Friday, January 20, 2006

Extra special

Last episode, we were looking at the Special Invasion Edition of the Daily Planet, and marveling at how well DC had captured the "look-and-feel" of a great metropolitan newspaper in this novelty item.

This time around, I'd like to look a little more closely at some of the contents. In addition to articles that worked to develop in-story continuity for the Invasion saga, the DC staff was obviously having a great time playing with detail.

Let's look at the bylines first. Here are all the names listed as writers of the various articles along with what I think I know about them:

Alfonso McGeahyua (I have no idea who this might be, but it sounds a bit like a Denny O'Neil pseudonym))
Dan Raspler (editor)
R.E. Greenberger (writer)
Kevin Dooley (editor)
Robert Loren Fleming (writer)
Renee' Witterstaetter (editor/colorist/letterer, and the only byline to also be listed in the 'real" credits - as Assistant Editor)
Michael Delepine (letterer?)
Barbara Kesel (writer)
John Mahoney (no idea - Byrne apparently had a character with the same name in Superman at about the same time, but he was an astronaut)
Don Lambert (big-time comic collector)
Perry White
Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter columnist
Albert DeGuzman (letterer)
Paul Levitz (sometime DC president)
Catherine Grant
Nola Krowdish (the advice columnist, and I guess this was a made-up name)

(Hey, there's no Lois Lane - what's up with that? I can't remember if anything happened to her in the Invasion story.)

Oddly, the three sports reporters are also blanks or near-blanks:

Bud Sheldon
Murphy Breen
Maura Healy (unless this is Alex Ross's lawyer)

Now, I have no idea whether the real folks listed actually wrote the pieces with their names next to them; in some cases it would make sense, but in others it wouldn't necessarily do. And if some of them did write the articles, then where did they pick the names that didn't? There's a story there, and we don't know it...

Here's the masthead for the Daily Planet:



Who the heck are all these folks? My guess is that at least some of them are office types from DC, but I really don't know, except for the nod to E. Nelson Bridwell (which is totally cool).

There's a similar mystery with regard to photographs. Take a look at the sports page:



Besides figuring out who "Bud Sheldon" is - whose photo is that on Bud's column? Anyone recognize him? There are photos like this throughout the paper. Try these:



I think that first photo is of Jeannete Kahn, the longtime DC publisher. Anyone recognize any of the others?

The photo feature also highlights another charming characteristic of the work: the integration of minor and supporting DC characters throughout the stories and features. It's a geekish name-dropping heaven. Here's Cat Grant's gossip column:



Johnny Nevada! Roy Raymond! Morgan Edge! Jack Ryder! Steve Lombard! It's DC's version of a Love Boat cast.

Like the news articles, some of the continuity-referential stuff was also pretty straight. Here's Perry White's editorial:



Pretty much an excellent bringing-to-life of what we had long been shown as the Planet's stance on superheroing.

Here's Clark's byline graphic and a bit of his column. Looks and reads smack in character:



A lot of the other non-news stuff was just plain funny. Here's the TV listings:



I think it's cool that in the DCU, Nipsy Russel got a show instead of Bill Cosby. And I think that the RTV lineup is hilarious. (Does anyone else remember when MTV actually played music videos?) I love the combination of DCU characters' shows and parodies of then-current series. Anyone who watched TV in the eighties should get all the references.

Of course, even in the midst of an alien invasion, newspapers will print comic strips. The ones in the Planet were a great mix. Two were shout-outs to old school DC fillers:



(I loved this feature.)



(Hey, how about a mini-series teaming up Casey with Liza Warner?)

I add these last two because I think the first one is funny regardless of its context, and because the second one is self-referential on so many levels.



There you have it - as far as I know, the only copy of the Metropolis Daily Planet published on Earth-Prime. If you ever have a chance to pick one of these up, do it. It's great fun.

5 comments:

David C said...

DC did something similar, though not *quite* as much fun in part because the "lead story" necessarily dominated all aspects of the magazine, when Superman died.

It was a special edition of NEWSTIME magazine (published by Collin Thornton, aka Lord Satanus.)

Johanna said...

In Personality Parade, the last picture in the left column is Bob Wayne. I think the woman above him is Karen Berger, but I'm not sure.

Ragnell said...

Wow. Y'know, it's wierd. Any time I see newspapers in comic books lately they are all just gibberish.

I'm going to need to check out my 80s stuff, now. See if they did this more often.

Marty McKee said...

Al Plastino, Jack (John) Burnley, John Sikela and Stan Kaye were Silver Age Superman artists. Leo Dorfman wrote tons of Superman and Superboy stories well into the Bronze Age. Ira Schnapp was a long-time DC letterer whom I believe created several character logos.

Walaka said...

I didn't notice Al Plastino's name there -- I wonder if Cecil S. Mayer is Sheldon Mayer?