- Hardcover: 174 pages
- Publisher: Sterling; F First Edition edition (May 4, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1402737858
- ISBN-13: 978-1402737855
- Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 1.8 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,564,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Superman: The Dailies 1939-1942 Hardcover – May 4, 2006
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Each of the three volumes is prefaced by a six to eight-page essay by comic book writer James Vance ("Kings in Disguise"). The essays are "A Job for Superman," "The Superman Bandwagon" and "Superman Goes Hollywood)and are accompanied by artwork and photos.
Each volume contains the daily comic strips written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman in 1932.
Volume 1 contains ten episodes running from Jan. 16, 1938 (less than a year after Superman debuted in Action Comics No. 1) through Jan. 6, 1940. Volume 2 contains nine episodes and runs from Jan. 8, 1940 through March 8, 1941. Volume 3 contains nine episodes and runs from March 10, 1941 through Feb. 14, 1942.
In all there are 966 strips with two strips on each page. That means that each 3 to 5-panel strip fills a space roughly 10 x 3 inches, making it very easy to read. (No magnifying glass necessary to read the caption balloons.)
Unlike the comic book Superman or the cartoon Superman of the era, the comic strip Superman for the most part steers clear of the politics of World War II. However, in episode 12 (Feb. 9 to March 2, 1940), Superman does stop a war between two nations by having the two leaders fight each other one-on-one. The two armies find this battle between dictator Amork (who looks a lot like Hitler!) and General Gotha "more ludicrous than grim" and put down their weapons and Europe is at peace.
Overall, this is a historical look at the early years of a cultural icon from episode one and Kal-L's origins on Krypton to episode 28 (a whopping 78 strips!) where Superman makes his Hollywood film debut. These are fun stories and the artwork is first-rate. Anyone with even a passing interest in Superman will love this collection. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
There is little to no tension in the stories because the protagonist is invincible. This was prior to Superman being able to fly so a villain could push him off a building but he would bounce right back up (literally).
DC Comics has been very nice in reprinting all the Golden Age Superman stories in their Chronicles line but I don't LOVE those stories. As I mentioned they are very repetitive and quite frankly the art is not that great. Much of the problem with the art is the coloring which was very primitive in the 30's and early 40's. The inkers also tended to over ink giving everything a dark muddy look. The coloring and inking is not a problem with the newspaper comics and let me say that the art looks MUCH better without color. In fact from the start of the book to the end the art improves dramatically until it reaches the level of excellent. There was a significant amount of ghost penciling by legendary artists like Leo Nowak and Jack Burnley. I have a feeling that the artists were given the time to be considerably more meticulous with their drawing producing at most one strip a day. I've seen many of the legendary Golden Age artists produce art that looks sloppy and rushed and on other occasions look very nice and the art here is generally higher quality than in the comic books.
My favorite storyline in the book is the final one. Clark Kent is cast as Superman in a Hollywood production because of his uncanny resemblance to the man of Steel. When in costume he has the exact same ultra-muscular physique and when Superman shows up to save the data people can't tell the difference between him and Clark Kent in costume. This being due to the fact that THEY ARE THE SAME PERSON and yet no one including Lois are able to do the simple math. The story is completely unbelievable and entirely fun.
Do I recommend this book? Yes. The comic panels are nicely sized rather than reduced as is often the case with these collections and the stories and art were much better than expected. At under $20 it is an absolute steal. HOWEVER, I have one big caveat. DC Comics only appears to have published the years 1939 to 1942 and the Sunday Classics in another volume. IDW just published the Silver Age Dailies spanning 1959 to 1961 and will supposedly be releasing all Superman comics from 1939 to 1966 (not sure why they're going out of chronological order except perhaps to initially avoid competing with already published volumes that would overlap their own material). If you want a complete collection it might be better to wait for IDW. In retrospect I wish I had. This is no offense to DC which produced a very nice volume but it would be nice to have a complete set all from the same publisher.
what is amazing is how the publishers have recreated the newspaper edition in such clear and nice printing considering
that the artworks here are from an old generation. it is a nice collector's item for superman fans.