Too early for nostalgia.

§ June 21st, 2010 § Filed under superman § 30 Comments

Occasionally I’m reminded of the “Electric Superman” phase of the character

and that it’s been 13 or so years since this particular storyline ran its course

and as more time passes, the more strange it seems

that this was a thing they actually did

in the continuing pursuit of “Death of Superman” levels of sales/media coverage.

As this type of “event” goes, it wasn’t too bad

and it gave us the Silver Age-y Red/Blue Superman thing, and that was fun.

It still seems a bit weird they did this, though. But that’s okay.

I like it when comics are weird.

images from Superman Secret Files and Origins #1 (January 1998) by Dan Jurgens, Todd Nauck & Jose Marzan Jr.; Adventures of Superman #551 (October 1997) by Jurgens, Tom Grummett & Denis Rodier; Superman: The Man of Steel #73 (November 1997) by Louise Simonson, Mark Waid, Scot Eaton & Dennis Janke; Superman #129 (November 1997) by Jurgens, Paul Ryan & Joe Rubinstein; Action Comics #740 by Stuart Immonen & Marzan Jr.; Superman #130 (December 1997) by Jurgens, Ron Frenz & Rubinstein; Superman: The Man of Steel #75 (January 1998) by Simonson, Jon Bogdanove & Janke; Superman #131 (January 1998) by Jurgens, Frenz & Rubinstein; Superman Red/Superman Blue #1 by Jurgens, Simonson, Bogdanove & Janke

(post updated 8/2016)

30 Responses to “Too early for nostalgia.”

  • Martin Wisse says:

    Hated this and iirc this was the reason I didn’t get into Morrison’s JLA at the time. Well, that and Howard Porter’s “art”.

    It may have been weird, but it wasn’t interesting weird, just a corporate mandated gimmick with no organic reason to exist. Not like say Gerber, where the weirdness came from the stories itself.

  • Anonymous says:

    Electro-Supes fought Doomsday?

  • Nate says:

    Loved how Grant Morrison used electro sues in JLA. Even as weird Superman, he saves the moon from crashing into the Earth

  • Bully says:

    I want Red and Blue Superman to fight Green and Red Hulk and form Green Superman and Blue Hulk.

  • Thwacko says:

    When I see Electric Superman I always think about when the previews came out for the Red/Blue Superman thing. I was hanging around a local comic shop and Beau Smith (yes, the Beau Smith) was chatting with the shop owner. The shop owner holds up an issue of something or other with the Red/Blue Superman deal and said jokingly, “Hey Beau, was this YOUR idea?”. Beau got an “oh shit” look on his face and said, “No, no, not me!”.

  • Rocco says:

    Some of the earliest super hero comics I read were from Peter Davids Supergirl run when this Superman was running around.. In fact the only super hero comic I can recall reading before that was one of Tim Drakes mini’s.

  • Blanco says:

    One of the first comics I remember buying was JLA #5, which had electro-Superman prominently displayed on the cover. I’ve always had somewhat of a soft-spot for the design. I’m young, so yes, I do have nostalgia for this version.

    I still think it’s a cool costume. Obviously it’s a stupid idea for Superman, but I wish they’d use it for somebody else. Superboy, maybe? I don’t know.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wasn’t there a Blue Electro-Supergirl named “Strange Visitor” or something?

  • Anonymous says:

    Darth Maul could take out both Electro-Supes with a double-bladed kryptonite lightsaber with his eyes closed!

    Oh, and DO TELL me about that Electo-Supes/Doomsday battle. Who won?

  • Anonymous says:

    Now that Swamp Thing is (almost) back in the DCU, where there be Electro-Swamp Things and Rainbow Lantern Swamp Things of various spectrum colors—all leading to a Crisis of Infinite Swamp Things?

  • Bill Reed says:

    I refuse to call him Electric Superman.

    But not counting All Star Superman, this era was the last time I gave a toss about the Super-books. I *loved* this stuff, ate it all up. Have almost every issue with the guy. Loved, loved, loved. Lots of fun.

    I know I’m the only one. It’s okay.

  • Dario Delfino says:

    This was, in concept, great. Then they went and made it last for months. MONTHS.

    Oh, and Bill? I have every issue. Including the Millenium Giants crossover. You are NEVER the only one…

  • This storyline gets a lot more flak than it deserves, mostly from people who just look at the costume (which is a terrific design, though admittedly Very Nineties) and don’t really pay attention to the stories. It irks me that there’s a tendency to refer to this whole period as “Superman Red/Superman Blue”, as if that were central to the run and not just another sub-arc at the tail end.

    I sometimes think that my fondness for the Electric Superman is mostly due to Grant Morrison’s use of him in JLA, but when I look back, I remember that I was also actually reading the Superman titles for the first time since, well, yeah, the Death and Rebirth.

