Chautauqua Comics To Host 80 Years Of Superman’ Event Wednesday

Action Comics Issue No. 1,000, at right, is pictured alongside Al Steffens’ copy of Action Comics Issue No. 75, which was originally published August 1944. P-J photos by Gavin Paterniti

Al Steffens and Chautauqua Comics are not about to let Superman’s 80th birthday go unnoticed.

The 214 W. Fairmount Ave. comic shop will host an “80 Years of Superman” event Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — which will coincide with the release of Action Comics’ 1,000th overall issue.

Steffens, owner of Chautauqua Comics, said he will be throwing an all-day celebration in which customers can purchase the 1000th issue in-store and receive an opportunity to win a first issue reprint with a highly-sought after cover variant valued at $50. Additionally, the store will offer discounts on all Superman comics and merchandise, and there will be kids’ activities and balloons as well as an opportunity to meet Superman himself — who will be on-hand to sign customers’ 1,000th issue purchases.

Action Comics launched its first issue in June 1938, in which Superman made his first public appearance. The publisher was originally known as National Allied Publications, and later as National Comics Publications and as National Periodical Publications, before taking on its current name of DC Comics. Its original incarnation ran from 1938 to 2011 and stands as one of the longest-running comic books with consecutively numbered issues.

“This is about history,” Steffens said. “Superman has always been my favorite (comic book) character, and for any character to have this kind of longevity is historical — it’s never been done before. When Superman started in 1938, we were still in the midst of the Great Depression. These early issues cost 10 cents but that was a lot of money back then. For some families that might have been missing out on a loaf of bread. Also, the U.S. hadn’t yet entered World War II or experienced Pearl Harbor.”

“It’s also a generational thing,” he continued. “The idea that you can still buy a book that your parents or grandparents could’ve picked up from a newsstand in the ’30s is mind-blowing.”

Action Comics initial run of 904 issues ran until 2011. A second volume of Action Comics, referred to as “The New 52” beginning with Issue No. 1, ran from 2011-16, but the publisher returned to its original numbering beginning with Issue No. 957 in August 2016. The 1,000th issue, which is being officially released Wednesday with 10 different covers, will also feature a “lost” Superman story written and drawn by the character’s original creators — Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster — but never published.

Jacob Dietzel of Jamestown purchased Issue No. 1,000 from Chautauqua Comics and said he was looking forward to seeing what’s inside.

“I’ve been following Action Comics (releases) for about the past year,” Dietzel said. “I think this milestone is amazing. Other comic book industries haven’t had that kind of success and end up getting bought out by DC Comics or Marvel. But I’m mostly looking forward to seeing what storyline they go with in this issue.”

Jared Strickland, also a Jamestown resident, has been a longtime reader of DC and Action Comics. He said he is excited to be able to read Issue No. 1,000 because of what it represents.

“The milestone of reaching 1,000 issues is cool, and 80 years of Superman is huge because he was the first super-powered hero. All the others (characters) from any publisher pretty much stand on his shoulders,” Strickland said. “I’m mainly just curious to see if (Issue No. 1,000) will be able to balance modern storytelling and still honor the rich history of the character.”

For more information about Saturday’s “80 Years of Superman” event at Chautauqua Comics, call the store at 664-2287, visit chautauquacomics.com or find the event on Facebook.

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