Posts Tagged ‘Retro comics’

“The Day They Walked Away..” A 6 part Limited Series Presented by The Super-Blog Team Up

Welcome back Satellite Subscribers and welcome aboard to our new visitors. This is a very special post today as I have invited a few friends to join me from across the internet to help weave a tale in many parts.  In the title you may have noticed the term Super-Blog Team Up. Over the past few years I have had the honor of speaking with a few folks who run their own blogs all of which I visit quite frequently. The Super-Blog Team are yours truly, Charlton Hero, representing the Super-Hero Satellite , and other blockbuster blogs like LongBox Graveyard, Chasing Amazing, Silver Age Sensations, Flodo’s Page, and The Fantastiverse. So before we begin, this post is part 4 in a 6 blog post series so I encourage you to check out the first 3 posts in this series (All links at the end of this post!)..If you already have done so, then enjoy this next installment!

Superman: The Man Of Steel. Pop Cultures definition of the term Super-Hero.

Hey Satellite Subscribers welcome to a very special edition of The Super-Hero Satellite. This technological masterpiece known as The Super-Hero Satellite, tracks all Super Powered Heroes from all parts of the galaxy. Heroes protect us, stop the occasional inter-dimensional threat, thwart an approaching alien invasion, save a kid from a burning fire or simply stop that pick pocket on the corner street. They are a role model, they are our icons, they are what we strive to be in our daily lives. Their duty is a weight so heavy only those blessed with that something extra can bear..They are Super Heroes.

Superman through the ages..

What happens when our Heroes simply can no longer bear that responsibility. What happens when the Super Powered that walk among us finally cannot sacrifice any more…This is the story of Kal- El, The Son Of Krypton. Sent from a doomed planet to fulfill his destiny as earths number one Super Hero. The son of Jor-El went on to become the face of Americana. The face of Earths real Mightiest Heroes..The Justice League. This is the story of the price of being a Super Hero , about the day he walked away..when he returned..when he made the Ultimate sacrifice..and the day he became one of us….This is Superman. He may have been the most human out of us all..

A World Without Superman??

From the early days of the character, Superman was the ultimate Super Hero. He had the Cadillac of super powers. He was virtually invincible, he could run as fast as the Flash, He was stronger than any Green Skinned Hulk, He had X-Ray vision, he had Heat vision, super breath, and by god he could fly! Superman’s powers of course varied as the times changed and throughout his many incarnations. Superman from his inception in the pages of Action Comics number one, to his numerous incarnations on the small screen, and to the screens of Hollywood and beyond, the one thing all incarnations have in common are his need for acceptance or to just be “normal”. Common through all genres of the character is the love story we all know between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. It’s an essential story thread that almost all Superman writers have used as a nucleus to The Superman character. It is also the contributing factor to Clark’s constant search for humanity and was the only thing that ever made Superman quit being a hero.

The Most Iconic Comic Book Cover Of Our Time. Action Comics #1

From his debut Superman’s interest in Lois Lane has always be central to his character and is a basis for his social life as his alter ego Clark Kent. Superman constantly put his own life aside to save the lives of those on earth..but mostly the apple of his eye..Lois. From the start Kal-El was smitten with Ms. Lane.

Where would the world be without Lois and Clark?

The comics medium played with Clark’s yearning to be normal on several occasions and most times it was all due to his relationship with Lois. Tiring of the Super-life and wanting to settle down Superman called it quits many times!! One of the most memorable covers dealing with the subject was Superman Vol. 1 Issue 298 . Superman unknowingly under the influence of his neighbor Mr. Xaiver is mentally torn between being Superman or staying as his alter ego Clark Kent. Even though this story which ran three issues was a throw away with little consequence, the theme of Kal-El battling with this very decision is a common theme in all forms of Superman media.

“Who Took The Super Out Of Superman” Mr. Xavier, Clark Kent’s mysterious neighbor, is an alien named Xavier who changes Superman into only being able to use his powers when in costume. Superman believes that his body is trying to tell him to choose either Superman or Clark, and reject his other persona.

Sometimes, especially in the Golden or Silver age, Superman simply quit being either himself or his Alter Ego…many of these stories were short-lived and their impact on continuity was very minimal if anything back in the day. The struggle to be the Super-Hero or just a normal mortal was always one Clark struggled with!

