A Look Back at Superman #77 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superheo enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, DC Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the post-death period of post-Crisis era Superman comic books as published in the early 1990s by DC Comics. Specifically, this is about a tale that took placed between Superman #75 (1993) and the hyped return of the American icon in Adventures of Superman #500 (1993).

What you are about to see is a mix of drama and intrigue that took place sometime after Superman’s death as envisioned by Dan Jurgens. As with other post-death comics of the time, the supporting characters connected to Superman as well as his arch enemy Lex Luthor got their fair share of the spotlight.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #77, published by DC Comics in 1993 with a story written and drawn by Dan Jurgens. This is part 8 of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the red-headed Lex Luthor (note: in a new physical body totally different from his previous one) in the middle of a combat session. Even though his hatred towards Superman drives him, he could not help but allow his recall of the past to distract him enough to allow one of combatants to strike him down. As Luthor recovers, the session gets interrupted when Supergirl (a clone) appears with Lois Lane beside her.

Lane shares to him a hard copy of a column that she made before it got trimmed down by the editorial team of the Daily Planet. With so much hate in him, Luthor reacts madly to the article which reveals that Superman’s dead body has been taken away by Project Cadmus. Lois tells him that they intend to cut the Man of Steel’s body for cloning.

Luthor then says he will work to get Superman back where he belongs and put Cadmus in its place for good. Moments after, as she walks away from Luthor’s building, Lois Lane expresses concern about how Martha and Jonathan Kent would react had they learned that their adopted son’s body was taken away…

Quality

Several photographs of Superman taken by Jimmy Olsen.

I am happy to say that Dan Jurgens crafted a really solid story in this comic book. Character development is easily the biggest feature here which is very notable on how Jurgens highlighted Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Jimmy Olsen. Each of them had their own moments – Luthor’s obsession and hatred of Superman here will encourage you to revisit the early post-Crisis encounters between them; Lois Lane meanwhile struggles to move on as she misses Clark a lot (note: they were engaged to get married) while also trying to hard to find his missing body; Jimmy Olsen gets the big opportunity to play a major role on deciding the cover image for a printed media tribute of Superman while feeling really down as a result of the sudden death. Jurgens not only crafted the plot structure carefully, he also wrote down very rich dialogue all throughout and he cleverly used dreams and day dream sequences as exposition to give readers notable visions of the past. This is a very compelling read.

Conclusion

Visions of Lex Luthor’s past accompanying his modern day self shows cleverness and efficiency on the part of Dan Jurgens.

Superman #77 (1993) really is a great read thanks to Dan Jurgens delivering high-quality work. At this particular stage of DC Comics’ publishing history, Jurgens not only really knew Superman but he knew how to emphasize the supporting characters (all of which were impacted by the death in Superman #75) and what direction to take the Funeral for a Friend storyline to. If there is anything that negatively affects the impact of this comic book, it is the dishonesty and betrayal (towards the fans) that came within Adventures of Superman #500 (1993).

Overall, Superman #77 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

A Look Back at Adventures of Superman #500 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book. This time, however, we go revisit a comic book that literally served as a bridge between the Funeral for a Friend storyline and the eventual Reign of the Superman storyline. I am talking about the 500th issue of the Adventures of Superman monthly series.

To put things in perspective, the Funeral for a Friend storyline dramatized the immediate aftermath of Superman’s sudden death which paved the way for comic book creators to develop not only DC superheroes (affiliated with Superman specifically) but also the supporting characters linked with the Man of Steel in new and creative ways. Not only that, there was even a months-long hiatus on all Superman-related comics before Adventures of Superman #500 was released. Back in the old days when Internet connection and online news were not yet common, I heard lots of buzz about DC resurrecting Superman from the dead which added to the anticipation of the 500th issue of Adventures of Superman.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Adventures of Superman #500, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Jerry Ordway and drawn by Tom Grummett.

The cover of the premium version of this comic book.

Early story

The story begins inside a Kansas hospital where medical professionals are trying to revive Jonathan Kent who lost consciousness. Martha Kent is present witnessing the efforts happen. As his physical body is being worked on, Jonathan Kent finds himself in a dream-like realm and to his shock, he meets his dead son Clark who finds himself being pulled into the bright light in the distance. Refusing to let go, Jonathan Kent accidentally tears off Clark’s clothes which reveal him as Superman in his iconic outfit. Superman tells his adoptive father to rejoin the living.

Suddenly two wraiths appeared and escorted Superman into the light. Still defiant, Jonathan then flies himself into the light to follow his son.

Back in the real world, Martha carefully monitors her husband’s health reading. After being assured by the medical staff that they won’t give up on her husband, Martha is surprised to see Lois Lane who arrived all the way from Metropolis…

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Lois Lane with Martha Kent and the recovering Jonathan Kent.

