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Superman in the 70s - DC Comics Message Boards
Author Topic:   Superman in the 70s
garythebari
Member
posted May 08, 2001 06:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garythebari   Click Here to Email garythebari
All I know about Superman is from the 1960s and earlier, or post-crisis. I don't believe I have ever seen a Superman comic book from the 70s, much less read one. So when it comes to Superman in the 70s and early 80s I have no idea what I'm talking about. (Space provided here for cheap shots.)

Some posters have told me there was a good continuity going on in that period of time, but I have not been able to find any 70s stuff even at the largest comics store in our area. 60s yes, 70s no. Would anyone care to fill me in on the events, the chronology, the major Superman adventures in the 70s? (I posted something like this for the 1986 through 2000 era a while back. If anyone read it, that's the kind of thing I'm looking for.)

I know there was a while that Clark and Lana worked at a TV station, but that's about it.

Thanks.

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India Ink
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posted May 08, 2001 07:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for India Ink
I could go on at length about the 70s Superman--and have on other threads (check the backpages of this forum). There's a Superman in the 70s tradepaperback, but it's rather thin, and not the selection I would like--nor have the inks in many cases (especially for Murph Anderson) been reproduced as they were in the originals.

Martin Pasko was my personal favourite scribe, coming in at the very end of the seventies. But his work hasn't been reprinted.

Denny O'Neil did an epic storyline for over a year on Superman, which we refer to as the Sandman Saga--that was at the beginning of the seventies, and most of those stories were inked by Anderson (with Giordano doing a star turn on one episode) and all pencilled by Gentleman Curt Swan.

I'll happily recount my personal views on the seventies Superman when I have more time. Right now, just let me say there are two eras that are my favourites for Superman...

One is the period from about 1959 to 1966. And the other is the seventies.

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KEV-EL
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posted May 08, 2001 07:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KEV-EL   Click Here to Email KEV-EL
garithebari, Check out the Sandman Saga, Circa 1971... It ran from Superman 233 through 242...

It was probably one of the best Superman stories EVER written in any era...

For more info on that GREAT story check this site:
http://theages.superman.nu/History/SandSaga.html

I think you'll really like it!!!

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"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself... A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself..." D.H. Lawrence

I have (more than likely) been dispatched by Justin Peeler ®

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garythebari
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posted May 08, 2001 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garythebari   Click Here to Email garythebari
Thanks, you guys! That site is exactly what I'm looking for. I haven't finished reading it yet, but I had to come back and say thanks before I do.

I love these boards...

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jfurdell
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posted May 09, 2001 12:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jfurdell
The Sandman Saga is the best of the era; another one of my favorites is the Maggin four-parter that runs through Superman 296-299. Also, as far as 1970s Superman comics go, I'd generally recommend the Superman title over Action.

And keep looking for '70s Superman comics. They're not impossible to find, and they're not all that expensive (yet). You might want to poke around Ebay if you're really interested; I recently won about 30 Superman-related comics for $20, most of them from the '70s (and a couple from the '50s, which is a real treat!).

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Lildeath
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posted May 09, 2001 02:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lildeath   Click Here to Email Lildeath
I used to have a few stories from the late seventies, but the seventies in general are something of a gap in my Superman history.

Which sucks, 'cause as I understand it, a lot of good stuff came from there. I suppose that fits the universe's sense of irony ... one good thing comes out of the seventies, it's Superman, and I don't get the read it. Yeesh.

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I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors
But I think that God has a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find Him
Laughing

-- Depeche Mode

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bizarromark
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posted May 09, 2001 03:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bizarromark   Click Here to Email bizarromark
The Superman of the 1970's was a wonderful, unique reading experience.

While still retaining much of the continuity that was developed during the 1960's under editor Mort Weisinger, the 70's seemed to present a more "matured" or refined version of that continuity.

Some examples:

1. The origin story: The 1970's saw the first attempt at nailing down a "definitive" Superman origin as well as a somewhat coherent Kryptonian/ El family history.

2. Retaining the more extreme Silver Age characters, like Krypto and Bizarro, yet relegating them to the "fringes" of continuity with only occasional appearances.

3. The supporting cast remaining intact, but giving them much more to do and growing them up a bit....such as Jimmy Olsen becoming a newspaper reporter, Lana Lang becoming a news anchorwoman, Clark Kent changing careers, etc.