Clark always some how was pulled into a particular direction by Lois. His choices usually hinged on whether Lois was around or the trouble she found herself in on a particular day. To be honest Superman spent most of the Golden Age and The Silver Age rescuing Lois no matter if it was in the pages of the comics he was featured in such as Action Comics or his own Superman title. Heck his chivalry was always in the spotlight on the small screen as well. Fleischer studios Superman cartoon  had Clark always there at her call!

“Clark Kent, Get Out Of My Life!”Superman decides to live without Clark Kent, and battles Solarman, a sun-powered villain, while Xaiver (Clark’s scheming neighbor) robs Clark Kent’s apartment.

While early DC writers tinkered with the idea of Superman or Clark Kent calling it quits they never ever really pulled the trigger..that is until the 1980s where Superman went through a renaissance of sorts. The 1980s began with the a clear template of what the Man of Steel would look like for the majority of the 80s. Christopher Reeve and his 70s movie titled simply “Superman” was a runaway hit at the box office prompting the 1980 sequel Superman 2!  This movie dealt with the idea of what would happen if Superman gave up being Superman and became a normal human assuming his alter ego of Clark Kent permanently!

Superman 2. Long thought of as the BEST of all four original Superman Movies!

In Superman 2 the basic plot is that Lois Lane learns Clark’s secret that his is indeed the Man Of Steel. Superman surrenders and is so strong in his feelings for Lois decides to give up the cape and become just Clark! Kent agrees to marry Lois which is a consistent theme in all eras of Superman lineage, but this marriage has big one problem. Superman agrees to sacrifice his powers to marry Lois, but is  unaware that three Kryptonian criminals he mistakenly  released are now about to conquering Earth.

Clark is determined to finally show Lois he is serious about his love for her and decides that he will give up his powers completely so he can live a normal life at her side for the rest of their lives. A noble gesture as seen in the movie!

Clark sees the error of his decision and decides that he will not allow his adopted home be overtaken by his fellow Kryptonian’s. A powerless Clark has a wake up call in a diner when he attempts to defend the honor of his love Lois only to come to the grim realization that he sacrificed his power and gets his ass handed to him..this scene serves as his sign that the world needs Superman! Guess what..Superman returns and General Zod and his cronies are sent back to the phantom zone with a one way ticket from The Man Of Steel!

The events in the movie are a message to everyone including Kal-El that the world NEED’s Superman and he needs them as well. Everything wraps up neatly with the criminals vanquished and Lois retaining any recollection of Clark’s identity is erased from her conscious. In a funny loose end at the end of the movie Clark decides to pay a visit to the man who handed him a beating as a human in the diner and well..lets just say it does not pay to be a bully!

The comics themselves used a number of themes after that from the movie but perhaps the best example of this comes at the very end of DC’s Silver age. DC had the need to somehow organize the history of its Superheroes and give the DC universe a defined sense of origin. The 50s, 60s, and 70s, produced many continuity bending throw away stories that confused many readers and writers trying to tie years of history together in a sensible fashion. The characters did not age, and thus were burdened with years of continuity baggage to where it was impossible to present the audience with a clean universe where everything made chronological sense. From these seeds grew Crisis On Infinity Earth. It revamped the entire history of the DC Universe and gave all heroes a fresh start..at least for several years.

Crisis tied up all Silver Age Loose ends and it was a vehicle for DC to in essence end Superman as we knew him..this lead neatly into the final issue of the series..

Alan Moore penned an epic FINAL Superman tale called “What Ever Happened to The Man Of Tomorrow” which many hold in high regard for its impact. The end of the Silver Age Superman was a final tribute to the Man of Steel in which he gives up and actually disappears forever ..literally.  It begins 10 years after the last silver age issue of Superman where the last days of Superman are recapped from the words of a now remarried Lois Lane Elliot. Lois recaps the events leading to Superman’s last days on earth as he simply walked away forever after what he felt was the last straw for him as a hero. She tells the tale of Superman’s long guarded secret has finally been exposed to the public, and the earth shattering consequences of that revelation. Those close to Superman are killed by Super Villains extracting revenge upon the Man of Steel forcing Superman to do the one thing he always stood against..killing..

