Posts tagged ‘Jerry Siegel’

Action 281 – the doctor who went to Krypton, and Krypto shows his intelligence

act_281_008

The cover story of Action 281 (Oct. 61) is an odd, and unbalanced tale by Bernstein and Plastino.

act_281

The story begins on Paul Pratt, a thief who has a device that allows him to travel huge distances instantaneously, which he uses to create unshakable alibis for his thefts.

act_281_001

He even brags to Superman about what he is doing!  Clearly, this guy will be the centre of the tale.

act_281_002

Nope. Instead, it swings over to introduce an Earth doctor, who was working on a method of cross-planet communication.  He reached Jor-El, and together they devised a way to teleport him to Krypton.  Jor-El hoped to work with him to evacuate more Kryptonians to Earth. Where they would presumably rule like gods.

While he was there, baby Kal-El fell and injured his ankle, which the doctor treated.

act_281_003

Then, back in the present, the man explains that he suspects Pratt is using a variation of his teleportation machine.  Superman then rounds up Pratt.  He likely could have done this anyway, without the doctor and his backstory.  The doctor never appears again.

act_281_004

Lesla-Lar’s evil schemes suffer a set-back in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

act_281_005

While Superman is still clueless about Lesla-Lar impersonating his cousin, Krypto figures it out the first time he encounters her – by her different scent.  Good dog!  Krypto sees that the real Supergirl is in Kandor, where she has been enlisted to play herself in a movie.

act_281_006

Krypto even manages to work a ray that switches the two women back to their proper place.  Who’s a good boy?

act_281_007

Superman then takes Supergirl, who once again has no powers, to the past. Her powers do return in a time period before she lost them.  For science reasons, I expect.  Anyway, Superman leaves her for a while in Salem, where he helpful actions get interpreted as witchcraft.

Superman brings her back to the present, hoping that the recharge would stick. But once again, Supergirl is left powerless.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

Action 280 – Brainiac’s revenge, and Lesla-Lar’s master plan

act_280

Brainiac is back, and this time, he knows what he is doing, in a story by Siegel, Swan, and Kaye, in Action 280 (Sept. 61).

act_280_001

The story opens in the distant past, where Superman left him, in suspended animation, after his red/green kryptonite attack.  Cavemen eventually waken him, and he heads back to the present.

act_280_002

Perry White has sent Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen to Africa, to write a story on the uprisings taking place.  But they wind up in the jungle, watching some gorillas.

act_280_003

Brainiac finds them, and shrinks them all down, sealing them in a bottle.  A large gorilla tries to intervene, but winds up bottled as well.

act_280_004

The gorilla is able to escape from the bottle, which none of the humans can do, and even throws down a line, leading them all to safety.

act_280_005

Superman has figured out who the gorilla is.  Did you?  It’s Congorilla!  Congo Bill fills in the gaps, how he spotted Brainiac and trailed him.

This is the first appearance of Congo Bill and Congorilla since the series in Adventure Comics ended a few months earlier.  They next appear, a few years down the road, in the pages of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

act_280_006

Lesla-Lar continues with her evil plans in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

act_280_007

While Linda lives blissfully in Kandor, Lesla-Lar visits Lex Luthor again, convincing him to build a kryptonite gun with which to kill Superman.

act_280_008

She successfully cons Superman, both that she is really his cousin, but also that him crushing a rock restores her powers.

act_280_009

Superman agrees that, with her powers back, he will introduce her to the world.  We discover Lesla’s plan.  After Superman introduces her, Lex Luthor will kill him, and then she will kill Lex while capturing him.  Then all the glory and adulation will be hers.

The story continues in the next issue.

