Posts tagged ‘Edmond Hamilton’

Action 301 – Superman murders Clark Kent, and Comet’s story gets even more complicated

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Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino craft a really interesting Superman tale in Action 301 (June 1963).

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Clark Kent and Lois Lane are on the track of a gang of thieves.  The bad guys find the reporters,and are out to kill them, but Clark changes to Superman, and throws Clark Kent to his death.  What?  The body is not found, but Superman is arrested anyway, though the police, and Lois Lane, and even the reader, is mystified at this turn of events.

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Though no one wants to betray Superman, and many people testify to his long record of selfless service, Lois Lane is forced by the prosecution to admit that Clark kissed her just before Superman “killed” him, and lay the groundwork for a motive of jealousy.

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Things clear up as the story reaches its conclusion.  Superman wanted to be in the prison, so he would be in the right place to stop the gang of thieves master plan.  The murder trial is called off when people discover Clark Kent in the cell.  He claims to have been there all along, just disguised as Superman.  A pretty clever way out.

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Dorfman and Mooney add another level of complexity to the Super-Horse saga in this issue.

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Comet accompanies Supergirl to Zerox, the Sorceror’s World, a location that returns many times throughout the years in the Legion of Super-Heroes series.  On Zerox, Comet finds a wizard, Endor, who gives Comet the power to transform into a human, when in the view of an actual comet.  Comet, in human guise, gets to rescue Supergirl, though he does not reveal his identity, and their meeting on Zerox is brief.

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Returning to Earth, Comet winds up turning human again, and takes on the identity of Bronco Bill Starr, a rodeo rider, with a strong bond with horses.  Oh, I should have mentioned that in human form, he loses all his powers.  Supergirl cannot contact him telepathically, and goes to see Lena Thorul for help.  She can only get an image of Bronco Bill, with no explanation.

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Supergirl heads to the rodeo, and hit it off with Bronco Bill Starr right away.  She sees that he has the same comet shaped mark that her horse has, but does not suspect any connection between them.  She does notice the similarity between the rodeo rider and her rescuer on Zerox, but writes that off to coincidence.

You can’t really blame Supergirl.  With all the twists and turns in Comet’s origin, who could ever guess at it?

Action 300 – Superman under a red sun, and Comet, the Super-Horse returns

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A really great cover for Action 300 (May 1963).

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The Superman Revenge Squad actually manage to pull off one of their schemes, sending Superman into the Earth’s distant future, after the planet has been abandoned, and the sun has become a red giant.  Superman’s powers are drained by the lack of yellow sun, and he is forced to navigate the dead planet as a normal human.

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Edmonf Hamilton and Al Plastino are the creative team on this somber tale.  There are robotic replicas of a number of Superman’s friends and enemies, that were constructed as eternal memorials to Superman, and give him someone to talk to.  But much of the story consists of him travelling through the hostile environment that the planet has become.

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Superman finally reaches his Fortress of Solitude, hoping to get help from the Kandorians, only to discover that, at some point, the bottle city got enlarged, and they are no longer there.  He does manage to figure out a solution, using red kryptonite to shrink himself, and an abandoned mini Kandorian rocket to make the trip back through time.

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Not the normal type of Superman story at all.  The ending is almost shocking, as he simply sits and stares out at the city, contemplating the dead world to come.

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On a much lighter note, Dorfman and Mooney bring back Comet in this Supergirl story.

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Linda sees Comet performing at a circus, but the animal still does not recognize her, or have his memory back.  When some thieves lasso him, and he tries to get away, Comet becomes aware that he has greater strength than he expected he would.

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The bad guys do manage to corral him, and use him in a theft, but Comet gets rid of them by swimming up a waterfall, which brushes them off.  Comet is then taken in by a farm family, still without his memory.

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But when an eagle attacks the baby of the family, Comet leaps skyward to get the girl, and discovers that he can fly.  This was the last twig, and Comet’s memory is restored just as Supergirl reaches him.

Action 294 – Luthor builds a Kryptonite Man, and Super-Horse finds a new girl

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Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino on what Lex Luthor has been up to on Roxar in Action 294 (Nov. 62).

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Superman has been updating his model collection.  He makes a statue of Lex on Roxar.  Perhaps he has statues of every single place Lex has ever been.  Kind of obsessed there, Superman?

Lex has been more productive, having devised a protection for the robots from giant alien bugs.  He is granted honourary robot status, and allowed a lot more freedom in his lab.

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Bad idea.  Lex takes three of the humanoid androids, and transforms them, creating Diamond Man, Lead Man and Kryptonite Man.

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When Superman comes to Roxar to check on him, he pits the creatures against him.  But Lead Man has some sense of justice, and allows himself to be destroyed, in order to block the radiations of Kryptonite Man.  This time, Superman brings Lex back to Earth to imprison him.

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Supergirl and Super-Horse’s romance takes a tragic turn in his Dorfman and Mooney story.

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Comet is being used in a movie about Super-Horse, and Supergirl has been requested to help fake his super-powers.  Oh, the irony.  Starring opposite Comet is Mitzi Taylor, a big Hollywood star.  Comet seems to be more interested in her than in Supergirl, to the heroine’s dismay.

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She is puzzled that Comet has stopped “speaking” to her telepathically, and startled when she finds that he no longer has his powers.  Superman helps solve s of the mystery, as the footage taken shows Comet eating flora from the Lotus-Eaters, which has induced amnesia. He no longer remembers being Super-Horse.

