TreasuryCast #72 – The Amazing World of Superman

Rob welcomes back podcaster extraordinaire Michael Bailey to discuss 1972's THE AMAZING WORLD OF SUPERMAN!

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13 responses to “TreasuryCast #72 – The Amazing World of Superman

  1. Wow, this is some fast turnaround time since the last Treasury Cast! But I’m not complaining, it’s always a treat when my favorite show on the network drops (esp. since it seems like my other favorite show, Digest Cast, has gone on hiatus).
    This was a very illuminating show, as all I knew about this book before was that it existed; I didn’t even know it was printed in black & white. I have seen some of its contents elsewhere, though: the Superman origin story and the map of Krypton, with that *sigh* island of “highly-developed blacks.” All kinds of problematic, but I think the worst aspect the emphasis placed on “highly-developed”…
    By the way, Rob, on the topic of real-world politicians, Illinois governors are particularly problematic, since besides the guy that appeared in this book (Walker) three others also ended up in prison for various corruption-related crimes over the past 50 years.

      1. Part of it is eyesight, but the real reason is, I just get tired of writing so many story synopses. And the digests will have multiple stories per book, the workload just becomes daunting.

  2. Another historic “treasury”. It’s too bad Superman Land never got off the ground. At least we have this treasury as a souvenir of a place that never existed. A comic book unique to a theme park or even specific attraction would be a great way to get fans to visit. When I visited Universal’s Islands of Adventure: Marvel Island, (right next to Toon Lagoon) they had a Hulk Roller coaster and a Dr Doom Tower Drop as well as numerous Marvel themed buildings a restaurant, and a comic book store. I went into the store hopeful that there would be an exclusive comic book, but alas, Marvel missed the boat on this opportunity.
    Now back to the actual treasury. It’s a bit of a shame they didn’t go for a color comic, but with the treasury format being in the “experimental stage” it was probably a safer choice. I’m sure parents balked at shelling out $2 for this gem, any additional cost likely would have doomed it.
    The origin story by ENB was turned into an audio adventure along with Superman’s Mystery Power. I have it on a CD that I purchased at Borders Books about 20 years back. Don’t know much about it, but the same company released a Batman & Spider-Man origin adventures and an audio dramatization of Avengers 4.

  3. Great discussion guys! I’ve never owned this book, for some odd reason. I remember one of the mail order comic dealers (Bud Plant, maybe?) had stacks of these for sale way up into the late 80s, but I never bit.

    My understanding (and I could be totally wrong) was that this book was created to mark the occasion of the official designation of Metropolis, IL as the home of Superman. The amusement park was of course the end game, but I don’t think they were waiting on that to sell this book.

    I have been to Metropolis a few times, and I would love to see the FW gang and friends meet up there. My favorite memory was Cindy and I touring the Superman Museum with our son Andrew when he was toddler. Noel Neil walked in, and I recognized her immediately. But I decided to not bother her, since she wasn’t “on the clock” for signing autographs, etc. But she came up and made over Andrew, so we got to talk to her anyway. I never let on that I knew her “secret identity”.

    That “Stamp Day for Superman” PSA got put on a ton of cutrate videos (by Goodtimes, etc.) along with the Fleischer Cartoons in the late 80s/early 90s. I’m a Chris Reeve guy, of course, but I have a special place in my heart for George Reeves. My Earth-Two Superman!

    That image of the Prankster was also used in another project Murphy Anderson created art for: The 1973 Ideal Superman playset! I’m not sure which came first, but I’ve seen the character art from this and the Batman set lifted and redrawn on several pieces of 70s merchandise.

    Ideal Superman Playset

  4. I found this book at my LCS about 10 yrs ago in a box of stuff they hadn’t priced yet. They sold it to me for 5 bucks. Very happy Anj!

    As you say it is a complete hodgepodge but for a Superman fan like me, I love it. So many nooks and crannies to explore and learn about.

    I loved the little pictograph of the multiple pathways Kryptonian stuff took to get to Earth. And I really love the map. So many of those places mentioned are integral to stories I love to this day.

