John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red & Blue

It has been said that when comic book creators from other, more glorified media, come to comic books, they come with an unfamiliarity of the history of the medium, that leads them to write characters "off book", with no respect for the history, continuity or creators who came before them. Some people think that's a good thing, others a bad thing. Well, John Ridley, Oscar-winning screenwriter brings a lot of Superman's history to Superman: Red And Blue #1 published today and drawn by Clayton Henry. Because it takes a deep dive to March 1970 and the publication of World's Finest #192 and #193 from DC Comics fifty-one years ago.

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red, White And Blue
World's Finest #192 with Superman and Batman

And a story called The Prison Of No Escape by Bob Haney, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito about the fictional Eastern European country of Lubania, never before seen in DC Comics continuity, or since – until now. Clayton's style in this story focuses on Clark Kent/Superman, everything else being knocked back into blue-line-art, the present being mostly blue, the past being mostly red, and Colonel Koslov being the only other character that matters to Superman – also being solid red.

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red, White And Blue
Superman Red And Blue #1

And because this is Bleeding Cool, we can bring you a few panels from that two-part story to compare and contrast. This is in a Superman world where everyone doesn't know that Clark Kent is Superman and, fifty-one years apart, we can make comparisons.

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red, White And Blue
World's Finest #192

With a Superman willing to do what he thought was necessary despite international laws.

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red, White And Blue
Superman Red And Blue #1

And this is directly from the original.

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red, White And Blue
World's Finest #192

And returning to the place he ended up, after his powers were stripped of him by Lubanian scientists.

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red, White And Blue
Superman Red And Blue #1

The name of the original story, do you see what they did there? And we have Clark Kent's journey across Lubania, trying to evade capture.

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World's Finest #192

Playing out in a similar fashion in today's recap.

 

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Superman Red And Blue #1

Eight months? That is a change from the original, which seemed to involve a matter of days. And given far more seriousness than the original story, even though all the same elements are there, Colonel Koslov…

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World's Finest #192

Starvation…

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World's Finest #193

Indoctrination…

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red & Blue
World's Finest #193

Forced labour…

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red & Blue
World's Finest #192

And propaganda.

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World's Finest #193

The new version doesn't have Batman alongside him, instead it's a far more solitary affair. And it does ask the question why it took eight months for Batman, or everyone else, to rescue Superman, but it's not that type of comic.

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Superman Red And Blue #1

But the links between the true are a lot stronger than one might have expected given the fifty-one years that divide them.

John Ridley Brings Back a 1970 Superman Comic For Red & Blue
World's Finest #193

The original also has Colonel Koslov feign an escape of Superman and Batman to place his own sleeper agents in their roles in the USA.

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World's Finest #193

But again, this is not that kind of comic, and Clark Kent gets to meet the man who imprisoned him all those years ago.

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Superman Red And Blue #1

And who was also imprisoned himself as a result.

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World's Finest #193

The rest of a life is a very long time, though the years seem to have been a lot kinder of Kent than on Koslov. For a man who outsmarted both Superman and Batman, repeatedly, it's a shame it took so long for him to return.

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Superman Red And Blue #1

Superman's reaction, this many years on? Well, that's what reading the comic is for. I just thought I'd take the opportunity to join up a few dots.

SUPERMAN RED & BLUE #1 (OF 6) CVR A GARY FRANK
(W) Various (A) Various (CA) Gary Frank
This new series presents fresh new visions of the Man of Steel in his two signature colors of red and blue! Around the world, everyone knows that when they see a red and blue streak in the sky, it's not a bird…it's not a plane…it's Superman. To start things off, Academy Award-winning writer of DC Future State: The Next Batman John Ridley joins artist Clayton Henry (Batman/Superman) to tell a story of Clark Kent as he confronts a villain who still haunts him, in a story that shows what Superman can mean to a whole country. Then, Brandon Easton (DC Future State's "Mister Miracle") and Steve Lieber (Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen) take readers to the streets of Metropolis to show how one hero can mean so much to an individual in pain. Plus, writer/artist Wes Craig (Deadly Class) tells a tale of Superman's early days and the man who inspired him to become the hero he is today! And Marguerite Bennett (DC Future State: Kara Zor-El, Superwoman) and Jill Thompson (The Sandman, Black Orchid) give us a tale of teenage Clark Kent, while Dan Watters and Dani, the team behind Coffin Bound, bring us an outlandish fable about what happens when all colors are stolen!
Retail: $5.99 In-Store Date: 03/16/2021

 

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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