Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Episode #163: Superman Family Of Comics Cover Dated November/December 1954!

The Superman family of titles that carried the November/December 1954 cover date were Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #2 and World's Finest Comics #73.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #2, November/December 1954, was published around September 21, 1954. It contained 32 pages for the cover price of 10 cents. Mort Weisinger was the editor, and the cover was pencilled by Curt Swan. There was no information about the identity of the inker. The cover featured the first story of the issue, The Flying Jimmy Olsen. All three stories in this issue were written by Otto Binder, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Ray Burnley. This issue was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Superman Family vol. I

The eight page story, The Flying Olsen, began at the Daily Planet offices. Superman gave his pal Jimmy Olsen  a new memento from the Man of Steel's latest case, a gun from one of the mobsters Superman had captured and taken to jail. The Man of Steel had bent the barrel so that it pointed backwards. Jimmy was appreciative as always. As Superman later changed into his Clark Kent clothes in a storage closet, he thought about how Jimmy always got a kick out of  such souvenirs. He then typed up the story about Superman's latest case. Jimmy showed his new memento to Clark, and mentioned how close he and Superman was. As if Clark Kent hadn't heard it before, not to mention that he was closer to Sueperman than even Jimmy was.

That evening Jimmy added his new addition to his Superman collection. He then noticed a tag, which was tied to a bottle buried in a box of sand. On the box was written, "Sand of another world brought back by Superman." The tag had a translation of the bottle's alien lettering, courtesy of Superman, which read, "He who drinks will gain great powers for one day." Despite the fact that the liquid came form another world, Jimmy drank it. Down the hatch. The only effect the potion had on Jimmy was to make him fall asleep.

But in the next moment, Jimmy was awaken when his head hit the ceiling when he floated out of his chair. Jimmy tested the anti-gravity effect of the alien elixir by flying out of his window. He noticed two boys who were standing next to a sign advertising a circus in town. They were disappointed by the "Closed Indefinitely" notice that had been pasted onto the sign.

Jimmy approached Mr. Danning, the circus manager, and made him an offer. After finding a costume among circus props, Jimmy demonstrated his prowess. He mad a 20 foot leap into the air, followed by a dozen somersaults. Jimmy billed himself as Daredevil Olsen, and after an impromptu parade through town, made his debut at that evening's circus performance. He jumped from the floor the the trapeze, 100 feet above the ground. He missed the other trapeze bar and seemed to fall to his doom, before flying over the crowd much as Dumbo did in the Disney movie. Next he did a high dive into a pile of sawdust. Jimmy brushed off Superman, who had appeared, in order to save his Pal from breaking his neck or worse. Daredevil Olsen made a soft landing on his tip toes in the sawdust.

After Jimmy told Superman how he had gained his powers, the Man of Steel joined Clark Kent and Lois Lane to watch the rest of Jimmy's performance. Several captions asked the readers if they could figure out how Superman and Clark could appear together. (It's not like it never happened before. Bruce Wayne, President Kennedy and Superman robots have made it possible in a number of Superman stories, some of which we have yet to come to. So I won't spoil any more story points.)

Jimmy's next act was in the big cat cage, full of lions and tigers. This part of the act was interrupted by gunfire, as thieves robbed the Danning Circus box office. Jimmy flew into action with a sword, and used it to deflect their bullets. Superman joined in the action, and the crooks were quickly defeated. Clark Kent was hit by one of the ricochet bullets, and Superman quickly flew him to the hospital.

Daredevil Olsen's next act was to be chained to heavy weights in a tank of water. As the circus Master of Ceremonies held a ringing alarm clock, Jimmy realized he was in trouble because he couldn't move. It dawned on him that he had lost his powers, probably because a day on that alien planet was shorter than an Earth day.

Jimmy was awoken by Superman, who poured a pitcher of water on his head. Superman's Pal had slept late, and phone calls from the Daily Planet did not wake him up. Superman had flown there to check on Jimmy. He then read Superman's note on the back of the bottle's tag, "This is merely a chemical of that world, producing heavy sleep and wild dreams! (signed) Superman."

So Jimmy told the Man of Steel about his dream, and then put the empty bottle back in its box. In a thought balloon meant for the reader, Superman thought that Clark and Superman being together would be impossible, a clue that it was a dream. And with a wink to the reader, Superman thought that no one who knew his double identity would have been fooled.

I enjoy dream stories. They're almost as much fun as "imaginary stories". Things happen to the characters that wouldn't be in a "regular" comic book story. As a 50 year old Superman fan, I knew it was a dream story as soon as Jimmy fell asleep. But if I had read this as a kid in the mid 1960's, it probably wouldn't have been so obvious.

It probably wasn't smart of Jimmy to drink a liquid from another world, but maybe Superman checked it out first to be sure it was safe for his impulsive pal. it was fun to read about Jimmy using his flying power for a good cause, saving a circus. The captions that accompanied the panels showing Clark and Superman sitting together in the audience were heavy handed, but it was typical of Silver Age comic book stories, pointing things out to the young audience they were written for at this time. Today it seemed that the writer and editor were getting in the way of the story. At the end of his dream, I don't think Jimmy was in any real danger in the water tank, not with Superman in the audience.

Overall I give this story 3 Superman Shields out of 5. I would give it 4, but I knock off a point for the heavy handed captions I mentioned earlier.

The second story of the issue was the eight page, The Hide And Seek Mystery! Jimmy and Jumbo returned to the Daily Planet Flying Newsroom helicopter after covering a factory fire somewhere outside Metropolis. As they approach the Flying Newsroom, Jimmy and Jumbo ran into three crooks running from police after a robbery. Jimmy recommended "the old stumble routine" and Jumbo fell in front of one of the gangsters. The crook tripped over Jumbo, straight into Jimmy's uppercut. They turned their captive over to the local police officers, who have also captured a second thief. One of the officers recognized them as members of the Purple Gang. Neither one had the stolen jewels, so the police suspected that the third gangster, Slug Martin, had eluded capture and had the jewels. Jimmy wrote the story for the next edition of the Daily Planet while Jumbo piloted the Flying Newsroom back to the building's roof. Jimmy reached into what looked like a snack bowl as he typed. Following up on the story later that day, Jimmy saw a story on the newswire teletype that Slug had been apprehended by Metropolis Police.

At the Planet newsroom the next week, Jimmy and Clark heard a radio news report about a stranded climber on Mt. Baldy. Jimmy took the Flying Newsroom to cover the story, while Clark flew to rescue the climber as Superman. After clearing the mountain path, the Man of Steel carried the climber to safety, and recognized him as Squinty Ames, another member of the Purple Gang. Jimmy also recognized him, as he watched Superman with a pair of binoculars. Jimmy felt it was quite a coincidence to run into another member of the Purple Gang after the robbery. He tried to come up with a connection between the two incidents as he reached into his snack bowl.

After returning to his desk at the Planet, Jimmy followed up on the story with the Police. Jimmy's source at the MPD could only tell Jimmy that Slug kept quiet about the stolen jewels. The only thing they had picked up was Slugs mentioning the words, "desk drawer" to his lawyer. Jimmy studied the mug shots of the Purple Gang to try to figure out a pattern between the robbery and Squinty's appearance on Mt. Baldy, to no avail just yet.

A few days later, Jimmy had another story to cover with Jumbo and the Flying Newsroom, a fire on Pike's Island caused by a mysterious explosion. They arrived at the island just as Superman appeared to douse the flames.The Man of Steel's main concern were the stranded fisherman on shore, whose boats were consumed in the fire. Superman found a sunken barge and used it to create a giant wave that doused the fire. Jumbo landed the Flying Newsroom a safe distance from the site of the fire, and he and Jimmy began to make their way to shore to interview the rescued fishermen.

Jimmy noticed two fishermen deep in the woods, far from water. When he recognized their faces as Gunner Barton and Bob Dunn of the Purple Gang, the pattern became clear to Jimmy. He and Jumbo rushed back to the Flying Newsroom. Remembering the police tip, Jimmy looked in a desk drawer in the Planet's helicopter, and, sure enough, found the bag of the uncut diamonds. Jumbo noticed the two gang members approaching the Flying Newsroom. While Bob held Jimmy and Jumbo hostage with his handgun, Gunner searched the drawers for the uncut diamonds. They were nowhere to be found. Dunn couldn't get anything out of the two Daily Planet employees. Barton and Dunn began to think that Slug had double crossed the gang.

While Dunn held Jimmy and Jumbo at gunpoint, he reached into the snack bowl. He told Jimmy that he thought that the diamonds were still in the Flying Newsroom. Jimmy thought that Dunn would be surprised if he knew where the diamonds really were. He knew time was running out for he and Jumbo, so he offered his watch to Dunn if he let them go. He claimed the watch was valuable, and that the extra knob did something cool.

Dunn pressed the knob, but nothing happened. But before he could take out his frustrations on Jimmy for making a fool of him, Superman showed up and captured the gang, with some help from Jimmy and Jumbo. They used the old "stumble routine" from the beginning of the story once again to knock out Gunner Barton.

After filling Superman in on his story, Jimmy revealed that he hid the uncut diamonds in his snack bowl, under all of the peanuts. Since the diamonds were uncut, they wouldn't sparkle. The next day, Jimmy's story on the diamond robbery made the front page of the Daily Planet, under the masthead. Clark told Jimmy that the diamonds were worth a half million dollars. Jimmy told Clark that the gang wasn't after peanuts.

