In the back of my house, I keep my most prized possessions. My long boxes. Filled with issue after issue after issue (Guess you could say I have issues) of comic books dating back thirty years or longer.
This is just one of them.
Superman: The 10 Cent Adventure (March 2003)
Written by Steven T. Seagle
Pencils: Scott McDaniel
Inks: Ande Owens
Color: Tanya & Rich Horie
“Hey Buddy! Can you spare a dime for a comic book?” That’s a question that’s never heard in comic book shops today. Today, the price of just one comic will run you $2, $3, $4 or more. Back in 2003, DC Comics tried to get new readers for Superman by offering an introductory story for the low, low price of 10 cents. That’s right, ten cents. One thin dime. One silver disc with Franklin D. Roosevelt on it.
Let’s start by looking at the subject of this comic. Superman. Superman was created in 1933 by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster. He first appeared in Action Comics #1 in May of 1938. Alien from Krypton, powers far above those of mortal men, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, you know the rest.
The 10 cent adventure is your (re)introduction to the Man of Steel.
It opens with Superman getting hit so hard he is launched into space. Racing back to Metropolis, we find that the source of this hit is a supervillian named Amok. “Who is Amok?” you might ask. Well Supes asks the same question. We get a flashback that explains that he was a wannabe supervillian who got taken down by the Big Blue Boy Scout a little over four years ago with a finger flip. Well, now he’s back, upgraded with technology granted to him by a mysterious group called The Futuresmiths. Unfortunately for Amok, this upgrade wasn’t powerful enough and The Man of Steel captures the wanna be Superman destroyer, but Amok vanishes.
We get a quick scene where Lois and Clark discuss the battle and disappearance of Amok.
Next “Somewhere in Metropolis..” We meet The Futuresmiths, a shadowy group bent on some sort of evil, probably. They take a hair that Amok was able to get off of Superman for some nefarious purpose. Amok isn’t happy because he was promised the power to defeat Superman. They caution him about this request but grant it anyway.
Later, Perry White is questioning Clark as to how he can travel all over the world, when his dust covered passport was discovered in a closet in the Daily Planet, when Amok attacks the Rail Whale. Superman saves the train and battles Amok. The battle causes Amok to self-destruct. The Futuresmiths granted him the power to destroy, but not the ability to control it. The Futuresmiths turn to their project and release it, a young woman emerges in a black costume with a large “S” on it. They tell her that her name is Cir-El….Supergirl.
Artwork: Scott McDaniel’s art style is pretty good. The character’s look correct with expressive faces and the artistic interpretation of powers is good. I’m not a fan of the way some faces look twisted in some panels, but that might just be the angle that he had to draw the character from in that panel.
Story: This is a good introduction to who and what Superman is. You get most of the basics. He’s an alien, he has a variety of superpowers. Metropolis loves him more than it fears him, even if some buildings get damaged in the fight. Seagle’s story is very readable and flows nicely. The scene between Clark and Lois was very nice; I think these kind of scenes are important to remind the reader that superheroes aren’t just large muscular people with powers but are people with lives outside the public eye.
This issue is also a “first appearance” of Cir-El, the new Supergirl. I wasn’t really happy about this. I loved Peter David’s Supergirl, but they canned her and brought on this different character. And we also get a peek at The Futuresmiths. I think they would make a good TV villain, either for The Flash or Legends of Tomorrow.
This story is a find if you can find it as I don’t think it’s been collected in a TPB. So hit your local comic book store, comicon or the Comixology app and find this and other Superman stories.
Start reading today!