The Birth of Superman.
July 22, 2002 3:46 AM   Subscribe

The Birth of Superman. A complete scan of Action Comics Number 1. (note - if you have a spare copy hanging about, probably net you a measly quarter of a mil...)
posted by Frasermoo (38 comments total)
 
Cheers, Frasermoo. Some things never change - Superman not much and the world's smallest candid camera not at all.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:54 AM on July 22, 2002


But I'm supposed to be working this morning.
posted by yerfatma at 4:24 AM on July 22, 2002


Tex Thomson had a really big hat. "A satisfied smile was evident on the girl's face." And he was a nice guy. "Gee, Mr. Tex! You're swell!".
posted by pracowity at 4:50 AM on July 22, 2002


hey I feel cheated, where are the numerous ad's every other page?
posted by monkeyJuice at 4:59 AM on July 22, 2002


*Drool*
posted by owillis at 5:34 AM on July 22, 2002


If someone ever bursts into my room or office, I want to have the presence of mind to say, "What's the meaning of this?"
posted by planetkyoto at 6:19 AM on July 22, 2002



$c=1;
while ($c<=64) {
echo "<img src='http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG02/yeung/actioncomics/images/page$c.jpg><br><br>";
$c++;
}


Yeah, I'm lazy and evil, but I wanted to see continuous pages.
posted by brownpau at 7:02 AM on July 22, 2002


Some things never change

You obviously haven't looked at Superman comics for a long, long time. This thing has, what, three? four? complete stories, and that's just the ones about Superman. It has umpteen other stories about Zatara and Tex and several other folks.

Nowadays, you're lucky to get one complete story in six or seven full issues. And they sure as heck ain't ten cents each.
posted by straight at 8:14 AM on July 22, 2002


I do find it amazing that the modern logo is still based on the original design, Clark Kent still looks the same and the costume has survived mostly intact.
posted by o2b at 8:28 AM on July 22, 2002


Er, not to be a threadpisser, or start another IP debate, but is this stuff public domain? If not, does this digital copy constitute fair use?
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 8:30 AM on July 22, 2002


this is pretty funny.
posted by interrobang at 8:32 AM on July 22, 2002


Interestingly, even after 65 years, the Johnson Smith Company is still selling the same neat stuff.
posted by crunchland at 8:39 AM on July 22, 2002


PinkStainlessTail, non-commercial reference of something long out of print probably would fall under fair use in most courts. I don't see why this would be much of an exception. Millions of people everyday use jpg's they did not photograph themselves on their webpages. Just because this comic is worth a lot doesn't mean it has some special protections.

I love the 'scientific explanation.' Of course things wouldn't scale like that. A super-sized grasshopper would probably collapse under its own weight. There's something to be said about more efficient muscles like those of some apes compared to humans, but the examples they picked are pretty funny.

I was expecting more Krypton stuff. There was a nice little part in there about how an exploding shell could kill Superman. Later they had to make up kryptonite just to deal with how powerful he is.

I also see Superman as not changing too much. He's still largely a two-dimensional character regardless of how many attempts they've had to rewrite him.
posted by skallas at 8:43 AM on July 22, 2002


Skallas:
, non-commercial reference of something long out of print probably would fall under fair use in most courts. I don't see why this would be much of an exception. Millions of people everyday use jpg's they did not photograph themselves on their webpages. Just because this comic is worth a lot doesn't mean it has some special protections
Makes sense to me. However, DC has commercially republished the Superman content on occasion (last time I remember was the Superman 50th anniversary), if not the whole issue. That's what made me wonder if this was entirely kosher. This exact comic has been long out of print, but the content that makes it specifically memorable/historic has been reprinted several times by the copyright holder.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 9:13 AM on July 22, 2002


skallas - DC has reprinted the Superman portion of the material over the years (and doubtless some or all of the rest of the material from the issue. Action #1 and quite a bit of the rest of the early DC material was available for purchase in microfiche form a few years back, for example. Fabulous stuff.) The Superman portion of the material is currently in print as part of their Archive editions (Action Comics Archives Volume 1).

Yeah, it is interesting what elements of the character weren't there at the very beginning. Kryptonite and much of the background origin didn't appear until Superman #53, which is about a decade after Action #1.
posted by markavatar at 9:27 AM on July 22, 2002


God... I used to fantasize about going back in time to 1938, buying a copy of Action Comics #1 for ten cents (usnig an old dime, of course -- no Eisenhower on the front!), and selling it in the present. Or Detective Comics #27 (Batman's first appearance).

And then I'd wonder if this would screw up the space-time continuum.

Anyway, this makes me think of an old episode of the TV show "Amazing Stories," called Gather Ye Acorns (a shorter synopsis here). If I remember correctly, an issue of Action Comics #1 appears in that episode.
posted by Tin Man at 9:39 AM on July 22, 2002


I love how the inside cover advocates coloring and cutting out pages in the hopes of winning a $1 prize. If only those kids knew...
posted by turaho at 9:47 AM on July 22, 2002


BTW, for those with comic nostalgia, a while ago I scanned an old X-Men (9 I think) with the part about Professor X losing the use of his legs. The scans are kinda tiny.
posted by skallas at 9:48 AM on July 22, 2002


Damn, even in 1938 your/you're confusion reigned.
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:11 AM on July 22, 2002


He's still largely a two-dimensional character regardless of how many attempts they've had to rewrite him

Oh, come on. Compared to most fictional characters out there Superman is well-rounded, fully fleshed out. Hell, he has more personality than many non-ficitional characters.

