Posts tagged ‘Clark Kent’

More Fun 107 – Green Arrow, Superboy, Johnny Quick and Aquaman end

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More Fun 107 (Jan/Feb 1946) was the last issue of the book to feature heroes.  With the following issue, Green Arrow, Superboy, Johnny Quick and Aquaman were all gone, moved en masse to the pages of Adventure Comics.  The comedic strip Dover and Clover was the only one to stick around, being joined by numerous other “funny” strips.

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The last adventure for Green Arrow and Speedy in this book have them struggling against a mathematical genius who is trying to help them with their case, unaware that the archers are intentionally laying a false trail to decoy the thieves.

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It’s a decent story.  The Arrowcar gets wrecked at the end of the tale, but it’s all fixed up (or replaced) by the time Green Arrow’s series in Adventure begins.

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Johnny Quick’s final tale gives Tubby Watts the larger role, and has excellent art by Mort Meskin.

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Johnny and Tubby are on a riverboat cruise, when Tubby falls overboard and winds up in the hands of gangsters, who hold him for ransom.  He is blissfully aware of the alligators menacing him.

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A fun little tale.  Glad this series carried on.

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Joe Shuster returns to the pencils for the last Superboy story in More Fun, which also finally gives young Clark Kent glasses.

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It’s a dynamic story, that has Superboy aiding a boy in a soap box derby.  Though you do have wonder what age he and his friends are – soap box derbies, marbles championships and yet a high school new editor!

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Similarly, if he is in high school, why is he punished by writing lines on a blackboard?  But ignoring the age issue, it’s a fairly good story.

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Aquaman’s final outing is bookended by an entertaining bit in a classroom as a teacher explaining that Aquaman never comes to the inland part of the USA.

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He is searching for a lost seal cub, and tracks him through the St. Lawrence Seaway, into the Great Lakes and over Niagara Falls.

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Overall, this issue is actually much better than some of the ones preceding it.  Likely why these series were all kept, rather than cancelled.

More Fun 106 – Clark Kent, editor of the school paper

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In More Fun 106 (Nov/Dec 1945) we discover that Clark Kent is the editor of his high school newspaper!  Neither he, nor any of the other boys drawn in this story, look old enough to have entered high school, never mind to be in a high enough grade to be the editor.  And just last issue he was playing marbles against similarly aged kids.

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Still, this isn’t a bad story.  If anything, it’s got more drama to it than the previous tales.  An over-eager reporter sidesteps Clark and has his story implicating the milk delivery service in a series of crimes printed in the paper.  Clark and the boy get into trouble, but further investigation reveals the boy was right (although not for the right reasons).

Clark uses his x-ray vision and super-hearing to spy on those behind the crimes, and then flies in and beats up the hoodlums.

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And while he still wears no glasses as Clark, at least in this story he has no scenes with people in both identities in quick succession.

 

More Fun 105 – Superboy plays marbles

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Superboy gets his first cover story in More Fun 105 (Sept/Oct 1945), and the cover even reflects the story, as Superboy plays marbles against other kids.

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There is a bit more to this story, pencilled by Joe Shuster.  Clark overhears a local plastics firm wishing they could contact Superboy, and quickly changes clothes and goes to see them.  They explain that they lost a secret formula, which is now residing inside a child’s marble.  This is the fishiest story imaginable, but Superboy believes it without question.

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Superboy sky-writes an announcement about the big marbles championship, but of course wins all the kids marbles himself.  He claims at one point to be doing his amazing shots without using his x-ray vision, but is he really?  It’s critical to the plot that he acquire all the marbles.  No reason to think he wouldn’t cheat in order to do so.

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In the long run he plays fair, returning as Clark Kent in order to lose all the marbles back to the kids, once the people at the plastics factory find their “missing formula.”  At least Clark takes the reward money and uses it to build a playground for the scammed youngsters.

And once again, with no glasses, how believable is it that the kids do not recognize that Clark is Superboy?

More Fun 103 – Superboy fights a caveman, and Aquaman delivers a lecture

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Superboy goes on a camp out with friends in More Fun 103 (May/June 1945).  Once again, Clark is wearing no glasses to disguise his identity, and you have to wonder why Joe Shuster thought this was a good idea.  The glasses were always the barest nod to the concept of disguising one’s identity, but at least it was something!  Without the glasses, it is beyond reason that Clark’s friends do not recognize him as Superboy.