“What Ever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow” Superman has broken his own code to never kill, Superman, in penance, voluntarily enters a chamber containing a sample of Gold Kryptonite (which would permanently drain him of his powers), and disappears into the Arctic wasteland. When the other heroes enter the remains of the Fortress, they find only Perry White, his wife, and Lois still alive. Superman’s body is never found, and it is assumed by all parties that he wandered into the Arctic wasteland, powerless, to die.

Superman walks away as not to endanger his loved ones..and for Lois..

The end of the Silver Age brought the dawning of a new era. DC revamped many of its titles and Superman was one of the first on that list. The Mini Series penciled by John Byrne, simply called the Man Of Steel, hit the reset button on the character we all know as Superman.

In the The Man Of Steel #1, the planet Krypton is shown as a cold and emotionally devoid planet, an concept Byrne borrowed from the 1978 film Superman. Kal-El was not an infant sent from Krypton to Earth, rather, his fetus was placed in a “birthing matrix” equipped with a rocket engine and Jor-El’s experimental warp drive, with Kal-El gestating during the trip to Earth. Once the rocket landed, Kal-El was fully “born” on Earth. A huge contrast to the Adopted Alien Son on Earth theme that was the basis to the original character.

I picked up The Man  Of Steel trade on a summer vacation in Toronto Ontario Canada after searching aimlessly for a comic book store. I ended up setting for a book store in a mall in Renfrew Ontario and I saw it on the shelf. Despite it being well outside of my price range I did walk away with that book! I still own it and appreciate it to this day. I loved John Byrne’s Superman, in fact, outside of Curt Swans version of the Silver Age Superman, Byrne’s is the best! Byrne created a Superman that did not pretend to be anything but what he was. In Byrne,s version, Clark Kent was not the school nerd and social outcast as Clark was portrayed as on film and in early comic books, instead he used his power to be the head of the Football team and was actually popular in school! Byrne attempted to ground Superman in reality. Gone where the Superboy years, Superman family, Super Pets and Giant keys to the fortress of solitude. A lot of what made Superman great was washed away for a more realistic version of The Man Of Steel. Clark,s parents were no longer dead but rather important cast members, a nice touch! Hell Ma Kent even sewed Superman his first suit!

The Series set the table early for Clark just wanting a normal existence outside of his Superhero..but as with every other attempt to lead a normal life The Cape always won out and Superman always returned to duty no matter how many times he walked away!

Superman’s home world of Krypton was no longer the thriving futuristic civilization of the Silver age it now represented the sterile version seen in the Superman movies! Two themes that remained though were Superman’s fondness of Lois Lane and his conflict with wanting to be normal.

Even Byrne’s Superman actually gave up and went home after his first brush with the pressures of fame..even though he finally found the courage to be the biggest Superhero in the world his confidence was shaken early!

Lois and Clark the TV series was highly rated and changed the way DC wrote these characters or sometime.

The character of Superman in the 80s was bound editorially by DC side projects and after a resurgence in popularity Superman returned with a vengeance to the small screen with Lois and Clark: The Adventures of Superman. The impact of this series cannot be overlooked. The show was very much grounded in the Byrne era mythos and lead Superman to his final fate. DC protected the characters and their onscreen characters and made sure that the stories in the comics did nothing to go too far out of sync with the show.In a funny side note DC had planned to pull the trigger on a modern-day Lois and Clark wedding to boost struggling sales however the TV show Lois and Clark negotiated with DC as to have the comic book wedding and the TV event wedding coincide and DC gave in and agreed. Plans however had already been in motion so there were a number of starts and stops and unplanned storyline fixes to keep the interest in the wedding in the pages of the comic. Superman and Lois had been married many times in the comic books.

The Clark and Lois union was one that had been around for ages but uniting them was the wrong answer. Writers stumbled to find interesting stories now that The Man of Steel was off The Market. It literally killed The Lois and Clark show as viewership plummeted and the show was finally cancelled in its 4th season after being moved to two different nights attempting to capture a new audience. In the comics the same was happening. It seemed fans who clamored for Lois and Clark to get hitched got cold feet and sales figures for the book and for DC in general were lower than anticipated.

