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The Christopher Reeves Superman Is Back, But Not How You Expected

1978 saw the release of one of the most ambitious, expensive, and flat-out bananas motion pictures of the era: Superman: The Movie. Marlon Brando tried to convince the filmmakers that he should read his lines from a soundbooth while a bagel stood in for him on set. Not only is that story true, but it's not even in the top five weirdest aspects of the production.

It's been more than thirty years since the series skidded to a halt with The Quest for Peace, but the Christopher Reeve Superman movies continue to resonate with audiences. The films' unapologetic optimism, combined with their remarkable special effects and ambitious scale, added up to create an iconic film universe in which a demigod with a certain "aw, shucks" small town charm works to make sure that everyone is all right. Reeve's performance remains a high point for the Man of Steel. Attempts to recapture that lightning in a bottle have been made, sort of, in 2006's not-quite-a-reboot Superman Returns and its Arrowverse follow-up in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Now, the story of Superman first introduced in 1978 looks set to continue for real, thanks in large part to the fact that time is a flat circle and the entertainment industry is a snake trying to eat its own tail in the mirror. Superman, the '78 movie, based on Superman the comic book, is about to return as Superman '78. The comic book.

Superman returns ... again

The news comes courtesy of a press release from DC, which promises that readers will, with reaffirmed conviction, believe a man can fly thanks to Superman '78. Penned by Rob Venditti, the writer behind the company's recent run of Hawkman stories, and penciled by Batman '66 artist Wilfredo Torres, Superman '78 is touted as a book created around "stories set within the world Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve created in Superman: The Movie.

The series' exact place in the franchise timeline is a little fuzzy, but director Richard Donner's work seems to be the cornerstone of the universe, implying that the comic might take place outside of the continuity presented in Superman III and IV.

Clark Kent's cinematic history isn't the only avenue being explored by DC at the moment. Alongside the premiere of Superman '78, the comic book company has also announced a second series, Batman '89, which will expand on Tim Burton and Michael Keaton's iconic take on Gotham's Dark Knight. Both stories are scheduled to debut on July 27, 2021 as digital offerings before making their way to comic book stands the following month. 

With the combined nostalgia of two beloved franchises behind them, these stories are sure to fly off the shelves.