The marathon is over and with it the first anniversary of Vintage Bullet. It’s been a wild ride with many ups and downs. I’d like to thank everyone who got me here. Special thanks to Harrison over at Juicy Reviews for the plug and the idea. With all that over with, what better way to end this marathon than with the first big superhero, Superman.
Superman #1 tells multiple stories about Superman as he does things like preventing a lynching, stopping an execution, fighting in a war, and joining a football team. When he’s not being Superman we get some pages of Clark Kent, Superman’s secret identity who works at the Daily Star. We also get a 2 page origin story for Superman.
Superman #1 is a book that confuses me in many ways. In terms of an actual story with a plot and characters it is terrible. Superman goes to multiple locations under the cover of reporter Clark Kent, but he is also sent to cover a domestic disturbance. Clark himself is boring, his only characteristic is the false cowardice he shows to cover his identity. Lois Lane is in this and she shows the strong she still is today. No other characters like Jimmy Olsen or any of Superman’s big villains appear.
However, things all begin to change when Superman appears. The character of Superman in this book is drastically different than how he is portrayed now. In this story he can not fly, he doesn’t have his super hearing, x-ray or heat vision, or his super breath. His main powers are his speed, jumping, super strength and his invulnerability. He uses these powers mostly to intimidate and threaten people when he isn’t beating them up. His personality is more like Batman’s than Superman’s.
A perfect example of his bad behavior would be the football story. In order to break up a thug filled football racket, he decides to take the place of a member of the team they are playing next. One of the players, Burke, happens to look similar to Superman so he decides to take his place on the team. He goes to Burke’s house, drugs him so he’s asleep, and then goes to the game. I’m not gonna spoil the rest but he manages to also get Burke kicked from the team. And objectively the art is terrible. Superman’s cape and symbol sometimes disappear completely and most characters have Captain Marvel squinty eyes.
But despite all of this it has the charm of the Golden Age. Seeing Superman destroy airplanes and end a war makes me understand the character’s appeal back in those days. This book also contains the famous scene from Action Comics #1 where Superman lifts the car. I also like how the book balances multiple different types of stories without being so jumbled. I can’t be too harsh on a book like this, it’s just the time period.
Writer: Jerry Siegel
Artist: Joe Shuster
Rating: Borrow from a Mate