Thursday, May 30, 2019

Superman, Superboy and the DC Universe

Superman is considered the primary hero of the DC Universe, and in places, the first super-hero of the DC Universe.

But, for a time, there were heroes on Earth that predated Superman, but not the younger version of Superman, Superboy.

Here's a quick bit of history on two of DC's founding super-heroes, and a unique thing that links them together!

Superman First Appearance

Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1 (June, 1938) by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, with the basics of his origin (coming from another planet, with strength and speed beyond those of ordinary men), fighting against injustice, working as reporter Clark Kent for the Daily Star, working along side Lois Lane.

As the years went by, more details were added to the origin and life of Kal-L of Krypton, and he helped found the Justice Society of America, and even married Lois, as well as meeting many heroes from other worlds as well, as the world which this Golden Age Superman grew up and protected had come to be referred to as Earth-2.

Superboy First Appearance

On the other hand, there was a world where Superman was just one of many heroes around, but young Superboy (Superman/Clark Kent/Kal-El) was a lone hero for a time, first appearing in More Fun Comics #101 (January-February, 1945) by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (though Green Arrow and Speedy got a rare cover), with Jor-El fighting the Science Council about the end of Krypton, and sending his son to Earth, where he would be found and raised by the Kents in Smallville, growing up and learning to use his powers, meeting the Legion of Super-Heroes from the future, and eventually being the Superman who helps found the Justice League of America, and meeting even more heroes, as this Superman on the world which was called Earth-1.

But, since being Superboy was a unique trait of the Earth-1 Superman, who trained young Clark Kent on Earth-2 to use his powers and be a hero?

Why, Superboy of course!

In the New Adventures of Superboy #15 (March, 1981) by Bob Rozakis, John Calnan and Tex Blaisdell, "Superboy Meets Clark Kent".  While fighting a freak tornado in Smallville, Superboy finds himself transported to another Smallville, but earlier in time (the early 1930s), and figures out he has not only transported in time, but to another dimension.  While checking around, Superboy meets the young Clark Kent of this world, who has strength and speed beyond those of normal men, but was planning to join the circus.....so, Superboy starts to train young Clark in the use of his powers.

Then, in the New Adventures of Superboy #16 (April, 1981) by Bob Rozakis, John Calnan and Dave Hunt, we see the results of "The Superboy Training Of Clark Kent".   While training young Clark, Superboy meets his parents, John and Mary Kent (similar to his John and Martha), then tries to return to his own world.  Young Clark tries to join the circus as the Masked Wonder, but instead saves the day as the main circus pole cracks.  Instead of joining the circus, Clark decides his future would be better off being a hero.  Superboy returns at this time, enlisting young Clark's help to crack the dimensional barrier to get home.  The two Kryptonians succeed, with both ending up on their own Earth, wondering how the other fared, and continuing their growth into the Superman they will be, proving any Superman will help anyone, even himself!








Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Superman Meets Green Lantern

It is amazing that the Man of Steel and the Emerald Crusader didn't really work together much outside of the Justice League of America, but it is true.

But, there were a few occasions where they did, but they seemed to be a little strained, as Superman and Green Lantern are two of the most powerful heroes on Earth!

World's Finest Comics 201

First up, is "A Prize Of Peril" from World's Finest Comics #201 (March, 1971) by Denny O'Neil, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella (with a cover by Carmine Infantino and Neal Adams), with Superman and Green Lantern at odds, being beckoned into battle by Dr. Fate!


Superman and Green Lantern both try to stop a swarm of meteorites from smashing into the Earth, but nearly cause a bigger disaster because they didn't work together.  A Guardian of the Universe appears, setting them a challenge to decide which of the two will be Earth's interplanetary protector.  The contest is to be moderated by Earth-2's Dr. Fate, as they must go through a mystic tunnel, and face their greatest fears. 

Hal goes through his tunnel, facing a giant yellow spider (but getting through by force of will), and Clark/Kal-El is confronted by his father, Jor-El, feeling that his dad wouldn't approve of his current life (and realizing Superman has no need to feel inferior).  The two free the dragon, which "Dr. Fate" dispatches against the JLA Satellite!   Working together, Superman and Green Lantern take care of the magic dragon, and find "Dr. Fate" (as well as the Guardian of the Universe) to have been mystical disguises for an old JLA foe (who is from Earth-1, and identity can be found here).

