Saturday, January 31, 2009

Episode #58: A Julie Schwartz Tribute!

Julius Schwartz passed away on February 8, 2004, at the age of 88, because of complications from pneumonia. If you have the chance, read his autobiography, Man Of Two Worlds: My Life In Science Fiction And Comics, written with Brian M. Thomsen.

During the summer of 2004, DC payed tribute to its departed editor emeritus by publishing a series of eight #1 comic books, all with the title DC Comics Presents and a special logo with the words A Julie Schwartz Tribute. Each title was one that Julie had edited at some point in his career. The covers were all recreations of iconic silver age covers by current artists. The interior stories were done by crative teams who had worked with Julie or were inspired by him. On the inside front or back covers would be a reproduction of the original cover and credits to the original and recreated covers. Julie himself would appear either on the cover, in a cameo or be a character in the story of these tribute issues. All of these issues contained two stories done by different creative teams. The first four were cover dated September 2004 and carried an afterword tribute written by Harlan Ellison, science fiction writer and close friend of Julie. The last four were cover dated October 2004 and contained a tribute written by Alan Moore.

The tribute issues cover dated September 2004 were the following:

Batman #1 was published on July 8, 2004. Joan Hilty edited this issue, and Harvey Richards was the assistant editor. Adam Hughes recreated the cover of Batman #183, originally created by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. The cover depicted Robin taking a call from Commissioner Gordon's Hot-Line requiring Batman and Robin to respond to some emergency. Batman refuses to budge from his seat, where he is watching his own TV show. The first story was Batman Of Two Worlds, written by Geoff Johns, pencilled by Carmine Infantino, inked by Joe Giella, lettered by Kurt hathaway and colored by Snocone. Julie has a cameo as the director of an episode of the Batman TV show. Batman and Robin investigate the murder of the actor playing Robin.
The Ratings War was written by Len Wein, art by Andy Kuhn, lettered by Kurt Hathaway and colored by Bill Crabtree. Batman and Robin find themselves being secretly filmed for a reality show, no matter where in Gotham they fight crime.

Mystery In Space #1 appeared on newsstands on July 14, 2004. Alex Ross recreated the original cover of Mystery In Space #82, originally created by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson, showing Adam Strange agonize over which peril he should try to stop - the one on Earth or on Rann. This issue was edited by Peter J. Tomasi and Stephen Wacker was the assistant editor. Crisis On 2 Worlds was written by Elliot S! Maggin, art by J. H. Williams III, colors by Joes Villarrubia and letters by Todd Klein. Adam Strange and Alanna team with Ralph and Sue Dibney against simultaneous threats to Earth and Rann.
Two Worlds was written by Grant Morrison, pencilled by Jerry Ordway, inked by Mark McKenna, colors by SnoCone and letters by Rob Leigh. Adam Strange stops an alien attack on Rann, and then attempts to stop an invasion of Rann from Earth.

Green Lantern #1 was published on July 21, 2004. Brian Bolland recreated the original Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson cover of Green Lantern #31, showing Hal Jordan selling fully funtional Green Lantern rings on the sidewalk. Bolland's recreation was the first tribute cover showing Julie, who is flying away after buying his own Green Lantern ring. Bob Schreck ws the editor and Micheal Wright was the assistant editor. Penny For Your Thoughts - Dollar For Your Destiny was written by Brian Azarello, pencilled by Norm Breyfogle, inked by Sal Buscema, colored by Tony Avina and lettered by Rob Leigh. In the story we find out what would force Green Lantern to sell GL rings on the sidewalk.
Feel Something ws written by Martin Pasko, pencilled by Scott McDaniel, inked by Andy Ownds, lettered by Pat Brosseau and colored by Tony Avina. In this story, Green Lantern and Green Arrow team up to stop a scam artist selling fake Green Lantern rings, made by someone exploiting child labor. The fight brings back some unpleasant memories for Green Lantern.

Hawkman #1 appeared on July 28, 2004. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez recreated the original Murphy Anderson cover of Hawkman #6, showing Hawkman fighting a winged gorilla. The issue was edited by Joey Cavalieri, and the assistant editor Harvey Richards. Visitor's Day was written by Cary Bates, pencilled by John Byrne, inked by Lary Stucker, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, and colored and color separated by Mike Atiyeh. Two most unusual fans have a special request to make of Julius Schwartz at his DC office, involving Hawkman and his winded ape opponent.
Love In The Air, written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Walt Simonson, inked by Bob Wiacek, lettered by John Workman and colored and separated by Mike Atiyeh. Katar Hol recounts how he fell in love with Shayera.

The Julie Schwartz tribute issues cover dated October 2004 were:

Superman #1 was published on August 4, 2004. Adam Hughes recreated the original Nick Cardy cover of Superman #264, showing an invisible man in a football uniform knocking down Superman. In the first story, The Phantom Quarterback, written by Stan Lee, drawn by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone, colored by Dave Stewart and lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, A lonely professor goes to extremes for love at a charity football game refereed by Superman. This story was edited by long time Supoerman editor and present DC Executive Editor Mike Carlin.
Secret Of The Phantom Quarterback was written by Paul Levitz and pencilled by Keith Giffen, both were co-plotters. Al Milgrom did the inks, Ken Lopez the letters and Lovern Kirdzierski did the colors. This story was edited by Vertigo editor Karen Berger. In this story, Steve Lombard goes to extremes to recapture his lost glory as the star quarterback of the Metropolis football team, near the end of his career.

