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…    

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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.

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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/

George Perez (1954-2022)

George Perez, the incredible comic book artist who made major contributions to illustrated literature (especially the superhero comic book genre), sadly passed away due to complications related to pancreatic cancer. He was 67-years-old and I can say that superhero comic book art and dynamic expressions will not be the same without him.

George Perez with the two Wonder Woman plastic models. (photo source – DC Comics Facebook page)

Already there were comic book industry figures who reacted to the death of the legendary Perez. DC Comics co-publisher and legendary creator Jim Lee paid tribute stating, “We creators may all have access to the same tools of the trade: pen, paper and imagination, but what George could do with his prodigious talents was off the charts.”

For his part, Rob Liefeld stated, “I’ll remember George for his innovative and prolific storytelling. Thank you for all the great memories. Rest In Peace, George Perez.”

For the newcomers reading this as well as those who are simply unaware of Perez’s legacy, he was responsible for visualizing DC Comics’ 1985 epic maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths (note: he drew countless characters complete with varied settings or environments in high detail) and redefining Wonder Woman (note: he also wrote the stories) which made her a more essential pop culture icon. George Perez also worked for Marvel Comics over many projects and was chosen to illustrate the memorable 2003 JLA/Avengers crossover series of Marvel and DC. Perez also worked with other publishers such as Malibu Comics for several Ultraverse comic books and Image Comics for Crimson Plague and Witchblade. In recent years, he was responsible for Sirens published by BOOM! Studios.

For me, Wonder Woman was best defined during the post-Crisis era of DC Comics which involved George Perez and Len Wein who wrote the early issues of the Wonder Woman monthly series in the late 1980s.

In his decades-long career in comics, Perez unsurprisingly earned varied awards and honors (references here, here, here and here to name a few).

I should say that George Perez is a long-time favorite comic book illustrator of mine. I enjoyed reading the superhero comic books he illustrated and I love his art style on the characters, the environments and crowds. If there is anything I love about Perez’s art, it is his distinct style along with his implementation of high levels of details on the characters, objects, creatures and surroundings. Perez is also known to capture the distinct visual elements of superhero characters such as Spider-Man’s costume and his spaghetti-like web, Superman’s physique and distinct letter S, Prime’s overly muscular body and more. Every time Perez is involved as artist, the result is almost always a visual feast that often adds punch to the script prepared.

When I was still actively collecting comic books back in the 1990s, I often get excited whenever I learned that George Perez illustrated upcoming comic books. In 1992, he drew Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect (2 books) which was mind-blowing and intriguing for me! In 1993, I became a fan of the newly launched Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and I got very excited to learn that Perez was hired for their major UV crossover Break-Thru (2 issues). Perez also drew one issue of Prime and most of the early issues of the UV team UltraForce (issues #0, #1, #3, #4, #5 and #6). If you want to see Perez draw ALL the characters of the Ultraverse, you should read the 2-issue Break-Thru storyline.

A page from Break-Thru #2 showing just some of the many Ultraverse characters Perez illustrated. This was published before the release of UltraForce.

Speaking of UltraForce, check out this video by Crypto Comics (with observations on Perez’s art works)…

Going back to George Perez’s amazing run on Wonder Woman, I urge you to watch the video below…

For me, the most defining stories of Wonder Woman ever told in any art form are still the comics that Perez wrote (note: he co-wrote stories with Greg Potter and Len Wein respectively on the early issues) and illustrated during the post-Crisis era of DC Comics. Check out my retro reviews of Wonder Woman 1980s comics on this website.

Truly, George Perez will be missed by a lot of people and his countless pieces of works will be revisited in the foreseeable future. In closing this piece, posted below are varied works (comic book covers and interior art) done by the late creator through the decades for your viewing pleasure and learning. This is a tribute to Perez and may he rest in peace!

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Note: All images shown are properties of their respective companies.

