Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Hey!! Kids Comics: Superman Annual 9 (1983)

DC comics released the Superman Annual No. 9 in 1983, the first annual for Superman published since 1964! This also the first Superman Annual to feature original content instead of reprints of older stories. With a cover, by Gil Kane, this issue has a feature story and back up story.

1. "Villain! Villain! Who's Got the Villain?"
Written by Elliot S! Maggin, penciled by Alex Toth, inked by Terry Austin, colored by Tom Ziuko and lettered by Gaspar

2. "I Flew with Superman!"
Written, penciled and inked by Curt Swan, colored by Anthony Tollin, lettered by John Costanza, plotted by Cary Bates and copied by Elliot S! Maggin.

Lets dig right in here...

Our feature story has both Superman and Batman teaming up to thwart villain Lex Luthor's latest scheme to inact revenge against Superman. Lex exposes Superman to Red Kryptonite, causing our hero to turn into an exact twin of Luthor. But not so fast! Batman and Superman, already aware of Luthor's scheme, have plans of their own to trick Luthor into defeat.

Not a bad little tale, however it's quite obvious that this is an older unpublished story. Perhaps meant for World's Finest but deemed unworthy after the events of Action Comics 544. Besides Luthor's former costume there are other anachronisms here as well, such as Steve Lombard still working for Galaxy Broadcasting in spite of having been fired by Morgan Edge in Superman 384. All in all Elliot S! Maggin delivers what could have been a nice mid-Bronze Age story, but by this point in 1983 it seems a bit out of place. I'm no big fan of Toth's pencils either and Austin's inks seem a bit heavy handed to me as well. Enjoyable but kind of disappointing

Now lets get to the real gem in this issue...

"I Flew With Superman!" is a tale recounted by premier Superman artist Curt Swan to Cary Bates and Elliot S! Maggin, who plotted and wrote it, respectively, into a comic story for him. Swan takes on all the art and this is one of the few examples of Swan inking his own pencils!

Curt Swan was the definitive artist on Superman, taking over from Wayne Boring in the Silver Age and continuing to be the main artist drawing Superman all the way through Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Swan went into semi-retirement after working with writer Alan Moore on the last appearance of the pre-Crisis Superman in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" in Superman 423 and Action Comics 583, after which John Byrne took over the Superman titles. However Swan continued to work off and on with Superman until his death in 1996.

This little tale was always his favorite, and one of mine as well. I get a bit emotional each time I read it...

Falling asleep in his studio, artist Curt Swan wakes up to find himself in Superman's Metropolis on Earth-1. He immediately goes straight to 344 Clinton Street to seek out Clark Kent. He explains his predicament to Kent, who believes him because as Superman he is aware of and has been to Earth-Prime (our Earth). Swan watches in amazement as Kent makes a super-speed change into Superman and actually becomes a fan-boy himself full of questions! Superman determines to get Swan back to the world in which he belongs, so he takes Swan up into the air with him, but has to detour in order to stop some thieves, catching the bullets they fired at him in mid-air. Swan later wakes up back in his studio, thinking it was all a dream until he finds that Superman has slipped him the bullets that were caught!

Things to watch for:

Here is the whole comic for you to download and read as a CBR file, just follow the link on the left.

CBR files hold comic book pages as images in a compressed archive format enabling them to be viewed, sequentially, from within a comic book reader program or app such as CDisplayEx.

What are your thoughts on this Adventure with Superman? Who was your favorite artist on Superman? Do you have a favorite Superman story? Lets hear about it in the comments below!


  1. Replies
    1. The back up story "I Flew With Superman!" is the real star of this this comic! I need to do an adventure all about Curt Swan one of these days. His Superman art was so iconic back in the 70s!

  2. The Alex Toth story I believe first appeared in Ehapa's Superman-Batman bi-weekly (Germany). If I'm remembering correctly, either the US or German version was missing a couple pages.


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