Action Comics

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Posted by kaori 03/31/2009 @ 21:15

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Action Comics

Cover of Action Comics #800 (April 2003). A modern take on the cover of Action Comics #1Art by Drew Struzan.

Action Comics is an American comic book series which introduced Superman, the first major superhero character as the term is popularly defined. The publisher was originally known as Detective Comics, Inc., and later as National Comics and as National Periodical Publications, before taking on its current name of DC Comics, a subsidiary of Time Warner.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster saw their creation, Superman, aka Kal-El (originally Kal-L), launched in Action Comics #1 in April 1938 (cover-dated June). Siegel and Shuster had tried for years to find a publisher for their Superman character (originally conceived as a newspaper strip) without success. Superman was originally a bald madman created by Siegel and Shuster who used his telepathic abilities to wreak havoc on mankind. He appeared in Siegel and Shuster's book Science Fiction. Siegel then commented, "What if this Superman was a force for good instead of evil?" The writer and artist had worked on several features for National Periodical Publications' other titles (Slam Bradley in Detective Comics, for example) and were asked to contribute a feature for National's newest publication. They submitted Superman for consideration, and after re-pasting the sample newspaper strips they had prepared into comic book page format, National decided to make Superman the cover feature of their new magazine. The dynamic "Man of Tomorrow" was an instant hit, and he permanently changed the medium of comic books and comic strips by formalizing a new fantasy subgenre. Action Comics was soon followed by the Superman comic book series in 1939, along with a wealth of other comics starring numerous costumed superheroes. The cover to Action Comics #1 remains one of the most homaged covers of all time.

As of 2008, Action Comics is still in publication, surpassing a milestone of 850 issues. This makes it the second-highest-number American comic book series, after Dell Comics' Four Color. Despite being continually published since 1938, it is not the longest-running American comic book; that distinction belongs to Detective Comics.

In 2009 Greg Rucka takes over the writing of the series from issue #875.

Another departure from a strict monthly schedule were the giant-size Supergirl reprint issues of the 1960s (published as a 13th issue annually): issues #334 (March 1966), #347 (March/April 1967), #360 (March/April 1968), and #373 (March/April 1969).

An issue #0 (October 1994) was published between issues #703 and #704 as part of the Zero Month after the Zero Hour crossover event and issue #1,000,000 (November 1998) during the DC One Million crossover event in October 1998 between issues #748 and #749.

Starting with issue #875, Flamebird and Nightwing, two characters introduced in the New Krypton story arc, will take Superman's place as the main protagonists of the comic due to Superman's decision to leave Earth and live on New Krypton. These new adventures will be written by critically acclaimed writer Greg Rucka and artist Eddy Barrows, who left the art duties on Teen Titans to pencil Action.

Originally, Action Comics was an anthology title featuring a number of other stories in addition to the Superman story. Zatara, a magician, was one of the other characters who had their own stories in early issues. (Zatanna, a heroine introduced in the 1960s, is Zatara's daughter.) There was also the hero Tex Thomson, who eventually became Mr. America and later the Americommando. Vigilante also enjoyed a lengthy run in this series. Sometimes stories of a more humorous nature were included, such as those of Hayfoot Henry, a policeman who talked in rhyme. Gradually the size of the issues was decreased as the publisher was reluctant to raise the cover price from the original 10 cents, so there were fewer stories. For a while, Congo Bill and Tommy Tomorrow were the two features in addition to Superman (Congo Bill eventually gained the ability to swap bodies with a gorilla and his strip was renamed Congorilla), but soon after the introduction of Supergirl in issue #252 (May 1959) the non-Superman-related strips were crowded out of Action altogether. Since then, it has generally been an all-Superman comic, though other backup stories such as The Human Target occasionally appear.

For slightly less than a year in 1988-1989, the publication frequency was changed to weekly and the title became Action Comics Weekly, and was an anthology format series; this change lasted from issue #601 to issue #642. During this time, Superman appeared only in a two page story per issue; however, he was still the only character to appear in every issue of the run.

To boost the profile of Action Comics Weekly, prior to its launch DC cancelled its ongoing Green Lantern title Green Lantern Corps, and made Green Lantern Hal Jordan and his adventures exclusive to Action Comics Weekly. The move was largely a failure, as many fans felt the Action Comics Weekly stories were of extremely poor quality. During the Action Comics Weekly run, a Green Lantern Special was published in 1988, tying in with the events happening in Action Comics Weekly. Green Lantern was soon moved out of the title, with Green Lantern Special # 2 (1989) published concluding the story plots from Action Comics Weekly, and the character was relaunched with a limited series in 1989 (Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn), followed up by a new ongoing series in June 1990 (Green Lantern Vol. 3).