Flash #1 appeared on August 11, 2004. Alex Ross recreated the original Carmine Infantino and Joe Giela cover of Flash #163, showing Flash on the cover and the famous word balloon, STOP! Don't pass up this issue! My LIFE depends on it! Alex Ross, who famously uses friends as models to the DC characters he draws, supposedly uses himself as a model for Flash. The Fastest Man - Dead, edied by Eddie Barganza with assistant editor Tom Palmer, Jr., was written by Heph Loeb, pencilled by Ed McGuiness, inked by Dexter Vines, colored by Dave Stewart and lettered by Richard Starkings. Someone attempts assassinating Barry Allen, and the aforementioned Flash cover plays a key role in recovering an important piece of evidence.
Mike Carlin edited the next story, Flash Back, was written by Dennis O'Neil, pencilled by Doug Mahnke, inked by Mark Farmer, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher and colored by David Baron. A younger Julie Schwartz, with a fuller head of hair, creates a plan to save Flash from fading out of existence.

The Atom #1 was published on August 18, 2004. Brian Bolland crecreated the original Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson cover showing someone throwing a grenade off the top of a building. The Atom is manacled to the grenade. On Bolland's recreation, it is Julie Schwartz throwing the grenade. The editor on this issue was Eddie Barganza, and Tom Palmer, Jr. was the assistant editor. Ride A Deadly Grenade was written by Dave Gibbons, art by Pat Oliffe and Livesay, colors by Tom McGraw and letters by Jared K. Fletcher. Gardner Fox and Julie Schwartz use a real grenade to return Atom to his own time.
The second story, also titled Ride A Deadly Grenade, was written by Mark Waid, pencilled by Dan Jurgens, inked by Jon Bogdanove, colored by Tom Smith, lettered by Rob Leigh. In this version of the story ATom saves Julie Schwartz from a villainous plot.

Justice League Of America #1 was published on August 25, 2004. Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez recreated the original Mike Sekowski and Murphy Anderson cover to JLA #53, showing the JLA being attacked by their own weapons. Matt Idelson was the editor on this issue, and Nachie Castro was the assistant editor. Secret Behind the Stolen Super Weapons was written by Harlan Ellsion, adapeted by Peter David, with art by Joe Giella, colors by Steve Buccallato and letters by Rob Leigh. Julie Schwartz gets some help from some special friends during a family emergency.
In Mayhem of the Mystery Marauders, written by Marv Wolfman, pencilled by Dustin Nguyen, inked by Richard Friend, colors by Jeromy Cox, letters by Pat Brosseay. A young JLA are attacked by a mysterious group using their own weapons, but for what reason?

As far as I could find out, there were no collections of these tribute issues. If you are interested in reading these issues, try on line vendors or the back issue bins of your comic book store.

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

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

Superman and all related characters are copyright DC Comics.

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

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Episode #57: E. Nelson Bridwell!

