Superman ‘78 Sounded Promising… Then We Saw the Artwork


Beginning this fall, decades after Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve’s Superman: The Movie introduced generations of fans to a silver screen version of DC’s Man of Steel, DC returns to this beloved property to tell new stories set within this world with the publication of Superman ’78 by writer Rob Venditti (Hawkman) and artist Wilfredo Torres (Batman ’66).


In Superman ’78, bystanders are surprised and delighted by Superman’s abilities, and Lois Lane doesn’t (yet!) know that Clark Kent is secretly Superman.  The sheer thrill of seeing a man fly, leap, or stop a bullet will be reflected in this environment where Superman has just been introduced!  Inspired by Donner’s classic, timeless style of superhero storytelling, in Superman ’78 Venditti and Torres will remind fans that a man can truly fly.


Unfortunately, after stellar work applied to their previous flashback titles like Wonder Woman ’77 and Batman ’89, both the interior artwork and most of the covers for this series look absolutely pedestrian.  Which is a shame, because I have enjoyed most of Torres’ work on Batman ’66, The Shadow, Aliens: Colonial Marines, etc, but frankly I thought these pages were embarrassing.  It looks like he’s tracing a lot of this.


For my tastes, it would’ve been far more inspiring and appropriate to employ an artist like Gary Frank, or the fantastic Nacho Castro for this assignment. Perhaps DC will get a variant cover by one of them. A few samples of their Christopher Reeve Superman renditions are below.


Christopher Reeve as Superman by Nacho Castro
Christopher Reeve’s ‘Superman’ by Gary Frank

I realize art is subjective, and your mileage may vary, but I’m not impressed with the DC Comics previews of this title and I’m a huge fan of the Richard Donner films. If you like what you see, Superman ’78 #1 by Rob Venditti, Wilfredo Torres, Jordie Bellaire and Dave Lanphear arrives on August 24 with a main cover by Torres, plus variant covers by Evan “Doc” Shaner (open to order) and Torres (1:25).


Hopefully there’s an Alex Ross variant cover that hasn’t been announced yet…


Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Current captain of this ship o' fools who is rapidly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'