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 Superman turns 75 on Thursday

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Lawson



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PostSubject: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:30 pm

Thursday, April 18, is Superman's 75th birthday!

ACTION COMICS no. 1 debuted exactly 75 years ago. A gazillion comic books, radio shows, television shows, animated cartoons and live-action movies later, Superman is still with us.

He's one of the most recognizable fictional characters on the planet, and whether you like superheroes or not (I do), you must acknowledge that he and his fellow costumed crime fighters are what's kept the lights on in the American comic book industry.

Thank you, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, for your inspiring creation. It's too bad you had to spend so much of your lives fighting DC Comics and its corporate owners for a reasonable compensation package. You're fondly remembered.
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JamesCarter

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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Wed Apr 17, 2013 11:16 pm

Happy birthday Superman. There are so few versions of you I like, but you're still the greatest superhero.


Last edited by JamesCarter on Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lawson



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:58 am

May I humbly suggest producer Bruce Timm's "Superman: The Animated Series," which ran for three seasons in the late 1990s?

Lawson Jr. and I are big fans. It's a fun introduction to the Super-mythos, appropriate for all ages, using a colorful, Art Deco design style, much like Timm's animated Batman series that preceded it. Plus, to make the stories more interesting, Timm scaled back Superman's power level a bit for this series, making him less than the omnipotent deity he usually is in the comic books.
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JamesCarter

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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Thu Apr 18, 2013 1:22 pm

That's one of the few versions I like! Very Happy
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Peter Urkowitz

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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:50 pm

Happy Birthday, Superman!

So, only 20 more years until Action #1 is in Public Domain?
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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:16 am

Alissa mentions Supes birthday in her News column, http://lxng.blogspot.com/

I like the Animated Series version too. In fact, netflix has both the JLA and JLA Unlimited series now, and I had been rewatching episodes, specifically the one where the Legion of Doom and the JLA team up against Darkseid. They did such a great job with all those characters. But the Darkseid/Superman relationship is great, especially in the Superman, series.

But I will admit to being a fan of the older stuff, well some of the older stuff. I liked the George Reeves show, and the old radio show, and the Max Fleicher cartoons. The comic strips. The Kirk Alyn serials not so much, I hated the animation special effects, (the flying effects in the Captain Marvel serials was so much better).

And there is something to be said for the goofy science stuff with the giant apes and Brainiac, from the sixties cartoons.

But the first Christopher Reeve film is the one that gets my heart going, man It has to be the score, that music is amazing. Ultimately it was a comedy though.

None of the other stuff ever got to me as much, none of the other Reeve stuff, Lois & Clark or Smallville. Though that first few episodes of Lois & Clark had some moments. Kid asks about the suit, Clark replies proudly almost kid-like himself, "My Mom made it." He's on the phone with his mom scrubbing his suit, mom is asking if it's an oil based stain or something, "I don't know what kind of stain it is, it's BOMB stain!"

This trailer sure looks big enough to be a great interpretation. Giving us what we want. Iconic and epic, but with villains and evil to fight, not change me back machines when the going gets tough. (I hated Superman two). That's why I hope they put off a JLA film. The DC characters need big, and epic. Green Lantern was done Marvel movie style and look what happened. GL needed huge, epic and serious evil too. An intergalactic police force, as old as the cosmos itself, that's just as big if not enormously huger than Kal El's Kryptonian birth. We got a silly suit and cloud, and script that looked like template with a few lines filled in. Imagine a GL film as serious and human as Battlestar Galactica, dealing with intergalactic war criminals like Sinestro, but fast paced and epic like Star Wars, Avatar, but inventive and full of evil for the Hero to fight.
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Chris W



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:58 am

How the hell was it ever pinned down to 18 April? Ok, Spring of 1938. But given the vaguaries of distribution and publishing, I really want to know how the anniversary was pinned down to that day. Are there receipts or deliveray slips or printing records to verify? The pages themselves go back to 1933 (reportedly) so how the hell...?
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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 3:01 am

Maybe they just went from the date of conception and added nine months?
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Lawson



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:45 am

April 18, 1938, was the release date -- the day that bundles of the comic were sent to newsstands around the country. Of course, it's anyone's guess how quickly the newsstands started selling it or for how long it sold. The comic carried a cover date of June 1938, so it was meant to stay on sale for a while.

If you gotta pick a birthday, though, April 18 is as good as any.
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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:13 pm

i hate newstand delivery services
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Lawson



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:19 pm

???

When was the last time you dealt with a newsstand delivery service?
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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:31 pm

Lawson wrote:
???

