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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 362

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Today we take a look at a very good mini-series from Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen called Superman: Secret Identity…


I can talk a lot about Kurt Busiek’s story in Superman: Secret Identity, the story about a young man named Clark Kent who has lived his whole life getting teased about his famous name who, one day, wakes up finding himself having the powers of Superman.

I could tell you about how Busiek develops the story beautifully with a strong structure that holds up well for each chapter, but also tells a complete story when put together.

I could note just how well-measured the whole endeavor is, strong primary characters with believable personalities and motivations set against intriguing circumstances and plots.

I could point out how Busiek impressively captures a realistic approach to how someone with Superman’s powers WOULD be received in today’s world.

I could elaborate on the point I made about strong characters by detailing the particularly interesting job Busiek does with the Lois character in the book, how vivacious and interesting he makes her.

I could say all of these things. But for all that I might say about Busiek’s story, Immonen’s artwork is just so amazing in this comic that all I really need to do is show you some of it for you to want to check out this comic book.

First, from the beginning of the story, when the set-up is introduced.

And later, when Clark’s powers first manifest…

Stunning, right?

For some reason that I cannot rightly fathom, Superman: Secret Identity is currently out of stock. So I guess try to buy a used copy on Amazon. Come on, DC, put this back into print!!! How would this not sell?


Out of stock? That’s outrageous. This easily ranks as one of the best comics I’ve read, let alone one of the best Superman stories I’ve read. I think I was just struck by how mature and smart the story was, and how that was reflected perfectly by Immonen’s art. It was a case of two top storytellers getting together to create a masterpiece. I can only hope Busiek’s follow up is great too.

And some people questioned Immonen’s place on the top 50 artists list…

You say this was a mini, and I assume it eventually was collected. 4 issues originally?

Ridiculous that it’s out of print. This should have an Absolute Edition.


Well, I’m a big fan of Immonen, and this is clearly beautiful work, but it looks veeeerrrry photo-referenced to me. (insert obligatory “not that there’s anything wrong with that”). I can’t complain too much, because the expressions fit the story so nicely, so either he used models (as Alex Ross does) or he just happened to find some really apt references. There was a day when I would have anointed this as some of the greatest comic art I’d ever seen, but I’ve come to prefer the work of someone like Darwyn Cooke, who is stylized and clearly, wholly original.

I like to believe that this is the true story of Superboy Prime, not the mess that went down in Infinite Crisis.

Easily one of the greatest Superman stories ever.

Fantastic book. Probably the best art I’ve seen from Immonen (and I practically always like his work), and Buseik was on top form too.

What I love about books like this, Marvels and Astro City is that they are really Kurt Buseik just completely giving in to the comics geek that he obviously is – but somehow producing something that transcends that and becomes something completely accessible to anyone.

This and Shock Rockets shouldn’t be the only things these two have done together.

And they should both be easier to find.

And, while I’m complaining, the DC Focus line should be easier to find too.

Also, someone correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Busiek giving a “Bruce Wayne” a similar treatment with John Paul Leon on art or did I dream that?

And if I dreamed that could it somehow be made into reality?

And thanks for doing another Year of Cool Comics.

Or one could try e-bay where somebody’s selling a tpb for $ 89.00 and a complete set of # 1-4 for $ 29.00.

Course, that’s not including shipping.

Busiek and Immonen make such a perfect team. It is a shame that they haven’t worked together more.

Enero: It’s happening, and it’s called Batman: Creature of the Night. JPL is apparently doing pencils, inks and colors. Busiek said it’s over 200 pages of material, and he’d like to have most of it in the can before the first issue (presumably of four) goes on sale, so it’ll be a while before it comes out.

Ooh, that Batman thing by JPL sounds cool.

Enero, I just saw that some of that DC Focus is coming out in TP, like this week or next even. Fraction in TP, from what I saw, and I thought something else was coming soon too.

@ Travis Pelkie: Finally got to watch the unaired episodes of Happy Town. I really wish they not only ran those episodes, but did some more just to wrap up the whole thing. That’s one HELL of a cliffhanger!

I was just looking up that show on imdb yesterday, and saw a bit of the comments on it. It’s been months, yeah, but I remember watching that last ep going, 5 minutes left, wrap something up, 3 minutes left, wrap something up, 1 minute left, WTF!!!!????

Yeah, some people may remember me going on about that show on the Sunday Brunch and on What I Bought a while back. I’d have to watch them again (which I may do sometime before long), but yeah, that wasn’t the smartest way to end a show that you aren’t sure is coming back.

Tom, where did you watch it, on abc.com, or somewhere else? I know you said that your Canadianism :) prevented you from watching on abc back in the summer, did you find it somewhere else? (So if I do want to watch it and for some reason it’s not on abc.com)

And apologies to Brian for going off topic here. Let’s go off topic about it again on the Brunch, or something. It’s not like Reed’s ever got any content as it is :) (I kid, because I love Bill Reed, and his dad Lou)

@ Travis Pelkie: Four words: Bit Torrent and BTjunkie.org — google ‘em.

One of the best things (as it was not great enough already all by itself) are the final pages, where, in a kind of retrospective, Immonem emulates the Siegel & Schuster era drawing (for kid clark), the *Curt Swan drawing (for adult clark), his photorealistic drawing (for middle-aged clark) then a Bruce Timm-esque drawing (for old clark) .

We did not need Superman: Earth One. We just needed Superman: Secret Identity reprinted and marketed as a realistic take on Superman. I say this having read the series after hearing about it in this column, and it is BRILLIANT stuff. In terms of a realistic character study of Clark Kent, I don’t think one could do much better than this.

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