In The 90s, DC would launch its final arrow in its sales quiver in the form of a Superman event known as DOOMSDAY. The Death Of Superman would showcase yet another example of a hero stepping away per say. Seeing the carnage caused by a mysterious alien monster known to the world as Doomsday Superman goes on a mission to hunt and stop the beasts reign of destruction all over the U.S. Many heroes fall at the might of Doomsday including the entire Justice league. In a final touching moment Superman ..Clark no longer wants to keep his loved ones in danger (A theme shared by Moores Silver Age Send Off mentioned above) and makes the final sacrifice he could make..he gives his life. As Superman prepares for what is fated to be his last stand he says goodbye to those he loves..including finally Lois.. and as he always did..goes to save the day..Super heroism at its best.

The final stand of The Man Of Steel. Superman says goodbye to the woman he loves before defend the world against a savage monster Doomsday..ultimately giving his life!

The day Superman died in the pages of comic books was one I will never forget as I literally ran to the store where I normally bought comics only to grab the new stand copy. I only managed to get a damaged copy crushed in the back of the rack, so I went to my last resort, a shady card kiosk in our main mall that sold event comics at hideous prices and he had a pre-bagged Superman #75 for $25 bucks on its launch. I coughed up the dough…which was considerable at the time as my job was a grocery clerk at a local grocery store Sobeys, but I  brought it home so I could peruse my news stand copy and watch Superman and Doomsday go toe to toe one last time..

Hero Fall. The last stand of the greatest of them all! The Death of Superman was monumental!

The final panel of Superman #75 always stuck with me and always sort of bothered me. It felt final this time. Superman had gone away before. He had quit several times as well…but this time…MY Superman was gone. Yes he did return eventually but he was different after this event and now with the official New 52 Reboot my Superman may never return. Maybe one day with the help of this Satellite we can look back in time and find our Man Of Steel and bring him back home.

Shutting down historical archives…Heroes return to your posts and strap in tight. We are going to continue our course to the 90s, We have scanned the historical time streams and have located our next transmission..bringing it up on-screen now..prepare for Time Travel sequence countdown..Next stop New York City…The Daily Bugle. We need to find a reporter who will help us complete our series. Lets find Peter Parker…we need to warn him of the clone!

End Transmission…

To read all chapters in the 6 Part Limited Series click on the links below and enjoy!..

#1 Silver Age Sensation’s: The Thing http://silveragesensations.blogspot.ca/

#2 Longbox Graveyard: Captain America http://wp.me/p1yye7-225
#3 Flodo’s Page: Green Lantern http://flodospage.blogspot.ca/
#4 Super-Hero Satellite: Superman (Hey you are already here!) http://wp.me/p2N3Qb-dd
For Part 5 Of The Epic Super-Blog Team Up the next destination in our travels can be found by clicking the link below..onward to Chasing Amazing..Mark…take it away!

#5 Chasing Amazing: Spider-Man http://wp.me/p1wQNx-16N

#6 Fantastiverse: Hank Pym “Coming Soon”

If You have enjoyed this blog contact me on Twitter @Charlton_Hero and join the conversation using #SuperHeroSatellite Thanks for reading! Big thanks to those who contributed to this epic tale. The Super-Blog Team Uppers, Paul, Mark, Jeff, Flodo, and La Monte who helped bring this vision to life. Thanks guys..till next time the team re-unites!

Super-Hero Satellite Extra: Superman Extra “Quit gallery”

Okay..I am leaving for the last time!

I swear Ill just go away this time…you will never see me again..I am serious!

I mean it this time..I am gone!

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Welcome Back Heroes! Our transmission we have in front of us today is one that I remember with fondness. The era of the limited series..the era of the event..the era of the solo hero! Thanks for joining us team..lets jump right into issue 2 of 4 of our limited series!

 

 

One of the great joys of being a comic book fan back in the early to mid 80s was standing in a drug store at the spinner rack, combing through the pages of comic book after comic book scanning page after page, book after book decide where to spend my 20 dollar a week allowance. Grocery night for my family was always Thursday night and it was always an important evening on the calendar of this anxious 12 yr old as it yielded me another 20 bucks to spend. 20 dollars in that day went a long way and would often equal more than 20 books per week!! One of the better joys was when you would see the first issue of a brand new mini series!! Marvel dubbed these finite issue books a Limited Series and these would bring countless hours of entertainment to me as a kid and as a stark raving comic fan boy of the 80s. What made the Limited Series better in my mind as a child? They were usually Event books or contained characters that I loved finally getting their own books!!

