This is going to be a HUGE month for the big two, Marvel and DC. Marvel is delving deeper into it's Fresh Start with a lot of #1's this month, from Cap to Spider-Man and a ton in between.

What Superman Means to Level Up Entertainment

What Superman Means to Level Up Entertainment

All of us at the store are a comic fan in one way or another, we pretty much have to be to work here. Although some of us may not be the biggest super hero or DC fans, Superman has been there and has affected us in some way or another.

80 Years of Superman Timeline Part Two

The Man of Steel himself, Superman, turns 80 years old this year and on April 18th, his 1000th issue will be released. Clark Kent has gone through a lot in 80 years, so before issue #1000 of Action Comics hits the shelves, we want to take you through Superman's varied past! 

As we move into the modern era, we start off this half of the timeline with the Death of Superman. What would be an end for many heores is only the beginning in Superman's story. New movies, critically alclaimed TV-shows, and a new universe for the comics, this was an exciting time for the Man of Steel.

Stop by next week for Level Up Entertainment's take on Superman!

October 1992 - The Death of Superman

“Let's just kill him.” was the feeling in the Superman writers room in the early 1990’s. They had planned for a big build up to the marriage between Lois and Clark but that was quickly scuttled so that storyline could be used in an upcoming TV show (See next entry). Their frustration led to one of the most monumental moments in comic book history.
For six issues, running through all of the Superman titles at the time, the hulking alien monster Doomsday laid waste to everything in his path - leading up to their final confrontation in Superman (Vol. 2) #75. Each issue used less and less panels, leading to the fatal clash being told entirely in full page spreads. Ultimately audiences were left with the image of a distraught Lois Lane cradling the dead body of Superman amidst massive destruction.
This comic became a major event. It was reported about on all national news outlets. People lined up in comic stores in record breaking numbers, leading to it becoming best selling comic book of all time, with 2.5 - 3 Million issues being shipped to stores. It would be a long time before this comics was surpassed in sales. The first printing came in a black polybag emblazoned with a bloody version of Superman’s iconic shield. In addition to the comic it also contained a black mourning armband.
The fallout in the story lead to the creation of four fan favorite replacements for Superman: Steel, Superboy, The Eradicator, and Cyborg SUperman. However the fallout of this event is partially what lead to the near collapse of the comic book market in the mid-90’s. Everyone tried to replicate the massive sales numbers leading to an oversaturation of purposefully shocking stories, gimmicky covers, and bloated crossover events.

September 1993 - Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman

Taking its cues from John Byrne’s updated origin for Superman, the show Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman focused more on the drama between its title characters than fighting villains.
Starring Dean Cain as Clark Kent/Superman and Terri Hatcher as Lois Lane, the series ran for 87 episodes over four seasons. It was nominated for five Emmy Awards, one Director’s Guild Award, one Viewers for Quality Television Award, and it won the Saturn Award for Best Genre Television Series (1994).

September 1996 - Superman: The Animated Series

After the critical and commercial success they achieved with Batman: The Animated Series Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, and Alan Burnett turned their sights on doing the same with the Man of Steel.
Again following suit with John Byrne’s modern origin for the character, the series had a more proactive Clark, a more capable Lois, and a Luthor who was a corrupt businessman. Being a cartoon, the animated series brought in a lot of the of the Sci-Fi elements of Superman’s story, with characters like Brainiac, Mr. Mxyzptlk, General Zod, Lobo and Titano challenging our hero on a regular basis. Most important of all, was bringing Jack kirby’s The New Gods and Darkseid into the show, permanently linking Superman with their eternal struggle.
But perhaps the most exciting thing about the series was it’s connection to the other DC heroes. Not only did Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series, frequently crossover but Superman also met Aquaman, Raced against the Flash, and had a two part episode about Green Lantern, blending Hal Jordan’s origin tale with the then modern Lantern, Kyle Rayner.

October 2001 - Smallville

Once again Superman was brought to the small screen in a live action show focused more on his personal drama than action. The twist however was Smallville focusing on Clark when he was teenager before he became Superman.
Starring Tom Welling as Clark Kent, Michael Rosenbaum as his childhood friend, turned rival, Lex Luthor, and Kristin Kreuk as Lana Lang, Clark’s boyhood crush from the comics, Smallville introduced this colorful mythology to a younger generation.
With its combination of drama and heartfelt (if not hokey) super heroic antics, Smallville laid the groundwork for DC’s currently running successful TV shows like Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Superman’s cousin Supergirl.

November 2001 - Justice League

After wildly popular adaptations of Superman, Batman, and even Batman’s future successor, the only place Bruce Timm had left to go was the entire DC Universe. Thus Justice League was born!
Justice League was focused on bringing blockbuster action, deep plots, and dynamic character interactions. This lead the show to have it’s stories told over two or three episode arcs to allow room for the characters to be featured.
Justice League focused on mostly the “Big Seven” members: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern (John Stewart, not the previously established Kyle Rayner), and one swap-out being Hawkgirl, replacing the traditional inclusion of Aquaman.
The series would draw inspiration from the over sixty years of DC Comics history with many, many characters and concepts previously not seen in Batman and Superman, while still building on the established worlds from those shows.
Eventually the show was remade as Justice League Unlimited, changing it’s format to one episode plots but with a focus on more intimate episodes about various other heroes. That’s not to say they lost any of the sophisticated storytelling; there were still season long plots that would escalated into bombastic climaxes.