Before I get to the subject of this episode, if you would like to look at a fun Superman editorial cartoon, go to, especially if you are a Florida Gator fan like I am.
January 23 is the anniversary of E. Nelson Bridwell's death in 1987. He was born in 1937 in Sapula, Oklahoma. He brought his lifelong love of folklore and mythology to his comic book career in his encyclopedic knowledge of comic book trivia and continuity. He began his DC career in 1965 as an assistant, and assistant editor to Mort Weisinger, and later to Julius Schwartz. Bridwell would become an editor in his own right. Among the many titles he was involved with in the Superman family were Lois Lane from 1968 - 1972, and Superman Family from 1980 - 1982. He was most famous for being editor on many reprint edtions, oversize comics filled with stories from the many decades of DC publications. He also was the editor to three anthologies: Superman, Batman and Shazam: From the 30's (in Shazam's case, From the 40's) To the 70's. He also advocated a strong continuity, not as a creativity stiflying tool, but as a means of presenting a consistency in a character's world. He also believed in a shared universe between characters.
Bridwell was also a writer, not only for DC, but also for Warren Publications' Creepy and Eerie and Mad magazine as well. He wrote the Lone Ranger spoof Lone Stranger with Tonto's line, "What you mean We, white man?" For DC he created the White Witch for the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Fire and Ice, who I would first read about in Justice League: Europe. He is credited as the writer of the first Legion origin story originally presented in Superboy #147 (May/June 1968, originally published on March 14, 1968). I have a reprint of this issue, which is also one of many 80 Page Giants DC published at this time, filled with Legion reprints. For Superman Bridwell wrote the three issue mini-series World of Krypton (July - September 1979). It expanded the history of Kal-El's birth planet.
There are three short lived but original titles that E. Nelson Bridwell created that were original ideas and very different from each other.
The first title was a superhero team spoof called the Inferior Five. They first appeared in Showcase issues #62, 63 and 65, in 1966, and had their own title from 1967 - 1968 for ten issues. Issues 11 & 12 appeared in 1972, but were reprints of their earliest Showcase stories. His co-creator was artist Joe Orlando, who drew the first story. Mike Esposito would ink some of the early stories. They were the sons and daughters of members of the superhero group the Freedom Brigade, and had to work together to fight crime because they were not talented enough individually to be superheroes. The members of the Inferior Five were:
-Merryman (Myron Victor): son of The Patriot and Lady Liberty and descendant of Yellowjacket and Crimson Chrysanthemum (spoofs of the Green Hornet and the Scarlet Pimpernel). He wore a jester's costume and was the team leader.
-Awkwardman (Leander Brent): son of Mr. Might and the Mermaid. He could live underwater and was super strong, but was also very clumsy.
-The Blimp (Herman Cramer): he was the overweight son of Captain Swift. He had his father's flight power but not his super speed, so he could only fly at super slow speeds, with a tailwind.
-White Feather (William King): son of The Bowman and an unnamed woman. He was a superb archer, when noone was watching. People made him nervous, along with almost everything else.
-Dumb Bunny (Athena Tremor): the not very smart but super strong daughter of Princess Power.
Angel and the Ape first appeared in Showcase #77 (1968) and then in its own seven issue series. The main characters were Angel O'Day, private investigator with the O'Day and Simeon Detective Agency. Her partner was Sam Simeon, a talking gorilla detective who moonlighted as a comic book artist. The art was by Bob Oksner, with some inks by Wally Wood.
The most unusual title Bridwell created was the Secret Six. His co-creator was artist Frank Springer. They premiered in their own title in seven bi-monthly issues from May 1968 - May 1969. They were led by the mysterious Mockingbird. They were a strike team of overt operatives, highly trained in various fields. They were blackmailed by Mockingbird to obey their orders or risk their darkest secrets being publicly revealed, destroying their lives. The members were Tiger Force (Mike Tempest), a boxer, Crimson Dawn, a famous model, King Savage, a Hollywood stuntman, August Durant, a nuclear physicist, Carlo DiRenzi, a magician and escape artist and Lili DeNeuve, an exclusive spa owner. The title was revived several times, including a run as one of teh rotating features of Action Comics Weekly during the 1990's.
E. Nelson Bridwell also wrote for other DC titles, such as Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew and their appearance in the Oz / Wonderland War trilogy. He also wrote stories for the various Super Friends cartoons, and the DC Super Friends comic book tie-in.
Following his death Bridwell's papers were acquired by the McFarlin Library on the campus of the University of Tulsa. In October 2005 E. Nelson Bridwell was posthumously inducted into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame.
The comic book I feature at the end of the podcast is the 100-Page Super-Spectacular #6, with one of Bridwell's trademarks, a wraparound cover of many characters, accompanied inside by a key which identified all the characters along with brief biographical information, complete with secret identities.
To read more about E. Nelson Bridwell, check out the following links:

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

Superman and all related characters are copyright DC Comics.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Episode #56: A Double Feature: Happy Birthday, Phyllis Coates! / The Superman Comic Strip!

Phyllis Coates was born Gypsy Ann Evarts Stell on January 15, 1927 in Wichita Falls, Texas. After graduating from high school she moved to Los Angeles to study at UCLA. She met entertainer Ken Murray in a Hollywood restaurant, who hired her to be a chorus girl in his vaudville show. She also worked as a showgirl at the Earl Carroll Theatre. She was signed by Warner Brothers Studio in 1948.
She co-starred with George O'Hanlon in the Joe McDoakes short subject comedies. She was briefly married to series director Richard Bare and continued with the series after their divorce. Her most famous role was as Lois Lane in the first season of the Adventures of Superman TV show, for 26 episodes. After filming was done, production was suspended while the series producers searched for a national sponsor. When production resumed Phyllis was already committed to another production. She was replaced by Noel Neill, who was reprising her role as Lois Lane from the two movie serials of the 1940's. Noel remained as part of the cast for the remainder of the series run. Phyllis renewed her connection decades later when she played Lois Lane's mother in the wedding episode of the 1990's series Lois & Clark.
Phyllis Coates had a prolific career in the 1950's and 1960's in low budget features, westerns and serials. She had some musical talent, performing a musical number in the movie Blues Busters with the Bowery Boys. She starred in the jungle serial Panther Girl of The Kongo and the film I Was A Teenage Frankenstein. Phyllis was also busy in 1950's TV, with roles in The Abbott and Costello Show, Leave It To Beaver, GE Theater, Lone Ranger and Cisco Kid.
She seems to have retired in the mid-1960's. Phyllis had one credit in the 1970's, according to Her career picked up again in the mid-1980's - mid 1990's. Along with her role in Lois & Clark she also had one of her last roles in the TV show Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Her last credited movie role was in the film Hollywood The Movie.
Noel Neill played a great Lois Lane, but Phyllis Coates had more of an edge to her role as Lois Lane. She was agressive in pursuing a story, more competetive with Clark, and was not afraid to stand up to the mob. In one episode she is questioned, offscreen, by a henchman, who is shown approaching another mobster as he holds his hand against the side of his face. Lois had slapped him when she didn't care for his treatment.
Phyllis Coates disputes how she was portrayed in the movie Hollywoodland, which is about the career and death of George Reeves, starring Ben Affleck. In the movie, she leaves the series after George's lover Toni Mannix sees the two actors flirting on the set. In reality, Phyllis was friends with both George and Toni, even after she was no longer on the show, as well as after the end of their affair.
Phyllis Coates is still alive at the age of 82.

