Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Superman Fan Podcast Episode #200: Superman Comic Books Cover Dated November 1959: Superman #133 & Action Comics #258!

Superman #133, November 1959, was published around September 17, 1959. It contained 32 pages for the cover price of 10¢. Mort Weisinger was the editor, and the cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kaye. All three 9 page stories were reprinted in Showcase Presents: Superman vol, the final stories of that volume.

The Super Luck Of Badge 77 was written by Otto Binder and drawn by Al Plastino.

Perry White liked Clark Kent's feature story on living and working with the Metropolis Fire Department so much, that he assigned Clark to do a similar article with the Metropolis Police Department. White arranged Clark to spend three days at Police Headquarters.

At MPD HQ, Chief Smith gave Clark a badge last worn by a now retired officer. Clark did odd jobs around the office, then Chief Smith asked Clark to retrieve a homemade machine gun, which was a piece of evidence in a trial, from the office safe. As Clark gave Chief Smith the weapon, the officer tripped on the rug and dropped the rifle. As it broke apart it discharged a bullet, which ricocheted off of Clark's glasses. A relieved Chief Smith recalled that the badge he had given Clark had been the Lucky number 77 badge last worn by retired Sgt. O'Hara, who retired after 30 years on the police force without so much as a scratch.

That inspired Clark to push a dent into the badge with his finger. When the Chief noticed it, he assumed that the bullet had been deflected by the still lucky badge. He then asked Clark to try to contact Superman so he could help reassemble the weapon.

Clark "succeeded" in finding the Man of Steel, who reassembled the pieces of the homemade machine gun and fused them back together with his x-ray vision.

Clark assumed other duties for the Chief.. Kent volunteered to climb on a ledge to attempt to capture a would be bomber. Clark took his badge and threw it edge on at the lit bomb. It sliced the fuse in half, defusing the bomb. He was then able to subdue the bomber.

During the next day, Clark walked a beat near the waterfront, when he was clobbered with a blackjack. He pretended to be unconscious while the criminals removed his coat and gun, and handcuffed him. they planned to toss him into the water after the tide changed. While their attention was elsewhere, he slyly removed a link from the handcuffs and used his fingers to make the link into a thin wire that rose into the air, and was linked to the badge on his coat. Lightning struck it, causing a fire which created enough heat to cause the bullets in the gun to fire. That attracted the attention of a passing patrol car, and the criminals were arrested. Lucky Badge 77 was destroyed, but it gave its life saving Clark one last time, or so Chief Smith thought.

Superman later participated in a Police Charity Benefit. Afterward, Chief Smith gave Clark a new jacket and badge, and warned him that Badge 77 was no longer around to keep him safe. Back on his beat, Clark met Lois on the street. She informed him of a rumor about a gang of fur thieves. Clark used his set of keys to check a fur warehouse on his beat. They became locked in a fur cold storage vault. It was bullet and shatter proof, as well as sound proof. Clark faced having to expose his secret identity in order to escape from the cold vault. But Lois had a diamond brooch, which she gave Clark to use to cut the glass in the door. Clark used his microscopic vision to see that the diamonds were fake, but he used it to cover his use of his fingernail to cut the window and allow them to call for help.

After Clark and Lois returned to Police Headquarters to make his final report, Chief Smith noticed that the "L L" monogrammed brooch looked like 77 upside down. The luck of Badge 77 saved Clark one final time, or so Chief Smith thought.

The previous Fireman story, Clark Kent, Fireman Of Steel was originally published in Superman #129, discussed in Episode #188. Like this previous Fireman story, Clark secretly used his super powers in various emergencies and was able to fool everyone on the force. Also in both stories, Clark was involved in regular duties no untrained and unlicensed civilian would have been allowed to do, for obvious liability reasons.

While using the badge's edge to cut a lit fuse was plausible, at least for a superhero story, using a link from a pair of handcuffs to make a thin wire that served as a lightning rod stretched credibility even for a superhero comic book.

Overall, this was a good, average silver age Superman story, and I give it 3 Superman Capes out of 5.

How Perry White Hired Clark Kent (An Untold Tale Of Superman) was written by Jerry Siegel, Superman's original writer and co-creator, and was his first silver age Superman story after having been fired by DC about a decade earlier. This story was drawn by Al Plastino.