June 2006 - Superman Returns

Superman returned to the big screen in Superman Returns. The movie served as a sequel to Superman II from 1980 with Brandon Routh filling the red boots of Christopher Reeves. This was the first of many controversial decisions made in this movie.
The story picks up after Superman has left Earth for a few years to search for the remains of Krypton. When he returns we discover that Lois Lane has moved on romantically and has a son, who is later revealed to be Superman’s child. The movie’s focus on melancholic drama over action gave it a mixed reception with audiences.

August 2011 - New 52

After the story Flashpoint the whole DC comics universe changed. This is where the New 52 started, with all of DC’s stories beginning at a #1. Superman started with a brand new story, similar to his original but with a few changes.
The New 52 line ran from 2011 until DC’s Rebirth in 2016. In that time New 52 Superman would go on many adventures, ending in his death in the storyline Darkseid War, allowing for a new but old Superman to take his place.

June 2013 - Man of Steel and the DCEU

Scott Snyder would take on Superman with the DC Extended Universe debut in Man of Steel. With Henry Cavill as the lead, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, and Michael Shannon as the main villain, General Zod.
This movie had split audience reviews, like many before it. The movie’s darker, more realistic tone and controversial ending angered some fans while coming off as a much-needed update to others. Like it or not this movie would kick off the DCEU, leading to Batman vs Superman, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, and the upcoming Aquaman movie.

May 2016 - DC Rebirth

Superman faces his biggest challenge yet: Fatherhood!
As DC prepared to refresh their line after The New 52, they decided to bring back the Superman people knew and loved. Literally!
Superman and Lois Lane from the timeline before Flashpoint have been living in secret during The New 52 era, content to let these new younger heroes protect the world. With their seeming retirement they finally were able to live a peaceful farmlife and started a family. This was short lived however, because once the New 52 version of Superman died, the classic Man of Steel had to come out of retirement.
WIth his son Jonathan Kent as a burgeoning super hero, Superman is once again proactive in the DC Universe, bringing in a new era as the hopeful, optimistic force for good he’s known as.

April 2018 - Action Comics #1000

And here we are, soon upon the day of the unprecedented thousandth issue of Action Comics.
The Man of Steel has been through quite a bit over these past 80 years. He’s battled the KKK, Nazis, extraterrestrial threats, mad men, Batman, and even death itself. He’s become has much of an american icon as baseball and apple pie.
If Superman has proven anything to us over these one thousand issues, it’s that he’ll be fighting for truth, justice, and the American way for many more years to come!

Previews Highlights from April 2018 for release in June 2018

This month is full of #1's from Marvel and a wedding in DC (and a wedding in Marvel, June's a popular wedding month!). Marvel has some of their creative team shake-up in their Fresh Start whereas DC's starting off a new Justice League and getting knee deep in Batman and Catwoman's Wedding day. The Independent titles aren't taking this laying down either; after a good season of starting new series, the graphic novel harvest are ready to sell! 

As always, these titles aren't guaranteed to show up in our store, unless you pre-order them! Stop by the store, let us know what titles you want, and we can set up a subscription box for you to make sure you don't miss a book.

Not going to be able to stop by the store anytime soon? Or maybe you just really don't want to put pants on today? Well the good news for you is you can sign up right on your computer, right now! Click the button below to sign up for a subscription box and never miss a comic again!

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80 Years of Superman Timeline Part One

The Man of Steel himself, Superman, turns 80 years old this year and on April 18th, his 1000th issue will be released. Clark Kent has gone through a lot in 80 years, so before issue #1000 of Action Comics hits the shelves, we want to take you through Superman's varied past! 

Comic, TV, Movies, and beyond - see all the places the Man of Tomorrow has been in part one of our Superman timeline! 

Stop by next week for Part Two!

June, 1938 - Superman debuts in Action Comics #1

It can not be overstated how important is comic was. Not only was it a defining moment for pop culture but it may be the defining moment for comic books period. Before Action Comics and Superman, comic books were primarily about pulpy detectives, westerns, or were cartoony gag strips. Superman was the first character in a brightly colored costume who used super powers to fight crime and protect the downtrodden. In essence, this was not only the first Superman comic, it was the first superhero comic.
Created by two Cleveland kids, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, at the tail end of the depression Superman and Action Comics would be published by National Allied Publications. National would later change their name to DC Comics, named after one of Action Comics sister series Detective Comics.
When Action Comics #1 was first published it cost ten cents. On August 24, 2014, a copy graded 9.0 by CGC was sold on eBay for $3,207,852.

February, 1940 - The Adventures of Superman radio show debuts

The Adventures of Superman radio show was a place of many firsts. It was the Man of Steel’s first introduction to the world outside of comics readers. It was where we were first introduced to Perry White and Jimmy Olsen. It also gave Superman his first and biggest weakness, Kryptonite.
It was also the first time Superman would not only affect pop culture, but American society at large. In 1946 an activist named Stetson Kennedy infiltrated the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan and gave information on the group to the writers of the show, who then created a story arc featuring Superman doing battle with the Klan. It brought the KKK into the national spotlight and was a huge blow to its image.