 

 

Action 279 – Imaginary marriages, and the debut of Lesla-Lar

act_279

The Superman story in Action 279 (Aug. 61) is an Imaginary Story.  That means it is not a Superman story that really happened.  Just ponder that level of reality for a while.

act_279_001

Tired of having Lois Lane and Lana Lang fighting over him, Superman travels through time to get Hercules and Samson, and fobs them off on the women, in this story by John Forte.  And indeed, the women fall head over heels in love with the doting heroes

act_279_002

The couples try to get married immediately, but discover they need to wait a week.  The story then descends into a horrifying parody of marriage relationships, an endless outdo-the-other-couple cycle.

act_279_003

The heroes also find it extremely difficult to find fulfilling work, and Samson even loses his powers after Lana cuts some bubblegum out of his hair.

act_279_004

Superman returns Hercules and Samson to their own eras, as they just long to be rid of the women by now.  With the other men gone, Lois and Lana start attacking each other again.

Geez.

act_279_005

Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney introduce one of Supergirl’s greatest foes in this issue, the Kandorian scientist, Lesla-Lar.  You just gotta wonder about that name.

act_279_006

Lesla-Lar looks exactly like Supergirl, which has become unsurprising with Kandorians.  We discover that she was the one who stripped Supergirl of her powers, using a machine of her own invention.  She claim to be jealous of the attention that Supergirl will get, one day, of the people of Earth, who have no idea that Lesla-Lar even exists.  That really makes little sense.  I prefer to think this was mistranslated from the Kryptonian, and she is jealous of the attention that Kandorians give to Supergirl, over her.

act_279_007

No longer having powers, Linda allows herself to be adopted at last.  Fred and Edna Danvers are not named in this story, but they are the ones to take her home, and prompt her to change her hairstyle to a more teenage look.

act_279_008

As she sleeps, Lesla-Lar uses another of her machines to trade places with Linda. She acquires the normal range of Kryptonian powers on Earth.

act_279_009

Taking on the Supergirl identity, she comes to visit Luthor in prison, and even breaks him out, helps him commit and crime, and brings him back to prison to establish his alibi.  At the same time, Linda is living Lesla’s life in Kandor.

act_279_010

Lesla-Lar switches them back after a day.  For Linda, it was all a strange dream.  For Lesla, the beginning of an evil scheme. The story continues in the next issue.

Action 278 – Perry White gains super-powers, and Supergirl loses them

act_278

Perry White gets the starring role in Action 278 (July 1961), in a story by Coleman, Swan and Kaye.

act_278_001

Perry sees an unusual plant outside his house.  Having less common sense than one might expect, he picks a fruit from the plant and eats it, and promptly gains super-powers.

act_278_002

He adopts the identity of Masterman, but wonders if kryptonite will have any effect on him.  Jimmy Olsen happens to be photographing the four known forms of kryptonite at this time, for a story Lois Lane is doing for the Daily Planet colour supplement.

act_278_003

Perry does fight crime as Masterman, but has more fun toying with the Planet staff.  Still, the scene as he and Clark both find reasons to get away and change costumes is fun.

act_278_004

We then discover that Perry White is actually possessed by some alien plant life.  See what happens when you eat random plants?

act_278_005

Superman and Perry White battle it out, Superman wearing the kryptonite-proof armor he devised against Luthor.  But it’s Supergirl who saves the day, killing the plant possessing Perry by using white kryptonite, which only kills plant life.

There are very few white kryptonite stories, which makes it easy to label this one the best.

act_278_006

A good day turns very bad for Supergirl in this story by Siegel and Mooney.

act_278_007

Superman announces to Supergirl that, once he and Krypto return from an outer space mission, he will reveal her identity to the world.  Superman has even made a tape showing her how this will play out – which is enough to tell you that it absolutely will not.

act_278_008

A cloud of kryptonite dust encircles the Earth, and Supergirl takes refuse underwater, with Lori Lemaris and Jerro.

act_278_009

After she saves a ship, people assume that it is Superman hiding under the water, and she performs a series of impressive feats, requested of Superman, all without leaving the ocean.

act_278_010

But as the story reaches its end, and Superman returns, Supergirl discovers that her powers have suddenly and inexplicably vanished.  Superman has no idea what to do to bring them back, so he just sends her back to the orphanage.

act_278_011

Linda is left, confused, but still wearing her wig to bed.

