Wednesday, March 5, 2014

John Byrne Superman 5 Page

(click for larger image)  Really excited about this one!  Back in 1986 John Byrne was the king of comics.  He had just completed a successful stint on the Fantastic Four over at Marvel Comics, his long-time employer.  He had written and drawn a whopping 60+ consecutive issues on the title!  Not only that, but he also launched his own series, Alpha Flight, through Marvel and both wrote and drew that title as well.  Just as Byrne was finishing up the Fantastic Four, the big brains at DC approached and said they had an idea to "re-boot" their most iconic character - Superman.

Byrne was given a lot of leeway, and like his previous books at Marvel, he would both write and draw the new series.  First up was "Man of Steel", a six-issue limited series that would retell the origin of Krypton's most famous son, as well as "clean up" some of his complex history.  It was a smash success, and slated for follow up were the newly minted Superman book (starting with issue # 1), and a run on the Action Comics title - the birth place of Superman way back in issue # 1 in 1938.  This re-launch met with a lot of "hoopla" and it was all over the news and press at the time.  In 1988, Byrne would even illustrate the Man of Steel for the cover of Time Magazine.

Anyone who has ever read my blog will know of my high regard for both the Fantastic Four series and the Alpha Flight series.  My sole desire as a new collector of original comic art was to acquire a nice example from the Fantastic Four.  I have chronicled my pursuit of these pages both in my blog and in articles during my tenure as a contributor to the CFA-APA (links on right ->).  In the back of my mind, I had also wanted to get a nice Superman example, and actually owned some minor pages which I eventually parted with.

After re-reading Byrne's Superman work recently, I was compelled to finally pick up a nice example.  I don't think I could have done much better than this page.  Not only does it have Clark Kent changing into Superman and flying up from the Daily Planet, but it has a last panel that could be a poster or comic book cover.  Very iconic!  You might be scratching your head and wondering why the stubble - older readers will recall the popularity of the t.v. series Miami Vice.  Everybody had stubble in the late 80's!  The other thing I really like about this page is the inks.  Byrne inking himself is my favorite and I own no other examples.  The only inker who, in my mind, comes close to making Byrne's pencils look the way they are supposed to look is Karl Kesel.  He did a great job on this series.