There was one heavy handed caption, after Jimmy wrote the first story on the diamond robbery, when the caption said that he would do more than write the last chapter. Otherwise it was an excellent Silver Age story that holds up today. I did think that, in reality, wouldn't it be illegal for police to eavesdrop on a conversation between a suspect and his attorney? But the story did a good job of introducing the snack bowl in a very subtle way. In the scenes with the mountain climber and the island fire, it seemed that either the Flying Newsroom flew fast, or Superman was slow. I didn't think that a helicopter could fly fast enough to get to the scene as fast as the Man of Steel. But then there was no indication how far from Metropolis either place was. Jimmy thought fast on his feet to hide the diamonds so cleverly. Bob Dunn was lucky he either didn't have to go to a dentist or the emergency room, or both, if he would have bitten into, or swallowed a diamond or two. I would give this story 4 Superman Shields out of 5. I would give it 5, but I knock off a point for the heavy handed caption and Jimmy's bad pun in the last panel.

Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Ex-Pal was the issues third and final six page story. It began with Jimmy enjoying his vacation at a Metropolis beach resort with his date Betty. (Since this was a Silver Age story, with a big Comics Code seal on the cover, Jimmy and Betty probably had booked separate rooms.) Betty took a quick dip but soon yelled for help. Jimmy dove into the water to rescue Betty, who was saved by the lifeguard Tom Barton. He gave Jimmy a hard time for being Superman's Pal, but Betty said that Tom was only being jealous. She didn't believe Tom because Jimmy never bragged about being Superman's Pal.

That evening Jimmy took Betty to a dance, only to be met by the annoying Tom again, who asked Jimmy if he had any spare Superman autographs. Betty noticed Superman walking towards them, but Jimmy was shocked when the Man of Steel walked by him without even looking at him. This gave Tom a good laugh, but Jimmy ignored him and followed Superman into the hotel lobby.

Jimmy overheard Superman warn the desk manager, Mr. Todd, that a gang of thieves were operating in the area. Mr. Todd didn't have time to find added security for the funds he wouldn't be able to deposit in the bank until the next day. Jimmy was shocked to hear Superman ask for 10 percent of the money in his safe, to be donated to charity, for his services of safeguarding the funds. The Man of Steel crumbled a rock onto the floor by the safe, so that his super hearing would be able to better pick up the thieves' footsteps.

Jimmy approached Superman, but the Man of Steel brushed him off as a kid who only wanted an autograph. This gave Tom more laughs, and Jimmy said goodnight to Betty. It wasn't a fun night for Jimmy at all. He followed Superman, and overheard the Man of Steel bragging about some of his super deeds. This struck Jimmy as very unlike Superman's behavior. He walked to the secluded boathouse and activated his signal watch so that he and Superman could talk privately about his behavior.

Jimmy heard a noise, and peeked around the corner. The gang tied their boat to the dock and went to the hotel safe to steal the money. The thieves didn't see Jimmy, who followed them into the hotel. Jimmy noticed that the crumbled rock didn't make any noise. After the gang left, Jimmy examined the crushed stone and made a surprising discovery.

He found Superman outside, signing autographs for Betty and Tom and others. Jimmy walked up to Superman and punched him on the chin. This knocked Superman back, and Jimmy began a fight against the Man of Steel, and appeared to be winning. The gang approached, and Superman told them to plug the crazy kid before he ruined everything. A second Superman swooped from the night sky just in time to block the bullets fired by one of the gunmen. Jimmy knocked out the now obviously fake Superman with one more punch, as the real Man of Steel rounded up the rest of the gang.

Superman was familiar with this racket, led by Slick Dugan, as the fake Superman, pulling the racket at several area resorts. Dugan responded that he knew his fake Superman racket wouldn't last forever, so this was to be his last job before moving on. What tipped Jimmy off was that the pulverized rock turned out to be crumbled sponge, which muffled that gang's footsteps instead of creating more noise.

Betty told Tom that if he asked nice, Jimmy might give him his autograph. Tom apologized to Jimmy, who, being Superman's Pal, didn't hold a grudge.

The next day Superman brought the latest edition of the Daily Planet, with the banner headline, Superman And Boy Pal Nab Bandits, to Jimmy, still on vacation. Jimmy didn't notice Superman on the dock, since his attention was on Betty, in the canoe he was rowing. Jimmy's attention was taken up by another ahem pal, as Superman noted.

I enjoyed this story. It showed the public down side to being Superman's Pal, with the heckling and jealousy of Tom Barton. Jimmy used his brain to help Superman capture the bad guys, which has been a common theme of these early Olsen stories.While I enjoy Jack Larsen's portrayal of Jimmy in the 1950's TV show The Adventures Of Superman, I think I prefer the Jimmy from this comic book title. He had a habit of getting in over his head, but didn't become the boy hostage, at least in these early stories. Most of all, this story said a lot about the real Superman's character, that Jimmy noticed that Superman had never asked for financial compensation for his deeds before, or bragged about them to the public. This is what made Superman Superman. I would give this story 5 Superman Shields out of 5. None of the captions were as heavy handed as in the first two stories, and this final tale said a lot about Jimmy's relationship with Superman.

World's Finest Comics #73, November/December 1954, was published around September 30, 1954. It contained 32 pages for 10 cents. The editor was Jack Schiff, and the cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kaye, illustrating the Superman and Batman story Batman And Superman, Swamis, Inc.. They drew this twelve page story as well, which was written by Edmond Hamilton. This story was reprinted in World's Finest Comics Archives vol. I and Showcase Presents: World's Finest vol. I.

The story began with Clark and Lois covering a carnival in Gotham City. Lois suggested looking into the fortune teller booth, and the skeptical Clark followed. The Swami had nothing for Lois, but did have a message for Clark. Lois took the hint and decided to cover the carnival separately, and she and Clark would combine their notes after they returned to Metropolis.

The message the Swami had for Clark was that he was secretly Superman. Before Clark could recover from the shock, the Swami revealed his own identity as Bruce Wayne, secretly Batman. Bruce filled Clark in about the reason for the disguise. Batman and Robin had stopped a robbery of the payroll at the Wayne Foundries when Batman had to save Robin from falling into one of the vats of molten metal. One of the crooks had a scimitar that had cut Robin's Batrope.

Two days later Batman ran a bank robbery getaway car off the road. These crooks were apparently the same ones who had robbed the Wayne Foundries. They had the same scimitar. One of the captured thieves called it the Chinese Luck Sword, which their leader the Fang said would protect them form the police.

Later, Bruce read a newspaper item about some bandits who beat up an astrologer, who had give false information about the location of a lost antique sword. Bruce had later discovered from the underworld grapevine that the Fang believed in the supernatural. So Bruce was disguised as a fortune teller in order to fish for a lead on the case. He thought that Superman's help in making some of his predictions come true would attract the attention of the Fang and his gang.

Bruce's first customer of the day was a businessman who owned a failing factory. Bruce correctly said his name of Paul James, a machinery magnate known for his philanthropic efforts. Superman listened to the conversation on a spare Bat radio, as he sat on a nearby roof. Bruce advised James not to sell his business because it would have value the next day. Superman solved his problem by digging up uranium and planting it under James factory grounds. Later Superman made another prediction come true by covering a leaking roof with leaves so that it would not leak during a rain.

The next day, Swami Bruce read a headline in the Gotham Gazette that uranium discovered on James property saved it from bankruptcy. His next customer was a singer who had her debut that night, but had a cold and wondered if she should cancel. He advised her not to cancel because her debut would be a success. Superman solved this problem by building a noise suppressor on the roof of the Gotham Auditorium, where she would be making her debut performance. Sure enough, the noise suppressor covered the roughness of her voice, as well as any ambient noise, so her voice sounded perfect.

A bald man who overheard her credit Swami Ananda went to a waterfront warehouse to report to his boss, the Fang. After consulting his henchman's horoscope, the Fang told Jeff to go see the Swami.

Jeff made it to the Swami's booth soon after Superman left Bruce to return to Metropolis. Jeff told the Swami that he was looking for a lost article. Bruce thought that Jeff looked like a rough character. Jeff tested the Swami by asking him where he lived. Robin was behind a curtain and used a mirror to flash a code to the crystal ball that Bruce gazed into. Bruce correctly told Jeff that he lived on the West Side, and then told him that the real reason he was there was that he was looking for a sharp curved object.

this sounded like the guy Batman and Robin was looking for, so the Boy Wonder hitched a ride on the back of the taxi that drove Jeff back to the West Side warehouse. Swami Bruce noticed another car tailing the taxi, and used the Bat radio from his utility belt to warn Robin that he was being followed by the black sedan. Robin jumped off the taxi, grabbed an overhanging sign, and dropped onto the roof of the sedan as he drove under the sign. The car slammed on its brakes and made Robin lose his balance. The Boy Wonder was kidnapped, so Bruce removed his Swami disguise to become Batman and search for his partner.

The Fang used Robin's Bat radio to make a deal with Batman. He would release Robin safely if Batman returned the sword. Batman obliged but was knocked out when he entered the warehouse. He awoke to find himself tied up next to Robin, with the Fang holding the scimitar.