4. Eliminating much of the "Kryptonian Klutter" that had sprung up during the 1960's. While the bottle city of Kandor still existed, Superman seldom visited it or referred to it much in any of his 1970's adventures. Much of the "magic fairy land" aspect of Krypton was downplayed (Thought Beasts, waterfalls made of fire) as were the sheer number of Kryptonian survivors established in the 1960's (a running joke through the silver age was that the ONLY people who seemed to actually DIE from Krypton exploding were Jor-El and Lara!).

In addition to the "matured" silver age continuity, there were some new things that had never been seen before in Superman comics:

1. A more thoughtful, philosophical Superman. He spent more time thinking about the ramifications of his actions and his role in society (see "Must There Be a Superman?" from Superman #247 for an example of this kind of story).

2. A maturing of the Lois Lane/Superman relationship. Lois was no longer the perpetual snoop getting into trouble, but an acknowledged romantic interest in Superman's life. While not the sharp talking, gun-toting co-adventurer the modern Lois is, the Lois Lane of the 1970's represented an important step in that direction. She no longer seemed to define herself in relation to Superman ("I hope he'll ask me to marry him someday....sigh.") and instead represented the new "liberated" female of the 1970's (or...as much as the middle-aged men creating the adventures UNDERSTOOD liberated females of the 1970 would allow).

3. The first time that people who were childhood FANS of Superman became CREATORS of Superman. This generation of writers, including Elliot S. Maggin and Martin Pasko, grew up reading Superman and brought their own unique "second generation" understanding to the character. Stories by these creators seemed to connect easier with young people and often dealt with the social issues of the time.

4. Multi-part stories. Up until Marvel Comics revolutionized the style and scope of the typical comic book story, DC comic books typically had two or three separate stories PER ISSUE. Once Marvel popularized the concept of the single story issue, DC followed suit. Gradually, Marvel's single issue stories bled over into multi-issue epics that raised the bar even higher for DC. Once again, DC followed suit....though not to the extent of Marvel's multi-issue story arcs. Superman comics started to include multi-issue stories as well as concepts that would reappear from time to time.

I could go on an on....but the same cannot be said for my lunch hour.

I hope that gives you a little glimpse into the magic of the 1970's Superman.

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Bizarro Mark

The young are moved by greatness. They are inspired by it. Children need heroes. They need them to lift life, to suggest a future you can be hungry for. They need them because heroes, just by being, communicate the romantic and yet realistic idea that you can turn your life into something great. The key, of course, is to have the right heroes--to be lifted by greatness and not just by glamour, to be lit by the desire to do good, as opposed to the desire to do well.

-Peggy Noonan

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garythebari
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posted May 09, 2001 11:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garythebari   Click Here to Email garythebari
This is great, you guys. Thanks. It appears that a lot of what I like about the 1986 makeover and beyond really started in the 70s, right? The longer, more involved, less cheesy stories, the characters that showed some depth and change, less reliance on the Krypton that really never seemed to have ever blown up. So I may start collecting farther back.

When I said I didn't think I'd ever read one, I was wrong. In the Best Superman Stories Ever Told, I found and read Must There Be A Superman and For The Man Who Has Everything. But now I'm going to start looking for the Sandman saga, and I really would like to find the story of Clark and Lana working in TV. Somehow that intrigues me.

Also, I miss the fun of looking for back issues, so...

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KingKrypton
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posted May 10, 2001 01:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KingKrypton   Click Here to Email KingKrypton
Try reading Superman in the Seventies, which can be found at Amazon.com. You'll get a good overview of what the era was all about without shelling out tons of cash on back issues. Trust me, it'll be worth it.

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King Krypton has spoken! Not that anyone's listening, of course. ;)

Check out the updated, expanded, and (IMO) improved version of my infamous Superman movie script outline at http://www.deceptions.net/superman/fan_fiction/fan.htm ...or don't, it really doesn't matter to me in the least.

"I am become Death, shatterer of worlds." - J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Upanishad upon an early test of the atomic bomb

"If thou must love me, let it be for love's sake only." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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bizarromark
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posted May 10, 2001 07:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bizarromark   Click Here to Email bizarromark
quote:
Originally posted by garythebari:

It appears that a lot of what I like about the 1986 makeover and beyond really started in the 70s, right? The longer, more involved, less cheesy stories....


Disclaimer: Unfortunately, the 70's also had their share of cheesy stories....VERY cheesy stories...particularly toward the end of the decade. The late 70's and early 80's stories are among the most forgettable of Superman's entire 60+ year run. Julius Schwartz, the editor, was getting tired and seemed to slip back into kind of an early Silver Age mode. The horrible inking of Frank Chiaramonte over the beautiful pencils of Curt Swan was also tough to sit through.

