Thursday, January 22, 2009

Episode #53: "Home For The Holidays" Adventures of Superman #462

Home For The Holidays was one of the first Christmas stories of the post-Crisis Superman. It was published in Adventures of Superman #462, January 1990, released on November 28, 1989. The editor was Mike Carlin. The cover was pencilled by Dan Jurgens and inked by Brett Breeding. The story was written by Roger Stern. The art was done by Dan Jurgens and finishes by Art Thibert. Albert DeGuzman was the letterer and Glenn Whitmore was the colorist. This story was reprinted in the trade paperback Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, published in 1994.
The story takes place in the Daily Planet offices. Clark is preparing to leave for his new job as the editor of Newstime magazine. At first Clark is given the cold shoulder, but it is quickly revealed to be a ruse, as the Planet staff throw Clark a surprise going away party. During a quiet moment during the party, Clark slips away to think about the big change in his career. He hears a noise in a storeroom. Inside, The Planet office staffer Alice is sitting on a sleeping bag on the floor, crying. Clark sees this with his x-ray vision, and opens the door. Alice tries to hide her sleeping bag, but is not fast enough. Alice tries to come up with an excuse as to what she is doing in the storeroom, but finally gives up and tells the truth. She has been living in the storeroom.
The scene shifts to Perry White's office, where Perry, Clark and Lois lend their support to Alice. She had been a minor character in Superman comics who would appear in a panel or two in various Daily Planet scenes. Perry would say to her that she seems to be there no matter what time of day he would go to the office. Alice would joke that she lived there, and Perry would think it was a joke.
Apparently it wasn't. Alice tells them her story. She lived with her mother, who gave birth to Alice late in life and was always in frail health as Alice grew up. After Alice began working at the Planet her mother's health began to fail and medical bills plunged them in debt. After her mother's death, the debt swamped Alice, and she eventually was evicted from the apartment. She stayed for a few weeks at the YWCA, but it was only a temporary situation. Alice looked for cheaper apartments, but they were farther away from work, and Alice couldn't afford the cost of the commute. Her only option, to her, was to sneak into the Planet building and hide a sleeping bag and portable TV in a storeroom.
To take care of her personal needs she used the Planet wsahrooms and ate at the office cafeteria. Perry is moved by her story to write a front page editorial about homelessness. His editorial is shown in captions above various scenes of Planet staffers sharing their time at a food kitchen for the poor. The issue ends at the White residence, where Alice is staying for the holidays with Perry and his wife, also named Alcie. Perry tells his employee that he has figured how much overtime she probably worked, and was going to make sure she gets compensated, as a way of helping her get the finances to get her back on her feet.
The issue ends with Superman flying to the Kent farm newr Smallville, using his cape to bundle up presents for his family. It ends with Clark having eggnog with his parents and Lana.
This was a good emotional story about Alice's plight. Some of the dialogue about homelessness, not counting Perry's editorial, was a little heavy handed, but the issue added some depth to the world of the Daily Planet office. By highlighting a minor but familiar character the story made the Planet Offices seem more like a real place.

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