Archive | Superman

Our Very Own Super-Duper Man!

Everyone knows that Clark Kent is Superman’s alter ego, but around here we have another fine fellow who fits that bill — Super-Duper artist Pete Poplaski, who creates the amazing covers for all of our Superman newspaper strip collections (and the Batman and Wonder Woman collections to boot)!

While everyone who has these books knows what the final colored versions look like when printed, very few people see the various stages Pete goes through to create these masterworks.

For the upcoming Superman Golden Age Dailies 1944-1947 back cover, here are an interim penciled and partially inked version, the final inked rendition, and the color guide Pete submits for LOAC’s digital colorists.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

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When “Quick Takes” Meet “Coming Attractions” —

— You get a piece like this one, in which we answer the often-asked question, “What’s ahead for LOAC in the months to come?”

Firstuvall, we got your space opera right here! As 2017 unfolds you’ll see us wrap up our UK Star Trek comics and release the middle volumes in both our Star Wars and Star Hawks trilogies. To whet your appetite for the exploits of Rex, Sniffer, Alice K., and Chavez, here’s an April 1979 beauty, done in Gil Kane’s inimitable style:

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ZAM!, indeed …

Old friends will continue to make fresh appearances — Little Orphan Annie, Dick Tracy, and also our fourth Skippy book! This endearing kids-strip is always a delight, and Jared Gardner’s insights into the increasingly-troubled life of cartoonist Percy Crosby is compelling reading, an important addition to our understanding of comics history.

One of our old friends will offer something extra-special to readers — our upcoming Li’l Abner Volume 9 will provide a handful of strips that have never before been reprinted in continuity! What the dickens does THAT mean, you ask? Well, sharp-eyed readers of the Kitchen Sink Press Abner reprints from the 1980s/90s may remember there was a gap in the continuous run of strips between KSP Volumes 17 and 18 — the 1951 strips reprinted in Vol 17 ended on December 29th, with Fearless Fosdick still at the mercy of the “Atom Bum”. Vol 18 opened in Dogpatch with the January 21, 1952 daily, focusing on Abner and his brand-new chemistry set. What happened to the dailies in between? What was the fate of the Atom Bum? Here’s a snippet from one of the missing strips that makes it look bad for America’s ideel …

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We asked Denis Kitchen about the missing strips and he reported that a layout problem in Volume 18 caused the dailies in question to be unintentionally dropped (and KSP had reprinted the full story of the Atom Bum in the first of their two Fearless Fosdick collections, published in 1990). Denis is always an invaluable part of our Li’l Abner team and he’s as happy as we are to see these strips being reprinted in continuity for the very first time. And oh, by the way, the other strips in our Abner Volume 9 are also literally History-Making — the mystery of Nancy O wraps up in 1951, and a major event in 1952 made the prestigious cover of Life magazine!

We have more than old friends to offer — as we recently discussed, we’ll also be welcoming Lynn Johnston’s exceptional For Better of For Worse to the LOAC line of books.

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We’ll have more Disney comics for you to enjoy (don’t quack up — more Donald Duck Sundays are coming soon!), and Superman will be wrapping up the 1950s in a colorful collection of Sunday pages. Meanwhile, our next LOAC Essentials will showcase a strip we’ve used in a past “fantasy day comics page” or two (so you can use our “Search” feature to do a little research and start guessing …). This feature is one of my very favorites, but I won’t be writing the Introduction to the book, because we’ve lined up someone who may love this work even more than I do!

Of course, I will be writing the essay for Steve Canyon Volume 8 as we take Stevenson B.’s adventures deeper into the years of the Kennedy Administration. Here’s a sneak-peek at Milton Caniff’s Christmas thought for his audience, circa 1962:

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Bottom line: what’s coming from The Library of American Comics in the months ahead? Loads of adventure and comedy — stories ranging from the Dogpatch hills to the depths of the Barnum Star System — and work by award-winning talents spanning the 1940s through 1970s. If you agree that’s a nice lineup, please join us for those books you’re sure to enjoy!

It All “Ad”s Up

We sometimes have more artwork and photos than we can squeeze into the text features of our books. We’re just putting a wrap on Steve Canyon Volume 7, for example, and we have such an abundance of 1959-60 riches related to Milton Caniff and his creation that we’ll likely do a feature in this space showcasing some of the artifacts that didn’t make the cut as the book gets closer to its on-sale date.

Sifting through the files I’ve amassed related to a couple other recent books, I saw some newspaper promotional ads that we didn’t use. Here’s a “Kigmy”-related ad supporting Li’l Abner, circa 1949:

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And from that same year, an ad that does double duty, both as a promotion for Abner and as a contest pushing Proctor & Gamble products:

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I’m also partial to this 1933 ad for Tim Tyler’s Luck that we found while preparing our jumbo-sized LOAC Essentials/King Features Essentials Volume 2 devoted to Alex Raymond’s brief-but-memorable stint on that series.

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Seeing those items, and given my own soft spot for this type of material, I thought I’d sift through a batch of newspapers and see what other comic strip promotional ads I could find. The earliest one I located was from the year of the stock market crash, 1929, and is hyping Percy Crosby’s delightful and influential kids strip, Skippy:

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Fans of Gasoline Alley (myself included) may get a kick out of this 1930 advertisement, suggesting readers send in their summertime addresses and get the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette delivered while on vacation in order to stay current with events in the Wallet household:

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And I was delighted to find this 1934 ad from the Asheville, North Carolina Citizen as the paper prepared to bring Little Orphan Annie into its lineup of daily comics. The ad symbolically reminds readers how “Daddy” Warbucks’s red-haired charge typically ends up in hot water :

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Not every ad was as elaborate as the Annie, of course. In 1940, when this ad promoting the Golden Age Superman was appearing in client newspapers across America, The Man of Tomorrow was scarcely two years old. How many readers in 1940 could have imagined the strange visitor from planet Krypton would still be entertaining millions, more than seventy-five years after this modest advertisement saw print?