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/

Gameplay footage of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks promising

When Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was first unveiled with a cinematic trailer during the DC FanDome of 2020, I was just interested with its concept but wanted more in terms of gameplay. After more than one year of waiting, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed at last the first gameplay footage of the Rocksteady Studios-developed game and I find it looking fun and promising. For your viewing pleasure, watch the official gameplay trailer below…

As seen in the above trailer, the developer behind the acclaimed Batman Arkham games really worked hard to not only make a wide variety of action and movements (in relation to the different members of the Suicide Squad), but also have them animate very smoothly and artistically resulting a cinematic look while still maintaining the DC Comics aesthetic.

A quick look at Metropolis serving as the open world environment in the game.
3rd person view shooting sequence with Deadshoot doing the shooting.

The gameplay trailer showed 3rd person view shooting sequences with not only Deadshot but also with King Shark. As for Harley Quinn, there were sequences of her swinging above ground and doing close combat. The in-game Metropolis (the fictional city often identified with Superman) was clearly designed to provide gamers a large, open world-inspired environment which opens up opportunities for action, exploration and storytelling. Metropolis in this game looks detailed and there are visual references to Superman and Wonder Woman shown.

An action sequence with Harley Quinn.
Harley swinging into action!
Players will get to do some shooting as King Shark.

Having seen the gameplay footage, I can say my interest in playing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League on my Xbox Series X in the near future has gotten stronger. I should state that it is a spectacle to see Rocksteady’s developers push their creativity hard, possibly more so than what they achieved in the Batman Arkham games. By the way, Rocksteady is being assisted by Unbroken Studios on the game.

As of this writing, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League does not have a final release date but it will be released for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC sometime in 2022.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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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/

Better than Streaming: Injustice 4K Blu-ray coming out on October 19, 2021

Are you an avid fan of DC Comics and its superheroes? To be more specific, if you love Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Aquaman and the Justice League, there is something new coming in 4K Blu-ray format very soon.

I’m not talking about the Zack Snyder’s Justice League 4K Blu-ray release for the American market. I’m talking about the Injustice 4K Blu-ray which is set for an October 19, 2021 release and you can order it online right now. This new release is about the DC animated feature which includes voice performers Janet Varney as Wonder Woman, Justin Hartley as Superman and Anson Mount as Batman to name a few.

Coming out on October 19, 2021.

Posted below is an excerpt from the studio’s official description of Injustice…

Inspired by Injustice: Gods Among Us, NetherRealm Studios’ popular video game, and the best-selling DC graphic novel based on the video game, Injustice: Gods Among Us: Year One by Tom Taylor, the animated film Injustice finds an alternate world gone mad – where The Joker has duped Superman into killing Lois Lane, sending the Man of Steel on a deadly rampage. Unhinged, Superman decides to take control of the Earth for humanity’s own good. Determined to stop him, Batman creates a team of like-minded, freedom-fighting heroes. But when Super Heroes go to war, can the world survive?

Posted below are key details of Injustice 4K Blu-ray from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

French: Dolby Digital 5.1

Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles – English SDH, French, Spanish

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (2 BD)

Digital

Digital copy included

Playback

4K Blu-ray: Region free

2K Blu-ray: Region A

And here are details of the special features and technical specs…

  • HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • Adventures in Storytelling – Injustice: Crisis and Conflict (New Featurette) – The storytellers behind the new Injustice animated film discuss how all the intense drama and unabashed action was brought to life.
  • DC Universe Movies Flashback
    • The Death of Superman
    • Reign of the Supermen
  • From the DC Vault
    • Justice League – Injustice For All, Part I
    • Justice League – Injustice For All, Part II
  • Optional English SDH, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Danish subtitles for the main feature

Personally, I never got to play any of the Injustice video games nor was I able to read any issues of the related comic books. Still, I find this DC animated feature interesting mainly due to its core concept. As for its 4K Blu-ray release, the extra stuff looks interesting although it remains to be seen if the animated feature’s visuals will indeed be native 4K or upscaled 4K. Here is hoping it will be native 4K.