Linda is left heart broken at the end of the story.

Action 223 – Jor-El – the Superman of Krypton

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Jor-El gets to star in the lead story in Action 223 (Dec. 56), by Hamilton, Boring and Kaye.

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Superman goes hunting in space for remnants of Krypton, and finds some good chunks that contain his father’s lab and journal.  At this point, the notion that the planet turned to kryptonite upon exploding has clearly not been solidified, as Superman has no trouble in the ruins.

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The rest of the story is Jor-El’s journal, and we see the scientist discover the impending destruction of his world.

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Jor-El picks Earth as the destination for his escape rocket, after re-creating its gravity in a valley, and discovering that it will endow Kryptonians with super-powers.  The idea that sunlight is the key to the powers has not yet been introduced.

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Jor-El even gets to use these powers to fight crime and protect the Earth, preventing some Kryptonian thieves from stealing his rocket plans to invade Earth.

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Lara is completely side-lined in this story, just hovering around as Jor-El sends his son to safety at the climax of the tale.

This was the first story to feature Jor-El and life on Krypton, but it would spawn many more.

 

 

Action 191 – Superman plays sick, and Congo Bill meets Janu

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Many stories deal with Superman performing operations, or showing medical training.  The one in Action 191 (April 1954), entitled “Calling Doctor Superman,” does not.

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Instead, Hamilton, Boring and Kaye relate a tale in which a man is shot by a bullet that Supermna is particularly interested in retrieving.  To stay near him, Clark Kent  convinces the small town doctor attending the man that he is sick as well.

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Lois Lane shows up, hearing that Clark is sick.  She recognizes the hoodlum in the next bed, and notices that Clark seem healthy, so figures there must be a scoop involved, and sticks around to nurse him.  So the story descends into the normal territory of fooling Lois, and all the while helping the doctor as Superman as he gets phony emeergency calls to draw him away.

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It’s all a bit more comedy than adventure, culminating in a scene where Superman makes the bad guys, who have kidnapped Lois, cause everyone kidnaps Lois, into thinking that they all have come down with a deadly swamp fever.

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Congo Bill is in Saigon in this story by Miller and Smalle, when his help is sought in bringing a wild boy in from the jungle to receive proper schooling.  The white boy’s father was killed, leaving him an orphan, and he has been raised by animals. So basically, he is Mowgli.  But in Saigon.

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Congo Bill finds the boy, whose name is Janu, although he asks to be called Johnny, as his US pen pal calls him.  Somehow he learned how to speak English though having a pen pal.  This kid is a genius.  He also displays a lot of resourcefulness in the wilds.

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Congo Bill discovers that the boy is taking correspondence courses by mail.  Exactly how he does this strains the imagination, but Bill accepts it as true, and decides the boy does not need proper schooling.  Janu remains a supporting character, although for the next few stories he continues to live in the wold, being visited by Bill.  The stories move location to India, so Janu really gets around.  At the start of the story in the following issue, Bill is calling him Johnny, but the boy asks to be called Janu again, as that is what his father called him.

 

Action 151 – Superman vs Luthor, Prankster and Mr Mxyztplk

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Superman faces his first big villain team-up in Action 151 (Dec. 50), as Edmond Hamilton, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye bring together Luthor, the Prankster and Mr. Mxyztplk.

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The imp’s 5th Dimensional magic brings the other two villains to him.  Luthor has developed a way of creating “proxy”s, which can be designed to look like anyone, and Prankster contributes the overall theme – to make everyone laugh at Superman.  You might think Luthor would step in and insist that they actually try to kill him, but perhaps he is just a bit too freaked out by the situation to think clearly.

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Mr. Mxyztplk uses a proxy of Lois Lane in his ploy, making it look like Lois has given Superman the brush off, and is now in love with Mxyztplk.  Again, one is left to wonder why the villain reveal their involvement so openly.  And especially with Mxyztplk making the first move, Superman should know not to trust anything he sees.

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Luthor makes the most effective use of his proxy, creating a duplicate of himself, so that he can rob banks and yet maintain a perfect alibi.  Superman tries to bring him in for theft, but gets laughed out of court.

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The Prankster makes use of a proxy Superman, which will stand around and let himself be made an ass of.

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Superman wins at the end by creating proxies of the three bad guys, and using them in a carnival routine.  It’s pretty clear to see what Superman’s plans are, particularly with the microphone that repeats everything backwards, but the villains egos are so delicate that they climb up onstage to interfere with Superman’s comedy routine, and wind up doing themselves in.

It’s certainly not the best villain team-up, but it is a functional one.

Action 135 – Superman turns to stone, and the Rainbow Man heads west

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Superman may be building a youth centre on the cover of Action 135 (Aug. 49), but inside he is encased in a story by Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino.

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A scientist has developed a machine that turns people into statues.  He shows off his new device to Lois Lane.  Then a number of people start turning into stone throughout Metropolis.

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Superman discovers Lois made of stone, and notes her pore pattern.  You just know that’s a significant clue.  The scientist appears on live television, turning the mayor into stone.

But it’s all an elaborate hoax, with people being replaced by stone statues.  Superman noticed that they all had the same pore pattern.  He toys with the criminals before taking them in, pretending to be a statue himself.

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George Kashdan and Dan Barry bring the Rainbow Man out west, for another round with the Vigilante and Stuff.

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The colour wheel is used, but as a weapon rather than a crime chooser.  The Rainbow Man is on the trail of a dead goon’s hidden treasure, which turns out to be worthless.

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