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Saturday, 26 November 2016

Was Superman Germany’s First Silver Age Superhero?

Here is one from 2012 with all the images added (again)

The answer, of course, is Yes he was!

According to the advertisement by Hallwag Verlag, the first super hero in a German comic was set to make his debut in October, 1950.

Above: Supermann

So, who was to be the costumed hero making this much lauded debut? Well, who else – it was none other than the hero of all heroes Superman. But it was not to be a book bearing that name. The three adventures from Superman #65 were to be published as Supermann -Phantastische Abenteuer Des Unbesiegbaren -Superman-Fantastic Adventures of The Invincible.

Interesting, in these books Superman’s  alias was..Klaus Kent!
German kids had no doubt seen GIs with comics and I know, even though they were in “American English” some copies were handed out to youngsters -even if you could not read English it was still something bright and cheery after many years of “greydom”. There had been no real kids story papers to entertain since before the war.

But, in addition to Supermann, other characters appeared from the collection of National (DC Comics): Professor Zukunf (Future) was actually non-other than Tommy Tomorrow. Captain Aufrecht (Upright) was a character I’m unfamiliar with (I think) -Full Steam Foley. And I love that Fred Fix was the name given to… Johnny Quick!

The Grüne Pfeil (Green Feather) was, of course, Green Arrow. Falkenauge-Schmidt ( Hawk Eye-Schmidt) was Pow-Wow Smith and unmoglich aber wahr (Impossible But True) was the strip featuring TV Detective Roy Raymond.

The series lasted only a short time but the print quality was said to be excellent. Due to the rarity and popularity of these books,  in 1971, the first reprint appeared as Inco’s Special Issue with all three books in one volume
In 1986, the Nostalgie-Verlag (Nostalgia Publishing), based in  Ludwigshafen reprinted the 1950 books as three individual books, not a collected book.

Whether the books were unpopular or there were other problems I cannot find out.  However, Supermann #4 was only mentioned in #3 and the next story was to have been “The Last Days of Superman”.”

The contents were (German):

Supermann Nr. 1Supermann – Supermanns geheime Kräfte (12 Seiten)Superman # 65 – The Testing Of Superman (Jul-Aug 1950)Professor Zukunft – Die unbewohnbaren Welten! (8 Seiten)Action Comics # 146 – The Impossible Worlds (Jul 1950)(Tommy Tomorrow)Kapitän Aufrecht – Flitterwochen mit Hindernissen! (10 Seiten)World’s Finest Comics # 46 -Honeymoon With Headaches (Jun-Jul 1950)(Full Steam Foley)


Superman No. 1Superman – Superman Secret Forces (12 pages)Superman # 65 – The Testing Of Superman (Jul-August 1950)Tommy Tomorrow – the Uninhabitable Worlds! (8 pages)Action Comics # 146 – The Impossible Worlds (Jul 1950)Full Steam Foley- honeymoon with obstacles! (10 pages)World’s Finest Comics # 46 -Honeymoon With Headaches (Jun-July 1950)

Superman 2Superman – Three Supermen from Krypton (13 pages)Superman # 65 – Three Supermen From Krypton (Jul-August 1950)Impossible – But True (8 pages)Detective Comics # 161 – The Super Human Weapon (Jul 1950)(Impossible But True / Roy Raymond)Johnny Quick and his magic formula – Robinson Crusoe (8 pages)Adventure Comics # 155 – Robinson Crusoe, 20th Century (Jul 1950)

Superman 3Superman # 65 – Superman’s Sweetheart (Jul-August 1950)The Green Arrow – The secret of the sealed box(10 pages)Adventure Comics # 156 – The Secret Of Sealed Box (Sep 1950)(Green Arrow)Pow Wow Smith – two detectives named Smith (10 pages)Detective Comics # 161 – Two detectives named Smith (Jul 1950)

But there was to be quite a wait for super heroes to next appear in Germany. It may have been that the country had had its fill of hearing about “the Super-man” or just economic problems.

Interestingly, back in the mid 1980s I heard that there had been pirated Judge Dredd comics in Germany but, according to Fleetway: “they flopped” and comickers I knew in Germany explained why. According to one: “Totalitarian fascists in black enforcing their rules on people while shooting and killing them. We had enough of this in 1934-1945!”  Others echoed that sentiment. And even Canadian comic artist John Byrne, who drew a Judge Dredd summer special said at a 1980s UK Comic Art Convention: “I drew him. I hated him. You guys realise that he is a Nazi -right?”

Dredd a Nazi?? Well, read the Judge Dredd story “Letter From A Democrat”: The Martyrdom Of Hester Hyman (1986…issue 460?).

Anyway, that’s the comic history lesson for today and I have to give full credit for the Supermann info to the blog Das Sagt Nuff  where it first appeared in 2009!

A link to the article:

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