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The sophistication and graceful action shown in this 1952 ad for Rip Kirby strikes me as resonating very closely with what Alex Raymond was presenting on the comics page as he chronicled the adventures of the ’50’s first modern detective:

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One of the strips I always enjoyed as a youngster was Andy Capp. I liked the “Englishness” of his world, its rough-and-tumble nature, and I’m heartened that Andy has successfully continued his visits to the local more than a decade after his creator’s death (Reg Smythe passed away in 1998). The copy in this 1967 ad from the Pittsburgh Press certainly reflects the tenor of those “Swingin’ Sixties” times, doesn’t it?

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Finally, here’s a March, 1971 ad for Doonesbury, only five months into its existence. It serves as a reminder of how the art style, themes, and characters in this sprawling, sometimes controversial, sometimes powerful, always-worth-reading strip have changed!

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Keep watching this space, because we’ll be back soon with, as the Monty Python troupe used to say, “something completely different” …

Superman on Campus

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He’s been called Brooklyn’s Number One Superman Fan. Our good friend Sid Friedfertig is giving a talk about the Man of Steel on Wednesday, September 16 as part of the Hutton House Lectures at Long Island University. If you’re fortunate enough to live in — or will be visiting — the area, put on your best Kryptonian attire and head out east. The lecture is free and runs from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Sid has accumulated a bevy of information on Superman, much more than he was able to fit in his introductions to our three volumes of the Silver Age newspaper strip.

The lecture will be held at Lorber Hall, Long Island University Post’s south campus in Brookville, New York. For more information, you can download the schedule as a PDF.

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Superman — Super Criminal?!

What happens when Earthmen from the future (3004 to be exact) travel back in time (to 1958 to be specific) in order to arrest the master criminal named Shark — who turns out to be none other than Superman?!!! It’ll be a while before we reprint the complete story in our Superman Sundays series, but here’s a taste in the meantime — three consecutive Sundays from June 22 through July 6, 1958. Click on each image for a larger size. (Superman is © and TM DC Comics, natch.)

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Pree-senting—Stories in Super-Scope

One of the benefits superhero fans and students of comics history enjoy as a result of LOAC’s teaming with DC is the ability to read the same basic story and plot structure presented in two different formats – the original comic book version, and the “Earth N” version that ran in the newspaper strip version.

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One of the benefits superhero fans and students of comics history enjoy as a result of LOAC’s teaming with DC is the ability to read the same basic story and plot structure presented in two different formats – the original comic book version, and the “Earth N” version that ran in the newspaper strip version.

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Man of Tomorrow Archives Volume 3 also contains the comics version of a pair of stories we carried in our Superman Dailies Volume 2:

  • “The Super Luck of Badge 77,” a Binder/Plastino collaboration.
  • And, from Action # 257, Binder/Boring/Kaye’s “The Reporter of Steel!”
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Being able to compare and contrast these five stories by reading the alternate versions contained in these three volumes is one more piece of evidence that this is the Golden Age of comics scholarship. Between DC’s Archives, Marvel’s Masterworks, The Library of American Comics, and the many other comic book and newspaper strip reprint projects underway from publishers too numerous to mention, an unprecedented amount of the medium’s history is once again in print and available for interested readers to savor. At the end of his introduction to Superman: Silver Age Dailies Volume 1, scholar of all things Kryptonian Sidney Friedfertig concluded, “It’s a great time to be a Superman fan.” I’ll agree with Sid and add that it’s a great time to be a comics fan, with the LOAC/DC collaboration offering an invaluable window into link between comic strips and comic books.

Here’s a preview of Pete Poplaski’s cover to Volume Three of the Silver Age Dailies, scheduled for release in December.

 

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Superman — missing no longer

It’s been brought to our attention that in the first volume in our Superman Siler Age Dailiesseries, the July 2, 1959 strip is duplicated and the July 1st strip is missing. Below is the missing strip. Click on it for a larger version. For anyone who wants to print out a high-res replacement page 37 to place in your book, you can download a file here.

Our apologies for the error.

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So good that it will make your eyes pop out!

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Here’s Pete Poplaski mugging it up as he gets his first look at Volume One of the Superman Silver Age Dailies series for which he’s drawing the covers. Ya think he likes it? (Keen eyes will also notice the Wurtlitzer jukebox in the background at Pete’s left, a secret sign that he is visiting his old pal — and jukebox collector — Denis Kitchen!)

Meanwhile, here’s Pete’s finished cover for the first of the Superman Sundays series (in stores in December).

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Yes, Lois, He Still Draws with Pen and Ink

For what will be the cover for LOAC’s 79th release—Superman: The Silver Age Dailies, Volume One—here are some of Pete Poplaski’s interim stages. While many artists have switched to drawing digitally, Pete’s still does it the old fashioned way on paper—first pencil roughs, then tight pencils, and finally the finished inking. The printed cover will have a slight change from this one because we’ve shifted the contents a bit. Rather than start with the “Metallo” story from late 1958/early 1959, our premiere book begins with “Earth’s Super-Idiot” in April 1959 and continues through “The Mad Woman of Metropolis” in August 1961.

Here are some of the stages of Pete’s work for the first cover, plus a sneak preview of the back cover. Enjoy!

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