Superman #245

I make no apologies for sticking with this marvelous comic. Superman #245, January 1972. I came across it by complete accident while looking through my collection at the weekend. It was the appearance of Super-Chief on the cover that first grabbed my attention, but looking inside proved what a treasure-trove of first class material this comic is.

At this time, DC was experimenting with all kinds of different formats to see if they could find something — anything — that would prove successful enough to stave off the threat of Marvel Comics. They tried tabloids, digests, magazines, and giant-sized comics. This is one of the latter. The 100-Page Super-Spectaculars are quite sought after nowadays. The generally appeared as part of a comic’s regular numbering, but there were occasional stand-alone issues. Most contained a brand new lead story by the book’s regular creative team, with the remainder being made up of choice reprints from DC’s vast back catalogue. These comics often provide the only affordable way to see some really lovely Golden Age stories.

Superman #245 is actually all-reprint. First up is The Team of Luthor and Brainiac! from 1964’s Superman #167, a tale drawn by Curt Swan at the height of his powers. Next up is a Kid Eternity story from 1946. This one is drawn by the brilliant Mac Raboy, one of the greatest artists of the Golden Age. He’s probably best known for his Captain Marvel Jnr work, but also drew the Flash Gordon newspaper strip for twenty years until his death in 1967. His art is truly amazing. Then we get a reprint of The Atom #3, by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane; Super-Chief; an Airwave tale from 1942; a Murphy Anderson-drawn Hawkman story reprinted from Mystery in Space #89 (1964); and finally, a reprint of an Al Plastino Superman story from 1954 (#87).

A great package, eh?