For more entries of my Better than Streaming series of articles, check out my pieces on The Beastmaster 4K Blu-rayThe Transformers: The Movie 4K Blu-rayMortal Kombat 2021 4K Blu-raySpace Jam 4K Blu-rayV: The Original Miniseries Blu-ray (read my retro review), V: The Final Battle Blu-rayHighlander 4K Blu-rayThe Suicide Squad, Super Dimension Century Orguss Blu-ray and Unbreakable 4K Blu-ray.

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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

If you wish to join a group of movie enthusiasts and talk about cinema, visit the Movie Fans Worldwide Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/322857711779576

A Look Back at The Strangers #15 (1994)

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, comic book collectors, 1990s culture enthusiasts and fans of Malibu Comics! Are you ready for another return to the Ultraverse as seen through another tale of The Strangers?

Last time around, I had a lot of fun reading the debut and origin story of Powerhouse who turned out to be an ultra whose powers were realized in 1938 (coincidentally the same year DC Comics launched Action Comics #1 which introduced Superman in real life) and ended up spending more than fifty years of his life in containment. As for the Strangers, only Atom Bob and Grenade were featured but their encounter with Powerhouse (an ultra who was rejected for his being powerful  during his youth and eventually witnessed how modern-day ultras like the two mentioned Strangers were received positively by the public which knew of their powers) proved to be fun and memorable to read.

Now we can go on to another tale of The Strangers but with focus on two other members. To find out, here is my look back at The Strangers #15, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Steve Englehart and drawn by Rick Hoberg.

Early story

The story begins with the Strangers doing a review of their own members (6) plus ten others who happened to have been on the very same cable car with them the day they all got struck by energy from the sky which turned them into ultra beings. Their leader Lady Killer noted that there are still 43 others unaccounted for who may or may not have realized the got powers. The first ten they verified as ultras were all bad guys they fought with in recent times.

After the end of their discussion, the Strangers decide to take time off to go back to their respective private lives. Yrial asked Leon/Zip-Zap if she could join him. Zip-Zap tells her that his local community is very different from the floating island community she came from. Even so, Yrial stressed she wants to come with him and he accepts.

Some time later at another part of town, Yrial and Zip-Zap (both wearing civilian clothes) walk together. A few people somewhat recognized Yrial which reflects the public’s knowledge of her team. As they move on, a gang of tough-looking black people calls Zip-Zap by his real name. It turns out that Colvin (the apparent gang leader) and Leon had a conflict some time back and he knows Leon is with the Strangers.

Colvin introduces Yrial and Zip-Zap to Gangsta and Brazen. This prompts the teenage Leon to warn Yrial that Gangsta is dangerous. Gangsta then unleashes an energy blast on the two Strangers…  

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Yrial and Zip-Zap plus the gang.

I like this story and the way it developed Yrial and Zip-Zap. To be clear, this story is not a typical, good-versus-evil superhero presentation. You won’t see the entire Strangers engage with another group of bad guys nor go against one powerful villain. It’s really all about Zip-Zap and his black lady friend who find trouble at a time when they are supposed to have a restful and easy time together. In other words, what happened to Atom Bob and Grenade in the previous issue also happened to the two black members of the team.

There clearly is a strong visual element of black people here and the story even touches on racial barriers. The new villain Gangsta openly stated that he got his powers from the ancient Egyptian pharaohs which he also described as the direct ancestors of the black race. He even tells Zip-Zap to honor Colvin’s gang, otherwise he will die.

The match-ups here are strategic. Yrial and Gangsta fight each other using magic, and they represent different cultures even as they are both black. For his part, Zip-Zap fights with a gang of black people led by a rival from his past. Their respective conflicts were portrayed in compelling ways.

