This year marks a major milestone in the world of comics—Action Comics will hit 1000 issues. Action Comics #1000 also marks 80 years of Superman; his debut being made in Action Comics #1, released on April 18th, 1938.
The title did break from its numbering format during The New 52 (Action Comics Vol 2), but resumed its numbering from Volume 1 during Rebirth. Still, in the early 1900s, comic books weren’t supposed to become franchises. Often looked at as the lowest form of art read by juveniles, it took decades before comics were taken seriously. Even so, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created a character in 1938 that’s still popular today—Superman.
The character of Superman is responsible for the concept of the “superhero”. Even Batman takes cues from Superman—both heroes have capes and wore their underwear on the outside. Superman is the prototype for what we think of when we hear the word “superhero”. Like him or hate him, pop culture today would be very different without Superman, Siegel and Shuster, and Action Comics.
In 2018, it’s no longer seen as uncool to like superheroes, or even comic books. Everyone is familiar with the concept and these characters have grown to earn billions of dollars. Moreover, while the world we live in is full of debate about whether Superman actually matters or not, he’s making history. To celebrate, DC Comics is releasing a hardcover companion book, Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman’, alongside the 1000th issue of Action Comics. Included in this tome is a long-lost Siegel and Shuster Superman story.
‘ACTION COMICS #1000: 80 YEARS OF SUPERMAN’
Curated by DC writer/Editor Paul Levitz, the tome will include reprints from classic stories from Action Comics from the past 80 years. Reprints include Superman’s first appearance (Action Comics #1), the debut of Toyman (Action Comics #64), and the debut of Supergirl (Action Comics #252). Levitz spoke with Newsweek, saying:
“There’s a real emphasis on firsts. I thought that was important for something that was a celebration of Action Comics because it is, in so many ways, the quintessential first for the industry.”
The book is more than just reprints—essays with insightful commentary on Superman and his legacy are interspersed throughout. Writers that contributed include Tom DeHaven (It’s Superman!), Larry Tye (Superman: The High-flying History of America’s Most Enduring Hero), and Gene Luen Yang (New Super-man). Even Jerry Siegel’s daughter, Laura Siegel Larson, contributed to this massive book.
The most exciting thing to be included in the book is a 12-page, unpublished Superman story from 1945. Nothing officially verifies that Siegel wrote the script, or that Shuster’s studio provided the artist, but Levitz said lawyers found checks that prove Siegel was paid for the script.