Comicscape: Superman Sunday Pages 1943 - 1946 (

By:Tim Janson
Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber…all have been pop culture icons in the United States but none of them were as big as Superman.  In the 1940s Superman conquered America in virtually every form of media at that time.  He starred in multiple comic book titles, on the big screen in movie serials and animated shorts, on the radio, and also in the newspapers. It was the golden age for the newspaper industry.  In the era before television, the newspaper was how most Americans got their news and nearly everyone read them on a daily basis.  It was only natural that Superman should star in a comic strip in addition to regular comics.  The Superman comic strip debuted in 1939 and ran until 1966.  At its peak, the strip was in over 300 daily newspapers and 90 Sunday papers, with a readership of over 20 million.
The Sunday strips, of course, were in color and IDW has collected the Sunday strips from 1943 – 1946 in this gorgeous hardcover volume.  The strips were credited to Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster although the pair did not actually produce these Sunday Strips.  It’s believed that Siegel, along with DC Editor Whitney Ellsworth wrote most of the stories while art being handled by Jack Burley in 1943 and then primarily by Wayne Boring and inker Stan Kaye until the 1960s although it’s likely that a lot of others assisted over the years.
The Sunday strips featured long and often surprisingly complex storylines.  This can be attributed to far more adults reading comic strips as opposed to comic books which were primarily read by kids.  The storylines would go on for weeks at a time.  The first story, from May 9, 1943, captures the essence of the World War II era as Superman has to foil an attempt by Nazi spies who have kidnapped a promising young American pilot.

A tale beginning in August 1943 is based on an actual letter received from a student air cadet who wishes Superman could whisk him home to see his family and friends.  This is exactly what Superman does in this two-part, “feel good” wartime story.  Another story has Superman assisting a young woman named Judy King try to decide which branch of the armed forces to join.  And in the end Superman has a message for all his readers that it doesn’t matter how they choose to help the country as long as they help in some way.
One of the most bizarre stories is from March 1945.  With tide turning against the Nazi forces, Adolf Hitler invites Superman to Berlin for a meeting.  These he finds Hitler and three of his henchmen all dressed in Superman costumes.  Hitler offers to rule the world with Superman if he will help them win the war.  I am guess this is the only time Hitler was in a Superman costume.

Most of the stories in the book all deal with Superman assisting in the war effort in some way and helping to boost the morale not only of service men and women but all Americans.  Once the war was over, the stories turned to other plots including a retelling of Superman’s origin.  If you’re a Golden Age Superman fan you really need to check this book out.  The tone is much more different than the comic books of the same era.  They are fun, complex, with a heavy dose of American Patriotism that we have not seen since.  The panels also look beautiful, probably even much better than they did 70 years ago when they were printed on news print. 

COMIC BOOK RELEASES for February 26th, 2014

Marvel Comics (34 issues)
Avengers Assemble #24
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Captain America: Winter Soldier
Cataclysm: The Ultimates' Last Stand #5
Deadpool #24
Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird #1 (2nd Printing)
Empire of the Dead: Act One #2
Fantastic Four #1
Fantastic Four Vol. 10 (Marvel Masterworks)
Fantastic Four Vol. 10 (Marvel Masterworks)
Guardians of the Galaxy #12
Hawkeye #15
Indestructible Hulk #19
Marvel Universe: Ultimate Spider-Man #23
Miracleman #3
Night of the Living Deadpool #1 (2nd Printing)
Origin II #3
Revolutionary War: Supersoldiers #1
Secret Avengers #16
Secret Avengers Vol. 2: Iliad
Superior Spider-Man #28
Superior Spider-Man Team-Up: Versus
The Amazing Spider-Man: The Art of the Movie
The Mighty Avengers #7
The Secret Service
The Superior Foes of Spider-Man Vol. 1: Getting the Band Back Together
Thor by Walter Simonson Vol. 4
Thunderbolts #20 (2nd Printing)
Thunderbolts #22
Uncanny Avengers #17
Uncanny Avengers Vol. 1: The Red Shadow
Wolverine #2
Wolverine and the X-Men #42
X-Force by Kyle and Yost Complete Collection Vol. 1

Image Comics (23 issues)
Black Science #4
Chew #40
Dead Body Road #3
Deadly Class #2
Elephantmen #54
Five Weapons #7
Invincible Vol. 19: The War At Home
One-Hit Wonder #1
Peter Panzerfaust Vol. 3: Cry of the Wolf
Progeny (Value Pack)
Rat Queens #5
Revenger #1
Satellite Sam #6
Sex #11
Sheltered #7
Super Dinosaur #22
The Bounce #10
The Manhattan Projects #18
The Mice Templar Vol. 4: Legend, Part 1
The Walking Dead #122
Thief of Thieves Vol. 3
Three #5
Umbral #4

IDW Publishing (22 issues)
Ghostbusters #13
Judge Dredd #16
My Little Pony: Friends Forever #2
Samurai Jack #5
Samurai Jack #5 (Subscription Cover)
Samurai Jack: Special Director's Cut
Star Trek #30
Star Trek: Khan #5
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #6
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #6 (Subscription Cover)
T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents Vol. 1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #31
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures #8
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Utrom Empire #2
The Powerpuff Girls #6
The Powerpuff Girls #6 (Subscription Cover)
The Transformers: Regeneration One #99
The X-Files Conspiracy: The Transformers #1
The X-Files Conspiracy: The Transformers #1 (Subscription Cover)
Wraith #4
Wraith #4 (Subscription Cover)
Zombies vs. Robots: No Man's Land

