As we are about to embark one the next box of my unread comics, I would like to thank all of you who come to read and/or comment on these threads. When I first started this project back in July 2006  (really?) on the old board I never thought I would even make it through the first box. The threads have helped keep me semi-honest here.

I'm pretty excited about this upcoming box. It is a very eclectic mix of comics. There are a bunch of my old standbys. Like Legion comics, Daredevil, Marvel Team-up, war comics. There is a ton of other stuff like '80s black and white comics, some Kirby, a touch of Vertigo. I don't know how much will inspire me to write about, and if it does others to comment, but I am looking forward to it.

I'm really stoked to have you with me. Let's get it on!

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...I tended to buy 'em  then , too , Luke , methinks .

  Sort of a " Frankie Laine/Rosemary Clooney " : in-between " era , in conventional fan discourse ?????????

  Did they reach Australia a couple of years later ???

  In B&W ???

Luke Blanchard said:

I like the Superman comics of this era much more than you do and have praised them in the past, which should probably destroy your faith in my judgement. I like the Swan and Anderson art, the way Superman's working life was depicted, and the Morgan Edge and Steve Lombard characters. The Metropolis of the era had a strong sense of reality, with a look and very many details reflecting ordinary life in contemporary New York. The stories were told from Superman's point of view and would follow him as he worked through a problem, which approach cast him as a thoughtful hero.

 

Cary Bates was a plot-oriented/surprise-twist-oriented writer. I think would have pegged this tale as having an interesting if not outstanding plot. (I haven't read the Star Sapphire one.) When it appeared Lombard was a fairly new character, and for a while very many of the stories would have sequences in which he'd pick on Clark and Clark would take revenge using his superpowers. At this point the feature avoided using Silver Age Superverse elements, didn't have much fight action, and didn't make much use of continued stories. Later in the decade the approach used changed in these respects.

The American editions of Superman's and Batman's titles were not widely available here until the mid 80s, I think after Crisis. (Those of other DC titles were, but not necessarily all). The stories appeared in local editions which had more pages than US comics.

 

The first Superman stories I remember reading were in Colossal Comic #53, which I must've been given second-hand as Ausreprints tentatively dates it to 1970 (which is several years before I learned to read). In its case the reprints were much older; the Superman ones were from the 50s and helped put me off the character for several years. The cover was a redrawn version of a 1967 issue of Action Comics's, but the corresponding story didn't appear inside.

 

The four-part Karb-Brak story from 1976, which had a Bicentennial tie-in instament, was reprinted in Giant Superman Album #33 in 1978, with the references to 1976 clumsily relettered. Giant Superman Album #27, which Ausreprints tentatively dates a couple of years earlier, was instead a reprint of a DC reprint giant from the mid 60s.

 

Another Superman title of the era - shorter, but still with more pages than a US comic - was Superman Supacomic. According to Ausreprints it stopped around 1976. Issues of the title were among my formative comics reading, but I don't recall seeing any of the issues on the stands (not counting the giant that reused the title later).

 

It was succeeded by a new series titled Superman. This was initially shorter and in colour, then with a larger page size and longer than it had been but on cheaper paper and only partly in colour. Ausreprints tentatively dates the first issue to Jan. 1977. The first couple of issues led with late Weisinger stories, but it then switched to recent stories from the US Superman. The shorter issues were initially mostly filled out with other late Silver/early Bronze Age stories, then with stories from Superman Family. The larger ones were filled out with stories from Superman Family, issues of DC Comics Presents, and older stories.

 

In the 80s the publisher switched to reprinting stories in unnumbered giants, and I think the stories in them sometimes appeared after a bit more of a delay.

 

In the mid 80s the publisher tried reprinting contemporary DC stories in colour editions only a bit longer than a US comic. I don't recall seeing Superman in that format, however.

I think my problem with the Clark-Lombard relationship is too reminiscent of the Peter Parker-Flash Thompson dynamic, but with the latter they were teenagers. With the former we have a pair of guys in their early to mid 30s. I did like that Clark was a bit bitter with how he was treated by Morgan Edge and Steve Lombard.

