Need comic book help (specifically 60's Superman)

My dad and I were talking about Superman and he lamented about how he had bought the Superman comic books every time they came out when he was a kid from about 1958-1968…and his mom threw them all away.

For fun a year or so ago he’d bought a new Superman comic and he said it was “unreadable” and threw it away. I assume it’s just not the same.

I told him surely we’d be able to find a decent collection of those '58-'68 issues but being a person who doesn’t know squat about comics I am having a hard time coming up with what would be the right thing. I found the DC Comics Superman Archives on Amazon but they all seem to go from the '30s-'40s. Or am I reading the reviews wrong?

Can anyone point me to a good collection of Superman comics that would span the years my dad was a hardcore Superman fan ('58-'68)?

Can you buy those actual comics for cheap anywhere, or are they all total collectors items worth big $$? He wouldn’t mind having shitty copies, as long as they were read-able.

Also…my dad suggested that he WOULD prefer the actual comics themselves because he enjoyed the ads in them. My original thought was that having the actual comics would just be to expensive…but perhaps there is some sort of collection of 50’s and 60’s comic book ads somewhere?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Here you go.

Superman in the Fifties

Superman in the Sixties

The Best of DC Digests are handy little compilations. You might be able to find bins of 'em in the local used bookstores.

Get the collection, “Showcase Presents: Superman- Volume 1”, and Showcase Presents: Superman-Volume 2". Together, they collect all the Superman comics from the late 50s and early 60s.

I think your dad would be interested in the Superman Showcase that came out last year (with vol. 2 just out last month). The first one reprints all the Superman stories from “Superman” and “Action Comics” from some point in '58 through 500 pgs. 'til late in '59. The second volume should cover a similar period. They’re in black & white; those of us following the hobby think that’s great given how scarce most of this material had been, but some folks who aren’t regular comics readers might be unable to stomach them without the standard colors.

There is not, in fact, a comprehensive collection of Superman comics from the time period. This shouldn’t really be surprising if you think about it – there have not only been Superman comics published every month for almost sixty years, most every month has seen multiple Superman comics arrive. DC is making a yeoman’s effort of getting this material back into print in the archive (color, hardback) and Showcase (B&W, softcover)editions. They’ve been working away at it for about 15 years now, and they’re almost through the first decade of stories. :wink:

As for actual comics, it’s not like they’re scarce; most comic stores that carry any legitimate selection of back issues should have some stuff from that period, esp. the later stuff. And they’re not break-the-bank expensive per issue. But you should expect to pay three to five bucks an issue, substantially more if it’s an important story or the mag is in great condition. Obviously, trying to put together a collection like that of more than a handful of issues adds up pretty fast. Compared to the Showcase price of about $18 for 18 months worth there’s no contest, IMHO.

I’ve seen the Showcase volumes pretty regularly in chain bookstores.


Unless he hits the jackpot, he’s more likely to find original comics. Maybe cheaper per page too, but that’ll depend on if the seller.


Thanks for the replies so far (I see comics fans are my kind of people - late nighters!)

Here’s a stupid question though…are the stories usually self-contained in comic books? Say if you get a collection-type book that has as many comics as they can print for the money are you going to be missing out on huge “plot points” in the Superman story? For instance will you get maybe #1234 that references something that happened in #1230…but #1230 didn’t come in the book?

Also…for fans of old comic books, is the black-and-white-ness of the Showcase collection a big turn off or do people just appreciate having the stories and pictures?

The old comics are MUCH more self-contained than current ones, where the trend is to write in 4, 6, 8, or 12-issue story arcs. Most people are loving the black and white Showcase editions so far, just because it allows us to buy durable collections of old comics for a fraction of what back issues would cost (and collects them all in one place in order, eliminating searching for rarer issues). I highly recommend them too, and you won’t miss the lack of color too much. Back then, the actual coloring wasn’t nearly as nice as it is in modern comics.

Not only were the stories self-contained but there were three of them in every issue! DC didn’t start doing even full-length stories let alone continued stories until well into the 60s, after Marvel took away their entire audience with these long story arcs.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the b&w reissues. It’s color or nothing. No idea if that’s because I read them in color as a kid and that fixed them in my mind. But if so, your dad may be the same way. It’s obviously an individual choice, so you may want to check first.

What they said. I think there was one Bizarro story in the first Superman Showcase that ran over two issues, but both of them are collected. And I might be mistaken – maybe it just ran in multiple stories from the same issue.

As Exapno notes, at the time there were usually three Superman stories in every issue of Superman, and one more story in Action Comics which filled out the rest of the book with other features, like Congo Bill. Those back-ups are not going to be reprinted in the Showcase editions, or the archives when they someday get to the late 50’s.

I admit I enjoy browsing the ads, but the impossibility of putting together a good, complete collection, even if money weren’t an object, makes the Showcases a much better bet nonetheless. And I like the b&w; I find it allows the art to shine through a little; color processes at the time were often awfully muddy. But again, that’s comic from a regular comics reader, not someone who would be interested in these stories for nostalgia value.

That said, dude, weeks of reading for under twenty bucks, how can you go wrong.