Superman #1 1978 Japanese Edition

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This is a Superman item I didn’t know existed until fairly recently… In the late 1970s, a new series of Superman comics was released by Maverick for the Japanese market. The series ran over 20 issues, and contained color and black and white reprints of Superman and other DC character stories translated into Japanese. Interspersed with the comics are text pieces on Superman and other superheroes, as well as related collectibles and ads for Superman comic books and products and mass market products.

Each issue is about 7-3/16″ wide by 10-1/8″ high, squarebound, and over 100 pages printed in color and black and white on newsprint with glossy covers.

I was trying to figure out a way to show you the insides without wrecking the fragile 25 year old binding, so I decided to just take pictures of me carefully holding the pages open instead of scanning them flat. You won’t be able to see every last detail, and I apologize if some of the shots are a little blurry, but I’m doing this by myself here… holding a comic in one hand and a camera in another while I’m hunched over leads to a little shaky photography.

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The cover is from Superman #300.

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Inside front cover has an ad from Bandai for some anime toys (Space Battleship Yamato?) and the opposite page is a letter in Japanese and English from the American executives at DC Comics. Notice the awesome 1970s DC stationery.

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Beautifully designed contents page and an ad for tomato juice.

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Vintage Sansui stereo ad featuring a guy that would look completely at home in 2013. Spooky! Opposite that is the first page of the reprint of “The Origin of Superman,” which originally appeared in The Amazing World of Superman, a one-shot treasury edition released in 1973. (Thanks to Michael for the correction!)

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Neat Superman apparel ad that uses one of those giant jointed Superman cardboard figures. (I’ll get around to photographing mine for you one of these days.) Adam Brothers Inc’s tag line is awfully familiar, “I would rather fight than switch.” Wasn’t that an old cigarette slogan?

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The second story reprinted in this issue is the Supergirl tale “Princess of the Golden Sun” from Superman Family #165.

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As we move into the black and white section of the magazine, here’s a two page pinup from Curt Swan. I wonder how many Japanese children destroyed their copy of Superman #1 to get this out and hang it up…

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Here’s one of the features of Maverick’s Superman issues: they spotlight various collectibles, including this Batman Karuta card game. (If you want to see what the game looks like in color, Hake’s recently had one of these up for auction.)

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Here’s another text piece with Superman and Astro Boy… I don’t know if it’s a story about Superman vs. Astro Boy or an article about the creator of Astro Boy.

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Another cool vintage ad… I think it’s an ad, anyway… looks like it’s for a beach towel and beach ball, but darned if I know for sure. Opposite that is this article about Superman The Movie.

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Here’s a Superman word find. How someone who doesn’t speak English would even begin to do this is beyond me. On the next page is a maze with some cool art and a funny Engrish typo… “Help! Dose Lois Get Him?!”

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The next story reprinted within this issue is Superman #233. I figured I’d take a picture of this famous Kryptonite-eating sequence so you can see how it plays out in Japanese. 🙂

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The next story in this issue is the Superbaby tale “Superbaby’s Alien Pet” from Superman Family #182. It’s reprinted in English instead of Japanese. Opposite that is a short text story about Superman vs. Muhammad Ali.

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Here’s the translation for “Superbaby’s Alien Pet” on a text page. Weird. Opposite that is the last story in this issue, “The Mightiest Team in the World,” which was the first Superman/Batman team-up in comics, originally printed in Superman #76.

Hope you enjoyed this look inside Superman #1. I have a few more issues from this series thanks to Yahoo Japan Auctions… I may have to track down the whole set.

4 thoughts on “Superman #1 1978 Japanese Edition

  1. A few notes:

    -The inside front cover is an ad for Space Battleship Yamato toys. The series was broadcast in the US back in the late 70s as Star Blazers.

    -Only the cover was taken from Superman #300. “The Origin of Superman” originally appeared in the 1973 one-shot The Amazing World of Superman and has been reprinted numerous times.

    -I was surprised to see Japanese reprints of an American comic. From what I understand, American comics aren’t popular in Japan because the pacing and storytelling are completely different from manga. Also, they didn’t flip the artwork. Japanese comics read right-to-left and they were flipped in the US for years before more faithful reprints appeared. Of course, Superman’s insignia would make it a bit of a challlenge.

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