(L – R:) The original art to the cover of SUPERMAN 411, autographed by the DC staff as a birthday gift for Julius Schwartz and the printed version of the cover!
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DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz celebrated his 70th birthday in 1985. For a birthday surprise, writer Elliot S! Maggin proposed a surprise birthday issue of SUPERMAN, starring Julius Schwartz, to DC executive Paul Levitz. Maggin and artist Curt Swan created the story in advance so that it could be inserted into the production schedule in place of the middle issue of a Lex Luthor trilogy Schwartz was working on. That story would appear in the next issue, 412. The staff was able to pull off the surprise, with a few close calls. The issue appeared on June 13, 1985, with the cover date of September 1985. The story, THE LAST EARTH PRIME STORY, was written by Elliot S! Maggin, pencilled by Curt Swan, inked by Murphy Anderson, lettered by John Costanza and colored by Gene D’Angelo, with the tag: aided and abetted by Dick Giordano, Paul Levitz, Bob Rozakis.
Julius Schwartz described the story in his autobiography MAN OF TWO WORLDS: MY LIFE IN SCIENCE FICTION AND COMICS, written with Brian M. Thomsen and published by Harper Entertainment in 2000. The book may not be in print any more, so check your local library, used book store or internet vendor.
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Superman and all related characters are trademark and copyright DC Comics. The image from the cover of SUPERMAN #411 is used for educational purposes within the fair use provision of U. S. Code: Title 17, Sec. 107.
Thanks for listening to this episode of the SUPERMAN FAN PODCAST and, as always, thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.