The rest of these issues featured rotating serialized stories of other, mostly minor, DC heroes, as try-outs that led to their own limited series. Characters with featured stories in the run included Black Canary, Blackhawk, Captain Marvel, Catwoman, Deadman, Nightwing, Phantom Lady (Dee Tyler), Phantom Stranger, Secret Six, Speedy, and Wild Dog.

The final issue of the weekly was originally intended to feature a book-length encounter between Clark Kent and Hal Jordan penned by writer Neil Gaiman. While Gaiman's story primarily teamed up Green Lantern and Superman, it also featured other characters from Action Comics Weekly including the Blackhawks (in flashback), Deadman and the Phantom Stranger. The story ran counter to DC editorial policy at the time as it portrayed Hal Jordan and Clark Kent as old friends who knew each other's secret identities. This was not considered canon in 1989 (though other issues of Action Comics Weekly implied Hal and Clark were friends) and Gaiman was unwilling to change this aspect of the story. The story was pulled and a different story was run. Gaiman's story was finally published as Green Lantern/Superman: Legend of the Green Flame one-shot in 2000.

After the One Year Later story line Action comics had a crossover event with the regular Superman title called the Up, Up and Away!, which tells the story of Clark Kent attempting protect metropolis without his powers and eventually regaining his powers. After the New Krypton story line, Superman leaves the planet earth and is replaced by the new Nightwing and Flamebird as the staring character of the book.

Action Comics #687 through 689 were part of The Reign of the Supermen storyline, which won the 1993 Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Comic Book Story that year.

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Action Comics 1

Cover of Action Comics 1

Action Comics 1 is a comic book that was published in April 1938 (cover-dated June) by National Allied Publications, a corporate predecessor of DC Comics. Featuring the first appearance of the Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster creation Superman, it is considered the first true superhero comic, and though today Action Comics is a monthly title devoted to Superman, it began, like many early comics, as an anthology.

Action Comics was started by publisher Jack Liebowitz. The first issue had a print run of 200,000 copies, although sales of the series would soon approach 1,000,000 a month. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were paid $10 per page, for a total of $130 for their work on this issue. They effectively signed away millions in future rights and royalties payments. Starting in 1978 Siegel and Shuster were provided with a $20,000 a month annuity which was later raised to $30,000. Liebowitz would later say that selecting Superman to run in Action Comics #1 was "pure accident" based on deadline pressure. He also selected the "thrilling" cover, depicting Superman lifting a car over his head. Christopher Knowles, author of Our Gods Wear Spandex: The Secret History of Comic Book Heroes, compared the cover to Hercules Clubs the Hydra by Antonio del Pollaiolo.

In January 1933, Jerry Siegel wrote a story entitled "The Reign of the Superman." Siegel and Joe Shuster then created a comic book entitled "The Superman" later in 1933. A Chicago publisher expressed interest, but didn't follow through, and in frustration, Shuster tore up all the pages of this comic except for the cover. Later, in 1934, Siegel had trouble falling asleep and decided to pass the time creating dramatic elements for a comic strip. Building on his previous ideas, he envisioned a child on a far-off planet named Krypton, where all the residents had super powers. Because Krypton would soon explode, the boy was sent to Earth by his father, where he became Superman.

The Superman section of Action Comics was made up of a cut up comic strip. Siegel and Shuster had shopped Superman around as a comic strip, but were continually turned down. National Publications was looking for a hit to accompany their success with Detective Comics, and didn't have time to solicit new material. Jack Liebowitz, co-owner of National Publications told editor Vin Sullivan to create their fourth comic book. Because of the tight deadline, Sullivan was forced to make it out of inventory and stockpile pages. He found a number of adventurer stories, but needed a lead feature. Sullivan asked former coworker Sheldon Mayer if he could help. Mayer found the rejected Superman comic strips, and Sullivan told Siegel and Shuster that if they could paste them into 13 comic book pages, he would buy them.

The original five panel comics strip was cut apart, rewritten, and redrawn to create the first page of Action Comics #1.

Siegel rewrote and extended the fourth panel into panels 4, 5, and 6 on the first page, and Joe Shuster created three new drawings for them. Instead of racing the train in his costume, he is dressed as Clark Kent. Siegel and Shuster decided that they would not show him in his costume until he had officially adopted his Superman alter-ego. Shuster also redrew panel 7. Finally, two new panels (8 and 9) were inserted to complete the first page.

Siegel and Shuster had tried for years to find a publisher for their Superman character (originally conceived as a newspaper strip) without success. The writer and artist had worked on several features for National Periodical Publications' other titles (Slam Bradley in Detective Comics, for example) and were asked to contribute a feature for National's newest publication. They submitted Superman for consideration, and after re-pasting the sample newspaper strips they had prepared into comic book page format, National decided to make Superman the cover feature of their new magazine. The dynamic "Man of Tomorrow" was an instant hit, and he permanently changed the medium of comic books and comic strips by formalizing a new fantasy subgenre. Action Comics was soon followed by the Superman comic book series in 1939, along with a wealth of other comics starring numerous costumed superheroes.

