Thursday, April 30, 2009

Episode #71: Superman In Exile, Part I, Free Comic Book Day And The State Of Superman Comics!

Pardon the long title, but I have a lot to cram into this episode. First of all is the beginning of our look at the Superman In Exile storyline from 1989, which lasted for fifteen issues of Superman, Adventures Of Superman and a few issues of Action Comics. I'm not sure how many episodes it will take; I might be able to combine a few issues into one episode. These will not be done in consecutive episodes, because in June will be a month of episodes on various comic book creators who have June birthdays, and July and August will be a number of episodes titled, "An Imaginary Summer", on various "imagingary" Superman stories.

The Exile stories were collected in the trade paperback Superman: Exile, still in print by DC Comics, and can be ordered by an on line vendor or your local comic book shop. For a complete checklist of these stories go to the previous blog entry titled Superman Fan Podcast Special Blog: Superman In Exile Checklist! That way you can enjoy these stories for yourself before you listen to this episode, because these episodes will explore the plot in detail.

If you are listening to this episode before Saturday, May 2, 2009, that is Free Comic Book Day. Visit a local comic book store to see the specially marked free comics available from various publishers. For a complete list of the titles with the Free Comic Book Day banner go to . Bookmark this web site because next year it will have the 2010 FCBD date and list of free titles. The free titles change from year to year among the various publishers who participate.

Two local comic book stores that will have special promotions on Saturday close to my Eustis, Florida home. Action Games and Comics in Clermont, Florida will have master comic book artist George Perez from 1:00 p. m. to 5:00 p. m. Perez sketches will cost $50.00. The store address is 782 W. Montrose St., Clermont. Its my space page is .

My comic book store, Acme Comics of Longwood, , will have Christian Slade, writer and artist of Korgi, published by Top Shelf Productions, and Art Baltazar, co-writer and artist of his own titles Patrick The Wolf Boy and Gorilla, Gorilla, as well as DC's Tiny Titans. They will also have balloon art and super hero face painting for children, as well as in store sales on comic book back issues and other titles.

At the end of this episode, for Free Comic Book Day, I will give my State Of Superman Comics opinions, and thoughts about how Superman fans who come from the various movies, cartoons and TV shows can introduce themselves to comic books, even if they aren't interested in super hero comics.

Superman In Exile began with Superman #28, Feb. 1989, published on Dec. 20, 1989. The cover, titled Superman In Space, was pencilled by Kerry Gammil and inked by Dennis Janke. The story was written by Roger Stern, pencilled by Kerry Gammil, inked by Brett Breeding, lettered by John Costanza and colored by Glenn Whitmore. Renee' Witterstatter was the assistant editor on the Superman titles, which were edited by Mike Carlin, now DC Comics' Executive Editor.

On the splash page Superman stood on a small asteroid, taking one last look at Earth. As he reminisced about how he got there we got a review of the events that led to Superman's self imposed exile. Superman felt he had no choice but to execute a trio of kryptonian criminals who had destroyed all life on the Earth of a pocket universe. After a psychic attack by the Milton Fine Brainiac Superman had developed another personality. When he fell asleeep the dark side of his personality would don another Gangbuster costume and combat crime in a more ruthless manner. The Guardian ripped open this new Gangbuster's costume, revealing the truth to Superman. Feeling he had become a danger to Earth, Superman took one last look at Earth, before putting on his breathing mask and activating the teleporter.

If Superman had left Earth, what about Clark Kent? That question was answered in the next scene when Perry White received a package from Clark Kent mailed from Kansas. Clark had gone into hiding with this first report of his Intergang expose', which Perry understood once he began reading the article. He then ordered a special editon with Clark's Intergang story being the top headline.

Superman made his first hyperjump in this issue, appearing above an alien planet, but a little too close. He was immediately pulled into the planet's atmosphere before he could react, and it took most of his power to keep from crashing into the surface. At first Superman thought he had returned to the barren Earth of the Pocket Universe, but it was just another lifeless planet with an unfriendly atmosphere for humans, complete with pools of mercury.

At the Galaxy Communications headquarters in Metropolis, Galaxy President Morgan Edge read Clark's Intergang expose' with interest, being the secret leader of Intergang. To solve his problem Edge orders a hit taken out on Clark Kent. At the LexCorp building Luthor held the Milton Fine Brainiac, having Dr. Kelly keep him in a drug induced coma. Brainiac becomes conscious long enough to inform Luthor that Superman had left Earth because he could no longer feel his mind.

Superman was still struggling to control the teleporter because he found himself too close to a star. He had to accelerate himself fast enough to escape the star's gravity, and teleported himself away on the hope of absorbing his momentum.