After young Clark Kent moved to Metropolis he rented an apartment, which had enough room for him to build a secret closet to store his Superman robots. (That's what I always look for in a new home. Just don't tell my wife.) He decided to look for a job as a newspaper reporter in order to be able to investigate crooks without them suspecting him of being Superman.

He was interviewed by Perry White of the Daily Planet, and was introduced to Lois Lane. Both were impressed by Clark's knowledge of the paper's top headlines and dates of publication. Perry gave him a test assignment to do a story about the gorilla Bongo of the Metropolis Zoo. Clark overheard Perry tell Lois that the assignment was just to get rid of the pest, since there was no story about Bongo because he was too old.

Clark rented a gorilla costume, and, once in the Zoo, put on his disguise and posed as Ferocio, another gorilla attacking Bongo. Clark made it look as if Bong was getting the best of the fight. After Clark turned in the story, Lois was impressed, but Perry thought it was dumb luck. He gave Clark a second test assignment, find a story at the carnival.

Clark lucked into one when the Ferris Wheel jammed, with some young boys stuck at the top. Clark changed into Superman, unjammed the mechanism, and flew to the top of the Ferris Wheel at super speed. He changed back into his Clark Kent clothes, and escorted the boys off the ride onto the ground and an exclusive story for the Daily Planet. Lois was impressed again, but Perry wondered what Clark was doing enjoying himself instead of searching for a real story. Clark couldn't defend himself without revealing his secret identity.

Lois talked Perry into giving Clark one more chance. Perry gave Clark a lead box holding a piece of kryptonite which had been captured from the Anti-Superman Gang. Perry's assignment was to take a picture of Superman with the kryptonite. When Perry opened it, Clark fainted. He used his super ventriloquism to mimic stomach pangs, making Perry and Lois assume he fainted from hunger pains. After buying Clark a 5 lb. steak dinner, they gave him the kryptonite box.

After changing to Superman, he took the picture with a fake piece of kryptonite. The picture surprised Perry and Lois. They assumed that the gang had been swindled when they bought the kryptonite. That impressed Perry enough to give Clark a job at the Daily Planet as a reporter.

I'm not sure what to think of Jerry Siegel's first silver age Superman story. While it was a fun flashback story about how Clark began working at the Daily Planet. However there was something that bothered me about the story. When Clark used a gorilla costume to create a story, it seemed to me that he was guilty of journalistic fraud.

Clark also seemed to stretch ethics with the Ferris Wheel story, since he didn't buy a ticket to ride it, but maybe that was his reward to himself for fixing the ride. And the final picture with the fake kryptonite also seemed to stretch journalistic ethics beyond the breaking point, since it wasn't the same kryptonite that Perry gave him.

But it was still a fun story, so I give it 3 Superman Capes out of 5.

Superman Joins The Army was also written by Jerry Siegel, and was pencilled by Wayne Boring and inked by Stan Kaye. Captain Grimes went to the Daily Planet offices searching for Superman. The Man of Steel was surprised to learn that he had been drafted, thanks to the efforts of Capt. Grimes himself.

Superman went through his military physical, at Capt. Grimes demand, to make sure that the claims of his superpowers weren't exaggerated. The Man of Steel read the bottom line of the eye chart, Printed by the Metropolis Lithographing Company. Doing push ups shook the building, and of course needles couldn't penetrate his skin.

The Man of Steel was assigned to Capt. Grimes' Company H. The Inspector General observed Superman to insure he was treated fairly, but really to have some fun watching Grimes trying to treat Sueprman as an ordinary soldier. Grimes ordered Superman to wear a regulation Army uniform, but when his invulnerable body and super powers shredded them, Grimes ordered him to wear his superhero costume.

When the troops practiced digging foxholes, Superman used his own body as a shovel, and was promoted to Corporal.

At the firing range Superman used his super breath to ensure every soldier got three bulls eyes after Grimes promised an evening pass to anyone who accomplished the feat.

The next day, during field tactics, when Grimes ordered the men to take a hill, Superman lifted it over his head. Gen. Thomkins promoted Superman to 2nd Lieutenant.

Company H marched on a 30 mile hike the following day. To cool the men Superman used his super breath to create a waterspout that rained on the men, refreshing them. During camouflage practice, Superman whirled fast enough to become invisible, and was promoted to General.

That meant that Grimes had to salute Superman whenever he saw him, which was quite a lot as the Man of Steel hurried at super speed to perform his duties.