Also, he isn't very powerful in this story. Notice he mostly leaps as opposed to flying. He also doesn't have superhearing or vision. In the 60s-70s they went overboard with the powers which caused the '86 revamp which is now the "official" version.
posted by owillis at 10:23 AM on July 22, 2002


mrmoonpie: seems to me the your/you're usage is correct.
posted by milkman at 10:28 AM on July 22, 2002


I don't really agree that the character of superman hasn't changed much since his inception. There is a point in one of his first 4 appearances where he says to a woman, after crushing the barrel of a gun, (I'm paraphrasing) "I can do the same thing to your neck." A current superman fan probably could never imagine him acting in such a way. He used to be aggressive...more of an "average" guy.

originally he fought crooks, and crooked politicians, and saboteurs intent on bringing the US into the European conflagration...now he fights big space monsters and giant robots.
posted by Doug at 10:33 AM on July 22, 2002


skallas: A super-sized grasshopper would probably collapse under its own weight.

Indeed, it would. The ability to manage weight, and strength, scales upwards with the mass density (subject to cubic measure) against the stress/strain of deformation of the supporting structure's cross section (subject to squared measure). So, the smaller something is, the more likely it will exhibit "super" powers. Larger objects eventually don't have the capacity within their makeup to handle their own weight.

Now, of course, Superman could have superdense bones and super-powerful muscles, but we'd have to do some quick physics to determine if the man of steel is instead the man of neutronium....
posted by dwivian at 10:34 AM on July 22, 2002


It's bizarre that the scene on the cover is actually in the story. There's something unnatural about that.
posted by Grangousier at 10:40 AM on July 22, 2002


Milkman,
Correct: "You're not figting a woman now!"
Incorrect: "Tough is putting mildly the treatment your going to get!"
Geez, it's a sad day when the Milkman and MrMoonPie start scrapping. Who's jumping in next, MildMax?
posted by MrMoonPie at 10:42 AM on July 22, 2002


Milkman: Huh?

"Tough is putting it mildly the treatment your going to get!"

That sentence is so wrong on so many levels...
posted by shecky57 at 10:43 AM on July 22, 2002


Here is an illicit link to an NPR story about the "struggling comic book industry." It seems to suggest there are too many fanboys.

(On review, perhaps the link is not so illicit.)
posted by piskycritter at 10:47 AM on July 22, 2002


Yeah, wrong is putting it mildly the grammar that sentence has.
posted by Tin Man at 10:48 AM on July 22, 2002


That sentence is so wrong on so many levels...

I think its just foreshadowing on Siegel & Shuster's part, priming the pump for Bizarro.

Bad bye.
posted by owillis at 10:51 AM on July 22, 2002


C:\download\comics>wget -r -np http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG02/yeung/actioncomi
cs/


So I have no shame. It's too bad the scan is of such a beat up copy.
posted by milnak at 10:57 AM on July 22, 2002


bullet = banana?
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:06 AM on July 22, 2002


"Tough is putting it mildly the treatment your going to get!"

That sentence is so wrong on so many levels...


But it's a good American sentence, maybe Yiddish in construction at heart (I think there's something in Chabon's Kavalier & Clay about this, maybe?). And grammar isn't any worse than today's Superman (or other) comics...and this is more fun to read.

It's bizarre that the scene on the cover is actually in the story. There's something unnatural about that.

Yep, somewhere along the way that changed, becoming the crux of many a disappointment.
posted by sherman at 11:37 AM on July 22, 2002


Good lord, Superman used to be a bit of a jerk, didn't he?
posted by kindall at 12:16 PM on July 22, 2002


Kryptonite and much of the background origin didn't appear until Superman #53, which is about a decade after Action #1.

What always fascinates me is that kryptonite appeared on the radio show years before it ever showed up in the comics -- in June of 1943. First comics appearance wasn't until 1949.

The radio series also created Jimmy Olsen, and featured the first team-up between Superman and Batman.
posted by webmutant at 12:37 PM on July 22, 2002


Webmutant - Cool info. My knowledge of key events outside of the comics themselves isn't as strong as it ought to be. I'd always heard that many elements of both the Superman and Batman mythos were created in the newspaper strips, radio show, etc. (Supe's flying power originated in the Fleischer cartoon, didn't it?), but I'd never heard that about kryptonite before. Wow, 6 years before the first comic app? It makes you wonder why they waited so long after that to work it into the comics. (Interesting aside about Supes/Bat team-up in radio also, I've always been a big golden age Superman #76 fan as well!) Anyway, thanks for the info.
posted by markavatar at 12:59 PM on July 22, 2002


ok. of course that sentence is wrong. maybe i can dig myself out of it by saying that the basic construction was so wrong that it distracted me from even seeing the contractional error.

there is one correct usage of 'your' in the assignment speech from the editor, and one correct use of 'you're' in "you're not fighting a woman now", and my mom always told me i should check my sources better before i speak.
posted by milkman at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2002


Superman leaped tall buildings before he could actually fly... anyone here remember the issue where he started to fly (bounding around does look pretty silly)?
posted by linux at 5:04 PM on July 22, 2002


anyone here remember the issue where he started to fly...?

According to Overstreet: Action Comics no. 123 - (8/48) 1st time Superman flies rather than leaps.

Took awhile to figure it out, I suppose.
posted by sherman at 5:54 PM on July 22, 2002


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