New Reviews of Old Comics
Sometimes I think I’m not running a comic review blog so much as I’m running a shelter for abused comic books. This poor thing has creases and tears all over the cover, the spine has more holes than a Dunkin’ Donuts (or Tim Horton’s for my friends north of the border, eh) and I think magic is holding the cover on to the rest of the book. Why would someone abuse a helpless comic like this? It’s nearly criminal.
Anyone know the record for longest comic book story title? If not, I’d like to submit “The Only Way You’ll Save the Earth…Is Over My Dead Body!” as a contender for that title. Written by Martin Pasko with Curt Swan and Dan Adkins handling the art, this is a continuation from the previous issue, which I know because there was a nifty little page and half catch up letting us know about n alien bringing space plague to Earth and killing people and making many others sick, including Lois Lane. The story picks up with Supergirl in chains held captive by yet another alien who really wants Superman to kill someone, but allows Superman to return to Earth to fight the plague if he leaves Supergirl behind with alien. Although it appears he’s abandoned his cousin, he of course has left her a departing gift by jamming up the alien’s gun so she can smack him across the mouth once she’s free from the chains. Back on Earth Clark Kent has befriended a boy and his puppy before getting into a massive fight scene with yet another alien. Eventually Superman puts the clues together and figures out the dog is a shape shifting alien, the same one he was just fighting, AND he’s also the source of the plague infecting Earth. *phew*. I’m exhausted. Of course the little boy is none too happy that Superman wants to off his dog, even going so far as to tell the Man of Steel that he (Superman) will kill the dog over his (the boy’s) dead body. That’s where we get the elongated title, and that’s where the story ends.
This story was at that odd crossroads between campy Superman and serious Superman. He’s still pulling the gimmicky tricks to get away and change from Clark to Superman, yet he’s also grappling with moral issues about his code of not killing even when it serves a greater purpose, or at least that’s how the cover bills it, though in the end he’s talking about destroying a dog, not a person. I don’t think mid 70s comic morality had many issues with euthanizing a dog; PETA wasn’t quite as active back in the day I guess. Big picture, this isn’t the worse thing going and you do have to give Pasko some credit for writing a story with some level of originality when there had been literally thousands of Superman stories written by this point; a shape shifting alien dog spreading the plague? Don’t think that had done before. Also worth noting is some name I don’t recognize and Neal Adams teaming up to the do the cover. Anything done by Neal Adams is worth at least a dollar, even a tattered cover.