This issue, while not guest-starring Dr. Fate, does have Green Arrow, Atom and Hawkman (all of whom also work with Superman).

DC Comics Presents 6


Next up is DC Comics Presents #6 (February, 1979) by Paul Levitz, Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte, under a cover by Ross Andru and Dick Giordano, with "The Fantastic Fall Of Green Lantern".

This time around, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are getting a media award, as Clark trips into Lois....preventing her from being crushed by a falling Green Lantern!  Green Lantern hands his ring off to Clark, manifesting a Green Lantern uniform and flying off, at least until Superman stopped him and took the ring (a little illusion made by Clark to keep his dual identity).  The power ring explained Green Lantern was defeated by Star Sapphire, and Superman went to fight her, but without success.  Star Sapphire kidnapped Green Lantern, planning to marry him, but Superman and Green Lantern stopped her. 

Green Lantern explained that he, as Hal Jordan, and Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire's alter ego) had broken up, and he was unable to muster his full will to fight the lady he loved, yet she had been reunited with the Star Sapphire at this time, so appreciated Superman's help.  Hal flew off with Carol....as Superman was knocked out by a Weaponer of Qward!  The interference of the Qwardians was explained in the next issue (with a team-up with Red Tornado).

DC Comics Presents 26

Last, but not least, is DC Comics Presents #26 (October, 1980) by Jim Starlin, Marv Wolfman and Steve Mitchell, with a cover by Jim Starlin, with Superman and Green Lantern battling again, this time "Between Friend And Foe".

Superman and Green Lantern meet on the JLA Satellite as Hal takes over for Clark, who leaves.  Soon after, Hal gets a telepathic summons from Green Lantern Archon Z'gmora, who needs Hal's help, being trapped in another dimension.  Hal goes there after recharging his ring, to find that Archon is already dead, duplicated by N'Gon....who was unable to escape this dimension due to Archon destroying his own ring.  Duplicating Hal and taking his ring, N'Gon brings Superman to his dimension, and battles Superman as Green Lantern/Hal, but the JLA members manage to defeat N'Gon and return home, realizing each other's worth.

This issue also has a "Whatever Happened To....?" feature with Sargon the Sorcercer, and the debut of the New Teen Titans!

Of course, Superman and Green Lantern had a few other meetings as well, both before and after the Crisis On Infinite Earths, but these were some of the earliest!



Monday, May 27, 2019

For Memorial Day

Remembering our soldiers that didn't come home with this Joe Kubert cover from Our Fighting Forces #135 (January-February, 1972), where the Losers lost one of their own, with Sarge, Gunner and Johnny Cloud...

...mourning for the loss of Captain Storm, but preparing to go on.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Green Lantern DC Specials

There was a time in the 1970s when DC was not publishing Green Lantern comics, with Hal Jordan and his alter ego only appearing in the back of Flash issues and with the Justice League of America.

Still, there was an attempt to get him back into his own series, and two issues of the reprint title, DC Special, were used to see if there was interest in the Green Lantern (both of them containing reprints, but with new covers by Mike Grell!).

Let's take a look back at those issues, and see which tales helped Green Lantern get his title back!

DC Special 17

DC Special #17 (Summer, 1975) has three great tales of Green Lantern.  First up is "The World Of The Living Phantoms" from Green Lantern #6 (May-June, 1961), a full length story by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella, wherein Hal (the Green Lantern of Sector 2814) is first contacted by Tomar-Re (the Green Lantern of Xudar, in what he claimed to be Sector 9, later referred to as Sector 2813).  Hal helps Tomar-Re against invading space monsters, as well as facing off against the Phantoms of Aku (another race of aliens who are thought projections of their own race, looking to finish off their bodies in suspended animation).  Tomar-Re appreciates the help, and tells Hal of the existence of the Guardians of the Universe, as well as of other Green Lanterns.

Next up is one of the stories from Green Lantern #2 (September-October, 1960) by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella, which features "The Secret Of The Golden Thunderbolts", introducing readers to the Weaponers of Qward (an anti-matter universe where all residents are evil, except for Telle-Teg and some of his friends, who escapes that world via a secret energy bridge which allows individuals to pass between worlds).  A Weaponer from Qward comes to attack as Hal returns to Telle-Teg as Green Lantern, with a battle ensuing between the two, with Telle-Teg falling as a fatal victim of the Weaponer's attack.  Still, Hal tracks down one of the dimensional bridges, goes through to find Telle-Teg's friends, and bring them to the Earth dimension, taking them to another world that can now colonized.  The peaceful ex-Qwardians warn Hal of the Weaponers' plans to take all the universe's power batteries.

