Saturday, December 8, 2007

Superman Supacomic # 189: And the 'splash page covers' just keep on comin'...

Moving along through the last dozen or so Superman Supacomics, here’s another ‘splash page’ cover to add to the list, complete with speech balloons.

I’m not sure why the original cover image from Superman #278, August 1974 wasn’t used – some of the other elements from that cover were used on other K.G. Murray Superman covers, for example the “Superman Spectaculars” and “Clark Kent, Super-Coward” images appeared on the cover of Giant Superman Album #24. (Interestingly, “The Whale with Lois Lane’s Face” was not used on Giant Lois Lane Album #14, which in that instance also appears to have been sourced from the splash page… TBC!)


Anonymous said...

Perhaps they were avoiding what that happened on Superman Supacomic 194 ( It's okay... but not gripping because it doesn't use the space well. Too much filler, and a silly mistake of not putting the title along the bottom (athough that could be a marketing/display issue for the newsagent shelves).

The splash page on Supacomic 189 arguably works better than an adapted version of the original cover -- although I think the original cover would have done a better job than the original on issue 194.

spiros xenos said...

James, your comments have prompted me to look a bit further, and I now think there may be another reason altogether for the splash page being used on the cover of Superman Supacomic #189 – what if the original cover art supplied for US Superman #278 was damaged?

Consider that as I mentioned, two of the insets on the cover of US Superman #278 were used on Giant Superman Album #24, which was published circa April 1975. The inset not used would have been earmarked for Giant Lois Lane Album #14, published circa 1976. Superman Supacomic #189 was published in between these two issues, circa July 1975. Assuming these dates are broadly accurate – the order is the critical factor – it is possible that the original art for US Superman #278 was damaged in the course of excising the insets for Giant Superman Album #24!

Purely speculation on my part, of course. But consider the case of Superman Supacomic #194/ US Superman #284: The stories related to the insets on Superman #284 are not only reprinted in issues published after Superman Supacomic #194 – “The Interplanetary Olympics” in Superman Supacomic #196 and “The Death of Clark Kent” in Super Adventure Album #1 – but the insets themselves are not used on these (or other…?) KGM issues, which could suggest that they too were damaged while the main image was being culled for Superman Supacomic #194.

What do you think?

Apart from all this, I agree with you that the splash page on Superman Supacomic #189 works as well or better than the original, and yes, the space is not used to best advantage on Superman Supacomic #194. The KGM covers often had blank passive spaces due to missing text or images, but for me that’s part of the charm of these covers, and personally I have a soft spot for the cover to Superman Supacomic #194.

Anonymous said...

Interesting theory. The chance of knowing if it is true would be better if we knew the format in which KGM received the cover artwork.

Did KGM get individual images or did they get it in a format already laid out?

If, for example, they got a positive print made from the already pasted up US cover, then cutting out the separate images could easily have seriously damaged the rest of the artwork.

I've often pictured that they got a positive print of the US cover art without logos and the like. Not sure why.

They certainly didn't have the easy option of doing a scan to edit on screen, or even running off a dozen high quality photocopies to experiment with.


Anthony said...

My own two cents... I have a special affection for Superman Supacomic #189 - one of the first Superman comics I remember owning. (My Dad bought it.) Love the cover - and a great lead story too.

Yes, like so many of the KGMs, the splash page used as cover image is a great improvement on the American original.

Another unrelated one that springs to mind is a real fav: Original Green Lantern #4 with the thrilling GL vs. pirates cover... At least, I found it thrilling when I was a kid.

Anthony R.

spiros xenos said...

Anthony, I hope to cover that Green Lantern series soon... after I comlete my Superman Supacomic index and clear a few other half-finished things from my desk... including some horror comics stuff... some more romance comics tidbits... things have been getting away from me... but back to that GL series... talk about splash page covers and anomalous KGM series! The only thing that could have made it more curious is if it had been printed in the same dimensions as Superman Super Library! And don't get me started on its logo... all in good time!