Let me get straight to the point about this Superman story…this is a very dramatized approach on bringing back Superman from the dead without necessarily going all-out. As we comic book geeks know by now, the Reign of the Superman events launched with this comic book serving as a launch pad and that meant that people had to go through many comic books before finally getting to see Superman himself in resurrected form.

More on the story itself, the main feature here is Jonathan Kent’s struggle to follow Superman in the dream-like realm (note: DC’s version of the afterlife which is clearly not spiritual) as he was motivated by his love for him as well as his belief that the world still needs the Man of Steel as their beacon of hope. To be very clear, Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummet nicely executed their presentation of Jonathan Kent and his uncompromising effort to get his son back. The creative team’s imagination really was set into high gear which resulted in Jonathan revisiting a familiar place from his old days as a soldier, getting himself into a lair of demons, flying deep into space and visiting the realm’s own version of Krypton. Very truly, this comic book’s protagonist is Jonathan Kent and the iconic Superman was more of a supporting figure.    

While the Jonathan Kent tale is good to read, Superman’s return from the dead here ended up more as a teaser of things to come (note: the Reign of the Supermen). Considering the big promise that came with this comic book, it is indeed a disappointing pay-off towards all the build-up. Not only that, the side stories are a mixed back. The respective scenes of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen added weight to the narrative while the scenes of Gangbuster were pointless and looked more like hollow script filler. As for Cat Grant’s scene, it was designed to make readers feel sorry for her.

As for the scenes – each done by different creative teams – showing the new Superboy, the Eradicator, the black Man of Steel and the Cyborg Superman, these revelations really did not work to recover from the disappointing conclusion of the main story. They were more like creative distractions designed to promote what was coming in the other Superman monthly series of the time.

Conclusion

In the dreamy realm, Jonathan Kent pursues his adopted son Superman who gets treated like a living idol. The father-and-son dynamic is the most entertaining part of this tale.

Even back in the old days, Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) was a disappointing read and it was a highly dramatized effort by DC Comics cautiously expressing that Superman’s death was nothing more than a highly deceptive publicity stunt with Dollar signs in mind.

Within the context of this comic book, the resurrection of Superman was essentially a half-step and his eventual full return in comics did not happen until months later (note: after many Reign of the Supermen stories were published). More on the resurrection aspect of this comic book, I can clearly say that Superman – no matter how iconic he is and no matter what comic book creators tried – will never ever become a beacon of hope nor a true savior for people in real life. It really does not matter that many people bought copies of Superman #75 (the death) believing truly that they would witness the end of the American icon and witness a Superman-less future. What mattered here were the deception and the irresponsible use of a pop culture icon committed by DC Comics. Superman #75 (1993) was the gigantic deception that sold millions while Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) was the big follow-up deception.

The resurrection of Superman in this story does NOT make him a more significant DC Comics icon at all. I know that there are die-hard fans out there who love to compare the Man of Steel with Jesus Christ but such comparisons and forced attempts to link them together are pathetic and worthless. Superman is not real and even if he was, he could never overcome death nor could he save people. The resurrection of Lord Jesus can never be matched and only He saved people and led them to salvation in the presence of His Father, the Lord God.

By today’s standard, this comic book is much more disappointing and even worth less as a piece of American comic book history. While the work done by the Ordway-Grummett team here was not really terrible, it was the dishonesty and deception of DC Comics that led to this. In fairness to the creators, bringing back Superman after all the hype and belief invested related to his death was indeed a major obstacle for them. You could feel sorry for Ordway-Grummett.

Overall, Adventures of Superman #500 (1993) should be avoided. If you really want to read it, try borrowing a copy. Just don’t spend anything on it.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman #2 (1987)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book. This time, however, we go back to the 1980s, specifically the time when the legendary John Byrne led the direction of developing and modernizing Superman.

After the critical and commercial success of the 1986 limited series The Man of Steel led by John Byrne, the stage was set on telling more stories of what was back then the modernized Superman. In 1987, the monthly series simply titled Superman launched and its first issue had the Man of Steel up against Metallo (also modernized by Byrne). Just before that particular story ended, Metallo was taken away.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #2, published in 1987 by DC Comics with a story written and illustrated by John Byrne.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside a high-tech facility of the powerful business tycoon Lex Luthor who has been obsessed with Superman since their first encounter. In the presence of many female employees (wearing suits, short skirts and high heels), he watches many huge monitors showing the image of a certain lady standing among bystanders.

His employee Amanda tells him that based on their computer-enhanced analysis of all available news footage of Superman in action, the lady in the monitor appeared in public and she first appeared with the crowds weeks after the Man of Steel prevented a space plane from crashing. Luthor begins to speculate the lady could be connected to Superman and tells two other employees to find her, and he would not tolerate any delays.

