But what, I’m sure you’re asking, is happening on the racks? As I go through these movies on the blog, I like to check in on what’s happening in the comics that year, because you never know what might happen if you don’t keep an eye on things. For example: in summer 1982, while I was occupied writing about rubber-suit swamp monsters, Action Comics went and split Superman into two half-powered twin Supermans, and they left him like that for eight months.
The gimmick is that in August 1982, Superman is suddenly sucked through the timestream into 14th century England for some reason — “Great Rao!” he observes, “I’m back in the Middle Ages!” — where he gets in between two squabbling wizard spouses who each want to use his invulnerable body to obtain the Power Ultimate, whatever that is. It seems like some kind of domestic dispute.
Lord Satanis stands on one side of Superman, and his wife, the Sorceress Syrene, stands on the other side, and they pull on the Action Ace like he’s a wishbone, and then he snaps in half, sorcerously. Now we’ve got one half-Superman who’s invulnerable and has heat-vision but doesn’t have flight, speed or super-strength, and another half-Superman who’s got flight, speed and super-strength but isn’t invulnerable and doesn’t have heat-vision, and if you ever lose track of which one has which powers, then Superman will spend the next eight months patiently explaining it to you, every five minutes.
Continue reading Superman III 4.11: Meanwhile, in 1983 →
“Wish I could explain my strange reaction to that meteor!” Clark Kent wonders aloud. “Why do I get weak every time I come within five feet of it? And Krypton… Why did I keep repeating that word, over and over again? Krypton… What has the word Krypton to do with me? Sounds familiar, but I… just can’t place it! I must find out, because unless I’m very much mistaken… Krypton is the key to this whole strange business!”
You see, back in the old days, little Kal-El didn’t arrive on the planet Earth with a crystal library full of ancient knowledge and a hologram of his dad to explain how to use it; the kid just crashed, and it was up to the passing motorists to figure everything out from scratch.
So in 1943, when the Adventures of Superman radio show decided that they wanted Superman to know where he came from, they invented a meteor and called it Kryptonite, and then they put it in a drawer and forgot about it for another two years.
Continue reading Superman 1.79: K-Rock →
Superman is up in the air at last, and now — at the late date of 70 minutes into a 140-minute experience — we might say that Superman: The Movie has finally begun. He’s rocketed skyward, a danger to sneak thieves and drug smugglers, and a friend in need to cats and kings.
As we discussed yesterday, the film’s special effects crew finally figured out how to produce credible shots of the action ace soaring through the sky, which is great, but it involved a great deal of wear and tear on the harnesses, the front projection equipment and the lead actor. It’s too bad that the Superman crew didn’t realize that there was an alternative, which was proposed in Action Comics in spring 1978, on behalf of a British toy company.
Continue reading Superman 1.58: The Alternative →