Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wanted TPB: Superman, the Secret Years

Writer: Bob H. Rozakis and Various
Artist: Curt Swan and Various
Publisher: DC Comics (1985 & 1981)
Includes: Superman: The Secret Years #1-4 and Superman #359, 362, 365, 366, 370, and 374

Superman: The Secret Years is a Pre-Crisis story about the years between High School and the Daily Planet. It is also some of the last work Curt Swan did on Superman and that alone warrants a TPB. I would also include the backup stories "The In-Between Years" that ran in Superman.

Clipped from Pulp and Dagger: Superman: The Secret Years takes place during Superman's university days -- a period previously only touched upon in comics. Readers had been treated to decades of Superman stories, and decades of Superboy stories, but given little glimpse of the transition period from "boy" to "man". 

The project was conceived at a time when the regular Superman comics featured recurring back up strips. Writer Bob Rozakis had begun a few instalments of "The In-Between Years" of Clark Kent's college days when DC decided to drop those features entirely. Undaunted, he then pitched the idea of a 12-issue maxi-series. What was okayed was this considerably shrunken 4-part series. As this was at a time when DC was already gearing up for Crisis on Infinite Earths, the story which would eliminate the very concept of Superman having started out as a Superboy, the top brass presumably liked the concept, but wanted the series short so it would be over and done with before Crisis was completed. (In addition to the ads for Crisis, another interesting novelty in these comics is an editorial referring to both the Watchmen and the Dark Knight Returns -- still in their planning stages!) 

A long time production manager at DC, Rozakis' writing credits tended to involve back up features and the occasional short-lived series. Probably regarded as a workmanlike writer in general, Rozakis' creative peaks include the well-regarded, humorous 'Mazing Man and, I'd argue, this -- 'cause Superman: The Secret Years is really quite good. 

It might be better described as Superboy: The Secret Years, because the story is about his growth into Superman by the end. The "In-Between Years" back up feature had already produced a few instalments, so we are basically plunged into the college milieu, with already established room mates. But in most ways, the mini-series acts as a relatively self-contained series. Read the Rest of the Article

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