The limited series that first grabbed my young attention was the 4 issue Hawkeye limited series from Marvel! It focused on a highly recognizable Avenger who up until now had not had solo spotlight! From the front cover to the final panel of issue 4 I was hooked! The limited series acted as a perfect avenue to explore this character with a long history. It changed Hawkeye’s status quo as did many of the limited series focusing on individual characters. Hawkeye and Mockingbirds relationship was explored and this lasted several years in the history of this character. We will talk about a few of my favorite individual limited series a bit later..The Limited series was original created for one purpose..

Events were usually the perfect vehicle for the EVENT limited series Marvels Contest Of Champions was the first of such efforts to bring together a large group of Superheros in one book. The majority of the heroes of the Marvel universe are abducted to a strange world where they must compete in competitive competitions. Sound familiar?  I was not a fan of Contest but my faith in Limited series books would not waver! The Secret Wars would become the bar that was set that all other books would have to follow.

Secret Wars was a series in which the Heroes and Villans of the Marvel Universe are abducted and sent to wage a Secret War on the Home World Of The new Marvel Super Bad The Beyonder! Hey that sounds a lot like Contest Of Champions huh? Yep sure does except Secret Wars was done correctly!! It had far-reaching effects on the Marvel Universe and crossed over with a number of Marvel titles. This was the BIG one! Secret Wars is known for its far-reaching effects on the character of Spiderman! The infamous Black suit or the Symbiote that would eventually become Venom would appear here first in the pages of Secret Wars! For more on Secret Wars check out this post from one of my Twitter friends incredible blog The LongBox GraveYardhttp://longboxgraveyard.com/2013/05/08/a-secret-wars-apologist/

Sometimes however when a series was successful a sequel would follow! In the case of Secret Wars however we were not so blessed. Secret wars had lit the industry on fire with its sweeping all out war event..Secret Wars 2 blew out that fire. The Beyonder returns to Earth this time in search of answers as to how humans live. Yes he was seeking enlightenment? Who would have known the folks at Marvel would envision this cosmic being as a Micheal Jackson clone equipped with Geri curl and white jump suit! Yikes! This series was for most 9 issues too long. Secretly I loved Secret Wars 2! I know I know bring the hate! My young mind loved Beyonder being able to fend off all Marvels heroes! Great stuff! Disagree if you must!

The Limited series was a great launching point for many characters as well and did their job in developing a back story that may have been lost if seen in the pages of another heroes title. Characters such as Longshot for example were born out of the pages of a Limited series. Somehow the stores in my area missed out on Longshot and I just drooled when one of my friends had the complete set up for trade. He wanted almost half my collection for these books and I almost gave in too but my better sense prevailed at this time! The crafty local basement dwelling Entrepreneur Keith Newman, who held his Overstreet Price Guide close by would always point out that all his books were HOT at the time and he would be rich if he sold his collection! Guess what? Longshots prices dropped like a rock and Newman’s dreams were shattered! I still wanted this series to this day though. One of my few comic trading regrets!

The Limited Series also brought to life several influential long standing characters such as Cloak and Dagger! While never a fan of the characters mini 4 part stories sometimes elevated the value of some characters that may have been throw aways if featured as a back up in another books. As is the case with these mysterious friends!

My main love for the limited series was in the throw aways! Heroes who would never support their own book but were heroes who I loved and could not wait to see them solo! As was the case with these heroes. The NightCrawler series is and has always been one of my faves! NightCrawler was featured in a one off Swashbuckling adventure that I read over and over!

The Limited Series always allowed for the expansion of universes. The best examples were the Ice Man and FireStar mini series. Riding on the heels of the popular Spiderman and his Amazing Friends Cartoon both characters were somewhat retooled to carryover their cartoon popularity into the comic world. FireStar was a character that did NOT exist outside of the cartoon so the Limited series acted as a catapult for the character to become integrated into the Marvel Universe.

Being a comic fan also brought other benefits. The 80s was a world of the dawning of Home video. Beta and a little later the revolutionary VHS systems came to the mainstream and we could watch movies outside of a theater but right in our living rooms! This was a big deal in the day believe me! However if you lived in a small town in Newfoundland Canada like I did then you knew that the VHS delivery market was brutally slow and the movies available to rent were not always current and there was a good degree of lag time between the time of release to the time I could get these tapes in my machine on my home television.