Luthor then faces Amanda, holds up her left hand with his two hands and tells her she may join him for dinner that evening. When Amanda expressed that she has a prior commitment (gently rejecting Luthor), Luthor discreetly hurts her hand forcing her to accept his invitation.

Luthor then enters a laboratory with his employees there wearing protective suits. Near them is the restrained body of Metallo whose metallic chest is open with a huge piece of Kryptonite (installed as his power source) fully exposed…  

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Superman and the tycoon Luthor.

Let me get straight to the point about this Superman story…this one has Lex Luthor as the main character with Superman having the supporting role. That is NOT a bad thing at all because John Byrne cleverly crafted the story showing how Luthor – who is no longer the criminal mad scientist of the previous multiverse of DC Comics – remains the most brilliant and powerful opposition that Superman cannot simply defeat. Being a billionaire, Luthor has vast financial, scientific and technological resources that enable him to overwhelm Superman and even get to the individual people that the Man of Steel cares the most. Luthor also is aware of how laws work and he knows that Superman’s dedication of following the rule of law is a weakness.

About Superman, this comic book shows the more human and more vulnerable side of him. You will the Man of Steel with a wide emotional range moving from caring to getting outraged within a few pages. Along the way, the hero’s secret begins to break down which alone would make you wish to help him. This is a clever portrayal of DC’s icon.

More on the plot itself, this comic book highlights Clark/Superman’s personal connection with small town sweetheart Lana Lang who ends up getting abducted and tortured by Luthor’s forces. Along the way, the breaking down of Superman’s secret identity was very well dramatized and the pacing was excellent. I should state that the ending is a must-see and surely it will make you realize the dynamics of absolute power.

Conclusion

The post-Crisis Lex Luthor is not only a brilliant super villain, he also has his own approach on socializing and getting results.

Superman #2 (1987) is undoubtedly very brilliant and great to read! From start to finish, John Byrne crafted a story that carefully balanced fantasy with realism while also emphasizing Luthor as the greatest enemy of Superman, as well as dramatizing the hero’s relationships with the Smallvile people of his past. Considering how powerful he really is, Superman here was portrayed to be at a major disadvantage against Lex Luthor in more ways than one. Luthor here is not just one very powerful tycoon, he is also one totally absolute danger towards others and he even has his own style of charisma. This is clearly a great way of modernizing the Superman-Luthor rivalry in the post-Crisis era and 1980s America in general. This is classic superhero literature that should be read!

Overall, Superman #2 (1987) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman #76 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.

Previously, I reviewed Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) and Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) which were chapters of the Funeral for a Friend storyline. In Superman: MOS #20, a large funeral took place which involved several special guests as well as other DC superheroes who paid tribute to Superman. The entire city of Metropolis is struggling to move forward as the sudden of Superman really impacted all the people, especially on Lois Lane.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #76, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens. This comic book marked the fourth chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Shazam (AKA Captain Marvel) arriving at the rooftop of the Daily Planet where the Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Maxima and others are present. The whole city is experiencing a very somber Christmas season as the death and burial of Superman remains very strong on the people.

On the streets of Metropolis, a long-haired guy named Mitch walks down in the rain feeling troubled not only because Superman died but also due to the fact that their home got smashed during the encounter with the unstoppable Doomsday. Mitch then arrives at a gathering of people outside of a building’s front door. There are several reporters covering a lady speaking to them with a microphone. She tells them that she is Mrs. Superman…

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Wonder Woman reads a letter.

Being the 4th chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline, Dan Jurgens crafted a story that not only dramatized the post-disaster situation of Metropolis but also had notable twists and developments that proved to be worth reading.

For one thing, this comic book has Lois Lane reunited at last with Clark Kent’s earthly parents Jonathan and Martha which was not only really dramatic but also had very rich dialogue written. By this point in this particular storyline, Lois Lane has gone through waves of deep emotions and pain, while getting stressed with journalistic work. As such, there is this dramatic pay-off that happened during the reunion with the elderly Kent couple.

What is most notable here is the scene in which Superman’s super-powered allies visit a local post office that literally got flooded with lots of mail from around the world addressed to the Man of Steel. On face value, such a scenario looked silly but the way Dan Jurgens crafted the dialogue and the images, the post office scene became believable and sensible to read. This shows that superheroes like Aquaman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and others do have hearts to be caring and sensible to the people.

The scene of the ordinary guy Mitch is significant as well. Clearly the character symbolizes the poor and struggling American who remembers how a complete stranger like Superman came along, stood up to fight for Mitch’s family and died in the process (while Mitch’s father was absent).