If you're gonna start buying back issues, concentrate on the early to mid-70's. Some of the best stuff appeared then and Curt Swan was inked by Murphy Anderson...in my opinion the best inker of Swan's pencils.

quote:
Originally posted by garythebari:

But now I'm going to start looking for the Sandman saga, and I really would like to find the story of Clark and Lana working in TV. Somehow that intrigues me.


Look no futher than Superman #233, the "kickoff" issue of the "new Superman". In addition to an incredible Neal Adams cover, this story featured the beginning of the new direction for Superman with Clark Kent's reassignment to TV news and the elimination of the Kryptonite threat....which leads to the creation of the Quaarm sand creature.

Let me know if you'd like some additional recommendations for individual issues.

------------------
Bizarro Mark

The young are moved by greatness. They are inspired by it. Children need heroes. They need them to lift life, to suggest a future you can be hungry for. They need them because heroes, just by being, communicate the romantic and yet realistic idea that you can turn your life into something great. The key, of course, is to have the right heroes--to be lifted by greatness and not just by glamour, to be lit by the desire to do good, as opposed to the desire to do well.

-Peggy Noonan

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garythebari
Member
posted May 10, 2001 09:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for garythebari   Click Here to Email garythebari
Boy, when you yell "Help," on these boards, people really leap to your rescue. Must be because of reading all that Superman.

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KingKrypton
Member
posted May 11, 2001 01:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KingKrypton   Click Here to Email KingKrypton
Now I liked Chiarmonte. In fact, his work with Swan was my first comic book exposure to Superman. Be nice.

------------------
King Krypton has spoken! Not that anyone's listening, of course. ;)

Check out the updated, expanded, and (IMO) improved version of my infamous Superman movie script outline at http://www.deceptions.net/superman/fan_fiction/fan.htm ...or don't, it really doesn't matter to me in the least.

"I am become Death, shatterer of worlds." - J. Robert Oppenheimer, quoting the Upanishad upon an early test of the atomic bomb

"If thou must love me, let it be for love's sake only." - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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Lildeath
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posted May 11, 2001 01:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Lildeath   Click Here to Email Lildeath
Didn't Gil Kane draw Superman for a while in the 1970s? One of my biggest hassles with Superman when I was a kid was that Curt Swan's art always struck me as kinda boring. He was like the exact opposite of Jack Kirby, pencil-wise. Everybody walking around with perfect posture all the time, very little variation in the perspective.

I didn't see much of Gil Kane, but I do recall his work, I think ... or maybe I've got my timelines screwed up. I was five years old when the 70s mercifully came to an end (this should give you teenagers a clue as to just how horrible the 70s were ... a toddler was disgusted by them).

------------------
I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors
But I think that God has a sick sense of humor
And when I die I expect to find Him
Laughing

-- Depeche Mode

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India Ink
Member
posted May 11, 2001 06:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for India Ink
I'd like exact references for those perfect posture Swan Supermans, Lildeath. It seems to me Wayne Boring was the one who gave everyone perfect posture, and certainly in the 50s when all artists were required to ape Boring's approach, Swan's Superman probably had perfect posture. But in the best examples of Swan from the 60s and 70s, I'm often struck by the bad posture. On Lexor, for the Super-Duel (deprived of power by the Red Sun), Superman's posture is slumping (he comes off as quite human) and in the Sandman Saga (again with his powers going out), Superman is positively humble in his posture.

Anyway, I would say Anderson was the perfect inker. Williamson (in the eighties), Klein and Oksner come second. With Chiaramonte and Adkins doing competent jobs. But there were some positively bad inkers--Blaisdell did Curt no favours, but his inks were respectable when compared with Vin Colletta who murdered Swan. Since Colletta came immediately after Anderson, the comparison was all the more horrific. It tore my heart out each issue, as I remembered the great Swanderson work, and saw Vinnie's pathetic scratchings.

Yeah there were cheesy stories. But there were lots of great stories, too. And even the cheesy stories have a nice sense of character.

Lana's return to Superman (she had been absent for almost the whole decade of the seventies) came during Pasko's run. She became the new GBS co-anchor, and a four way romance developed between Superman, Lane, Kent, and Lang. Although Lana never really stood a chance. Lana forms the underlying subtext of almost Pasko's entire run, and the basic theme is Superman's love for Lois vs. his love for Earth. Near the end of the run Lana comes to realize that she never was anywhere near to winning his heart. And yet, the reader has come to love Lana, wishes it could be otherwise--ultimately we see things through her eyes and see the complexity of the world where people can't help but hurt each other. This is Superman's sad dilemma and his realization. He's the kind of guy who wants to treat everybody nice, and yet he can't--no matter what choices he makes there will always be someone who gets hurt.