Going back to Zip-Zap being reluctant in having Yrial with him on his return to his old neighborhood, the teenage member of the Strangers admits that his life has been uneasy. His father died before he was born and his mother died a few years before the day he and his teammates gained their powers while riding the cable car. Zip-Zap also was the littlest kid in a gang. Then life in the neighborhood became harder for him when Gangsta showed up. I should state that the way Steve Englehart emphasized Zip-Zap’s background is really compelling and also believable.   

Conclusion

Visually, having Yrial and Zip-Zap in civilian clothing is a fresh change from the usual.

Thanks to the creative duo of Englehart-Hoberg, The Strangers #15 (1994) is another fun-filled story that succeeded in developing Yrial and Zip-Zap while also keeping the series’ storytelling fresh. It touches on black people and the different cultures that brought the characters together. It even touches on the stereotypes of black gangsters as well as black youth who grew up without a father. That being said, it is a wonder as to how Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists would react if they read this comic book.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #15 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #15 (1994) is recommended!

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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 The Strangers #14 (1994)

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, comic book collectors and fans of Malibu Comics! Previously, I reviewed an issue of The Strangers which happened to be the 2nd-to-the-last issue of its monthly series (which itself was mostly spearheaded by the dynamic duo of Steve Englehart and Rick Hoberg).

I was about to do a retro review of The Strangers #24 but realized that there are still some other comic books of the series that I have not reviewed yet. As such, I decided to read those other issues before reviewing the final issue.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at The Strangers #14, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Englehart and illustrated by Hoberg.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins when a strong, muscular man with long blonde hair strikes a huge rock formation high in the hills to the east of San Francisco Bay in California. While talking to himself (most likely a way to deal with his isolation), he continues to lift very large piece of rock, smashes more rocks and throws a tractor as if it was just a ball.

“I am…Powerhouse! I am Powerhouse! I…am Powerhouse,” he said to himself.

Still talking to himself, Powerhouse realizes that the world must never know about him as it has done its best to destroy him. He quietly changes into civilian clothes and drives away into the distance in his car.

On the streets of East Bay Hills in Berkeley, Hugh/Grenade and Bob/Atom Bob walk down the fancy commercial zone as they enjoy the time-off Elena/Lady Killer gave them. Soon enough, people started recognizing the two as members of The Strangers even though they are not in costume. This community buzz catches the attention of an executive at a local radio station who then picks Powerhouse (in civilian form) to go to East Bay Hills to report about Hugh and Bob…

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When Powerhouse first gained super abilities.

I’ll got straight to the point about what this comic book is all about. This is the story of an ultra who gained powers very long before The Strangers, Mantra, Prime, Hardcase, The Solution and all the other Ultraverse heroes even started. That being said, Powerhouse is an old man (who really does not look like in his sixties or seventies) whose life turned upside-down as a result of gaining super powers as a teenager in the year 1938 (note: this was the year Superman debuted in comics in real life). Having lost DECADES of his time in the world, Powerhouse became a man who found himself lonely and having trouble adjusting into the modern world (1993 in the Ultraverse specifically). What bothers him even more is the fact that super beings like The Strangers members Atom Bob and Grenade are gladly accepted and celebrated by the public which is the complete opposite of how he was perceived when he became a super being.

The writing done by Steve Englehart is very rich to read and through it all, you will feel the pain, frustration and anguish of Powerhouse. As usual, Rick Hoberg’s art is always great to look at and you can see in this comic book how he adjusts his style when the narrative shifts from the talk scenes into the action scenes and the like.

Conclusion

Really, you only see two of The Strangers in this comic book which contradicts what was shown on the cover art.

Fundamentally, The Strangers #14 (1994) highlights Powerhouse (both his present-day self and his origin) with Atom Bob and Grenade literally pushed out of the spotlight. Powerhouse is clearly inspired by the old ages of superhero comics and the creative team cleverly presented him as a super-powered man who finds himself struggling to fit in the 1990s. While this super being debut story is fun and engaging, its only weakness is that The Strangers have little real presence in the story (note: the cover art looks great but is really misleading).

