Action Comics 500, 1979 “The Life Story of Superman”

Continuing my look at Superman, this ┬áspecific comic is a newer acquisition for me, and one I’ve just finally got around to reading. Not only was I impressed with the artwork, but the story was fun as well. A landmark issue, and a whole lot of fun. Now that’s what an anniversary should be about, right? This book has a fantastic cover by Ross Andru (pencils), Dick Giordano (inks), and Tatjana Wood (colors).

Our story begins with Superman arriving at the ceremony to open up the Superman Pavilion at the Metropolis World’s Fair. All of Superman’s supporting characters are here- Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Steve Lombard, Lana Lang, and of course, Lois Lane. Mayor Harkness introduces the Man of Steel, and then he cuts the ribbon (a piece of steel he melts with his heat vision), then we’re introduced to the man who owns the pavilion, Robert Arngrim. We can see Superman gets a strange feeling about him.

Once everyone is inside, the memorabilia is receiving oohs and ahhhs from the crowd. Arngrim then asks Superman about his super memory, and he reveals that because of repeated exposure to Kryptonite, he’s having trouble recalling information from his past. Arngrim then points out that the pavilion has his mind prober ray machine, and asks Superman to give a demonstration. He acquiesces, although a bit reluctantly. We then see behind the scenes that there is another man, working in conjunction with Arngrim, to use this device to destroy Superman!

I’m sure ninety nine percent of the people that read my blog know this story and the villains behind this one, but just in case, I’ll leave that out of my post.

This is a really good story by Marty Pasko (writer). He really “gets” Superman and his personality down quite well. The artwork…what can I say other than it’s amazing. Curt Swan (pencils) is my favorite Superman artist of all time. I really enjoy his work with this character, and wish I owned more of it. Frank Chiaramonte (inks) does a fine job adding his touch as well. Adrienne Roy (colors) and Gaspar Saladino (letters) round out the creative team on this must have book!

Action Comics 440, 1974 “The Man Who Betrayed Krypton!”

As December rolls around, the holidays are upon us, and what better superhero to spotlight in the first week than the man of steel himself, Superman! The cover on this one really stands out, and we have long time DC artist Nick Cardy (colors by Tatjana Wood) to thank for it (although it looks very different from his typical work).

Inside we are treated to a very interesting story that involves a gentleman in a cape named Michael J. Coram, as he attempts to recruit two boys for some mysterious means. As Superman is taking care of some villains, we see a flashback of this Coram, as he approaches a man named Woodrow, about to join the Army. The man is a brilliant scientist, and Corman knows he can use this man’s intelligence for nefarious means! What are those means? Why to destroy Superman of course!

If you’ve ever the read the Superman story “For the Man Who has Everything”, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, this story will make you think of that one immediately. Not because they’re exactly the same, but they do have a bit of a parallel theme between them. At least as far as the villain and his method for antagonizing Superman is similar. I won’t spoil it but attacking someone who has an invulnerable physique isn’t easy. Writer Elliot S! Maggin does a great job at giving the Man of Steel a moment of real weakness in this book. The art team of Curt Swan (pencils) and Bob Oksner (inks) deliver a solid visual story for sure!

Nestled in the last few pages, is a really cool back-up story starring the emerald archer himself, Green Arrow! This strange story shows us a cute little dog named Krypto, a bunch of skeevy smugglers, and if that wasn’t enough, we see an out of control Black Canary karate chop Krypto on the neck! Elliot S! Maggin again scripting, and Mike Grell on art is a real treat!