While doing some seemingly unrelated reading on the interwebs a year or so ago, I had another chance to discover something else that really surprised me. When they were just high school students, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of Superman, were also a part of that 1930s fanzine movement. Even more surprisingly, I also learned that the foundation for the Man of Steel was laid not in a comic book, but in the pages of their 1933 fanzine Science Fiction: The Advance Guard of Future Civilization.
During that chance discovery, I also came to learn that the early Superman stuff produced by Siegel and Shuster a few years before their character's first appearance in Action Comics #1 were no longer under copyright. (Wha-wha?) This included not only the short story "The Reign of the Superman," but a series of twenty-four Superman comic strips that the writer/artist duo had spent a few unsuccessful years pitching to unreceptive newspaper editors.
As I pored over the preliminary Superman material that I had found online (in digitized pdf form), the first thing I thought was how cool it would be to see that vintage stuff on paper. That is, if only someone would take the time to clean-up and reformat it for publication. I certainly had no intention of taking up the challenge myself, but somewhere along the way (circa about a week ago), I decided to give it a shot. Superman: First Son of Fanzines is the swell-looking end result.
And so, in honor of the last son of Krypton's largely unknown underground lineage, Superman: First Son of Fanzines returns this iconic character to his humble fanzine roots. Contained within is a smaller reproduction of the "The Reign of the Superman" story which shows the famously named title character in his original incarnation––as a bald bad guy (yes, bad guy) with even stronger telepathic power than that other guy who would establish the X-Men three decades later. Also contained are the twenty-four early comic strips that would pave the way to Superman's first appearance in the June 1938 edition of Action Comics #1.
It has been a great big thrill for me to find myself archiving a mostly discarded portion of Superman's history, even if only in a small way. Yet it was from the primordial pages of a fanzine that one of America's most popular fictional characters evolved, and I considered it something of a responsibility to preserve its legacy in the pages of Superman: First Son of Fanzines.
– St. Paco
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