And now, the least-Supermanish Superman images of all time.

§ March 10th, 2010 § Filed under Uncategorized § 25 Comments

…Well, maybe not all time, but pretty close. Frankly, you’d have a hard time beating this.

Sorry to dip into the trading card well twice in a row, but I’d totally forgotten there was even a Return of Superman card set (released in 1993), despite the fact I, of course, have a full set of it here in the Vast Mikester Comic Archives. These images are just reproduced from the comic, so there’s no particular reason why I have to present them from the cards, except that cards are sitting here in front of me and the comics aren’t.

Anyway, get a load of this. Yes, that’s Supes. Surely you recognize him by his flowing steel-blue hair:

Yup, when I think of Superman, I think of “Fury Unleashed!” Okay, I’m not being fair, this all (mostly) worked in context, and the Death/Funeral/Return storyline is, I think, still one of the high points, if not the high point, of the post-revamp Superman comics. But honestly:

…that’s not a look you probably ever expected for Superman.

But one thing I keep thinking…why’d I even buy these cards? I had all the comics. There’s nothing new in the set, expect maybe the shiny foil/chromium/prism/uranium chase cards. Seventeen years on, I can’t even imagine wanting to buy packs upon packs while attempting to put together a full set. Was it just something in the air at the time? Were cards just so closely tied to the comics market that you almost felt obligated to buy the trading cards for your favorite characters, too? Or was it just exploiting that collector’s mentality to accumulate and assemble things, resistance to which was at its lowest ebb during the boom and bust of the ’90s?

I hardly see that kind of card collecting today, except for folks trying to track down the original sketch cards that seem to be the current trend. At least those I can understand…the handdrawn sketch chase cards are usually pretty neat, and each one is genuinely unique. But otherwise trading cards (of the non-collectible card game type, that is) have since been reduced to being a niche market within a niche market. The days of leaving a pile of boxes for the Jim Lee X-Men trading card series by the register as an impulse item for the customers are probably gone forever.

I mean, I even had a set of the Jim Lee X-Men cards. I didn’t even like Jim Lee’s X-Men comics.

25 Responses to “And now, the least-Supermanish Superman images of all time.”

  • Erik says:

    I have a full set of Knightfall pogs in a drawer in my mom’s house. I don’t even know how to play Pogs.

  • Chad says:

    Least Supermanish Superman image of all time? Someone hasn’t read Superman: At Earth’s End.

  • Old Bull Lee says:

    I liked the early Marvel and DC trading card sets that were just info (powers, first appearance, etc.) on the characters. They actually did serve a purpose for a young comics fan living in the pre-www age, when the only references you would have had were Who’s Who/Official Handbook type books.

    I got introduced to a lot of characters that way and subsequently would go looking for their comics.

    I still like to get them out once in a while and flip through them just for the hell of it.

  • joncormier says:

    At least we have Supes wearing the male equivalent of the Power Girl costume with the cut-out hairy chest. He should think about revisiting this costume for an issue.

  • Because whatever is strong enough to take out Supergirl and Steel will obviously be vulnerable to bullets.

    No. I didn’t read any of that era Superman comics, so maybe it made sense at the time.


  • heh.

    I just noticed the metal BIG-TOE guard on that black bodysuit.

    Y’know… I really could USE things like that.
    I’m sure many people would.
    It might be the next “snuggie”.


  • Roger Green says:

    Yuck. Reminds me of one of those vigilante Marvel characters.

  • Supes was fairly beefy-looking back then.

  • Jon H says:

    “I just noticed the metal BIG-TOE guard on that black bodysuit.”

    It’s a crumple zone. Not so much to protect him, but to protect the thing he stubs his toe on. Supes still gets shit for stubbing his toe in the Justice League satellite and almost causing explosive decompression.

  • Nat Gertler says:

    You know what would be sadder than realizing you have a complete set of Return of Superman or Bloodline cards? Realizing that you have an almost complete set of those cards. Because you know, even though you now feel that these are stupid things to have, you’d still feel that urge to hunt down the missing cards. An incomplete set is just a reminder of your past failure.

  • Andres says:

    Why is his chest red, super-rash?

  • Patrick C says:

    Superman took a laser blast to the chest, tearing his black Kryptonian regeneration suit into a perfect silhouette of the “S” Shield, but leaving his not quite up to 100% invulnerable skin slightly singed!

    And I am one of those with the *almost* complete set of Bloodlines cards. I’m missing 3! I have all the special cards and the mail away chrome Superman card, but missing 3 stupid normal cards. To make things worse, the reverse of each card was part of a giant puzzle, so not only is it frustrating to be missing a few cards, it has the added annoyance of missing 3 puzzle pieces!

