Posts tagged ‘Johnny Nevada’

Action 474 – Dr. Light picks the real Superman

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Dr. Light, most recently seen taking on the Teen Titans in the revival of their book, decides to go after Superman in his secret identity in this tale by Bates, Schaffenberger and Blaisdel, in Action 484 (Aug. 77).

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Johnny Nevada’s show has a special theme for the evening, featuring men who had been publicly suspected, at one time or another, of being Superman.  Aside from Nevada, the line-up includes Clark Kent, Jimmy Olsen and Steve Lombard, as well as Gregory Reed, and science fiction author Rock Stirling, a Rod Serling take-off who had appeared in a story in the pages of Superman in the early 60s.  Athlete Mike Talbot is the newbie int he group.

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Dr. Light is in the audience, in disguise.  He has a device that emits light rays, which are harmless and invisible.  But the rays will show him which of the men up there, if any, has a denser molecular structure than a normal human.  Not a bad way to identify Superman, although the one it highlights is the athlete, Talbot.

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So after the taping, Dr. Light makes his move and attacks Talbot.  Of course, Superman shows up, because he isn’t Talbot.  He recognized Dr. Light in the audience, and guessed at his plan (that’s pretty amazing), and vibrated his molecules to reflect the beam onto Talbot (like, wow).

Talbot does not seem to mind being used as unwitting bait for Dr. Light.  So I guess that makes it ok.

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Action 450 – Superman in Las Vegas, and Green Arrow meets Davy

act_450 Clark Kent and Lois Lane take a vacation to Las Vegas together in the Bates, Swan and Blaisdel story from Action 450 (Aug. 75). act_450_001 Johnny Nevada is also there, performing at one of the hotels. He gets mugged in the afternoon, and suffers an unusual head injury – one that brings to life the sand in the desert, forming it into a monstrous version of the talk show host. act_450_002 People run in terror from the sand monster, although Superman notices the creature is not actively destructive or harmful, and in fact seems rather clumsy. act_450_003 Superman eventually figures out that the creature has the same motivation as Johnny Nevada – to make people laugh.  It’s not clumsy, it’s doing slapstick routines.  Superman leads the crowd in laughing at the sand man, which pleases it, and it dissipates. act_450_004 Green Arrow and Black Canary begin a multi-part story by Maggin and Grell in this issue.  The tale deals with a number of mysterious murders, and the opening of a chocolate factory. act_450_005 The factory’s owner has a son, Davy, who I just noticed bears more than a passing resemblance to the Michaelangelo statue. act_450_006 Davy does prove to be quite a piece of work, as Arrow and Canary discover that he is the slingshot wielding killer.

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.

 

Action 420 – Superman rescues Clark Kent, and the Human Target helps a hunter

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Elliot S Maggin joins Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson for a diverting little tale in Action 420 (Jan. 73), which introduces a new supporting character for the Superman books, quite by the wayside.

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Johnny Nevada is introduced in this story, a popular talk show host, based on Johnny Carson. (as in, Carson City, Nevada).  But he is not really featured at all.  More important in this tale is a young man who is trying to book Superman as a guest on the show, in order to secure a job with him.

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Chaos is added to the mix by an interstellar bard, Towbee, who creates a magical monster for Superman to battle, so that he can compose a song about it.  He also creates a Clark Kent, to make things easier.

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So there is no real villain in this story, but it remains entertaining.

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The man manages to book both Superman and Clark Kent for the Johnny Nevada show, securing his job (though we never see him again).  Superman sends the fake Clark back to Towbee after the taping.

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Some excellent art on this month’s Human Target story, by Wein and Giordano.  Christopher Chance is hired to impersonate a big game hunter whose life has been threatened.  Despite not liking the man at all, Chance takes the contract. We get to see Luigi again, this time in the restaurant that he runs.

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The hunter winds up killing the person he hired Chance to protect him from, but Christopher suspicions are aroused.  Sure enough, the man was already dead.  Chance had been hired to be an unwitting alibi for a murder, not a Human Target at all.  He is more than happy to take down the murderous hunter.

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