Posts tagged ‘Jor-El’

Action 283 – Superman punches JFK, and Supergirl becomes a balloon

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Action 283 (Dec. 61) proudly proclaims itself an all-red kryptonite issue, and fulfills this promise.

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Swan and Kaye handle the Superman story, which sees two Durlans come to Earth and create a red kryptonite sculpture, to draw Superman’s attention.  These beings are not called Durlans in the story, but are meant to be from the same planet as Chameleon Boy, so clearly are.  The word had simply not yet been coined.

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Three different red kryptonite meteors were used, so Superman has three different effects during the course of the story.  The first allows his wishes to come true, as he discovers when Sherlock Holmes manifests to explain to the situation, a result of an inadvertent wish.

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So Superman wishes both sets of his parents back into existence, and Jor-El and Lara get to briefly meet Ma and Pa Kent, before this power wears off.  It gets replaced by flame breath, which causes Superman a bit of trouble.

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Back at the Daily Planet, current events impinge upon their reality, as Perry intends to send Lois and Clark out to cover the summit between JFK and Kruschev.  Jimmy sulks about not being picked to go.

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As he arrives for the summit, the third red kryptonite effect takes hold, giving Superman mind-reading powers.  Thanks to this, he knows the two world leaders are not real, and are being impersonated by the Durlans.  Superman knocks them both out, and frees the real men.

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Supergirl also falls prey to red kryptonite in Siegel and Mooney’s story, but this is really her own fault.

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Being immune to green kryptonite, Supergirl believes herself immune to all its variants, and rounds up six red kryptonite meteors.  But Mr. Mxyzptlk only envisioned green kryptonite when he cast his spell, and Linda falls prey to three effects during the course of the tale.

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To make matters worse, these hit while she is out on a date with Dick Malverne.  She grows to massive size, and hides by blending in with out parade balloons.

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Then she turns into a Wolfgirl, while she and Dick are at the movies.  In this guise, she does manage to stop a director, who felt he had run out of horror ideas, from killing himself.  Instead he sets out to make a Wolfgirl movie.

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When she shrinks to microscopic size, Supergirl finds this advantageous, as it allows her to assist in on operation on Dick’s father.

The story continues, with three more effects, in the next issue.

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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 252 – Metallo debuts, Congorilla leads the attack, and Supergirl debuts

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Two major debuts in Action 252 (May 1959), and though Superman is displayed on the cover, the story represented by the image is not even his!

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Superman’s story, by Bernstein and Plastino, introduces Metallo.  There had been an earlier version, Metalo, who faced Superboy, but that character made his only appearance before the introduction of kryptonite.

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John Corben, a journalist, embezzler and thief, gets into a car accident, but is found by a benevolent doctor.

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Horribly injured, John wakes to discover that he has been given a robotic body, although on the surface he still appears normal.  He no longer has a functioning heart, and must be powered by a radioactive substance.  Uranium is keeping him alive, but the doctor refers to another thing that could be used, before collapsing.

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Corben gets a job at the Daily Planet, where he tries to romance Lois Lane.

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In the evenings, he makes the most out of the strength his robot body gives him, raiding places for the uranium he needs to stay alive.  The superhuman nature of the thefts prompt the media to give him the nickname Metallo.

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Corben happens to look identical to Clark Kent, and also Superman (obviously), a trait never ascribed again to the character.  He learns that kryptonite will also power him, and searches for it at a Superman exhibit being set up.  With the kryptonite in his “heart,” Superman is powerless to stop him

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It’s all a great set-up.  But the story ends far too abruptly, as Metallo collapses and dies.  You gotta wonder why they were so determined to prevent good villains from returning.

It was not until the 70s that Metallo came back, as Corben’s brother.  In the late 80s, when John Byrne rebooted the Superman series, he brought back John Corben, and was pretty faithful to his origin.

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Bernstein also wrote the Congorilla story in this issue, with art by Howard Sherman.  Congo Bill is leading a trek across the desert, but finds that the fort at the oasis has been taken over by people who plan to rob the passing tourists.  Apparently desert treks are really the in thing.