 

Action 277 – Luthor’s multi-coloured kryptonite, and Supergirl judges the super-pets

act_277_010

The Battle of the Super-Pets really does happen in the Supergirl story in Action 277 (June 1961), but first, the Superman tale.

act_277

Bill Finger, Curt Swan and John Forte pull off one of the best Lex Luthor tales from the era in this story.

act_277_001

Luthor escapes from prison, and heads to his own version of the Fortress of Solitude, Luthor’s Lair, located in an abandoned museum, complete with trophies, a lab, monitoring devices and statues of his heroes.

Luthor’s Lair will return in a number of stories in the next few years.

act_277_002

Luthor announces his plans to rob Fort Knox, luring Superman there. Luthor has a machine that shoots out a variety of coloured kryptonite balls.  Sadly, despite the colours, none of these have any of the effects of true coloured kryptonite.  The fourth dimensional arm he uses to steal the entire fort is impressive.

act_277_003

Luthor rejoices over his triumph, especially because the kryptonite balls were fakes.  But all that turns sour when he finds out that he did not defeat Superman, just one of his robots.

Infuriated, Luthor returns Fort Knox and all its gold, and even goes back to prison.  Defeating Superman is the one and only thing that really matters to him.

act_277_004

Siegel and Mooney have a lot of fun finally fulfilling the long-delayed promise to pit the Superman/Krypto team against the Supergirl/Streaky team.

act_277_005

Trouble starts when Krypto saves Supergirl from being adopted (oh, no!) and Streaky gets jealous when Supergirl thanks him.

act_277_006

Powering himself up, Streaky attacks Krypto.  Their masters get involved, and even pit the animals against each other to see which will win.  Because of the potential for peripheral destruction, Supergirl takes the animals to a far-off planet to compete in a series of tests.

act_277_007

Each competition gets interrupted by bizarre and unusual events.

act_277_008

Supergirl discovers that the planet was set-up by Mr. Mxyzptlk, and none of the odd things that happened were actually attacks.  Although no winner is proclaimed, one sequence did see Streaky come to the rescue of Supergirl and Krypto, when they believed themselves endangered by kryptonite, which Streaky is immune to.

act_277_009

The story ends as Beppo, the Super-Monkey, shows up.  Beppo was recently introduced as a pet sidekick for Superbaby, this marks his first appearance in the “present.”

You gotta love Streaky’s reaction “Gaaa!  ANOTHER rival!”

Action 276 – Supergirl vs the Superman Emergency Squad, and Supergirl joins the Legion of Super-Heroes

act_276

Action 276 (May 1961) does deliver on it’s cover, though not quite in the way one might expect.

act_276_001

Boring and Kaye do the art as Clark Kent shows himself far too trusting, revealing his identity to a dying philanthropist.

act_276_002

Of course, the man is not actually dying, and while he is a philanthropist, that is a front for his criminal activities.  He not believes Superman to be Clark Kent, though his doctor warns him that the drug he took to simulate his near-death condition did leave him prone to hallucinations.

So it’s obvious how they will “get out” of the revelation, but at least the doctor did set that up near the top of the story.

act_276_003

The man sets a kryptonite trap for Clark Kent, who calls on the Sueprman Emergency Squad to help him.  This is a small army of Kandorians, who dons Superman masks and costumes when they leave the bottle to help him.

act_276_004

After saving him, they join with Supergirl in all manner of bizarre behaviour, intended to convince the bad guy that he is having hallucinations, and Clark Kent is not Superman.

