Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Treadmill Days of Christmas, day 3

Day Three: Superman

This is clearly a Curt Swan cover for Action #232, September 1957. Try not to be too disappointed when you see the story itself and discover it is by Wayne Boring. Sadly, it is about a year too early to be included in the first Showcase Presents Superman collection, which I guess makes this "officially" a Golden Age story. I was so disappointed to see that charming image of Superman cooling lemonade with his super-breath on Superman in the Fifties yet not see this story contained therein.

This was, as they sometimes said, not a hoax, not a dream, not an imaginary story. But I don't suppose I'm spoiling anything to tell you that the boy is not, in fact, Superman's biological son, but an Earth boy who has accidentally acquired a full set of super-powers. Things like that happened in the Silver Age: That which does not kill us makes us stronger, or something like that.

This may have been the first time they played with the classic Super-color scheme, but not the last. You should have seen the yellow-and-green dog's breakfast Superman himself tried a couple of issues later, complete with communications helmet and wings on his boots.

Skip forward a decade and change to 1971 and Superman #243, cover by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano. I think this cover may actually have triggered puberty in a generation of boys. I was seventeen, and this may be my favorite Superman cover ever ever.

It's hard to be disappointed by an art job by Swan and Anderson, but the woman inside this comic suffered in comparison.

This story (by Cary Bates) immediately followed the "Sand Creature" arc that destroyed all kryptonite on earth and supposedly depowered Superman by about half. You couldn't tell it.

1 comment:

Bribaby said...

I remember that issue of Superman! Even though the cover didn't have quite the effect on me that it seems to have had on you--possibly because by the time it was handed down to me by my brother it didn't have a cover.
The femme fatale in question, if I recall correctly, was named Rija, and she had star makeup on her face, as if she were the girlfriend of one of the Kiss guys.
And then it turned out she was actually a brain in a glass pyramid. I can understand how you might feel like it was a bait and switch.