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Author Topic: Superman in the Silver Age  (Read 52275 times)
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Aldous
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« on: May 22, 2003, 02:00:32 AM »

Or, Superman of the Weisinger Era, if you prefer.

When I was a young'un, still in short pants and never been kissed, I had a friend who was the only other comic book collector I knew of in our whole town. He had comics I wanted and I had comics he wanted. Occasionally we would do a swap, but not often, and the joy of getting a comic you wanted was offset by the pain of losing an old favourite.

Anyhow, one of the comics he always refused to swap was the story of Superman Red and Superman Blue from Superman No. 162. He would let me read it but I never had the opportunity to make it my own.

That was the last time I saw that story till I recently came across it on this website. I read it with great pleasure.

This story could be very easy to dismiss for all the obvious reasons, but it could actually be, if not the epitome of the Silver Age Superman, certainly the ultimate Superman story of the era, and the natural conclusion to every developing concept of the Superman mythos.

Leo Dorfman has carefully and thoughtfully dried every tear avid Superman readers ever shed over every rotten situation suffered by the Man of Steel by giving Superman everything he ever wanted.

Kal-El, always trapped in the Clark Kent-Superman dynamic, is now physically two independent people. What an ingenious resolution. He recreates and repopulates Krypton. He erases crime and evil, healing both Luthor's psychological and physical wounds (the latter being his baldness). The Phantom Zone prisoners are finally set free, their indefinite sentences reaching a natural conclusion. His confusion about love, marriage, Lois and Lana is resolved. How clever that he can marry both. Even his being torn between his Kryptonian heritage and his life on Earth is brought to a satisfying close: he doesn't have to choose anymore! He can live on both worlds.

Dorfman shamelessly and sincerely created a very clever story that lets us peek into Superman's daydreams.
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Super Monkey
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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2003, 02:56:50 AM »

By the time I was born, the Sliver Age of Superman was long gone, but the legend of this tale was still strong. The plot itself was the stuff of dreams, sadly I never got to read it until years later when I brought the TGSSET TPB. As strange as it may sound to some, this may have very well been the most realistic of Superman stories. Outsiders always said looking at Superman logically, that if Superman was really so powerful and so good then why wouldn't he do this or do that, and solve all of the world's problems. In this story he does just that. Of course the real reason why Superman never did any of these things in the official cannon was of course because then the comic would be over Wink

It was the happiest of happy endings, and just so happens to be one of my favorite imaginary tales of all time.
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nightwing
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« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2003, 01:21:11 PM »

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Dorfman shamelessly and sincerely created a very clever story that lets us peek into Superman's daydreams.


Indeed.  I would say that the "Red and Blue" tale forms a bookend of sorts with "Death Of Superman" on the opposite end.  The former wraps up the legend in the happiest way possible, the latter in the saddest way. Between them they represent the Alpha and Omega of the "Imaginary Story" genre, and any others are just pale shadows.

Quote
Kal-El, always trapped in the Clark Kent-Superman dynamic, is now physically two independent people. What an ingenious resolution.


Yes, and note that while one Superman prefers life on Earth and the other a life on Krypton, neither considers for a moment living out his life as Clark Kent.  An interesting aspect of the Silver Age versus the Modern Age, eh?  

Here's a challenge to the current creative types at DC: How about an Elseworlds...just one, mind you...that explores, as this story did, the best things that could happen instead of the worst? Does anyone still remember how to write a happy ending? Or for that matter, how to look at the world with anything like optimism?
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India Ink
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2003, 04:52:10 AM »

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India Ink
 January 14, 2002 11:10 PM      
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Seeing the World through Super Spectacles
Most Super-Specs continued to be part of the runs of individual titles. But there were some released as stand alone 100 Page Super-Spectaculars. And Superman was the headliner in DC-18, July 1973.

Bridwell finally found a place for that story that was due to be reprinted in issue 254. At least I'm assuming so, because the pic of Superman on the splash of "I Sustain the Wings," is an exact match for the pic Bridwell ran in the lettercol of 253.

This tale comes from Superman 25 (Nov-Dec., 1943), a 12 pager written by none other than Mort Weisinger! A WW II patriotic tale, it's the sort to get the blood pumping with pride. Reporter Clark Kent is sent to Yale University on assignment for the Daily Planet as a trainee at the Army Air Forces Technical Training Command.

