First Published: October 2005
Contents: Superman stories from Action Comics #241 (June 1958) to #257 (October 1959), Superman #122 (July 1958) to #133 (November 1959)
Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Jerry Coleman, Al Pastino, Wayne Boring, Curt Swan, Kurt Schaffenberger
Key First Appearances: Brainiac, Bottle City of Kandor, Metallo, Kara/Linda Lee Danvers/Supergirl, Bizarro, Titano, Lori Lemaris, Mr. Mxyzptlk
Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 2
Overview: Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. By 1958, Superman was the star of comic book spinner racks, as well as featured in a syndicated television show, a daily newspaper comic strip, radio dramas, movie serials, and merchandise.
These stories are generally one-and-done stories; very rarely would a story carry on into the next issue. The writers use a very predictable formula from issue to issue. Kryptonite tended to pop up at least once per issue. Clark Kent would deploy his Superman Robots in order to fool Lois Lane from discovering his secret identity. Jimmy Olsen was constantly stumbling into trouble and using his wrist-watch to contact Superman for help.
This book does introduce many new characters to the Superman mythos that have remained active in some fashion ever since. New villains were added to the rogue’s gallery, such as Brainiac, Metallo, Bizarro, Titano, and Mr. Mxyzptlk. The mermaid Lori Lemaris showed up as one of Superman’s former girlfriends. Most importantly, Superman’s cousin arrives on Earth and quickly dons a matching costume to become Supergirl.
Why should these stories be Showcased?: Silver Age comics may be hard to read. The story contains a lot of plot holes. No concern is given to what happened in the previous issue. With all of that said, this should be a volume to pick up. Given the number of key characters that make their first appearance in these collected issues, it should be part of any Superman fan’s collection.
Footnotes: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 1 was one of the first Showcase volume published by DC Comics in 2005. This edition was priced at $9.99. All other Showcases have been priced at $14.99 or higher.
During this era, Action Comics was an anthology book, featuring eight-page Superman, Congo Bill, and Tommy Tomorrow stories. Following Supergirl’s debut in Action Comics #252, her stories became a regular feature, replacing the Tommy Tomorrow feature.
Superman #123 and the Supergirl story from Action Comics #252 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1.
If you like this volume, try: Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel? This story ran in the final issues of Action Comics and Superman prior to the relaunch of the DC Universe following the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Written by Alan Moore, this ode to the Silver Age Superman stories brought all of Superman’s friends, family, and villains together for a final showdown. This story includes art from Curt Swan and Kurt Schaffenberger, artists that had been associated with the Superman comics for over 30 years.