Friday, March 4, 2016

Superman: The Sunday Pages, 1946-1949

This second volume of Superman Sunday pages color reprints picks up where volume one concluded. With World War II ended we see a shift toward new types of villains and predicaments to plague the Man of Steel. The artwork is by Wayne Boring and the scripts are by Jerry Siegel and Alvin Schwartz. This volume opens with an introduction by Mark Waid and a two-page cover gallery of Superman comics featuring the artwork of Wayne Boring. Of these I own a tattered copy of Superman # 47. The Sunday pages in this volume have never been reprinted and IDW Publishing out of San Diego deserve the highest accolades for this landmark series. These stories are typical of the era, but feature some iconic moments. The prodigious influence of the comic book industry upon our culture is on display in every panel of these stories. Early on, superman encounters a Paleomatzball, or dinosaur, love-struck over Supes himself. This silliness is followed by some typical crime stories until we arrive at the sequence where Superman is reduced to a super-infant by mysterious atomic radiation. It’s in this story that we witness Clark Kent kissing Lois Lane – Gasp! The growing influence of blatant science fiction plots come to a head when Superman is attacked by Martians in July, 1948. This is the best sequence of strips in this volume. These adventures are populated with winged creatures, a flying carpet story, a talking dog, and the lovely Queen of Ru who wants to marry Superman. It’s important to recall that these stories were directed at a juvenile market, and long before Stan Lee and the gang at Marvel Comics made social themes a relevant and permanent part of the comic book industry. That doesn’t mean that Superman didn’t handle social issues, because he certainly did, but the approach was much different in those post war years. IDW has published an historically important and entertaining series of books, perfect for the die-hard Superman fan. 

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