Today is Superman’s 75th Birthday – Well to be strictly accurate it’s the 75th Anniversary of the on-sale date of Action Comics #1 which contained the first published Superman story. The character had been around a little while longer as two creative kids from Cleveland attempted to find a home for their new type of hero.
A lot of comics creators have been posting today about their favorite Superman stories. This isn’t my favorite, but it is the first Superman comic I bought off the newsstand. Sure I’d read a lot of Superman stories in reprints etc., but this was the first example of his own book that I bought brand new from the spinner-rack. Not sure why I picked it up – I guess the quirky cover appealed, and I wanted to know who this guy “Julie” was.
Published by DC Comics in September 1985
“The Last Earth-Prime Story” written by Elliot S! Maggin, Pencils by Curt Swan and Inks byMurphy Anderson.
This tale of Superman coming from his fictional universe (aka Earth-One) to ours (aka Earth-Prime) to celebrate the birthday of long standing DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz was a fun self-referential tale that, while not particularly deep or profound, had a lasting effect on me.
While I was familiar with characters breaking the “fourth wall,” and speaking to the readers, I think this was the first time I ever really paid attention to the idea that a fictional character could meet the people responsible for telling his own stories. I was introduced to a whole new level of story-telling, and an increasing appreciation of the power of comics to do things that would just not work as well in other mediums.
Many of the then DC staff made cameo apperances in the story, and it piqued my curosity about who they were, what they did, and the whole creative and production processes behind comics.
I guess this was the Superman tale that lifted the lid of comics and made me realize that this was something I could get involved in one day.