When Superman finished his military service, Grimes' arm was in a sling because of all the saluting. In his final military act before his honorable discharge, Superman promoted Grimes to Major, feeling sorry for all the saluting he made him do.

This story reminded me of a silver age version of a M*A*S*H episode. There was an element of subversiveness to military authority in it, or as close as a silver age DC story was going to get. It was humorous and fun to watch Grimes be made a fool of because of his pomposity and manipulativeness. Grimes was an easy character to dislike, and Superman was very sneaky about it. It wasn't so much with the Man of Steel's thoughts as the results of his actions. Grimes deserved what he got for trying to manipulate the men so that they would resent Superman as their superior officer, but the efforts always backfired.

While this wasn't the best silver age Jerry Siegel story, I did like this one better than his first one this issue, and give it 3 Superman Capes out of 5.

Action Comics #258, November 1959, was published around September 29, 1959. It contained 32 pages for the cover price of a dime. The Editor was Mort Weisinger, and the cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kaye, featuring Supergirl in only her second cover appearance.

The Menace Of Cosmic Man was written by Bill Finger, pencilled by Wayne Boring and inked by Stan Kaye. It was reprinted in Showcase Presents: Superman vol. II.

In the European Republic of Borkia, a super powered man lifted a large boulder off of a set of railroad tracks. It wasn't Superman, but Cosmic Man.

Perry sent Clark and Lois to Borkia to write a story about this European Superman. At the Presidential Palace, they found it under heavy guard because of a plot against President Raulis. That threat came from General Malvio, who planned to use Cosmic Man to assassinate the President.

Clark watched Cosmic Man perform several super deeds and used his x-ray vision to learn that Cosmic Man was actually a robot.  He also saw that the super deeds were fake as well. Malvio controlled him by radio signal and provided the voice when Cosmic Man talked. Clark waited to expose the robot until he could learn the motive behind the robot.

When Lois interviewed Cosmic Man privately, Superman secretly used his x-ray vision to cause something to hit his hand, breaking it and allowing Lois to learn that he was a robot. From his mountain Malvio radioed his troops to capture Lois. Cosmic Man went to a hidden shack and loaded an explosive into a compartment in his chest.

In Malvio's base, Lois watched Malvio's control screen showed Cosmic Man shaking hands with the President. The picture disappeared when Cosmic Man exploded.

Malvio was surprised when Superman disarmed his troops. Superman had thrown Cosmic Man into the air to explode harmlessly, saving the President.

This story gave a new meaning to the term getting Borked. Malvio was more of a ridiculous villain instead of a menacing one, despite his plans, because of his gaudy read uniform and big nose. The clear helmet he wore over his head when he controlled Cosmic Man completed his buffoonish look.

I couldn't help but wonder how such a fragile robot could pass for human. Lois showed that she had an obsession for super powered men when she kissed Cosmic Man on the cheek.

This was a solid silver age Superman story with the typical plot of one of Superman's friends in peril. It was similar to some of the episodes of the 1950's Superman TV show.  I give it 4 Superman Capes out of 5.

Congo Bill starred in his sixth appearance as Congorilla in the six page story Congorilla Goes To War, written by Robert Bernstein and drawn by Howard Sherman.

Supergirl's Farewell To Earth was written by Otto Binder and drawn by Jim Mooney. This 8 page story was reprinted in Supergirl Archives  vol. I and Showcase Presents: Supergirl vol. I.

After secret using her powers to save two children from a falling tree, without revealing her superhero identity, Supergirl saw Krypto fly overhead. She revealed herself to Krypto, and they played together until Superman appeared and chided her for breaking his rule not to reveal herself to the world, not even for Krypto.

Her punishment was exile from Earth. She got into a capsule Superman had brought, and he threw it into space, where she landed on an asteroid that had an atmosphere and alien life.

She watched her fellow orphans at Midvale with her telescopic vision, when she noticed a nearby forest fire. Supergirl took two icicles and threw them to Earth in an exact trajectory, so that they melted above the fire, extinguishing it.

Later, Krypto brought her a note from Superman, saying that he allowed her to return to Earth for one day, because a cloud of Kryptonite dust would sweep through the asteroid field. When Supergirl returned to Earth, she learned that a search was going on for her other self, Linda Lee. Supergirl put on her civilian disguise, dirtying her clothes and face, and allowed herself to be found after seeming to have become lost in a nearby swamp.