    Thanks for covering and always good to hear Mr. Bailey!

  5. Fun show, Uncle Rob and Uncle Michael. My dad inherited this treasury from his uncle Kenzo, and felt that it was a precursor to what would become The Amazing World of DC Comics fanzine which came out in July 1974. There was no mention of any inspiration from this treasury book in the editorial column in The Amazing World of DC Comics #2, which explained the origin of the fanzine, but the logo, “scrapbook style” and some features like “How a Comic Is Created” were obviously carried over.

    By the way, the other Superman zine that Uncle Michael mentioned that was given away at the Super Con 76 event was a special “ashcan”-sized edition of The Amazing World of DC, which would had been between issues 10 and 11 of the fanzine (Dad talked a little bit about that issue in his second AWODCC podcast for FW Presents).

    Like the “Super-Land” story, much of the art features were reprinted from past Superman-related comics:

    The Superman Family Portrait image on page 15 was first published on the back cover of Giant Superman Annual 6 (print date 1963). The “who’s who” guide in the annual was printed on page 13 in a text paragraph listing the characters by their location on the image. The Annual’s guide also listed characters who were omitted for lack of room, including missing members of the Legion, the Phantom Zone villains, and Titano the ape (I think this was a joke).

    I also see the Amazing World of Superman version did not name Beppo the Supermonkey in its guide, and decided to not go into the complexity of Comet the Superhorse by simply referring to him as “another of Supergirl’s pets.”

    “How the Super-Family Came to Earth from Krypton”, also on page 15, was first printed in Giant Superman Annual 2 (print date 1960), and later reprinted in Superboy 100 (1962). The “Super Menace” story Uncle Michael mentioned was in Superman 137 (also in 1960, so it was fresh in the mind of the creators of this feature). The journey map also mentioned “Superbaby’s first feat” of stopping a runaway asteroid, which was revealed in Superman 106 (1956).

    On a Twitter conversation a few weeks ago, friend of the Network Martin Grey asked why the journey map did not include Beppo the Supermonkey’s route. That was because Beppo’s route was Superbaby’s route. Beppo stowed away in Kal-El’s rocket and then broke out of it when it landed on Earth. And since Superbaby and his rocket were duplicated in the “Super Menace” story in Superman 137, then there would also be… a duplicate Beppo! Uncle Martin called him a “Monkey Menace”.

    “The Superman Legend: Rogue’s Gallery” on pages 46 and 47 was from Action Comics 389 (1970).

    “The Secrets of Superman’s Fortress” feature on pages 48 and 49 are pages 2 and 3 from the main story (with the same title) in Action Comics 395 (1970).

    “The Superboy Legend: Superboy’s Secret Hideaways” on pages 56 and 57 was from Superboy 153 (1969), and “More of Superboy’s Secret Hideaways” on page 58 was from Superboy 161 (1969). Superboy 161 had an additional page not reprinted here, which featured secrets of his Superboy robot duplicates.

    “The Superboy Costume” was a retitled “The Superboy Legend” feature from Superboy 169 (1970).

    And the “Map of Krypton” was first printed in Superman 239 (1971). Interestingly, the map of the “Old World” in the comic did not have the number 7 to point out the location of the Glass Forest.

    And Vathlo was first mentioned in the “World of Krypton” story in Superman 234, but it was first revealed to be an island and “home to the highly developed Black race” on this very map. A little more history of this island was revealed in Krypton Chronicles 2 (1981).

    Also, while neglected in the Treasury, actor Ray Middleton was spotlighted in a one-page feature called “Superman at the World’s Fair” on the inside front cover of the Amazing World of DC Comics 7, with three black and white photos. However, while it stated that this was “the first actor to portray Superman in the flesh,” it did not say who he was, because feature author Allen Asherman wrote that the actor’s name “has been lost to history.” DC not knowing the actor’s name at the time of publication may be why Ray Middleton was not mentioned in The Amazing World of Superman.

