Ehapa-Red-BlueIn the 1980s, Ehapa, the publisher to which DC Comics licensed its German (other other countries) reprints, was asking DC Comics for as much new Superman material as the company could provide. At the time, Superman was appearing in Superman, Action Comics, DC Comics Presents, and World’s Finest, but there was apparently an insatiable appetite for more Man of Steel for this part of the European market. DC put Superman editor Julie Schwartz on the job, and between 1981 and 1985, he produced twenty-one forty-six page “Superman Quarterly” specials. Ehapa published these stories in oversized album editions in Europe. The stories were written in such a way that they could be broken into two pars for later “reprinting” here in the U.S.A in Superman and Action Comics. Not all the stories would be reprinted in America; post-Crisis and Byrne’s Superman relaunch, they no longer fit into continuity.

Julie went to his usual well of talent for the “Superman Quarterly” stories, including Curt Swan, E. Nelson Bridwell, Bob Rozakis, Gil Kane, Cary Bates, George Tuska, Alex Saviuk (who pencilled two-thirds of them), Keith Giffen, Irv Novick, and others…myself included. Bob Rozakis and I co-wrote the first two, and I wrote seven more solo. DC did try publishing the first story, “The Startling Saga of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue” by Rozakis, me, Adrian Gonzales, and Vince Colletta as Superman Spectacular 1982, a forty-six page stand alone 8.5″ x 11″ album priced at $1.95, but it apparently didn’t do well enough for them to follow through with more.

I was around one day when Julie was clearing out his office after his retirement. His personal tracking sheets for “Superman Quarterly” was just one of the artifacts I saved from the trashcan, many of which I turned over to the DC library/archive.

I have, either in printed German or American album format or as bound Xerox copies of six of my nine stories (as well as those reprinted in the monthly titles). I’m not sure exactly what’s going on in the ones in German, but none of the scripts for these stories survive.

Ehapa-Kunert

Ehapa-1

Ehapa-2

Ehapa-3

Ehapa-4

 

Ehapa-6

Ehapa-7

Ehapa-Baretto

 

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6 Comments on Obscurities: Das Comics

  1. Allen R says:

    There were other stories, including the only one that I have (which I actually bought in Germany when it came out), printed in Superman Sonderausgabe #10 (1985); and it’s written by you. See here: http://www.comicguide.de/index.....8;id=48340 . It’s titled “Superman – Gejagt von den Monstermenschen” (72 pages). Plus there were some Scandinavian ones (Sweden and Denmark) apparently too. I know John Wells was compiling a list of them back in 2003, but I’ve never seen his list.

    Do you know who “Dykeman” is, listed as the inker for the first issue?

  2. Allen R says:

    Digging deeper, the story I mentioned might be the same as the one listed as “The Greatest” in Schwartz’ records (14). There’s not much detail in his records. I had the page count wrong as the 72 pages included a reprint. GCD now has most of the German issues indexed, including the one I mentioned here: https://www.comics.org/issue/636241/

  3. Neil A. Hansen says:

    Didn’f Alex Toth do a Superman,Batman team-up for this market, too?

    • As shown on the tracking sheets, Gil did two of these (#4, “Behold! The Ultimate Man!” and #5, “The Demon With a Cape”) which were reprinted in the U.S. as SUPERMAN SPECIAL #1 and #2 (1983 and 1984).

    • Alex Toth *DID* do a story for Ehapa, and I seem to recall it was reprinted in the US, possibly in an annual. I think it was a 30-pager, kind of an odd length.

  4. Emmanuel Jesus R. Villanueva says:

    I hope DC would one day have them reprinted in Trade Paperback form. I read one story on the internet years ago written by you Mr. Paul Kupperberg and superbly drawn and inked by Alex Saviuk/Vince Colleta, It’s entitled “Cosmic Nemesis: Number One. I jusr love Alex’s pencils during the pre-crisis era

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