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Lois and ClarkLook, up in the sky! Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a fantastic 384-page hardback deluxe anthology published by DC Comics, which manages to chronicle the life and times of a superhero that's over 80 years old. Yes. That's right. I said this hero is 80, plus change, although he doesn't look it by the way he dresses and behaves. Want to know more? Then please stand back, relax, and get a load of...

Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman Deluxe Edition (Hardcover)

Now I must admit, I’m more of a Batman fan than I am a fan of The Man Of Steels. Even so, I still can’t deny that I respect him as a character in his own right, without forgetting to applaud the ideals and principles he stands for and tries to represent. Having said that, though, there’s always been one thing about the Last Son of Krypton which has constantly confused me, that being the mystery surrounding his own comic book origins. Or to be more specific about it, what inspired his creators to turn him from a villain into a superhero? 

The First Version Of Superman
You see, back in the 1930s, when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster first came up with the idea behind Superman, originally they put him together as if he was a hulking Gothic monster, fairly similar to Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein, doing so by making him into some sort of large, bald, telepathic thug, who aimlessly roamed around the American countryside, terrorising whoever he bumped in to. 

To make matters even worse they also gave him a sacrilegious name that predominately derives from German origins. Well, the term ‘Super-Man’, otherwise known as the ‘√úbermensch’, was initially coined by the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, and was based around the nihilist principle that man can be more powerful than God. So with Joe and Jerry both being fairly well behaved Jewish boys, roughly around 17 years of age, this idea, this concept, and this type of character; turned out to be a far cry from the hero we all know and love today. 

Superman ChangingBut suddenly, out of the blue, something happened to make them change their minds. Something so abrupt, so undefinable, that it’s anyone’s guess what actually took place. While some have speculated that National Periodicals, now known as DC Comics, forced them to take this bold new approach, others have hypothesized that they gallantly took it upon themselves to turn their hyper-violent creation into a super-heroic figure. Either way, no one is completely certain which theory is correct, not a hundred percent, and goes to show how the comic book landscape could’ve been vastly different if one single concept wasn’t turned on its head. 

Anyway, that aside, Superman is still a classic American icon and someone always well worth reading. So go on, pick up this book and join in with his 80th anniversary celebrations. Trust me, it’s a good book, a really good book, and it definitely has something for everyone, ranging from the die-hard Superman fanatic all the way to the relative newbie. Here, check this out...

Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman Deluxe Edition (Hardcover)
Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman Deluxe Edition (Hardcover)

Price: $29.99.
Format: Hardback.
Author: Various.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Size: 185x281mm.
Page Count: 384 pages.

Synopsis: For over 80 years Superman has been fighting his way through the DC Universe in the name of truth, justice, and the American way. So now, to commemorate his eightieth anniversary, DC Comics are publishing a selection of articles and some of his stories in order for us to see how he's evolved since his inception. The book has been edited by the legendary writer / editor / and publisher for DC, Paul Levitz, and it will include a new story written by Paul and drawn by the classic 'Green Lantern / Green Arrow' artist, Neal Adams, called "The Game". We will also be treated to a never before seen 12-page Superman story created by Superman co-creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, entitled "Too Many Heroes". What now follows is an overall summary of what you can expect if you pick up this hardback book.

Noted Articles:
  • An editor's note penned by Levitz.
  • A tribute to Action Comics written by Laura Siegel Larson, who's the daughter of Superman co-creator, Jerry Siegel.
  • An introduction to the book by Jules Feiffer, the Pulitzer-Prize winning American syndicated cartoonist and author.
  • As well as a number of essays penned by Tom DeHaven (It’s Superman!), David Hajdu (The Ten-Cent Plague), Larry Tye (Superman: The High-Flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero) and Gene Luen Yang (Superman, New Super-Man, and American Born Chinese).
Re-Printed Stories:
The Justice League
  • Action Comics #1: “The Coming of Superman”, written by Jerry Siegel with art by Joe Shuster.
  • Action Comics #2: “Revolution in San Monte”, written by Jerry Siegel with art by Joe Shuster.
  • Action Comics #64: “The Terrible Toyman!”, written by Don Cameron with art by Ed Dobrotka and George Roussos (featuring the debut of Toyman).
  • Action Comics #241: “The Super-Key to Fort Superman”, written by Jerry Coleman with art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye (featuring the first appearance of the Fortress of Solitude).
  • Action Comics #242: “The Super-Duel in Space”, written by Otto Binder with art by Al Plastino (featuring the debut of Brainiac).
  • Action Comics #252: “The Supergirl from Krypton!”, written by Otto Binder with art by Al Plastino (featuring the debut of Supergirl).
  • Action Comics #285: “The World’s Greatest Heroine!”, written by Jerry Siegel with art by Jim Mooney.
  • Action Comics #309: “The Superman Super-Spectacular!”, written by Edmond Hamilton with art by Curt Swan and George Klein (featuring an appearance by President John F. Kennedy).
  • Action Comics #484: “Superman Takes a Wife”, written by Cary Bates with art by Curt Swan and Joe Giella.
  • Action Comics #554: “If Superman Didn’t Exist…”, written by Marv Wolfman with art by Gil Kane.
  • Action Comics #584: “Squatter”, written by John Byrne with art by Byrne and Dick Giordano.
  • Action Comics #655: “Ma Kent’s Photo Album”, written by Roger Stern with art by Kerry Gammill and Dennis Janke.
  • Action Comics #662: “Secrets in the Night”, written by Roger Stern with art by Bob McLeod.
  • Action Comics #800: “A Hero’s Journey”, written by Joe Kelly with art by Pasqual Ferry, Duncan Rouleau, Lee Bermejo, and others.
  • Action Comics #0: “The Boy Who Stole Superman’s Cape”, written by Grant Morrison with art by Ben Oliver.
  • Action Comics #1: “The Mystery of the Freight Train Robberies”, written by Fred Guardineer with art by Guardineer (featuring the debut of Zatara).
  • Action Comics #42: “The Origin of the Vigilante”, written by Mort Weisinger with art by Mort Meskin (featuring the debut of the Vigilante).
  • Action Comics #419: “The Assassin-Express Contract!”, written by Len Wein with art by Carmine Infantino and Dick Giordano (featuring the debut of the Human Target).

A Brief History of Superman

From Visually.


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