Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Imaginary Summer 2009, Part VII: The Amazing Story Of Superman Red And Superman Blue!

Our final imaginry story for the sumer of 2009, The Amazing Story Of Superman Red And Superman Blue was first published in Superman #162, July 1963, published on May 2, 1963, a 12 cent issue for 32 pages. The cover was drawn by Kurt Scaffenberger, and the 24 page story was writen by Leo Dorfman, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by George Klein. It has been reprinted in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told, DC's Greatest Imaginary Storis and Showcase Presents: Superman Vol. IV.

Superman Red and Superman Blue were revised in "electric" fashion in the 1990's in Superman comics, appearing this time in regular continuity, but the less said about them the better. If it would have been any other character I would have dropped the titles until Superman returned to his traditional costume. But I had a complete run from Man Of Steel in 1986 up to this point and I wasn't going to quit now. Eventually, thank goodness, Superman lost the static electricity and returned to hs iconic uniform.

But back to the original, and by far better, silver age story, which filled the entire issue in an era when each Superman issue usually contained three separate and distinct stories. Part I was titled The Titanic Twins. It began with the staff of the Daily Planet getting raises, posted on the bulletin board for all to see. Everyone got a raise, that is, except for Clark Kent. His double duty as Superman apparently interfered with his ability as a reprter to get scoops for the Planet; a small Marvel style touch in a DC comic. He changed into Superman and flew to his Fortress of Solitude, where he was met by Supergirl. Together they had what we would today call a video conference with the leaders of the bottle city of Kandor. After they expressed their gratitude to Superman they expressed some concerns over some super deeds that Superman had not completed. First of all, the Man of Steel had failed to restore Kandor to its normal size. He had also failed to find an antidote to kryptonite poisoning. Last but not least Superman had failed to end crime and evil on Earth. The leaders of Kandor didn't want much. As icing on the cake they proposed giving Superman a six month time limit, and if he had not succeeded, trading places with a Kandorian who would become the new Superman and he would try to solve these super problems.

Desperate times called for desperate measures, so Superman used his untested invention, the brain evolution machine. Powered by all of the varities of silver age kryptonite, it did not work as Superman expected. After he began suffering excruciating pain the maching exploded. Afte the dust cleared two Supermen stood in front of Supergirl, one in a red costume and the other blue. And so they called themselves Superman Red and Supeman Blue. Despite this malfunction the machine had increased the intelligence of both super intellects. Two super brains are indeed better than one.

The Super Twins went to work right away. They solved the problem of repairing Brainiac's enlarging ray. They took the bottle city of Kador into outer space, where the Suermen fuse fragments of hper-magneton into a planetoid that attracted all of the fragments of kryponite to the planet. the fusion process reversed the irradiation of the kryptonian fragments. On this New Krypton, complete with atmosphere, continents ad oceans, Kandor was restored, and as a bonus its citizens possessed super powers because of their proximity to a yellow sun. Seedlings from their nurserie restore Krypton's foliage, and the Kandorians use their super powers tofuse the mountains into a new Jewled Mountains. After Kandor expressed its thanks to the Supermen for restoring them to normal, Superman Red reminded them that with super powers they were not "normal". The Science Council met to discuss the matter.

Part II, The Anti-Evil Ray, began with Kandor deciding that they wanted to return to their original solar system. The two Supermen, anticipating this decision, had already put New Krypton on a trajectory. there was no metion of how the planet would retain a normal climate, but hey, this was silver age science.

With two birds killed with one stone, the Super Twins returned to the Fortress of Solitude. They did extra duty finding the merpeople of Atlantis a waterworld of their own, at the request of Lori Lemaris. The Atlanteans traveled to their new world thanks to a water bridge created by the Supermen. Then they built a series of anti-evil ray satellites around Earth. Not only did it work on every criminal, escaped convict and dictator, but it even worked on Brainiac's alien invasion space armada. The anti-evil Luthor then invented a concentrated serum that cured every disease known to man, when drops were dropped in every river and body of water by the two Supermen. Not only did it cure every illness but it also cured Luthor's baldness. The anti-evil effects even reached into the 5th dimension. Mr. Mxyzptlk created a monument to Superman and Supergirl on a mountainside near Metropolis. But much to their surprise they discovered Supergirl allowing the Phantom Zone prisoners escape their etherial prison.

Part III: The End Of Superman's Career began with the revelation tha the Phantom Zone prisoners were cured by the anti-evil ray as well. They wished to migrate to New Krypton, to be joined by Supergirl herself. The Legion of Super-Heroes appeared with a spaceship that the Kryptonians could use make the voyage. After saying their goodbyes, there was nothing left for the Supermen to do but get married, but to who? As it turned out, Superman Red loved Lois Lane and Superman Blue loved Lana Lang, so everyone was happy. At the double wedding, Lucy Lane joined her sister at the altar and married Jimmy Olsen, since she would not break her promise to not get married until her sister did.

After the honeymoons Superman Red began to miss New Krypton, so he and Lois moved there. Superman Blue was content to live on Earth, but retired to devote himself to science. He left his Superman robots to perform rescues during natural disasters, since crime no longer existed on Earth. The two Super families had twins, a boy and girl each. The boys looked like their dads and the girls had the same hair color as their respective mothers. This story was a different version of a last Superman story, two decades before Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow.

Next Week: Happy Birthday, Otto Binder!

Superman Fan Podcast can be found at http://supermanfanpodcast.mypodcast.com/ , http://www.gcast.com/u/Billy_H80/http_supermanfanpodcast_gcast_com_rss_xml.xml , http://archive.org/ and most other podcast aggregaters. Send e-mail to supermanfanpodcast@gmail.com . The podcast theme is Plans In Motion composed by Kevin MacLeod, part of the royalty free music library of http://incompetech.com/ .

My Pull List is my spoiler free comic book review blog of the titles I read every week. It can be found at http://mypulllist.blogspot.com/ . Send e-mail about this blog to mypulllist@gmail.com .

Superman and all related characters are trademark and copyright DC Comics.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Superman Fan Podcast and, as always, thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

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