Posts tagged ‘Ma Kent’

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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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!


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 290 – Superboy meets Sun Boy, and Bizarro World gets invaded


There is an awful lot of deception going on in Adventure 290 (Nov 61).  Tom Tanner, who happens to look identical to Clark Kent, escapes from a reform school and just happens to wind up in Smallville, where everyone, including Ma and Pa Kent, assume he is Clark.


So he steps into Clark’s life while Superboy meets Sun Boy just outside of town.


Sun Boy had appeared as a Legion applicant in a recent appearance of the team, in which Supergirl was recruited (Action 276), and is revealed to be a member now.   His origin is told in brief, gaining his powers though an accident in his father’s lab.  At this point Sun Boy’s powers are limited to emitting light.

He sends Sueprboy off to gather sealed containers, the contents of which will build a weapon, and Superboy goes.  But this is not the real Sun Boy, simply an imposter.  So we have two phonies in this story!


Of the two, Tom is having the more impressive time, passing one of Lana’s tests to prove Clark is Superboy, and also making Clark look much tougher at school.


Sun Boy builds his silly looking killer robot, but fails in his plans, because Superboy knew all along he was a fake.  Why?  Because he did not use the secret Legion handshake.  There never had been a secret Legion handshake before this story, and never would be again.


There’s some stuff with Tom that is too complex and contrived to bother explaining, but he becomes a good person and goes off to live his life, and is never heard from again.  Nor is the Sun Boy imposter.  Of all the Legion stories that pre-date their series, I think this is the one I like least.


The Bizarro World story is probably the most serious tale of the run, if only because they risk the destruction of their world.


Creatures made of blue kryptonite (which is deadly to Bizarros) emerge from underground and begin attacking.  The Bizarros respond by cheering them on.


Jerry Siegel includes a detail that no other Bizarro story will acknowledge, that only Bizarros based on Superman are vulnerable to blue kryptonite.  So a squad of Bizarro Loises are sent out to fight.


In the end its Bizarro Jimmy Olsen who saves the day, creating Bizarro versions of Superman’s lead suit, which protects them and allows them to defeat the creatures.

Adventure 288 – Superboy vs Dev-Em, and Bizarro Lois gains powers



Dev-Em shows himself to be a far more cruel and manipulative foe than anyone else Superboy has faced.  He projects Superboy into the Phantom Zone, then disguises himself as the hero and does all he can to ruin his name.


He behaves atrociously to Ma and Pa Kent. and goes on a destructive rampage through Smallville.


Once he is convinced that everyone has turned against Superboy, he simply frees him from the Phantom Zone, leaving poor Kal to face the repercussions of Dev-Em’s actions, and takes off into the future.


I’m really of two minds about the resolution to this tale.  Otto Binder seems to find an easy out, as red kryptonite is blamed for Superboy’s behaviour.  On the other hand, perhaps the intended message was that if a person always acts nobly and selflessly, a temporary aberration can be overlooked.




Jerry Siegel has a lot of fun with the Bizarro tale in this issue, as Kltpzyxm (the Bizarro Myzptlk) gives Bizarro Lois super-powers.  Bizarro then spends the story trying to prove that Bizarro Lois is really Stupor-Woman, in a wacky variation of the standard Superman/Lois Lane plot.


The real Mr Mxyzptlk shows up at the end of the story, removing Bizarro Lois’ powers and causing everyone on Bizarro World to forget everything.  Cause what’s a story without memory loss, right?  How many issues have ended with this ploy now?  I forget.

Adventure 278 – Supergirl comes to Smallville, and Janu becomes Janurilla


At the time of this story, Supergirl had her own series in Action Comics, but was still living in an orphanage, forbidden by Superman to use her powers publicly.  He was afraid she would give away her identity, or his.  Determined to prove herself, Linda travels back in time and heads to Smallville, in Adventure 278 (Nov 60).


She reveals her identity to Ma and Pa Kent, and enlists their aid in attempting to fool Clark, figuring that if she can conceal it from Superboy, Superman will have to agree she has proved herself.


