Eighty years ago Superman first hit neighborhood newsstands in Issue #1 of Action Comics–an issue that if you kept your copy could pay off your house, car, and retirement. The cover was dated June 1938, but it was in kids’ hands first on April 18, 1938. DC Comics is celebrating Superman’s big anniversary this week with a celebratory issue of Action Comics numbered 1000, created by some of DC’s top writers and artists, an anthology of stories just as you’d find in Action Comics’ first 500 issues. The 1,000 issues is spot-on with the number of Action Comics issues released, but those counting the months since 1938 will come up short: Action Comics shifted from a monthly to a bi-weekly once upon a time, and you won’t find numbered issues #905-956, which were replaced by 52 issues of the New 52 reboot numbering 1-52. For American comic book fans, there’s something special about holding this issue in your hands. It’s no small feat seeing such a truly undisputed iconic character get to this point.
The 80-page giant issue is one not to pass up. For current fans, it’s a ramp-up to Brian Michael Bendis’s writing run beginning with the complete issue #1001. For everyone else, it’s a nostalgic trip via variant covers and dozens of classic and modern creators offering up stories about the Man of Steel. The writers? Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, Marv Wolfman, Paul Levitz, Geoff Johns, Richard Donner, Scott Snyder, Tom King, Louise Simonson, Paul Dini, Brad Meltzer, and Brian Michael Bendis. The artists? Dan Jurgens, Pat Gleason, Curt Swan, Neal Adams, Olivier Coipel, Rafael Albuquerque, Clay Mann, Jerry Ordway, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, John Cassaday, Jim Lee, Norm Rapmund, Butch Guice, Kurt Schaffenberger, Kevin Nowlan, Scott Williams, Hi-Fi Color, Alejandro Sanchez, Dave McCaig, Jordie Bellaire, Trish Mulvihill, Laura Martin, and Alex Sinclair. Cover artists include Steve Rude, Michael Cho, Dave Gibbons, Michael Allred, Jim Steranko, Joshua Middleton, Dan Jurgens, Kevin Nowlan, Lee Bermejo, Dave Dorman, George Perez, Neal Adams, Jim Lee (providing the main cover and two variants), Curt Swan, Felipe Massafera, Nicola Scott, Jock, Oliver Coipel, Jason Fabok, Kaare Andrews, Gabrielle Dell’Otto, Artgerm, Tyler Kirkham, Pat Gleason, Francesco Mattina, Ken Haeser, Doug Mahnke, and Tony S. Daniel. Check out images of all the variant covers below. Our favorite? Danielle Dell’Otto’s take on Christopher Reeve at the Fortress of Solitude, and Pat Gleason’s cover, which includes Krypto.
Some comic book stores are holding events to celebrate the Man of Steel’s big day. This Saturday if you’re in the Kansas City area head on over to Elite Comics, where you can pick up copies of Issue #1000 plus a limited exclusive Superman print (shown above) by artist Bryan Fyffe, a nationally-recognized artist whose licensed works include projects for Disney and Star Wars. Or check out your own neighborhood store.
DC Entertainment is really on the ball with Superman this year. Along with the comics, the Syfy Channel series Krypton is a great prequel series showcasing the backstory of Superman’s people, and a fun space fantasy adventure. It’s high-time for a volume to collect all the Action Comics covers. Until then, you can catch cover images for the first 255 issues in volume one of The Photo-Journal Guide to Comic Books, or flip through them all for free online here. You can pick up the new review of the history of Superman in Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman, also available this week.
DC Comics enlisted a decade-by-decade roster of tribute artists for this big issue: Steve Rude for the 1930s, Michael Cho for the 1940s, Dave Gibbons for the 1950s, Michael Allred for the 1960s, Jim Steranko for the 1970s, Joshua Middleton for the 1980s, Dan Jurgens and Kevin Nowlan for the 1990s, and Lee Bermejo for the 2000s. There’s also a blank sketch cover, a Jim Lee pencil variant, plus exclusives from Dave Dorman (Vault Collectibles), Neal Adams (Legends Comics), Felipe Massafera (various), Francesco Mattina (various), Nicola Scott (Kings Comics), Tony S. Daniel (Uncanny Comic Shop), Jock (Forbidden Planet), George Perez (Summit Comics), Jim Lee (Torpedo Comics), Jason Fabok (Yesteryear Comics), Kaare Andrews (Third Eye Comics), Artgerm (BuyMeToys), Dan Jurgens (Dynamic Forces), Curt Swan (Dynamic Forces), Ken Haeser (Dynamic Forces), Tyler Kirkham (Unknown Comics), Pat Gleason (Newbury Comics), Doug Mahnke (Fried Pie), two from Gabrielle Dell’Otto (Bulletproof Comics), and two from Oliver Coipel (Midtown Comics). Check out all of the 33 covers below:
No doubt one of those books that will go down as the most popular of this year, you won’t want to miss it. Action Comics #1000 is available in comic book stores now.