When was the last time you dealt with a newsstand delivery service?
When I was production manager at a monthly magazine

One of the ones here in Ohio, if you miss your delivery date to them, you end up losing up to two weeks until the next one. Two weeks for a regional monthly cuts your shelf life in half, not that our newstand circulation was all that large, but cutting your sales time in half didn't help it either
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Chris W



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:15 pm

Lawson wrote:
April 18, 1938, was the release date -- the day that bundles of the comic were sent to newsstands around the country. Of course, it's anyone's guess how quickly the newsstands started selling it or for how long it sold. The comic carried a cover date of June 1938, so it was meant to stay on sale for a while.

If you gotta pick a birthday, though, April 18 is as good as any.

No problem with this, but how was it verified that 18 April is the date the comic went out? That's what I'm curious about. I've never heard of comics distribution chronology being *that* well-defined. It was decades before they were able to verify how many copies actually got sold, but they can pinpoint the exact date comics were loaded on the trucks and sent to newsstands?
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edquinby001

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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Fri Apr 19, 2013 10:26 pm

Might be a distinction without an important difference as long as DC has settled on the date, but the shipping invoices should be dated. Maybe one survived?
More power to you, Superman, may your suns never be red!
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Lawson



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Sat Apr 20, 2013 2:59 pm

Chris asks a good question to which I don't have a good answer, other than I assume someone made note of the date and/or some of the publisher's business records survive.

Not long ago, the $130 check surfaced that Jack Liebowitz paid to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938 for the rights to Superman. It then auctioned for $160,000.
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Chris W



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:04 pm

Lawson wrote:
Chris asks a good question to which I don't have a good answer, other than I assume someone made note of the date and/or some of the publisher's business records survive.

Not long ago, the $130 check surfaced that Jack Liebowitz paid to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938 for the rights to Superman. It then auctioned for $160,000.

The check would make a good date. But I don't think any of us would want the day Siegel and Shuster lost their creation to qualify as Superman's birthday. And it's not likely that the books went to the newsstands that particular day anyway. The pages that were published had already existed for years.

This wouldn't bother me quite so much, but in one of my books, I specifically thank Stan The Man and the King on the 50th anniversary of "Fantastic Four" #1, and I've seen as little proof that it was their anniversary as it is for Superman here. If books were sent out to a distributor on a particular day, ok, it can be narrowed down to within a few weeks and argue about *this* Thursday* rather than *that* Thursday. If historical records survive to provide extra details - "Daredevil #1" (Not sure of the name, actually; the Lev Gleason comic) was produced over a weekend that coincided with the biggest blizzard New York had seen in decades, so the weather can be cross-referenced and that particular weekend can be found.

If printing and distribution records have survived, great, let's see them. If not, do the *patterns* line up so that we can pinpoint a day where Detective Comics (as DC was known) might have shipped their books? And if not, can we just admit we're making up arbitrary dates after-the-fact? The merger of Detective and All-American Comics is *probably* easier to figure out, the debut of the Silver Age and Marvel Comics not-so-much. Frankly, without outside information - weather, world events, dated letters or drawings [like Joe Simon's conception of Captain America] we're lucky to pin things down within in the month, from this late date.
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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:57 am

I thought I'd do some research.

According to Superman The Complete History by Les Daniels, they have it that Vin Sullivan, editor of Detective comics returned the Superman art, on February first, to Siegel and Shuster, with the request it be cut and pasted into comic book format (from it's original comic strip format). In a February 4th letter he requested this be done quickly as he needed the art in three weeks time. Looking at a 1938 calendar, shows that to be Friday February 25, not an odd day to be a deadline. That would suggest he wanted the art in house by early March, the next week was Feb. 28 through March 4th. And given the technology at the time, April 18th wouldn't be an outrageous amount of time to go through pre-production and printing and end up on newstands. Looking at a 1938 calendar, shows that to be 6 business weeks exactly. But the June date would seem way too long from the Feb. 25, deadline, making it over 90 days, or thirteen and a quarter weeks.

So april 18th is probably not a bad guess, it's in the right ballpark, but there is nothing to dispute or back-up the thing one way or the other

According to The Comic Nook Makers, by Joe & Jim Simon, The Steranko History of Comics and The Original Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes, Volume Three Featuring Superman By Michael L. Fleisher, they all have Action Comics #1, coming out June 1938 (but it's probably probably the cover date as they offer no other context). I have several other books I checked but they would only reference the year, possibly trying to avoid the use of a cover date they knew could be inaccurate.