DC Comics (20 issues)
All Star Western #28
Aquaman #28
Batman/Superman #8
Batman: The Dark Knight #28
Beware the Batman #5
Catwoman #28
DC Universe Presents Vol. 3: Black Lightning and Blue Devil
DC Universe vs. Masters of the Universe #5
Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #5
Justice League Dark #28
Larfleeze #8
Scooby Doo, Where Are You? #42
Superman #28
Superman: Lois Lane #1
Talon #16
Teen Titans #28
The Adventures of Superman #10
The Flash #28
Threshold Vol. 1: The Hunted
Worlds' Finest #20

Dark Horse Comics (18 issues)
Angel & Faith Vol. 5: What You Want, Not What You Need
Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem
Captain Midnight #8
Creepy Comics Vol. 3: The Lurking Fate
Furious #2
Halo: Escalation #3
King Conan: The Conqueror #1
Mass Effect: Foundation #8
Pariah #1
Serenity: Leaves On the Wind #2
Serenity: Leaves On the Wind #2 (Jeanty Cover)
Star Wars: Legacy II #12
The Chronicles of King Conan Vol. 7: Day of Wrath
The Incredible Adventures of Dog Mendonca and PizzaBoy Vol. 2: Apocalypse
The Massive #20
Tomb Raider #1
Vandroid #1

Dynamite Entertainment (15 issues)
Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash #6 (Caselli Cover)
Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash #6 (Seeley Cover)
Army of Darkness vs. Hack/Slash #6 (Templesmith Cover)
Black Bat #9
Black Bat #9 (Tan Cover)
Cryptozoic Man #4
Damsels #13
Dejah Thoris & the Green Men of Mars #11
Dejah Thoris & the Green Men of Mars #11 (Black & White Cover)
Doc Savage #3
Legends of Red Sonja #4
Robotech / Voltron #2
The Lone Ranger #22
Uncanny Vol. 1: Season of Hungry Ghosts
X-O Manowar #22 (Larosa Cover)

BOOM! Studios (7 issues)
Bravest Warriors #17
Deceivers #3
Hacktivist #2
Peanuts #16
Regular Show #10
Robocop Vol. 2 :Last Stand, Part 1
Robocop: Beta

Zenescope (6 issues)
Bar Maid #3 (Franchesco Cover)
Bar Maid #3 (Qualano Cover)
Bar Maid #3 (Tucci Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: The Quest #4 (Laiso Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: The Quest #4 (Nunes Cover)
Grimm Fairy Tales: The Quest #4 (Tyndall Cover)

Action Lab (5 issues)
Fracture #3
Jack Hammer #2
Jack Hammer #2 (Weldele Cover)
Pirate Eye Vol. 1
Princeless #4 (Encore Edition)

Archie Comics (4 issues)
Betty & Veronica Double Digest #221
Jughead Double Double Digest #200
Life With Archie #34
Sonic: Super Special Magazine #10

Avatar (4 issues)
Crossed: Badlands #48
Crossed: Badlands #48 (Torture Cover)
Crossed: Badlands #48 (Wrap Cover)
Rover Red Charlie #1 (Fetch Cover)

Big Dog Ink (4 issues)
Rex: Zombie Killer #3
Serusis #5
The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #15
The Legend of Oz: The Wicked West #16

Random House (4 issues)
Fairy Tail Vol. 35
Insufficient Direction
Negima! Omnibus Vol. 9
Snowpiercer Vol. 2: The Explorers

Valiant (4 issues)
Archer & Armstrong Vol. 4: Sect Civil War
Bloodshot & H.A.R.D. Corps #0.2014 (Lozzi Cover)
Bloodshot & H.A.R.D. Corps #0.2014 (Sepulveda Cover)
X-O Manowar #22 (Conrad Cover)

Vertigo (4 issues)
100 Bullets: Brother Lono #8
Dead Boy Detectives #3
The Wake #6
Unknown Soldier

Antarctic Press (3 issues)
Gearhearts: Steampunk Glamor Revue #9
Gold Digger Holidays Special #3
Steam Wars #4

W. W. Norton & Company (3 issues)
Will Eisner Reader
Will Eisner's: A Contract With God Trilogy
Will Eisner: The Dreamer

Bongo Comics (2 issues)
Futurama Comics #70
Sergio Aragones' Funnies #12

BroadSword Comics (2 issues)
Tarot: Love Is Magick
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose #84

Classic Comics Press (2 issues)
Leonard Starr's Mary Perkins On Stage Vol. 12
Rusty Riley Dailies Vol. 1: 1948-1949

Diamond Comic Distributors (2 issues)
Previews #306 (Mar. 2014 Customer Order Form)
Previews #306 (March 2014)

Humanoids (2 issues)
Cape Horn
Loving Dead

Papercutz (2 issues)
Dance Class Vol. 7: School Night Fever
Nancy Drew Diaries Vol. 1

Black Mask (1 issue)
Ballistic #4

Campfire (1 issue)
Gandhi: Apostle of Peace

Capstone (1 issue)
Jellaby Vol. 1: The Lost Monster

Cinebook (1 issue)
Valerian Vol. 6: Ambassador of the Shadows

Eureka Productions (1 issue)
Graphic Classics Vol. 3: H.G. Wells

Gen Manga Entertainment (1 issue)
Stone Collector Vol. 1

Microcosm Publishing (1 issue)
Henry and Glenn: Forever and Ever #4

Moonstone Books (1 issue)
The Spider Ultimate Widescreen Collection

Oni Press (1 issue)
Megagogo Vol. 1

Pocket Books (1 issue)
Charlie Brown and Friends

Publisher: ANTARCTIC PRESS (1 issue)
Edge of Empire #1

Red 5 (1 issue)
Atomic Robo: Real Science Adventures Vol. 2

SLG (1 issue)
Where Bold Stars Go To Die Gn

Titan Books (1 issue)
The First Kingdom Vol. 3

Top Cow (1 issue)
Artifacts #35


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