Dennis was one of the two editors of Superman at Fifty!: The Persistence of a Legend! (1987), and he also wrote the first (and, to me, best) of the sixteen essays in the book, “The Man of Tomorrow and the Boys of Yesterday” (an earlier version of which appeared in the 6/73 issue of Cleveland Magazine).
A few observations about the book:
- It was published by Octavia Press of Cleveland, which does not seem to be around anymore. Though Superman is a Cleveland story, I imagine the reason Octavia published the book is because no well-known publishers wanted to.
- The cover is static and amateurish. Today, any such book would have a far more dynamic cover design.
- The headline also seems dated. Today, the headline would be something brasher and more specific like “The History, Culture, and Influence of the Man of Steel, the World’s First and Greatest Superhero.”
- Harlan Ellison contributed an essay in which he wrote that there were five characters whom everyone on the planet knew: Mickey Mouse, Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Robin Hood, and Superman.
I don’t remember how I found Dennis, but this was pre-Internet, so it probably involved the phone book.
His response was both kind and disappointing:
The me of now would not have let such a letter deter me, but the me of then decided to abandon the Jerry and Joe project. A decade later, however, I revived it—that time, as a picture book. The Boys of Yesterday became the...
But alas, by then, Jerry, too, was no longer around to see it.