Going through these stories I am just thinking I'm probably not a fan of Cary Bates' writing at least at this time of it. There is so much set-up and other things going on it seems like he gets to the end and he says,"Oh crap, I've got wrap it this up!" Which may have been more suitable in an earlier time, but here just seems wrong.

Luke Blanchard said:

I like the Superman comics of this era much more than you do and have praised them in the past, which should probably destroy your faith in my judgement. I like the Swan and Anderson art, the way Superman's working life was depicted, and the Morgan Edge and Steve Lombard characters. The Metropolis of the era had a strong sense of reality, with a look and very many details reflecting ordinary life in contemporary New York. The stories were told from Superman's point of view and would follow him as he worked through a problem, which approach cast him as a thoughtful hero.

 

Cary Bates was a plot-oriented/surprise-twist-oriented writer. I think would have pegged this tale as having an interesting if not outstanding plot. (I haven't read the Star Sapphire one.) When it appeared Lombard was a fairly new character, and for a while very many of the stories would have sequences in which he'd pick on Clark and Clark would take revenge using his superpowers. At this point the feature avoided using Silver Age Superverse elements, didn't have much fight action, and didn't make much use of continued stories. Later in the decade the approach used changed in these respects.

Superman #324

June 1978

Cover art by: Rick Buckler & Dick Giordano

Story: Beware the Eyes That Paralyze!

Writer: Martin Paso

Pencils: Curt Swan

Inks: Frank Chiaramonte

Superman has been knocked out, and the Atomic Skull is now going to use Titano's kryptonite vision to finish him off. Apparently, the Skull is not fully convinced this scheme will work since he also plans to explode a rocket in Earth's atmosphere with kryptonite. The Man of Steel was just playing possum though,and flies away before Titano unleashes his fury. Supes grabs a lead pipe and uses that as a blindfold for the giant ape. He then knocks the Atomic Skull out.

Having taken care of those two, Superman fashions his own rocket with a bunch of lead. He then tosses into space after the Atomic Skull's. Hoping that the lead from his missile will cancel the kryptonite out. The Atomic Skull wakes up and we learn that he is controlling Titano telephathically. He sends Titano out to destroy Superman.

Meanwhile, Lana gives Lois Lane the wrong location to where Titano and Superman are fighting. Hoping that she can prove that Clark and Superman are one in the same. At the same time getting him to fall for her. Sounds really complicated. It doesn't work, and Titano almost kills Lana. Superman flies back in on the Atomic Skull and knocks him out again. Titano is now docile, and the Man if Steel traps him in a cage. Now that he is done, Supes takes his newly lead-lined Supermobile and sucks up all of the kryptonite surrounding Earth, his lead missile only diminishing the effect, not ending it.

This was merely an okay comic. I did like that we got a very brief origin on both Titano and the Atomic Skull, as I'm not real familiar with either of them. I've heard of both and remember they both had a Who's Who entry, but that is about it. The one bit that did irritate me was Superman was completely flummoxed that Titano made it back to Earth after he took him to another planet. All I was thinking that if someone can get him there, then someone can get him back. Somehow the Atomic Skull teleported him back to Earth.

This is from later in the decade, when much use was made of Silver Age elements and the stories had much fight content. Martin Pasko's run was really when the title started being written in the style of other (and especially Marvel) superhero comics of the era, with running subplots and storylines, stories built around the series's established "mythology", and intense action.

 

Julie Schwartz had started his time as Superman editor with a story that turned all kryptonite on Earth to iron. The kryptonite pipeline storyline started during a preceding Metallo one that reintroduced it. (The eventual explanation was that Krypton II, which Superman helped aliens who lived in Krypton's sun create from Krypton's remains in Superman #255, had also exploded.)

 

The story was Titano's first return post-Weisinger return, and as far as I know the only one pre-Crisis. In the Silver Age he was Superman's antagonist in his first couple of stories, and after that a kind of recurring supporting character. The present story's depiction of Superman as having taken him blindfolded to another planet is probably a continuity error, as in his debut story Superman instead exiled him to the distant past (where he fought dinosaurs). However, there was apparently a Jimmy Olsen story where a giantess from another planet instead took him away with her, so I don't know where he ended up at the every end of the Silver Age.

