Posts tagged ‘Ivy University’

Action 454 – Superman eats hamburgers, and the Atom ends

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Action 454 (Dec. 75) was the second issue of Action Comics that I bought.  I found the cover very funny. I was 10 years old, give me a break.

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The new Toyman is the active villain in this story, by Bates, Swan and Blaisdel, but not the actual cause of Superman’s big problems.

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But the big problem facing Superman in this story is his lack of energy.  As Clark, he falls asleep during a broadcast, and again at an awards dinner.  Lois Lane is even more irritated with him than usual.

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And it’s not just hamburgers that Superman devours, but a huge amount of food, to replenish the energy he loses by being Superman.

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The Toyman actually helps Superman figure out what is causing his energy drain, although not intentionally.  It is an evil rock at the core of the Earth, which Superman coats in a solar cell suit.  I cannot explain that any better.  But it made some sense at age 10.

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The final couple of panels see Clark and Jimmy Olsen attempt to go to MacTavish’s for burgers but the place is now mobbed, thanks to Superman eating there.

MacTavish’s would continue to appear sporadically in the Superman comics, the stand-in for McDonald’s, until John Byrne’s reboot of Superman.

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The Atom’s run in Action comes to an end with the concluding half of this Pasko and Delbo story.

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A stray thought from a sullen groundskeeper prompts the Actualizer to make the ivy at Ivy University start tearing down the buildings.  As the Atom struggles to destroy the machine, Jean Loring tries to talk the ivy out of its destructive actions.

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In the end, the ivy backs down, but both Ray and Jean claim credit for this.

The Atom returns as a guest star in the next issue, and his series does return to Action Comics a few years down the road.

Action 442 – faster than a speeding bullet, and the Martian Atom?

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Action 442 (Dec. 74) has a perfect cover, and the story is exactly suited to it.

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The Johnny Nevada Show is the location of this story by Bates, Swan and Schaffenberger.  But Johnny is nowhere in sight, and Steve Lombard is struggling through as the guest host.  Clark Kent is one of the guests for the evening, although he spends a lot of time super-speeding around.

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Johnny Nevada had been kidnapped earlier in the day, and the ransom demand included the airing of a certain commercial during Nevada’s show, to tell the kidnappers that the ten million dollar ransom was ready.  Inspector Bill Henderson is introduced in this story.  Henderson was the policeman on the old Adventures of Superman tv series, but not used in the comics until now.

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The story has an excellent climax. Unable to find the kidnappers, Superman goes on the Nevada show, to Lombard’s delight, but unmasks to reveal that he is Johnny Nevada, having traded places with Superman the previous day.  The kidnappers don’t know what to think, but decide to kill the guy they have.

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Which is exactly what Superman counted on.  He listens for the click of the gun, and then flies, literally, faster than a speeding bullet, getting there in time to stop it hitting Nevada. Rounding up the bad guys is almost an afterthought.

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The Atom story is also pretty good this month, using Professor Hyatt’s Time Pool.  Pasko and Grell tell this story, in which a huge endowment to Ivy University relies on finding a missing page from the donor’s diary.

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The Atom travels back to the late 30s, and finds that people think he is a Martian invader.

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This was right after Orson Welles “War of the Worlds” hysteria.  The scientist is embarrassed that he got caught up in it, and tears out the diary page in which he wrote about it, which is retrieved by his cleaning lady.  Returning to the present, Ray pushes Jean in the right direction, and they get the page, and the endowment.

The one really dorky thing about this is that it was the man himself who tore out his diary page, and then made the endowment dependent on finding it.

 

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