This comic book is also a Christmas tale. How Christmas was dramatized here has to be seen and you readers should get a copy of this comic book to find out why. It should be noted that there are themes of reconciliation and the nuclear family that made the Christmas tale meaningful.

Conclusion

Lana Lang, Lois Lane and the elderly Kent couple.

Even without the presence of the Man of Steel and no good-versus-evil conflict, Superman #76 (1993) is a great read as it pushed forward the Funeral for a Friend storyline while successfully telling a meaningful Christmas tale of its own complete with a very unique portrayal of the Justice League and Superman’s allies. How people deal with emotions and stress over Superman’s death was portrayed as highly believable and Dan Jurgen’s writing here was done with really high quality.

Overall, Superman #76 (1993) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (1992)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book – the first full appearance of Doomsday!

To those of you who read my retro review of Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) – which was the opening chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline – you might be wondering why I decided to revisit the Death of Superman storyline so suddenly. It all comes down to context related to Superman’s eventual death and what killed him. Not only did Doomsday become a very important part of DC Comics’ gallery of super villains having achieved the killing of the Man of Steel, the oversized monster became part of DC’s further comic book universe reboots as well as part of multimedia adaptations of DC Comics stories specifically in the Smallville TV series as well as in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Indeed, Doomsday’s place in American pop culture is sealed and that shows how much of an impact was made by the unstoppable super villain co-created by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson and Roger Stern. Doomsday was conceived way back in 1991 during the brainstorming session of the Superman comics writers and editors of the time.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman: The Man of Steel #18, published in 1992 by DC Comics with a story written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Jon Bogdanove. This comic book marked the beginning of the Death of Superman saga.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins deep underground as the left fist of a covered, large being keeps punching the metallic wall to get out of containment. As the punches keep on pounding the wall, the glove gets torn revealing a fist with gray skin and sharp bones protruding through the knuckles. After making its way out of containment, the earth shakes and the animals got disturbed as the creature – mostly covered with an alien body suit  with only the left arm freed – makes its way from deep underground.

Miles away within the city of Metropolis, a young black boy buys a spray paint container (which has a fluorescent yellow paint that glows in the dark) inside a hardware store. In response to the curiosity of the store owner, the boy denies that he would use the glow-in-the-dark pain on a subway wall. The boy has a very tough task ahead of him as he will be going after monsters.

At a power station, a group of intelligent creatures make their way to steal electricity for their war machines…

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Even with only his left arm free, Doomsday still caused massive destruction causing injuries and deaths to others.

To make things clear, this comic book tells two stories that moved in parallel together. The first story involving Superman, Lois Lane and the affairs that involved the mentioned young black boy is the typical good-versus-evil superhero tale. What made that story standout was Lois Lane’s involvement as she got into trouble facing the opposition before Superman came in to save the day. As before, seeing Lois Lane talk to Superman in the presence of others while keeping his identity secret remains engaging to read. This tale was good enough to read.

The other story that follows the sudden appearance and the early rampage of Doomsday is the more engaging one to read. This was clearly a build-up for the Death of Superman concept but it was highly effective, well-paced and clearly defined by the creative team. Not only will you see Doomsday’s unstoppable power of destruction, you will witness his complete disregard of life – animals and humans – which strongly hints the an immense danger that Superman, the Justice League America (JLA) and the people of Metropolis are not prepared for. Like the Terminator, Doomsday cannot be reasoned with as massive destruction and death are his core elements. Within the pages of this comic book, it can be viewed that Doomsday was designed for endless waves of destroying life and anything that gets in the way.

Lastly, I should state that Simonson and Bogdanove presented Doomsday not only to be destructive but also as a frightening force that people in real life would not want to see realized.

Conclusion

The other tale that involved Lois Lane and the young black boy.

Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (1992) remains a very powerful read. Yes, it is a build-up of Doomsday and the Death of Superman saga but it remains highly significant as it kicked-off the creative change of direction of DC’s Superman creative teams going towards tragedies that Superman and his allies cannot easily stop. This one marked start of Doomsday’s eventual high rise not only in comics but also in pop culture in general. That being said, this comic book is a must-have in your collection.  

Overall, Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (1992) is highly recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.

Previously, I reviewed Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) which marked the first chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline and dramatized the impact left behind by the death of Superman. That particular comic book had strong writing and succeeded in dramatizing how Superman’s friends, associates and other characters coped with his death with the future looking uncertain to them.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman: The Man of Steel #20, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Jon Bogdanove. This comic book marked the third chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with people in Metropolis struggling to move forward not only because their hero Superman died but also because of the tremendous damage left behind by Doomsday. In his headquarters, Lex Luthor is talking with the telephone surrounded by several people with Supergirl watching. The matter being discussed was the burial of Superman at Centennial Park particularly in a structure Luthor himself donated. While he has to live on with the fact that he failed to kill Superman, Luthor tells himself he can still bury him.