Last, but not least for this issue is the second story from Green Lantern #26 (January, 1964) by Gardner Fox, Gil Kane and Joe Giella, where Hal Jordan finds the "World Within The Power Ring".  Here, Green Lantern is confronted by a mystical projection of Abin Sur, who attacks.  Hal defeats him, but uses his power ring to find out where the projection came from....which was inside the power ring.  Abin Sur had captured the mystical villain Myrwhydden within his power ring years ago, but slowly the villain's powers were returning and he wanted out.  Green Lantern had the ring shrink him down to Myrwhydden's world, but without the ring; so he tricks Myrwhydden into casting a spell to temporarily make magic unusable.  But, since the ring is all around him, Hal seems to have magical powers (really just using the ring) and uses that power to bind Myrwhydden's speech, as his magical powers come from his speaking his desires, then leaves Myrwhydden to his prison within the power ring.  

This issue of DC Special also has a feature on some of the planets Green Lantern has visited. 


The next two issues of DC Special also each have a Green Lantern tale within them (like #19), as well as a Superman tale and more.




DC Special 20

DC Special #20 (February-March, 1976) also features three Green Lantern tales, starting with Green Lantern #8 (September-October, 1961) where Hal faces "The Challenge From 5700 AD!" by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella.  Chairman Dasor of the high council is put in charge of finding a new Solar Director for the Star City of 5700 AD, and using his timescope, picks the 20th Century Green Lantern, Hal Jordan.  In bringing Hal to his time, (while he was fighting a monster as well), his memory is wiped, but he is given a new identity as Pol Manning, and a new love, Dasor's secretary, Iona Vane.  Hal (as Pol) learns of the menace to the city, Zegors (evolved Gila monsters) who are now attacking human settlements.  Green Lantern faces them, but one of the Zegors train its energy beam on Iona.  Hal finds that the beam shrinks its target, and follows the Zegor back to its home, where he finds the people (including Iona) that the Zegors had attacked, restores them to normal size, and destroys the machine which allows the Zegors to shrink people, allowing the humans of the time to defeat the Zegors.  Hal is then returned to his own time, with his original memories (but none of his time in the future) where he defeats the monster he was facing, but can't explain why he lost 23 of the 24 hour charge of his ring.

Next up is the "Riddle Of The Frozen Ghost Town", the second story from Green Lantern #2 (September-October, 1960) by John Broome, Gil Kane and Joe Giella.  This issue introduces Hal's airplane mechanic at Ferris Aircraft, Tom Kalmaku.  Hal learns that his mechanic has quit Ferris Aircraft, and goes to try to convince him to stay.  As he approaches Tom, Hal finds two men attacking the young man, and steps in (as Hal).  After fending them off, Tom tells the story of how his father, Kal, and another man, Jimmy Dawes, found a gold mine in Alaska, and the two men made a map to it and split it in half, each taking one; Dawes never returned from trying to get funding for the mine, so Tom inherited his dad's half, and went looking for Dawes.  Tom still had his dad's half, but these goons must have taken it. 

Hal leaves Tom, becomes Green Lantern, who comes to Tom, uses his power ring to recreate Tom's half from Tom's memories, and the two head to Alaska to start looking for the mine.  Seeing an aircraft land near a mine, they recognize two of the men as the thugs who attacked Tom and check it out.  Green Lantern fights the three men, but his ring runs out of power (as 24 hours have passed).  The villains freeze Green Lantern in ice, but he uses residual ring power to get free.  Green Lantern still has to fight them, and uses fisticuffs instead.  With the thugs defeated, Tom's people are able to take control of the mine, and Tom returns to Coast City with Green Lantern.  Tom then reveals to Hal back when they are home that he recognizes the way Hal and Green Lantern fought as being the same, but Hal doesn't erase Tom's knowledge of his identity, instead keeping the mechanic as his confidant.