Co-Stars in this EXPLOSIVE 100 page extravaganza were tales of the Golden Age and of the Silver Age Atoms, TNT & Dan the Dynamite, The Hour-Man, and Captain Triumph.

A frequent reprint showed up: "Superboy's Last Day in Smallville," (from Superman 97, May, 1955, 10 pages, art by Wayne Boring).

And bringing the celebration to an epic conclusion was "The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue!" Originally reprinted in Superman 162 (July '63), this 24 page imaginary novel is by Dorfman/Swan/Klein. It's been reprinted elsewhere--in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told--but that book leaves the credits at Dorfman/Swan/Klein, whereas this Super-Spec provides us with a little more information (which would be obvious to a keen eye)--namely Kurt Schaffenberger drew Lois and Lana in the story.

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It took me awhile to find the above quote on the archived DCMB "Superman in the 70s" even using the index--the index for that old DCMB thread can be found on pages 26-28 of the thread, for those who don't know--I would probably revise the index if it were still active--but I did find it on page 7 of DCMB-70.  And I don't want to go fishing for more info, but I think that this story was connected in my mind in some way with the "Sad Superman" and the related "Saviour Superman."

It certainly shows Superman full of himself, thinking he knows what's best for humanity (and I do go on to talk about Maggin's Superman in this wise).

Anyway that Super-Spec was where I first read the "Superman Blue/Red" story.  And I did finally get my own copy of 162 about a year ago.

Somehow, though, as satisfying as it is, the story isn't quite complete enough.  I still have to provide my ultimate ending.  Which is--like the Invisible Man or the Werewolf, who revert to their original forms just before they're going to die--both Supermen at the end of their lives fuse back into one whole being.  Now they can share the mutual memories of the life they didn't live--the path that either did not take.  And so Superman dies happy--content with his memories of Lana AND Lois, Earth AND new Krypton.  I can just see Lois and Lana (both very old women, but still looking great) consoling each other over the grave of the men they both loved.
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2003, 06:16:17 AM »

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nightwing:
Indeed. I would say that the "Red and Blue" tale forms a bookend of sorts with "Death Of Superman" on the opposite end. The former wraps up the legend in the happiest way possible, the latter in the saddest way. Between them they represent the Alpha and Omega of the "Imaginary Story" genre, and any others are just pale shadows.


An intriguing thought, but unfortunately I cannot comment as I've never read or even seen Death of Superman.

I'm loath to ask for a synopsis. I would rather read the story afresh. Hopefully it may turn up here in the online comics section!

Actually, nightwing, I couldn't imagine any sadder wrap-up to the legend than my very favourite "Imaginary" story, Love is Blind, partly because the story leaves so many things maddeningly unresolved.
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2003, 08:15:40 AM »

Quote from: "Aldous"
Quote
nightwing:
Indeed. I would say that the "Red and Blue" tale forms a bookend of sorts with "Death Of Superman" on the opposite end. The former wraps up the legend in the happiest way possible, the latter in the saddest way. Between them they represent the Alpha and Omega of the "Imaginary Story" genre, and any others are just pale shadows.


An intriguing thought, but unfortunately I cannot comment as I've never read or even seen Death of Superman.

I'm loath to ask for a synopsis. I would rather read the story afresh. Hopefully it may turn up here in the online comics section!

Actually, nightwing, I couldn't imagine any sadder wrap-up to the legend than my very favourite "Imaginary" story, Love is Blind, partly because the story leaves so many things maddeningly unresolved.


Is there anyway for you to get a copy of The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told TPB? Both stories and many others (It's 336 pages) are in that book. Here is the cover :
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2003, 10:22:14 PM »

Quote from: "India Ink"
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India Ink


Somehow, though, as satisfying as it is, the story isn't quite complete enough.  .


I feel the very same about Superman Red/Superman Blue it was a good story but in the end not a great story.  I feel that the ending lacked something - sure seeing Supes with Lois and Supes with Lang was nice but not special.  Please the complete Red and Blue costumes drives me crazy - always thought this would have been a good 3D story however.
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Aldous
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« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2003, 12:19:05 AM »

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Super Monkey:
Is there anyway for you to get a copy of The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told TPB? Both stories and many others (It's 336 pages) are in that book.


I'm sure there is.

I will add it to the loooong list of books I want.  :wink:

It's definitely something I would like to get.
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