In the eighties, Superman ran out of steam. Or rather he got stalled. I think this was because people (ie., the publishers) weren't quite sure what to with Superman and they were just waiting for something to happen (so when Byrne came along they were ready to accept him as their messiah). There were a lot of silly stories and some good things. Gil Kane did a lot of Superman work at this time (with Wolfman writing). And Al Williamson brought a new look to Swan's pencils. Also in the late seventies and early eighties, DC Comics Presents (the Superman team-up) often presented the most compelling Superman stories--such as those by Jim Starlin. But there was also Giffen--god love the guy--who did some pretty goofy stories with Superman (and Ambush Bug) which while entertaining as heck did nothing to enhance Superman's image as a powerful character.

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Jetfire
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posted May 21, 2001 03:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jetfire   Click Here to Email Jetfire
You guys have me sold.
I'm gonna search for these 70's superman storys (Know a few but now I have direction)

Any one know any more of the good stuff mid 70's (I herd seveal times the core superman books became bad/late 70's and pre bryne 80's.Is this totally true or just opinion? I just herd it a fair few times here and there.

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India Ink
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posted May 21, 2001 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for India Ink
I'm probably the wrong person to answer this since my tastes are not representative of most comics readers (at least going by these boards). For me all of the seventies Superman was satisfying (although Vin Colletta made it tough to read the fine stories of Bates and Maggin)...

The early seventies was a good model for what today's Superman should be. All the books were linked in a fashion, but you didn't have to read one to understand the other. And there was all kinds of serious stuff going down in each book (with the possible exception of Action, which primarily concentrated on telling good stories). Superman was a real guy and went through some tough soul searching.

The later seventies gave us Pasko's sensitive storyline in Superman, while Action had basicly entertaining stuff, and DC Comics Presents had some epic content from Jim Starlin. But there wasn't the kind of intensity to these books that there had been in the early seventies.

The middle seventies was satisfying for me, but it's a hard case to make that it would be satisfying for everyone else. Because what I liked was the dependable samenity of it all...You have to realize DC tended to go in a decline at the middle of the seventies and a lot of good talent left the company. Far too many books were being put out by raw untried talent who might one day be great but weren't all that great right then. Sometimes a star new talent would come along--like Marshall Rogers--or a seasoned pro would do a little bit here and there (as with Engelhart or Starlin). But in Superman I knew I could get solid storytelling from Bates and Maggin, consistent pencils from Swan, and sometimes good inks from the likes of Bob Oksner or Dan Adkins.

That's what I liked. Superman was my Mary Tyler Moore Show. Just as Mary always had a good show each week, so did Superman each month. And the gang in Superman were a lot like those on MTM (I think Bates actually scripted a few MTM shows)--Perry was Lou, Clark was Murray, Lois was Mary, and Steve (Lombard) was Ted. Well okay, Clark wasn't quite Murray, but you get my point. And there was character development (developing ultimately to that four issue drama in Superman 196-199--where CK and LL had "boef bourgenon" which seemed to be code for sex), it's just that the character development was not popping your eyeballs out stuff. And we didn't expect things to change. Change was not what that Superman was about--instead the writers played with the formula.

I guess Superman from that time period could be likened to a chess game. Each new issue was a new game, with the same pieces capable of making the same moves, but it was fun and intellectually stimulating to see the combination of moves and how those influenced the outcome.

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KEV-EL
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posted May 21, 2001 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KEV-EL   Click Here to Email KEV-EL
India Ink...

Nice positive posts!!!

I think its GREAT to see someone else enjoyed that era and those stories...

I've always thought that part of the "problems" (if any ) with those books is in the comparisons today’s readers make with today's stories...

It is and was a completely different ballgame... And while I think that those 70's book suffer a bit in comparison to todays flashier books, there were still MANY, MANY gems that came from that period of time...

All anyone has to do is take the time to find & read them or ask some of us here for some info...

I think that your whole-hearted endorsement of those books is to be commended... I think its wonderful that there are still folks out there who are not "ashamed" to say they enjoyed those stories...

I know that both Bizzaromark and myself feel the same way you do...

