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November 12, 2007

Comments

suedenim

Though it be madness perhaps, I'd be interested in seeing a high-level "what went wrong" look at the Berganza years.

I never even consciously linked the suckitude to that particular editor, but I knew something was going dreadfully, fundamentally, wrong. It was also a "run-breaker" for me - I bought every single monthly Superman title from Byrne's "Man of Steel" to sometime during the astonishingly incoherent gibberish that was "Our World At War."

Mark Engblom

Who knows...maybe I'll recount the sad tale of the Berganza Years some day. At the time, I was a fairly vocal critic of the Superman creative teams (Eddie Berganza in particular) on the DC Message Boards (as "Bizarro Mark"), to which the occasional pro would show up and shame me with tales of how "great of a guy" Eddie was. I have no reason to doubt that he's a nice guy...but an editor he wasn't (at least, in the sense that an editor guides, shapes and adds coherency to the creative direction of a line of comic books).

I laugh at your (totally justified) reaction to "Our Worlds At War", since I was this close (holding fingers an inch apart) to giving up on my unbroken run myself....and I have every issue of "Superman" from 1955 to the present! THAT'S how crazy those books made me!

Ivan Wolfe

Eddie Berganza nearly ruined Superman. I think DC is still dealing with fallout from his tenure.

I still have a Superman issue that was drawn by, in essence, outsourced artists that had no clue what they were doing (there were three pencillers AND three inkers on this issue). In them, Superman looks like a steroidal Gorilla. Berganza was not displaying very good editorial judgement in allowing that issue to go to press. I heard he publicly apologized later. He should apologize for the whole frickin' run.

Adventures of Superman #604

Mark Engblom

Yeah, as consistently bad as the writing was, the art really threw me for a loop. For most of his run, Berganza seemed hell-bent on pushing the Superman look into the more extreme end of pseudo-Manga and hyper-stylized cartoonists. I'm always open to different artstyles...and not all of the artists struck out with me (I enjoyed Doug Mahnke's work), but so much of it almost seemed designed to alienate the loyal fan base.

James Meeley

Mark:

You know, as bad as you think that cover is, at least it's something that TRIES to come off as say "This is Supermen!". Not like the God awful mess of this cover:

cover 1

But then, Berganza's run what very much a mixed bag. Because for every issue you had like that one, you had another one like this:

cover 2

Of course, then you had the incomprehensible mess that was the Seagle/McDaniel run, which even the inker (Andy Owens) hasn't anything kind to say about. He even told me once that for him, the run was a total waste because, "Here you are drawing Superman and it's not any fun at all. It's SUPERMAN, for cryin' out loud! It's SUPPOSED to be fun!"

suedenim

That's what got me. I'm not really even a "completist" collector type - I simply kept buying Superman comics because (even with all their ups and downs) they kept entertaining me.

I'm reminded of an anecdote Mark Evanier told about Jack Kirby. Evanier and a bunch of fans were hanging out with Kirby, and someone mentioned that the latest issue of Superman was pretty lousy. Kirby was actually shocked - not that he had any particular affinity for the creators of that comic or anything personal like that, but by the very *concept* of a sucky issue of Superman! He said something along the lines of "You've got the greatest character in the history of comics! How can you mess that up?"

And it's true, it takes *effort* to screw up Superman as badly as they did during this era.

Mark Engblom

James-

Yeah, Berganza's run had a few nice iconic covers, but most of them didn't do much for me (just like the stories inside). Thanks for the cover links!

Interesting story from Andy Owens. It's always interesting when pros occasionally "pull back the curtain" and speak frankly about various experiences....especially when it confirms stuff you'd already suspected (that the pros working under hapless Berganza were often just as frustrated as the fans).

Mark Engblom

"And it's true, it takes *effort* to screw up Superman as badly as they did during this era."

I think the absolute low point for me was during the "Our Worlds at War" travesty when a whiney, completely unglued Superman begged Lex Luthor for help, going so far as to blubber I don't know what to do!"

Come on...Superman always knows what to do!

zieglarf

When i first scrolled down and saw the image...

I thought it was a fake cover.

Mark Engblom

I wish it was, Frank. I really, really wish it was. ;)

Eric78

Not to mention that his beams aren't even matching the angle of his stare. Damn, and you guys expect us to buy this crap?

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