Today I learned there’s a hyphen in “no-goodniks.”

§ June 24th, 2024 § Filed under byrne reboot, superman § 18 Comments

So everyone knows the last issues of Superman and Action before the Byrne Reboot of 1986: Superman #423 and Action #583, the two-part send-off to the Silver/Bronze-Age version of the Man of Steel, written by Alan Moore and drawn by Curt Swan, Kurt Schaffenberger, and George Pérez. It’s a classic story, giving a final wrap-up to all the important supporting characters, heroes and villains and clearing the slate for the new version of the franchise.

But before that happened, we got the last two regular ol’ Superman stories to appear in his two ongoing solo series. Today’s topic is the story in Action Comics #582 (cover date August 1986) by Craig Boldman, Alex Saviuk and Schaffenberger:

“REBIRTH” it says there, presaging DC’s later use of the term for the 2016 more-or-less soft relaunch of their superhero line. It’s a pretty striking image, drawn by Saviuk and Murphy Anderson, very much one of those “what the heck is going on here” covers that the industry used to do so well, inspiring the curiosity to pick a book off the shelf…which is halfway to buying the darn thing. NO BROWSING, THIS ISN’T A LIBRARY and I used to be a librarian SO I KNOW

Anyway, the focus in this issue is the possible revival of Superman’s parents, Jor-El and Lara. Supes discovered that a couple of extra brain waves were stored in his head, so he goes to an alien civilization next door to borrow a cup of advanced technology to get those patterns embedded into bodies of their own:

And, voila, his actual biological parents are back!

[SPOILER] Of course, they’re not it’s part of a scheme by some alien no-goodniks, though we get a bit of business with Clark introducing them as his real parents to his friends:

…kinda makes me wish the return of Jor-El and Lara was actual, in-universe thing. Imagine Lois thinking “hmmm…every time Clark, Jordan and Lora disappear, Superman, Jor-El and Lara appear. I wonder….”

So okay, it wasn’t actually them, but this issue functions as a last hurrah for the Kryptonian heritage we once knew, John Byrne will be introducing a radically different version of Superman’s birth parents in the very shortly forthcoming Man of Steel mini-series:

…along with a new vision of Krypton:

While Action #582 doesn’t play up the import, it is nice to get this last glimpse at what was before getting the new What Is. At least for a while, before the new car smell of the reboot wears off and efforts are made to put the pieces back where they were before Byrne came along.

NEXT TIME: the last pre-reboot story in Superman that isn’t the Alan Moore one!

special thanks to Bully the Little Pre-Reboot Bull for production assistance on today’s post

18 Responses to “Today I learned there’s a hyphen in “no-goodniks.””

  • Pedro de Pacas says:

    While I enjoy “Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow?” and understand it’s impact, I question it’s reputation as some loving send-off to the Silver Age Superman, seeing as it kills of nearly everyone down to Jimmy Olsen and Krypto.

    Even Alan Moore would admit this was a bit of grimdark indulgence, taking advantage of the upcoming change in status quo to do some “In This Issue: Everybody Dies!” style table clearing.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    1. Who is Craig Boldman and did he ever write any other stories for DC Comics?

    2. Imagine if Alan Moore had written this “Rebirth” story and it also featured Swamp Thing getting swept up by a Zeta Beam but accidentally landing on a good-sized chunk of asteroid that had once been part of Krypton instead of landing on Rann. And then Swampy could have tapped into some psychedelic Kryptonian plant essence and ended up producing tubers which Superman could have consumed, thus hallucinating the rebirth of his parents.

  • Eric L says:

    I was curious and apparently Craig Boldman is best known for his Archie comics work. As far as my limited research can tell this is the only mainstream DC work he ever did.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ Eric L.

    Thanks for your research! I have to say, “Craig Boldman” sounds like a great pseudonym for a writer—too bad Boldman didn’t write any Brave & The Bold, man …

  • Craig Boldman wrote a bunch of stories for ACTION during this period, mostly self-contained, with a very “Silver Age” feel. I can’t find a reference for it now, but I recall hearing at the time that a lot of these stories were originally prepared for the overseas market, and they basically started reprinting them here to “run out the clock” until the Byrne reboot was ready.

