Classic Comic Cover Corner – Action Comics #392

Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Action Comics #392 – September, 1970

Cover art by Curt Swan

Action Comics #392 - September, 1970
Action Comics #392 – September, 1970

Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave on the outskirts of Gotham City, then you know it was announced at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con that Batman will be making an appearance in the sequel to this summer’s Man of Steel film. Since then the Internets have been buzzing with speculation about the film’s premise and questions about who will be playing the caped-crusader. The Superman/Batman team-up has potential to be one of the greatest movies ever made, but if Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder aren’t careful, it could also be an enormous flop – which brings us to this week’s classic comic cover, Action Comics #392.

I only gave the most recent Superman film a shaky thumbs-up and I have some serious problems with its deviations from the character who I know and love. I am happy that the movie has been successful, despite its issues, and that the “powers that be” are going forward with another film. It’s also very exciting that the filmmakers are going to, hopefully, be leading up to an eventual Justice League movie, but there are some indications that they may not know what the heck they’re doing.

Superman/Batman FilmIt was reported that at Comic-Con, when the big Superman/Batman announcement was made, Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” story was quoted as an indication of what the tone of the film might be like (i.e. “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come . in your most private moments . I want you to remember my hand at your throat … I want you to remember the one man who beat you.”)

“The Dark Knight Returns” is an interesting story, but it exists outside of the normal realm of Batman continuity, almost like an Elseworlds book, so it’s easy to forgive the way it plays fast & loose with the beloved DC characters. But for the film, if you try to introduce Clark Kent (which they will have to do because he was all but left out of the first movie), Bruce Wayne and his alter-ego Batman; and try to establish a relationship with Bruce & Clark; and have that relationship escalate to the point of almost killing each other; and have them reconcile to the point that you’re setting up a Justice League film – well, I’m sorry, but you’ve bit off more than you can chew in one sitting and you are flirting with a cinematic disaster.

I could go on and on about the Superman/Batman movie, but this is the Classic Comic Cover Corner and what about that crazy comic cover of Action Comics #392?

Way back in September of 1970, in a Robert Kanigher story titled, “The Shame of the Super-Son,” in yet another of DC’s many alternate universes, both Batman and Superman have teenage sons, Batman Junior and Superman Junior, respectively; and when Supes Jr. gets out of hand by showing off his powers, Dad takes them away from the boy and the poor kid is then humiliated in a friendly diving competition with his next-door pal, Batman Jr. (Who knew you needed super-powers to dive into a swimming pool?) And then Batman has to get nasty and rub it into Superman face.

Coincidentally, the Batman films (at least the Christopher Nolan trilogy) have been much more successful than the last few Superman films. Did artist Curt Swan foresee the future when he illustrated this incredible classic cover? If so, let’s hope this isn’t an indication of how the Superman/Batman film is going to turn out. [Fingers crossed!]

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.