Monday, October 26, 2015

Superman #1

Artist/writer John Byrne got his start in the comic book profession working at Charlton Comics in the mid-1970s.  After a couple of years Marvel Comics took notice of his talent and offered him work.

For close to a decade John was a Marvel Comics company man.  His work revitalized the Uncanny X-men, The Fantastic Four, She-Hulk, Namor The Submariner and The Incredible Hulk, along with a few other second tier titles.

Speculations abound that John managed to alienate a few people at Marvel Comics, he grew tired of Marvel characters , he just needed some much needed breathing room or the chance to spread his creative wings-whatever the reason, John quit Marvel Comics and moved to DC Comics.

At that time DC Comics had successfully revamped its comic book line with its Crisis On Infinite Earths maxi-series.  Many of its titles (particularly Batman) took on a more serious dark tone.  Imported artists and writers from overseas infused DC Comics with new life and vitality.

Fans were clamoring to DC Comics and a new age had begun for DC Comics who had at one time been considered the 'establishment' comic book company.

DC Comics offered John a deal he could not refuse: a total revamp of the world's first and greatest superhero: Superman.

John agreed, with the stipulation that he would have almost total control of the transformation.  DC Comics agreed, with minor concessions.

To introduce the revamp John wrote and drew The Man Of Steel 6-part mini-series that redefined the Superman origin, scope of powers and supporting cast.

John was then to head up the entire Superman line of comic books: Superman, Action and The Adventures Of Superman.
John agreed to write all three titles, draw Superman and Action and let artist Jerry Ordway draw The Adventures Of Superman.

The launch of all three titles was a huge artistic and commercial success.
John's sweetheart title was Superman and beginning with the first issue he brings back Metallo and creates one of the most dynamic and explosive fight sequences seen in comic books up to that point.

John was at his creative peak and it shows in his page layouts, tight pencils (inked by longtime collaborator Terry Austin) and his powerful script.

John would continue on the Superman titles for several years until (like at Marvel Comics) he left for his own reasons.  Regardless of his decision to leave, his run on Superman re-ignited the 'super' in Superman and revitalized the red and blue boy scout's titles.