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As with the rest of Superboy’s run in More Fun, there is no real supporting cast at all.  Ill-defined and never recurring “friends,” and some similarly anonymous police.  Not even the Kents are regular players in this strip.

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The story in this one is pleasantly diverting.  Clark and his friends explore some caves on their camp-out, and find a caveman, who is really a reclusive scientist, and some criminals hiding out.

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Aquaman gets into conflict with a university professor of marine biology in this story.

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Aquaman heads to a college to see if there us anything more he can learn about sea life, but instead makes a dramatic appearance at a lecture, arguing with the professor about a fish called “chaetodom triagulum.”

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Aquaman brings the professor out to sea to settle their argument, and despite his knowledge, the professor is scared of the reality of the ocean.

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All is well at story’s end.  Aquaman proves himself right about the fish, but the professor is just impressed, not jealous.

The reason this story made it into my blog is the heavy similarity between this character and the Sea Sleuth, a short-lived supporting cast member in the early years of Aquaman’s run in Adventure Comics.

More Fun 102 – Superboy’s first adventure

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Joe Shuster stays on board, doing the pencils for the Superboy story in More Fun 102 (March/April 1945).

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It’s a simple tale that has escaped felons taking over a raft that Clark and other boys are sailing on.  Superboy does not wear glasses as Clark in this story, so the fact that the one kid thinks Superboy and Clark are the same is far from surprising.

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There are no elaborate powers in this story, just flight and strength.  But that helps keep it at a very simple level, suiting the age of the character.

More Fun 101 – Green Arrow drives the Arrowcar, Superboy debuts, and the Spectre ends

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Green Arrow and Speedy share the cover to More Fun 101 (Jan/Feb 1945), with no hint at all that this issue also includes the debut of Superboy.

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An unusually dynamic splash page for the Green Arrow story in this issue.  The story deals with a formula for synthetic silk, and hoods trying to steal it.

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What makes this story worth inclusion is something else entirely.  Catch the upper panel in which the car is called the Arrow Car, instead of the Arrowplane!  It was a long time in coming, but from here on the car is always called a car, not a plane.

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Towards the end, the phrase arrow-lines is used again, to describe the ropes attached to the arrows.

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Superboy makes his debut in this issue, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.  This brief story just details his origin.

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We get to see a bit more of the planet Krypton, rarely shown in these early days, as well as Jor-El and Lara.

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The elderly Kents adopt the young boy, and the story cuts to Clark looking maybe 10 or 11 years old.

Up to this point, there had never been the notion that Clark used his abilities before becoming an adult, and the Superboy character is the first step towards the notion of multiple, parallel, universes within the DC Universe, as this Superboy must be a different person to the Superman currently appearing in Action Comics and his own book.

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The story ends with young Clark showing off by lifting a car – the same activity as the cover of Action 1, which I doubt was just coincidence.

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To make room for the new Superboy series, the Spectre’s strip was brought to an end with this issue.  A year or more too late in my view.

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As had become the norm, this is primarily a story about Percival Popp and some wacky mix-ups with real gems and fake ones.

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The Spectre was no longer a part of the Justice Society by the time his series was cancelled, and his return had to wait until his appearance in Showcase in the mid-60s.

Adventure 458 – Superboy and Eclipso end

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Superboy’s second run in Adventure Comics comes to a close in issue 458, with the xenophobe story by David Michelinie, Joe Staton and Jack Abel.

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Thanks to his mental control of Ma and Pa Kent, Lester Wallac learns of the Phantom Zone projector, and uses it against Superboy, sending him to the Zone.  There Superboy encounters Zan-Em, who has been mentally influencing Wallace and controlling his actions!

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Seeing Wallace about to attack Lana Lang with a knife, Superboy defeats Zan-Em and re-emerges from the Zone.  With Zan-Em defeated, Wallace regains control of his mind, realizes what he has done, and uses the Phantom Zone projector on himself.

Superboy’s series moves briefly back into Superman Family.

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The conclusion of the Eclipso story by Len Wein and Joe Orlando reveals that, permanently split, Eclipso and Bruce Gordon will each fade from existence.  Eclipso has rigged a Zeiss projector to draw stellar power that will enable him to survive while Bruce perishes.

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But of course Bruce tracks him down, and the combination of the black diamond, and Professor Bennet’s re-rigging of the Zeiss projector re-merge Eclipso and Bruce Gordon.

An adequate Eclipso story, but nothing memorable.

