Thursday, June 16, 2011

Add It To My Want List: Superman #400

Let me first state that I have seen most, if not all, of this comic in digital format. Rather than sate my pirate desires, it has inspired me to track down a copy. To tell you the truth, I don't think I've ever even seen a copy of this book. I wasn't reading many comics in 1984, and I was never the biggest Superman fan so that would explain how it escaped my attention at the time. I'm certain that had I seen a copy, and had I read the list of contributors on the cover that I would have made it a valued part of my collection. I know that the story within has contributions from the likes of Frank Miller, Joe Orlando and the Rogers/Austin team. What really gets my attention, however, are the pin-ups contributed by so many Hall of Famers. You've got Jack Davis, Will Eisner, Leonard Starr, Jerry Robinson and even Steve Ditko. That's just scratching the surface, folks. Now you know why I must find a copy.

11 comments:

MDG14450 said...

It's an interesting book, and the pinups by the different artists are fun (they were also published in a large-format B&W portfolio), but I wasn't crazy about the "Superman in the future" theme for the stories.

Was this also Steranko's last published "story"?

Peter Bangs said...

I was reading comics by the bucket load at the time and I loved this book. The examination of the Superman ideal through future set stories was great and the artistic lineup was one I think has never been beaten, for me at least. I wish I still had my copy.

Tony said...

Yes, this was Steranko's last published "comic book" story. Other Steranko story and art was published since then in Steranko:Graphic Prince of Darkness and Domino Lady. And of course Steranko continues to write and draw, latest examples being the cover for a new Plant of the Apes book, and the afterward to a Captain America Omnibus. Superman 400 is easily found on eBay, and is inexpensive.

Daniel Graves said...

I remember buying it new and reading it at the cottage when I was 13 or 14. It was pretty cool. not sure if I still have it tucked away somewhere.
Fr. Dan

Edo Bosnar said...

Like Tony said, inexpensive copies are really easy to find, not only on ebay, but from online comic shops (got my current copy for a buck about a year ago).
And yes, it is totally worth it. I'm not much of a Superman fan at all, but this is such an outstanding combination of stories and art - it's worth it just for that beautiful Steranko piece at the end.

Anonymous said...

Unconventional story...I liked it because it was so off-beat, although I wouldn't rank it among the best Superman stories. Stellar roster of artists. I bought my copies in the '80's, still own it.

Neil Anderson

davidbstewart said...

Oh, man, those DC anniversary issues from that period were unbelievable. Batman 400, Adventures of Superboy 50, Brave and the Bold 200, Legion 300, Wonder Woman 300, JLA 200....

Superman 400 edges slightly ahead of them all for me (with JLA 200 just behind). Think I'll dig mine out again.

Graeme said...

It's really not that great. The idea by Elliot Maggin should be genius: how is Superman viewed by future societies when he becomes a legend? But the execution is so leaden. And I think it also has a fundamental problem of not having enough of the real Superman.

Still, the Frank Miller chapter, which features the George Reeves TV show, is brilliant, and the Rogers/Austin chapter (while in Rogers' Cap'n Quick whimsical phase which I never liked) is kind of cute.

What *was* awesome were the pinups, and DC released all of them in a portfolio as oversized black and white prints, with the Howard Chaykin cover as the colour slipcase. That is probably worth the hunt on eBay to get. I have it somewhere-- I used to have the Moebius pinup of Superman on the wall of just about everywhere I lived in my teens and early 20s.

Neil Anderosn said...

If you're into pre-Crisis eighties Superman, one'd I'd particularly recommend is Superman Special # 2, an imaginary story featuring Brainiac, drawn by Gil Kane. Beautiful art, good story.

Man of Bronze said...

I'll second Neil suggestion and add one of my own for pre-crisis Superman: SUPERMAN ANNUAL # 9 with main story drawn by Alex Toth!!! I always prefer to see Toth inked by himself, but if you are going to get an inker, you might as well get the best: he is inked by Terry Austin! (whatever happened to Terry anyway???)

If that is not enough, SUPERMAN ANNUAL # 9 has a Gil Kane cover (pencil and inks), and a back up story by two of the best Bronze Age Superman writers: Elliot S. MAggin and Cary Bates and it is drawn by the definitive Superman artist: the great Curt Swan (whoalso contributed to the plot and did his own inking)

Godzylla said...

I love the foil printing on the Anniversary logo. My copy I got signed by Howard Chaykin (along with some of his other books). :)