realizes that Superman disguised himself as Clark, and brings him a spare Superman uniform. Superman engages Luthor in a street battle. Luthor sees the world through his super senses, realizes how Superman sees the world, and is overwhelmed by it, becoming a small man. Superman informs Luthor that the reason he hit Luthor with the gravity gun was to make Luthor's metabolism accelerate to compensate the increased gravity. And since gravity warps time, his powers are almost gone. "Brains always beats brawn", Superman mocks Luthor as he delivers the knock out blow. And in rebuttal to Luthor's claim that Superman sttod in Lex's way of saving the world, Superman informs the unconscious Luthor that he could have saved the world any time he wanted, if it really mattered to him. Streaks of light begin to break out on Superman's skin as his condition approaches the end. He kisses Lois and says "I love you Lois Lane, until the end of time", as he flies into the sun to save it by changing it back to yellow from the blue it had been changed to. In a Metropolis park a Superman statue is erected, where Lois informs Jimmy that Superman will return when his job is done. In a full page panel Superman is working in the heart of the sun, creating the machinery to keep the sun burning. At the DNA Project, Dr. Quantum answers his aide's question about a world without Superman that, now they know Superman's DNA, they'll think of something. He stands in front of a door that says Project 2, with the 2 inside a Superman shield.
All-Star Superman combined story elements from many silver age Superman stories. Writing in a giant Kryptonian diary came from the story The Key To Fort Superman. The twelve labors of Superman reminded me of his challenges in the classic story Superman Red / Superman Blue. A super powered Lois comes from various "imaginary stories" where Lois gains super powers through various means. Samson and Atlas remind me of the cover to Action Comics #279, shown in DC's Greatest Imaginary Stories, where Lois and Lana are dating Samson and Hercules respectively. Superman facing death happened in stories such as The Death of Superman the imaginary story where Luthor fakes rehabilitation to lure Superman into a death trap; and The Last Days of Superman, where Superman thinks he is suffering from Virus X, a kryptonian disease, when he is actually suffering from kryptonite radiation by a bit of kryptonite lodged in Jimmy's camera. The descendants of Superman are reminiscent of The Superman of 2965, a quartet of stories from the mid 1960's.
The stories in All-Star Superman were timeless stories that could fit in any continuity, except for current continuity with a married Sueprman. Most of the issues are self contained stories that advance a larger story, except for issues 2 and 3 about Lois' birthday, 7 and 8 about Bizarro world, and 11 and 12 involving Superman's penultimate battle against Luthor.
This series had no low points, but there were several high points to me. Clark revealing his secret identity to Lois at the end of issue 1, and Lois' birthday celebration in the next two issues, the death of Pa Kent is issue #6, Superman trying to tie up loose ends, and the final battle in issues 11 and 12, stood out.
After recent comments by a Warner Bro's. film executive about creating "darker" super hero movies, All-Star Superman would make the perfect "dark" Superman movie, without darkening his classic bright blue and red uniform. Superman fighting for his life is not an easy plot point to figure out, and a truly evil Luthor would be a welcome change from the campy Luthor of Superman I & II, and the less campy Kevin Spacey portrayl.
On my list of favorite Superman stories, which I first discussed in episode #1, I would have to rank the entire series of All-Star Superman as number four on that list. As far as a rating, I would have to give it 6 * ( * * * * * * ).

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

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