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"I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself... A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself..." D.H. Lawrence

I have (more than likely) been dispatched by Justin Peeler ®

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First National Bastard
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posted May 21, 2001 09:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for First National Bastard   Click Here to Email First National Bastard
I've always wondered about this...

Has the "Sandman Saga" been reprinted in TPB?

I don't mean issue #232, which has been reprinted in the 70s TPB and a Millennium Edition, but the whole storyline.

And, if not, isn't it about time for a 30th anneversary TPB from DC?

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Knor-El
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posted May 21, 2001 10:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Knor-El   Click Here to Email Knor-El
Just out of curiosity do any of you recognize where my user id "knor-el" is from?

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jfurdell
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posted May 21, 2001 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jfurdell
quote:
Originally posted by India Ink:
(developing ultimately to that four issue drama in Superman 196-199--where CK and LL had "boef bourgenon" which seemed to be code for sex)

I think this is actually 296-299. A must read, either way.

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India Ink
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posted May 22, 2001 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for India Ink
>gulp< And I remember distinctly thinking to myself--let's see that four part story came before the 300th issue, with "Superman 2001," so that would be issues 296-299--but I guess my fingers did something else, and I failed to notice the stupid error before I submitted. Of course 199 was the Flash/Superman race, written by Jim Shooter and pencilled by Curt Swan, with a great Infanderson cover, but I'm not sure if George Klein inked the insides. And 200 was the Imaginary Tale with Kal-El's brother Knor-El, illoed by Wayne Boring (don't know who wrote it--Leo Dorfman???). And I can't vouch for my spelling of "boef bourgenon" or whatever the heck it is.

Thanks for the positive words Kev-El.

And, FNB, the "Sandman Saga" has never been reprinted in its entirety in a TP. Much to my chagrin.

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Bookworm
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posted May 23, 2001 10:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bookworm   Click Here to Email Bookworm
Not to mention that during the 1970's Lex Luthor, as a crazed scientist obsessed with destroying Superman, used to attack Superman directly and not hide behind the "Legitimate businessman" cover. Of course that Luthor had his bad points like his "I hate Superman because he made me bald" reason and his "green and purple fashion nightmare" costume. But nobody is perfect.

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Morbius
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posted May 24, 2001 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Morbius   Click Here to Email Morbius
Well, I've always been partial to the post-Sandman '70s/Pre-Crisis '80s version, because that was the Superman I grew up with. I find that there's something great with every incarnation, though.

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The Time Trapper
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posted May 26, 2001 03:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for The Time Trapper
Legion poster here popping over to ask a similar Q as this topic starter. I'm thinking of checking out early-mid 70s Swanderson stuff, so...

1- I'd appreciate any Top Ten issues/stories lists of this period from anyone. With ish #s please.

2 - Later period I believe, but what ish was Kandor's enlargement? 336?

3 - Also later period, but what Action issues are the Luthor storyline where he supposedly goes "good" but we find out he hynotized himself? I think it was four-parter.

4- Finally, got any favorite sci-fi themed stories during the Swanderson period? Other worlds, parallel universes, the future, the classic themes.

Thanks to any responders in advance.

Click over to the LSH board and check out our bizarre humor topics. Ya might get some chortles, even a guffaw.

Thanks again.

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SOLARLORD
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posted May 26, 2001 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SOLARLORD   Click Here to Email SOLARLORD
The other day I found a great issue from my childhood (I was born circa 1974). I started reading comics when my grandfather would make his daily walk to the convience store at the end of the street for the morning paper. They had a old-school turning comic-rack (Exactly like the one I now have in my living room) and he would grab something off it and bring it home to me.

I'm not sure where I got it because it was made a couple years *before* I was born yet its in with the stuff I got as a kid.

Superman no. 257 featuring Green Lantern Tomar-Re as the GL who assigned the sector of the galaxy Krypton inhabited.

A fantastic story as Tomar Re realy feels the pain of failure for having not been able to save Krypton.

Also I think this is where Lara Lor-Vans yellow outfit that we saw in R2K comes from. Is it bad of me to think Supermans mom is goregous?

I have some other comics from the seventies though not quite as good. I deeply respect Curt Swan and his commitement and love for Superman but I've never been a fan of his work. I found the art in this issue much better.

Anyway, its great stuff and has made me decide to go out and get the Superman in the 70's trade. I've been reading alot about these stories on websites and I'm really enjoying them.

The concept of the "sword of Superman" is wonky, but I can dig the idea of his destiny to become Rao one day. I like what Grant Morrison did with this in DC One Million.

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"Cursed be the fool who destroys wonder".

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