“Superman on Trial” Written and directed by Dirk Maggs

“Superman on Trial”
Written and directed by Dirk Maggs
Multicast performance from BBC Radio
Published by AudioGo
1 hour

First broadcast in 1988 to celebrate 50 years of Superman, This BBC production features the “Man of Steel” standing trial for his crimes against humanity.  With Lex Luthor as the prosecuting attorney and with Lois Lane as Superman’s defense attorney, of sorts.  In the continuity of the Superman Saga this is based partly on “Superman: Last Son of Krypton” and some early issues of “Adventures of Superman.”

AudioGo has remastered this broadcast and even added in some never-before-heard scenes.  With superb vocal acting, great sound effects and incidental music that pushes the story, this short audio comic book is the perfect way to bring a comic book to audio life.   There are even some fun special guests that make this more than just a story about Superman, but also brings to light how comic books are needed for all ages.

The trial begins with Superman chained down and unable to move or speak, Lex Luthor insists the trial goes on and Lois Lane is forced to defen Superman.  Luthor brings charges that range from destruction of property to assaulting humans, and with Superman not of this Earth he should be banished to the “Phantom Zone” (negative space created by Superman’s real father Jor-El).  Lois brings witnesses to talk about how Superman has done nothing but stand for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

The unique aspect of this audio comic book is that the trial then turns to being a message about how comic books in general are important.  This is done with some very cool special guests, Adam West, Jenette Kahn (President of DC Comics) and Dave Gibbons (Co-creator of Watchmen).  These three real life witnesses talk about how comic books, especially Superman comics promote literacy, always teach the reader the difference between right and wrong, and how all ages can and do enjoy comics.  I found it really cool when Adam West was leaving and Batman was entering the courtroom and Batman was delayed getting to the stand.  Very fun subtle context.

Very nice production bringing an interesting comic book story to life.