I found a scan of the check online too, but that was unhelpful.
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edquinby001

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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:34 pm

CBR lists what they think are the 75 greatest Superman stories of all time. The link for #25 to #1 http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2013/04/18/the-75-greatest-superman-stories-of-all-time-25-1/
How did they do? I haven't read enough of the modern era stories to have an informed opinion on it, but generally I think: modern era is over represented, Silver and Gold eras under represented, of course taste is the final arbiter and whether you think Weisenger wackiness was inspired, silly or inspired silliness.
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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Sun Apr 21, 2013 5:11 pm

I was all prepared to begin my post with "Well, they don't have my favorite in there!", but they do. Number 24 on their list, issue #34 of Hitman. No other comic I've read to date has so perfectly captured how I think of Superman.
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Terry M (Ditko Fan)

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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:52 pm

Joe Lee wrote:
According to The Comic Nook Makers, by Joe & Jim Simon,...
affraid
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Chris W



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:03 pm

I always thought "Must There Be a Superman" was about the stupidest Superman story I'd ever read. It pretended to raise the question, but never came close to answering it, or even giving a good reason for not answering it. [The last movie did the same thing, with Lois' "The World Doesn't Need Superman" editorial.]] I'm not a fan of Elliot S. Maggin's work. His Green Lantern/Green Arrow story that ends with Ollie declaring his candidacy for Mayor was just as bad.

Superman vs. Muhammed Ali has been rereleased for a new generation. I was tempted to buy it, but I can't really wrap my head around that one.

"Crisis on Infinite Earths" doesn't even count as a Superman story. The cover where Supergirl dies is more important to the Superman mythos than anything in the story. ["Crisis" actually works better as a Flash story - death of Barry, replacement by Wally - or Green Lantern, since it's Krona's faulth the infinite earths exist.]

Jerry Siegel's "Death of Superman" definitely qualifies, but I'm having a hard time thinking of "Man of Steel" as anything notable by this point. Not surprisingly, "Kingdom Come", Grant Morrison's series and Alan Moore's contributions come in at the top. Nothing against those stories - although I'm not much of a Kingdom Come fan either - but it's kinda predictable. The Morrison series was hit-or-miss, in my opinion.

I also agree that the modern era is over-represented. But then, I would probably include some of the original Siegel and Shuster stories [reprinted in Superman Chronicles, for your reading pleasure.] So what do I know?
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Chris W



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:16 pm

Joe Lee wrote:
So april 18th is probably not a bad guess, it's in the right ballpark, but there is nothing to dispute or back-up the thing one way or the other.

Based on that, April certainly makes sense. "Action" was a monthly comic right from the get-go. #2 was cover-dated July, #3, August, etc. I've never heard any consistent story about how cover dates were chosen, whether two months after, three months, the ostensible month the comic came out, etc. But allowing for two months lag sounds about right.

As to Joe's research, the only quibble I would make is wondering how long it took the mails to send a letter from New York to Cleveland back then. The letter was dated February 4th, but that doesn't mean S&S read it for another week, which could offset the 'three weeks' deadline. But of course DC's sense of deadlines would be similarly elastic, to account for the time letter and finished artwork spent in transit.

I don't mind giving Superman and Lois a birthday. They've done so much for us, it's the least we can do [I just hope Clark shows up at the party for a change.] By the way, am I misremembering, or was there some 1970s story that actually settled Superman's birthday as February 29th? I do remember there was a back-up story where the Planet throws a surprise party for Clark and he reminisces about how birthdays are handled on Krypton.
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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:47 am

CBR, had done a poll for the Definitive Superman Artist...

http://www.comicbookresources.com:8080/?page=poll&id=141
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Joe Lee
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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:11 am

ChrisW wrote:
...the only quibble I would make is wondering how long it took the mails to send a letter from New York to Cleveland back then. The letter was dated February 4th, but that doesn't mean S&S read it for another week, which could offset the 'three weeks' deadline. But of course DC's sense of deadlines would be similarly elastic, to account for the time letter and finished artwork spent in transit....

I think you may be over analyizing here. Most estimates here are going to include a give or take a few days, maybe even a week.

My guess is we don't know for sure if the writer of the letter did't just give out a specific deadline, and the writer of the anecdote just did the math, and just wrote the words "three weeks" for his own purpose, but I agree the sender of the letter surely accounted for the time it took to deliver the letter.

But my point was that all we can know from the minimal data available is that the "superman birthday" of record, fits swell within the estimated window.


Last edited by Joe Lee on Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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Lawson



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PostSubject: Re: Superman turns 75 on Thursday   Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:32 am

Joe Lee wrote:
CBR, had done a poll for the Definitive Superman Artist...

http://www.comicbookresources.com:8080/?page=poll&id=141

Well, that's a waste of time.

The correct answer is Curt Swan.

If you're interested, No. 2 is Wayne Boring and No. 3 is José Luis García-López.

Glad I could clear that up for everyone! Very Happy
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