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Bill gets imprisoned in the fort, but uses his ring to switch bodies and become Congorilla, and leads an assault on the fort, freeing himself, and the other prisoners. One of the better Congorilla stories.

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And in the third and final spot, Supergirl’s series launches with the debut of her character, by Otto Binder and Al Plastino.

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Superman sees a rocket crash outside Metropolis, and, investigating, finds a young girl dressed in a matching outfit.  She claims to be from Krypton as well, though Superman is highly suspicious.

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She explains how a chunk of Krypton, at this point containing only “a street of homes,” was ejected intact during the planet’s destruction.  Her father lead the survivors in laying lead shielding on the ground, to prevent the kryptonite from killing them.  There is no mention of the city being domed, the atmosphere just “came along with them.”  Friendly atmosphere!  The girl was born on this floating neighbourhood, but sent away to Earth after meteors pierced the lead shielding.  Her parents had observed Kal-El, and sent her, in a matching outfit, to join him.

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Only as her tale ends does Kara actually start using names.  Her parents were Zor-El and Alura, the brother, and sister-in-law, of Jor-El.  She is Superman’s cousin.

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Having finally found a living relative, Superman does the tender thing, forcing her to adopt a disguise, and leaving her at an orphanage in a different city to be raised. I guess she should be glad he didn’t send her to a work house.  She chooses the name Linda Lee.

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Supergirl’s series would run as a back-up feature in Action Comics for more than a decade, and would see her leave the orphanage, get adopted, and move from being Superman’s “secret weapon” to a publicly acknowledged hero in her own right.

 

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 149 – Jor-El and Lara’s courtship, Tommy Tomorrow in the movies, and the debut of the Vigilante-cycle

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Action 149 (Oct. 50) has the earliest version of the romance between Jor-El and Lara.  A version that has been entirely dropped from continuity, for very good reasons.

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Al Plastino handles the art as a rocket lands on Earth, apparently just outside Metropolis. Lois Lane is covering the story, and finds three Kryptonian discs in the wreckage, which just happen to record how Jor-El and Lara came to be married.  Figuring that this will give her insights into winning Superman, she plays the discs.

The whole story is just shameful, so sexist.  Lara is portrayed as a dim-witted, love-sick woman, and Jor-El her brilliant and patient beau.  The first disc has Lara trying to win Jor-El through cooking, which Lois emulates, although it turns out disastrously.

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Lara failed in her culinary attempts as well, and then set out to clean Jor-El’s lab, while wearing what appears to be an evening gown.

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Lara’s cleaning winds up causing a fire, and Jor-El decides to marry her, because she is so incompetent and needy.  Wow.  That’s just.  I’m so glad this story fell out of canon.

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The Tommy Tomorrow series jumps ahead to being set in 2050, a round hundred years from the present day, and a much more comfortable amount of time in the future than forty years.  Swan and Fischetti do the art on this story, which is really much the same as almost every Hollywood based story, despite it’s science fiction locales.

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Some one is sabotaging the production of a movie, and Tommy is assigned to find the culprit.  Along the way,he acts to prevent acts of sabotage, all of which gets caught on film.

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In the end, Tommy stops the one trying to halt the production, and winds up starring in a hit film.

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Dan Barry takes the gradual development of the Vigilante’s motorcycle a dramatic step forward with the introduction of the Vigilante-cycle in this story.

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An inventor presents Vigilante with a new, upgraded version of his bike.  He is hoping to make money selling copies, with the Vigilante’s endorsement.  There is a rival businessman, trying to buy the rights to the bike for less than they are worth.  He insists the cycle is unsafe, so Vigilante runs a series of highly publicized tests.  The rival tries to sabotage these.

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That’s the plot in a nutshell.  The rest of the story demonstrates the impressive array of abilities this cycle has – everything but flight, though it can do rocket-powered leaps.  A successful “upgrade” of the series, in an increasingly technophiliac age.

 

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