Saturday, 31 July 2021

THE BIG RED SUPERMAN BOOK HAS FINALLY GOT IT COVERED...



Imagine, if you will, my surprise and delight when I walked onto the upper floor of John Menzies back in 1979 and was met by the sight of the reissued softcover Superman From The '30s To The '70s and its Batman companion volume.  I bought them immediately, rectifying my oversight in not having purchased the Batman tome in 1972 when I bought the Superman one from W. & R. Holmes, one of my favourite shops of the period.  (I no longer had my original Superman book, hence the reason for buying a replacement.) 

The new editions were slightly less thick than the originals, though only due to thinner paper being used, not because of any content being omitted.  Curiously, Supe's volume hadn't been updated to include mention of the 1978 movie in the back pages, being purely a reprint of its earlier incarnation.  I worked in my local central library at the time and a colleague, Bob Billens, also bought them, he too being a comics fan.

After a couple of years, the cover's clear 'lamination' had started to split along the indented fold which facilitated opening the book, so even though I'd left the library's employ back in '79, I got one of the senior librarians (not Bill - he'd only been 'junior' temporary staff and he and his wife were now living in England) to send my books away to be bound in hardback covers.  (Yes, I paid, just in case you were wondering.)  Red for the Superman volume, blue for the Batman one.  The original cardboard covers were dispensed with in the process.  (They ended up on my bedroom wall, so not completely wasted.)

Anyway, some years back, I obtained original 1972 impressions of both books, plus a second copy of the 1979 impression, but it always slightly bothered me that my '79 former softcover editions had no dustjackets.  The Batman one still doesn't, but the Superman tome now sports the nifty dustjacket you see below, courtesy of a scan and printout of the cover from a later reissued US copy of the book which I acquired back in February of this year.  I had to compensate for the fact that the red hardbacked volume is a slightly different size, but a bit of trial-and-effort was all that was necessary to obtain a satisfactory result.

Because the new dustjacket is printed on standard printer paper, I reinforced the fold-over edges with a special archive repair tape for extra strength, but I'm considering starting again from scratch and re-creating the actual UK cover as a dustjacket, because the back is different from the US edition, which is the one you can see below.  If/when I do, you can be sure I'll let you see the result.  Then I'll have to think about creating a dustjacket for the Batman volume just so that it doesn't feel left out.  I'll show that one too in the fulness of time.  This one's only taken me around 40 years, so hopefully it won't take so long again.

Well, what do you think of my handiwork?  Don't be shy now.


15 comments:

Colin Jones said...

Looks fantastic and 100% professional. I agree that a book doesn't feel right without a cover - there's a YouTube channel called Media Death Cult which mostly reviews sci-fi books and the presenter always removes the dust jackets from his books and throws them away!

Kid said...

Crikey, CJ - throws away the dustjackets? The guy is clearly bonkers. I even prefer to have dustjackets on books that don't really need them - y'know, where the cover underneath is exactly the same in every respect as the dustjacket. Ta for the compliment.

Dave S said...

Great work and it makes the book look fantastic (or should that be super? World's Finest bit of restoration?)

It always astonished me when I see people who don't take care of books- I don't mind a bit of wear that shows its been read, but I've seen people in work reading on a lunch break and absent-mindedly ripping bits of the corners of the pages. That's one of the reasons why I sell unwanted books and comics on eBay (and that isn't a plug, by the way)- if it's something that I have enjoyed reading or felt some sentiment for, then I think there's a better chance of them going to a good home and a careful owner than if I give them to my local charity so, who once (I may have mentioned this before) responded to me asking if they would like some '70s Marvel comics by saying "yes, we'll cut them up and put them on the walls".

There's a record shop in Glasgow which has a mutilated cover of an earlier Marvel Team Up comic stuck to the wall, which makes me sad every time I see it.

Kid said...

Yeah, sad, innit? I may have previously mentioned the guy in Glasgow who cut pages of Dudley D. Watkins original art (Oor Wullie and The Broons) into individual tiers or panels in order to sell. Sacrilege!

