Superman Spectacular 1982 (DC Comics, copyrighted 1981).

§ January 12th, 2010 § Filed under from the vast Mikester comic archives, superman § 1 Comment

This is kind of an oddball item that I bought off the rack from one of the eighteen 7-11s that existed in my immediate area in the early ’80s. It’s larger than standard comic book size, measuring about 8 by 11 1/2 inches, with no ads…basically a “graphic novel” at the very beginning of the 1980s wave of graphic novels from the Big Two.

Written by Bob Rozakis and Paul Kupperberg, illustrated by Adrian Gonzales and Vince Colletta, the story features a battle between Superman and his two arch-nemeses Lex Luthor and…er, Terra-Man. Terra-Man, for the uninitiated, is a space cowboy who rides a winged horse. Through space. Who fights Superman.

Yes, this was as goofy, and as incredibly awesome, as it sounds. Anyway, during the course of the story, exposure to Red Kryptonite splits Superman into Superman-Red and Superman-Blue (in a reprise of the famous Silver Age imaginary story), and Terra-Man and Lex Luthor end up fighting Superman with magic energy channeled from another dimension, and…yeah, like that. The Grand Comic Book Database entry has a more complete synopsis. Despite of, or more likely because of, all the inherent goofiness in this here funnybook, it still remains a fondly nostalgic favorite of mine. Even just poking though it now for this post reminded me of just how much I enjoyed this book. I’m very pleased that 13-year-old Mike decided to pick this up.

This story was in fact originally prepared for the overseas market, and published there first before being reissued in a domestic version. Other Superman stories published about this time had their origins in DC’s foreign publishing program, including these two Gil Kane tours de force. Why this particular story was reprinted as an album rather than as a standard (albeit extra-long) comic I’m not sure, aside from testing the format in the marketplace.

Since dishing out my $1.95 for this item way back when, I’ve never seen another one, even in all the years and all the collections I’ve poked through at the shop. Even at the time, when it was brand new, I only saw it at the one convenience store I found it in, and not at any of the others I would check in my semi-regular comic-purchasing bicycle tour of Ventura County. Maybe there’s a store in, I don’t know, Idaho that has a two-foot stack of these and desperately wishing to unload ’em, but they’re sure scarce around here.

Amazon has a few for sale in the $15 to $20 range, which doesn’t seem too unreasonable to me, given its apparent scarcity:

Should also note: beautiful cover on this book, by the way. Certainly very eye-grabbing.

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