As the Fang monologued, a bad habit of villains in comic books, Batman was in the process of cutting the rope binding his wrists, using a sharp piece of glass glued to his glove. Suddenly, the sword flew out of the Fang's hands and whacked Jeff with its flat side. The flying sword then sliced the ties of two more gang members before pointing towards the Fang and speaking to him. The sword then cut Batman and Robin loose  from their bonds. Then Superman revealed himself as the invisible wielder of the sword, accomplished by vibrating at super speed. The Man of Steel then revealed that he learned of the Dynamic Duo's problems from the spare Bat radio that he had forgotten to return to Batman. Superman mentioned that he could have intervened sooner, but he didn't want to make too easy for Batman, who said that it was a taste of his own medicine. He had certainly challenged Superman with some of the predictions he needed to come true. The Silver Age Superman once again showed that he was one to be messed with. Or, to put it another way, you don't tug on Superman's cape.

This was another fun Superman and Batman team up. I did have to wonder about Superman planting some uranium under the factory grounds. Today we would worry about the uranium polluting the water table or the surrounding ground itself. I wonder how the uranium would have been safely extracted. But beyond that, it was a fun adventure as our heroes tried to capture the Fang and his gang. Superman showed his almost unlimited brain power by some of his solutions, especially his noise suppressor machine, which allowed a singer with a cold to perform flawlessly. This was another common trait of the Silver Age Superman. I give this story 4 Superman Shields out of 5.

Two other stories were published in this issue. The middle story of the issue starred Tomahawk in the six page The Yankee Schoolmaster, written by Bruno Premiani and inked by Ray Burnley. The final story of the issue was the six page The Hercules Arrow, starring Green Arrow, drawn by George Papp.

Elsewhere in DC Comics, there were 27 titles which carried the November or November/December 1954 cover date.

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Next Episode: the book Superman: From Serial To Cereal!

In two weeks: The Superman Family Of Comic Books Cover Dated January/February 1955: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #3 & World's Finest Comics #74!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Episode #162: Superman Comics Cover Dated July 1958: Superman #122 & Action Comics #242!

This week we begin our bi-weekly look at the Silver Age Superman titles of Superman and Action Comics, beginning with the cover dated issues of July, 1958. The reasons I'm beginning with the Superman titles with this cover date, and not the July/August 1954 cover dated issues, which were published along Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #1 and World's Finest Comics #72, are given in Episode #160, The Search For The Silver Age Superman. Next week I will return to the Superman Family of titles Jimmy Olsen and World's Finest, and in two weeks I will look at the August 1958 Superman titles of Superman and Action Comics, and continue this pattern through Superman editor Mort Weisinger's retirement in 1970.

Superman #122, July 1958, was published around May 1, 1958. It contained 32 pages for the cover price of a dime. The editor, as always in this era, was Mort Weisinger. The cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kay, illustrating the third story of the issue, The Super Sergeant. All three stories in this issue were written by Otto Binder, and have been reprinted in Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow Archives, vol. I and Showcase Presents: Superman, vol. I.

The eight page story, The Secret Of The Space Souvenirs, drawn by Al Plastino, was first in the issue. It began with Clark Kent, at his Daily Planet office, checking Metropolis with his telescopic vision. Since all was quiet, he planned to finish filing his stories for the day. Suddenly he became dizzy, changed into Superman, and had a sudden compulsion to fly into outer space. He followed the urge all the way to Saturn's rings, where he found a musical mineral. The Man of Steel returned to Metropolis and presented it to the Metropolis Museum. Curators happened to be filling a time capsule with artifacts from 1958, to be opened in the 50th Century. Superman insisted that the musical rock be included in the time capsule, but the curators didn't know if they had enough room in their time capsule for another object. The Man of Steel then snapped out of his trance, and did not remember getting the space rock, or why he was at the Metropolis museum.

Later, during a lunch appointment with Lois Lane, the same dizziness came over Superman again. He told her he was flying to the planet Uranus. There, he found the fossil of an ancient 6-legged horse that had lived on the planet. Superman then brought it back to the museum as well.

The next day, another dizzy spell attacked Superman during an appearance at an orphanage. He left the disappointed orphans this time to fly to Pluto. The Man of Steel brought back giant snowflakes, but before dropping them off at the museum, he took them to the orphanage. Superman entertained the children by throwing them like boomerangs. For whatever reason, the snowflakes stayed frozen, even at the warmer temperatures of Earth. (Maybe they were composed of some chemical that stayed frozen at higher temperatures.This explanation works just as well as anything else in the Silver Age.) Superman was at a loss to explain his strange actions.

The next day he flew deep into Earth's oceans and retrieved a gold flying saucer from the ancient ruins of Atlantis. At the museum, Lois noticed a pattern to Superman's odd trophies, and gave him the prediction that he would next visit Saturn's moon Rhea. Sure enough, the Man of Steel did fly there, and brought back one of the knotted trees from the Saturnian moon. Lois next predicted that Superman would go to Mars, followed by Ariel, one of the moons of the planet Uranus.

From Mars, Superman retrieved a statue of an ancient Martian, who looked nothing like J-onn J-onzz, the Martian Manhunter, who first appeared in DC Comics in 1955. Maybe it was a different race of Martians from the planet's ancient history. Later, Superman was hit by another compulsion while trying to capture an escaped tiger at a zoo. As he flew into space, the Man of Steel knocked a small meteor with exact aim. The rock hit Earth just in front of the tiger, so it fell into the crater, and animal handlers could safely retreive the animal. Superman brought back a rainbow colored flower from the moon Ariel.

Lois then informed the Man of Steel that he would make one more trip, but she would keep the location secret for a story she was writing for the Daily Planet. Ever the reporter, she always put the story first. His final trip was to the planet Neptune, where he brought back a head the grateful citizens of Neptune carved after he helped them in the past.

After Superman returned to the Metropolis museum, Lois finally revealed that the first letters from the names of the heavenly bodies that he had flown to spelled his own name. But she had no clue, and neither did the Man of Steel, about the reasons why. That night, as Clark slept, he learned the true reason for his strange compulsions. In a dream, a citizen from the 50th Century told Clark/Superman that the space trophies that he had found were in the time capsule they would open that day at their museum. They had sent the compulsions back through time, so that the Man of Steel would collect the artifacts, so that they could honor him in their era.

The next day, Clark and Lois watched the time capsule, which would be opened in 30 centuries, being buried at the museum. Lois commented that she felt that Superman staged the phony compulsions to impress the 50th Century because he was conceited. Clark thought to himself that he just couldn't win. With Lois, sometimes you can't.

This was a common Silver Age Superman story, one that did not have a villain, but some gimmick that had the Man of Steel doing something unusual. It was a typical light hearted story involving the Man of Steel.

One thing I have to wonder is how the Metropolis museum fit all of Superman's trophies into the time capsule, along with their own artifacts? Also, what a strange way for the 50th Century to honor who they considered as the greatest hero: brainwashing him to go on a scavenger hunt, and let him think he was going out of his mind during this time. And Superman's detective skills were lacking in this story, if he needed Lois to figure out the pattern for him. In other Silver Age stories he out thinks the villains in fantastic ways.

I give this story 3 Superman Shields out of 5.

Superman In The White House was the middle eight page story of the issue. It was drawn by Al Plastino. I featured this story back in Episode #47: Superman For President! For the Daily Planet's Patriots' Day edition, Perry White assigned Clark to write a story about President Washington, and Lois to write a story about President Lincoln. When Jimmy asked Perry which president he should write about, Perry told him to pick one and let him know after lunch. As he walked out the door, he told Jimmy to straighten Superman's picture on the wall.

While he straightened the picture, Jimmy thought about what a great president Superman would make, and then decided that it would be the subject of his article. When Jimmy turned around, Superman's picture fell off the wall and hit him on the head and knocked Jimmy out. As he laid on the floor, Jimmy dreamed about Superman being elected President.

In his dream, Superman won the presidential election by the largest plurality in history. Jimmy witnessed Superman taking the oath of office, followed by Clark Kent as the Man of Steel's Vice-President. One of his first Presidential acts was to hire Jimmy as his Press Secretary. Jimmy watched Superman sign official documents at super speed. Then the Man of Steel went for a walk, leaving his Secret Service detail behind. The dumbest assassins in the world failed to kill Superman with knives, machine guns or bombs.

With no need to protect an invulnerable President, the Secret Service decided to resign. Jimmy reminded them that Superman was still vulnerable to kryptonite, so they searched suspicious characters for the lethal mineral at every public appearance President Superman made.

Clark Kent found the unconscious Jimmy Olsen on the floor, and gently placed him in a chair. Jimmy mumbled in his sleep, so Clark was able to catch on that Jimmy was dreaming about Superman as President. Clark thought to himself that it was impossible for the Man of Steel to be President of the United States.

In Jimmy's dream, Superman saved government costs by carrying a plane that contained his Presidential staff to the site of a U. N. Conference he needed to attend. Later, Superman shook every hand in a crowd at the White House at super speed. At another public appearance, the Man of Steel threw the first pitch on Opening Day of the baseball season. The only difference was that President Superman threw the ball around the world, to the pitching mound of a baseball stadium in Japan for their Opening Day.

To solve the problem of the nation's $387 million debt, Superman found enough buried treasure to wipe out the debt. He also christened the new destroyer, USS Superman. When the destroyer became grounded, the Man of Steel pushed it into open water. Superman's face was later put on a stamp, as well as the $100.00 bill.

Jimmy's dream ended as he put Superman's Presidential portrait on the wall, with past Presidents.Then he saluted the picture as Clark finally woke him up. Jimmy felt alright, and was about to return to his desk and write his story about why Superman would make a great President. Clark reminded Jimmy that Superman could never be President of the United States because he was born on another planet, Krypton. Kent then looked at the reader and thought that Clark could, but not that he would think to.