At the Kent farm far away from Metropolis, Jonathan and Martha Kent are agonizing not only because of the death of their beloved son but also because they realized they cannot even get near him at his funeral as it will be organized as a major event with only the important people allowed to attend…

Quality

It seems like destiny to have the super villain Lex Luthor in the presence of a fictionalized Bill Clinton and Hillar Clinton during the funeral of Superman. By today’s standards, the Clintons made it normal for America to bow to terrorists and make deals with them. That being said, their inclusion in this comic book is just wrong.

To go straight to the point, like Adventures of Superman #498 (1993), this comic book continues to dramatize the impact of Superman’s death on Metropolis and its people in a very engaging manner. It shows that DC’s creative teams in charge of Superman comic book at the time were really organized and coordinated with each other on crafting the Funeral for a Friend storyline. What makes this comic book stand out is the funeral itself which was organized as a public event (with the burial itself done in the presence of important people – including a very evil couple from the Democrats who love abortion and terrorism) and this includes the presence of many other DC Comics superheroes like Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Maxima, Shazam (AKA Captain Marvel) and others. The burial had its own share of intriguing and dramatic moments emphasizing the people’s struggle to adjust themselves knowing they don’t have Superman anymore to help them.

Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Robin help out as the huge crowd became rowdy.

More on the post-death dramatization, the creative team managed to keep Superman’s associates Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and the other Daily Planet people feeling uneasy over the Man of Steel’s death which makes their work covering the funeral professionally a challenge. Unsurprisingly, Lois Lane gets her own fine share of the spotlight agonizing over the fact that she lost her beloved Clark (Superman to the public) whom she was supposed to get married with. The emotional struggle within her intensified as she experiences difficulty of informing the elderly Kent couple about what happened. This is rich writing prepared by the creators.

Not only that, the creative team also went all-out with dramatizing the impact of Superman’s good deeds on the people. You will see several people from Metropolis’ general population talk about how Superman helped them or inspired them. There are certain lines of dialogue that are quite touching to read.

Conclusion

A pretty powerful portrayal of Lois Lane’s struggle on dealing with the new reality that she lost her beloved Superman.

Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) is another solid, post-death story emphasizing the new normal that Metropolis people and Superman’s friends are having difficulty adjusting to…a world without the Man of Steel. Based on the high quality of the storytelling and character development, it is easy to tell that the Superman titles’ creative teams planned ahead and prepared themselves for telling a post-death saga which was pretty risky given the iconic status of Superman and his decades-long legacy in comics and pop culture. This comic book really made Superman’s absence feel powerful and undeniable.

Overall, Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Adventures of Superman #498 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.

To put things in perspective, the Death of Superman which climaxed in Superman #75 (1993) was a major comic book event published by DC Comics and it sure involved a whole lot of risks taken by the creative teams. To put the storyline’s concept short, Superman was beaten by an overwhelming, deformed alien humanoid from outer space who caused massive destruction around. Having no real choice and knowing that his fellow super-powered allies could not stand a chance against the alien called Doomsday, Superman went all-in fighting and stood up against him while defending Metropolis and its people. Superman #75 went on to sell many millions of copies and became an instant collector’s item.

Of course, just because Superman died does not mean that the shared DC universe at that time would come to an end and DC Comics had to keep on telling what happened afterwards.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Adventures of Superman #498, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Jerry Ordway and drawn by Tom Grummett. This comic book marked the first chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins just moments after the Superman passed away in Lois Lane’s arms. Jimmy Olsen, the body of Doomsday and a few of Superman’s allies were near them. Bloodwynd and Dubbilex shared their respective findings that there is no life left in Superman. As emergency personnel slowly approach Doomsday’s body, Lois Lane turns emotional stating that someone has to do something for Superman. More emergency personnel arrive and attempt to revive the Man of Steel who remains lifeless.

Nearby, a man spots an unrecognizable human-like body among the rubble which turns out to be alive. Suddenly the red-headed tycoon Lex Luthor arrives to take care of the ruined being and walks away carrying it. Luthor refers to the being as a female…   

Quality

The Ordway-Grummett team should be recommended for this simple yet very dramatic look at the elderly Kent couple reacting to the death of their adopted son from Krypton.