 

Albert Michaels had been introduced several years earlier as a head of S.T.A.R. Labs who for some reason hated Superman. Pasko had revealed he was one of the inner circle of Skull leaders. The present two-parter introduced his new identity of the Atomic Skull. He was a recurring villain afterwards, but after this story the ideas that he was dying and could only blast things when he had a seizure were dropped, leaving him a ordinary villain. Jenet Klyburn had been introduced as a scientist friend of Superman's at S.T.A.R., and after the Michaels revelation she was represented as its head until at least Legends.

 

Lana had been reintroduced into the cast of the Super-books quite recently. During Pasko's run she was depicted as conniving and planning to win Superman. Pasko resolved this storyline near the end of his run, and she subsequently reverted to being a nice character (the adult Lana's predominant Silver Age characterisation).

 

Spoiler warning concerning how-Titano-got-to-Earth mystery. A subsequent issue revealed that he'd been brought to Earth using a hand-held device stolen from Kobra.

I think you nailed why I liked this one more than the previous issues. There was more action here, unlike the Bates' stories in which it was kind of crammed in at the end.

Great info as usual, Luke. Do you know about how many time Titano appeared? It seems like he would be a pretty limited character, but you never know.

These Superman comics (as well as probably 75% of the books that appear here) I got because I liked the covers. I think all 4 issues above have just dynamite covers.

Thanks for the kind words. The first two Titano stories belong to a type of story in which Superman can't solve a problem directly (in Titano's case, because of his kryptonite eyebeams) and has to find a roundabout way to solve it. An account of the stories, with spoilers, can be found here. The GCD tells me they have been reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman #1 and #2.

As far as I can tell from the GCD his first two stories were the only two "Superman" stories in which he was Superman's central antagonist. A story called "Krypto battles Titano!" that I haven't seen appeared in Superman #147.

Otherwise, he was a monster member of Superman's recurring supporting cast. For example, in "Superman Meets Al Capone!" (Superman #142) Superman nicks back into prehistoric times to check how big he was because Perry wants to know for a headline, and is surprised by Titano as he's measuring his footprint and hit by his beams before he can get away. As a result Superman isn't quite strong enough to make it all the way back to his own time, and ends up in Al Capone's. In "The Kookie Super-Ape!" in Adventure Comics #295 Bizarro duplicates him, and Bizarro-Titano ends up in a wrestling match with Bizarro-Lois. Counting everything the GCD found for me (including issues where a shot of him was shown as he was talked about) he apparently made around thirteen Silver Age appearances or cameos.

 

This post displaced the thread This Week's Comics from the home page.

Another ape opponent of Superman's was King Krypton, who only appeared once. (Note: the GCD's page on the contents of the issue has a spoiler.) In the story he steals Superman's cape rather than wears his costume, and isn't chatty.

 

In their handling of action Bates's stories from the later 70s were more like Pasko's, but his issues lacked the subplots/ongoing storylines and were less intense. Bates's twist endings sometimes had a same-y feel but I think that was more in the 80s.

...Oh , I didn't see this until now .

  A belated thank you , Luke .

Luke Blanchard said:

The American editions of Superman's and Batman's titles were not widely available here until the mid 80s, I think after Crisis. (Those of other DC titles were, but not necessarily all). The stories appeared in local editions which had more pages than US comics.

 

The first Superman stories I remember reading were in Colossal Comic #53, which I must've been given second-hand as Ausreprints tentatively dates it to 1970 (which is several years before I learned to read). In its case the reprints were much older; the Superman ones were from the 50s and helped put me off the character for several years. The cover was a redrawn version of a 1967 issue of Action Comics's, but the corresponding story didn't appear inside.

 

The four-part Karb-Brak story from 1976, which had a Bicentennial tie-in instament, was reprinted in Giant Superman Album #33 in 1978, with the references to 1976 clumsily relettered. Giant Superman Album #27, which Ausreprints tentatively dates a couple of years earlier, was instead a reprint of a DC reprint giant from the mid 60s.

 

Another Superman title of the era - shorter, but still with more pages than a US comic - was Superman Supacomic. According to Ausreprints it stopped around 1976. Issues of the title were among my formative comics reading, but I don't recall seeing any of the issues on the stands (not counting the giant that reused the title later).