The Superman Comic Strip began on January 6, 1939, months after his first appearance in Action Comics #1. Color Sunday strips began on November 9, 1939. The strip ran until May 1966. It was distributed by the McClure Syndicate, and distribution peaked at 300 daily newspapers, 90 Sunday papers, for a peak circulation of 20 million. The McClure Syndicate played a role in the eventual publication of Superman in the comic books. Siegel and Shuster had sent Superman to the McClure Syndicate, hoping it would be picked up as a comic strip, which had more prestige than comic books at this time. Sheldon Mayer and Charles Gaines picked up Superman from the syndicate to fill the front of the new Action Comics.
The comic strip reappeared in 1978 as The World's Greatest Superheroes, including Batman and Wonder Woman, and ran until 1985.
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were the original creative team on the comic strip. Superman's Kryptonian origin was expanded in the comic strip. Kryptonians were portrayed as super-powered beings. Samples of these earliest strips can be found in Les Daniels' book Superman: The Complete History. Their workload increased to the point that all of the artists of their Cleveland studio, which I discussed back in episode #17, contributed to the comic strip.
There were several Superman firsts in the comic strip. A bald Lex Luthor first appeared in the strip, as well as Mr. Mxyzptlk and Superman's first telephone booth costume exchange. Several stories that stand out in the strip are Superman saving Santa Claus from the Nazi's, and Clark and Lois marry. Lois doesn't discover Clark's secret identity for many years.
Just about every Superman artist of the golden and silver ages drew the comic strip. Curt Swan drew the strip from 1956-1960. Wayne Boring had the longest tenure on the comic strip. Stories which ran in the comics would be changed and adapted for the comic strip. A Brainiac story was changed for the strip, substituting another villain in his place.
Jerry Siegel wrote the comic strip until hew was drafted in 1943. Alvin Schwartz began contributing stories in 1944 and was the solo writer from 1947-1951. He continued to contribute stories until 1958. In 1959 uncredited Batman co-creator Bill Finger wrote the comic strip until its end. Jerry Siegel would contribute stories for the comic strip when he returned to write for DC Comics in the late 1950's.
An archive of the comic strip can be found at The first story, Superman Comes To Earth is complete, and the rest of the stories has only samples. The founders of the web site are adding strips to the web site.
There are two collections of the comic strip, Superman: The Dailies 1939-1942 and Superman: Sunday Classics 1939-1943.
Superman Fan Podcast can be found at Send e-mail to

My Pull List is my spoiler free review blog about the comic books I read every 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.
Sueprman and all related characters is copyright DC Comics.

Episode #55: Happy Birthday, George Reeves!