After reading this story for this episode, I researched Patriots' Day. It is a civic holiday celebrated in Massachusetts and Maine on the third Monday in April, honoring the first Revolutionary War battles of Concord and Lexington.

Dream stories like these almost qualify as "imaginary stories", which were common in the Silver Age. It was fun to read how a Silver Age President Superman would use his powers. As our government wrestles with the current debt problem, it would be nice if it could have been solved as simply as Superman did.

I give this story 3 Superman Shields out of 5.

The final story of the issue was the eight page, The Super Sergeant, pencilled by Wayne Boring and inked by Stan Kaye. I first featured this story back in Episode #48: Superman In The Army! On an Army base, Private Jones woke up and floated up to hit his head on the ceiling. He then flew to the showers ahead of the other guys in the barracks, and stood under scalding hot water without burning himself. At the mess hall, he then warmed up his cold oatmeal with his "x-ray" vision (as Superman's heat vision was called at the time). After breakfast, Private Jones bent a gun barrel with his bare hands.

Superman eavesdropped on Jones, and had an idea how the soldier woke up with super powers. The Man of Steel had been testing a helmet radio, which was designed to broadcast a radio signal within a 1,000 mile range. A bolt of lightning hit Superman, and the helmet broadcast an electrical pattern that hit Pvt. Jones without electrocuting him.

During his garbage duty, Pvt. Jones threw the garbage can into the air, aiming for the garbage dump far away. Jones failed to notice Jimmy Olsen piloting the Daily Planet's Flying Newsroom helicopter, which was in the path of the flying trashcan. Fortunately for Jimmy, Superman was nearby and lifted the Flying Newsroom out of the path of the can's trajectory.

After Jimmy landed, Superman took him to see Private Jones, who lifted a tank with his bare hands so a mechanic could work on it. Jimmy was about to expose Jones with a piece of kryptonite that was in a lead box, which Jimmy just happened to be carrying. Superman stopped Jimmy, and took the lead box to a lake, where he threw it in. The Man of Steel told Jimmy that he didn't want Jones to lose his superpowers yet, but wouldn't give his reasons why. After Jimmy left, Superman followed two civilians on the base, whom he knew to be spies. Why Superman didn't report them to base security, I don't know why.

Later, Private Jones stopped an Army truck and jeep from crashing into each other. Superman watched Jones prevent the accident, then flew back to Metropolis to finish his reporter duties as Clark Kent. He got a surprise from Perry White, who assigned Kent to cover the super powered Private Jones, as Private Kent for the duration of the assignment.

At the Army base, Private Kent was introduced to Jones, and had to fake pain at Jones' grip. Then, as a publicity stunt, Jones and Kent were assigned to K. P. Clark had to pretend that he could only peel potatoes at normal human speed, while Jones peeled them at super speed. Then Private Jones used his super breath to sweep the barracks. Later, Jones was promoted to Sergeant.

Clark secretly used his telescopic vision and super hearing to keep tabs on the two spies, who were observing the super soldier. Sgt. Jones tested his invulnerability as the target of a bazooka round, and was, of course, unhurt. Clark changed into Superman at super speed to catch some shrapnel that was heading for an ammo storage building.

During war games, Sgt. Jones used a bulldozer scoop to dig a foxhole for his entire regiment. Superman dove into the hole at super speed to plug the bottom of the hole, which was leaking molten lava. Jones then wrapped a chain around "enemy" tanks, pulling them as his prisoners. The chain broke, and Superman had to save one tank from falling into a ditch.

Superman then spied on the spies, who thought that Sgt. Jones was only Superman in disguise. To prove them wrong, Superman engaged Sgt. Jones in super war games, firing artillery shells at each other. This scared off the spies, and Superman secretly observed them paddling into the ocean toward their foreign submarine, where they sent a message to their unnamed government. They reported that Superman had the ability to transfer his super powers and create a super Army, and to cancel their attack plans on America.

That evening, Superman fished the box of kryptonite out of the lake, and exposed Sgt. Jones to it, so that the next day he would no longer have super powers.

The FBI had been in on the case, as Superman flew to FBI headquarters to give a final report on the operation, which was a success, planting misinformation to a foreign enemy.

As Clark left the Army base to return to the Daily Planet and file his report, he walked by Sgt. Jones, who had to do K. P. the old fashioned way. Clark, nor Superman, apparently never told Jones how he had gotten super powers and then lost them. Besides, why was a sergeant doing K. P.?

This was the only story in the issue with anything close to a villain, the foreign spies. Other than them, there were no real bad guys in the story. It was mostly a humorous story about a super powered Private. My only real criticism of the story was when Jones dug the foxhole and lava began to seep into the hole. I think that to dig a hole deep enough to find lava would make it unsafe and too deep to use as a foxhole. Sometimes Silver Age comic book stories could go just a little too far in wild and fantastic details in the story. This was one of them. Otherwise it was another humorous Silver Age Superman story, which I would give 3 Superman Shields out of 5.

The entire issue had a common thread, typical of Silver Age Superman stories. They were just as likely to be about unusual things that happened to Superman and his friends as they were to be about the next villain to challenge the Man of Steel. The first story had future people mind control Superman to gather artifacts from around the solar system for a time capsule, and the second story showed Superman using his super powers in a Presidential way.

Action Comics #242, July 1954, was published on May 29, 1958. It contained 32 pages for 10 cents. Mort Weisinger was the editor, and the cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kaye. The Superman story of the issue was The Super Duel In Space, written by Otto Binder and drawn by Al Plastino. This story has been reprinted in Superman In the Fifties, Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow Archives vol. I, Showcase Presents: Superman vol. I, Superman: The Bottle City Of Kandor and Superman Vs. Brainiac.

The story began with the launch of the U. S. Army rocket Columbus, the first experimental rocket with humans aboard. Among the crew were reporters Lois Lane and Clark Kent of the Daily Planet. The launch was successful, and all systems go, as NASA would later say, when Columbus was attacked by a strange flying saucer. Clark secretly used his x-ray vision to learn the identity of their attacker. With his super hearing, Clark heard the alien call himself Brainiac, and his alien pet monkey's name was Koko. (I guess if you had to travel along for a long time in outer space, you'd talk to yourself to in order to have an intelligent conversation.)

Clark put on a spacesuit and rocket pack, and left Columbus through an airlock. Lois thought he was afraid and was going to fly back to Earth with the rocket pack. Once out of view of the rocket, Clark stowed the spacesuit on an asteroid, and changed into Superman. He then attacked the rocket, but bounced off the ship's invisible shield. (As Legion member Brainiac 5 would show, Brainiacs know all about invisible shields.) Superman backtracked and pushed Columbus out of the way just in time as Brainiac fired another energy weapon at the rocket. But then Brainiac ignored the rocket and shifted his focus to Earth.

The first Earth city that caught Brainiac's attention was Paris, France, which was exposed to a strange energy beam and miniaturized, then materialized in a bottle aboard Brainiac's ship. The green skinned alien revealed the purpose of this attack on Earth, to repopulate the dead planet Brainiac came from. A plague had wiped out the population, and Brainiac planned to rule his new world once again. Superman was stuck pushing the Columbus back to Earth, so he could only watch helplessly as Brainiac miniaturized other Earth cities. Athens, Greece and Rome, Italy soon became part of Brainiac's collection.

Brainiac didn't bring out his magnifying glass and bright light to roast his miniature cities like ant farms, but he did use a pair of tweezers to cut the George Washington Bridge in New York City, then pluck the Eiffel Tower out of Paris to examine it under a magnifying glass.

After filling his quota of cities, Brainiac flew to a planetoid to relax while his spaceship's batteries recharged. Superman saw his opportunity to defeat Brainiac. The Man of Steel discovered that he was unable to penetrate even Brainiac's personal force field. After a short battle, where Superman bombarded Brainiac with larger and larger pieces of the planetoid to no avail, the Man of Steel gave up and flew away. Lois Lane watched the battle from the window of the Columbus, and was shocked to see Superman defeated and give up so easily.

The Columbus finally landed safely on Earth, and Lois rushed to the Daily Planet to file her report, where she was met by Clark Kent. No sooner were the pair inside the front doors of the building, when Metropolis was hit by a strange light. It was also shrunk and placed in a containment bottle on Brainiac's ship.

Clark changed into Superman, and flew out of the bottle to attack Brainiac, even though he was shrunken to a very tiny size. It turned out that this was all part of the Man of Steel's plans, as the only way he could figure out to get inside Brainiac's ship. Superman found the alien's Hyper Force machine, as the reducing ray was called, but needed to study it more before attempting to restore Earth's cities to normal size. Brainiac thought the Man of Steel was a fly, and tried to swat it. Who knew that even aliens from other planets had fly swatters? Superman sought refuge in one bottle that Brainiac had earlier removed it's cap.

The Man of Steel was shocked to recognize Kryptonian architecture. He had stumbled upon a surviving city of his destroyed homeworld of Krypton! Superman got another surprise when the city's heavier than Earth gravity got a hold of him, and he fell very un-superhero like onto the ground. The first person Superman searched for was a Kryptonian scientist. He happened to find Professor Kimda, who also had been a college roommate of Jor-El, Superman's father. Kimda informed Superman that this was the city of Kandor.