September, 1941 - The Fleischer Studios shorts begin

Superman’s fantastical exploits could not be contained to audio only though. Following the success of The Adventures of Superman, Fleischer Studios brought Superman to full color life with animated shorts that would play before feature films.
The shorts were created using a process called rotoscoping. This animation technique used footage of live actors who were then animated over creating, for the time, incredibly lifelike movements that weren't seen in cartoons yet.

Comic artists, writers, and film directors still consider this a milestone for the character, and its influence can be seen in the work of writers and artists like Mark Waid and Darwyn Cooke, as well as in movies like The Rocketeer and Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow.

January, 1948 - The Superman Serials

Comics, cartoons, and radio shows are all great but there’s something to be said for seeing your favorite hero realized in flesh in blood. Thus the first Superman serials were born!
Serials would tell a multipart story told in chapters before a screening of a movie. It’s what inspired the episodic format for the Star Wars series for example. The first run of serials told Superman’s origin story and his struggle against the nefarious Spider Lady over fifteen chapters. Superman was played by Kirk Alyn and Lois Lane was played by Noel Neill.
The wild success of the original serials lead to a second series in 1950 called Atom Men vs. Superman. This was also told in fifteen parts and featured the first live action lex Luthor, played by Lyle Talbot.

November, 1951 - Superman on the Silver Screen!

Both of the serial series were successful enough that Superman’s first feature film was released a year later. Superman and the Mole Men, concerns reporters Clark Kent and Lois Lane arriving in the small town of Silsby to witness the drilling of the world's deepest oil well. The drill, however, has penetrated the underground home of a race of small, bald humanoids who, out of curiosity, climb to the surface at night. They glow in the dark, which scares the local townsfolk, who form a mob intent on killing the strange visitors. Only Superman can intervene to prevent a tragedy.
The film portrayed America's fear of those who are different and unknown. This was echoing a lot of the racial tensions in American society at the time, further cementing Superman as the moral center for the American identity. Superman and the Mole Men’s major contribution to the Superman legacy however was the casting of George Reeves as the titular hero.

September 1952 - The Adventures of Superman begins on the small screen

Superman found his way into every home in America when The Adventures of Superman started broadcasting in 1952. George Reeves reprises the dual role of Clark Kent/Superman after portraying him in Superman and the Mole Men the year before.
The Adventures of Superman spanned 104 episodes over six years, defining the character for an entire generation of fans. The series revolved around Superman fighting gangsters, thugs, mad scientists and non-human dangers like asteroids, robots, and malfunctioning radioactive machines. This was because none of Superman's established foes like Lex Luthor or super villains appeared in the TV series.
Unfortunately, the success of the show became more of a burden than a blessing to Reeves, who took his own life a year after it went off the air. Thus, this show was the beginning of what has become known as “The Superman Curse.”

September 1973 - The Super Friends begins

Superman brought all his friends from the Justice League comics with him to ABC for the iconic cartoon, The Super Friends! The show saw many of the popular DC comics characters like Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman join forces to combat crime and villainy.
The show was made for young children and was very campy. It’s remembered fondly by those who grew up with it but is usually the subject of mockery by modern fans. However the show was wildly successful and lasted for thirteen years through various iterations.

December 1978 - Superman: The Movie

Not his first time on the big screen but possibly his most iconic and remembered; Superman: The Movie debuted on December 10th 1978. Christopher Reeve took up the mantle of Superman and alongside him were Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor and Margot Kidder as the reporter Lois Lane.
“You’ll believe a man can fly”, was the movie’s tagline and is is difficult to argue with that. The effects for this movie were cutting edge for the time and still look great today! Combine this with Christopher Reeve’s lovable and heroic portrayal of Clark Kent/Superman and it was like the comics come to life!

Superman: The Movie went on to gross $134.21 million in North America and $166 million internationally, totaling $300.21 million worldwide. Superman was the second-highest-grossing film of 1978, and became the sixth-highest-grossing film of all time after its theatrical run. It spawned three sequels: Superman II (1980), Superman III (1983), and Superman IV: The Quest For Peace (1987).

October 1986 - Superman Reinvented

In the 1980’s DC Comics characters were getting a little long in the tooth and in need of some revitalization. Many characters, including Superman had fifty years of history and were a little too set in their increasingly outdated ways. This led to DC streamlining and rebooting their line with Crisis on Infinite Earths, which brought all their various characters and universe together for a new unified and modern continuity.
This unprecedented event was followed up by John Byrne’s The Man of Steel miniseries. This removed many of the campier elements of Superman’s past like Krypto the Superdog, Superboy, and the atomic age super threats. Lex Luthor was also changed from a mad scientist to a malicious business, a much more credible threat to audiences of the day. The whole series took on a more relatable and serious tone.
This set the template for Superman in the following years. In fact, other than some deviations, it’s effects are still being felt today.