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of The Strangers #14 (1994), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $14.

Overall, The Strangers #14 (1994) is recommended!

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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 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…

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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 Wonder Woman #17 (1988)

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.

When was the last time you traveled overseas not to have fun the usual way (partying, spending time in bars, watching movies or stage plays, and the like) but rather to immerse yourself into history by visiting several historical sites? When you plan to travel overseas, have you thought about pursuing the wonder of discovery?

Welcome back, Wonder Woman fans and comic collectors! It has been almost a year since I started publishing retro reviews of Wonder Woman comic books from the post-Crisis age of DC Comics drawn by the famous George Perez. I can say that I really enjoyed the modernizing of the Queen of Superheroes done by Perez along with the late Len Wein. In fact, my enjoyment on the post-Crisis Wonder Woman is greater than what I had for the New 52 Wonder Woman. For those who love Wonder Woman movies, check out my retro review of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie and my feature about the No Man’s Land scene. If you are into the latest movie Wonder Woman 1984 starring Gal GadotChris Pine and Kristen Wiig, be aware that the 4K Blu-ray combo of it will be released on March 30, 2021. I already ordered a copy of it.

Going back to what I mentioned earlier, discovering new places can be tremendous experiences for those who travel abroad. With those details laid down, we can finally start this look back at Wonder Woman #17, published in 1988 by DC Comics with a story written and drawn by George Perez with ink work done by Dick Giordano.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins as a white bird flies high in the sky in the middle of dark clouds and bolts of lightning. The bird is carrying a message and as it continues to move forward, the darkness fades away as light and calm clouds set in.

In Wakefield, Massachusetts, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman receives her special United Nations (UN) passport from Etta Candy. It turns out that Julie Kapatelis is in Athens, Greece, making arrangements for Diana’s first overseas trip in man’s world. As they talk, Etta reveals that Steve Trevor is aware of the connection between Wonder Woman’s costume with his mother.

As Vanessa (Julie’s daughter) comes down from the second floor, Steve Trevor enters the house carrying a bird carrying a message. Even as she recognizes the bird, she is amazed to discover that it arrived there all the way from Themyscira. The message carried by the bird is from Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyte. She begins to read the message in the car with Vanessa on the way to the airport…

Quality

Diana visits and discovers Greece.

I’ll start by pointing out that this is the first issue of this particular monthly series to be written entirely by George Perez (note: Len Wein was involved with the script for issue #16) and, as I read this comic book, he wrote well and succeeded in further developing Wonder Woman’s personality just as she discovers more of man’s world and its connections with her fellow Amazons.

In this comic book, Wonder Woman (with Vanessa) travels to Greece for an arranged visit with her mentor Julie anticipating her arrival. Upon arriving in Greece, a lot of people warmly welcomed Wonder Woman who in turn got reunited with Julie in the presence of her Greek friend Stavros. In relation to the opening paragraph of this review, this is the story of Diana’s discovery of Greece, its people, its culture and legacy. The way Perez wrote and visualized her discovering and learning of the Greek sites really emphasized her thoughts as her perception of man’s world and its connections to her people and her culture builds up.

Unlike the previous two issues, this story is much heavier with character development and Perez’s writing is indeed engaging. As you read Diana’s words and thoughts, you will experience intrigue and even relate to her experiencing a great wonder of discovery. Also worth reading are her thoughts about Superman.

Apart from the focus on Wonder Woman, this comic book also paid attention to the intrigue that happened among the deities of Olympus – including Heracles – who are still recovering from the great disturbance caused by Darkseid. Oh yes, the story also marked the start of the build-up of another supervillain for Diana to face.

Conclusion

In the airplane on the way to Greece.