Superman gave a brief summary of how he came to Earth from Krypton to Kimda. Kimda had used a telescope to study Brainiac's Hyper Force machine. He then gave Superman a tour of  Kandor, showing him an assembly line of rockets they used to travel around the city, and even the city zoo. Superman saw a metal eating mole that was kept in a glass cage so it could not escape (it would eat its way out of a metal cage). Robots cultivated and harvested Kandor's food crops, and a small artificial sun foew over the city on a track, simulating day and night.

After the tour, Kimda saw through his telescope that Brainiac and his pet Koko had gone into suspended animation in preparation for the long interstellar journey back to his barren world. Superman quickly devised a plan of action. He took Kimda's chart on Brainiac's machine, and asked for Kandor's most powerful rocket, and a certain animal form the city zoo.

A tiny rocket impacted its needle nose into the cap over the city's bottle. Then he pushed the metal eating mole to the cap. The mole lived up to its name and chewed a hole big enough for Superman to escape. The mole was able to climb out as well, and I assume continue to graze.

His tiny form was no hindrance to setting Brainiac's Hyper Force machine to the correct format to begin restoring Earth's cities to their proper size and place. Superman used his head, literally, to press the activation button, which restored Metropolis first. The Man of Steel continued his work, until only the bottle city of Kandor and himself were left to be restored. There was only one problem. There was only enough energy for one more enlargement. Superman was left with one choice, sacrifice himself, or leave Kandor in its miniature prison.

The decision was made for him, when another tiny rocket impacted on the activation button, enlarging Superman to normal size. The people of Kandor had decided that Earth should not be deprived of its greatest hero. Superman took the bottle city of Kandor from Brainiac's now empty ship, and placed it for safe keeping in his Fortress of Solitude. In the panel, it appeared that Superman kept it in a small cave like shelf outside in the Arctic cold. But don't worry folks, he would soon find a warm and cozy place for it inside his Fortress very soon.

This was one of those milestone issues for Superman. We got not one, but two staple of the Silver Age for the Man of Steel: Brainiac, who would join Lex Luthor as Superman's two greatest archenemies, and the bottle city of Kandor, which would be a part of Superman lore for 30 years. Kandor would finally be restored in Superman #338, August 1979, published on May 21, 1979.

As much as I liked this story, I did have a few minor quibbles about it.  How did Superman survive his fall into the bottle city of Kandor, unless his invulnerability was the last power to go, lucky for the Man of Steel. There were two big coincidences in a row. Superman flew into one opened bottle that just happened to be Kandor, and then the first Kryptonian he met was none other than the old college roommate of his father Jor-El, Prof. Kimda. How did Superman, or his rocket, survive the impact into the cap over the city's bottle. And how was Superman able to push the mole vertically up the rocket to reach the cap. The animal must have some strong claws, and maybe Superman's powers were returning the farther he got from the city.  Was that the same reason Kimda survived crashing into the on button of Brainiac's machine? Works for me. One final question I had was: why didn't Superman wait until Brainiac's ship batteries recharged, then restore Kandor to its normal size, as Brainiac did earlier in the story. It's a good question, but then we probably wouldn't have 30 years of Kandor stories to enjoy.

These minor criticisms aside, this was a great Silver Age Superman story. At the beginning of the story we expect a battle with a new villain, but the discovery of a surviving Kryptonian city was totally unexpected. Superman didn't have to feel alone any more, and his family would get even bigger, as we'll see. But that;s for a future episode. I would rate this story 5 out of 5 Superman Shields.

There were two more stories in this issue of Action Comics. The first one featured Tommy Tomorrow in the six page story, The Traffic Cop Of 2058 A. D., written by Otto Binder and drawn by Jim Mooney. The issue's final story was the six page feature with Congo Bill, Safari From Space, written by Jack Miller and drawn by Howard Sherman.

Elsewhere in DC Comics, 32 titles were published with the July or July/August 1958 cover.

Next Episode: The Superman Family Of Titles With The Cover Date Of November/December 1954: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #2 and World's Finest Comics #73!

In two weeks: We'll take a break from looking at the Superman titles of Superman and Action Comics to look at the book: Superman: From Serial To Cereal!

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Episode #161: Superman Family Of Comics Cover Dated September/October 1954!

This week begins my weekly journey through the Silver Age of Superman stories, starting with the Superman Family of titles. I'm using the Showcase Presents reprint editions as my source for these early stories. I'm including the titles Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen and World's Finest Comics . I'll pick up the title Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane  when I get to the cover date of March/April 1958. As I said in the previous episode, next week I will begin my weekly trek through the Superman titles of Superman and Action Comics, with the cover date of July 1958.

For Jimmy Olsen, who goes back almost to the earliest Superman stories of the Golden Age, his Silver Age is considered to begin with the publication of his own title, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, beginning with the September/October 1954 cover dated first issue, which was published around July 22, 1954. These stories have been published in three volumes of the repint edition Showcase Presents: Superman Family. Volumes II & III also include the early issues of Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane.

The Silver Age of Worlds' Finest Comics is considered to be when Superman and Batman began to appear in the same stories together. That first occurred in the comic books in Superman #76, May/June 1952, published on March 7, 1952. Their first team up in World's Finest was in issue #71, July/August 1954, published around May 27, 1954. To learn more about the history of the Superman and Batman team, listen to The Golden Age Of Comic Books podcast episode #58, August 24, 2008, which featured the Golden Age team ups of Superman and Batman. I featured the first team up of Superman and Batman in the pages of World's Finest in episode #119, Superman And Batman: Together Again For The First Time! If you are not familiar with these two earlier Superman and Batman stories, check out these podcast episodes. These two stories have also been reprinted in World's Finest Comics Archive vol. I and Showcase Presents: World's Finest vol. I.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #1, Sept./Oct. 1954, published around July 22, contained 32 pages for a 10 cent cover price. Along with Superman Family vol. I, this issue was also reprinted in Millennium Edition #16: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #1, which carried the April 2000 cover date. The editor was Mort Weisinger, and the cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Ray Burnley. They were the art team for all three Jimmy Olsen stories of the issue, which were written by Otto Binder. The cover showed Jimmy putting on a disguise in front of a mirror, determined to solve the case without Superman. The Man of Steel stood by the open door with a humorous smile on his face, pointing his thumb at Jiummy. Was Superman saying, check out this kid's moxie, or watch him fall flat on his face? I'd like to think it was the former. All three stories were variations on the theme, summed up in Jimmy's word balloon, of Olsen trying to solve things without Sueprman.

The first story was The Boy Of 100 Faces! It began with an ice cream vendor pedaling past a woman and some children to pedal behind two criminals. He eavesdropped on their conversation until he caught their attention.To cover himself the ice cream vendor offered free samples. The crooks pushed the free samples in his face and pushed his cart into traffic. Superman heard tires squealing, and saved the ice cream vendor before he got run over. We discovered that the vendor was none other than Jimmy Olsen in disguise, on the trail of a story about a jewel robbery. As Superman flew off, Jimmy discovered a box the crooks dropped. Inside he found a clue that led him to get Perry White's permission to borrow the Flying Newsroom to follow up his lead. The Flying Newsroom was the Daily Planet's specially equipped helicopter which allowed reporters to cover remote stories.

After being cuationed by Clark and Lois as well as Perry, Jimmy and the Flying Newsroom's pilot, Jumbo flew to Gem Lake, where he suspected the gang was hiding. After landing near there, Jimmy disguised himself as a brush salesman. At the gang's hideout he tried to sell a new dishwashing brush. They took him up on his offer of a free demonstration, and Jimmy wound up washing their dishes. They must have had every dish and pan in the house piled in the sink. One of the gang members noticed that Jimmy was a little too interested in what the rest of the gang was doing outside. When the crook was about to take him to their boss, Jimmy used everything in his briefcase to get a head start on the gang. At the Flying Newsroom, Jumbo even got into the action in fighting the gang.

There were too many of them, and Jimmy and Jumbo were tied to posts on the dock in the water, until they could finish their business and then finish them off permanently. Jimmy was able to get his watch hand loose and activate his Superman signal watch. The gang was still on the dock, so the Man of Steel pulled the posts out of the water, collapsing the pier and dunking the crooks in the water. As Superman gathered the crooks, Jimmy picked up a fishing pole and cast the hook into the water. After tying up the crooks, Superman swan underwater and found what Jimmy was fishing for, not fish, but a bag of stolen jewels. The Man of Steel slipped the hook on the sack, and let Jimmy get the credit for finding the stolen jewels.

Jimmy revealed to Superman what it was that he had found in that box on the street, in the beginning of this story. It was a tuna sized fishing hook, too big for local fish but not for a hidden bag of stolen jewels. Jimmy had the story written by the time that Jumbo landed the Flying Newsroom on the roof of the Daily Planet building, and received the congratulations of the Planet staff for his scoop, including the tough Perry White. I've read enough Superman stories to know that when you got a compliment from Perry White, you really earned it.

The second story of the issue was the Case Of The Lumberjack Jinx. At the Meredith lumber camp, a luberjack cut down a tree, but it fell the wrong way and injured another lumberjack. Perry White called Meredith to complain that he wasn't delivering enough pulp wood to fill his order of paper stock. Meredith complained that his camp was jinxed, with employees being injured every day. He was even having trouble hiring enough workers to keep his lumber camp operating. But in the panel that showed Meredith, he didn't seem to have a worried look on his face. He seemed to have a slight smile on his face. White informed Meredith that he was sending a new worker, Jimmy Wayne. Jimmy Olsen was in White's office, and Perry informed him that he was Jimmy Wayne. White wanted Jimmy to track down the phony jinx.

