The Amazing World of Superman, 1973


The Amazing World of Superman--Official Metropolis Edition is a 1973 tabloid edition (as in BIG) comic published by DC Comics to sell in the Superman theme park that never developed. Printed in black and white, it has a stunning 15-page origin story written by E. Nelson Bridwell with layouts by Carmine Infantino, pencils by Curt Swan, and inks by Murphy Anderson. The gray ink washes give it the feeling of a memory.

This revised retelling of Superman's origin will resonate five years later in Richard Donner's masterpiece Superman: The Movie--which itself would come back to influence the comics through John Byrne's 1986 relaunch.
The Krypton is the classic "Silver Age" version of the planetary Utopia, but the emotional weight is punched up, played more straight than some of the Weisinger era tellings. The iconic scenes are all there, but it's when Kal-El lands on Earth where the classic take is given a veneer of modernity.

The rocket lands. The Kents find him and take him to an orphanage but, like the origin in Superman #1, baby Kal-El terrorizes the nurses and staff.
Of course, the Kents can't get the adorable little guy off their minds or out of their hearts, so they come back and adopt him. Jonathan decides Martha's maiden name (first established in 1961's Superman #146) would make a great first name for the kiddo, and Clark is christened.
When a school age boy, Clark discovers just how fast he can run, and there's a chance the Superman movie discovered an iconic scene.

Jonathan and Martha died of a tropical disease, with Martha going first. It's on Jonathan's deathbed, where a grieving Clark utters the same words repeated by actor Jeff East (with a dubbing by Christopher Reeve) in the movie.
In an e-mail, Paul Levitz confirmed Bridwell would have been the one in charge of providing Donner and company (and/or, very likely, Mario Puzo for the first draft) the research materials for the film. It wouldn't be a shock of The Amazing World of Superman, an impressive larger-than-life comic, was part of it.


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