After being interviewed at the orphanage, one reporter stayed after the others left. Clark Kent challenged her story because she showed no signs of insect bites. She revealed herself to be Supergirl, and Clark was disappointed that she had revealed her identity so carelessly. But she then told Clark that she knew he was really Superman. She learned it because when she attempted to use her x-ray vision to fog his glasses so he couldn't examine her arm closer, the rays bounced off his glasses, and she came to the obvious conclusion.

After changing into Superman, they flew away to a secluded place, where the Man of Steel informed Supergirl that the exile and return had only been a test to see how she could protect her secret identity under extreme conditions. Since she passed with flying colors, he was prepared to use her as his secret weapon in cases where his robots would be unreliable, when magnets or electricity were involved for example. She still needed to keep herself hidden form the world for now. But Superman couldn't help but be embarrassed that Supergirl was able to guess his secret identity.

I didn't realize that Supergirl didn't know that Superman was Clark Kent, I guess because in her first story he mentioned that he had a secret identity. While I found Supergirl almost as resourceful as the Man of Steel in secretly using her super powers, I didn't understand the logic of Superman's plan. It seemed excessively cruel to Supergirl, not to mention everyone else at Midvale Orphanage, who thought Linda Lee was missing.In this story Superman was cruel and manipulative, very much the villain of the story. He wasn't a Superman I could be proud of. I guess Mort Weisinger, with his history of mistreating the talent that worked for him, was a bad influence on the Man of Steel.

Because I liked how Supergirl performed above and beyond the call of duty, I give it 2 Superman Capes out of 5. If I was judging it only on Superman's actions, I would give it a 0. This was my least favorite Supergirl story so far.

Elsewhere in DC Comics, there were 30 titles which carried the November or November/December 1959 cover date.

Next Episode: Superman Family Comic Book Cover Dated October 1956, Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #16!

In 2 Weeks: Superman Comic Book Cover Dated December 1959: Action Comics @259!

Check out SLIPSTREAM, a new web comic book written by jeffrey Taylor, co-host of the FROM CRISIS TO CRISIS podcast, and drawn by yours truly. Thanks to SUPERMAN HOMEPAGE .com contributor Adam Deschanel for putting the website together. It will begin November 2011.

Also, if you know the original publication information for a Superman story involving his alien zoo at his Fortress of Solitude, reprinted in the 1970 SUPERMAN BUMPER BOOK, a UK Superman hardcover anthology, post it in comments or through the contact information below.

You can join the SUPERMAN FAN PODCAST and MY PULL LIST groups or pages on facebook, and follow both the podcast and blog on twitter @supermanpodcast.

SUPERMAN FAN PODCAST is a proud member of thefollowing:
- The SUPERMAN WEBRING of websites, and

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 art shown on this podcast is for entertainment purposes only, and not for profit.

Thanks for listening to the SUPERMAN FAN PODCAST and, as always, thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Episode #199: Superman Family Comic Books Cover Dated September 1956: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #15 & World's Finest Comics #84!

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #15, September 1956, was published around July 17, 1956. It contained 32 pages for the price of 10¢. Mort Weisinger was the editor, and the cover was pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Stan Kaye, the art team for all three stories written by Otto Binder. The first two stories were 8 pages long, while the issue's final story was only 6 pages long. They were reprinted in Showcase Presents: Superman Family vol. I.

The Mystery Of The Canine Champ was the issue's first story. Perry White finally had enough of Jimmy Olsen's typos in his stories' headlines, and demoted him to pet editor until he could find a scoop about animals. A very bored Jimmy covered a dog show and animal acts, then watched Superman introduce Cal Crane and his dog Rollo, a German Shepherd. Paul Orton and his German Shepherd King muscled onto the stage as well. Jimmy snapped a close up photo of King, and noticed a gold filling in a back tooth.

Olsen didn't care for Orton's boasting, but still asked him to take another photo of King. Orton was caught off guard by the fact that Jimmy noticed King's gold filling. But before Jimmy could snap the photo, someone threw a brick into a puddle on the curb, splashing water on the lens. That gave Orton time to change his mind and jump into a waiting car.

In the following days Crane and Rollo appear on TV, while Orton and King appear on a rival TV station. Orton and King garner better ratings due to the variety of tricks King performed. Jimmy covered Orton and King, and found it odd that a large truck was parked outside King's dressing room. Inside the studio, Jimmy was about to take another picture of King, when someone opened the door to the stairs and threw dust on his lens. Jimmy noticed that the dust was dog biscuit crumbs. That made Jimmy suspicious.

