Superman Soars at the Library of Congress

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 Sometime in April, the actual 80th anniversary of Action Comics #1 will arrive but the celebration is already underway. Last night at the Library of Congress, the Washington Post’s David Bettencourt interviewed Paul Levitz and Dan Jurgens before a few hundred interested people. Since this was nearby, I was invited to hang out with the team and it made for a marvelous day. Action achieving its 1000th issue is also an amazing accomplishment. As Paul noted, there are few things from 1938 that have had the same enduring impact as this release. Before the comic arrived, there were maybe a dozen comics a month being published, but as Superman’s success got noticed, within a year there were dozens of comics from nearly as many publishers. Superman is also one of the most recognized figures worldwide and has been that way almost since his arrival.That’s a cultural touchstone and both Paul and Dan talked about the character’s impact as well as their own contributions. In Dan’s case, he’s wrapped up his final run on the title with a “thank you” story in that issue while Paul curated a wonderful hardcover celebrating the title and the characters within it. I had a chance to flip through the book and it’ll be well worth having to read.When I arrived, there was a small meet and greet going on as the Librarians were happily showing off a sliver of their collection and I got to gander at the earliest issues of All-Star and Action and other books, in far better shape than I have ever seen before. Some original Batman art was on display, too, a page from the 1960s and one of that era’s daily strips while a Shuster studio Sunday comics page was nearby. Dan’s original from Marvel’s 9/11 tribute comic was also on an easel.Being timed adjacent to today’s Awesome Con, a handful of comics folk were in attendance, including my one-time boss Bob Harras, writers Joshua Williamson and Tom King, and artist Clay Mann. Overseeing it all was my old pal Fletcher Chu-Fong, who I had not seen in quite a few years, and Brandy Phillips, PR maven.A subset set of us headed over to Hill Country for barbecue afterwards so it was a great way to cap a fun day, honoring the character who helped give us all a career.

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