New Super-Man has been one of DC's most enjoyable straight-up superhero titles since the launch of DC Rebirth, and one of the best things about it is the way it embraces risks and shakes up the status quo with the same confidence exhibited by its title character.
However, in this week's issue of New Super-Man, Gene Luen Yang and Billy Tan drop what may prove to be the most shocking cliffhanger of the year as they bring back the oldest character in DC Comics history.
Anyone who identifies as a comics nerd (and we use that word in the most celebratory sense) must love reading. And even beyond reading comics, there are plenty of books about comics that they could be reading.
So dive in to this gift guide and find a book or two for the history buff, nerdy academic relative, or bookworm kid in your life!
Q: I need a Comet the Super-Horse primer. What's his deal, Chris? -- @MagiknKitty5evr
A: All right, you might want to buckle up for this one, because Comet the Super-Horse is way more complicated than you might expect, even by the standards of the Silver Age. He has a history that literally covers thousands of years in both directions, and provided what are unquestionably some of the most inexplicable and occasionally uncomfortable moments in the 78-year history of DC Comics.
So here's where we start: His name's not actually Comet, he's not actually a horse, and if we're being honest with each other, he's only some definitions of "super."
If you're anything like me you're probably a little mystified by the current state of the Superman books. As fun as those stories might be, trying to figure out how the younger Superman of the New 52 era has been replaced by his older counterpart from the previous version of DC Universe --- you know, the one who had a mullet, was made of blue electricity for a year, and once got beat to death by a bone monster --- is pretty confusing even for someone like me, let alone the more casual fans who might be drawn in by the idea of Superman punching out Rorschach or whatever else is coming down the pipe.
But that said, and comics being comics, it's not exactly something without precedent. Back in the '60s, there was a story where an older Superman showed up to meet his younger counterpart, and then immediately tried to murder him with trickery and poison. And I think it's safe to say that he didn't really think that one through too well.
Superman made his big debut on this day way back in 1939 in the pages of Action Comics #1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. The archetype, the standard bearer for all superheroes who came after him, Superman has endured the changing face of the world throughout the decades, and the ideals he stood for are just as vital and relevant today as they were then.
I've been writing about weird old comics on the Internet for over ten years now, and in most cases, those stories stick out because they're built around a weird premise, or because some kind of big, strange event happens in the middle of it that comes out of nowhere. But today, I read "The Super-Pranks of Krypto," and that story's a little different.
I mean, yes, as the title indicates, it's a comic about a dog from space pulling pranks on his owner, who is also from space, but really, by the standards of the Silver Age, that's not all that strange. No, this one's weird because every single choice in every single panel that was made by the creators is the weirdest, most inexplicable choice that they could've possibly made.
Lois Lane, who debuted alongside Superman in May 1938's Action Comics #1, wasn't just the first superhero love interest. At her best, Lois serves as proof that people who don't wear spandex and don't have superpowers can be heroes by doing their jobs well.
Of course, she has also had superpowers on multiple occasions. Over the last eight decades or so, Lois has done just about everything a comic book character can do. And yet she's never gone stale. Quite the opposite. Lois has proven as adaptable and eternally relevant as any superhero.
This week the fans of DC's TV shows finally get to see the live-action comic book crossover that we've all been waiting for, as Melissa Benoist's Supergirl on CBS gets a visit from a new friend from another reality when The CW's The Flash, played by Grant Gustin, makes his first appearance on her show.
We're beyond excited to see what happens when these two DC heroes team-up on the screen, because it looks like the story could capture all the joy of superheroics that sometimes gets lost in other adaptations of the genre. To mark the occasion, we've put together a list of some of Supergirl's best team-up stories in comics, featuring Egyptian queens, unrequited loves, and many, many Draculas.
Q: Aside from laying groundwork, most Golden Age stuff I've read is not very good. Are there any must-reads from the era? -- @TheKize
A: Listen, if you're having trouble getting into Golden Age books, I do not blame you. I've read my fair share of them over the years, and while I definitely think it's worth tracking down some of those early superhero comics if you're looking to broaden your horizons a little bit, I'll be the first to tell you that they can be hard to get into for a variety of reasons --- and as you said, chief among them is the fact that a lot of those old comics are just not very good.
Of course, you could say that about pretty much any era of comics and you wouldn't be far off from the truth. More than that, though, I think there's a big barrier that keeps the average reader from getting into those comics, and it has a lot to do with when, how, and why those comics were being made.
When DC announced its slate for the upcoming Rebirth line of comics, it played a relatively safe hand with its announcements. The line seems to head in the opposite direction of the risk-taking DCYou initiative, with many of the publisher's most interesting books, such as Midnighter, Starfire and Martian Manhunter, no longer on the docket.
Yet there are three announced books that seem curiously out of place in their line-up: The Super-Man, Superwoman, and The Super Sons. They're all new titles, but they're also titles and concepts that have a long and rich history in the DC Universe. We’re diving back into DC’s archives to see what clues the past might offer us about the future of these books.
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