At the lumber camp, Meredith put Wayne to work right away, chopping down a tree. At that moment a lumber truck was driving to the Meredith lumber mill, on a road on the mountain above Jimmy. The lines securing the logs snapped, and a log rolled down the mountain toward Jimmy. Instead of running away from the rolling log, Jimmy let it come toward it and high jumped over it. (It made an impressive panel, but not very realistic.) Jimmy climbed up the mountain to the road where the truck was stopped. Meredith had gotten to the scene of the accident. Meredith confronted rival lumber camp owner Otis Burton, who happened to be stopped as he changed a flat tire. Jimmy wondered if the meeting was more than a coincidence, and if Burton was behind the "jinx". Jimmy followed Burton's tracks to a tree stump that had some holes drilled into it. (It's unclear how Jimmy knew the footprints belonged to Burton, or that he drilled into the tree stump, is not made clear. Meredith did tell Burton that he had been around too much and to get off his land. Maybe that was a clue.) Jimmy did find a clue in some of the tree shavings.

Unknown to Jimmy, another lumberjack followed him, and dug a note out of a hole in a nearby tree. Someone signed only as The Boss ordered the man to get rid of Jimmy Wayne for snooping around too much. The lumberjack planted some dynamite inside a tree stump and lit the fuse before Jimmy approached. Jimmy was spooked by the sound, which he thought was a swarm of bees nearby. Olsen got away from the tree stump just far enough to be unharmed when it blew up. As the panicked Jimmy ran away from the explosion, he happened to run toward the fleeing lumberjack. Jimmy quickly figured that this stranger tried to blow him up.

Superman happened to fly over the area to check up on Jimmy, but was unseen. As Jimmy pursued him, the lumberjack set a fire that the Boss had ordered him to set earlier. Olsen caught up to him, and after a short fight, knocked the lumberjack out. Who knew the young reporter had what it took to handle a tough lumberjack. Jimmy loosened a pile of logs, causing them to roll into the water and cause a splash that doused the fire before it got out of control.

The Man of Steel then decided to get involved and grabbed the lumberjack by the collar. Superman made the man be more afraid of him than The Boss. After Jimmy told them the whole story, Superman asked him if Burton was behind the jinx. Jimmy said that Burton was innocent, and wanted to pick him up and take him to Meredith's office. There Jimmy accused Meredith of hiring Jimmy's attacker, named Hank, to cuase the accidents. Burton had only been on Meredith's property checking for beetle blight. Jimmy showed one of the wood shavings, which had holes in it. The blight threatened Meredith's business, but a forest fire would have been covered by insurance.

In appreciation for clearing his name, Burton promised to supply the Daily Planet with paper stock. Superman flew Jimmy back to the Daily Planet and encouraged him to take full credit for the story, reminding Olsen that he didn't help his pal the whole time.

Olsen's efforts got him the front page banner headline. White told Clark that Jimmy was showing him up, and asked if he had been loafing. Clark admitted that he hadtaken it easy, and thought to himself that Superman took it easy while Jimmy took care of himself.

The final story of the issue was The Man Of Steel's Substitute. The story began  with Jimmy taking a phone call from a woman who wanted Superman to save her treed cat. Jimmy told her that Superman was too busy, and that she should call the fire department. He looked at his list of requests for Superman's help: find lost dog, dig a well, change flat tire, mind a cranky baby, paint a house, save a treed dog.

Superman really is busy, in the Alps, digging villages out of a snow avalanche.

Back at the Daily Planet offices, Jimmy declined a man's request to have Superman open his safe. The man had forgotten the combination. He had brought the safe to the Planet in a wheelbarrow, even though the safe had wheels.

At the constuction site of a bridge outside Metropolis, there was a problem that did require Superman's assistance. A new truckload of steel girders had arrived, but the steel company had warned that a defective shipment of steel had been shipped by mistake. The construction foreman needed Superman to use his x-ray vision to check the steel for defects. The foreamn called Jimmy, who activated his Superman signal watch. But there was too much static for the signal to get through, but we don't know what the source of the static was, and never learned in the story. Many of his workers were homeless men from skid row who had been gathered by Superman and taken to the foreman, who hired them to releive his labor shortage. The men became restless and resentful of Superman, who they felt had forgotten them.

Jimmy got Perry White's permission to borrow the Flying Newsroom to help out Superman. First, Jimmy stopped by his home and went to his special Superman room. It was filled with Superman headlines, pictures and even a life size Superman figure. Either it was the ultimate expression of fan appreciation, or obsession. Jimmy spliced together some scenes of his films of the Man of Steel, and some phrases from an audio recording of Superman's voice. The last prop Jimmy gathered was a Superman suit from a costume party.

At the construction site the workers became more restless, and were about to walk off the job when the Flying Newsroom landed on a nearby cliff. Jumbo helped Jimmy unload his gear and left him to carry out his plans.

The men were stopped by Superman's shadow, which moved across the cliff above their heads. The illusion was created by a small Superman paper cutout that had been pasted on a special lens. Next, Jimmy flashed a film of Superman flying on the shadowed part of the cliff above the men. Jumbo had run a wire to the power line that fed the construction site. The sound of the rush of air from Superman's flight was created by a large fan that Jimmy had also brought. The next part of Jimmy's act was to appear as the Man of Steel himself, with the help of a dark wig, and some spliced together lines of dialogue from Superman. He apologized for being late, but he had an emergency to handle but would be back soon.

The final part of his act was to release a helium filled, life sized Superman balloon, which had been used in a parade. As "Superman" flew off the men were satisfied that he had not forgotten them, and stayed on the job. Jimmy had saved the day for Superman.

But things quickly unraveled. A girder on the bridge came loose and fell toward the men. In his own voice Jimmy warned them of the danger, and they got out of the way just in time. the workers wondered whose voice that was. The cape of his Superman costume caught on a tree branch, and the suit ripped. The workers saw Jimmy on the cliff, and realized that Superman had never been there. To confirm it, the Superman balloon deflated and fell right on top of the workers. They felt tricked and bgan to walk off the job at that moment.

They were stopped in their tracks when the bridge's arch began to collapse because of the loose girder. The crew was shocked when one of them opened his shirt to reveal his real identity of Superman. The Man of Steel steadied the arch and reinforced it with hot rivets. He then checked the new shipment of steel and found that it had no defects. The foreman asked Superman why he posed as a worker. The Man of Steel replied that Jimmy had already started his little deception, and didn't want to humiliate his Pal. Superman felt bad that it didn't work out for Jimmy. The workers expressed their appreciation to Superman for not letting them down, and they promised to see the job to the end, and continue to rebuild their lives. In a line that reminded me of George Reeves of the 1950's Superman TV Show, the Man of Steel simply replied that all they needed was a helping hand.

Jimmy returned to his home, feeling like a failure. Superman caught up to him and cheered him up. The Man of Steel appreciated the fact that his Pal went out of his way to help a friend in need.

I enjoyed all three of these Jimmy Olsen stories. They were variations of a theme, of Jimmy trying to solve a problem without Superman's help. These were very grounded stories. We didn't see the wild transformations Jimmy would undergo in later stories, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Olsen didn't look like the loveable bungler that Jack Larson portrayed to comic effect in the '50's Superman show. In all three comic book stories, Jimmy showed his cleverness and detective skills, but still had a touch of naivete' to get over his head. Superman showed just what a Pal he was, letting his friend take the credit in each story, while staying in the background. The Man of Steel was there just to make sure that Jimmy didn't get hurt. We could all use a friend like that.

The second Superman Family title with this cover date was World's Finest Comics #72, September/October 1954, published on July 29, 1954. It also contained 32 pages for the cover price of a dime. The eidtor was Jack Schiff, and the cover was drawn by Win Mortimer. The 12 page Superman and Batman story was titled Fort Crime, written by Alvin Schwartz, pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kaye. This story has been reprinted in World's Finest Archives vol. I and Showcase Presents: World's Finest vol. I.

The story began with a gang hitting an armored car with rounds with small bazookas. They rushed out of their car to rob the destroyed armored car, when Superman jumped out of the wreck and capture the crooks. At the Metropolis Police Department, Superman found no serial numbers or identification marks. Policemen couldn't even get the crooks to talk, even to save their own lives from the death penalty, for the murder of the armored car guards they killed in a similar attack last week. Superman vowed to get one of the gang to talk if they try another attack.

Two weeks later, Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson witnessed a similar attack at a jewel exhibition. They changed into Batman and Robin and battle the thugs. One of them set off his bazooka as Batman punched his jaw. The round hit the water tower and dumped a rush of water on top of them. The crooks got away in the deluge, but the Dynamic Duo were left with one of the artillery pieces. Batman recognized it as similar to ones used in similar attacks in Metropolis recently.

Perry White assigned Clark Kent to interview the criminals. He was met by Batman and Robin at the prison. The Dynamic Duo had failed to get any information out of the crooks. Clark found that Lois Lane had beat him to talk to the jail cells of the armored car robbers. They opened their own cell doors and pulled guns on Clark, Lois and a prison guard. they were able to get the guard to find a car for them, and they all drove out of prison. Clark was stuck, unable to secretly change into Superman in order to save all of them.

As the car passed the Daily Planet offices, Clark used his x-ray vision to activate the teletype machine that controlled the moving sign that displayed headlines above the ground floor of the Planet building. The sign tipped off the police to a black sedan that held reporters hostage on Route 66. Batman and Robin heard the police alert in the Batmobile, and moved to intercept.