 

It was succeeded by a new series titled Superman. This was initially shorter and in colour, then with a larger page size and longer than it had been but on cheaper paper and only partly in colour. Ausreprints tentatively dates the first issue to Jan. 1977. The first couple of issues led with late Weisinger stories, but it then switched to recent stories from the US Superman. The shorter issues were initially mostly filled out with other late Silver/early Bronze Age stories, then with stories from Superman Family. The larger ones were filled out with stories from Superman Family, issues of DC Comics Presents, and older stories.

 

In the 80s the publisher switched to reprinting stories in unnumbered giants, and I think the stories in them sometimes appeared after a bit more of a delay.

 

In the mid 80s the publisher tried reprinting contemporary DC stories in colour editions only a bit longer than a US comic. I don't recall seeing Superman in that format, however.

Time Masters #1-8

1990 or so

Writers: Bob Wayne & Lewis Shiner

Pencils: Art Thibert

Inks: Jose Marzan Jr.

This is one of those series the more that I reflect on it the more I realize how much I enjoyed it. Here we have Rip Hunter with a group of...not friends necessarily, but people who are brought together, that are traveling through time trying to stop a conspiracy by the Illuminati. The people who help Rip range from a co-worker who comes along after Rip's lab is blown up, to a woman who was fired from her job for her relationship with Cave Carson (he eventually came along as well), to another lady who was caught trying to steal Rip's car. Others as well.

The creators were trying to create a set of time travel rules for the DC universe, which I respected. Even if no one else took the ball and ran with it. One of the ideas I liked was that a person could only use one method of time travel one time, so for their missions they used one method to go there, and one to come back to the present. One of the “team” members used his first go to go all the way back to the time of the dinosaurs and then had to come back quickly. Rip figured the kid was useless now since he wasted his trip.

Since this is a time travel story you get to see a bunch of DC's characters from other time periods, like Jonah Hex and the Viking Prince. The main bad guy was easy to figure out, Vandal Savage, since he is immortal. As each team member fails in their appointed task, Rip keeps sending another one back further in time. His cousin decides that he will just stay in America during the Revolution since he has found found love, and really likes it there.

A common theme in these type of stories is that no matter what you do to change the past, your present will still be what it is. Rip doesn't learn this until way too late. When most of the group goes to Atlantis and visits Arion, Arion tries to tell Rip that trying to kill Vandal Savage won't accomplish what he hopes it will. Rip doesn't listen to him and travels further back in time, and kills Vandal Savage. Only to have Savage's son take his place and accomplish what the original was going to do. Stuck in that time Rip finally learns this all too important lesson.

Then you have Bonnie that 3 people on the team are in love with. She takes a trip, but to the future, and she also decides to stay there. The Illuminati in that time period is doing good and trying to keep knowledge alive. She stays to help them in their endeavors.

A ton of other stuff was going on. They creators packed quite a bit into these eight issues. A couple of bombings. Taking present day weapons into the past. Suicide. The Justice League. Etc.

The art wasn't flashy, but it told the story well, and Thibert and Marzan really need to be commended for that. It is such a story of its time, though, with the mullet and the high-top fade going on.

There were a couple of problems I had with it though. First, Rip Hunter is an unapologetic jerk the entire time. It was really hard to root for him at all. I really didn't care that he got stuck in the past. The only other big problem I had was when Rip Hunter told Superman what was going on with the Illuminati and why it was such a big deal. Superman just tells Rip that the problem sounds to big for him, and he should ask the Justice League for help. What? Superman would never say that! Man, he would always, always, always try. Man!

I have some memories about this Post-Crisis revision of Rip Hunter. Yes he was a jerk throughout it. His cousin, Dan Hunter, stayed in Revelutionary times and became Tomahawk's sidekick.

Vandal Savage became the main villain of the Wally West Flash.

They were still seperating Superman from the Justice League at this time and trying to make Superman not-so super but definitely, out of character!*

*That's why I prefer Pre-Crisis books! ;-) 

I remember that series -- liked it quite a bit, as I recall, especially the Art Thibert artwork and the "only use each method one" conceit. Lewis Shiner was a name I recognized -- he didn't do much comics work, but he had written for the Wild Cards series.  

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