The last story reprinted in this issue is from Green Lantern #30 (July, 1964) where John Broome, Gil Kane and Sid Greene reveal that "Once A Green Lantern -- Always A Green Lantern".  This story introduces Katma Tui, who had taken over being the Green Lantern of Korugar (replacing the traitor, Sinestro).  The Guardians summon Hal to go to Korugar after he charges his ring, and while on the way there tell Hal that Katma Tui plans on retiring from being a Green Lantern.  When he lands on the planet, Hal finds out Katma is female, and that she is resigning to be with her boyfriend, Imi Kann.  Hal tries to convince her to remain a Green Lantern (her record is exemplary), but she feels her decision-making would be compromised. 

Then, the trio is attacked by a giant amoeba, and Katma goes to free Hal first, and has to be directed to save Imi.  After defeating the creature, Hal tells Katma that proved she is devoted to the Corps, and she remains a Green Lantern.  On the way back home, the Guardians find out from Hal that he had created the amoeba as a test for Katma, to see where her loyalties lie.

This issue also has a feature on the three Jordan brothers (Hal and his two brothers, Jack and Jim, as well as Jim's wife, Sue), the other Green Lanterns of Earth (Golden Age Alan Scott, substitute #1 Guy Gardner and #2 John Stewart), as well as other oaths of Green Lanterns.

The Green Lantern issues (as well as the Flash back-up tales) were so popular, that they led to Green Lantern getting his own series, picking up where the numbering left off, and continuing up until the Crisis on Infinite Earths, where the title changed to the Green Lantern Corps.


 




Thursday, May 16, 2019

Gold Key Happy Days

Back in the 1970s, one of the most popular TV shows of the time was Happy Days, a light comedy set in the Milwaukee of 1950s, detailing how Richie Cunningham grew up with his friends like Potsie, Chachi, Ralph and the Fonz, and family including his mom, dad and sister Joanie, all the while hanging out at the local burger joint, Arnold's.

Best of all...Gold Key gave readers six issues of Happy Days comics to enjoy!  Here's a quick look at those books!

Happy Days 1

Starting with the cover date of March, 1979,  the first issue of Happy Days premiered, with a photo cover with Richie, Marion, Joanne and Howard Cunningham surrounding the Fonz, giving his usual thumbs up approval of the new book!

Inside, there are four stories, including "The Winner" where Fonz wins the lottery (a whole $100,000) but finds money buys problems; "Over The Hill", with the Fonz helping Marion out with Howard's problem of turning fifty; "Star Light, Star Bright" with Richie dealing with actress Dora Lake coming to speak to the school drama department and deal with her own drama; and "Dream Girl", with Joanie being crowned prom queen, but attracting a make-out artist, which Richie and Fonzie must protect her from.

Art on the interior of the issue for all these stories is by Bill Williams, but no writer credits are to be found.



Happy Days 2

Happy Days #2 (May, 1979) has the Fonz on the phone, with Richie and the rest of the Cunninghams.

This time, the three stories are "The Great Fonzarelli", with the Fonz performing a magic act to raise money for a charity (maybe he should have saved some of his winnings from the last issue....); "An Offer You Can't Refuse", with bikers trying to extort money from Al Delvecchio, the owner of Arnold's, with Fonzie and his friends running interference to stop them; and "Masquerade", where Howard and Marion work on a costume for the upcoming Elk's masquerade ball (which they win, getting all expenses paid vacation to Detroit!).

No records of artists or writers were available. 



Happy Days 3

Next up is Happy Days #3 (July, 1979) with another photo cover, but this time including Chachi, Potsie, the Fonz, Richie and Ralph Malph.

This time around the three stories are "Male Fraud" with Chachi starting a chain letter scheme, promising dates with the Fonz for every girl that passes the letter along (and he getting the overflow); "Framed!" with the Fonz being set up for another man's theft and having to prove his innocence; and "Matinee Idol" with Ralph trying to impress a girl, thinking he looks like Humphrey Bogart.


Art on these three stories is by Bill Williams, but no writer is identified.




Happy Days 4

Happy Days #4 (September, 1979) has a photo cover with the Fonz, Potsie, Ralph Malph, and the whole Cunningham gang!


The three stories here are "Marooned", with the gang going to enjoy a Caribbean cruise aboard the Humphrey's yacht, but a hurricane messes up their plans; "Love Is Better Than Ever", with Howard dealing with an old flame of Marion's who meets the Cunningham's for dinner; and "Dreamboat" with Richie being voted the dreamboat of the campus (and all the trouble that ensues from that).


No artist nor writer credits are to be found for this issue.