  • Mikester says:

    J. Kevin – I’ve heard that about running out the foreign material too. Kurt Busiek mentioned as much.

  • Thom H. says:

    That Silver Age “costume” for Lara is ridiculous. It’s just a swimsuit.

    I absolutely love Byrne’s Krypton redesign. He went too far in the “cold, emotionless world” direction with it, but it looked absolutely beautiful.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    I like Jor-El and Lara’s classic Atomic Age and Silver Age costumes.

    I don’t know if DC has already done a story along the lines of Jor-El and Lara escaping Krypton along with their baby, but it could make for a fun Elseworlds story–especially if Jor-El’s advanced Kryptonian science and knowledge created abundance and global prosperity and prevented the Great Depression and WW II from happening. And what if Jor-El and Lara became friends with Thomas and Martha Wayne and saved them?

  • Snark Shark says:

    I like Bryne’s new Krypton… but not those silly uniforms on the Kryptonians. Lace on the sleeves of what look like medical scrubs turned into formalwear.

    “but it could make for a fun Elseworlds story–especially if Jor-El’s advanced Kryptonian science and knowledge created abundance and global prosperity and prevented the Great Depression and WW II from happening”

    OR what if Superman went back and time and killed Hitler in 1918?

  • MixMat says:

    @Eric L.
    Craig Boldman inked ‘Mazing Man for a few issues of the series after Karl Kesel stopped, and the Specials after that-according to Boldman’s website-over Stephen Destefano’s pencils. I loved ‘Mazing Man(even tho I couldn’t find the first few issues here in S.E.A. mighta needed to preorder from one of the comics shops then existing here) He also collaborated with Destefano on various projects after that. But it seems the majority of his efforts mostly consists of Archie-verse stories.

    @Sean Mageean
    The Elseworlds Dark Knights of Steel limited series seems to fit your “Jor-el and Lara escaped Krypton with Clark/Kal” but with a medieval twist and a Kingdom Come “Great Houses” twist. I forget if Shazam/Marvel family were in it. There was an interesting Harley/Ivy dynamic(?)/cameo(?)/appearance. Oh-Wonder family, Lightning family are (among) other Great Houses which is different/kinda unexpected.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    @Sean Mageean
    They did a three-issue Elseworlds story, Superman: The Last Family of Krypton (2010).

  • Bill J says:

    As you delve into the immediately pre-Crisis Superman, it would be interesting to look at the two heavily-hyped appearances of Superwoman. I’m curious if Maggin really had big plans for her that Crisis interrupted, or if he knew the end was coming and had nothing to lose by promising the moon with his new character knowing he would never have to deliver.

  • King of the Moon says:

    @snarkshark that’s why Hitler kept the Spear of Destiny at his side

  • Oliver says:

    DC’s Superwoman has always bothered me for the same reason as Marvel’s Spider-Woman: a character with little if any in-universe connection to an established name and costume design, seemingly created as a copyright hedge.

  • Sean Mageean says:

    DC Comics Presents no. 97–the final issue–written by Steve Gerber, is also an offbeat pre-Crisis story featuring Jor-El and Lara, and the Phantom Zone Criminals. It’s worth a revisit

  • Sean Mageean says:

    @ MixMat and Allan Hoffman

    Thanks for the Elseworlds info. — I should check those out.

    I was thinking more along the lines of a plot where Jor-El and Lara and son make it to Earth in the early 1900s, and then from there a sort of H.G. Wells’ “The Shape of Things to Come” progression. Maybe after WW I Jor-El would come forth as this “Super-scientist”–but without revealing he is from Krypton–and lead the way to better living through science and create a global Utopia. Kal-El could still grow up to be a reporter and adventurer, but no costume…more like Doc Savage. The Waynes would live in this scenario, but Bruce would still go on to be a master detective and maybe work for the GCPD…or, because of his fortune, he might be a detective at large…maybe even have the nickname “The Bat,” but no costume.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “DC Comics Presents no. 97–the final issue”.

    They couldn’t’a kept it going fer three more dang issues so it could reach 100?


  • Snark Shark says:

    “Bruce would still go on to be a master detective and maybe work for the GCPD…or, because of his fortune, he might be a detective at large…maybe even have the nickname “The Bat,” but no costume.”

    OR he could be The Shadow, to go with Jor-Els Doc Savage!

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