Many comics celebrate “anniversary” issues, such as issue numbers 25, 50, 75 and 100. Long-running comics may reach impressive milestones like 200, or even 500. Now, eight decades after his first appearance, Superman is set to break the 1,000 issue mark.
What could DC possibly be planning for such a momentous event?
There are plenty of rumours, of course. It is virtually a given that the issue will be a giant-sized issue, with some speculation that it will be a trade-sized book. Upcoming trade collections of Action Comics can be pre-ordered on Amazon, with Volume 5 containing issues 993-999 and Volume 6 containing issues 1,001- 1,006. Clearly, issue 1,000 will be too large to include in these collections, which raises the question of how big it will be and what it will include.
We know that issue 1,000 will be preceeded by a hardcover book celebrating 80 years of Action Comics and looking back on the introduction of characters like Brainiac and Supergirl. Details on the actual issue, however, are scarce, though we know it will contain multiple stories, including one by Geoff Johns and Superman the Movie director Richard Donner.
Then of course, there is the speculation from Jon Bogdanove in one of his Facebook posts from April 11″
“Hey, about this business with Superman’s shorts– or “The Modesty Briefs Affair”, wherein people, including me, have speculated that the reason Superman doesn’t wear red trunks anymore is because Siegel and Shuster’s heirs figuratively “sued the pants off him” (to quote a FB pal): I want to reconfirm that everything I have said, and will say here, is just that—SPECULATION. It is based entirely on rumors I have heard from various current and former DC folks and other people inside the industry. Let me reaffirm: I could be wrong…
“…Someday, I would love to read the settlement that finally ended the nearly 70 years long legal struggle of Superman’s creators and their surviving heirs, to recoup a bigger share of the profits generated by their invention…
“…I think this final chapter of the war— this final case— came down to a fine-tooth, point-for-point argument over specifically which defining characteristics of Superman were actually created by Jerry and Joe before they came to DC and started laboring as “work-for-hire”.
“For example, Superman’s red boots replaced his Greek lace-ups AFTER Jerry and Joe signed him over. Likewise, the “S” emblem continued to evolve from the original while Jerry and Joe were under contract, as did much of his likeness and appearance– EXCEPT for the modesty briefs. Apparently, that’s the one original characteristic that persisted unchanged from before the boys ever approached DC until the resolution of this case.
“As a result, the briefs are the one thing Jerry and Joe’s family were able to hold onto– or regain. DC can’t use the pants without paying the heirs a little something— or so I’m told. Word on the street is that someone at DC or Warners is angrily determined never to pay for those shorts, so off they came!”
Bogdanove goes on to say that he feel there is a case being made for the return of the briefs, perhaps in issue 1,000:
“Now, there is also buzz that Dan Jurgens, and others in the company, have campaigned hard in favor of the traditional, classic, populist brand, appearance and costume– and that Diane Nelson or someone up top recognizes the dollar value of that brand as being worth much more than what it costs to rent the shorts from the heirs.
This buzz suggests that Superman will be restored to his true self in ACTION #1000– which would be awesome in the extreme… I think the effects would be restorative across the industry.”
There aren’t too many things that divide Superman fans they way the red briefs– the so-called “underwear on the outside”– have done.Some love them as a part of the classic Superman look, while others feel they are ridiculous.
Put me in the first group.
The briefs are iconic. They have been a part of Superman’s costume for longet than the majority of his fans have been alive. From a visual standpoint, they also serve as a visual “break” between his upper and lower body. The current red belt helps, but not as much as the briefs did.
Personally, I think seeing the briefs again would instantly bring back memories of better days in comics. We can break away from the doom and gloom that is still popular in many mainstream comics. As I have said before, I think we are definitely due for a return to more heroic heroes, and I think that restoring Superman to his classic appearance would be a step in that direction
What do you think? Should the briefs return, or are they best forgotten? What would you like to see in Action Comics 1,000, or in the ongoing adventures of Superman and the rest of the DC universe?
Please share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you!