Happy Days 5

In a bit of a surprise move, the cover to Happy Days #5 (November, 1979) is a drawn cover by Art Saaf, with Fonzie, Richie, Potsie and Ralph dealing with the trouble caused by a Crystal Ball.


The three stories here are "Give A Guy A Break!", with the Fonz helping out an ex-convict friend of his with Howard getting him a job at the hardware store; "King Of The Deejays", with Chachi getting a job with the local deejay, but soon getting a swelled head from the experience; and "Roots?" with the Fonz talking to a fortune teller trying to connect with his late Granduncle.


No interior art/writer information available.


Happy Days 6

For the last issue of the series, Happy Days #6 (February, 1980), back to photo covers, this time with the Fonz and Richie.

This time around, only two longer stories, with "The Beggar", when the Fonz and the Cunninghams are kind to an old man, but unbeknownst to them, he is really a billionaire who then secretly leaves them gifts to show appreciation for their kindness; and "A Question Of Muscles", where Richie, after being outshined by a local muscle man, decides to start building himself up, at least until the Fonz intervenes.


No info is available on the writers or artists of this issue.



Something a little different with this article, as ye writer/editor meets Henry "The Fonz" Winkler this weekend at the Motor City Comic Con, hoping you can give this indulgence your thumbs up! 

Aaaaay!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Superman Meets Atom

It's a look back at a few team ups of the Man of Steel and the Mighty Mite from before the Crisis On Infinite Earths!

While this might seem like an odd pairing, these two did have occasion to work together, and each was able to help the other solve unique problems.....

World's Finest Comics 213

First up for the pairing of Superman and the Atom is World's Finest Comics #213 (August-September, 1972 by Eliot S! Maggin, Dick Dillin and Joe Giella, under a cover by Nick Cardy), where the duo faced "Peril In A Very Small Place!".

Scientist Ray Palmer is researching why his genetic makeup allows him to safely shrink and become the Atom.  He is observing two atoms reacting, but they are shrinking out of sight of his microscope, and he doesn't want to contaminate his sample, so, calls his friend, Clark Kent to watch it with his microscopic vision.  Problem is, Ray decides to go to Clark, by shrinking as the Atom and traveling through the phone lines....it saves him from a small explosion in his lab, but starts a chain reaction....trapping him in subatomic dimension after dimension, while unleashing problems on Earth for Superman to solve.  Superman handles the trouble, then, using his Kandorian Shrinking Ray, heads into the phone line himself.  Superman meets the Atom, who ended up in a subatomic universe, threatened by "the Absorber", a Genesis Molecule which spells doom for the tiny civilization there and any in the larger world around it.  The two work together to move the Genesis Molecule to an uninhabited world, then return to Clark's apartment.


DC Comics Presents 15

Next up is DC Comics Presents #15 (November, 1979 by Cary Bates, Joe Staton and Frank Chiaramonte, with a cover by Joe Staton and Frank McLaughlin with a great perspective shot to show off the diminutive Atom) where they dealt with the "Plight Of The Giant Atom!".

This time, Ray Palmer beams up to the Justice League satellite, with Superman wondering why Ray wasn't in costume as the diminutive Atom.  Seems Ray's powers weren't working, so he came looking for help, and, after handing off monitor duty to Batman (and Ray getting a spare, normal Atom costume out of his locker, since at this time his costume only appeared when he was small), Superman and the Atom went to the Fortress of Solitude to research Ray's problems.  While there, the pair were hit by a mysterious beam, which blasted them out of the Fortress.  Superman explained that they were being attacked by Sabromians, aliens who wanted vengeance upon the Man of Steel.  The aliens seem to be giants, and negate Superman's powers as well...forcing Ray to think, and reactivate his own shrinking powers to stop them (and, he figures out a little trick of Superman's with that original ray which started all this as well).


DC Comics Presents 51

Last, but not least of the Superman/Atom team-ups is DC Comics Presents #51 (November, 1982 by Dan Mishkin, Alex Saviuk and Frank McLaughlin, with cover by Alex Saviuk and Frank Giacoia) where the heroes had a "Rendezvous With Death".

