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Thursday, Aug 8, 2013
Last time “To Be Continued...” delved into the near-ridiculous escalation of Superman's powers and the retcon that finally reigned them in. But if the Man of Steel's powers aren't limitless, is he really invincible or could he be killed?

By the time the 1990s reared its grunge-covered head, the newly more realistic Superman was set firmly in the DC Comics Universe. No longer could he snuff out stars with his super breath or munch on Kryptonite and call it a “nice little snack”. Instead he was stuck the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths reigned in super-life that included Lois Lane falling for Clark instead of Superman and Lex Luthor as less of a “Mad Scientist” and more of the richest businessman in the world.

As that spike in sales began to plateau, the Super team of writers and artists looked for a new way to boost sales. The answer was obvious… let’s have Lois marry Clark in the gridded pages of Superman’s then four titles and reel in every naysayer out there. The problem was that the TV show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman had the exact same idea, so the comics gang had to wait and align their event with the TV show’s (which was a while away). So in yet another big meeting under Editor Supreme Mike Carlin where everybody had to throw out ideas for what big story arc to do next, a lone voice (reportedly writer/ artist Jerry Ordway, who would later revitalize Captain Marvel in The Power of Shazam) spoke up and said “Let’s kill him.”

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Tuesday, Jul 30, 2013
Previously “To Be Continued...” discussed the early versions of Superman and how he evolved from one-off villain to science fiction hero to costumed strongman to the actual flying, heat visioning, powerhouse he became by the 1970s. But with so much power, how could the first superhero possibly remain challenging?

By the 1970s, Superman had evolved from a high-jumping, fast running superhero into a bullet-proof, supersonic flying powerhouse who could blow out stars and eat kryptonite as a snack. This empowered the Man of Tomorrow to handle the bigger class of villain he had begun to face, but at this point, it’s hard to imagine he could have much of a rival on this or any other planet. Upon Superman’s triumphant return to the big screen in 1978’s Superman: The Movie many of the current comicbook updates to Superman’s powers were completely ignored by director Richard Donner. However, he and his successor Richard Lester packed in a few new strange power revisions into the Man of Steel’s quiver.

Tagged as: superheroes, superman
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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013
Previously in the pages of “To Be Continued...” we explored the earliest innovations that brought Superman to the gridded page and changed pop culture forever.

After his two previous fanzine appearances, Superman shot to the top of the pops when Action Comics #1, debuted in the year of 1938. The high-jumping strongman could run fast and hear extremely well, but wasn’t quite as powerful as the character we know today. He wore a triangular (as opposed to the now-iconic pentagonal) S-Shield on his chest couldn’t fly until the early 1940s, nor did he have X-Ray or Heat Vision.

In his initial DC version Superman could leap an eighth of a mile, jump over a twenty story, lift tremendous weights, run faster than an express train and nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his flesh. Impressive and envious traits, all, but by the end of the 1940s, he was outrunning speeding bullets, not just trains, breaking the sound barrier with his speed, flying around the world, able to melt just about anything with his heat vision, see through about anything except lead with his x-ray vision and beyond and even surviving a nuclear blast (and capturing it on film). Thus the ordinary criminals he once punched and fought were no longer much of a threat to this “Man of Tomorrow”... who could stand up to such a powerful hero with no Achilles heel?

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Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013
Gothic-styled heartbreak figures into Becky Cloonan's self-published trilogy, but that ain't the half of it.

When the DC Universe-spanning “Court of Owls” event concluded in late 2012, award-winning comics creator Becky Cloonan helmed art duties on most of Batman Vol. 2, #12, the issue that immediately followed the Dark Knight’s face-off with Lincoln March. Scott Snyder, the writer behind the sprawling behemoth’s relaunch of their most popular character’s primary book, wrote a standalone story that Cloonan worked on. Inexplicably, it marked the first time that a woman’s name snatched the “Artist” credit in Batman. “The club of women who have written Batman books (as opposed to the broader set Batbooks which includes titles like Nightwing and Birds of Prey) is very small,” observed DC Women Kicking Ass back then.

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Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013
To Be Continued...” returns now with the exciting evolution of the world's first Superhero, who couldn't always fly, didn't always wear a cape… and wasn't always a hero.

Superman changed the face of comics upon his debut in 1938’s Action #1, combining the costumed strongman, the impossibly powerful hero of legend and Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch with the burgeoning popularity of astounding science fiction. Superman not only spawned more imitators than the Beatles, he launched DC Comics (then National Periodical Publications) into the top of the charts and eventually made legends of his creators, two Jewish kids named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

While DC’s Action was Superman’s first mass-media home, this was not his initial appearance, even if it was the first time in the form we recognize. Big Blue with the stylized S on his chest was the result of what Siegel eventually called a “process of evolution” that started not at the giant company now known as DC, but in a small-time mimeographed fanzine that Siegel and Shuster published themselves, simply called Science Fiction, which saw self-publication in January of 1933.

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