Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Why Superman Needs Clark Kent

Seems pretty simple.  Superman lives the life as a super-hero, while Clark Kent earns the keep working for the Daily Planet.  

But, why not just be Superman all the time?

Action Comics #305 (October, 1963) sheds a little light on that idea, under a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein!

Why Superman Needs A Secret Identity

Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and George Klein provide the Superman story in this issue.  Other than the splash page, the story starts in the here and now, with Clark and Jimmy doing some work at the behest of Perry White, but getting in trouble, as Benny The Blaster tries a robbery, and Clark thinks there is no way to save Jimmy without revealing his identity.  So, Clark goes through a few imaginary scenarios in his head....such as if he had revealed his identity as Superboy (at his parents request, as Clark was bullied).  Ends up mobsters would likely have killed the Kents, and Superman would end up alone.  Second time, criminals find out Superman's identity (thanks to Jimmy) and expose him to Gold Kryptonite, ending Superman's career.  The third time, Superman gives up the pretense of being Clark....but still wants to help, so tries an alter ego as Mark Trent, but cannot get a job, so ends up a homeless vagrant. 

With a little more thinking, Clark finds a way to sabotage Benny's nitroglycerin, saving the day without revealing his identity!

The Girl Who Hated Supergirl

The second story of the issue by Leo Dorfman and Jim Mooney has Supergirl dealing with Karen Blair, who seems to hate the Maid of Steel.  Linda Danvers keeps having encounters with Karen Blair, who professes a hatred of Supergirl!  As Supergirl, returning to Midvale to celebrate the day she landed on Earth (May 18, 1959), she even tries to arrange for her to fly Karen, but nearly kills her in the process.  Karen explains her father had invented a way to communicate with aliens, and was, as an object flew between the communication rays, setting his lab on fire, killing him and injuring Karen's brother, confining him to a wheelchair.  Supergirl, using Superman's chronoscope in the Fortress of Solitude, shows Karen what really happen that day (that an alien bat had flown into the path of the rays, reflecting them back).  Supergirl then gives her the plans to her father's communication device, as well as getting doctors to help her brother reacquire his mobility!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Strange Adventures On The Beach

Just sitting down on the beach as summer approaches, and as you enjoy your favorite issue of Strange Adventures, the creature from the comic attacks!

Odd, you say?  That's what happened to Eric Craig in "The Creature From Strange Adventures" from Strange Adventures #170 (November, 1964) by Dave Wood and Mort Meskin (under a cover by Dick Dillin and Sheldon Moldoff).

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Legion Vs. Krypton

Looking back, Superboy has usually been best friends with the Legion of Super-Heroes....

...but, in one case Superboy divided the Legion, pitting friend against friend, setting members against each other in pitched battle!

Let's look back at that classic story!

The War Between Krypton And Earth

It was originally in Adventure Comics #333 (June, 1965) by Jerry Siegel, John Forte and George Klein, under a cover by Curt Swan and George Klein.

In the Legion's 30th Century, the team found proof that Krypton had invaded Earth millions of years ago, prompting Superboy and the Legion to go back in time in two teams to find out what happened.  Superboy, with Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Colossal Boy and Element Lad go to ancient Krypton, finding it a feudal society, except for a rogue group of scientists led by Zat-El, preparing a spaceship to leave Krypton with "giant tame lizards" (what would be dinosaurs on Earth).  They help them on their way and go with them.  On Earth, Brainiac 5, with Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, Star Boy and Light Lass find Leta Lal, who, with her people, came to Earth from Vruun, have already colonized Earth, and are building the city of Atlantis. 

The two teams meet, and opposition begins as to who can get Earth, with the Kryptonians having no powers, as Earth has a red sun millions of years ago.

The battle wages, with both sides supposedly using stun weapons, but the Kryptonians find they are being killed by the Atlantians....with the Atlanteans becoming sick in Earth's atmosphere.  Superboy goes to negotiate with Leta Lal (whom he has fallen for), while Brainiac 5 finds out the Atlanteans are slowly being poisoned by the Xenon in Earth's atmosphere.  Mon-El comes back in time for a last minute save to stop the war, while Kryptonian physiology explains their deaths, Brainiac 5 finds a "cure" for the Atlanteans, which is to turn them into mer-people to survive, which he gives them the formula to do so, and Star Boy sinks Atlantis for them to live there.  The Kryptonians then inherit the Earth....but, Superboy finds their records in his time, finding that the "tame" lizards turned wild on Earth, and killed the diminished Kryptonians that were left.