While it clearly lacked a strong conflict between good and evil, the wonder of discovery as well as the in-depth characterization made Wonder Woman #17 (1988) a must-read. George Perez, who is best known for his artworks, proved to be a very solid writer and it should be noted that he went on to write a whole lot more stories about the Queen of Superheroes.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Wonder Woman #17 (1988), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $42 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $42.

Overall, Wonder Woman #17 (1988) 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 Annual #10 (1984)

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.

Before DC Comics ended their original superhero multiverse with Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-1986) to restart all over again, there were a whole lot of stories about Superman ranging from the dramatic stuff, the epic tales and right down to the most outlandish tales.

As a kid, I was fortunate enough to buy myself a copy of a 1984 Superman comic book, the cover of which really intrigued and caught my interest. It was a Superman annual comic book with a $1.25 cover price which was somewhat high at the time. Its cover showed the Man of Steel himself carrying a sword pointed up.

That image made me wonder: Why would Superman have to use a sword when he is so powerful and capable without weapons? Where did that sword come from? Who made it in the first place? Is the sword so special to Superman?

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman Annual #10, published by DC Comics in 1984 with a story written by Elliot Maggin and drawn by classic Superman artist Curt Swan.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in a space where a group of diverse people composed of aliens and humans are gathered together watching a live video feed Superman on a large monitor above their heads. As it turns out, the Man of Steel is in space working to prevent meteoroids from entering the planet below him. He then speeds off into space heading back to Earth.

Along time ago deep in the galaxy, a big bang effect took place creating several new fragments in the vacuum of space and among them is a long, rough object that resembles a sword. As an unknown amount of time passed, the long object gradually turns into a smooth looking sword complete with a sharp blade and a letter “S” on one end that is the same as the one Superman carries. It is referred to as the sword of Superman!

In Metropolis, Clark Kent is passed by his officemate Jimmy Olsen who mentioned that he is rushing to interview the billionaire industrialist Oswald Mandias. Two days have passed and Jimmy Olsen remained missing. As his boss Perry White heads on to the office, Clark remains and changes into Superman when the coast got clear.

As the Man of Steel flies off into the city, a Galaxy Broadcasting live report on TV shows Lana Lang reporting from the Kennedy Space Center where the new space shuttle Magellan is about to make its first-ever commercial flight to launch a mysterious new communications satellite owned by Mandias Industries…

Quality

Clark Kent/Superman being a complete stranger to others added a lot to the story.

Being an annual, I can say that the Sword of Superman story was well-written and nicely visualized by the creators which made it fun and engaging to read. It is a Superman story that further adds to his being an essential hero of the original DC Comics multiverse and a key factor here is the somewhat outlandish concept that the sword that he gained was an original material of the universe from the big bang and even had connections to the unseen omnipotent force.

This story is not a simple, straightforward tale about Superman gaining a weapon required to defeat the supervillain King Kosmos. In fact, the sword opens up events that made the Man of Steel reevaluate himself, his situation and the people around him. King Kosmos, who is a time-travelling villain from the future (first appearance in DC Comics Presents Annual #2), served not just merely as the opposition but also adds a good amount of complexity within the reality of the story. For one thing, it is very intriguing and also refreshing to see people of Metropolis (even Clark’s friend Jimmy Olsen) failing to recognize Superman. This is a one-of-a-kind story of Superman that must be read, even though it is not really an epic tale.

Conclusion

The return of King Kosmos!

I personally enjoyed reading Superman Annual #10 (1984) the first time back in 1984. The fact here is that after re-reading it recently, I do confirm that it is still an enjoyable comic book to read, and I am not even a Superman fan anymore. That is quite something! This is indeed a really good piece of Superman history from the pre-Crisis era. It also touches on themes about omnipotence and being whole with the entire universe.

If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Superman Annual #10 (1984), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the regular edition costs $35 while the near-mint copy of the newsstand edition costs $70.

Overall, Superman Annual #10 (1984) 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. 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