Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Episode #151: Action Comics #150 & Superman #150!
Action Comics #150, November 1950, was published around September 15, 1950. The issue contained 48 pages and sold for a dime.The editor was Mort Weisinger. Wayne Boring pencilled the cover, which was inked by Stan Kaye. It showed Superman taking photos of kids who would stand behind a Superman cutout.
The first story of the issue was twelve page Superman tale. The Secret Of The 6 Superman Statues. The writer is unknown, but we do know that the penciller was Wayne Boring, and the inker was Stan Kaye. There was no reprint information for this story.
The story began as Lois was mad at Clark because he claimed to be too busy to attend the dedication of a Veteran's housing project. Of course, the reason he was too busy was that he would be attending the dedication ceremony as Superman.
As the Man Of Steel spoke at the ceremony, Lois' purse got knocked off her arm accidentally. After the ceremony was over, Superman helped Lois gather her belongings. He used his x-ray vision to search for her change that fell into a grating, and made a surprising discovery. Superman discovered a statue of himself, composed of a plastic-like substance, buried deep underground. He retrieved the statue and placed it in front of the Veteran's Housing Project.
Later, Superman found another Superman statue, exactly like the first, hanging from a balloon and descending toward a city street. He demolished it before it crashed into the road.
Then we saw three men in a dark room, led by someone named Marko, discussing their setting up Superman with their statues. Their purpose remained unknown.
As Clark Kent at his Daily Planet office, he pondered the mystery of the statues when he was called into Perry White's office. Perry wanted him to cover the story of a diver who needed to be rescued. Clark said he was busy and Lois jumped on the story. As Superman, he flew to the site of the emergency, a ship on the ocean. He dove into the water and freed the diver's lines from some rocks they had become entangled on. On a nearby shipwreck from the 1300's, Superman discovered a third Superman statue, exactly like the first two. He removed the statue from the wreck in order to keep the mystery from the public.
Superman discovered a fourth Superman statue sealed inside a time capsule vault. He carried it into space so that he could open the vacuum sealed vault in the vacuum of space, retrieve the statue, reseal the vault and return it to its original site.
The three mystery men were happy that Superman was befuddled about the statues. They flew a helicopter to Mount Avery because they needed Superman's help on one more job. We discovered how the men created the statues, as they lowered a long tube that bored into the mountain. They poured a liquid plastic into the tube and molded it into the shape of Superman.
At the Daily Planet a note was left for Superman. It called for the Man of Steel to use his x-ray vision on the tallest mountain.outside Metropolis. At Mount Avery he found three more Superman statues buried underneath the mountain. He bored into the mountain and crushed them.
Marko and his men set up at the base of the mountain. They had turned Superman's tunnel into a toll road. They were unaware that Superman was listening to them as they discussed Superman carrying out their plans. The Man of Steel realized he had been played for a stooge, and began to turn the tables.
The site of the original Superman statue was now gushing oil. Superman burrowed underground, through the oil deposit and to the site of an Indian reservation. That way the money from the oil would help the tribe recover financially from recent crop failures.
At the site of the shipwreck, where Marko's men were opening a treasure chest on a boat floating over the wreck, Superman used super ventriloquism to scare them into thinking the treasure was haunted. They dropped the chest back into the ocean, and the Man of Steel planned to donate the treasure to the Metropolis Museum.
Superman flew to Mount Avery and burrowed another tunnel into the mountain, creating a free roadway to detour Marko's toll road. He then informed Marko that he knew of his schemes and had foiled them. Marko mocked Superman, noting that they had done nothing illegal.
Marko and his gang returned to Metropolis, and discovered a Superman statue on top of city hall. They took their guns and shot at the statue, and were surprised when their bullets did no damage. They were shocked to discover that the statue was actually Superman himself, who arrested the whole gang.
The next day, as Clark and Lois walked past a Superman statue in a park, Kent commented that he had his fill of Superman statues.
