Monday, August 3, 2015

Review: 'Superman: The Atomic Age Sundays 1949-1953'

Pooh-pooh to the dark knights of today’s comics. I prefer it when superheroes get goofy, and there’s no super hero superer than Superman, and he gets super goofy in IDW’s new anthology of his Sunday comic adventures from 1949–1953. Thank artist Wayne Boring and writer Alvin Schwartz, who had enough refreshing disrespect for the Man of Steel to pit him against Arthurian knights and pose as a mustachioed minstrel named Clark of Kent or whittle giant marionettes so he could put on the puppet show that saves a country girl from marrying a smarmy con man. Superman hides Clark Kent robots all over Metropolis and makes a big brass monkey to thwart some thugs. He gets caught in the web of a giant caterpillar. Lois Lane rescues a parrot. It’s fitting that the only arch villain who appears in this daffy volume is that slaphappy, dimension-hopping imp Mr. Mxyztplk.

Without interruptions from B&W daily comic strips following their own story lines, Superman: The Atomic Age Sundays 1949-1953 reads like a proper comic book anthology, especially since the Sunday comics from this period are full page stories that minimize awkward recapping of the previous Sunday’s events. There is much wit, imagination, and heart in Schwartz’s writing as Superman goes about his zany business and criminals meet with more forgiveness than they usually do in the superhero realm. Just don’t expect Superman to settle down and get married. That’s one thing for which he has no forgiveness in these pages!

The book comes with IDW’s usual quality and authenticity: no digital altering of the artwork; grainy paper that recalls the texture of classic comic book pages without the thinness; a slick ribbon bookmark. A few extra extras aside from a brief though informative introduction from comic writer Mark Waid and a selection of Boring’s covers for Superman and Action Comics would have been nice, but you’d be a super jackass to complain too much about a volume as super as The Atomic Age Sundays 1949-1953. Get it on here:
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