Superman ‘78 #1 trusts the power of Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel
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Superman ‘78 #1 trusts the power of Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel

Superman ‘78 #1 trusts the power of Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel
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Superman ‘78 #1 trusts the power of Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel

Superficially, the concept of a new comic book series set in the universe of Richard Donner’s 1978 Superman film is somewhat different from the likes of DC’s long-gone Batusi pleasure Batman ’66 or its pop-gothic new Batman ’89 series. Donner’s Superman is still the Man of Steel’s standard for millions of people who don’t read comics, but it doesn’t have a distinctive flavour of his history.

The chipper icon embodied by Christopher Reeve is the standard version, and all the subsequent ones (to borrow a term from another company’s universe) are the variants. Reeves’ Supes is like Curt Swan’s: It’s the template everyone writing, drawing, or playing the character builds on or reacts to. Superman ’78 is more than a movie’s production design.

This project has crossover appeal with Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman and Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman. It could be a great jumping-on point to readers who are looking for superheroes. But, if they bought a current (quite nice!) issue of Action Comics, it would be a welcomed jump-on point. Action Comics issue, readers will be asking, “Wait! Lois and Clark have an son who frequently hangs out at the 31st Century?”

So it does superman 78Do you have any suggestions? Is it just a gag about hair from the 1970s?

Who is Superman?78

Rob Venditti, a writer (Hawkman), and Wilfredo Tores (Batman 1966) try to recreate the look and tone of Donner’s film. They also want to convey the emotions it provoked in them as children. Jordie Bellaire handles the colours, and Dave Lanphear is the letterer.

What is Superman?What are 78 About?

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The John Williams Superman theme evokes Strauss, Copland, and as it builds into an aggressive march, a sense of militant 20th-century American optimism. Venditti & Torres want a comic that reflects the music and not just our memories.

In this issue’s Superman knows a person in a way that feels completely righteous. It feels like a robot punching an alien robot that has it coming. This is more than a tribute to Donner’s film. This is the Supes that many readers desire.

The film’s creators also respect the details of the film, down to the likenesses of some stars. Brando is included! Torres can ace the flinty edginess of Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane. Lane demands more from Clark Kent when she isn’t running straight into danger, a sharp-elbowed Pulitzer recipient. On the other hand, Clark is a convincing squint and hunch, a bundle of nerves in Reeve’s 6’4’’ frame, the odd man in a screwball relationship triangle.

Then, when Superman takes off, much earlier than the movie, he’s human-sized. His face is Reeves-like, so you would know it was him even if he didn’t have the distinctive curl.

What about the absurdity of screwball comedy? Venditti writes witty, funny banter that fits the film’s spirit. They don’t hesitate to be corny. When the alien robot arrives in midtown Metropolis, a panicked hot dog vendor accidentally sprays mustard on a customer. Ned Beatty’s Otis doesn’t appear.

Superman: Why?Are there 78 events happening right now?

Batman ’66 was a huge success, and Batman ’89 is likely to be a big hit. Here’s a more optimistic answer: The world could use some Reevesian Super decency. The movie promised that “You’ll be able to fly” and “You’ll believe a man who has power can do the right things.”

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Superman ‘78 #1 trusts the power of Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel
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