The next story in the issue was the eight page science fiction Tommy Tomorrow story, The Forgotten Heroes Of Space. The story was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by John Fischetti. Tommy Tomorrow met some out of work space pilots, whom he recognized as the heroes who inspired him to become a space man. Tommy suggested that they start their own space freight line. Tommy Tomorrow's Planteers planned to sell some slightly outdated spaceships, and Tommy encouraged the men to make a bid.,
The old timers' bid was accepted, and Tommy took a leave of absence from his regular job to help the new company out.
Inter-Space Space Lines fought this new competition by purchasing and monopolizing as many spare parts as they could.
The old timers made their first shipment, atomic fuel to a floating city on Neptune. They overcome a series of mechanical breakdowns through some old space maneuvers. The I. S. S. plan backfired when one of their ships suffered an emergency, and was rescued by the very old timers they had tried to put out of business. To make amends, the company president promised to help the new company and even erected a statue to honor the space pioneers.
The third story of the issue was the six page Congo Bill adventure story. The writer was unknown, but the art was done by Ed Smalle. Congo Bill accepted the challenge of surviving on an uninhabited island, using nothing but his bare hands. The Adventure Club offered $5,000.00 if he succeeded. Unknown to Congo Bill, some escaped killers were hiding on the very island. They kidnapped Congo Bill and forced him into slave labor. He tricked them into using all of their ammunition, and the criminals eventually fell off a cliff into shark infested waters. The Adventure Club Members found Congo Bill at the campsite, and he donated his winnings for famine relief.
Vigilante, the modern western hero, starred in the final ten page story of the issue, Six Slugs For Vigilante, drawn by Dan Barry (brother of long time Phantom comic strip artist Sy Barry). Flying on his way to the next stop of his concert tour, Vigilante captured some train robbers. One of the criminals got loose from his bonds and tried to take over Vigilante's plane. The plane crashed, but everyone escaped unharmed. The criminals attempted to kill Vigilante and his sidekick Stuff a number of times, but Vigilante eventually recaptured them and returned them to jail.
Superman #150, January 1962, was published on November 7, 1961. It contained 32 pages for 12 cents. This issue was reprinted in : Showcase Presents: Superman vol. III.. The editor was Mort Weisinger, and the cover was penciled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kaye, featuring the third story of the issue, When The World Forgot Superman.
The first story of the issue was the eight page The One Minute Of Doom was written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Al Plastino. Superman stopped a tornado by flying around it in the opposite direction at super speed. He left a cheering crowd for a special appointment.
In outer space, Krypto used his heat vision to fuse asteroids together to build a Doghouse of Solitude. He also left for a special appointment.
Back on Earth, Supergirl saw some boys fishing. Some boys with fancy poles made fun of a boy who only had a bamboo pole. Underwater, Supergirl hooked a whale onto the hook of the bamboo pole to teach the other boys a lesson. She also left for a special appointment.
Supergirl met Superman and Krypto at the Fortress of Solitude. They gathered near the bottle city of Kandor, to pay respects to their lost home planet in Krypton Memorial Day, with a minute of silence. The Super trio then recalled their origins.
Superman, with his super memory, recalled being placed on the rocket when he was a toddler, by his parents Jor-El and Lara.
Supergirl remembered the survival of her home in Argo City, when it survived Krypton's destruction on a huge chunk of rock and a sliver of an atmosphere. They survived the transformation of the ground to kryptonite by lining the ground with lead sheeting. When a meteor storm punched through the lead shielding, Kara Zor-El's parents placed her in a rocket in order to save her.
Krypto recalled being sent into space in a test rocket by Jor-El, to perfect his design which would eventually send his son to Earth.Years later Krypto's rocket would land on Earth and be discovered by Superboy.
The people of Kandor recalled being captured by Brainiac. Even the Phantom Zone prisoners mourned Krypton's destruction. The citizens of Bizarro World remembered Krypton Day in their usual backwards fashion by a minute of noise.
After a minute of silence Superman thought of another way to honor Krypton. Superman, Supergirl and Krypto flew into space and found a huge uninhabited planet aobut the same size Krypton was. They used their superpowers to terraform the planet into a duplicate of Krypton, complete with Kryptonian cities and a robot population. The super trio planned to return to this planet every year in the future for Krypton Memorial Day.
