DC Comics hopes Superman's return sells 6 million

April 15, 1993|By Knight-Ridder Newspapers

Superman swooped back into town yesterday, and fans were leaping over tall magazine racks in a single bound just to get their hands on him.

The Man of Steel returned to comic shops and sports card stores after publisher DC Comics resurrected him from last November's much-ballyhooed death.

The death issue sold 4 million copies, and the publishers are betting Superman's return in Adventures of Superman No. 500 may be an even larger boon. DC Comics is publishing 6 million of them.

Business was brisk as the issue hit shelves early yesterday afternoon.

"Sold a couple hundred so far, got 'em in about an hour ago," sales clerk Dennis McDermott said as he fielded phone calls and a steady stream of customers at Classic Movie and Comic Center in Livonia, Mich.

The store had about 2,000 copies and anticipated selling out by Saturday. A hastily scrawled sign warned that customers were limited to five books.

Sal Oraha, owner of Sports Cards City USA in Royal Oak, Mich., said he was keeping the precious copies in the back, to be retrieved only when a buyer asked.

"I don't want a lot of people playing with them," he said.

The new edition, which sells for $2.50 -- $2.95 for a sealed collector's edition with a trading card and eight extra pages -- opens with Superman in the afterlife wrestling titanically with his fate, debating whether to defy death. The issue finishes with the appearance of four super beings, any of whom could be the savior of Metropolis.

Who's the real Superman? Is he the Cyborg from space? The cold-blooded super being with his own strict code of order? The steel worker John Henry Irons? The teen-ager cloned from the first Superman? An ongoing series throughout the summer will include clues, with lovelorn Lois Lane questioning each version to see whether he is the man she promised to marry.

"A lot of speculation," said Donald Mayberry, 40, a musician, who was at Classic Movie to add the new Superman to his 10,000-plus comic-book collection. "I'm interested now because they're changing the character. When they killed him, they killed an American icon. I'm following the stories to see how he may change."

The mystery will keep Allen Byrd reading. He and Martha Steinhebel, Detroit Board of Education employees, ran out on their lunch break to pick up some copies.

"I started when I was in the sixth grade but stopped when I discovered girls," said Mr. Byrd, 33. "Now I am back to comics."

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