At home, Jimmy disguised himself and pretended to be a dog biscuit salesman when he approached King's training facility. Once inside, he snuck into the training room and discovered that King was actually four dogs, each trained for a separate trick.  Before he could snap a picture, he was discovered by Orton and his gang. To buy some time, Jimmy threw a bunch of dog biscuits to the dogs, creating enough chaos to allow him to alert Superman with his signal watch.

The Man of Steel rounded up Orton's gang, which made Crane very grateful. Jimmy got a front page story out of it, only to face Perry's wrath again for misspelling the headline of his report when he turned it in.

This is the kind of Jimmy Olsen story I like. He dug himself out of the hole he had made for himself because of his bade spelling. His sharp instincts led him on the trail of Orton's scam. What Jimmy Olsen would it be without him getting in over his head and needing to be rescued by the Man of Steel. After all, Superman needs something to do.

When Jimmy noticed King's gold filling, I wondered why someone would put a gold filling in a dog's tooth? At the end of the story, part of me wondered why Superman arrested him? The only thing that made sense was that he had a paid sponsor. If Orton led that sponsor to believe that one dog did all of those tricks, then that would be fraud.

This story was a simple, down to earth story, that was still interesting. I enjoyed reading about Jimmy noticing something fishy about Orton and King, and uncovering the mystery, and give it 4 Superman Capes out of 5.

Jimmy Olsen, Speed Demon, the story featured on the cover, began when Clark received a package from a Professor Claude, a vial containing what the scientist claimed was a super speed serum, in an enclosed note. Clark didn't take it seriously, but Jimmy took the opportunity to interview the possibly crackpot scientist.

Prof. Claude was eating lunch, and invited Jimmy to join him. As Claude showed Jimmy the super fast squirrel in his test cage, Olsen drank what he thought was a glass of milk. It was actually another batch of the super speed serum, and Jimmy discovered that he now had super speed as well.

He tested out his new super power by running back to the Daily Planet offices. Jimmy performed his duties at super speed, but Clark was concerned that Jimmy wasn't as experienced enough in using his power effectively as Olsen thought.

Clark's concerns were right, when Jimmy sped through traffic on his bicycle at super speed. He created enough turbulence to scatter a man's money out of his hand. Superman was keeping an eye on Jimmy from the air, and was able to retrieve the man's cash. Jimmy rode up on a getaway car during a shootout with the police, and crashed into the vehicle's rear bumper. Jimmy flew into the air and his jacket hung up on a second story flag pole.

Superman caught the gang and retrieved Jimmy. They visited the Professor, and Superman urged him to discover the antidote before Jimmy hurt himself or others. The Man of Steel returned Jimmy to the Planet offices, and urged him to stay put until Claude could invent the antidote.

A bored Jimmy discovered a notice about an unsolved Acme jewelry robber. Olsen remembered that Don "Diamond" Dirk had been a suspect. While keeping his word to Superman, Jimmy called Dirk's bookshop, which was a cover for his criminal enterprises, and ordered some dictionaries. After ushering Clark and Lois into the next office, Jimmy goaded Dirk with a false claim of having proof in an envelope of his involvement in the Acme robbery. His plan was to dodge the bullet at super speed, and compare that bullet with others recovered at the scene of the robbery.

In the next office, Clark received a call from Professor Claude, who informed Kent that the squirrel had lost its super speed, and the serum's effects would wear off on Jimmy at any time. Dirk pulled a gun and fired, and Jimmy discovered too late that he had, indeed, lost his super speed. But Clark burst out of the office in a flash, using an envelope opener to deflect the bullet at the last minute, and disarmed Dirk.

Lois thought that this proved Clark was Superman, but he showed her the empty vial he had received from Prof. Claude. Clark had really poured out the serum, but used the vial to cover hos use of super speed, and allow Jimmy to earn another byline for revealing the criminal behind the Acme jewelry robbery.

This was the second Jimmy Olsen story where he gained super powers, after Superman's Seeing Eye Dog from issue #11.

The first lesson to be learned from this story was, when eating lunch with an absent minded professor, be careful what you drink out of.