This was one of 4 Adventure Comics stories reprinted in a four issue run of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 1970s, at a time when the Legion was only a back up in Superboy's magazine (but, proved so popular with its Nick Cardy covers for the first two issues....

...with the popularity of the feature in Superboy as well, including Dave Cockrum's new costume designs for the LSH, so that with issue #197, the Legion shared the covers and space of the regular comic, eventually taking the comic from Superboy!). 

Losing his own comic (even to his friends) would make even a Superboy mad!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Superman Salutes Flag Day

Saluting Flag Day and the U.S. Army with this Superman cover by Jerry Ordway from Superman #53 (March, 1991), with a reminder of Superman's motto of "Truth, Justice and the American Way"!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Ends Of The Justice Society

Usually things only get one end, but not so with the Justice Society of America.

Here's a look back at a few issues of DC Comics' oldest super-hero groups....and a few times where they had "final endings"!

The Mystery Of The Vanishing Detectives

First up is All-Star Comics #57 (February-March, 1951)  by John Broome, Frank Giacoia, Arthur Peddy (with a cover by Arthur Peddy and Bernard Sachs).

The JSA gather four famous detectives in Civic City to help them solve a case to find out who is the mysterious Key....and they did, but they had no idea that the JSA would be the vanishing detectives, as Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wonder Woman and Black Canary had this as their last published adventure of the team (with the next issue of the series changed to All-Star Western....and only Wonder Woman continued on in her own title, as well in Sensation Comics, with no explanation as to where the team was or what had happened to them).

The Defeat Of The Justice Society

Next ending is Adventure Comics #466 (November-December, 1979) by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton (and they didn't even make the cover of the issue, which was by Jim Aparo).

This issue was a double ending, as new member (and Batman's daughter) the Huntress, explained what happened to the original team in the 1950s to Power Girl.  How they were approached by a man claiming to represent the U.S. government, and showed them a satellite they could use as their headquarters, but attacked the team instead.  The JSA found they were not really working with the U.S.A., but, in attempting to explain that, were forced out of functioning as the government wanted them to reveal their secret identities (which they were loathe to do).   This issue also marked the last solo JSA story of the 1970s (though the team would still make the annual Crisis with their Earth-1 friends, the Justice League of America).

Last Days Of The Justice Society

Last is the aptly titled Last Days Of The Justice Society Special #1 (1986) by Roy and Dann Thomas, David Ross and Mike Gustovich (with cover by Ross and Gustovich).

The team gathered to deal with their losses after the Crisis On Infinite Earths....and found that they also lost soon after World War II? 

How could that be possible? 

Some leftover energy from Adolf Hitler, powering the Spear of Destiny was doing to doom the newly formed DC Universe....if the remaining members of the JSA didn't band together to fight to stop the end of the universe...or, Ragnarok as it had been called in the days of the Asgardians (which is what Hitler had summoned up in the 1940s as World War II drew to a close). 

The JSA had to stay in an extra-dimensional land, continuing to stave off an ancient end, fighting the fire-demon Surtur, except for Spectre, Dr. Fate, Power Girl and the Star-Spangled Kid.  While the Kid kept up with Infinity, Inc. (as Skyman), Dr. Fate, then Power Girl, joined the Justice League...
...there was no JSA for a time

The team returned from that armageddon, older and wiser, suffered more setbacks and changes, but continued to they shall again!

Friday, June 7, 2019

Archie's Algebra Problems

A little fun with Archie (or not so fun for him) as he struggles through Miss Grundy's Algebra class in this cover of Archie's Joke Book #173 from June, 1972.

May your tests have gone as well as they have for Betty Cooper as school let's out!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Aquaman Swims Into June

Aquaman takes a dip with his finny friends in this Neal Adams and Dick Giordano done drawing.

This is the feature image for the month of June in the 1976 Super DC Calendar, but, Aquaman wouldn't just be floating around after this, facing Weather Wizard in a later calendar!