Adventures of Superman
Just days after announcing its latest digital-first anthology Adventures of Superman, DC Comics faces a growing wave of criticism for hiring Ender’s Game author, and vocal gay-rights opponent, Orson Scott Card to write the first chapter.
An online petition calling on the publisher to drop the “virulently anti-gay writer” has already drawn more than 4,800 signers. And while comic book fans and petitions seem to go hand in hand — it was just last month Marvel was being called upon to cancel Avengers Arena – this effort is being spearheaded by All Out, an initiative of the Purpose Foundation advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. The drive has already attracted the attention of mainstream media outlets like The Guardian and The Huffington Post.
The superheroes-themed episode of PBS’s Pioneers of Television we mentioned Monday is now available online, so you can see for yourself as this week’s installment spans the decades, from Adventures of Superman in the 1950s to The Greatest American Hero in the 1980s.
As you’d expect, the episode contains interviews with the likes of Lynda Carter, Adam West, Julie Newmar, Burt Ward, Lou Ferrigno and Jack Larson. Watch the episode in full below:
PBS’s Pioneers of Television series celebrates “the visionaries who shaped a fledgling medium,” and Tuesday night’s episode is all about superheroes. Covering every decade from the ’50s to the ’80s, it digs into The Adventures of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk and The Greatest American Hero. Interviews include Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar, Lynda Carter, Lou Ferrigno and William Katt. Hopefully they make Julie Newmar and William Katt team up.
To promote the episode, PBS has put a ton of content from it on its website. There’s a preview of the episode, mini-essays about some of the shows, excerpts from some of the interviews, profiles of the actors and a terrific photo gallery. It’s a great way to kill some time while waiting for the real thing to air.
When Mark Waid concedes someone knows more than he does on a subject (in this case the 1940s ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN radio program), it gets my attention. Both at his BOOM! blog, as well as a review at Amazon, Waid wrote in praise of Michael J. Hayde‘s 536-page book, Flights of Fantasy: The Unauthorized but True Story of Radio & TV’s Adventures of Superman. So I tracked Hayde (a self-described “writer and researcher of radio & television history”) down to discuss his book in an email interview. In the interview, we also discuss his upcoming interview (tomorrow [August 28] at 11:30 PM [EST]) with Howard Margolin for Margolin’s show Destinies: The Voice of Science Fiction over WUSB-FM.
Tim O’Shea: How satisfying was it when Mark Waid (popular comics writer and current EIC of BOOM Comics) wrote: “I’m as big a fan and student of the 1940s ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN radio program as anyone alive, and I thought I was the expert. I was wrong. Added bonus: I learned GOBS from Flights of Fantasy about the 1950s television show…The book is well-written, well put-together, detailed without being mind-numbing (YMMV), and a testament to stupendous research.”
Michael J. Hayde: That was a HUGE thrill! I didn’t know Mark personally, but people who did were plugging the book simply because he liked it. He wrote in his review for Amazon.com that he’d been researching the “Superman” radio show for 30 years. That’s about 27 years more than me. That I was able to uncover things he didn’t know doesn’t speak badly about his research, but about the sorry state of accessible information about the radio show. Very little material was available, so some bad guesses were made by a few historians and authors over the years. Anthony Tollin, the historian for Radio Spirits, tried to correct some of these myths in the booklets that accompanied the audio box sets back in the late 1990’s, but they didn’t reach a wide audience. Just last year, a radio-themed book mentioned a “limited regional run” of “Superman” radio shows during 1939. That’s a myth. The four episodes that have been cited as “evidence” of such a run were audition recordings that never aired. Superman’s radio debut was during the week of February 12, 1940, period.