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The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Superman’s Year One

The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Superman’s Year One

The Wednesday Club is Geek & Sundry’s weekly talk show chatting about all things comics. This week, hosts Taliesin Jaffe, Matt Key, and Amy Dallen talked about the first year of Superman in print during the Golden Age.

The end of the first issue of Action Comics proclaimed Superman was “the most sensational comic strip character of all time,” and history has proven that’s not an exaggeration. The Man of Steel flew into pop culture and our hearts in 1939, and he’s not going anywhere. Everything about him is iconic, from the S emblazoned across his chest to his red, flowing cape, which Taliesin has some thoughts about.

Superman got his start in 1939, explained Matt, when he was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Originally intended to be a comic strip character, Superman instead made his debut inside the pages of Action Comics #1.

actioncomics-panel

Famously, and somewhat incredibly, Siegel and Shuster sold the rights to the character to National Allied Publications along with their first story, a decision that would haunt them years later.

“If you look at [Action Comics] in the context of the history of that time,” Matt said, “it makes sense that they sold it for $130.”

DC Comics would later work with Siegel and Shuster for compensation and credit for the character.

To read the comics of Superman’s first year, you only need one book on the recommendation list this week: Superman: The Golden Age Vol. 1.

superman-goldenage

In Superman’s first adventures, the hosts of The Wednesday Club describe him more as “chaotic good” rather than the “lawful good” we’re more familiar with today. (It’s fair to say he’s a jerk in the early issues.) Bad guys attempt to fight back, but we all know how that goes. “[It’s] one of my favorite trends in these early Superman books,” Taliesin said, “which is that people attempt to stab him or shoot him, and then faint. There’s a lot of fainting men in these.”

You’ll see another familiar face in the very first issue of Action Comics, Lois Lane. “Early Lois is amazing,” said Amy.

While a lot of Superman’s early adventures don’t quite showcase the same character we love today, there are hints of him and his first feature film, 1978’s Superman, especially in the fourth issue. “This is the first time that you see that imagery [from the movie], of Superman playing football, ” said Taliesin. “These first twelve issues, there’s a lot of tableaus that ended up in the film, and this was one of the first ones.”

If you want to go even deeper into the first Superman stories, the hosts also recommend Superman: The Dailies Vol. 1, which first explains the Man of Steel’s origin, and Taliesin took a moment to recommend the New 52 Action Comics by Grant Morrison.

THE DAILY WEDNESDAY

Did you know The Wednesday Club has their own letters column with questions and comments from viewers? Send in your thoughts, comic recommendations, questions, and more to Matt, Amy, and Taliesin at [email protected] and you might just see yourself on the next episode.

Please mark your message “OK to read on air” so the hosts know what you’re comfortable with sharing.

MORE COMIC AWESOMENESS!

Hang out on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel and on Alpha every Wednesday night to catch the next spectacular episode of The Wednesday Club.

All Images: DC Comics

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