Tuesday, April 16, 2013



Collects Superman Nos. 16, 17, and the Superman stories from Action Comics Nos. 48-52, and World’s Finest Comics No. 6 (cover dates May- August, 1942)

Writer: Jerry Siegel

Artists: John Sikela, Fred Ray, Ed Dobrotka, Leo Nowak, and Joe Shuster

Golden Age Superman rules! I love comic books from this era, and nobody did them better than DC did. I love the old cars, the old fashions, the old slang, and the might makes right attitude that Superman had. It's completely inappropriate here in the second decade of the 21st century, but I love it nonetheless.

That Clark Kent knows how to put Lois Lane in her place. No tofu-eating, sensitive girly-man here, no siree.
Superman is essentially a bully here, pushing people around. Only a super-powered Lex Luthor and Metalo give Superman a run for his money. The rest of the time Clark Kent just tries to convince Lois Lane that he is not Superman, and when he is Superman he is busy crashing through walls instead of using doors or windows.

Shades of Alex Raymond's Flash Gordon!
A few elements that came to define the character are presented here for the first time. Unless I'm mistaken, the first time that Superman utters the iconic phrase “Up- up- and away!” occurs in this book. I don't recall him saying it in the comics before, and I even tried Google-ing it, to no avail. 

Superman still isn't flying per se', just doing extremely high leaps that are looking more and more like flight. Unlike you new jack Superman fans, my Superman doesn't fly. 

This is not the first time that Superman has used his powers for breaking and entering or rifling through confidential files.
Another mainstay, the Fortress of Solitude, makes it's first appearance in issue 17. Superman visits his then-currently under construction mountain fortress hideaway. It is not actually called the Fortress of Solitude here, nor is it made of crystal...or located in the Arctic.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5. 

The OCD zone- The nice thing about these Chronicles is that they are value priced collections of vintage material. Think of them as 2/5 thickness full color phone books.
The cover image has some of the most godawful pixelation that I've ever seen. DC needs to stop letting the interns work on their collected editions. This is getting embarrassing.
Linework restoration rating: 4 out of 5. This is some uneven restoration. Some issues look great, most are serviceable, while others look godawful.
Color restoration rating: 4 out of 5. The color palette is faithful to the original publication...to a point. Some color choices here are just plain stupid, not just CMYK percentage miscalculations. In Action Comics No. 61, most of the colors are as faithful as possible. The desk on page 3 is miscolored pink instead of brown...four times on the same page. Things like that make no sense, especially when every other color on the page is done correctly. I am not certain if this is an isolated incident, or if there are mistakes like this all over the book. I compared this book to scans of the original comics online. Scans that I got...when they fell off a truck. Yeah, a truck. That's the ticket.
There also occasional gradient shadings, which annoys the piss out of me. It's just cheap, lazy coloring. The colorist responsible for the work let the computer fill in the shading rather than doing it by “hand” on computer. Their way is faster and cheaper but it sticks out like a sore thumb to me. Your mileage may vary.
Paper rating: 3 out of 5. The mando/pulp paper has zero glare and is very easy on the eyes. I have first printings of all of these Chronicles, and the older ones are already beginning to yellow. This is horrible, the worst aspect of old comics brought into the realm of collected editions. DC fans tend to be overly nostalgic in terms of presentation, wanting the paper in collected editions to be every bit as crappy as that found in the original publication. Thanks, but no thanks.
Binding rating: 4 out of 5. DC softcovers tend to have decent glued binding.
Cardstock cover coating rating: 3 out of 5. (*shudders*) The white has that weird, almost uncoated frosted glass feeling to it. Worse still, it easily scuffed, with minor imperfections evident even when handled gingerly for a single reading. The portions that have color (i.e. the character image and text) have a thin, rubbery screen coating. It just feels weird and unpleasant.


1 comment:

  1. Good review. I like the "bullying" Superman better than the "Boy Scout" version