    And my dad owned the album (we still have it) of the original Broadway cast recording from “It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman.” My dad had also seen the televised version once, and wondered if the character of Sydney, the woman who was “thirsty for Clark Kent”, inspired Marv Wolfman’s creation of the character of Cat Grant in the post-Crisis Superman revamp. Dad thought her number, “You’ve Got Possibilities”, was very memorable because Sydney keeps trying to remove Clark’s glasses and unbutton his shirt to make him “look more hip”, and Clark is all flustered trying to keep his Superman identity secret. Dad also said the song itself “got some legs” after the musical, being rewritten and used for a number of TV commercials in the 1970s and 1980s for clothing, kitchen appliances, and other things that can offer “lots of possibilities”…

  6. I grew up in Paris, Tennessee which is about 70 miles from Metropolis, Ill (population at that time – 7200). One night at college (1972) I was listening to a local talk show and they had the mayor of Metropolis talking about a decal of Superman they had just placed on their water tower. Naturally I drove up to see it.

    Within a couple of months Metropolis and DC Comics were touting a new theme park based on Superman. We were told that the park would be about the size of Opryland in Nashville and that both parties were very excited to get going on the project. The Metropolis newspaper changed its name to the Daily Planet (now just called the Planet because is doesn’t print daily), a statue on the court house square was in consideration, and stop signs would be reconfigured to have a drawing of Superman at the top of the sign with his hand extended in a “stop” motion.

    About two years later my cousin and I took a road trip through Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana. We decided to loop around and go through Metropolis to see if there was any progress on the park. This was right before the big CB craze but I had had a mobile CB unit in my car for quite some time. As we drove around the small town all we found were the stop signs and nothing else. I got on the CB to find a local for help. Several locals answered my call and they were salty. According to them DC Comics had promised the moon and had never delivered. There was a ground breaking ceremony but not a single shovel of dirt after that ceremony had been removed. It was disappointing to hear the recaps from these locals.

    About thirty or so years ago, a group of Superman fans decided to have a one day celebration of the Man of Steel. From this grouping of fans has come the current Superman Celebration Week that occurs in June of each year. For more information and some photos of current Metropolis sites please see the link below.

  7. Great Treasurycast, Rob. Always great to hear from Michael Bailey. He’s always dropping Superman historical facts. I was both completely unaware of The Amazing World of Superman. How cool would it be to go to a Superman Land? Until they turn it into Batman Land, that is.

    This book looks like it’s full of Superman goodness that I would’ve just poured over for hours as a kid. The map of Krypton is great (with one problematic exception, of course). That is a very well drawn out schematic of Superboy’s Secret Hideaways. Wonder if he has a Lana robot in the secret closet for… emergencies? The Superman’s Rogue’s Gallery is underrated. I forgot all about the Prankster! And I always enjoyed the burly, balding Phantiom Zone villains. They look like a plumber’s union softball team. You know Jax-Ur always takes the games way too seriously.

    Another super podcast. Keep up the great work, Rob!

  8. A fun podcast, Rob. I was unaware of the proposed Superman Land, but it sounds like it would have been a hoot. I always appreciate learning this sort of information.

    This doesn’t have anything to do with this particular episode, but I thought you (and perhaps only you) would appreciate this little anecdote. A couple of weeks ago I was at Gen Con, the big gaming convention in Indianapolis, where I saw an old college buddy of mine who is a big a comic book, sci-fi, and movie fan as I am. Since he had missed my birthday, he had a gift for me. What should it be but a copy of The Spectacular Spider-Man Special Edition from 1975, the one that re-printed the original Sinister Six story, plus all of the first appearances of the various Sinister Six members!

    So now, I am the proud owner of an actual Marvel Comics treasury edition! I used to have quite a few of them, but they were all lost somewhere in the various moves I’ve made since I was a kid. Now I have another one. It’s in pretty good shape, too. Not quite mint condition, but with no major damage. Definitely one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. I figured that you might be able to relate to the excitement I felt when I saw it.

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