Reign of the Supermen #200: Bronze Age Superman

Source: Superman vol.1 #233 (1971) to Action Comics #583 (1986)
Type: The real deal (since retconned)I've said before why I think the Bronze Age started with Jimmy Olsen #133, Jack Kirby's first DC comic, so it's entirely appropriate that Superman is brought into the Bronze Age through a character from Kirby's Jimmy comics: Morgan Edge. This is his first non-Kirby appearance and he comes in to assign Clark Kent to WGBS-TV, a precursor of Fox News if there ever was one. Superman is pulled out of the newspaper age and put on television where millions of viewers can now go "hmm, that dude kinda looks like Superman". Certainly makes the exclusive interviews with himself harder to fabricate.
At least he doesn't get assigned a cameraman (yet). There are other changes afoot, courtesy of writer Denny O'Neil and editor Julius Schwartz. In that first, 8-part storyline, Superman's powers were dialed back by about a third (though they would rise again soon afterwards), an attempt to phase out kryptonite was made (along with other gimmicks like Lois Lane's secret identity shenanigans), and the stories made a little darker or at least, more "relevant" (by making him react to real world events, for example). This Superman would interact much more with the other superheroes of the DC Universe and become the inspiration to others that is part of the character today. From Earth's champion, he would grow to become the universe's, as a Kryptonian mythology was developed through the decade.
Even the LOOK and FEEL of the Superman books would change. The structure of multiple short stories each issue would give way to long multi-part stories and a better sense that this was a "continuing story". Page layouts are more diverse, the narrative far less compressed, and even though we have Silver Age artists like Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson on the book, their art looks more dynamic, expressive and exciting than ever. It's nice to see the folks at DC excited about Superman again.
We wouldn't have this kind of enthusiasm until Byrne's Modern Age, and not really since. After Superman deserting his books, and now deserting Metropolis, I think we're primed for a revolution. But it may not be that easy to spark a new Age of comics...

3 comments:

ShadowWing Tronix said...

Can we try anyway? I'm pretty much done with this age. As a whole, it's no fun.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I agree. I'm down to skipping weeks at my LCS because I want my pull list to be more than two comics. Last time I felt this way was inthe mid to late 90s.

Kano said...

It's all very easy to be dismissive about how boring/tired the stories sound .. but in most cases, I've seen it's a function of the sheer amount of work already done over the decades, as well as the age of the reader. What once amused you to no end is 'tacky', 'cliched' etc

 

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