Needless to say, internet time was limited today.

*If there’s any truly excellent side effect of Superman Returns hitting theaters, it’s probably the delightful new landscape-format hardcover tomes from Sterling, Superman: Sunday Classics 1939-1943 and Superman: The Dailies 1939-1942. The former is a 204-page, $14.95, 9.6" x 12.4" repackaging of the Kitchen Sink/DC book of more-or-less the same name, while the latter is a chunky 560-page, $20.00, 8.6" x 11.2" omnibus collection of all three Kitchen Sink/DC volumes of daily strips, a savings of $24.85 off the combined original price. I just got the Sundays book and it’s looking really great, with a lovely one color strip per page and a few small extras, like a 1940 Look magazine comics feature in which Supes captures Hitler (“I’d like to land a strictly non-Aryan sock on your jaw, but there’s no time for that!”) and Stalin, and drags them before the League of Nations for international judgment. Superman is all about international law.

The newspaper comics were signed under the names of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, though the Sundays book gives them a primary “Created by” credit, and goes on to list the many different parties known to be involved with the actual creation of the strips, whether as workers at the Siegel & Shuster studio or overseers of the Superman property. I tend to like the earliest strips the best, though, when the writing had not yet settled on what sort of attitude Superman ought to adopt in various situations. In the initial 8-strip Sunday storyline, the big blue boy scout exhibits a decidedly rougher, more strident attitude than he would subsequently, lifting up one oncoming car of villains and tossing it right into another without a shred of concern for human life, shaking down a fat banker who refuses to loan a good man $5000 with all the finesse of a seasoned mobster (“Nice bank you’ve got here... it would be a pity if anything happened to it.” So threatens the Man of Tomorrow as he lifts a large safe up with one hand, the iron lump precariously teetering in the direction of a balding bourgeois skull), burning down the property of a wicked lumber maven, taking a mere two panels to judo slam the roaring piss out of an attacking bear (that comes out of absolutely nowhere, needless to say), and generally terrifying bad people and delighting in it. Truth! Justice!

My only desire is, to see that the oppressed are assisted and that the evil pay for their crimes!

These books have been out for two or so months already, but the new movie has gotten them prime placement in some chain bookstores, so they ought to be easier to find than ever; the Barnes & Noble I visited had both books stacked up with copies of the first Superman: For Tomorrow trade and the Lex Luthor: Man of Steel trade, plus The Art of Superman Returns, Roger Stern’s The Death and Life of Superman prose adaptation, two different compilations of Superman radio shows, and more. A real multimedia spread, with the occasional Astonishing X-Men and V for Vendetta trade peeking out to acknowledge the existence of other comics-based movies, long-gone from theaters or otherwise (or maybe those V trades are still selling that well). But look for those strip books!