Elvis Presley is not the only celebrity born during this first week of January. George Reeves was born as George Keefer Brewer on January 5, 1914, and died under mysterious circumstances on June 16, 1959, in Woolstock, Iowa. His parents were Dan Brewer and Helen Lescher. They divorced when George was an infant, and his mother Helen moved to California. There, she later married Frank Bessolo, who adopted George in 1927. Their marriage lasted for fifteen years. They divorced while George was away visiting relatives.
There are many stories about the almost obsessive relationship Helen had with her son. There is one story that she told him that his birth father committed suicide. George is supposed to have met his real father as a young actor at the Pasadena Playhouse, which strained their relationship for several years.
George began acting and singing in high school, and continuing pursuing both at Pasadena Jr. College. He was also an amateur boxer until his mother convinced him to quit. He joined toe Pasadena Playhouse to hone his craft, and would eventually be signed by Warner Brothers. His film career began in 1939, when he played one of the Tarleton Twins courting Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind. His film credit listed his name as George Reeves, the name he would use for the rest of his career.
George married actress Ellanora Needles in 1940. They had no children during their nine year marriage.
Reeves starred in short films and B-pictures but was eventually released from his contract by WB. He eventually signed with 20th Century Fox, but only made a few films for them before his release. He freelanced in a number of westerns, and then Director Mark Sandrich cast George in So Proudly We Hail (1942). Reeves played Lt. John Summers in the Paramount Studios war movie which co-starred Claudette Colbert. George won critical acclaim and a lot of publicity for his role. It would be the high point of his career.
Reeves was drafted into the army in 1943, and transferred to the U. S. Army Air Forces. He was assigned to the Broadway show Winged Victory, produced by the USAAF. It enjoyed a long Broadway run, as well as a national tour and movie. George transferred to the Army's 1st Motion Picture Unit where hw was involved with training flms.
Mark Sandrich died while he was in the Army. It seems Sandrich thought George had star potential. Jack Larson, Jimy Olsen in the '50's Superman TV show, in an interview in one of the DVD sets of the series, said that the only bad thing George ever said about his Superman role was that if Sandrich hadn't died, he wouldn't be stuck in this "monkey suit."
After WWII Reeves returned to Hollywood but struggled to find roles. Some of the roles he did win during this time were a number of thrillers with Ralph Byrd and the serial The Adventures of Sir Galahad produced by Sam Katzman. He also played a gold hunting villain in a B-movie Jungle Jim film starring Johnny Weismuller, who was one of the more famous Tarzan actors of that era.
George moved to New York City for a brief time after his 1949 divorce, trying to advance his career. He performed on radio and on TV anthology shows, but returned to Hollywood in 1951 for a role in the movie Rancho Notorious.
This same year George Reeves was offered the role of Superman in a TV series. George, like Jack Larson, was reluctant to accept his role, because TV was considered beneath a "serious" actor who aspired for movie success. This was before TV toppled movies as the top form of entertainment.
Superman And The Mole-Men was a B-movie that also served as a pilot episode. It would be shown as a two-part episode. The flying effects were not as advanced as would later be shown in the series, for the time. The show was filmed with tight budgets and shooting schedules in all six seasons. All of the scenes in Perry White's office would be filmed in a row, leaving the actors without a feel for what story they were filming for. The series aired nationally beginning in 1953. the cast was shocked at the popularity of the series and their own celebrity. They had originally thought that after the first season, that would be the end and noone would ever see it. The first two seasons were filmed in black & white, and the remaining four seasons were filmed in color, eventhough they would not be broadcast in color until the next decade. This move made the series more attractive for syndication in the 1960's. Because of the added cost of color production only half of the normal number of episodes were filmed in the last four seasons.
Phyllis Coates, the original Lois Lane for the series, was replaced by Noel Neill beginning with the second season. Because of the amount of time between the end of production of the first season and the beginning of the second, Phyllis had already committed to another show.
the cast felt typecast, and their contracts were also restrictive in gaining more work, giving the producers thie right to demand their exclusive services with a month's notice.
Also in 1951 George Reeves began a long term affair with Toni Mannix, the wife of MGM executive Eddie Mannix. Eddy was not upset about the affair because he had his own mistress.
To expand his career George formed a production company, but no projects were ever filmed. At the end of the last season of Superman he did direct a number of episodes. George did make sporadic apearances on TV and movies during the run of the Superman TV show. His most famous movie role during this time was as Sgt. Maylon Stark in From Here To Eternity. There is a famous but apparently false story, depending on what you read on the internet, that a preview audiance was totally distracted by "Superman" appearing in the movie that his role was largely cut from the film. Apparently there was no preview audience and the film was released as the producers originally intended.
George's most famous guest role on TV was on the episode of I Love Lucy when Little Ricky wanted Superman to appear at his birthday party. Lucy got herself stuck on the ledge outside the apartment when she cobbled together a crude Superman costume when it seemed that the real one might not make it in time. At the end of the episode, after Ricky mentions that it was the dumbest stunt she pulled in fifteen years of marriage, George says the famous line, "And they call me Superman!"
Reeves was popular with the cast. He publicly and vocally supported co-star Robert Shayne (Inspector Henderson) whe he was investigated by the FBI for ties to the Communist Party. The accusations were eventually found to be false. Reeves and Noel Neill began touring in 1957, where George was able to show his musical talent.
In 1958 George ended his relationship with Toni Mannix and became engaged with New York society plagirl Lenore Lemmon. The cast remained friends with Toni, and with George, but none of them appeared to like Lenore.
In 1959 the producers decided to produce a seventh season of the Superman show. John Hamilton (Perry White) had passed away the previous year. George was slated to direct more episodes and seemed to look forward to production.
On June 16, 1959 George Reeves died from a single gunshot wound to the head, in the Benedict Canyon home Toni Mannix had bought him. He lived there with his fiance Lenore. She and three other people in the house were drinking at the time, and a later autopsy showed George was legally drunk at the time of his death. His friends all knew his affection for drinking. The circumstances of his death was clouded not only by the drunk witnesses, but by the fact that George's body was embalmed before the autopsy. Valuable clues were lost. Reeve's mother fought for a 2nd, inconclusive autopsy before his body was finally cremated. His remains are entombed at Mountain View Cemetary and Mausoleum in Altadena, California.
George's will left everything to Toni Mannix, including the house. There are questions about Lenore and several thounds of dollars of travelers checks that Geroge had bought for their honeymoon. She left California and returned to New York , where she lived the rest of her life, passing away in 1989.
Eddie Mannix died in 1963 from the heart condition that plagued him for many years. Toni Mannix lived for many more years, but suffered from Alzheimer's disease in her later years. One interviewer claimed to interview her and listen to her confess to George's murder. This was during the time she suffered from dementia, but the interviewer claimed the confession occurred during a time of lucidity.
Phyllis Coates, 81, Jack Larson, 80 and Noel Neill, 88 are still alive.
The first season of the TV show is considered by fans of the series to be the best, myself included. It had a film noir tone to the episodes. Stories involved gangsters who fired a lot more bullets than in later seasons. That first season wsa produced by Bob Maxwell. He may have gone over budget and was fired from the series. He would go on to produce the TV show Lassie. Whitney Ellsword would produce the remaining seasons, under budget, outlining stories with Mort Weisinger. Even the second season was geared more toward children. Beginning with the color episodes of the third season Superman was firmly established as a children's show and the stories were of a far lighter tone. the violence of the first season, as it was, was muted to a large extent. The entire series is available on DVD, and is still a good way to introduce very young children to Superman.
What I enjoyed most about George Reeve's acting in the series was his portrayal of Clark Kent. He played Clark as mild-mannered, but not a weakling or spineless person as was common in the comic books of the time. His Clark could get forceful when he needed to, grabbing a pair of mobsters by the arm and escorting them to the back of the building when he needed some information out of them. In another episode he was a passenger in a small plane. When he saw Lois or Jimmy needing his help, he hit the pilot on the jaw, knocking him out, put the plane on autopilot and jumped out to become Superman and save them.
The book Hollywood Kryptonite: The Bulldog, The Lady & the Death of Superman by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger supports the premise that George Reeves was murdered and lays out their proof. Some critics have alleged that parts of the book have been fictionalized to support their premise. Depending on what you read on the internet some critics allege that their forensic evidence is backwards to what would be found in a murder scene. The book is still an interesting source about his life, career and relationships, as well as a source of information about the Superman series. Read the book and draw your own conclusions. The movie Hollywoodland, starring Ben Affleck, also takes this view.
Whatever the circumstances of his death, George Reeves protrayal of Superman still holds up, even through the often silly stories, today.

