Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Episode #138: The Origin Of Superboy Prime: DC Comics Presents #87!

Superboy Prime first appeared in DC Comics Presents  #87, November 1985, published on August 1, 1985. His next appearances were in the final three issues of the 12 issue mini-series Crisis On Infinite Earths. When I read this series I didn't realize that Superboy Prime had only appeared in one other title.

This story has not been reprinted, as far as I know, but if you would like to read both stories in DC Comics Presents #87, you can click on the following links: and

DC Comics Presents  was Superman's other team-up title. For decades he appeared in World's Finest Comics with Batman. In DC Comics Presents Superman teamed up with other characters in the DC Universe. Batman did appear in issue #83 as head of the group Outsiders. Others who appeared in this title were the Flash in the first issue, Wonder Woman in issues 9, 32 and 76, the Legion of Super-Heroes in 13, 42 and 80, Pete Ross in 13, 14 and 25, Superboy in 14, Supergirl in 28, He-Man in #47, Clark Kent in 50 and 79, Power Girl 56, Bizarro in 71, and the Phantom Zone in the final issue, #97, Spetember 1986. Other notable issues were #26, which contained an insert that previewed the upcoming New Teen Titans, and #41 previewed the "new direction" Wonder Woman. DC Comics Presents Annual #1 featured the golden age Superman, and Annuals 2 and 4 featured Superwoman.

A short feature at the back of the issue, titled Whatever Happened To ... featured the fates of DC's golden age heroes. This feature ran for 17 issues from #25 - #48. Issue #25 featured the golden age Hourman, and #48 featured The Black Pirate, who was a historical adventure fictional character.

Superboy Prime appeared in two stories in DC Comics Presents #87. The first story was Year Of The Comet, written by Ellioit S! maggin, pencilled by Curt Swan, inked by Al Williamson, lettered by Ed King and colored by Gene D'Angelo.

The story began after the death of Supergirl in Crisis On Infinite Earths #7. Superman was on the moon, grieving for his dead cousin, Kara Zor-El, Supergirl. A spaceship crewed by the Superman Revenge Squad zapped the Man of Steel with an energy beam, and he vanished. On the next page Superman reappeared on the moon. He thought he saw an energy beam hit himself, but he decided to shake himself from his grief and return to Earth. After he entered Earth's atmosphere Superman noticed that things weren't normal. New York City covered where Gotham City used to be, Boston suburbs covered Star City, and Metropolis had vanished.

Superman wasn't totally confused, becaue he correctly figured that he had been teleported to Earth Prime. During the silver age Earth Prime was considered "our" reality, where superheros did not exist and DC's characters were fictional creations.

The Man of Steel flew over a city, where he was spotted by a pedestrian. He said, "Look, up in the sky. It's ...gone." Superman flew into the clouds so he would not attract attention. He noticed a red haired girl and a teen boy dressed as Superboy walking on a beach. This Superboy looked up in the sky and saw a comet, then floated into the air while the girl watched in astonishment.

Superboy flew into the sky and was met by Superman. A caption with an editor's note explained that Superboy's origin would be told in the second story. The two introduced themselves, and Superman used his x-ray vision to confirm that Superboy was Kryptonian. Superboy was not convinced that he wasn't imagining things. Superman agreed, stating that grief could create delusions, and explained about the death of Supergirl. Then Superboy said my favorite line of the story. He asked if it was not a hox, dream or imaginary story? Superman didn't understand. They flew over a group of teens at a campfire, which included Superboy's girl friend. Her name happened to be Laurie Lemmon, so even Superboy on Earth Prime had an LL connection with his closest friends. Superboy Prime asked Superman if he could help him figure out what to do next. The Man of Steel reasurred him that he would figure it out, just remember he was here for a reason.

As the beach party decided to leave the beach because the tide was coming in, Laurie noticed that it wasn't the tide, but a tidal wave. Superboy wished that he could fly steady enough to create a waterspout like in the comic books. Suddenly a waterspout appeared, and a voice called for him to help. Superboy and Superman teamed up to zap the water spout with their heat vision, which created a rain cloud. Laurie and her beach party were hit by heavy fog.

Superman and Superboy raced Halley's Comet, which was approaching Earth at that time, and to the Moon. Superman returned to Earth because he could not break the dimensional barrier to return to his Earth.

