80 Years of Superman celebrates the anniversary of the superhero’s first appearance in Action Comics #1. This book collects twenty-one of the Superman’s comics running over each of the character’s six ‘ages,’ from the Golden Age to the Dark Age to now. Also included are seven excellent commentaries on his origins, his effects on the history of comic books, and his influence on individual artists. This omnibus crosses the genres of comic books, history, memoir, and criticism.
Taking a walk through the evolution of the character is an incredible journey. I was struck by the varying art styles, plot lines, and character development, especially in dialogue. From Brainiac to SuperGirl to Earth 2, the selections cover a great variety of Superman’s mythos. It couldn’t have been easy to pick the selections, but the editors really did right by Misters Siegel and Shuster.
The book really shines in the commentary and a few certainly stuck out. Laura Siegal Larson’s homage to her father in the introduction was a touching and heartfelt dedication to the determination and focus of the artist. Marv Wolfman’s story of visiting the DC office in Manhattan in the 60s touched on the passion of the fan and the joy of discovering a new story. And Larry Tye’s piece ‘Endurance’ speaks of Superman’s staying power in an ever-changing market. He so poignantly notes, ‘Each generation got the Superman it needed and deserved.’
Overall, 80 Years of Superman is a superb chronological anthology of Superman’s exploits throughout the years. It’s evident that a lot of time and care went into celebrating this great milestone for Superman.
5 out of 5 stars
Thank you to NetGalley, DC Comics, and all the authors and artists who worked on this book.