Not really a “war” between Supergirl and the Emergency Squad.

act_276_005

A lot of Legionnaires debut in the Siegel and Mooney Supergirl story in this issue, as she finally gets to join the team.

act_276_006

Saturn Girl arrives in Supergirl’s time, along with two other members making their debuts, Phantom Girl and Triplicate Girl.  Saturn Girl is wearing a lead mask in a really half-hearted attempt to conceal her identity, as part of the weird games they play with Supergirl.

act_276_007

They bring her to the 30th century, where she meets some other new applicants for membership, Shrinking Violet, Bouncing Boy, and Sun Boy.

act_276_008

But the far more important one for this story is Brainiac 5, the descendant of the original Brainiac, shown in flashback as he was in his first appearance, without the cool head things, and with Koko.  At this time, Brainiac was still believed to be an alien.  Brainiac 5’s relationship with him would change after his robotic state was revealed.

act_276_009

Supergirl completes her initiation, and Brainiac 5 gives her a force-field belt of his creation, based on his ancestor’s force field, which protects her from kryptonite.

act_276_010

And love blossoms between the temporally distanced couple.

act_276_011

The ending of the story is not as good.  Returning to Earth, Supergirl heads to Atlantis to retrieve some kryptonite from Lori Lemaris and Jerro, but runs into Krypto, who thinks its fake kryptonite…blah blah, event event which  winds up destroying the force field belt.

But at least Linda has another long-distance boyfriend.

 

Action 275 – Brainiac uses a red/green kryptonite mix, and Supergirl’s romance with Lex Luthor

act_275

The cover of Action 275 (April 1961) promises an exciting story, with Brainiac and an intriguing mix of kryptonite.  Sadly, the story, by Jerry Coleman and Wayne Boring, does not live up this promise.

act_275_001

Brainiac shows up, stealing aluminum.  Superman moves in to stop him, but Brainiac gets into his bubblecar and shoots the red/green kryptonite mix at him.  Brainaic has no idea what the effect will be, and none is apparent.

act_275_002

Superman steals Lois Lane’s hat, and continues to wear hats over the next few days, as he performs various super-feats.

act_275_003

We know, from Superman’s conversation with Supergirl, that Brainiac’s ray had some sort of effect on him, but the art gives no hint at all of what it is, despite showing us how hard Clark Kent tries to conceal it.

act_275_004

Brainiac pops up again at the end of the story, to be defeated.  The kryptonite mix had given Superman a third eye on the back of his head, but the art had never shown that.  The story ends with Superman and Supergirl beating up and humiliating a statue of Brainiac (actually labelled “statue of Brainiac”), which really makes them look ridiculous.

act_275_005

Siegel and Mooney give Supergirl a dream-adventure in this tale.

act_275_006

Superman has been telling Supergirl about being raised by the Kents, and that night Linda dreams her life, if she had been in Clark’s place.

act_275_007

The story begins much the same, as she is taken care of as a baby by the Kents, and grows into her Linda identity.  Lex Luthor, with hair, is her boyfriend, though she dreams of dating the football hero who is Lana Lang’s beau.

act_275_009

Lex suspects Linda might be Supergirl, and has this confirmed by her talking Kryptonian bird, Skwaky.  Although Lex loves Linda, he knows she cares for the football player instead, so he tells the guy her secret, in hopes that this will make him interested in her.

act_275_010

The plan backfires, when Linda figures out that he only is interested in Supergirl.  Another downer dream, but also the first of quite a number of tales that make Supergirl and Lex Luthor a couple.

 

Action 273 – Superman pesters Mr. Mxyzptlk

act_273

Action 273 (Feb. 61) marks the first appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk in this book.  What, you cry, I have seen earlier blog posts about him!  Why are you lying to me?

