Posts tagged ‘Stan Kaye’

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 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.

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 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.

 

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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And love blossoms between the temporally distanced couple.

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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 272 – Superman vs Mental Man

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 268 – Superman vs Hercules

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Binder, Boring and Kaye conclude Superman’s rivalry with Hercules in Action 269 (Sept. 60).

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Hercules returns to Metropolis, and shows off his newly acquired powers of the gods.  It makes no difference to Lois’ feelings about Superman.

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Hercules goes on a rampage, fighting Superman, and being generally destructive.  Although I suspect Superman was equally destructive when he pulled the Moon out of its orbit, into to make the ocean re-fill a bay of water Hercules magically evaporated.

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Hercules uses Apollo’s lyre to put Superman to sleep for a hundred years, but Venus steps in.  She is not impressed with Hercules’ behaviour, and intends to report him to Zeus.

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This sends Hercules into an even more desperate attempt to kill Superman.  Superman notices that as Hercules goes faster, he gets more confused.  Exploiting this, he makes the demi-god travel through time again, which removes his memory of all the time he spent in the present.

 

Action 267 – Luthor meets Hercules, and Supergirl meets the Legion of Super-Heroes

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Binder, Boring and Kaye bring Hercules into the present in Action 267 (Aug. 60).

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Luthor builds a time ray, and brings Hercules into the present, getting the confused demi-god to break him out of prison.  The story makes it clear that this is the same Hercules who Superboy met years earlier, in the pages of Adventure Comics, though with amnesia from the time trip.

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It doesn’t take long for Hercules to figure out that Luthor is lying to him.  By the time Superman shows up, Hercules has no problems allowing Superman to cart the villain away.  Superman intends to send Hercules back to his own time, but Hercules asks to stick around and explore this world.  Superman arranges an identity for him, and gets him a job at the Daily Planet.

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In his guise as a reporter, he falls for Lois Lane.  When danger threatens, he saves her, but does not try to conceal who he is.  In fact, he reveals that he is Hercules simply by flexing his muscles, which tears all his clothing off.

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Lois rejects him, of course, as she loves only Superman.  So Hercules gets Perry to assign him an article in Greece.  Once there, he travels to magical Olympus, where he gains powers from a variety of the gods – basically making him Captain Marvel.  He vows to get rid of Superman.

The story concludes in the next issue.

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The Legion of Super-Heroes make an early appearance in the Siegel and Mooney Supergirl story in this issue.

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The story begins as a direct parallel to Superboy’s first meeting with the Legion.  Dressed as normal people, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl each approach Supergirl, after demonstrating their powers, and saving her from displaying hers.

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Oddly, they introduce themselves as children of the Legionnaires who recruited Superboy.  That gets completely dropped from continuity, as does the idea that the Legion recruited Superboy before Supergirl.

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They bring her to the 30th century, and show her the big sights, like the ice cream parlour.  At the Legion Clubhouse, she meets Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy and Invisible Kid, all of whom are making their first appearances.  The three do get to display their powers, but we learn nothing else about them.  Nor do we learn how “super-invisibility” differs from “invisibility.”  I really really can’t see him!

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Supergirl seems a shoo-in for membership.  To show her abilities, she digs a tunnel through the Earth, just as she had done a year or so earlier.  But she winds up digging near some red kryptonite, which ages her beyond the team’s 18- year cut off for new members.  And the team, in these days, is notorious for sticking to rules over acting like decent people, so Supergirl is denied membership.

Back to the orphanage with you!

Action 264 – Superman transforms Bizarro World, and Supergirl gets adopted

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Binder, Boring and Kaye conclude the introduction of Bizarro World in Action 264 (May 1960).

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The execution is put on hold when the bell rings to call an end to the work day, and rescheduled for a week later.  Superman dreams that he gets turned into a Bizarro, and has big problems when he returns to Earth (as per the cover image).  The Bizarros make him battle other prisoners in a gladitorial arena while he waits out the week.

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Before they can carry out the sentence, Superman points out that their world itself is a perfect sphere, and offers to “fix” that.

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So it is Superman himself who turns Bizarro World into a cube.  He is released from his sentence in gratitude.

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Supergirl gets adopted, as the title of the story implies, in this Siegel and Mooney tale.

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Under orders from Superman to not be adopted, Linda tries to make herself look unappealing, but a couple pick her anyway.

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The father is a police officer, and the mother sits around knitting.  Linda finds the knitting boring, and uses her telescopic vision to watch her more dynamic father.  When he gets in trouble, she hypnotizes her new mom, and disguises herself as Superman to save him.

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But when hoods almost kill Linda, we learn that they already had a daughter, who died at the hands of criminals.  They don’t want the same thing to happen to another daughter, so take Linda back to the orphanage.

Really?  They ought to have thought of that before adopting her in the first place.  Jerks.

Action 263 – Superman on the world of Bizarros

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Bizarro returns in Action 263 (April 1960), in a great story by Binder, Boring and Kaye.

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Bizarro and Bizarro Lois found an abandoned world, and decided to live there, refashioning their ruins into new habitation.  Lonely, Bizarro creates a perfect duplicator machine, and they use it on each other, to fill their world with identical duplicates.

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Superman comes to check the planet out, and is puzzled by the insanity he sees all around him.  The Bizarro Code is first introduced, in which perfection is a crime.  Superman made the horrible mistake of fixing up some crumbling housing, for which he is arrested.

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The other prisoners being held have also committed the crime of fixing or repairing things.  Superman tries to escape, but the Bizarro jailers have a gun that drains his powers.  The gun seems to work perfectly, but no one questions that.

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Superman is put on trial, found guilty, and sentenced to be turned into a Bizarro.

The story concludes next issue.

 

 

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