Superman: The Earth Stealers (1988)

When I was doing my assignment for the February 2008 Previews, I went hunting through various comic stores in search of green-themed comics. One local comic store has an extensive back-issue collection, but all the comics are sealed, so you can’t tell what’s inside.
There I purchased was Superman: The Earth Stealers, a prestige-format book from 1988. The comic features art by Curt Swan and was probably one of his last full-length Superman assignments for DC Comics. I figured it might be an environmental comic with the world “Earth” in the title. It wasn’t, but I read it since I had already purchased it. Originally published at $2.95, it retailed in 2008 for $4.
For the story, Swan was teamed up with inker extraordinare Jerry Ordway and writer John Byrne. The team put together a tale of cosmic peril that’s highly reminiscent of DC’s Silver Age output.
The Swan-Ordway pair is the most impressive part of this book.  Several panels remind me of Kevin Maguire’s skill for facial experessions — and that’s a mighty compliment for Superman, a character whose square jaw makes him more than a little stone-faced.
In the tale, Earth gets kidnapped through a world-swallowing space warp, and Superman comes to the rescue. As with most Silver Age stories, Superman arranges a deal where he wages gladitorial combat against the kidnapper’s champion. The prize is, of course,  the Earth.
Not suprisingly, The Earth Stealers didn’t make much of a splash when it came out. In truth, except for some nice pages here and there, it’s not all that remarkable. But if you’re in a hankering for a Silver Age diversion, then The Earth Stealers might be just enough to satisfy you … and that’s your Sound Advice for Today.


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