Way back at the beginning of my career, I wrote an ongoing 10-page feature in Superman Family (an anthology title, for which I later wrote Supergirl and Jimmy Olsen, and which also featured Superboy, Krypto, and Lois Lane stories) featuring Nightwing and Flamebird. Nightwing and Flamebird were the costumed secret identities Superman and Jimmy Olsen had assumed to fight one evil or another in the bottled city of Kandor, the Kryptonian city shrunk down to miniature size and stolen by the evil alien super-intelligent robot, Brainiac.

The Superman Family run featured two Kandorians in the roles of the superheroes: Superman look-alike, Van-Zee (who first appeared in a Lois Lane story by Otto Binder in 1960) and his nephew, Ak-Var (who debuted in an Edmond Hamilton story in Action Comics in 1966). Van-Zee may have been Superman’s cousin, but I don’t remember. It’s been 30 years…and, while they do show their age (and my inexperience), Nightwing and Flamebird (with different characters behind the masks) are playing a major role in the current Superman continuity, so, for better or worse, these 12 stories have been reprinted in Superman: The Adventures of Nightwing and Flamebird trade paperback from DC Comics, along with an earlier Superman and Jimmy NW and FB story by Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger from Superman Family that may have inspired editor E. Nelson Bridwell to start up the Kandorian-based series. Art on my stories are by Ken Landgraf and Romeo Tanghal, except for the first story, by Carl Potts and Al Milgrom, and the finale, by Marshall Rogers, truly better than the writing deserved and the original art for a page of which (page 3) I have hanging on my wall at home.

It’s good old-fashioned goofy comic book fun, the kind don’t hardly no one make no more.

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2 Comments on Look, Down In That Bottle…!

  1. rob! says:

    I miss the "….Family" line of books!

  2. Grant says:

    At the age of nine or so, I was a fan of these Nightwing and Flamebird stories in Superman Family and was sad that they only lasted for 12 issues. Then the bottle city of Kandor was enlarged to normal size on another planet and rarely seen again in comics.

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