Jerry Kent returned home to his wife Naomi, after searching for their son Clark. Laurie had gone to their home after leaving the beach. They believed Lauire's story because others had seen the approaching tidal wave vanish.

Superman and Superboy saw an alien ship in Earth orbit. Superboy thought that it was an alien invasion, but Superman assured him that they were space tourists visiting Earth. After the alien ship landed, Superboy visited them because their ship was blocking a road. One of the aliens fired an energy weapon at him, which knocked him down. Since the aliens were obviously not tourists Superboy fought back. Superman joined the fight against the alien invasion, and we learned that the aliens were able to make themselves invisible to humans. Superman and Superboy wrecked the aliens' equipment, and Superboy's costume became increasingly tattered during the battle.

At the Kent residence, Jerry and Naomi Kent gave a missing person report to the police about their son Clark. Superman and Superboy flew down to the group of people outside the Kent residence, and introductions are made all around. Superman told Superboy's parents that he needed him for an emergency. The two superheroes built a dimensional treansporter out of the aliens' junked equipment and teleported to Superman's dimension, flying to the top of the Daily Planet building, which seemed to be the center of Superman's universe. A vortex opened up which swallowed Superboy. A caption at the end of the issue stated that the story would be continued with the December issue of Superman (issue #414, which will be the subject of an upcoming episode very soon).

The Origin Of Superboy Prime was created by the same creative team as Year Of The Comet at the beginning of the issue. In a familiar scene to Superman fans, Jor-El declared to Krypton's Science Council that Krypton was doomed! Unlike other versions of Superman's origin, the Science Council agreed. They began discussion about forming a committee to study the problem. Jor-El protested the urgency of the problem, but the Council dismissed him since his testimony was finished.

Jor-El returned to his home and wife Lara and infant son Kal-El. Instead of an interstellar rocket, this Jor-El had invented a teleportation device, capable of sending someone to a planet in another part of the universe.

In the next few days Krypton suffered unusual natural disasters related to the planet's crisis. The Science Council convened at Jor-El's laboratory where he demonstrated his device with a small, rabbit-like Kryptonian animal. Jor-El had set the destination to a small blue-green world that orbited a yellow sun. The animal materialized in a wooded area and scampered away, as Jerome and Naomi Kent wlaked by on a hike. Apparently, the planet Jor-El had chosen was Earth.

Suddenly a solar flare flashed very brightly in the sky. Jor-El informed the Council that the flare extened beyond Krypton's orbit and would soon incinerate the planet. He rushed the Council out of his lab and advised them to make preparations. He rushed back to his lab and teleported his infant son, Kal-El, to Earth, and adusted the device to teleport himself and his wife Lara next. But a member of the Science Council had stayed behind and secretly observed Jor-El. C-Durkin, the Council member, rushed into the device and activated it. Too late, Jor-El warned him that the machine was set for the weight of two people, then it exploded.

As Krypton spun out of its orbit into its sun, the Kents found infant Kal-El. Naomi informed her husband Jerome that she would name the boy Clark, after her maiden name. Jerome couldn't talk her out of it, despite the fact that the boy would be named after a fictional comic book character.

Clark grew up in a happy family. Father Jerome operated a successful computer business, while mother Naomi led a successful law practice. Clark was an average teen, no faster than the average teen, getting injured as easily a sanyone else. At a baseball game Clark slid into base, scraping his elbow. His teammates showed the usual sportsmanship, calling him the Superboy Who Bleeds, the Boy of Steel, and other Clark Kent jokes.

That evening Clark's friend Laurie Lemon went to the kent home to pick up Clark for a costume party. She was dressed as a mermaid (like Lori Lemaris of the Superman comic books). Clark came downstairs dressed as none other than Superboy. They joined their friends on a drive to a beach party. On a lark, Clark said, "Up, up and away." and jumped into the air, only to fall on his face.

 A caption noted that it was six months before Halley's Comet was scheduled to appear in Earth's skies. The moon shifted slightly in its oribt, showing part of its dark side, and Earth's magnentic field shifted a little.

That was when Clark floated into the air and met Superman, but then you know the rest of the story.

Next Episode: An Imagingary Story 2010, Part III: Superman, Matinee Idol!

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