As usual, Jimmy got a little reckless and overconfident. When Jimmy sped through traffic on his bicycle, I couldn't help but think tat any police officer who gave him a ticket for speeding would remember Jimmy for a  very long time.

While Jimmy set up a clever sting to entrap Dirk, recent news reports of public shootings made it very clear what a dangerous game Olsen was playing. Not only was he endangering himself, but the rest of the Daily Planet staff also. I would find Perry White very justified in firing Olsen if things had gone wrong, if not for knowingly bringing a dangerous gunman to the office.

This one concern aside, this was a fun story of Jimmy struggling with a super power and finding a clever way to catch a criminal, and I give this story 4 Superman Capes out of 5.

Unwanted Superman Souvenirs was the final story of this issue. It began with Jimmy showing Clark the latest souvenir Superman brought him, a large crystal from another world.

After Clark left, he found a secluded spot to change into Superman. He noticed Jimmy throwing one of his mementos into the garbage can. This upset the Man of Steel.

In the following days, Superman noticed Jimmy throwing other souvenirs away in various places around Metropolis. It upset him enough that, as Clark Kent, he asked Jimmy if he was still friends with Superman. Jimmy thought that was a silly question, which relieved Clark for a while, until he saw Jimmy discard other souvenirs.

But Superman began noticing a pattern. Jimmy only discard three souvenirs a day, and never in the same place. Using the first letters of the places Olsen discarded the mementos, Superman was able to discover a hidden message, Alive Help.

Superman was able to deduce that the alien crystal was somehow alive, and was using Jimmy to alert Superman. After explaining things to Jimmy, Superman enclosed the crystal brain in a clear container. Using his telescopic vision, the Man of Steel threw the crystal on a trajectory that would return it to its home planet. Superman also returned all of the discarded souvenirs to Jimmy.

My first thought about this story was where was the parachute for the crystal brain. I hope its planet had low gravity, or the crystal brain was invulnerable.

ON first reading I thought this was a fair, if not great story. But as I began organizing my notes for this story, the plot holes became very apparent. If the crystal brain was able to hypnotize Jimmy to throw away his souvenirs in order to get Superman's attention, why not send a mental message to the Man of Steel instead, if not alert him to not remove it from its home world in the first place. Then there wouldn't be enough story to  stretch over six pages, and the plot was thin enough already. I had to settle for a rating of 2 Superman Capes out of 5.

DC's 5,000 Prize Slogan Contest rules were published in the issues with a September 1956 cover date. In a full page ad, DC published the rules and an entry coupon. A valid entry had to include 5 coupons, although a prospective slogan only needed to be written on one of them. A second slogan required 5 more coupons, so the main focus of this contest appeared to be a marketing ploy to encourage readers to buy more titles. The deadline for the contest was the end of October, 1956, so if you want to enter, you'll need to fly through the time barrier or borrow a Legion time bubble to get your entry in on time. I couldn't help but be a little disappointed after reading the contest rules. Future episodes will cover the contest results.

World's Finest Comics #84, September/October 1956, was published around July 31, 1956. It contained 32 pages for the cover price of a dime. The editor was Jack Schiff, and the cover was drawn by Dick Sprang and inked by Stan Kaye, the art team for the Superman/Batman story in this issue. It was the 12 page long story titled The Super-Mystery Of Metropolis, written by Edmond Hamilton, and reprinted in World's Finest Archives vol. I and Showcase Presents: World's Finest vol. I.

After returning from a mission to Metropolis, Superman recognized Thad Linnis, who threatened to expose the Man of Steel's secret identity unless he left the city for two weeks. Superman reluctantly agreed. As Clark Kent, he got Perry to approve his 2 week vacation.

The next day, an ocean liner was about to crash into a bridge, when a current seemed to swing it around to avoid a collision. On the following day, an unexpected rain storm doused a penthouse fire that was out of reach of the Metropolis Fire Department.

The Daily Planet published a front page headline, Where's Superman?, and Batman and Robin were called to Metropolis to investigate. The Dynamic Duo discovered that the river had no currents capable of swinging  a large ship as the ocean liner had been. They also learned that the Weather Bureau had not forecast a rain on the day of the fire. They found Superman when, as they flew in the Batplane, the Man of Steel shielded them from a lightning strike.

After landing outside of Metropolis, Superman told Batman and Robin the whole story. In a flashback to Smallville, Superboy noticed Linnis following him. It seemed to the Boy of Steel that Linnis had a teen boy accomplice (who, to me, resembled a young Bruce Wayne).

