During the Franco era, Spain often imported translations of American comics from Mexico to entertain the young readers. These became staple reading for pretty much all Spanish speakers.
However ,two years before the publication of the Mexican versions, a small publishing house called Muchnik in Argentina started a new magazine dedicated to the adventures of Superman called La Revista del Superhombre.
While the Mexican versions were pretty faithful to the American originals, reproducing them in full color, the Argentinian versions which started in January 1950, carried only two pages in color. Of the 24 pages, only the cover and the central spread were in color while the rest were is black and white. Every week, they would start the magazine with a Superman story and follow it up with stories of other famous superheroes like Batman (El hombre murciélago), a phenomenon which started pretty early in the magazine’s history.
The covers were more or less exclusively dedicated to the Superman story, which were often just a magnified part of a panel from the center spread. The cover would also detail out the plot a bit so that the young reader could get an idea on what to expect from the week’s edition. For example the first one says ” Discover the origin of Superhombre in the violent atomic explosion that destroyed his planet Krypton. Only one child survives this horrendous explosion by getting on cosmic super projectile.”
Also the year 1940 would also carry the epithet, year 1 of the liberator General San Martin, as was the custom in Argentina in those days.
30 odd editions in, debuted Superpibe– the Argentine version of Superboy!
As years progressed the size and volume of the magazine reduced. At its slimmest it was around 16 pages, although it transformed into an all 25*16cm color magazine.
The magazine would also at times publish stories other than that of American superheros and launched superstars like Alberto Salinas.
Also some of the magazine covers with Superhombre featured illustrations by Argentine illustrators- which were original and breathtaking.
However La Revista del Superhombre wound down by 1960 thanks to so many changes in format that plagued it.
But one great contribution of La Revista del Superhombre are the names that it gave to the Superman characters- Villacalma for Smallville, Luisita Duncan for Lois Lane, Luther for Luthor- a tradition that continues in Argentine versions of Superman.
If this story of Superman makes you want to read the books in Spanish, worry not! You can always enroll yourself for an online Spanish Course at Babel School of Languages 🙂 Just click on the contact us tab!