Both Eclipso and Bruce Gordon next appear in the pages of Green Lantern through the early 80s.  Professor Bennet and Mona have to wait until Eclipso’s next solo outing for their returns, in the Eclipso: The Darkness Within mini-series and follow-up book in the mid-90s.

 

 

Adventure 457 – Superboy takes on xenophobes, and Eclipso begins

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A group of effigy-burning alien haters are the problem in Adventure 457 (June 1978), the first half of the final Superboy story in Adventure, by David Michelinie, with art by Joe Staton and Jack Abel.

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Lester Wallace leads the group of extremists, who want Superboy to leave Smallville.  The people of the town are not so convinced that Superboy is a menace, but there is more to Wallace that it seems.

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Superboy finds himself becoming intangible at times, and the town begins to turn against him.  The final panel, in which Wallace has Ma and Pa Kent under his spell, makes it clear that he has some degree of powers.

The story concludes next issue.

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Eclipso begins a 2-part story in this issue, written by Len Wein, with art by Joe Orlando and Frank Giacoia.  Eclipso had last appeared the previous year in Metal Men, but had not had a solo story since the end of his original series in House of Secrets in the 60s.  Mona Bennet and her father Simon are also in the tale.

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Together they succeed at splitting Eclipso from Bruce Gordon’s body, but fail completely to capture him.  Though it doesn’t appear they put much thought or effort into that part of their plan.  Mona wants them to just enjoy that Bruce is free of the demon, but Bruce insists he has a responsibility to capture his evil half.

The story climaxes with Bruce becoming intangible.  The similarity of the situations with Bruce and Clark Kent were not planned, but when the editor noticed he added a blurb to the letter column, running a contest for readers to come up with a resolution that tied both stories together.  Those were printed a few issues later.  And I have to admit, some were much better than the actual conclusions from the following issue.

Adventure 454 – Superboy vs Kryptonite Kid, and Aqualad learns his parentage

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The Kryptonite Kid makes a rare appearance in this Bob Rozakis story from Adventure 454 (Dec 77), though the adult version of the character had appeared a year earlier in the pages of Superman.

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The people in Smallville all start turning green, and emitting kryptonite radiation. Pa Kent gets Clark out of town, where he quickly recovers.

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Superboy guesses that the Kryptonite Kid is responsible, as the villain has the same properties, and finds him out in space, but not too far away.  They battle, and though Superboy defeats him, he also realizes that the Kid was not responsible for the situation in Smallville.

This is also the final appearance of Kryptonite Kid.

The story concludes next issue.

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Aqualad continues the search for his background in the story by Paul Kupperberg, with art by Carl Potts and Dick Giordano.  He spends much of this chapter terrorizing an old man and beating up his pet shark.

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He does, however, learn that the man was responsible for the death of King Thar, the former leader of the Idyllists, who looks an awful lot like Aqualad.  Could it be…?

The story concludes next issue.

 

 

Adventure 453 – Superboy and Aqualad begin, for the second and first time, respectively

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Superboy had been pushed out of his own comic by the Legion of Super-Heroes, much as had happened earlier in Adventure Comics.  After a couple of solo stories in Superman Family, he returned to headline Adventure with issue 453 (Oct 77).

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The story, by Bob Rozakis, with art by John Calnan and Murphy Anderson,  has Clark at a summer camp, along with Pete Ross and Lana Lang.  For some reason, he also brings the magical crystal from a recent adventure with the Legion, which has the effect of giving a young girl the super-powers she wishes for.

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These first manifest that night, as Lana tells a ghost story to the campers, and Pete and Clark attempt to scare them.  The girl transforms into Mighty Girl, and battles Superboy to a standstill, until he figures out the crystal was responsible and throws it into the sun.

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There is a nice twist in the final panel, as we discover that the girl is the young Barbara Gordon, later to become Batgirl, which makes her older brother Tony Gordon, currently appearing in her series in Batman Family.

 

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Aqualad begins a three-part solo feature, written by Paul Kupperberg, with art by Carl Potts and Joe Rubenstein.  It follows directly on the previous issue, with Aqualad confronting the Idyllists, attempting to find out who his parents were.

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Their refusal to tell him simply motivates him to attempt to break into their records and find out for himself, but they fend him off.

After having Aquaman try to kill him last issue, poor Garth is having a rough time of it.

This is Aqualad’s first ongoing series, although he did have a couple of solo adventures in the pages of Teen Titans.

 

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