As a post-death Superman story, it is clear that the creative team carefully explored how the many people of Metropolis would react to the sudden death of the Man of Steal while also leaving some room to set the stage to develop Lois Lane – who at this stage knew Superman’s true identity and kept it all secret – in a new way. There were also sub-plots started here particularly with Lex Luthor and Supergirl, the people working for the Daily Planet and the Kents (Clark’s earthly mother and father). The way all the dialogue and character expressions were crafted, there is an undeniable tone of discomfort and uncertainty which dominated the narrative as I read from start to finish.

What I liked the most about this story was how the creative team showed the heavy toll of Superman’s death on Lois Lane who not only has to deal with the loss of her beloved Clark (perceived by her peers to be missing as a possible victim of Doomsday’s rampage) but also do her best to keep working professionally as a journalist of the Daily Planet. I felt Lane’s pain a lot as I read on.  

Conclusion

Tension and emotions turned high in relation to Superman’s sudden death.

In my view, Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) is a really gripping and highly dramatic post-disaster superhero tale to read. The way it was made, it strongly kicked off the Funeral for a Friend storyline with high emotions as well as an understandable amount of uncertainty that can be seen in the characters. Understandably, there is no good-versus-evil conflict in the story nor any superhero spectacle to watch out for but the sub-plots implemented added some depth which made this post-death tale worth reading. More notably, the creative team succeeded in making the people – both in the story and the reading public – start missing Superman.

Overall, Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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A Look Back at Superman III comic book adaptation (1983)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1980s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1983 which saw the theatrical release of Superman III that featured the late Christopher Reeve as the cinematic Man of Steel.

The 1980s was a very different time with regards to Hollywood’s handling of superhero movies. The concept of a shared cinematic universe was decades away from realization. Warner Bros. back then relied on the Salkind family to produce Superman movies and the first flick in 1978 proved to be a major hit for both viewers and critics while also establishing Christopher Reeve as the definitive live-action Superman for countless people. Unsurprisingly, a sequel was released in the early 1980s which continued box office success for the stakeholders and only led to the approval of another sequel.

Along the way, the late Richard Pryor (a major comedian already) appeared on TV and talked about Superman II which eventually led to him getting hired for Superman III. The movie was released in 1983 making a little over $80 million worldwide while also getting a noticeably weaker reception from critics. More notably, Richard Pryor had a huge chunk of the film’s spotlight as Gus Gorman while the overshadowed Christopher Reeve managed to stretch his cinematic art on playing Clark Kent and Superman (note: there is also the memorable Clark versus Superman battle). Superman III very clearly had a lot more comedy in its presentation. As part of the movie’s marketing, an official comic book adaptation by DC Comics was published.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at the Superman III comic book adaptation,  published by DC Comics in 1983 with a story written by Cary Bates and art made by Curt Swan and Sal Amendola.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins inside the unemployment bureau of Metropolis. There, August “Gus” Gorman was told after 36 weeks of chronic unemployment, he is no longer eligible for financial assistance (read: welfare) from the city. As he was about to light his cigarette, he noticed computer job ad on the match. Gorman proceeds to the Archibald Data Processing School where he gets enrolled with several others. In front of others, Gorman does something on a computer which impressed the instructor a lot.

Over at the Daily Planet, Clark Kent/Superman, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen meet with Perry White at his office. Kent will be returning home to Smallville and make a news story out of it. White gives Kent his approval and then tells Lois she deserves a vacation.

Hours later, Kent and Jimmy Olsen ride the bus together going to Smallville but their ride stops as a result of a huge fire damaging a large chemical plant. A police officer reveals to Olsen that the scientists inside are worried about the plant and its stuff getting destroyed by the fire.

Kent carefully leaves the bus and discreetly changes into Superman to help solve the problem. Olsen, meanwhile, sneaks past the authorities to get to the burning chemical plant.

Over at Webcoe Industries, company head Ross Webster and his sister Vera learn that more than $85,000 worth of company funds was stolen by someone within. Just outside the office, Gus Gorman enters his fancy looking sports car which Webster, Vera and Lorelei notice. Webster asked how could one of their computer technicians afford such a vehicle worth $75,000…    

Quality

This is a creative way the comic book team used to dramatize Gus Gorman scene revealing and acting the bad news to his boss Ross Webster whose plans were thwarted by Superman.

While it is understandable that not all scenes and not all character moments from the movie  made it on print media, this comic book still managed to capture the film’s essence for the most part. The creative team pulled off their own interpretations of the events and made something entertaining and engaging even though they had to deal with the major challenge of summarizing the movie’s plot and establishing a workable comic book narrative.

I should state that the comic team creatively avoided making in-depth references about liquor and smoking which were obvious in the movie. You will not see Superman drinking liquor at a bar nor will you see Gus Gorman referring to tar listed on a cigarette pack. I suppose this was done to ensure the comic book would be released widely and be acceptable to very young readers and the parents watching them.

