Super DC Bumper Book (1970)

§ December 8th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized § 1 Comment

Over two decades ago, my grandmother came back from a flea market with one of these for me…a full-color British hardcover collection of 1950s and ’60s Superman and Batman stories. If you look closely, you can still see the 25-cent price tag on Batman’s chest emblem. And if the book looks pretty worn…believe it or not, that’s more or less how it looked by the time it got into my possession.

One of the stories included is the “classic” “The Revenge of Luthor” by Supes’ co-creator Jerry Siegel and artist Al Plastino. Due to exposure to Red Kryptonite, Superman splits into, well, Superman, and the younger version of himself, Superboy! Also as a result, the elder Supes gains a bad temper, while the boy Supes suddenly becomes less mentally agile. At one point in the story, Superboy ends up blundering into a trap set by Luthor (complete with sign reading “Luthor Trap to Capture Superboy”) that leads to this panel:

Well said, Mr. Luthor. Anyway, Superman and Superboy are eventually forced by Luthor to fight each other for the lives of Lois Lane and Lana Lang, respectively, until we discover…well, I don’t want to spoil anything, but it turns out this whole story was just a delusional dream of Superman’s, caused by his exposure to the Red Kryptonite. Oh, wait, I did spoil it. Sorry about that.

A close look at that panel may show some odd coloring choices…for example, the jail is apparently made of the dreaded Brown Kryptonite, Lana is colored with yellow hair, Superman’s hair has white highlights instead of the usual blue, and so on. The whole book is printed with less of a color palette than your typical U.S. comic, though the actual linework is very clearly printed on white paper, and the colors that are present are nice and bright. The color on some pages is a little off-register, but that’s more of an exception.

Another coloring error pops up in the Superboy story “The Super-Dog That Replaced Krypto.” In the original, the white-colored Krypto was very distinct from the coloring of the canine ursurper, which can be seen here. In this Bumper Book reprint, things are slightly different:

And yes, Krypto was colored brown through the entire story. This can cause some minor confusion, particularly when the rival dog (named Swifty) gets his own cape, and then there’s a brown-colored robot Krypto that Superboy builds, and then there’s the Bizarro-Swifty that shows up late in the story, and…well, it ends up with brown dogs all over the place, making it a bit hard to follow.

Other stories include the Batman and Robin story “Prey of the Alien Hunters” (a prime example of the “Batman’s Time Travel Crimes on Venus” stories of the ’50s), “The Lone Wolf Legionnaire Reporter” (in which Jimmy Olsen searches out news scoops in the Legion of Super-Heroes’ time), and the Lois Lane story “Courtship, Kryptonian Style!” (where Lois and the still-blonde Lana travel to the bottle city of Kandor).

Some non-fiction articles are interspersed throughout the book, such as a look at turn-of-the-century car racing, an article on the origins of Lifeboat Service, and a page of illustrations of vintage guns (illustrated by the Mick Anglo studio – Mick Anglo being the cartoonist responsible for Marvelman).

Also featured were several text stories that no one ever read; though, let’s face it, with a title like this:

…how can any story live up to it? (And watch your hands there, Batman!)

One Response to “Super DC Bumper Book (1970)”

  • Wow, my aunt gave me this as a Christmas present about 35 years ago. I read it from cover to cover until it disintegrated. I been searching for it from vague childhood memories and even figured out that the Krypto and Swifty story was from Superboy 1963 #109, sad I know but I just had to get my hands on it again. Coming up to my fortieth birthday so maybe that has inspired me, a big thank you for your pictures and acticle. Just purchased a copy from amazon.