Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rare (?) "Superman The Movie" Tie-In Comic: Adventures of the Big Boy #266, 1979

When is a Superman comic book not a Superman comic book? Perhaps when it's Adventures of the Big Boy #266, a tie-in to the first Christopher Reeve Superman movie. I recall picking up this issue at a Marc's Big Boy restaurant on a family trip in our home state of Wisconsin. The Superman portion of this 16-page (including covers) classic is only the cover and the three-page lead story by Mari Foster with art by Big Boy-stalwart Manny Stallman. Big Boy, his friend Dolly, and Nugget the dog take a trip to a movie studio in "London, England" where they are met by Reeve, who talks about bulking up for the role. He also acts in a special flying scene with the trio, directed by Richard Donner himself, who "has directed hundreds of TV shows and movies like The Omen."

Even at age twelve, I realized that this thing was an oddity: A comic book with Superman on the cover that wasn't published by DC Comics? That never even mentioned DC Comics or included a trademark? That didn't mention that Superman was a comic-book character at all? But hey, it was a restaurant giveaway comic for little kids - what did I expect?

I recently ran across my vintage copy of this oddity when going through an old box of comics. The book boasts the world's most incomplete indicia (and it even leaves out the "the" before "Big Boy" on the cover!), so while I know that the issue was copyright 1979, I'm not sure which month it might have come out. I'm guessing early in the year, as Superman was released on December 15, 1978. Comic Vine lists the publication date as January 1, 1980, which can't be correct; and the usually authoritative Grand Comics Database is sketchy on this title and doesn't even have a listing for this issue. --Oh, wait, I see now that comicbookdb lists a cover date of June 1979. That would have given its young readers only a few weeks to enter its advertised "win a T-shirt that gives you sugarless bubblegum balls when you squeeze it" contest, deadline July 15, 1979. (I doubt that these books were dated three months in advance like newsstand comics were at the time.)

After I started to write this post, I panicked: What if there was already lots of information about this book out there somewhere? Luckily, a quick Google search yielded only a few brief mentions, plus the various database links I have in the previous paragraph, but nothing else of substance. (Even BookSteve himself hasn't seen this one!) But, who was I kidding? I'd already scanned the story, so of course I was going to post it anyway. So without further ado, here we go. Click to embiggen the images to a readable size, and "Enjoy!"

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