New Reviews of Old Comics
I picked this up at an indoor flea market held during the local Pug Parade. What a flea market has to do with costume wearing pugs, I’m not sure. Although the copy was in decidedly rough shape (an understatement) it’s hard to pass up a story from the Superman Family, and this issue has three! The only new story is “Bride of the Stars” an 18 page yarn starring Supergirl. about Ranar who was born at the exact same time as a female on another planet and the star charts say this lucky girl (three guesses who, and the first two don’t count) is his “star-mate,” which must be like a soul-mate, only more so. Poor Supergirl is all confused when she visits her parents in Kandor and they don’t know who she is. This seems odd, but comes into play later. Eventually Ranar finds Supergirl and explains their cosmic fate, but she’s less than interested because he’s a “Hakawee,” a race Kryptonian’s apparently don’t care much for; and he’s kind of a jerk. After some thought, and flying 200 light years across space, Supergirl finds resolution to her problems. Ranar dumps her, and it turns out her parents only pretended to not know her because they were trying to protect her from Ranar. All is right with the world! This little gem was written by Cary Bates and Elliot S! Maggin, illustrated by Kurt Schaffenberger. Wow. Did it really take the brain power of two people to write this? The 70’s were a crazy time for comics.
Next up is Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane in “When Lois and Lana Were Brides,” an eight page reprint from Lois Lane #53 (November 1964). Here Clark is traveling with both Lois and Lana Lane to England when terminally curious Lois presses a button that ejects their row of seats (and only their three seats) from the passenger plane. Of course they land safely, but in a valley covered by English fog that is inhabited by a race of Vikings (or something) left over from ancient times. Their custom is that any single women who enter the valley must marry one of them, or else be frozen in a nearby cave; decisions, decisions. To save his personal harem Clark offers to marry broken hearted Lois (she’s saving herself for Superman of course), then creates a diversion so Superman can show up to and speak for an ecstatic Lana (she can finally stop saving herself) thus keeping them from a Viking honeymoon or a date with the ice cave. Superman uses super-ventriloquism to communicate with the rescue party and super-breath to blow away the fog so Clark, Lois and Lana can be rescued, and the whole marriage thing can be forgotten. The Comics Code Authority prevented any mention of a super-consummation taking place prior to the rescue, but we can only assume. No credits on this one but “Schaffenberger” was written into the clouds on the first panel, so I’m guessing Kurt was the artist. The writer didn’t get credit for this one, voluntarily or otherwise.
Finally Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen graces the pages in “Jimmy Olsen’s Secret Love” an eight page reprint from Jimmy Olsen #74 (January 1964). As a side note, it’s really awkward writing Jimmy Olsen so many times in one sentence. Jimmy and his girlfriend Lucy Lane each land assignments that not only put them on the same airplane, but require them to wear glamorous disguises. Naturally neither knows of the others assignment, but clever plotting has them sitting next to each other where they fall immediately and hopelessly in love with the other person’s new identity, with CCA induced guilt pangs about the affair. They part ways without revealing their true identities or how to get in touch with each other (this was before the internet). Superman comes in at some point to save Jimmy (duh), but it’s kind of moot. The real stand-out for this story is when Jimmy and Lucy attend a costume party together. Each is inspired by the “new person” they met for their costumes. Lucy dressed as Jimmy’s alter ego and Jimmy dressed like Lucy’s. Yes, folks, Jimmy Olsen dressed as a woman, dress and all. Lucy wore a tuxedo jacket and top hat with fishnet stockings and high heels. And to top it off, Lucy, dressed as feminine looking man kisses a cross dressing Jimmy on the cheek! Two “women” kissing in 1964! How the hell did this get past the Comics Code Authority?!?!?! Curt Swan and George Klein take credit for the art while the writer is still in Witness Protection.
Oh, there’s also a one pager about Supergirl’s boyfriends. Lame.
Best Ad: As part of their salute to the Bicentennial, DC put numbered (1-33) red, white and blue headings across their July and August comic covers. Anyone sending in at least 25 different headings would get a free metal Superman belt buckle in return! The full page ad even listed the titles and issues numbers that would be accepted, with Superman himself urging readers to “Collect them, save them and then send them!” It makes you wonder how many people cut off the tops of their comics for a belt buckle. Is there a shortage of unmarred copies of Plop #22 or Claw the Unconquered #8 that is under-reported? If I had a time machine, I would totally go back and send in for that belt buckle.