Posts tagged ‘Jerry Siegel’

Action 285 – Superman introduces the world to Supergirl

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Action 285 (Feb. 62) marks the first time an issue has been devoted to one story, as Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney have Superman finally reveal Supergirl’s existence to the world.

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Linda’s adoptive parents, Fred and Edna Danvers, go over the edge of a bridge, and she reveals her powers while saving them.  She is worried, as Superman told her to wait until his announcement, but Superman is forgiving.  Good thing.  Was she supposed to let them die?

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Finally, the big moment arrives.  Superman does a world-wide broadcast, introducing his cousin, and explaining her origin. Lori Lemaris and Jerro watch from Atlantis.  Luthor is shown listening to this all on the radio, but does not comment about the mysterious Supergirl her had encountered in earlier issues.

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Superman then heads out for a space mission, leaving the Earth in Supergirl’s hands.  A mysterious menace, appearing as huge legs, starts tromping around, and JFK himself requests Supergirl’s help.  She is at another fair with Dick Malverne, in her guise as Linda Danvers, and leaves him trapped in a maze to answer the president’s call as Supergirl.

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The weird invading legs prove more than she can handle by herself, but she knows where to go for help.  Or rather, when.

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Heading to the 30th century, she heads to see the Legion.  Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are pleased to see her, but it’s Brainiac 5 who proves helpful, giving her a weapon to use against the creature.

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In gratitude, Supergirl is invited to the White House, where she meets not only JFK, but also the vice-president, LBJ, and Kennedy’s wife, JKO.  Ok, so she wasn’t “O” yet.  It fits the pattern.

 

Action 284 – Superman becomes a baby, and Supergirl becomes a mermaid

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Bernstein, Swan and Kaye have Superman intentionally regress to being a baby in Action 284 (Jan. 62).

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The story opens as Clark Kent reports on a phony medium.  But he is surprised when a hand leaves a ghostly message for him.

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Because of this message, which the reader does not see, Superman uses some red kryptonite to revert to being a baby.  He retains his adult intelligence and speech, though.  A few pages are spent as he continues to act as Superman, having to prove that he really is who he claims to be.

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Eventually we discover that Mon-El sent the message, warning Superman about a gap opening in the Phantom Zone, which gets a long explanation/introduction in this story.  Jax-Ur and Professor Vakox appear.  Jax-Ur had been introduced in the pages of Adventure Comics a few months earlier, while this is the first appearance of Vakox, as well as the first time the Phantom Zone has been shown in Superman’s time period, as opposed to Superboy’s.

Superman had to reduce to infant size in order to penetrate the Zone through the gap.  With the help of Supergirl and Krypto, they seal it.

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Supergirl’s red kryptonite transformations continue, in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

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Linda winds up with two heads, but spends her time at a carnival, where she passes as one of the freaks.

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After a brief red kryptonite induced hallucination, in which she gains death-vision, Supergirl undergoes her third and final transformation, into a mermaid.  That has its advantages, as she heads down to Atlantis to spend time with Jerro.  This story also introduces Lenora, Lori Lemaris’s sister, who is in love with Jerro, although he has no interest in her.

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When the mermaid effect passes, Supergirl is surprised to discover that her immunity to kryptonite has also vanished.  Superman explains that it was all part of one of Mr. Mxyzptlk’s spells, which faded when he went back to his home dimension.

But more importantly, Superman informs her that he is finally ready to reveal her existence to the world.

The story concludes next issue.

Action 282 – adventures of a Superman robot, and Supergirl heads to the future

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Bill Finger and Al Plastino split the cover story for Action 282 (Nov. 61) between Superman and one of his robots.

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Superman is too busy to be Clark Kent, so he has one of robots fill in for him, working alongside Lois.  The robots metallic hands get exposed early on, and he has to resort to a variety of methods to conceal them.

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This completely steals the show.  Superman’s feats are big and showy, but it’s the robot for whom the stakes are high.

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Superman does come to the aid of his creation, fashioning new skin for his hands split seconds before the Clark Kent robot must shake hands.

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Supergirl makes another effort to restore her powers in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

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Since heading into the past did not work, Superman sends his cousin to the distant future.  You have to kind of wonder why he didn’t send her to the time of the Legion of Super-Heroes, so she would have people to hang out with.  Lesla-Lar is displeased, as her monitors cannot broadcast from the future.

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Supergirl winds up in a totalitarian era, with a tyrant who denies people the freedom to read and be educated, and helps overthrow his regime.

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But her trip to the future has no more success than the one to the past.  Back in the present, Linda runs into Dick Wilson, now adopted, and with the last name Malverne.  They go swimming, and Linda reflects that, even is she had her powers, she would let him win, because men “enjoy” feeling superior to women.

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And though Supergirl still has no idea she exists, Lesla-Lar gets arrested for illegal experiments, while Luthor wait and wonders what has happened to Supergirl.

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The story ends as Supergirl’s powers miraculously return, as well as an invulnerability to kryptonite.  This weird change of events is due to Mr. Mxyzptlk’s magic.

The story continues in the next issue.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

 

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