No, foolish mortal, you have seen blog posts about Mr. Mxyztplk not Mr. Mxyzptlk!  Look closely if you cannot spot the difference.  It’s really the only difference, aside from the suit, between the Golden and Silver Age versions of this character.

act_273_001

After a brief preamble with Mr. Mxyzptlk wreaking havoc on Earth and being tricked into saying his name backwards, Siegel and Plastino send Superman to the 5th Dimension, where he plays pranks on Mr. Mxyzptlk himself.  Childishness is catching, it seems.

act_273_002

Still, it’s a fun variation on the theme.  Mr. Mxyzptlk keeps trying to trick Superman into saying his name backwards.  But when he succeeds, it does not work.  Superman voluntarily goes back, by saying Kal-El backwards, the name is feels is his true name.

Action 272 – Superman vs Mental Man

act_272

Siegel, Swan and Kaye create an interesting sort of meta-story in Action 272 (Jan. 61).

act_272_001

Lois Lane begins drawing a comic strip about a super-hero, Mental Man, and the woman who loves him, Laura Lovely.  She does this for her own amusement, but Perry White is impressed, and begins running it in the Daily Planet.  It becomes a huge success, but no one expects it when Mental Man suddenly comes to life, evoked into existence by all the people who have been reading the strip.

act_272_002

Mental Man and Lois Lane immediately hit it off, and she is by his side as he uses his mental powers to stop crime and perform other super-deeds.  Even Lana Lang and Lucy Lane are jealous of her.  No one seems to care about Superman anymore.

act_272_003

But Mental Man can sense Lois Lane’s feelings for Superman.  Some hoodlums give him the secret on how to kill Superman, and Mental Man turns the Daily Planet globe into kryptonite, killing him.

act_272_004

But once the villains start to go wild, the whole thing is revealed as a hoax intended to draw them out.  Mental Man was really Aquaman, pulling off the various super-deeds through a combination of his own powers, Superman’s, and help from Aqualad.

In an interesting coda, Mental Man and Laura Lovely get married in the newspaper strip, and the readers lose interest.  The strip gets cancelled.

This so clearly reflects the belief at DC, that Superman and Lois must stay separate to maintain reader interest.

 

Action 271 – Superman heads into space, and Supergirl builds her own Fortress

act_271

Binder and Plastino are the creative team on the Superman story in Action 271 (Dec. 60), as Electro (not named in this issue) makes his first of two cover appearances.

act_271_001

In this story the odd character is simply referred to as one of the “light tube people,” who uses his odd little spaceship to perform some helpful acts, before enlisting Superman’s aid.  His planet is in deadly danger, and he requests Superman’s help.  Superman gets into the tiny sphere.

act_271_002

It’s really all a hoax, and a trap, designed by Lex Luthor.

act_271_003

The lead-lined sphere is attached to a bomb which will blow up Metropolis if Superman breaks out.

act_271_004

Luthor then sends a Superman impersonator to the United Nations, where he makes a pleading case that everyone turn over their nuclear weapons, so that he can use them to save the world of the light tube people.  Oddly, everyone agrees.  This is clearly a much more compassionate world than the Earth in our reality.

act_271_005

Superman’s escape is pretty clever, as he heats the air within the sphere to make it float like a balloon, and waits for lightning to short out the bomb.

Now you may be wondering, if Electro did not really exist in this story, how does he make a second cover appearance?

Wait and find out!

act_271_006

Siegel and Mooney have Supergirl adopted yet again in this story.

act_271_007

It begins as she builds her own, underground, Fortress of Solitude, complete with models of herself and her friends.  For some reason, she feels it necessary to label the Linda Lee statue as her secret identity.  In case she forgets?

act_271_008

No matter what the reason, it was a very bad idea, as archaeologists break into the Fortress.  The leader of the team hypnotizes everyone else to forget what they have seen.

act_271_009

He and his wife then adopt Linda, and are very nice to her, but use her to get rich.  It’s not long before she figures out what is going on.  They then reveal that they know her identity.

act_271_010

Streaky the Super-Cat saves the day, accidentally lobotomizing the corrupt couple with his x-ray vision.  They lose all memory of Supergirl’s identity, and make a lame excuse to return Linda to the orphanage.

 

Tag Cloud