K-Metal from Krypton
August 9, 2006 8:03 AM   Subscribe

"The K-Metal from Krypton" is one of the most important "lost" stories by the original creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. Written and drawn in 1940, but never published, the story would have vastly altered much of the Superman mythos for the next 65 years. Aside from the early introduction of Kryptonite, the issue would have disclosed Superman's secret identity to Lois Lane, leading to a completely different relationship in which the two worked together as a team. Thanks to the work of readers and fans, including writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross, original art and scripts are slowly being recovered, and the entire issue is being reproduced online, with full color treatment and missing pages being replicated in Shuster's original drawing style.
posted by XQUZYPHYR (19 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for this.
posted by interrobang at 8:09 AM on August 9, 2006

More detail on Waid & Ross's contribution to getting the project off the ground:
Siegel's script continued to remain completely forgotten and the story's existence unknown, until 1988 when an ancient, faded, and blurred carbon-copy of the complete script was discovered in a dusty box in the back of the DC library archives by a young staff member named Mark Waid. Having read Steranko's History of Comics as a youth, he recognized the story as being that unpublished tale mentioned in the book. He immediately read the entire script and was struck dumb by its incredible historical significance. He then painstakingly restored the crumbling document by re-typing an exact duplicate, typos and all, on an identical manual typewriter as had been used by Jerry Siegel. (See Mark Waid's article in Alter Ego #26 for details)

Since Joe Shuster's pages were no longer available; and whether or not they even existed, or where such pages might possibly be located, was all completely unknown; Mark made efforts to have DC hire a new artist to re-illustrate the story and to then publish it, finally making it available to the world. These efforts did not succeed.

In 1994, Mark Waid gave a copy of the script to Alex Ross who read it and was equally amazed. After the critical success that came with his work on Kingdom Come in 1998, Alex felt that his next project should be to illustrate Jerry Siegel's K-Metal script in a style as close to Joe Shuster's as was possible.
Ross' proposal to do the reproduction was rejected; but the idea maintained and you have what you now see on the restoration site. Thanks to the idea and the site, fans and collectors have actually notified the artists that they have original art, and more panels have been restored.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:11 AM on August 9, 2006

Too bad the "full color treatment" is done so anachronistically, with photoshop gradients and modern-looking shininess, though.
posted by interrobang at 8:17 AM on August 9, 2006

I thought Kryptonite was an invention of the radio program who needed a way to tone down Supes?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:29 AM on August 9, 2006

It's a pity that Ross doesn't seem to have had anything to do with the online version. I was all excited there for a few seconds... now, not so much.
posted by C.Batt at 8:30 AM on August 9, 2006

I'm with interrobang on the colour scheme. It's still a ripping story. Oh, and:

MetaFilter: If he only knew to what degree he's boring me!
posted by Zozo at 8:36 AM on August 9, 2006

Oh, and I'm a moran who should RTFA.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:46 AM on August 9, 2006

The background here is a fuckin' crime:

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
posted by interrobang at 8:52 AM on August 9, 2006

This is so cool! I am glad this is being released now. I loved the DC Otherworlds series, and this goes to show that this was not a new idea, and that artists had been experimenting with the ideas of alternative comics realities for years.
posted by parmanparman at 9:07 AM on August 9, 2006

Yeah, a lot of artists don't seem to recognise just how cheap, obvious and artificial gradients look when plopped down next to hand-drawn art. Apparently we haven't moved past the 'gradients are neat!' phase of things. That brick wall is even worse. Did they grab that from a wallpaper file found in Windows 95?
posted by picea at 9:08 AM on August 9, 2006

historically interesting, artistically awful.
posted by cosmicbandito at 9:08 AM on August 9, 2006

Superman.ws is one of the best websites ever in the history of anything. Very cool to see it get its day in the blue. I think we broke it tho. I can't pull up the link.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:31 AM on August 9, 2006

"Interesting -- and thought provoking!"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:39 AM on August 9, 2006

tubular awesomeness, thanks
posted by matteo at 9:51 AM on August 9, 2006

Only nine pages done so far? And after I beefed for something mansize!

Seriously, this is cool.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:53 AM on August 9, 2006

This is cool, but I really, really wish they'd stuck to a flat color scheme. The overrendered digital stuff is a turnoff for me, and this is exactly the sort of thing I'd like.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 11:28 AM on August 9, 2006

Superman.ws: come for the K-Metal From Krypton, stay for the Starwinds Howl.
posted by kimota at 11:40 AM on August 9, 2006

...and stay a little longer for the Krypto Mouse!
posted by Superfrankenstein at 1:25 PM on August 9, 2006

This is fantastic, thanks for the link! I'm eagerly awaiting more of the story now...
posted by livii at 4:17 PM on August 10, 2006

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