First Published: June 2006
Contents: Superman stories from Action Comics #258 (November 1959) to #275 (April 1961), Superman #134 (January 1960) to #145 (May 1961)
Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Jerry Coleman, Al Pastino, Wayne Boring, Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel
Key First Appearances: Bizarro-Lois Lane, Ronal
Story Continues from: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 1
Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3
Overview: As Superman entered the 1960s, the stories found in Action Comics and Superman grew larger than life to match the spirit of the new decade. Superman’s Rogues Gallery – including Lex Luthor, Bizarro, and Mr. Mxyptlk – made more frequent appearances between the two titles. Thankfully, Superman’s friends and family stand by his side to help protect truth, justice, and the American way.
Other traditional stories are revisited in this volume, such as Lois Lane trying to discover Superman’s identity; or Superman finding some way to revisit Krypton, either by traveling back through time or from video archives. And on those occasions when Superman and Clark Kent must be seen together, Batman or the Superman Robots step up to assume one of the identities.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: If you are a Superman fan, by all means pick up this volume. The problem I have with these stories is that they are one-and-done stories. The Superman that appears in Action Comics #258 from late 1959 is no different than the Superman that appears in #275 from 1961. Nothing is done to advance the title character’s storyline. You could pick this up and read them in any order, so a reader could skip around and focus on the stories or villains that most interest you.
Pocketful of Kryptonite: In Superman #140, a new shade of Kryptonite was introduced. Thankfully for Superman, Blue Kryptonite is perfectly harmless to Kryptonians, but Bizarro and the other citizens of Bizarro World find its rays painful. Throughout the Silver Age of comics and subsequent eras, many other variations of Kryptonite were introduced, each with it’s own unique impacts:
- Green Kryptonite is lethal to Superman, which weakens and drains his powers until it kills him.
- Red Kryptonite will cause some kind of short-term change in Superman, like giving him a third eye on his head, and it fades away within 24 hours.
- Gold Kryptonite will permanently remove Superman’s powers.
- White Kryptonite will kill all plant life, regardless if the plants are from Krypton or Earth.
- Other shades of Kryptonite have been introduced in other media, such as the Smallville TV show or other comics. That would include Black, Silver, Pink, Orange, Gemstone, and Periwinkle, to name a few.
Footnotes: The “Mighty Maid” story from Action Comics #260; the “Old Man of Metropolis” story from Action Comics #270; the “Untold Story of Red Kryptonite” story fromSuperman #139; Superman #140; and the “Orphans of Space!” story from Superman#144 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1.
The full review can be found at EssentialShowcase.com.
To find the original issues, or reprints, of these Action Comics and Superman issues, check with your local comic book. In the Midwest, I strongly recommend Clint’s Comics in midtown Kansas City. Clint’s has been in business for nearly 50 years at the intersection of Main St. and Westport Rd. The back-issue selection is incredible, and what you see in the store is just a small fraction of their total inventory. In addition to the back issues, Clint’s stocks current issues, trade paperbacks, toys, T-shirts, and more. Check out Clint’s Comics to build your own essential collection!