Superboy noticed the boy following him on a number of super deeds. While flying antique planes in an Air Show, in order to safeguard pilots from danger, Superboy noticed a map of Smallville the boy had marked his flight paths on. Afterwards, Superboy burrowed a tunnel from the Kent's basement to a secluded area to disguise his flight paths over town. When the boy asked about Clark at the Kent home, Clark emerged from the basement, and later noticed that he still had dirt in his hair. Later, the boy would go to the Kent store and buy a tire for his bike from Clark.

After saving a small building from a fire, Superboy noticed that his charred fingerprints had been cut out of the corner of the building where he had held the building. The boy didn't have the evidence, and, when Superboy confronted Linnis, he only said that he didn't have them, but might use them later.

Batman informed Superman that he was that boy. His parents had vacationed in Smallville, and young Bruce wanted to test his detective skills in an attempt to learn Superboy's identity, in hopes of becoming a great detective as an adult.

Bruce refused Linnis' request to join his effort to blackmail Superboy with his secret identity. He did notice the dirt in Clark's hair, and his suspicions about young Clark were confirmed when Kent gave Bruce the right sized tire without measuring the wheel. Bruce had cut out the fingerprints from the building, but threw them into the fire when Linnis wanted them. Wayne kept his knowledge secret in order to not crush Superboy's self confidence.

Superman realized that Linnis had bluffed him. The World's Finest heroes returned to Metropolis. Superman shook Linnis and his gang out of the giant tank they planned to use to rob the city's banks. While Batman and Robin rounded up the crooks, Superman demolished the tank.

After Lois thanked Batman for the great detective work in finding the Man of Steel, Superman thought to himself that she didn't realize what a great detective Bruce was as a teen.

This story was a vast improvement from the previous issue. While Bruce and Clark didn't team up in the flashback, it did remind me of a later issue of World's Finest, issue #172, where the Kents also adopted Bruce in an "imaginary story."

Someone from Superman's past returned to haunt him, and struck at the Man of Steel's greatest fear, the discovery of his secret identity. For a while, Linnis out thought Superman.

I loved Perry's response when Clark asked for a vacation, "Take your vacation. I can always spare you."

Even though he was supposed to leave Metropolis, Superman found clever ways to protect the city, underwater with the ship, and in the clouds above Metropolis creating the rain storms.

Young Bruce Wayne also messed with Superboy's head, and it turned out that Clark hadn't perfected his ability to protect his secret identity just yet. Bruce showed the potential for the detective he would become as a teen. The trick with the bicycle tire was a clever trick to pull on Clark. Bruce's flashback made it as much of a Bruce story as a Clark story.

Superman was put through the full gamut of emotion, from the threat of the exposure of his secret identity to the thrill of victory when he captured the crooks once again, and I give this story 5 Superman Capes out of 5.

Green Arrow starred in the second, 6 page story in this issue, The Mystery Of 1,000 Masks, written by Dave Wood and drawn by George Papp.

Tomahawk starred in the final story of the issue, The Frontier Braggart, written by Dave Wood and drawn by Bob Brown.

Elsewhere in DC Comics, 33 titles carried the September or September/October 1956 cover date.

Next Episode: Superman Comic Books Cover Dated November 1959: Superman #133 & Action Comics #258!

In 2 Weeks: Superman Family Comic Book Cover Dated October 1956: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #16!

Check out SLIPSTREAM, a new web comic book written by jeffrey Taylor, co-host of the FROM CRISIS TO CRISIS podcast, and drawn by yours truly. Thanks to SUPERMAN HOMEPAGE .com contributor Adam Deschanel for putting the website together.

Also, if you know the original publication information for a Superman story involving his alien zoo at his Fortress of Solitude, reprinted in the 1970 SUPERMAN BUMPER BOOK, a UK Superman hardcover anthology, post it in comments or through the contact information below.

You can join the SUPERMAN FAN PODCAST and MY PULL LIST groups or pages on facebook, and follow both the podcast and blog on twitter @supermanpodcast.

SUPERMAN FAN PODCAST is a proud member of thefollowing:
- The SUPERMAN WEBRING of websites, and

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 art shown on this podcast is for entertainment purposes only, and not for profit.

Thanks for listening to the SUPERMAN FAN PODCAST and, as always, thanks to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

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