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 every week. It can be found at Send e-mail about this blog to mypulllit@gmail .com.

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

Episode #54: Superman In 2008: The Year In Review

2008 began with the finale of The Third Kryptonian storyline in Superman, as well as the end of the Camelot Falls story in Superman Annual #13. Superman had the three part Insect Queen story, re-introducing the silver age character with a modern twist. We also read the Daxamite story, which seemed a little cliched to me, repeating the all religion equals ignorance plot. The best Superman story was the Atlas story, which almost reflected the Doomsday story of the 1990's.
Action Comics was the better of the two titles, and contained the best Superman stories I have read in a long time through the whole year. My favorite story in the regular titles was Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Action Comics Annual #11 told the long over-due conclusion of the General Zod story. Brainiac was another excellent story. Geoff ohns was able to combine the various versions of Brainiac, taking the green-skinned pink-garbed alien and the robot villain and combining them in a way that makes sense. He respects past stories and is able to use what was told before in a way that still allows him to tell the stories he wants to tell. More comic book writers could take lessons from him in this regard. The biggest shock was the ending, with the passing of Pa Kent.
The New Krypton story, encompassing the two Superman titles and Supergirl, is shaping up to be an excellent story to begin 2009. And the return of the triangle numbers from the 1990's Superman titles is a nice touch.
The conclusion of All-Star Superman was the best Superman story of the last three years. That's how long it took for this twelve issue mini-series to be published. This story fits into any era of Superman continuity, and is one of the best Superman stories I have ever read. If I were to rate this story in my top ten list of best Superman stories, which I listed in episode #1 of this podcast, I would have to put it at #4.
Coming up in 2009, along with the conclusion of New Krypton, is Superman: Secret Origins which will be written by Geoff Johns. And DC has released news that Superman will leave Earth, which reminds me of the Superman In Exile storyline from the 1990's. I will feature issues of this story in various episodes of this podcast, to share what I was reading when I returned to comics. Superman will even leave Action Comics, which will be written by Greg Rucka. The Kryptonian heroes Nightwing and Flamebird will take over the title, temporarilly I'm sure. Seeing these characters catches my interest, expecially after reading reprints of the 1960's versions of these characters. And Greg Rucka writing anything is a good reason to pick it up.
Trade paperbacks of these stories coming out in 2009:
All-Star Superman volume II hardcover will be available on February 11, 2009.
Camalot Falls hardcover vol. II, collecting Superman#662-664, 667-668 and Superman Annual #13 on February 25, 2009. Volume I is now abailable.
Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes hardcover, collecting Action Comics #858-863 is available now.
Superman: The Coming of Atlas hardcover, collecting Superman 677-680, will be published on April 8, 2009.
Superman: Brainiac hardcover, collecting Action Comics 866-870, will be released on March 4, 2009.
Superman / Batman: The Search For Krypotonite trade paperback, collecting Superman / Batman #44-49, is now available.
On the movie front, I would like to share my opinion about the development, or lack of, on a new Superman movie. There was a possibly disturbing announcement by a Warner Bro's. movie executive that with thesuccess of The Dark Knight, WB will develop DC characters in movies that will portray the characters as "dark" as the characters will allow. We've all heard some of the crazy Superman movie ideas that thankfully were dropped. It's possible to make a dark Superman movie without making Superman or Clark "darker" and changing them into something they are not. It also seemed to take WB too long to figure out what to do with Superman specifically and DC characters in general. These decisions should have been made within a year after the release of Superman Returns, not after The Dark Knight. WB seems to be losing any momentum they had after the release of these two movies. Marvel Studios has the potential of leaving WB eating their dust. What does WB have ready to release after Watchmen in March? I rest my case.
Finally I want to share a few topics I will explore in 2009 on this podcast. To honor Julius Schwartz on the anniversary of his passing, I will share the tribute issues DC published in the months after his death. For Curt Swan's birthday I will look at the story he co-starred in, I Flew With Superman. And for Julius Schwartz's birthday I will share his birthday issue, Superman #411.
I want to thank everyone who listened to this podcast. I have enjoyed sharing not everything I know, but all I've learned this year about the world of Superman. I am finding there is a lot to be learned about Superman that will fill many episodes of this podcast, which I plan on continuing for a long time.
And thanks, as always, to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Superman Fan Podcast can be found at Send e-mail about this podcast to
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 about this blog to
Superman and all related characters are copyright DC Comics.