The Dynamic Duo cuaght up to the black sedan, only to be hit by an artillery round. Fortunately for Batman and Robin, the Batmobile was more heavily armoured than the previous armored cars that had been attacked. It was not damaged. But the crooks were able to get away by destroying a bridge after they crossed it. Batman was able to stop the Batmobile before he drove off the destroyed bridge. He and Robin were able to improvise a ramp to propel the Batmobile over the gap in what fans of the old 1970's TV show Dukes Of Hazzard would call the "General Lee" maneuver.

To give Batman and Robin a clue for the Dynamic Duo, Clark used his flight powers to force the back of the car down with enough force to blow both rear tires. It didn't stop the crooks for long, as they had two spare tires instead of just one. Batman and Robin were able to find the tracks from the spot where the tires were changed, and drove to an old stone fort in the country.

Clark, Lois and the guard were indeed inside the fort, which the gang had set up as a machine shop, where they manufactured their own heaavy weapons. Batman and Robin attempted to scale the fort just before the gang was about to kill their hostages. To save the Dynamic Duo from being gunned down, Clark leaned on a vertical beam, which fell on the crook. Their Batropes were cut, but the Dynamic Duo had spare lines ready. Two more crooks were at separate windows, about to cut down Batman and Robin in a crossfire.

Clark, Lois and the guard were placed against a wall, held at gunpoint by a thug. Clark used his x-ray vision to discover that there was  a hollow space behind the wall that ventilated the floor below. He then loosened two stones and squeezed them into spheres. Clark reached into the wall, and with a flick of his wrist threw the stone balls with enough force to curve down the wall, across the room below, and knock out both crooks.

Batman and Robin used their repreive to retreat back across the moat outside the fort. They found a secret entrance in a hollow tree trunk, but their presence in the secret tunnel set off an alert inside the fort. To save Batman and Robin again, Clark leaned against the wall with enough force to cause the part of the wall behind him to fall back. Clark then used his hands to tunnel through the fort and intercept Batman and Robin before they walked into a trap. He then asked Batman for a piece of paper and some ink. Then Batman and Robin were able to stage their own attack on the gang, and save Lois and the guard.

I noticed that the sleeves of Clark's shirt and jacket were not dirty or torn. Of course, Lois suspected that Clark had found the secret passage because he was really Superman, but Batman showed Lois an old map of the fort's secret passages. Once again, Clark's secret was safe, and he untied Lois, after he filed his story with the Daily Planet. Of course, this was a fake map that Clark had drawn and artificially aged.

In appreciation, Superman later reassembled one of the gun making machines in the Batcave as Batman's newest trophies. Later, in the Daily Planet offices, Perry White asked Superman why, if he had sent the message to the headline sign by cutting into the outside line, he didn't rescue Clark and Lois himself. Superman simply replied that he was very busy at the moment. Perry commented that it was lucky for Clark and Lois that Batman and Robin were able to rescue them.

This story reminded me of some of the old George Reeves Superman episodes form the 1950's, when Calrk was unable to change to Superman without revealing his secret identity. This was a fun story to watch Clark use his super powers in secret. Of course, no Silver Age story was complete without an outlandish display of Superman's powers. The perfect example in this issue was when Clark broke two pieces of the stone wall, and threw them down the wal, and curved them with exact aim to knock out the gunmen. That was a wicked curve ball he threw. And who knew that Superman's x-ray vision could operate electronic equipment? I wonder if there is a practical application for that in the real world?

There were two more stories in this issue of World's Finest Comics. Green Arrow starred in the second, six page story, The Flying Archers, written by France E. Herron and drawn by George Papp. The historial adventure hero Tomahawk, who lived in post-Revolutionary War wilderness of Tennessee and Kentucky, starred in the issue's final six page story, The Talons Of Terror, also written by France E. Herron, with art by Nick Cardy.

Elsewhere in DC Comics, they published 28 other titles which carried the September or September/October 1954 cover date. For a complete list of those titles listen to the audio version of this episode, or look it up at the website Mike's Amazing World Of DC Comics.

Next Episode: Superman Comics Cover Dated July 1958: Superman #122 & Action Comics #242!

Join the Superman Fan Podcast and My Pull List groups or pages on facebook, and follow the podcast and blogs on twitter @supermanpodcast.

Superman Fan Podcast is a proud member of the League Of Comic Book Podcasters at and the Comics Podcast Network!, and is now a proud member of the Superman WebRing of websites, and the Superman Podcast Network at Check it out to discover other fine Superman podcasts.

Superman Fan Podcast is at . Send e-mail about this podcast to

The theme of this podcast is Plans In Motion, composed by Kevin MacLeod, and part of the royalty free music library at

My Pull List is my spoiler free comic book review blog of the titles I read every week. It can be found at Send e-mail about this blog to

Superman and all related characters are trademark and copyright DC Comics. Any cover art displayed with the show notes is done for entertainment and educational purposes only. I post these episodes to share my enjoyment of Superman comics and do not earn any money from this podcast.

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

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Episode #160: The Search For The Silver Age Superman!

Near the end of the previous episode, I shared my plans for this podcast for 2011. With the rapid growth of the number of Superman podcasts in 2010, especially in the latter part of the year, I thought it would be good to narrow the scope of Superman Fan Podcast. Instead of being a general Superman podcast, I decided to focus on the Silver Age Superman. The Thrilling Adventures Of Superman and Golden Age Superman cover the Golden Age Superman. Superman In The Bronze Age highlights the Bronze Age of Superman, edited by Julius Schwartz. From Crisis To Crisis, also part of the Superman Homepage website, covers the Superman reboot era up to the Infinite Crisis mini-series. And Superman Forever Radio, in one of its segments, covers the Superman titles published after Infinite Crisis.

One era that was not being covered was the Silver Age Superman. So I decided that the best thing for me to do with this podcast is to give the other Superman podcasts plenty of space to explore their eras of Superman comics. Besides, the Silver Age is when I began reading comic books, in the early 1960's, and even before I learned to read. I would like to thank Michael Bailey and Jeffrey Taylor of the From Crisis To Crisis podcast, for tolerating me playing in their sandbox from time to time.

In two previous episodes I discussed the classic Superman, episode #22, Superman Vs. Superman, and episode #63, The Return Of The Silver Age Superman.

So, when I decided to begin a month by month look at the Silver Age Superman stories, the obvious question was, When does the Silver Age begin for Superman? I think most comic book fans and historians would agree that the beginning of the Silver Age of comic books began with the publication of the first Barry Allen Flash story in Showcase #4, cover dated September/October 1956, and published around July 19 of that year. That led me to wonder if the Superman titles that were published the same month marked a similar beginning of a new era for the Man of Steel.

Superman #108 carried the cover date of September 1956, and was published around July 26, 1956. The issue contained three stories. The Brain From The Future, pencilled by Wayne Boring and inked by Stan Kaye, was about a machine that was found in Metropolis. It made some accurate predictions and seemed to be from the future. Perry White, Jr., Demon Reporter, was written by Alvin Schwartz. and drawn by Boring and Kaye. Perry White's son began working at the Daily Planet after journalism school. He was paired with Clark Kent on a story about the manhunt for a Metropolis criminal leader. When Clark disappeared to become Superman to deal with the gang, Perry, Jr. suspected that Clark was actually the gang leader. In The Girl Cops Of Metropolis, drawn by Al Plastino, was about Clark Kent's visit to a Metropolis police station. When he slipped away to become Superman, and save the station from a bomb, some policewomen suspect that Clark was Superman.

The Superman story in Action Comics #220, also cover dated September 1956 and released on July 31, 1956, was The Interplanetary Olympics. It was drawn by Al Plastino. Superman participated in an outer space version of the Olympics, and discovered that he was not the strongest man in the universe after all.

There's nothing in these stories to mark them as different from golden age comic book stories. The story about Perry White, Jr. might have marked the beginning of a new era in Superman stories, showing a second generation beginning their careers at the Daily Planet. But Perry, Jr. never became a regular member of the supporting cast.

Another source of information about the first Silver Age Superman stories is the website Mike's Amazing World Of DC Comics, at http://dcindexescom/.  It denotes the Golden Age and Silver Age of Superman, and DC Comics in general, using another invention of the Silver Age, the multiverse. When DC Comics reintroduced their original, Golden Age superheroes, they decided to have them live on an alternate Earth, called Earth-2. The modern, or Silver Age, superheroes live on Earth-1.

According to that website, the Silver Age Superman began with Superman #46, May/June 1946, published around March 7, 1947. The third story of the issue, That Old Class Of Superboy's, is regarded as the first Earth-1 Superman story. It was written by Jerry Siegel, pencilled by Joe Sikela and inked by George Roussos. In the story, Clark was reunited with some of his old classmates. The reason this is considered the first Earth-1 Superman story is because it is the first mention of Superboy in a Superman story.

There are several problems with considering this as the beginning of the Silver Age Superman. For one, it was published about a decade before the beginning of the Silver Age. Second, even though this story contained the first mention of Superboy, the designation as the first Earth-1 Superman story itself was a ret-con of the Silver Age itself.

So, finally, I decided to go to the source, DC Comics, via the podcast and blog Collected Comics Library. On its Library page, where host Chris Marshall lists the various types of collected editions for the various comic book publishers, the Silver Age Superman collected editions are listed. Both the Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow Archives and the Showcase Presents: Superman editions begin their Silver Age Superman stories with Action Comics #241, June 1958. It was originally published around April 29, 1958. What stands out about this issue? The Superman story was titled The Super Key To Fort Superman! This story featured the introduction of one of the main staples of the Silver Age for Superman, his Arctic Fortress Of Solitude.

