SUPERMAN: PAST AND FUTURE is a collection with a sure-fire premise: time travel stories featuring Superman, who has probably done more time-traveling than any other character in the DC Universe. It delivers, too, with stories that originally appeared in various Superman titles from 1947 to 1983. The two earliest yarns were written by Jerry Siegel, one of the character’s co-creators, and other writers incude Edmond Hamilton, who had a long, prolific career in comics as well as his work as an SF author, and the oddly punctuated Elliot S! Maggin, who was one of my favorite Superman scripters (although to me his later work never lived up to his debut, a Green Arrow story called “What Can One Man Do?”). The art on many of the stories is by Curt Swan, the quintessential Superman artist, although there’s one story with art by Wayne Boring, the dominant Superman artist during the Fifties.
I like the Superman stories from the Golden Age and the Silver Age, but I’m less fond of the ones from the pre-Silver Age Fifties, even though they’re some of the first comics I ever read. Wayne Boring’s art never appealed to me, and the stories, while they have a charming silliness to them, still come across as too silly for my taste. Luckily, there’s only one story from that era in this collection – although some might feel that the Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen stories from the Sixties are pretty silly, too. But I enjoyed them anyway, and the three stories written by Maggin are all fine yarns. I wouldn’t put SUPERMAN: PAST AND FUTURE in the top rank of Superman collections, but it’s solidly entertaining and well worth reading.
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