Thursday, February 29, 2024

Amazing World Of Superman!

It's Superman's birthday. And the Dojo wraps up a week-long celebration of the Man of Steel with a look a real bit of offbeat memorabilia, a tome titled Amazing World of Superman. Originally published in 1973 to celebrate Superman Day in the little city of Metropolis, Illinois, this oversized tabloid-size tome is a wonderful collection of all sorts of Superman stories, images, and whatnots. 

The volume opens with "Superman in Superman Land", a story by writer Bill Finger and artists Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye. Originally appearing in Action Comics #210 from 1955 this yarn imagines a theme park dedicated to the "Man of the Tomorrow". We get lots of offbeat glimpses of this imaginary park before we are introduced to a mysterious character who turns out to be Lex Luthor (no surprise). He's concocted a scheme to incapacitate the "Man of Steel" with the ubiquitous Kryptonite and trap him inside a mock-up of Krypton, one meant to be exploded. It will surprise no one that the scheme fails. 

This if followed by a "How to Draw Superman" page by Curt Swan as well as page introducing us to the extended Superman family. Then there is a wonderful ten-page article detailing how comic books are conceived and manufactured. It's a nifty item because it's loaded with photos of the staff of DC at the time. 

Then we are treated to a brand new (then) "The Origin of Superman" written by E. Nelson Bridwell, and drawn by Carmine Infantino, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson. This is a delightful fifteen-page black and white presentation which hits all the highlights right through Clark leaving his foster parents in Smallville and taking up his career in Metropolis. There is a particularly touching scene with Clark and his dying foster father. 

Then a special detached fold-out poster showcases a "Map of Krypton" in amazing colorful detail. This map was rendered by E. Nelson Bridwell and artist Sal Amendola. Then we get a page showing how Superman made it big in syndicated comic strips. 

"Metropolis, Illinois - Story of an American City" presents copious features and images from the celebration for the inaugural "Superman Day". We get a lot of backstory about how this event came to be with photos of a guy named Charles Chandler dressed as Superman making appearances in sundry places like the TV show To Tell the Truth. 

"The Superman Legend - Rogues' Gallery" has more art by Murphy Anderson and writing by Bridwell as we meet some of the best villains such as the aforementioned Lex Luthor, Brainiac, Parasite, Toyman, and others such as the Phantom Zone villains. "The Secrets of Superman's Fortress" takes us inside the Fortress of Solitude as drawn by "Swanderson". 

(Al Hirschfield)

"It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman" is all about the Broadway show which debuted in 1966. We get some nifty photos from that singular show. "Superman Salutes Nasa" is about Superman's connection to the OAO -2 (Orbital Astronomical Observatory). "Important Dates in Superman's Life" is a one-page item which hits the highlights from Superman's publishing history in comics, novels and appearances in other media. Sadly, and frankly strangely, I found no references to either the utterly wonderful Fleischer cartoons of the 40's nor to the pretty darn good Filmation cartoons of the 60's here or any other place it the book. 

We get two pages from "Superman's Mission for President Kennedy" which was marred when it first appeared by the tragic assassination of the thirty-fifth president of the United States. The story was published at the request of both President Johnson and the Kennedy clan. 

"The Superman Legend" returns with a look at Superboy's hideout beneath the Kent home and info on his costume written by Bridwell with art by Bob Brown, Wally Wood and Mike Exposito. (This was presented in black and white.)

The book closes with a photo album of sorts which features George Reeves, Kirk Allyn, and others from Superman's film and TV adventures. The final image is a full-page poster shot of Superman by Curt Swan and George Klein (in black and white).

This wonderful time capsule was reprinted by DC in a hand hardcover format in 2021. At a mere twenty bucks it was a bargain then and now. Happy Birthday to the Man of Steel. Now it's time to enjoy some of that vintage George Reeves taking on those little creepy Mole Men on my TV. 

Rip Off


  1. I've got two of that 'Amazing World Of Superman' edition and now I'll have to consider acquiring the hardback reprint you mention in your post. Time to slice open another mattress perhaps.

    1. Bought one via eBay a few minutes after my first comment. Can't wait for it to arrive.

  2. As a life-long Marvel devotee I don't know a lot about DC so I didn't know that Feb 29th was Superman's birthday. Thanks for revealing that interesting fact and a happy leap day to you!

  3. What a great package of Superman info and comics . As a kid I adored Superman and would have loved this

  4. My brand-new, shrink-wrapped copy arrived today, RJ, and it only cost me £16.22 all-in. McS, you can find them on eBay at various prices, so maybe it's time to consider adding this to your collection. Nice to have it in hardback so thanks for bringing this to my (and all your readers) attention. I note that the map is printed on thicker paper stock than the original.

    1. I've already added it to my overflowing cache. It's a handsome book for certain. Glad you're enjoying it.