Episode #53: "Home For The Holidays" Adventures of Superman #462

Home For The Holidays was one of the first Christmas stories of the post-Crisis Superman. It was published in Adventures of Superman #462, January 1990, released on November 28, 1989. The editor was Mike Carlin. The cover was pencilled by Dan Jurgens and inked by Brett Breeding. The story was written by Roger Stern. The art was done by Dan Jurgens and finishes by Art Thibert. Albert DeGuzman was the letterer and Glenn Whitmore was the colorist. This story was reprinted in the trade paperback Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, published in 1994.
The story takes place in the Daily Planet offices. Clark is preparing to leave for his new job as the editor of Newstime magazine. At first Clark is given the cold shoulder, but it is quickly revealed to be a ruse, as the Planet staff throw Clark a surprise going away party. During a quiet moment during the party, Clark slips away to think about the big change in his career. He hears a noise in a storeroom. Inside, The Planet office staffer Alice is sitting on a sleeping bag on the floor, crying. Clark sees this with his x-ray vision, and opens the door. Alice tries to hide her sleeping bag, but is not fast enough. Alice tries to come up with an excuse as to what she is doing in the storeroom, but finally gives up and tells the truth. She has been living in the storeroom.
The scene shifts to Perry White's office, where Perry, Clark and Lois lend their support to Alice. She had been a minor character in Superman comics who would appear in a panel or two in various Daily Planet scenes. Perry would say to her that she seems to be there no matter what time of day he would go to the office. Alice would joke that she lived there, and Perry would think it was a joke.
Apparently it wasn't. Alice tells them her story. She lived with her mother, who gave birth to Alice late in life and was always in frail health as Alice grew up. After Alice began working at the Planet her mother's health began to fail and medical bills plunged them in debt. After her mother's death, the debt swamped Alice, and she eventually was evicted from the apartment. She stayed for a few weeks at the YWCA, but it was only a temporary situation. Alice looked for cheaper apartments, but they were farther away from work, and Alice couldn't afford the cost of the commute. Her only option, to her, was to sneak into the Planet building and hide a sleeping bag and portable TV in a storeroom.
To take care of her personal needs she used the Planet wsahrooms and ate at the office cafeteria. Perry is moved by her story to write a front page editorial about homelessness. His editorial is shown in captions above various scenes of Planet staffers sharing their time at a food kitchen for the poor. The issue ends at the White residence, where Alice is staying for the holidays with Perry and his wife, also named Alcie. Perry tells his employee that he has figured how much overtime she probably worked, and was going to make sure she gets compensated, as a way of helping her get the finances to get her back on her feet.
The issue ends with Superman flying to the Kent farm newr Smallville, using his cape to bundle up presents for his family. It ends with Clark having eggnog with his parents and Lana.
This was a good emotional story about Alice's plight. Some of the dialogue about homelessness, not counting Perry's editorial, was a little heavy handed, but the issue added some depth to the world of the Daily Planet office. By highlighting a minor but familiar character the story made the Planet Offices seem more like a real place.

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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 about this blog to

Superman and all related characters are copyright DC Comics.

Episode #52: "Curt Swan: A Life In Comics" by Eddy Zeno

I received this book from on December 12, 2002. I don't remember the date, I wrote the date on the inside front cover under my book stamp, along with my name. I had ordered a movie for my son, I don't remember which one, for Christmas, and decided to order this Curt Swan biography to qualify for free shipping. I had known about the book for some time and thought the time was right to finally get it. I was not disappointed. In fact, it started a yearly tradition for me. Every December since then I've re-read my nonfiction books on comic book history or biography, starting with this Curt Swan biography.
The forward was written by Curt's best friend Mort Walker, the creator of Beetle Bailey. The book is divided into three sections. A Career In Comics is a general history of Curt's career, exploring the development of his talent, the twists and turns of his career, and the inkers he was paired with. The Curt Swan Gallery, the only color section of the book, is an overview of some of the famous characters Curt Swan drew in his career and an exploration of the way he was able to convey the subtle variety of human emotions on the faces of the characters he drew. The largest part of the book is the section titled Family, Friends, Admirers And Curt Himself, is a series of interviews with many people who worked with Curt, or his immediate family.
The interviews with Curt's ex-wife and his three children gave a very personal look into his life, from his long career with DC to the struggles of retirement and old age.
A Life In Comics paints a portrait of a gentle man, except when he stood up to the petty cruelties of his editor Mort Weisinger, who was respected by colleagues and loved by all. It dows not gloss over his vices, which we all have, like his smoking habit and fondness for martinees, and some of the conflicts of relating to an aging parent. Reflecting back on his life, the book shows a man who will be missed by all, but who has left a rich legacy of comic book art for all of us to enjoy.

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 every 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 DC Comics.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Episode #51: A Superman Fan Christmas Wish List!

First let me share what my personal wish list was for this past Christmas:
Wal-E 3-Disc edition DVD
Man of Rock: A Biography of Joe Kubert by Bill Schelly
The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore - Indispensible Edition edited by George Khoury and published by TwoMorrows Publishing (
Showcase Presents: Superman Family and Legion of Super-Heroes both vol. II
Various action figures from Acme Comics in Longwood, Florida ( including various members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, The Tick, Planetary and silver age Superman figures.

For Superman fans, or friends and family members of Superman fans, what follows is a list of Superman collected editions for gift ideas. This is not a complete list. To get a more complete list, go to the DC Comics web site ( or Chris Marshall's web site and podcast Collected Comics Library ( He provides an excellent resource of collected editions published by all comic book companies.