She does a pretty good job of it, and succeeds in fooling Superboy the first time they meet.  It’s pesky Lana Lang that has the suspicions, but a little aid from Krypto and Ma Kent helps Linda con her as well.


Supergirl figures she has it all down pat, but I guess this makes her less cautious, and she makes a completely stupid mistake.


Distressed, she heads back to her own time, concluding that she is not “ready” to be adopted.  Which is kind of awful.



Janu winds up becoming Congorilla in this story.  He resents Congo Bill getting all the ape action, so puts on the ring himself.

He ties his body to a tree, so the mind-transferred gorilla will not run off with it, but he gets mistaken for a missing boy, and in the gorilla body has to chase his human body.

This could be fun, but the way Janu’s speech (or thoughts) are written are so idiot-ish that there is little fun to be had at his expense.  Nor is the art on the story particularly appealing.

But it was enough of a change of pace that I felt like including this story.


Adventure 267 = The Legion imprison Superboy, and Aquaman and Green Arrow trade locales


Adventure 267 (Dec 59) features not only an early appearance by the Legion of Super-Heroes, but also an interesting not-quite-team-up by Aquaman and Green Arrow.

Of the three stories, the Superboy one is the least impressive; and if a Legion freak like me is saying that, you can be sure it’s true.

The costumes are almost right, but there is really little else to recommend this story.


Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl show up in Smallville again, stopping crimes and treating Superboy badly.  Even Krypto and the Kents turn against him.  He leaves, and discovers a world built in his honour by Legionnaires, who promptly imprison him in a kryptonite cage.  They had seen him on a time viewer destroying military property, so feel he deserves death.  Saturn Girl had used her telepathy to turn everyone against him.

Of course, it’s all a misunderstanding, and everyone is buddies again at the end of the story.

Hate to say it, but this mess was written by Jerry Siegel, although I’m not sure he’s the one to blame for Saturn Girl emitting destructive beams from her eyes, as that detail is in the art, but not the text.


Aquaman’s story begins with Shark Norton and the Wizard, old enemies of Aquaman and Green Arrow respectively (although this was in fact the only appearance of either villain), each deciding to switch their areas of operation.  Shark Norton will evade Aquaman by committing crimes on land, and the Wizard will elude Green Arrow by heading out to sea for his larcenous activities.


This story is also the earliest I can find that specifies the one-hour time limit for Aquaman, so delicately phrased by a police officer, “you gasp for water like a dying fish.”


Nevertheless, Aquaman pursues Shark Norton, and once again Ramona Fradon has fun with Topo, who uses his tentacles to shoot four arrows at the same time.  Aquaman goes through the tale with his head in a bowl of water, but triumphs anyway.


Meanwhile, Green Arrow and Speedy don underwater gear to pursue the Wizard.  Some really nice art by Lee Elias on this, I do like his work on the Green Arrow series.


The Wizard is using an artificial iceberg as his base, and while Green Arrow and Speedy attempt to melt it with arrowheads made of salt, they stumble across a Godzilla-type sea monster awakened by atomic testing, whose fire breath proves more effective at the task.


The two heroes interact only in the very last panel of the story, congratulating each other.  Not a real team-up, but an enjoyable way to link the two back-up features in this issue.

Adventure 251 – Superboy learns about kryptonite and Green Arrow gets presents


Kryptonite had been introduced into the Superman comic in 1949, and had been used in a number of Superboy stories before this one, but in Adventure 251 (Aug 58), Otto Binder scripted a decent little tale relating the circumstances behind Superboy’s first encounter with the substance, and his discovery of its deadly potential.


The story is told as an extended flashback, and also incorporates the earliest appearance of the Superboy robots he created to help cover his identity.  Pa Kent finds an unusual glowing green meteor, and brings it home as a present for Clark.

Clark promptly becomes deathly ill. As Ma and Pa Kent tend to him and cry over their ailing son, Superboy sends his robot out to perform the deeds he can no longer do.  But he has brief and unexplained periods of recovery before relapsing, over and over.

Eventually Clark, and then Pa Kent, realize the connection between Clark’s periods of recovery, and the times the robot, built with lead in its interior, was standing between Clark and the green meteor.

