Saturday, April 20, 2013

Review- THE SUPERMAN CHRONICLES VOL. 10

THE SUPERMAN CHRONICLES VOL. 10 (DC, 2012; Softcover)
Collects Superman Nos. 18, 19 and the Superman stories from Action Comics Nos. 53-55 and World’s Finest Comics No. 7 (cover dates Fall- December, 1942)
Writer: Jerry Siegal
Artists: Leo Nowak, John Sikela, Ed Dobrotka, George Roussos, Jack Burnley, and Joe Shuster.

Golden Age comics are like alcohol: fun in moderation, but too much at one time causes one to feel disoriented, confused, and/or puke. I plowed through this book in short order and found that charm of these “simpler” times can wear thin. The stories are formulaic, predictable, and increasingly cheesy. The Superman Paramount serials were released during this time, and Superman, Matinee Idol (from Superman No. 19), which is a self-referencing story, is terrible. Another godawful story is Superman's Amazing Adventure (also issue 19) where Lois Lane and Clark Kent are trapped under a pile of boulders and then it turns out on the last page that the entire story is a dream sequence. Lame. Pretty much every story in issue 19 is silly and whimsical, and I can only hope that this isn't the direction that the series goes in from here on out. 
This book is not without its charms, though. There is tons of inappropriate fun here. Superman is still something of a bully. He uses windows instead of crashing through walls, an improvement over the rampant property damage in previous issues. Superman is still not technically flying yet. He is still doing his huge leaps. 
Yes, Superman punches an owl. PETA would be all over this shit today.
World War II was going on at this time, and unlike the superheroes over at Timely Comics (Marvel during this era), Superman largely stays out of the fray. There's a few references here and there, but unlike Captain America, the Human Torch, and the Sub-Mariner, he does not engage in fisticuffs with Fifth Columnists or the Axis Powers themselves. 
The artwork and writing are still well above average for the era. I've said it before, but I'll say it again for those just tuning in: DC made the finest comic books in the 1940s.This was a fun read all in all, and I am in for Volume 11, due later this year. I would recommend that you read Golden Age comics in small doses, no more than 2-3 stories/ issues a day. Please enjoy Golden Age comic books responsibly.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- DC has switched printers to the same company that Marvel uses for these books, and the improvement in quality shows with better paper and better cardstock covers.
Linework restoration rating: 4 out of 5. This book has such a mixed bag of restoration. Some issues look flawless, with the linework being crisp and clear. Others look like muddy, poorly scanned messes. Most pages look decent, so I'll give this a 4. Some issues would get a 5, while others get a 3. Dare I get so anal with my restoration critique that I start going issue by issue? 
An example of one of the rougher restoration jobs.
Color restoration rating: 4.5 out of 5. The original color palette is maintained throughout the book. These books are such a treat to read when compared to the horribly printed original issues. One doesn't have to look to hard to find scans of all of these issues online. The off-register printing and color bleed are terrible on the original issues.
Things aren't entirely perfect with the re-coloring, though. There are gradient shadings here and there, but they seem to be done with greater care. The blends are softer. Nobody in their right mind would even notice this stuff. I, unfortunately for DC, am not in my right mind.
Paper rating: 3.75 out of 5. The paper used in this book is slightly thicker than the cheap pulp/mando paper used in previous volumes. It has a nicer feel and also seems to hold the colors better.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. Glued binding is the norm for softcovers.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 5 out of 5. DC has switched printers to the same company that Marvel uses for these books and, as such, their covers now boast the same thick, waxy coating that Marvel's cardstock covers have. Bliss!

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