The Fortress had its humble beginnings during the Golden Age of comic books. It was referred to as Superman's "secret citadel", on the side of a mountain outside of Metropolis in Superman#17, July/August 1942, published on May 6, 1942. This citadel appeared in the third story of the issue, Muscles For Sale, written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by John Sikela. The story has been reprinted in Superman Archives, vol. V.

This new Fortress was in the side of a deep cliff, it's only access a giant gold door. The giant key which Superman used to open it also served as an aviation marker. Editor Mort Weisinger really developed Superman's world and supporting cast. His writers and artsists didn't just write stories about Superman fighting the bad guys, but also introduced a lot of characters that fleshed out his supporting cast. But the Fortress of Solitude was the cornerstone of that expansion.

Curt Swan pencilled the cover, which was inked by Stan Kay, who also inked the story itself. Jerry Coleman wrote this first Fortress story, which was pencilled by Wayne Boring. This story wsa reprinted in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told, Superman: The Man Of Tomorrow Archives, vol. I and Showcase Presents: Superman vol. I.

The story began with Clark, Lois and Jimmy walking in downtown Metropolis on their lunch hour. Lois saw a pearl necklace she admired in the window of a jewelry store. Jimmy had his eye on a sports car in an automobile dealership.

After work, Clark changed into Superman and flew to the ocean, where he dove into the water and used his x-ray vision to locate a perfect pearl. Then he flew at super speed to his Arctic Fortress of Solitude.  Inside, Superman had a room dedicated to each of his closest friends. In his Lois room, he placed the new pearl onto the necklace he was creating for Lois, displayed on a Lois mannequin. In the Jimmy Olsen room, complete with a life sized Jimmy statue, Superman hand molded a scrap piece of steel into the front bumper of a custom made sports care he was building for his Pal. This was either a sign of devotion to his closest friends, or the introduction of Stalker Superman, about 50 years before the film Superman Returns. In order to protect his secret identity, Superman even had a Cark Kent room. It was either that, or a little self absorption.

In the room dedicated to his best friend in crime fighting, Batman, Superman built a robot detective, to assist the Caped Crusader if he ever died.

To relax, Superman used his telescopic vision to paint a landscape, of a scene on a far distant planet. It resembled a crude Salvador Dali painting. Later, the Man of Steel put on a lead suit to experiment on kryptonite, in a search for an antidote. At the end of his day, Superman returned to Metropolis.

The next day, a scientist called on Superman to test a new metal he had forged, which he hoped was stronger than even the Man of Steel himself. Superman took it to the Fortress. Once inside, the Man of Steel found a glowing message written on the wall, challenging him to figure out who wrote it. Superman searched various rooms in the Fortress for signs of an intruder, through various trophy rooms and even his interplanetary zoo, but found none.

Superman then got down to business, and tested the block of new metal. He punched right through it on the first hit.

Then the Man of Steel wrote in his diary, a giant book of metal pages, which he scribed with his fingernail, writing in Kryptonese. That way noone could read his diary. But today, with people able to write and converse in Star Trek's Klingon and Tolkein's Elvish language, I don't think Kryptonese would be as much of a challenge to decipher as it was in the late 1950's.

At the end of the day, Superman used his heat vision to fuse shut the keyhole to his Fortress as an added security measure.

Superman returned to the Fortress on the next day, after dousing a fire in Metropolis. He entered the Fortress by crashing through the cliff, and would fill the hole later. The Man of Steel discovered that someone had added to his painting, but nothing that was on that alien world.  To relax, Superman played a game of chess against a robot at super speed, barely winning by thinking faster than the robot. He then found a second message written on the wall. The author claimed to know who Superman was.

That night, in his bed in Metropolis, Clark Kent had a nightmare about a phantom that haunted him with the threat of exposing his secret identity.

The next day, Superman rescued a stranded ship, but almost tipped it over because he was so distracted ove the threat to his secret identity. Returning to the Fortress, the Man of Steel discovered a sign hanging on the Clark Kent statue. It declared that Clark Kent was Superman. In the Batman room, a blue and gray blob under the Batman statue gave the Man of Steel a clue to the identity of the Fortress' graffiti artist.

In a secluded area of the Fortress, we saw Batman hiding. The Fortress began to shake, and Superman appeared, followed by an avalance that included a kryptonite rock. Batman revealed himself, and tried to find a way out and to dispose of the kryptonite. Unfortunately, both heroes were trapped. So Batman revealed how he had broken into the Fortress. He had used a welding torch to make an opening in tip of the key and hid there until Superman used the key to unlock the door (no mention of how he kelt warm while he waited. Must have been some super thermal underwear). Then the Caped Crusader hid inside the Fortress.

Superman couldn't hold it in any longer, and began laughing. He admitted that he had caused the avalanche, and the kryptonite was fake. The Man of Steel staged his little trick after he figured out that the blob under the statue was the old Batman figure, and the real one had taken its place. (Superman didn't mention anything about possibly detecting another heartbeat with his super hearing, but maybe he relaxes at his Fortress pad and doesn't use his sensory powers.)

Batman revealed the reason for his actions. He was shopping for a birthday present for Superman, when he saw a display of puzzles at a department store. (The sight of Batman in full cape and cowl at a department store is strangley funny, and reminds me of the quirkiness of the Adam West Batman TV show about seven years later. I don't think we'll ever see that in a modern Batman story.) And so the pair celebrate Superman's birthday with a giant birthday cake Batman baked himself, complete with candles whose tips were shaped like the Man of Steel's head.

Superman would get even with Batman in World's Finest Comics  #155, about eight years later. In the story, Exit Batman - Enter Nightman, the Caped Crusader had to solve the mystery of the identity of Superman's new partner, Nightman. Batman discovered that Superman had hypnotized him and that when he went to sleep, Batman would wake up and operate as Nightman without remembering it. So basically, Batman was chasing his own cape. I guess Jim Croce was right, you don't tug on Superman 's cape. The Silver Age Man of Steel wasn't a guy you wanted to mess with.

Apart from some of the comments I made about this story, this was a classic Superman story, and one I enjoy today. It has one of the most common plot dvices of this era of Superman tales: Superman and his friends tricking one another. Sometimes I wonder if it was a peak inside the mind of Mort Weisinger, and a hint at how he treated others. Gerard Jones, in his book Men Of Tomorrow, didn't mince words about how Mort treated his creative staff, unless they stood up to him.

While I understand how comic book fans who began reading in a more modern era may find these Silver Age Superman stories hard to take, I still enjoy their innocent charm. They were written in a less sophisticated time, when comic books were viewed more as children's entertainment, and were created to fit that audience. But I find myself, sometimes, when I've had a bad day or want to read something to cheer me up, instead of going to a current comic book title, I'll read a Silver Age story from my childhood and get lost in the days of yesteryear.

Now that I'll be concentrating on the Silver Age of Superman, where do I go from here? Well, I not only want to cover the main titles of Superman and Action Comics, but some of the Superman family related titles, like Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane and even World's Finest Comics. As I discovered, that presented a problem. What was considered the beginning of the Silver Age for World's Finest  and Jimmy Olsen  began a few years earlier, in 1954. So what I've decided to do is to alternate titles.

Beginning next week, I'll begin with the "Superman Family" of books, World's Finest Comics and Jimmy Olsen, with the cover dates of September/October1954. Lois Lane won't get her own title for another year. I wonder if any chauvanism was involved? I'll pick up her title when her #1 issue was published when we get to the titles cover dated March/April 1958.

In two weeks, I'll begin my look at the Man of Steel's titles of Action Comics and Superman, beginning with the cover dates of July 1958. When we get to her, I will also cover the Supergirl stories, which were for a time the backup stoiries in Action Comics.

So I will keep alternating the Superman related titles in this fashion, all the way unil 1970 and the last Superman story edited by Mort Weisinger. That should keep my busy for a while. I briefly considered beginning with the cover dated issues of 1954 I mentioned previously, and go straight throught, but I didn't want to wait until I went through four years worth of comic book stories before I got to the main Superman titles. I think this way gives a little more variety each month of podcasts. I'll be interested in your comments.

There are two exceptions to my look at the Superman related titles. The first is the Legion of Super-Heroes. While the Legion is my second favorite comic book title, there are at least two podcasts that I know of which cover the Legion very well, Super Future Friends and the Legion Of Substitute Podcasters.

The other exception is Superboy. For one reason I don't have many non-Legion Superboy comics, plus there aren't a lot of Superboy reprints outside of his Legion stories. Plus, I haven't been able to determine when the Silver Age began for the Boy of Steel. Maybe that's the topic for another podcast. If anyone out there is looking for a subject for their own podcast, maybe this is a job for a Superboy Fan?

Next Episode: Superman Family Of Stories, September/October 1954!

Join the Superman Fan Podcast and My Pull List groups or pages on facebook, and follow the podcast and blogs on twitter @supermanpodcast.

Superman Fan Podcast is a proud member of the League Of Comic Book Podcasters at and the Comics Podcast Network!, and is now a proud member of the Superman WebRing of websites, and the Superman Podcast Network at

Superman Fan Podcast is at . Send e-mail about this podcast to

The theme of this podcast is Plans In Motion, composed by Kevin MacLeod, and part of the royalty free music library at

My Pull List is my spoiler free comic book review blog of the titles I read every week. It can be found at Send e-mail about this blog to

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

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

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