I once lent a book (against my better judgement) to a woman I knew who earnestly assured me she'd look after it. When I eventually got it back it stank of cigarette smoke, had coffee mug rings on the cover, the spine was split, and corners were folded over, etc. I really felt like putting the nut into her (but didn't, of course). She was totally clueless as to why I was less than pleased - she thought she'd taken good care of it.

Some people are unrelentingly thick.

Colin Jones said...

I'd NEVER lend a book to anyone!

Kid said...

You surely can't have that many books to lend anyway, CJ - aren't they all e-books?

Dave S said...

I lent a book in really good condition to someone a few years ago.

When I got it back I said "great, but you've given me the wrong copy, where's my nice edition with the uncracked spine and no loose pages?"

My sarcasm went right over their head and they confirmed that the scruffy thing I was holding was in fact my original copy.

Why do people feel it's ok to do that? They wouldn't ask to use someone else's phone and hand it back with the screen cracked. Or maybe they would.

Kid said...

I've found that if people don't bother about the condition of their own property, DS, then they don't care about other people's either. A visiting (former) friend was once putting his jacket on and flapping his sleeves around in the process. One sleeve knocked a small Dalek off the top of its display space and throw it onto the carpet. I said, annoyed, "Careful, you'll break it!" Do you know what his response was? "If it gets broke, it gets broke." My response was "Nah, if it gets broke, YOU'LL get f*cking broke!" What an @rsehole he was.

Colin Jones said...

I have several physical books, Kid - in fact, I'm re-reading one at the moment. It's 'The Martian' by Andy Weir which I originally bought as an e-book in February 2014 but a week later I saw the hardback version in Tesco so I snapped it up. But you're right that I haven't got many physical books as I usually end up giving them to charity shops.

baggsey said...

Very nice job indeed. How did you manage to get a single piece of paper (presumably somewhere around A3 size?) onto your printer?

Dave S said...

Only a brave man or a card-carrying moron would mess a Dalek around like that.

Am guessing it wasn't one of the Palitoy talking Daleks? Cos those things could be scary when they started ranting if you didn't know what to expect.

Kid said...

Do you ever buy any books from charity shops, CJ? Some of the prices in them are dearer than bookshops.

******

I've got an A3 scanner and printer, B, but the dustjacket is wider than that. I do the fly-leaves separately, then stick them on at either end of the main image where the folds disguise them. That's not what the archival repair paper is for though, that's just extra reinforcement.

******

Nah, it was a wee inch and a half or so diecast Dalek, DS. He didn't target the Dalek specifically, it was just because he was so careless in putting his jacket on, with sleeves haphazardly flapping everywhere. From that point on, he was made to take his jacket off in the hallway and hang it up on a peg before being allowed to enter any of my rooms. He had problems with drink and drugs, so I eventually jettisoned him.

Kid said...

Do you ever buy any books from charity shops, CJ? Some of the prices in them are dearer than bookshops.

******

I've got an A3 scanner and printer, B, but the dustjacket is wider than that. I do the fly-leaves separately, then stick them on at either end of the main image where the folds disguise them. That's not what the archival repair paper is for though, that's just extra reinforcement.

******

Nah, it was a wee inch and a half or so diecast Dalek, DS. He didn't target the Dalek specifically, it was just because he was so careless in putting his jacket on, with sleeves haphazardly flapping everywhere. From that point on, he was made to take his jacket off in the hallway and hang it up on a peg before being allowed to enter any of my rooms. He had problems with drink and drugs, so I eventually jettisoned him.

Phil S said...

It’s certainly an attitude isn’t it. You give them something nice then they ruin it. What’s worse is they give you attitude.
It reminds me of the people who make incredibly uncomfortable jokes at your expense then accuse you of not having a sense of humor. They just don’t understand other people’s feelings.
Nice job in the covers. I got a softcover Batman with a torn cover . Maybe I should try to recover it somehow. Any ideas ?

Kid said...

Their attitude towards property is appalling, PS - I just don't understand it. Are they the same people who sell comics which are falling apart on ebay and describe them as 'good condition for age'?

As for your Batman book, without seeing where it's torn and how bad it is, I can't really offer any advice, alas.



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