This time around, readers come in on the middle of a larger tale, that of Var-El, Superman's great grandfather (who premiered in DC Comics Presents #37 with Hawkgirl).  Atom is researching the 1800s with Professor Hyatt's Time Pool, when he suddenly becomes a phantom and loses his hold on the Time Pool magnet.  As he floats to the ground, he sees Superman surrounded by aliens (the Orgons), who disintegrate Superman!  Working his way back, Atom goes to the JLA Satellite to report to the team of Superman's death, only to find Superman on monitor duty!  The two go to Hyatt's lab, where Superman recognizes Var-El's equipment they found, and plans to go into the past to solve the mystery.  Atom and Hyatt go along (Hyatt usually couldn't time travel as the Time Pool's access to time was too small for him to use). 

The trio go back in time and find Var-El's laboratory, but are attacked by Native Americans (including a shaman with mystical powers), then Superman and Atom are captured by the Orgons.  Hyatt runs into the woods, and is attacked by a bear, but saved by Var-El!  It was the Orgons who saved Var-El from his near doom in another dimension (See DCCP #37), but he couldn't return to Krypton, instead settling on Earth.  The Orgons also ended up there, causing a sickness with their solar based weapons, which is why the Native Americans were looking for the Orgons (and happened upon Var-El's lab).  Atom breaks free of his prison, only to watch Superman be blasted again (but, it was working with Atom that gave him the idea to block all but the ultraviolet rays that trigger Atom's shrinking power, so that Superman wasn't disintegrated, but shrunk; Atom being in this time period already was the reason he became a phantom when using the Time Pool).  Then, Superman stopped the Orgons' microwave device that was harming the native population, and sent them on their way.  The trio came back to their own time, but where was Var-El?   Seems he met Professor Hyatt, who told him the Kryptonian way of traveling through time, and met with him in his lab.  Var-El would then go on finish his trilogy in DC Comics Presents #74 with Hawkman.

Of course, Superman and the Atom worked together many times in the Justice League of America, and even had a few adventures with other JLAers as well (facing the Junkman or going inside Superman's circulatory system), but, it's a little too late to go into those at this time!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Superman Replacement Jimmy Olsen

If Superman was to retire, who would replace him?

You'd think just being a cub reporter wouldn't be enough for Jimmy Olsen to take over for Superman...but, back in the day, that was indeed good enough, at least for a little bit.

Here's a couple of classic tales with the times Jimmy was really super!


Superman's Kid Brother

First up, is the time Jimmy thought he was Superman's kid brother from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #19 (March, 1957) by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley (with cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

Jimmy, while wearing a Superman costume, gets knocked on the head, giving him amnesia.  So, when he awakens, he thinks he's Superman's kid brother from Krypton.  Through a series of mistakes and lucky accidents, Jimmy is able to "prove" he has super powers.  Superman convinces him to resume his "normal identity" of Jimmy Olsen, Daily Planet photographer, and, while there, it is Lois who helps snap him out of his delusion.

This story, with others, was reprinted in the 1963 Superman Annual #6.

The Super-Lad Of Space

Jimmy must have saved that costume, or gotten another one, as he was wearing it to start the tale of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #39 (September, 1959) by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and John Forte (cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye), as he climbed aboard a rocket for a scoop while Superman launched it into space!

Landing on the planet Zolium, Jimmy found that the atmosphere of this planet was different enough from Earth to give Jimmy super powers that were similar to Superman's.  Jimmy decides to become the planet's hero, Super-Lad, but is unable to have a secret identity because everyone recognizes him.  When Superman arrives to take Jimmy home, he finds out that the natives of Zolium could all read his mind, which is what prevented him from keeping his identity a secret.

This tale was reprinted in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #104 (August-September, 1967, where other, odder Jimmy Olsen transformations dominated the cover) and in the Best of DC #46 (March, 1984), where Jimmy got his due.




Of course, Jimmy did return again (with others) in a Superman costume....and, then, there was this odder cover as well....but, these are stories for another day!






Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Old Superman In Action

Superman's been going for over 80 years....

....maybe he's getting a little old and has to think about retirement!

Let's take a look at a pair of stories that hint at what happens when Superman reaches retirement age!

The Oldest Man In Metropolis

First up, a time when Superman was the oldest man in Metropolis from Action Comics #251 (April, 1959) by Robert Bernstein and Al Plastino, under a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye.

Clark Kent is helping out Professor Vance, by drinking a new vitamin formula he has developed to increase a person's lifespan, but, instead grows old (and it affects Superman because Vance used Kryptonite in his formula!).  Superman has a problem going into action (more because it would reveal his identity as Clark, with his white hair and beard), so has to face criminals Captain Cutlass and the Clock, among other threats, under disguises that he can pull off!

