So I’ve been switching between reading John Byrne’s Superman run from the late 80s and I’m also reading golden age Superman. Here’s what I’ve been going off of for the golden age for those interested: http://dcuguide.com/w/Superman_(Clark_Kent)_(Golden_Age)_Chronology
I’ve absolutely loved both of these. Obviously they are much different, but it’s interesting how the Byrne run has a lot of the spirit of the golden age run in it (despise it being a different Superman).
I think current Superman writers can learn a lot by reading these versions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been getting Superman in floppies for the last 5 years or so straight and have mostly enjoyed it. The Bendis run has been the best of it all.
But for the last 10 to 20 years of Superman, it seems to be all Krypton all the time. Everything is epic, everything is about Superman finding his roots.
The stuff I’m reading on the DCU is not about that, and it’s just flat out better. In the current Byrne stuff I’m reading there was just a 4 issue arc in Adventures of Superman about Lex Luther’s involvement in a kid gang in Suicide Slum (Metropolis’ version of Crime Alley). It was fantastic to read! But it didn’t require Superman going up against god-like aliens from Krypton.
I highly recommend both of these eras. If you have a tough time with golden age material then do the Byrne run. If you like the golden age sensibilities, Action Comics is among the best golden age I’ve ever read.
I’ll second the Byrne and friends era of Superman as it’s my favorite era of the franchise.
Anyone who likes to be happy should read the Byrne and pals era. It starts with The Man of Steel (1986) mini-series.
Yeah, one of the foibles of Silver- (and to a lesser extent, Bronze-) Age Superman was that the writers had an obsession with Krypton that made Superman start to feel like the aloof, unapproachable alien that Alan Moore accused him of being. I’ve been meaning to read some of the Byrne era, because I tend to prefer the more down-to-earth farmboy characterization. It’s odd that modern writers wouldn’t remember that development. I mean, Superman’s never been realistic in terms of plots, but he works better when his characterization emphasizes his human side, and obsessing over Kryptonian baggage tends to interfere with that.
I probably would’ve read the Man of Steel miniseries on here before now, but it’s either newly added or I didn’t look for it under “T” for “The Man of Steel.” I was about to ask if we even had it (I was thinking that maybe it was like The Killing Joke and was released as a graphic novel, which would mean it wouldn’t be in our library), but I just checked and it’s there, so now I feel silly.
One of the reasons I could never write superhero comics is because of the crazy amount of research one would have to do. That’s so daunting.
I don’t think this conflicts with what you’re saying, 'cause I like the Byrne run, too, but I’d like Superman writers to look at Tom Strong, too. I’d like a run of fun, pulpy, retrofuturistic sci-fi. Make him live up to “the Man of Tomorrow.”
@ BatJamags Yes! So well put. It’s the Krypton baggage that weighs down the series at times. There’s Kal-El and there’s Clark. It feels like recent writers have focused on Kal-El to the detriment of Clark. How much Clark have we even seen in Bendis’ run (which again, I DO like)?
Here’s a typical golden age story: There’s some type of crime happening in Metropolis. The Daily Star sends Clark to investigate. He figures out what is going on and Superman comes in to put a stop to it.
That’s it! That’s all you need. The Byrne era is not a huge step from that, but it also mixes in ongoing subplots nicely.
I’m a huge fan of the Byrne run and even the post Byrne run leading up to the Triangle Number era is great. Amazing supporting casts, different feels for each book. I need Dan Jurgens on Superman book for life.
@MattMcDonald It’s daunting but golly gee-whiz is it fun
That’s coming from a fan POV. I can only imagine how fun it is for people who actually write for DC.
If comic book writers have taught me anything, it’s that you don’t have to have any idea what was going on with the characters previously to write them. The amount of writers that come in and simply ignore past continuity and/or toss out tons of story threads, characters and concepts that have been set up from previous writers is never ending. It’s almost expected.
I exaggerate a bit, but I really think most comic book writers have less knowledge about the characters than we’d like to believe. There are hardcore fanboys in the writing community and people doing work for hire. Usually a bit of both, and they may be doing their time on a character they don’t like to earn points with the publisher to get a character they do enjoy.