Various Superman editions of Showcase Presents, black and white reprint editions:
Superman - 4 volumes, Superman Family - 2 volumes, Supergirl - 2 volumes, World's Finest - 2 volumes, Legion of Super-Heroes - 2 volumes

Superman Chronicles - Superman stories collected in chronological order of publication, printed in color - 5 volumes

Archive editions, hardback editions of the various Superman titles:
Superman in Action Comics - 5 volumes, Superman - 7 volumes, Superman in World's Finest Comics - 1 volume, World's Finest Comics - 3 volumes and Superman: The Man of Tomorrow (collecting silver age stories) - 2 volumes.
Legion of Super-Heroes - 12 volumes

Trade paperback collections of recent Superman storylines:
Superman: Escape From Bizarro World
Superman: The Third Kryptonian
Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes
Superman: Camelot Falls vol. I & II
Superman: 3-2-1 Action

Recent Legion of Super-Heroes collected editions:
Enemy Rising and Quest For Cosmic Boy
Legion of Super-Heroes:1050 Years of the Future (a best of the Legion trade paperback)

Trade paperback collections of recent Superman / Batman storylines:
Vengence, The Enemies Among Us, Torment and the Search For Kryptonite

Other trade paperbacks of interest:
The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told, 2 volumes
Superman In The Forties and editions for each of the following decades through the Eighties.
Superman Vs. editions involving Lex Luthor, Brainiac and Flash
Superman For All Seasons
All-Star Superman vol. I (vol. II will be available on February 11, 2009 as of this posting)

I hope this serves as a help for gift ideas, not just for Christmas, but for special ocasions in 2009.

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 every 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 DC Comics.

Episode #50: Happy Birthday, Jimy Olsen!

As noted by the web site Superman ( Jimmy Olsen's traditional birthday is November 29 (the day after my late mother's birthday). An unnamed red haired copy boy first appears in Action Comics #6, but the character named Jimmy Olsen first appeared not in comics but the Superman radio show on April 15, 1940. He made his first comic book appearance in Superman #13 in 1941. Throughout his career with the Daily Planet (originally the Daily Star) Jimmy has advanced from copy boy to photographer and "cub" reporter.
Common to Jimmy Olsen's portrayal in various media are his bow tie and his signal watch, his relationship with Clark Kent and Lois Lane as both close friends and mentors, his strong friendship with Superman and his rescue by Superman from threats ranging from embarassing to deadly.
In the silver age of comics his signal watch was a gift from Superman. In post-crisis continuity, in World of Metropolis #4 he cobbled together a hypersonic signal to attract Superman's attention to help a friend of his in an emergency.
Jimmy Olsen gained a larger role in Superman's world with the publication of his own title in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen beginning in 1954. This title was famous for Jimmy's many transformations. Jimmy swithched minds with a gorilla and worked his beat as a gorilla dressed in Jimmy's clothing in issue #24, October 1957. One of his most famous transformations was as Elastic Lad, first in issue #37 in 1959. Jimmy became a teen werewolf in issue #44 in 1960. His most unusual transformation was in drag as a gun moll to gather evidence in a jewelry robbery in the same issue. Another of his most famous transformations was as the Giant Turtle Boy in issue #53 in 1961. Jimmy also became a human porcupine in issue #65 (1962), a red headed Beatle of 1,000 B.C. in issue #70 (1964) and as a bearded hippy in a Kirby issue, #118 in 1969.
Jimmy Olsen was not only Superman's Pal, but also his sidekick. In a pair of adventures in the bottle city of Kandor, Superman, as Nightwing, and Jimmy, as Flamebird, were Kandorian versions of Batman and Robin. Their names came from two species of kryptonian birds. The adventures occurred in Superman #158 (January 1963) and Jimmy Olsen #69 (June 1963).
Jimmy also earned the honor of becoming an honorary member of the Legion of Super-Heroes in issue #72 of his own title in 1963. Various Legion members disguised themselves as various Olsen transformations, and Jimmy ingeniously figured out which Legionnaire was imitating which transformation, thus passing his initiation. Superman took Jimmy to the 30th century to take his oath in front of the entire Legion.
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen ended with issue #163 (February / March 1974, released on November 8, 1973). Superman Family combined the combined titles of Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane and Supergirl and continued the numbering from Jimmy's title.
Jack Kirby, as noted in episode #34 of this podcast, expanded Jimmy's role in the Superman universe when he involved Jimmy in Project Cadmus. Jimmy became more independent and an adventure, exploring such topics of the late 1960's as the generation gap through conflicts between Jimmy and Superman.
Post-Crisis, Jimmy began as a young employee of the Daily Planet, still living with his mother, although as he matured in the 1990's he moved out on his own. His father served in the military but had disappeared, and Jimmy eventually learned his dad had been involved with Project Cadmus. Some of the silver age plot elements would return for Jimmy. When Superman brought the kryptonian artifact the Eradicator home, it turned Jimmy into a version of Elastic Lad. In the weekly series Countdown, Jimmy would also become a version of Turtle Boy. After the mini-series Infinite Crisis Jimmy was ret-conned as a younger character. But with the recent one shot Sperman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #1, a New Krypton tie-in, Jimmy has begun to mature again, following a lead on a news story that may have sinister consequences for Superman in 2009.

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

My Pull List is my spoiler free comic book review blog of the titles I read every 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.

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