I love crossovers. Even when they don't really work that well or make a whole lot of sense, it's almost always interesting seeing how characters that don't usually hang out bounce off of each other -- and it's especially fun when you've got a character like Superman. That guy's such a well-known, well-defined cultural institution that there has to be a huge temptation to see how he interacts with pretty much anyone else, even if you don't actually have the rights to do the real thing.
But really, that's the magic of comics. Even if you can't get the genuine article, you can always file off the serial numbers and do your own version and get the same effect. Sort of. And that's how Superman ended up spending a good chunk of the '70s hanging out with Captain Strong, a thinly veiled stand-in for Popeye the Sailor Man who was addicted to alien seaweed.
An artist who played an integral role in the superhero renaissance of the late '50s and early '60s, and whose line lent a smooth and elegant air to every character he touched, Murphy Anderson is one of the true living legends of the comic book business. This week sees the artist's 88th birthday.
Anderson began his career in comics in the mid 1940s, and worked on titles for a number of different publishers over the next decade, including Timely/Atlas, Ziff Davis, Pines, and the company that would prove to be his primary home for the next four decades – National/DC Comics. In the 1950s, DC increased his assignments and he became a fixture of the company's sci-fi and superhero titles, pencilling a number of different features and providing inks for many of the early Silver Age's most enduring and influential stories, working over artists such as Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, and Mike Sekowsky.
As much as I tend to enjoy Superboy stories for their sheer kookiness, I've never really been a big fan of the concept. For the most part, they tend to just be standard Superman stories with Metropolis swapped out for Smallville and a slightly different girl with an alliterative name giving him a headache. Occasio
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