To honor the late President Kennedy on the anniversary week of his assassination, the featured stories are two where President Kennedy co-stars. The date of November 22, when he died, has stuck with me. My father had a bank where one slot changed the month and the other changed the date. He left it at November 22 after that. A poignant coment about President Kennedy that I remember was in Anton Myrer's novel The Last Convertible. One of the characters worked on the Kennedy campaign. When Kennedy was elected, one of the characters, a fellow WW II veteran, said that it felt as if one of the young men who got sent to war had taken the reigns of power from the old men whe sent them to war. After he was killed it felt as if the old men had taken back that power.
The two featured Superman stories were The Superman Super-Spectacular from Action Comics #309, (February 1964 issue, which appeared on the newsstands on December 26, 1963)The cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Sheldon Moldoff. The story was written by Edmund Hamilton, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by George Klein. This story was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Superman vol. IV. The other story was Superman's Mission For President Kennedy, which was originally published in Superman #170, (July 1964, originally published on May 7, 1964). The cover for this issue illustrated the other story in this issue, If Lex Luthor Were Superman's Father. Superman's Mission For President Kennedy was written by Bill Finger and E. Nelson Bridwell, and drawn by Al Plastino. This story was reprinted in the trade paperback Superman In The Sixties.
In The Superman Super-Spectacular, Clark finds a letter addressed to Superman from President Kennedy. Superman later flies to the White House, where the President asks Superman to retrieve a space capsule from the ocean, so that the astronaut who flew in space in that capsule can be honored on a new TV show Our American Heroes. After Superman accomplishes his mission he takes the capsule to Washington, he winds up on similar missions for other honorees of this TV show for its producer. At the end of the day, Superman flies back to the studio to meet with the producer again, where he finds to his surprise, that he is the first honoree of the show. Different people in Superman's life, starting with the now retired Police Chief Parker of Smallville, appear to honor him. Lois and Lana have a metal detector to find out if a Superman robot will impersonate Clark Kent, provingthat Superman and Clark are the same person. When Clark appears, and the detector remains silent, they figure their guess is wrong. At the end of the story, in a private room, Clark removes his disguise to reveal he is President Kennedy! Superman revealed his secret identity to him, because if you can't trust the President, who can you trust. It was a simpler story from a simpler time.
It was also one of the many bizarre silver age stories that could have been written today by Grant Morrison. Thinking about someone with a thick Boston accent impersonating someone with a midwestern accent is almost too much to suspend disbelief for a superhero story.
Superman's Mission For President Kennedy, according to the editorial note on the title page, was originally scheduled for Superman #168, but was pulled from the issue after the assassination. The first story mentioned also appeared after President Kennedy was killed, but was too far in the production schedule to be pulled, apparently. According to the editorial note, President Johnson requested the story be printed to honor the late President.
the story begins with President Kennedy watching a news report, done by Lana Lang, about Superman clearing an avalanche from a bike path in Europe. Some international students were biking together, but the report noted that the American bikers were not in as good physical shape as the other bikers from different countries. President Kennedy has a staffer contact Superman. The President asks Superman to inspire American youth to get in shape. The rest of the story shows Superman inspiring different teen athletes to get in shape, in typically ouotlandish silver age fashion. The story concludes with a Metropolis parade and fireworks, where President Kennedy thanks Superman for a job well done.
These stories were in good taste, and respectful of the President, but read today they are typical of some of the outlandish plots DC Comics could be known for.Mort Weisinger was known for these types of stories as well as some of the classic stories that are some of the all-time best Superman stories from this era.
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