The second, eight page, story was The Duel Over Superman, written by Robert Bernstein and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. Lois Lane covered a blackout in Metropolis, caused by a nighttime lightning storm. She met Lana Lang, who was covering the same story for television. Both women watched Superman repair a high tension wire and end the blackout. The two ladies dined at a restaurant afterward, and decided to force Superman to choose between them. To raise the stakes they would fake a duel with each other, and force Superman to choose one of them to keep them from killing each other. Lois had the idea of having the duel at a local castle that she had written an article about. Of course, each woman thought that Superman would pick her over the other one.
The next day, at the opening of an new amusement park where Superman made an appearance, Lois and Lana faked an argument and challenged each other to a duel. At the Daily Planet offices, Jimmy was unable to talk Lois out of it. She informed Jimmy that she had announced that he would referee the duel. Poor Jimmy then used his signal watch to summon Superman to help find a way to stop the duel.
Superman saw through the scheme and decided to teach both women a lesson. First he built robot duplicates of Lois and Lana. At the castle, he secretly locked Lana in the dungeon and had the robot Lana duel Lois. The robot Lana drew swords. Lois' plan seemed to backfire when she expected Jimmy to call Superman with his signal watch to stop the duel. She went on with the fight and stabbed the robot Lana with her sword. Jimmy led Lois into the armory as she thought she had killed the real Lana.
Superman then unlocked the door to the dungeon, and Lana faced the robot Lois. It was Lana's turn to wonder why Jimmy didn't call Superman with his signal watch to stop the duel. Robot Lois chose pistols, and Lana fired into the ground to avoid hitting Lois. But to her surprise, robot Lois fell as if hit by the shot. Lana thought the bullet ricocheted to hit Lois
The Man of Steel maneuvered the real Lois and Lana into the same room. Furious, Lana and Lois attacked each other, forcing Superman to admit using robot duplicates to trick both women. The two women continue their attack off the top of the castle. Superman rescued both women, to discover that the real Lois and Lana on top of the castle. They had outfoxed Superman, when they discovered their robot duplicates and reprogrammed them.
While this was a chauvinistic story, and would not be published today, it was fun to see how Superman had his own trick turned on him.
The final story in this issue was the nine page When The World Forgot Superman, written by Jerry Siegel, penciled by Curt Swan and inked by Wayne Boring. Superman returned to Earth and Metropolis in time to stop a gas explosion in the sewers. He flew at super speed to keep the manhole covers from blowing off. He almost got arrested for disturbing the peace by a police officer who had never heard of Superman.
He flew to a window at the Daily Planet building, but Perry Lois and Jimmy had never heard of Superman either. Superman secretly changed to Clark Kent and suspected a prank. Lois told Clark about the crazy guy who claimed to be a superman, and he realized that it was not a prank after all.
Clark checked the front page of a previous edition of the Daily Planet, which had the banner headline of Superman recovering a sunken space capsule. Instead, the headline in tis place was of the robbery of a pretzel factory. He decided to prove he was Superman.
As the Man of Steel, he balanced on a wire with his fingertip over downtown Metropolis. He then flew down over the unbelieving crowd, who pointed out the jet pack under his cape (which wasn't there a moment ago).When he leapt over the crowd, springs were on his feet. He then caught a falling statue, but people noticed it was made of sponge. A moment ago it was made of stone.
Superman then realized the source of this insanity. Outside of Metropolis he called Mr. Mxyzptlk. His hunch was correct, as the imp had used his 5th Dimension magic to make people forget that Superman ever existed. The Man of Steel carved the letters in Mxy's name out of rock. He challenged Mxyzptlk to pronounce the word each time he rearranged the letters. Eventually, Superman confused Mxy enough that he pronounced his own name backwards and had to return to his own dimension.
I thought this was one of the weaker ways that Superman defeated Mxyzptlk. It must have been an off day for the imp.
Next Episode: Happy Birthday, Elliot S! Maggin!
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