Hence yet another use of the limited series! Marvel licenced a number of limited series based on Movies at the time! So if you didn’t make it to the theater or could not wait two years for it to be released on VHS then you had Marvels Official adaptations of the movies!! From Indiana Jones….

To Return Of The Jedi..I think everyone had these as a comic collector in the 80s! These were featured everywhere even in the classic 3 pack collector sets you would find at least one of these issue in the mix! Marvel dabbled in movies that were a little cerebral as well..

Dune…which was probably better in this adaptation than the actual movie itself..to my personal fave..

The Last StarFighter! These series kept the movie fresh in your mind..were a key piece of movie merchandise and were damn fun to read. occasionally Marvel would release a dud such as our next candidate..

Sheena?? The Limited Series had Hollywood covered. Usually the adaptations were very solid and faithful and of course spoiler filled! I loved the Marvel Movie adaptations and relied on them to offset my lack of VHS urgency in my town. Adaptations were the perfect format for the limited series!! I bought them up until my 20 dollars a week exploded at the cash register of my local drug store in my shopping mall!

Then we have the earth shakers. There were several limited series that not only highlighted certain characters but truly defined them. One of them was the now classic Wolverine Limited Series by Frank Miller. On a funny note I remember disliking this series as a kid because Wolverine was featured without his costume for the majority of the series and to be a Superhero costume loving fanboy a hero not wearing his suit was a no no! This book redefined the character and propelled the character eventually to support his own book. It did things with the character that no one else did. It factored in Logan rather than the Superhero Wolverine. It created a new love interest for the character and the events in the book forever impacted the origin of this hero. This was the springboard for future writers to bounce off off and now Logan was no longer a guy in a yellow suit who had nice claws he had depth!

It would be Mike Zeck and team who would blow the doors off off the Limited series format with the groundbreaking Punisher Limited Series. This was a character making landmark series in which a one supporting character took center stage in legendary fashion. Zeck drew the Punisher in a way that no one before had done. His detailed high velocity style made the gritty Punisher into a one man war machine that was on a clear path to his own book! The Punisher solo series would come a while later and the cover would sport the tag line “First Issue Of An Unlimited Series”. Punisher would be one of the first to graduate from a Limited Series to his own ongoing series. Personally the Punisher Limited series would be one that was on the top of my collection one of my favorite most treasured books!

Limited series are the foundation to checking the pulse of comic book fans and many series actually spawned from the limited series format. One in particular that is a favorite of mine that I wish would see a Marvel resurgence was Transformers!! Originally an awesome 4 issue limited series, Transformers went on to become an 80 plus issue regular series and even continued the numbering after the Limited series.

It’s also an excuse to show off the unbelievable cover to issue number 5!! I loved Transformers the Marvel comics series. It was one of those books I grew up on and could not wait to pick up every month! The first 25 issues are some of my favorite childhood comic memories!

In a funny homage to its limited series roots Transformers final issue #80 was headed by the line “#80 in a 4 Issue Limited Series” in a tip of the hat to its success and longer than anyone anticipated run!

In the end the Limited Series still exists in many companies..Some call it a mini series..or a maxi series or whatever you wish but the true heyday of the Limited series was the 80s and they broke ground! Heroes were created, Events exploded, and we just got to spend time with one of our favorite heroes we would not normally get to do outside of a group book. Many complain these days mini series flood the market, Look at series like the newer GI Joe, and Star Wars from DarkHorse. Too many unrelated minis flooded the market..its a different day now. I will always look back on my time spinning that spinner rack and figuring out how to maximize my 20 hard earned dollars on that grocery night on a Thursday in the 80s and treasure it!

Lock down the coordinates Heroes our transmission is complete. I know just the place where we are headed next! Till next time Heroes!

END TRANSMISSION:

If you like what you see feel free to contact me on Twitter @Charlton_Hero and use #SuperHeroSatellite …

Thx Heroes! Till next time..

 

Satellite Extra: By demand what the heck here are a few more you may remember! Enjoy and let me know what your favorite Limited Series was..It may appear in our pages!