    I don’t think of it so much in terms of that Big Grab-The-Mass-Media-Attention Event, though, so much as I do the very, very short-lived Denny O’Neil “Sandman Superman” run from ’70-’71. They were, I think, sincere attempts to send the character in a different direction, and to do new things with him, and they got cut short by editorial mandate and reverted to the status quo.

    A couple of years ago, when Connor was Valiantly Holding On In His Fight To Remain Dead, some blogger proposed that they bring him back with some doubletalk that gave HIM the Weird Energy Powers, and, of course, the “containment suit” costume that went with them. I thought that was a GREAT idea, but, alas, it’s not the route they took.

  • Ben says:

    Oh Lord, did someone just mention the Millennium Giants?

  • Mikester says:

    Anon. – That was a fake Doomsday, conjured up by Mxyzptlk.

  • Erik says:

    You’re not the only one, Bill. I was so taken with the look when he appeared in JLA that I ended up collecting almost every appearance as well. Such a bizarre and fun time for the Superman books.

  • Anonymous says:

    I should have known. What two-bit villain didn’t have a fake Doomsday in the late 90’s?

  • Ed says:

    The thing I remember best about this was how the Journal just kept getting bitchier in their coverage of any kind of mainstream superhero stuff, and the reaction to hyped “event” stuff like this was priceless:
    In their “News” section, under a boldface headline reading “SUPERMAN TO GET NEW COSTUME AND POWERS” was just one line that read “Apparently, Superman is getting a new costume and powers.”
    I remember they did exactly the same thing with Spider-Man getting married.

  • suedenim says:

    Strange Visitor was a female character who more or less inherited Superman’s blue outfit and powers (or kinda-sorta – I forget the details.) She was killed off shortly, which seemed one of the more peculiar and pointless character deaths around.

    “Electric Superman” wasn’t a *bad* idea for a superhero, either in terms of powers or costume design. Not right as a permanent thing for *Superman*, of course, as everybody agreed, but there’s enough there that’s at least worth keeping around.

  • Salamurai says:

    So weird. I recently started re-reading the Morrison JLA run, prominently featuring the new “Big Blue”. And completely unexplained dialogue about Wonder Woman having died.

  • nik says:

    Man, I didn’t read anything else starring the character at the time but I LOVED how Grant used him in JLA.

  • Patrick C says:

    I didn’t hate the electric Blue Superman, but I remember when he came back to normal that’s when I was done. I started collecting Superman with the whole Death/Return, and stopped when Superman Red and Blue reconnected and defeated the Millennium Giants and got back to normal. Superman Forever with the weird Alex Ross cover showing Clark Kent turn into Superman was my last issue of Superman until just a couple of years ago.

    On the plus side, Electric Blue Supes got rid of the mullet!!

  • Discount Lad says:

    That fake Doomsday issue was actually really funny. The whole thing is a parody of Death of Superman with Mxyzptlk. It even ends with a knockoff of the famous two page splash of the original.

    Plus, Jon Bogdanove drew a really funny Mxyzptlk

  • Matthew Jeske says:

    I loved this period, and the costume. It started out great, but it went on too long, in my opinion. Still, there were a few great stories, and some nice art by Ron Frenz, Stuart Immonen, and Jon Bogdanove.

  • Anonymous says:

    Clark got rid of the mullet when he married Lois. So the mullet was gone by Final Night, which resulted in Electro-Supes.

  • Anonymous says:

    I mean, when Clark married Lois *after* Final Night and become Electro-Supes following the honeymoon. Sometimes I get this stuff mixed up!

  • Dave-El says:

    Wow! Thanks, Mike! After years of medication and therapy, I thought I could dismiss this whole Electric Superman thing as a bad dream. But you brought it roaring back. And the perception filter around those issues isn’t working anymore! I can see them! I CAN SEE THEM!The blue..burns my eyes! It BURNS!

  • nate says:

    I think the cool thing about this run is that like Kurt Busiek’s OYL run, it’s the essence of Superman being shown. He’s Super no matter what, even with a different set of powers (or no powers!)

  • John says:

    I know this is a bit off topic, but I never understand why people think the “crotchless Ken-Doll unitard” is less embarrasing then “wearing underwear on the outside” look.

    I echo the earlier comments in that it’s not a bad look, but it is dated (and why not boots? I thought it was a plot point that the suit was somewhat fragile).

  • HydrogenGuy says:

    I’ve looked around on the internet without success and never been able to figure it out – how did the Superman Red/Superman Blue thing work in this storyline? Were they two seperate guys with seperate powers? Does that mean there was two Clark Kents running around? And then they both got smooshed back together into Classic Superman?