The battle between evil Superman and Clark Kent is best viewed in the movie. This one is a shorter and less detailed version of it.

When it comes to establishing the clear lead among all the characters featured, Superman fans should be delighted to know that the Man of Steel is indeed more prominent than Gus Gorman. Take note that in the movie, Richard Pryor’s Gus Gorman overshadowed Christopher Reeve’s Superman/Clark.

The art done by Curt Swan and Sal Amendola is decent and it seems to me that their time on visualizing Cary Bates’ script was indeed limited. That being said, it was not surprising to me that, with the exception of Ross Webster in one specific image, none of the characters resembled their cinematic counterparts. Clark Kent/Superman never resembled Christopher Reeve, and Gus Gorman looks nothing like Richard Pryor. Clearly, the artists’ focus was visualizing the narrative which they succeeded.  

Conclusion

Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White in the Daily Planet.

Having seen the Christopher Reeve/Richard Pryor movie in the cinema and on cable TV since 1983, I can say that Superman III (1983) is a decent adaptation. It’s not 100% faithful but it is still a worthy read as it will give you the movie’s concept and entertainment values in literary form. If you really want to full essence of film along with the cinematic moments (note: the Superman-Clark battle is the cinematic highlight) all intact, then your obvious choice is to watch the movie. If you are turned off by the movie’s wacky comedy, then the comic book adaptation will deliver to you the more serious approach on telling Superman III’s story. Let me repeat that Superman is more prominent than Gus Gorman in this comic book.

Overall, Superman III (1983) is satisfactory.

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/

A Look Back at Action Comics #500 (1979)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

To publish a five hundredth issue of an extensive monthly comic book series is clearly a major milestone for any publisher. To do the math, it takes a whole year to publish 12 issues on a monthly schedule. To reach five hundred issues on a monthly pace will require forty-one years and eight months’ time to publish.

Way back in the late 1970s, DC Comics achieved the said milestone with their extensive monthly series titled Action Comics which is often identified with the world’s most famous superhero – Superman! Take note that DC Comics started in 1935 while Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman) was published a few years later.

Going back to the 500th issue of Action Comics, it is easy to wonder what DC Comics’ talent came up with to celebrate the milestone. That being said, we can all find out more in this look back at Action Comics #500, published by DC Comics in 1979 with a story written by Martin Pasko and visualized by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Superman arriving at a pavilion named after him at the Metropolis World’s Fair. Countless people welcomed with lots of cheering as he lands near the mayor in the presence of the famous entrepreneur J. Robert Arngrim. Also present were Superman’s closest friends Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White.

After the formal opening, Superman leads a large group of people as their tour guide. Together they arrived a wide hall containing the Krypton exhibit showcasing alien technology, architecture and life on Superman’s home planet. In response to a request by Arngrim, Superman reluctantly agrees to do a demonstration of the mind-prober ray, a machine Superman himself invented as a boy mainly to retrieve memories from his subconscious.

As the Man of Steel takes his seat on the machine in front of the tourists and Arngrim, an unidentified person located in a secret facility prepares to invade Superman’s mind…

Quality

Teenage Clark Kent gradually becoming Superboy.

To make it clear, this 500th issue of the Action Comics monthly series is an extensive, no advertisements tribute to Superman and I can say that the comic book creators really went all out to present lots of stuff to please Superman fans.

As such, the story was written to help the newer fans of the time to be more familiar of the legacy of Superman (note: this was years before Crisis on Infinite Earths happened) by revisiting and dramatizing established events of the Man of Steel’s legacy such as Jor-El (Superman’s father) failing to convince the Kryptonian science council members that their world was doomed, Superman sent to Earth as a child in a rocket before Krypton’s destruction, getting raised by an American couple after arriving on Earth, becoming Superboy (note: another pre-Crisis element), getting a job at the Daily Planet, welcoming Supergirl on Earth, and so on.

Superman leading the tour.

Of course, Superman does not reveal key details of his personal life to the people during the tour and such recollections were presented to delight us readers. Still, there is richness in the writing and the art. Even though I am already familiar with DC’s icon and the Superman-related mythos, I still had a lot of fun reading the events of Superman’s past, particularly his early years as the adopted son of the Kent couple who in turn did their best to adjust to his super abilities while raising him with good values and discipline.

While the recollections from Superman’s past are engaging, the present-day tour at the Superman pavilion is itself quite fascinating. There were displays of supervillains such as Lex Luthor, Braniac and Parasite. There was even a collection of the different types of Kryptonite. What really nailed the present-day story was a nice twist that allowed for some new superhero spectacle and intrigue to take place.

Conclusion

The first stop of the tour – Krypton exhibit!