It’s still a bit of a leap to Superboy’s deduction that the meteor is a poisonous fragment of his home planet, but that’s eased over by his “super-brain.”




Once again Kirby art enlivens an otherwise run-of-the-mill Green Arrow story, as men from the future send Oliver and Roy a quiver of extremely high-tech arrows, which prove more of a hindrance to fighting crime than a help.

There are arrows that cause mass freezing, invisibility, paralysis, and even a hypnotic arrow that Green Arrow drops, rendering Speedy and him useless.


Ultimately, Green Arrow decides to put the rest of the quiver in storage.  It would have been great to see them brought back out and used in a later story, but that was not to happen.

Adventure 221 – Superbaby!


Superbaby would become a popular variation on the Superboy theme in the 60s, and Adventure 221 (Feb 56) has one of the earliest stories for the character.


While many early Superbaby stories deal with the Kents, and young Clark learning his abilities, this story deals with a couple who were asked to take care of baby Clark while the Kents went to vote.  They get delayed on the way back, and Clark wakes up.

The Boltons, who were looking after him, see all manner of strange behaviour but come up with rational explanations for it all, though it stays in their minds.  The story is framed by the Boltons in the “present” coming to see the Kents again, to air their growing suspicions that baby Clark grew up to be Superboy.


But of course Ma and Pa Kent have years of practice at coming up with convincing explanations and excuses, and Clark’s identity is safe once again.

Not a great story overall.  In truth, I like very few of the Sueprbaby tales.  But it still required an entry.

Adventure 103 – Superboy, Johnny Quick, Aquaman and Green Arrow begin their runs


Superboy, Johnny Quick, Aquaman and Green Arrow had all began their runs in More Fun Comics, but moved over to Adventure with issue 103 (April 1946).  There was no effort to re-introduce the characters, their series continued as if the book had not changed.



Superboy was drawn to appear much younger in the early years of his strip, though no specific age was ever given.   There was very little of the Smallville world and cast at the start, even the Kents would rarely appear in the series for the first few years.


In his first appearance in Adventure, Superboy helps a girl who shares his birthday, but whose party is doomed to failure because her father has been arrested.  Superboy proves the man’s innocence and captures the real criminals so the party can go on!



Johnny Quick was newsreel cameraman Johnny Chambers, who has a “scientific” formula that he speaks, which gives him super-speed.  His assistant Tubby Watts was the only other regular member of the strip.  The formula, 3X2(9YZ)4A, cleverly made use of parentheses so that it was effectively impossible for children to know how to say.

Johnny and Tubby are hired to film a salvage operation by the Chesney Museum, to bring up a “treasure” from a sunken ship.  Pirates try to steal the treasure, but are no match for Johnny.


The art is by Mort Meskin, and visually this is the best story in the issue.  The tale ends with the delightful twist that the treasure is a collection of rare rag dolls.  The pirates are not amused.



Aquaman appears to be much the same character that we are familiar with, although his origin, given in More Fun Comics, was radically different.  He was a normal human who had been experimented on by his father, which endowed him with his undersea abilities.  There were no supporting characters in his series at all.  No Atlantis, no version of the Aqua-Cave, no Topo.  He seemed to spend all his time just aimlessly swimming around until he came across bad guys.

In this story he comes across giant footprints on the ocean floor, along with a challenge to follow them.  It’s a ploy by pirates, who want him out of the way while they steal some rare “corallium rubrum” from Chinese waters.


Apparently the Chinese navy was still recovering from World War 2 and incapable of protecting their own underwater resources, but Aquaman was suspicious from the start, and only pretended to follow the footprints, so the pirates plan does not succeed.



Green Arrow and Speedy also appear much the same as they would in the Silver Age, but like Aquaman, their origin stories from More Fun Comics were quite different, involving an archaeological search for a lost mesa and an aging native called Quoag.  In the end it came to the same thing, though, highly developed archery skills.

The story involved an elaborate con by Amir Bey to sell a supposedly magic bow that fires invisible arrows.


There was no regularity in this period to the hair colours of Oliver Queen and Roy Harper, and while their costumes would basically stay the same for a couple decades, the colours of their hats and gloves would also alter almost randomly.



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