On the title page of most modern comics you will find a small note that reads something like “Superman created by Jerry Seigel and Joe Shuster.” Recognizing these iconic creators is important, but the world of Superman we know today is also the result of generations of writers and artists building that world story by story. And then, there are those who’s individual contributions change how we view characters for generations. John Byrne is one of those of writers and artists. Byrne’s modernization of Superman, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and the rest of Superman’s world fundamentally impacted how we view them today. As a plus, Byrne’s two year run directing three different Superman titles are among the most readable and entertaining stories of the 1980s. Returning to DC Comics half a decade later, Byrne’s mission on Wonder Woman was not to change the character but to build on the work of George Perez. This second tour at DC is not as historically important, but it is a fast paced all-star stocked run of first rate Wonder Woman stories. Join the DC Comics History Club as we examine two of Byrne’s biggest DC assignments, how they impact our view of these characters, and the question of ‘how important should continuity be?”
In this short club session we have:
Recommended Reading: A short list of recommended readings that are both representative of Byrne’s Superman and Wonder Woman and are pretty darn entertaining.
Topic Suggestions: A short list of questions about these runs, Byrne’s long-term impact on these characters; and the broader issue of how important should continuity be?
Research: A research wiki for articles and interviews about Byrne, focusing on his Superman and Wonder Woman stories.
Polls: Since this is only a two week block, we will also have a short list of polls each week.
Quiz: At the half way mark, look for a mini quiz.
Week 1: While Byrne directed and eventually wrote three different Superman titles, this week’s suggested readings focus on his relaunched Superman flagship title. While there are running subplots, each issue is relatively self-contained and little is lost by by hitting a few highlights. These issues should give you a good feel for how Byrne portrayed Clark, Superman, Lois, Lex and Jimmy and how he built a modern Superman universe.
#1, Heart of Stone with Metallo DC Universe
#2 The Secret Revealed with Lex Luthor DC Universe
#9 To Laugh and Die in Metropolis with a past face clown who belongs in Gotham and a backup Lex story Byrne describes as his favorite DC Universe
And a 'pick ‘em’ between #10 and #11, in the first The Name Game Lois falls for Mxy, and the second Lost Love Clark falls for Lori Lemaris DC Universe DC Universe
- Bottom line assessment, Byrne was brought in to clear away decades of less believable elements and modernize Superman’s universe. How well did he do that? What were his strong points or weak points?
- How close are his versions of the characters to those we see today, how different are they from their Silver and Bronze age versions, and which characters made the most dramatic changes?
- Which characters do you believe made the most dramatic changes in their portrayals? What do you think of those changes?
Wonder Woman: Week 2 coming soon