In another part of Metropolis Amanda McCoy was in the offices of down on his luck Private Detective Matthew Stockton. She had hired him to spy on Clark Kent, keeping the reasons to herself. She had first appeared in Superman #2, published in 1986. She led a Luthor project to gather information on all of Superman's known acquaintances in an effort to discover his secret identity. All of the information was fed into a computer, which output the conclusion that Clark Kent was Superman. It made sense to McCoy, for one reason because Clark had never taken a sick day from work at the Daily Planet. Luthor flatly rejected that conclusion. He could not see how anyone as strong as Superman would fein to live as a mere mortal. That Luthor vanity thwarted himself again. After McCoy left his office Stockton began looking for his best set of lock picks.

Superman was finally beginning to learn how to control his teleporter, so that he appeared near a planet, but not so close that he would be imediately yanked into its atmosphere. He found a lush planet filled with alien flora and fauna. Before he could begin to enjoy this new world he saw an alien ship in a crash dive after losing power. Superman rescued the ship and landed it on a clear area outside an alien city, much like his Earth premiere in the Man Of Steel mini-series. Just like on Earth Superman was swamped by alien well wishers. Afraid he would become a threat on this world as he had become on Earth, Superman flew into space hoping to find a habitable planet where he could live alone.

An Intergang hit squad broke into Clark's apartment at 344 Clinton Street, as the story noted, at the same time Stockton broke into the front door. A neighbor across the hall saw a hat and coat and assumed it was Clark unlocking the door to his apartment. As Stockton began searching through Clark's still trashed apartment, Intergang assumed Stockton was Clark Kent and killed him.

In the Superman In Exile episode part II: Adventures Of Superman #451: Dangerous Ground!

Beginning with this episode, on the week of Free Coic Book Day each year, I will give my thoughts on the state of Superman comics, either as the topic of an entire episode or as merely a segment. This year it will be just a segment. This year of 2009 has continued to be the best era of Superman stories, begun last year, in a long time. With the conclusion of All-Star Superman, Superman: The World Of New Krypton has become the top Superman title for me. The establishment of what Kryptonian civilization was like as shown in Kandor is a bonus to the Superman action, as he keeps an eye on Allura and General Zod. Action Comics and Superman continue to be great titles, even though Superman no longer appears there during the New Krypton story. Last year, when news of the present storyline was first released by DC Comics, I was going to drop Action Comics until Superman returned. But when I heard that Nightwing and Flamebird would star in Action, there was no way I was going to drop this title after having read the silver age Superman and Jimmy Olsen versions of Nightwing and Flamebird. And Superman, which had been the weaker title, has gotten better with the Guardian and Mon'El stories.

Upcoming stories look promising, like the apparent Superman on trial, over what will probably be an inevitable conflict with General Zod. I'm also looking forward to Geoff Johns and Gary Frank on the mini-series Superman: Secret Origins, which is expected to introduce, if the proposed cover art is to be believed, a Clark Kent Superboy, and thus return him to the status of inspiriation for the Legion of Super-Heroes. Johns is also expected to write the new Adventure Comics, which I think will restart the LSH. check and other comic book news web sites for updates.

For Superman fans who come from the various Superman movies, cartoons and TV shows, and who may be interested in exploring comics, I want to conclude this episode with some suggestions on how to begin finding comic book titles that fit your taste. Of course I would recommend Superman comics to Superman fans of TV or movies. The current titles are excellent, and there are many reprint editions available at a wide price range to fit any budget. You can find a list of reprint editions at at their graphic novel page. These editions run from recent stories to golden and silver age stories, so that you can explore every era of Superman stories.

If super hero comic books do not appeal to you, despite being a Superman fan, there are a variety of comic book publishers that publish a wide range of genres. Google "comic book publishers" and you can find them and look at their web sites and find the many titles they publish. There you should be able to find some titles that fit your areas of interest. Next I would suggest visiting a comic book store in your area, if it's convenient. I realize that not everyone lives in an area that is near a comic book store. In that case publisher web sites would be a great resource to find a title. Some post at least samples if not full stories on their web sites. If you can visit a comic store, ask a clerk for assistant. The good stores will take the time to help you. If not, go to another store. There are more great stores than bad ones. Start with your interests in movies and books, and a great clerk will be able to find titles that fit your interest. And you will have a copy you can actually hold in your hands to look at the title and decide if it is interesting enough to buy.

If you are worried about starting to buy a title and decide you don't like it after a few issues or volumes, relax. Just like movies or books, even in a series, you might like some better than others. With comics it's the same. You'll find titles you follow with each new issue or volume, and others that you'll like some storylines but then lose interest with new storylines. If monthly issues don't interest you, there are many graphic novels out there to fit your taste. So go to your comic book store and start having fun!

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 .

The cover art for Superman #28 used here for educational purposes within the "fair use" provision of the U. S. Code: Title 17, Sec. 107. Superman and all related characters are trademark and copyright DC Comics.

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

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