  • philip says:

    I remain surprised that Super-Mullet existed in the ’90s. The Mullet is such an ’80s thing to me. No amount of Super Leg Pouches will change that.

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Back in the mid-60s, there was a Marvel set that was basically a puzzle of a standard poster. I had every card but #18, one of the Iron Man cards. I did enjoy the set DC did involving Golden Age, Silver Age, Modern Age as well as triptychs for Crisis on Earth-Two up to Legends.

  • “you’d still feel that urge to hunt down the missing cards”

    Totally. I have a set of Mark Bagley Spider-Man cards that’s missing, like, just one of the clear Spider-Man pose chase cards. I haven’t opened that folder for…well, a couple of months, actually, but every time I look at it…

    (The folder also contains my set of Spider-Man cels (complete), Marvel Action Hour cels (incomplete, I think), and the Iron Man cel I won in the Marvel Action Hour sweepstakes, which I…must have entered…somehow…no memory)


  • Charles says:

    I loved the cards in the 80’s and the 90’s, when I was kid they where money. I still have my DC cards and Valiant cards. I do need to figure out way to display them.

    There of my fondest memories where I peeled a holo Silver Surfer card in Geppi’s Comics (yes the guy who own’s Diamond Comics comic book shop) and the clerk gave me the biggest evil eye I have ever seen in my life. It made me feel like I should have never been able to peel any foils from their boxes. I always wondered if shops back then where using metal detectors to scan for holo foils.

    The second one was the one time someone came by my store to sell the Marvel cards to me and I passed. For the next siz months I found random Marvel trading cards scattered all over the parking lot in front of my store. It was very sureal to walk outside your store and find a card of Paste Pot Pete staring at you and then turn around and see a Fing Fang Foo wih a big hole in it’s head stating back at you.

    My favorite was when I bought a pack of Buffy Trading Cards (okay not comic book releated) and staring back at me was a college buddy of mine who had a small guest role on Buffy. It was kinda of funny to think someone I went to college with is now a trading card. Funniest thing was he had no idea until we mailed him one to have him sign it.

  • cletar says:

    I admire his super-mullet. He looks like Super Billy Ray Cyrus.

  • Undeadboy says:

    You didn’t like Jim Lee’s X-Men??!! Man Jim and Whilce are what got me into comics big time! Up until then I’d just been a casual reader who grabbed stuff that looked cool, IF, I happened to be passing by it…

    I still have the card set, although these days I am missing 2 of the hologram cardfs and I never found an autograph card.

    I feel kinda sorry for you Mike, for some reason (and i know that makes no sense as everyone has different interests)

  • Mikester says:

    Undeadboy – I did come to appreciate Jim Lee when he partnered up with Frank Miller for the thing of beauty that is All Star Batman.

  • De says:

    Charles: For the first set of Impel Marvel cards, you could use a standard scale to find which one had the hologram because it was an extra card added to the pack. For subsequent sets, you could still find them but you had to have access to a sensitive scale (like an expensive postal scale) and a lot of patience.

  • chasdom says:

    “I remain surprised that Super-Mullet existed in the ’90s. The Mullet is such an ’80s thing to me. No amount of Super Leg Pouches will change that.”

    My 1993 high school yearbook disagrees with your carbon-dating of the Mullet. Also, note that “Big 80s hair” did not immediately disappear in 1990, either.

  • Charles says:

    De thanks. I have heard stories doing the same thing with YuGiOh packs but I always thought the stories where bogus. One night out of boredom we weighed a bunch of packs with postal scale and found no difference between the non-foil ones and the foil ones.

  • Kid Nicky says:

    Why would you (both Mike and the commentors) make fun of something that was making fun of Image and Marvel in the first place? I would hope anyone who read the Death/Return of Superman would realise it was about how superheroes SHOULD still be role models.

  • stevews says:

    @kid nicky: Nah, they were just trying to cash-in by following the popular trends of the time.

  • Discount Lad says:

    @Kid Nicky: While that may be true, they did it in the most hamfisted way possible. Superman grabbing two guns and a headband right after he said “Some people say I’m the world’s biggest boyscout. Well, you know the scout motto. ‘Be prepared” is still the most cringeworthy line in comics. I get that they were trying to say that in the last part of that saga he’s the real Superman because he’s willingly to risk his life with none of his incredible powers, but it doesn’t make it any less silly or excessive.