While this portrayal of Superman is already outdated given the time of its release, Action Comics #500 (1979) is still a lot of fun to read and it is indeed a great tribute to DC’s most famous superhero. If you are a Superman fan who has gotten sick and tired of the way DC Comics reshaped and modernized Superman since after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, this comic book could be refreshing for you. It is also a lively piece of DC Comics’ history.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Action Comics #500 (1979), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $210.

Overall, Action Comics #500 (1979) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Superman #423 (1986)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

How do you end an entire era of a major pop culture icon like Superman? You end it with a very great story described as imaginary and leave it up to the readers to decide if the events never happened or had happened. The famous author Alan Moore wrote such a story (in two parts actually) to help DC Comics conclude the real-life legend of Superman as they transitioned from the original DC multiverse age (1938-1986, concluded with Crisis on Infinite Earths) into a new era of superhero comic book publishing back in 1986 (the post-Crisis era).

For those who were not able to read Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985-1986, there was a time when DC Comics’ superhero universe started simple in the late 1930s and became too convoluted and confusing in the decades that followed. There were different universes in existence resulting not only different realms of existence but also different versions of the superheroes. Even Superman had different versions and there was also Superboy who went back and forth to the 30th century joining that era’s Legion of Superheroes. As Crisis on Infinite Earths concluded the old DC Comics multiverse, a fitting conclusion for Superman became inevitable so the publisher assembled Moore and other great talents to work on a definitive storyline.

If you are ready to look at what Superman was like long before Zack Snyder directed Man of Steel and long before the New 52 and DC Rebirth happened, here is a look back at Superman #423, published by DC Comics in 1986 with a story written by Alan Moore and drawn by Curt Swan with ink work done by George Perez. This is the first chapter of the storyline Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the then-future of 1997 when a journalist from the Daily Planet visiting the home of Lois Lane who is now identified as Mrs. Lois Elliot. The journalist is Tim Crane and his assignment is to interview her for their newspaper’s upcoming Superman memorial edition.

Crane starts asking Lois about the years leading up to Superman’s disappearance and presumed death. Lois recalls the time when Superman’s arch-nemesis Lex Luthor laid low as well as the pounding of Brainiac’s last organic metal body into a state beyond repair. She remembers Superman recovering every fragment except for the head of the creature. Then two other super villains (Terra-Man and Parasite) destroyed each other due to a lack of people to fight with and Superman eventually worked in space helping the government do their research.

As it turned out, the events only led to what was the first taste of the carnage that was to follow. Some years prior, Superman arrived in a heavily damaged Metropolis. Lois told him that Bizarro caused it and Jimmy Olsen stated that the super villain retreated into a nearby department store and still has not come out since. Superman then walks into the department store to face off with Bizarro…

Quality

A classic moment of Superman saving Lois Lane.

I’ll start by saying that the writing done by Alan Moore here is very great to read and clearly he made in-depth research on Superman’s extensive history, exploring the personalities and traits of the supporting characters and super villains, and, most notably, he went on to create a lot of compelling and intriguing stuff to tell. The result was a clear creative challenge towards the conventional thinking of Superman fans of the time and Moore even managed to add some adulterated themes into the narrative without making the comic book going over the edge. For one thing, a certain super villain here concluded his pre-Crisis existence with elements of genocide, homicide and suicide. There was also a scene in which Superman, in his most vulnerable portrayal, expressed his view that nuances from his past were coming back as killers which made him fear for the lives of the people he cared for.

The interview-flashback format to tell the narrative is indeed excellent in form and Moore told each flashback in great detail while capturing the essence of not just Superman but also those of the supporting characters as well as Lex Luthor, Brainiac and others. Even as the stories get told, Moore managed to pull off some great twists which you my readers should find out for yourselves. I personally enjoyed these twists and I am sure you will.

Visually, Curt Swan went all out in making great art and his decades-long experience of drawing Superman and all the related characters really show it. Swan’s art in the final page is very powerful and dramatic to look at.

Conclusion

The interview-flashback format used is great and so was the storytelling itself.

Very clearly, Superman #423 (1986) is not only a great Superman story but also one of the greatest superhero comic books ever made! This is illustrated literature with gold quality all over it and the funny thing is that this happens to be only the first part of the storyline Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? The creative team of Moore and Swan produced the most striking and most engaging Superman work from start to finish. I should state that this one made me rethink and remember what I read about Superman in comic books before Crisis on Infinite Earths happened. The good news is that I enjoyed every bit of what was told in this comic book and it truly is a definitive way to conclude an age of Superman (and this is only the first chapter of the concluding storyline).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Superman #423 (1986), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $120 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $240. A signed-copy in near-mint condition costs $240.

Overall, Superman #423 (1986) is highly recommended!

+++++

Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com