on July 25, 2006
Showcase Presents: Superman-Volume 2 is a treasure trove for us guys that grew up in the 60's. It collects stories from ACTION and SUPERMAN comics from November 1959 - April 1961. Artists Wayne Boring, Al Plastino, Kurt Schaffenberger, and Curt Swan (in my opinion Superman's best draftsman) are all featured. These are science fiction and fantasy stories that are optimistic and imaginative. You cannot buy one of the original comicbooks featured here for less than these 575 pages will cost you. This book is a bargain. Volume 3, please, DC!
on December 1, 2012
Most stories in this tome were written by Jerry Siegel (25) and Otto Binder (15), with additional stories by Bill Finger (1), Jerry Coleman (3) and Robert Bernstein (5). They were just as fun as the stories in volume 1. They share qualities akin Archie Comics and Charles Scultz' Peanuts. If you ever see Lucy pulling out the football before Charlie Brown can kick it, or if you read predictable gags affecting some of the Archie gang, that's what you get from the Superman period: a mixture of action, romance, and sense of humor.
In general, Lois Lane keeps suspecting that Clark Kent is Superman, and when she discovers the truth, Superman finds a way of deceiving her into believing that she was wrong in the first place. There is no need to explain why Lois Lane keeps suspecting Clark, bringing this up over and over; in comic world everything is possible, especially when imaginative writers are in charge. Jerry Siegel's When Lois First Suspected Clark Was Superman (Superman 135) and The Truth Mirror! (Action Comics 269) are just two great samples of this popular plot device. Albeit the absurdity of situations presented here, they are quite funny and reflective of Siegel's vivid imagination.
More attempts at comicity dominate this volume. Some stories are quite effective, while others test the limits of our willingness to suspend disbelief. Otto Binder does this part with several Bizarro stories. Although these prove that Binder's imagination moves beyond the techno-gimmicks and science fiction, they tend to be quite silly. Just look at the two-part Bizarro tale in AC 263 and 264 titled The World of Bizarros and The Superman Bizarro. Binder also adds more humor by introducing red kryptonite, a mineral from his own planet that has strange unpredictable effects on his person: growing long hair in The Untold Story of Green Kryptonite (a lackluster story in Superman 139), he grows a third eye in The Menace of Red-Green Kryptonite! (Action Comics 275), and Siegel's screwball red kryptonite tale, The Night of March 31st (Superman 145), where Superman falls on top of the City of Kandor. Red Kryptonite, as well as Bizarro, give Superman writers more myths to build upon in future issues, even though these stories are among the weakest in this volume. Further comic stories that verge in the silly, albeit imaginative are Siegel's Superclown of Metropolis (Superman 136), Jerry Coleman's ludicrous The Jolly Jailhouse! (Superman 139), and a cleverer Mr. Mxyzptlk tale, The World of Mr. Mxyzptlk (Action Comics 273) where Superman has his own chance to get even with the imp from the Fifth Dimension.
Romance is also an important part of the Superman of these years. First, there is Lois Lane's eternal fascination with the man of steel, always treated with a dose of humor. Among these are a two-part Hercules story, not one of Binder's best either, in Action Comics 267 and 268, titled Hercules in The 20th Century and Superman's Battle with Hercules!, where Lois Lane is accosted by the legendary Hercules, leading hin into a fight with Superman. Again, Binder has Krypto trying to get Superman to love Lois in Lois Lane's Secret Helper (Superman 142). Siegel gives us a more imaginative The Reversed Superpowers! (Action Comics 274), where Lois becomes a Superwoman, and her love for Superman is put to the test as she witnesses that Superman has lost powers. Along with the Lois Lane stories, there are other romances as well. Siegel continues making stories with Superman's longtime mermaid sweetheart Lori Lemaris: Lori gets married to a merman in Superman's Mermaid Sweetheart! (Superman 135) leaving the man of steel broken-hearted; Superman attempts to match Lois with a rich man by concocting a romance with Lori in The New Life of Super-Merman (Superman 139); and Lori attempts to make Superman love Lois in The Mermaid from Atlantis (Superman 138). Siegel also concocts 2 clever stories about romances: in The Captive of Amazons (Action Comics 266) Superman is forced to marry a lovely, but capricious Amazon princess, while in the novellete Superman's Return to Krypton (Superman 141), Superman goes heads over heels for a beautiful Kryptonian actress, which happens to be an intense romance. I can't forget "Two pairs of lips meet, and two hearts thrill as one..." Siegel delivers pure soap opera.
In spite of some of Binder's mishaps in this volume, I still consider it a likable volume for its canonical stuff and Jerry Siegel's contributions. The Super-Menace of Metropolis (Superman 134) presents Superman with an incredible rival from the City of Kandor; When Lois First Suspected Clark Was Superman and Superman's Mermaid Sweetheart (Superman 135); Superman's Fortress of Solitude (Action Comics 261) which presents some history of the fortress; The Secret of Kryptonite (Superman 136); The Super-Brat from Krypton (Superman 137), a quite interesting story of a Kryptonian baby who falls in the hands of crooks; The Captive of Amazons (Action Comics 266); The Truth Mirror (Action Comics 269); Superman's Return to Krypton (Superman 141), The Old Man of Metropolis (Action Comics 270) shows us what would happen if Superman lost his powers (Binder's best in this volume); The Reversed Superpowers (Action Comics 274); The Super-Weapon! (Superman 144), a clever story where Superman meets with a foe equal to his powers; and The Secret Identity of Superman (Superman 145), which is another Lois Lane tale where she may have found out Superman's true identity.
Lex Luthor makes cameo appearances, and once threatens Superman seriously; and Braniac and Mr. Mxyzptlk appear a couple of times. Amongbhis friends and family, Jimmy Olsen's presence significantly diminishes during these years; while Supergirl appears more often in the stories as well as Action Comics covers.
Trivia: In which of these issue does Lex Luthor become the mayor of Metropolis? In which issue does Superman get married? In which 2 issues does Aquaman appear?
on January 9, 2007
Wayne Boring rules!
Boring is to Superman what Kirby is to The Fantastic Four. Although he did not create the character, he created all the environment which surrounds the Man of Steel.Everything that there was in the Superman comics written in the Fifties still exists in the modern issues of today.
What Robinson did to Batman in the early Forties, Boring did to Superman in the Mid-Fifties: he polished the character the way we see him today, expanding concepts and, at the same time, defining the Man of Tomorrow the way he will always be known.
on September 20, 2007
Superman fan or not, all comic book fans need to buy this! But be warned, this will consume all of your time because you won't want to put it down. The stories are amazing and it doesn't matter at all that the pictures are black and white, I can't stop reading. There are so many great stories in Volume 2 that also deal with Superman's past, such as the story of how he discovered that Kryptonite hurts him. Believe, this is a fun read and it will make you a fan if you aren't already. Definitely no regrets about buying this