PODCAST ALERT: Digging for Kryptonite digs deep into Byrne’s 22 flagship issues…

I’ve gone on record that when it comes to Superman in the comics, John Byrne’s version of the Man of Steel tops them all. (Though the new Superman ’78 could give it a run for its money.)

Some of you will heartily agree while some of you will naturally scoff at the notion.

Either way, it bears discussion and I was flattered to be part of a deep-dive look at Byrne’s Superman #1-22, which ran from late 1986 to mid 1988, on Anthony Desiato’s first-rate podcast Digging for Kryptonite.

Anthony and I explore all of the run’s major themes, highlights and shortcomings — as well as ponder what might have been had Byrne stayed on as long as he’d originally intended.

The episode kicks off an eight-week series that analyzes the Man of Steel from Crisis on Infinite Earths to The Death of Superman. Each new episode, featuring a variety of guests, is released Wednesdays and you can consult the list of links below to pick how best to listen:

— Apple Podcasts:
— Google Podcasts:
— Spotify:
— Stitcher:
— Amazon Music:

You can also check out the show’s YouTube channel, Patreon and website, and join the Flat Squirrel Podcast Network Facebook group:

— YouTube:
— Patreon:
— Website:

So grab your earphones, sit back and take a compelling aural trip to Metropolis. You’ll be glad you did.


— The Genius of JOHN BYRNE in One SUPERMAN Page. Click here.

— Why JOHN BYRNE’S SUPERMAN Was the Greatest Man of Steel Ever. Click here.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. That was really interesting. Thanks for posting. Although you’re tortured logic justifying Superman killing in the Byrne run but being against in the Snyder film is, with all due respect, completely nonsensical. It’s fine if you don’t like Snyder’s film (to each his or her own), but the argument you use to justify what Byrne did with Zod, but argue against what Snyder did is literally the opposite of what actually happened in each. Not to mention completely looking the other way at the Reeve version of the character callously killing Zod in Superman II. But whatever.

    I love the Byrne run. I’d rank it as my third favorite interpretation of the character (after the Snyder trilogy (MoS, BvS, and ZSJL) and after Tom DeHaven’s prose novel, “It’s Superman!”). Like you, I could never get into bronze and silver age Superman. Just not interesting at all. I was 13 when Byrne’s Man of Steel came out and, like you, I remember it being electric. It was an event. Not just the novelty of the reboot, but the way it was told. Like you said, it was visually stunning. The characters were actually interesting. This version of Superman had swagger. Lois was smart and sexy and driven. Luthor was chilling. Every week that a Byrne issue came out, it was the first thing on my pile that I would read.

    I agree with both of you on the inelegance of the pocket universe stuff. I’ve never liked Superboy, but I could squint my eyes and forgive that story. But to go back to that well again for his version of Supergirl and Zod and Co. was too much for me. I remember how exciting that first appearance of Supergirl was (at the end of the Prankster issue, if I’m not mistaken) where she was lying in the frozen arctic. I literally gasped. I couldn’t wait to find out how they would explain her existence. But the actual explanation was so…trite. So underwhelming. For me, the best origin for Supergirl was the one given to her in the Timm-verse in the DCAU. She’s from a sister planet next to Krypton that was knocked out of its orbit. Simple, elegant, logical. I’m not sure why all of the versions of her in DC proper have such a tortured explanation for where she came from. C’est la vie.

    Anyway, again, except for the illogic of your anti-MoS screed, great podcast.

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      • Arctic police is a scene that neither Lester nor Donner included in the movie. What did the millions of audience members believe happened to Zod when they saw Superman II in theaters or on VHS for all those years? Deleted scenes are not canon.

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        • Probably what the many more millions who saw that scene on TV thought. What we all thought who saw that movie in both the cinema and on TV and VHS – that whatever happens, Superman doesn’t kill. It’s really not that difficult a concept to wrap one’s head around.

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        • It was included in the TV version though which far more people will probably have seen than ever saw it in the cinema. However, it also goes to show the producers intent, be it cut from the film or not. It shows they understood that Superman doesn’t kill. It’s not that difficult a concept to wrap one’s head around – unless your Zach Snyder.

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  2. Thanks for the fun retrospective! If you haven’t read/seen them already, I thought you might enjoy some of these Byrne interviews: “Comics Scene” #1 was published at the start of Byrne’s run and gave some great background on the reboot, while the SyFy Wire video from 2018 gives Byrne’s perspective on the entire run 30 years later (along with how *he* would have finished the story of Luthor and Jenny the waitress from “Metropolis – 900 Miles”!). Finally, I’m sorry to report that I couldn’t find the whole print interview from 1986’s “Amazing Heroes” #96 online, but it’s the most in-depth of the bunch if you want more details on Byrne’s creative process (and totally worth the $10 price tag on eBay)!

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