First off, let me get one thing straight. I’m no fan of The Man of Steel. That’s right, not loving Big Blue. Now, having said that, I will give credit where it is due; he is an icon and well-loved the world over. But I like to get outside my comfort zone as often as possible and how better to do that than to review a character I don’t really enjoy reading. Therefore, I am happy to review Superman: The Atomic Age Sundays, Vol. 1 (1949-1953).
This hardbound compilation is completely composed of never before reprinted Sunday comics. The time span is October 23, 1949 through March 15, 1953. Looking back on comics as they were presented over six decades ago is akin to staring into the history of America. We not only get a glimpse of the fears and challenges of life back then but we get to look at how less convoluted the world was at that time. Disregarding nostalgia for what it is, the strip presents the reader with a time capsule of sorts, in comic form and in that respect, this book produces something not easily replicated.
With almost two hundred pages of comic strips, this book covers a lot of stories. Some of the highlights are Superman meeting Merlin in the time of King Arthur, Supes adapting his x-ray vision to lull someone to sleep, and another meeting with Mxyztplk. Kal-El also defended and protected Lois Lane while she pursued a job as a private detective (although she never knew he was there) and he was also tricked into becoming a movie star (both as Clark Kent and as Superman). additionally, what comic would be complete without The Man Of Tomorrow saving the world from an alien invasion, right? There’s plenty more to be found in this compendium, but those are the ones that stood out the most in my mind. There were also three separate stories that involved puppeteers or marionettes in some way, obviously a sign of the times.
And while the character himself was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster, this serialized weekly comic was written and illustrated by a different team. Scripting this piece of history was Alvin Schwartz, known to me as the guy who wrote the first Bizarro story (it’s not in this book, sorry). Wayne Boring handled the artwork in this book, as well as a plethora of other Superman comics over the years. Not only did these two guys turn out some pretty good work on this series, they both are recognized as greats in the comic industry.
The latest in compilations of Sunday comics, this book is a must have for any Superman fan. Loaded with Kryptonian goodness, this serial really focuses on the positive impact that Superman has had on our culture. He is honest, upstanding and valiant in ways that current incarnations of the character just cannot achieve. It is this persona that I first think of when I hear his name. He is the ultimate Boy Scout, the quintessential good guy. If you are a fan of classic comics and Superman is your guy, then you should have zero reservations about grabbing this book. It would just make sense for you to have it. He does stand for Truth, Justice, and The American Way after all.