Miracle Monday 2009

Today is the third Monday of May: In the Superman , it means it´s Miracle Monday, a day celebrating the victory of Superman over supreme, absolute evil twenty-one years ago.

Miracle Monday is a lost treasure to comicdom, a pocket book released by Warner Brothers in the wake of the Superman II movie back in ´81. It was the second of two books written by the leading Superman comic writer of the day, Elliot “S!” Maggin, and unless if you were lucky enough to be there, you just missed it by a landslide.
Today? Today Miracle Monday is one of those items an aficionado might go after on eBay late at night and dish out maybe 15 Dollars on it plus shipping? Hardly anything else, really.
And sadly.

The book, oddly enough very well-placed within comics continuity and therefore valid for the chronicles´ canon, tells the story of this girl who comes from the future to study the origin of her time period´s greatest holiday, then proverbially lost to the mists of time, just as Lex Luthor plans his most recent prison break.

At the same time, though, the Devil himself, yep, the one with the horns and hooves and the pitchfork-thing, in Hell, etc, sets his sight on Superman and plans on humiliating and crushing all he stands for once and for all.

All plots come together in a 1981 Metropolis, as the Man of Tomorrow is put to his greatest test ever—and this, mind you, is a Superman who had just reached maturity, peaked in all terms of character development you might be thinking of:
There he was, maybe ten years out of the (editor) Mort Weisinger years and all his multi-colored Kryptonites and Super-Monkeys, and well into the (later editor) Julius Schwartz´s days, with Clark Kent being a TV anchor, Superman´s romance with Lois Lane finally starting to blossom into something quite more physical—and guys like Steve Lombard and Morgan Edge were co-stars all the way for the mild-mannered Clark Kent´s time onscreen.
So this is Superman at his adulthood as a fictional character, there five, maybe six years before the John Byrne re-boot, with all the weight of the 20th century finally starting to burden down on his back.

Reading Maggin´s novel, you can almost see the wrinkles around Clark´s eyes in the back of your head: That´s a book your mind´s eye will have penciled by Curt Swan and inked by Murphy Anderson (or would that be Bob Oksner?) for you, and that´s quite a spectacle.

Sure, superhero-fights-the-devil stories are a dime a dozen: From the 1940s pre-Marvel Comics Hurricane strips to earlier this very year´s Batman: RIP by Grant Morrison—But Superman shinning at his very prime, just an inch from starting to slip downhill? Fighting the ultimate Evil in a battle he cannot even hope to win?
Like, “Superman meets the Exorcist”? Miracle Monday is that good!

So here´s a day for celebrating: Miracle Monday has been lost to the mists of time not only in the girl from the future´s timeline but in ours as well: Sure, you could dish out the 15 bucks on eBay but you´re very likely not going to: I mean, it was a movie-related gimmicky book after all wasn´t it? There´s even a Christopher Reeve on the cover, even though it has nothing to do with the movie.

There are always well-natured souls to put the whole book online for free, though:

That´s where I read it the first time around a few years back; it made me fall in love with the story so much, I ended up dishing out 15 bucks for the real thing online a few weeks ago: it was just as good as the first time around.

And the way Superman beats the Devil in the end...?
Batman, for all his carefully-laden traps and schemes and preparations, ended up brining down the Evil One with one black-gloved punch through the windshield of a helicopter in ´09.
But Superman there back in ´81...?

What chance does the personification of ultimate evil actually have against the entire 20th century embodied in that perfect someone of a kid´s fantasy´s wildest dreams come true?

It´s fun to watch, though. Or to read.

Happy Miracle Monday!