As of September 2007, Action Comics #1 is the most valuable comic for a given condition, followed by Detective Comics #27 and Superman vol. 1 #1.

Fewer than 100 copies of Action Comics #1 are known to exist. There are five known CGC Graded copies with a grade above VG (CGC 4.0), with a single issue having the best grade of VF+ (CGC 8.5). There are at least two known uncertified copies in higher grade, including the famous Edgar Church/Mile High copy. EC and Mad publisher William Gaines, whose father was also a comic book publisher and had business dealings with DC Comics at the time Action Comics #1 was published, claimed in a Comics Journal interview that he at one point had dozens of copies of the issue around his house, but they were probably all thrown out.

In 1996, New York-based Metropolis Comics sold two high grade copies for $150,000 each. Today, those copies are worth $500,000 each. In 2003, Stephen A. Geppi, owner of Diamond Comic Distributors, offered up to $1,000,000 for a near mint (CGC grade 9.4) copy of Action Comics #1 at the First Annual Las Vegas Comic-Con. There are however no known copies in that grade. According to comic book expert Stephen Fishler, one in fine condition would be worth about $126,000.

More recently, an unrestored copy of Action Comics #1 was found on February 2009 from an as yet undisclosed owner. This copy was predicted to fetch a value of as much as $400,000, and was listed in "fine" condition and registered as 6.0 on the 10-point comic grading scale. The copy was sold at auction for $317,200 (£227,000) to John Dolmayan, the drummer for the rock band System of a Down and comic book dealer, who purchased it on behalf of a client.

In the mid-1970s, DC reissued several of its most popular Golden Age comics under the "Famous First Editions" series, including Action Comics #1. These reprints were oversized, roughly double the size of the original editions. A cardboard-like cover was placed over these copies, showing that they were a part of the Famous First Edition series. However, there have been many reports over the years of the outer cover being removed and these reprints being sold as legitimate first issues to unsuspecting buyers.

As well as stories from the issue appearing in many collections, the entire comic was reprinted as part of DC Millennium Editions.

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Legal Action Comics

Legal Action Comics is a series of comics anthologies edited by illustrator Danny Hellman which features work from many alternative comics artists. The first volume in the series was published in 2001 and the second followed in 2003. The Legal Action Comics series was initially conceived as a means to raise money for Hellman's legal fees after fellow cartoonist Ted Rall filed a 1.5 million dollar lawsuit against him.

Cartoonists featured in the Legal Action Comics series include R. Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Kim Deitch, Robert Williams, Tony Millionaire, Michael Kupperman, Mike Diana, Johnny Ryan, Sam Henderson, Spain Rodriguez, John Linton Roberson, Lauren Weinstein, Hellman himself and many more.

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Double Fine Action Comics

Double Fine Action Comics (DFAC) is a webcomics collective supported by Double Fine Productions. Each comic varies in style and tone, but they all reflect the eclectic humor found in the Double-Fine produced game Psychonauts. The comics are published in Flash format on the company website under the heading 'Comics'.

The Double Fine Action comics are produced by five artists who work for Double Fine Productions.

Scott Campbell (also known as Scott C.) creates a comic following the adventures of Two-Headed Baby (the Double Fine Productions logo), a strongman, and a knight. Other characters, such as two astronauts named Captain and Thompson have been introduced as the comic has progressed. Many characters such as a mummy, a frogman and a naked ogre have been briefly featured, usually during a quest or some other type of adventure. At the top of most strips is a small, usually completely unrelated drawing. These small drawings sometimes have a title, such as "Mysterious Happiness!". Campbell's comic is, by a wide margin, the most commonly updated; the strip celebrated its 400th cartoon as of December, 2006, and has since passed the 500-strip mark.

Razmig Mavlian (also known as Raz) produces two comics. The first, Epic Saga, is done in the style of an adventure game similar to King's Quest or The Secret of Monkey Island. The last two comics were countdown screens, similar to the screens of arcade games, which seem to indicate that the strip is cancelled or currently on hiatus. Mavlian's other comic, Happy Funnies, is a dialogue-free strip featuring smiling characters in absurd situations. This strip appears to be on hiatus as well.

Nathan Stapley draws a pseudo-biographical comic that juxtaposes comics about his hair or clothing with adventure stories involving him and such characters as Indiana Jones, Chewbacca from Star Wars, or O-Ren Ishii from the Kill Bill films. Just before New Year's Eve in 2006, Stapley's strip passed the 250 mark.

Mark Hamer paints realistic pictures that resemble Polaroid photographs. Each feature a joke about the picture at the bottom of the photograph. The comic appears to be on hiatus.

In January 2008, a fifth comic was added. The comic is a semi-autobiographical serial about the life of the author, a young single woman called Tasha.

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Source : Wikipedia