This story is reprinted in Superman Annual #3 of 1961 (and, is the issue that predates Supergirl's introduction!).

The Old Man Of Metropolis

Action Comics #270 (November, 1960) by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and John Forte (with cover by Swan and Kaye), gives readers another look at an older Superman.

This time around, Clark is assigned to write a story about Midvale Orphanage (where Linda "Supergirl" Lee currently lives).  Linda gives him a story she wrote about the future, which Clark takes home to read, as he falls asleep for the night, he dreams of that future.  Superman has reached an old age, with Supergirl growing up to be Superwoman and replacing him as Metropolis' hero; Perry has passed away, but Jimmy Olsen is the current editor of the Daily Planet; Lana Lang has married a wealthy man; Luthor has cured cancer and Lois has become an old maid waiting for Superman.  Superman even gets arrested, trying to dispose of Kryptonite (which no longer affects him, as he has lost his powers).  Superman ends up in jail with Bizarro until Lois bails him out, and he decides to spend the rest of his remaining days with her.....as Clark wakes up.   The next day at the Planet, Clark decides to be nicer to Lois....

This story was reprinted, with many others, in DC's first 80-Page Giant of 1964!

These weren't the only times Superman grew old, but, no matter what, he kept in Action!






Thursday, May 2, 2019

World's Finest Time Travel Trouble

Time travel is a bit of a tricky thing, even if you are the World's Finest super heroes! Here's two tales from the Silver Age.....both really great stories, but problematic nonetheless!  Let's let Superman, Batman, Robin (and even Superboy, the younger version of Superman) show you the problems!

World's Finest Comics 91

First up, is "The Three Super-Sleepers" from World's Finest Comics #91 (November-December, 1957) by Edmond Hamilton, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye (with a cover by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye).

Superman, Batman and Robin were converging on a criminal at Smoky Mountain, but he had prepared a trap for the three heroes, with sleeping gas, cryogenic chambers (and a little Kryptonite).  After they went into the chamber, he put them to sleep, then into the chambers, hid the Batmobile as well as the entrance to the cavern....and the heroes weren't found until 1000 years later!  Scientists in 2957 were willing to send them home via a time ray, but...it had been stolen!  The heroes worked against the criminals of the day, also facing a descendant of Luthor named Rohtul, but it was one of the scientists, Lora, who had taken the time-ray in an attempt to keep Superman in that time.  The heroes go back in time, preventing the original criminal from ever triggering his trap....

...and this is where the trouble begins!   Since they were never sent into the future, how could they come back in time to save themselves?    Not to mention, how were they so famous in the future, if they had disappeared in 1957 (among other things, before the Justice League of America or the Teen Titans were founded.....).




Adventure Comics 253

The problems with the previous tale were also echoed in Adventure Comics #253 (October, 1958) when Dave Wood and Al Plastino (under a Curt Swan/Stan Kaye cover) present the tale when "Superboy Meets Robin The Boy Wonder".

Superman is found by Robin, nearly dying, as a Cosmic Clock trophy he had gotten when he was in Smallville had a Kryptonite bomb trap in it.  So, Robin gets the idea to travel back in time to when Superboy gets the Cosmic Clock (thanks to Prof. Carter Nichols and his time ray).  Superboy stops Robin from destroying the Cosmic Clock as it was a gift to the fair from Superboy.  Robin and Superboy handle some very technological crimes during Robin's time in Smallville (eventually finding an older Luthor responsible, as Luthor's origin hadn't happened yet).  Then, they do find the clock gift for Superboy....which he throws into orbit, with Robin now feeling secure that he could go back to his own time, having prevented the disaster which would befall Superman.

Now, that causes the problem of why would Robin go back to help Superboy if there was no clock to explode and nearly kill Superman?   Also worth a mention was this (slightly still hairy) Luthor, who was closer to an adult Luthor than he would (very soon) be portrayed in Superboy's time?  

This second problem just comes because of different directions being taken by writers, but the first....shows the basic problem in going back in time to fix a problem....once you've fixed it, you have no reason to go back in time!  
Paradoxes are fun, no?  

They can give you quite a headache....likely making you wish you had gone back in time and NOT decided to read this, and just enjoy the tales as you read them!