Posts tagged ‘Wayne Boring’

Action 353 – the origin of Zha-Vam

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Binder and Boring bring their three part Zha-Vam story to a conclusion in Action 353 (Aug. 67).

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Superman figures that he needs to learn more about Zha-Vam in order to defeat him, and so he travels backin time to anceint Olympus, adopting the guise of a bard.  He sees that the various gods form Zha-Vam out of clay, and endow him with their various powers.  So he is actually a bit less of Captain Marvel, and a bit more Wonder Woman.

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Neptune is jealous of Zeus and his powers, and so is eager and willing to aid Superman, giving him his own belt, and pantheon of mythological characters to draw from.

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Superman returns to the present, and challenges Zha-Vam to a final battle.  They are far more venly matched, as both can draw on magical heroes.  Superman calls up Atlas, and together they have the strength to defeat Zha-Vam.  Superman brings the defeated being back to Olympus, and confronts the gods about their creation.  Ashamed, they return Zha-Vam to the clay he was formed from.

It’s not really a bad story.  But all it really does is make one wish for an actual confrontation between Superman and Captain Marvel.

Action 352 – Superman vs Zha-Vam

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Binder and Boring continue the battle between Superman and Zha-Vam in Action 352 (July 1967).

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Zha-Vam taunts and toys with Superman through much of this issue.  He is wearing a belt that temporarily gives himthe powers of other mythological beings.  He makes Superman press his belt, and gains the serpentine hair of Medusa, freezing Superman to stone.  Lois Lane helps Superman get out of that one, but the next button he presses gives Zha-Vam Morpheus’ powers, and puts Superman to sleep.

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The only thing that really drives this chapter is Superman’s refusal to give in, as he just keeps trying and trying, and failing every time.

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Superman even resorts to some underhanded measures by the end of the tale.  He gets  himself a ring with a paralysis drug in it, and intends to jab Zha-Vam in his Achilles Heel.  But Zha-Vam has kryptonite feet!  Of course he does.

The story concludes in the next issue.

Action 351 – Superman meets Zha-Vam

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Binder and Boring begin a three-part story in Action 351 (April 1967), which pits Superman against Zha-Vam.

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DC had crushed and consumed Fawcett Comics, the publishers of the Capaina Marvel whose magic word as Shazam, but were reluctant to use the character.  So they used weird variations like this one.  The gods who are the source of Zha-Vam’s powers are even largely the same ones who endow Shazam, except Apollo replaces Atlas, and Vulcan takes the place of Solomon.

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Zha-Vam bursts into an organized crime gathering, demanding to be made the boss.  He demonstrates his impressive array of powers, scaring the crap out of the hoods, who hare happy to put him in charge.

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Zha-Vam leads his men on an assault on Fort Knox.  Superman shows up to stop them, and he and Zha-Vam battle.  Superman finds himself equally matched.

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Well, no, he finds himself squashed under Zha-Vam’s foot, and tossed to the side like a piece of trash.  A really crushing defeat, but Superman simply prepares for the enxt time

Which comes in the next issue.

Action 350 – the Caveman Superman, and Supergirl and the Heroes

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Binder and Boring solve the mystery of the stone-age Superman in Action 350 (May 1967).

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Perry White gets trapped at a cave-in at an archaeological dig.  When Superman comes to dig him out, they discover the skeletal remains of a caveman, wearing a Superman uniform.

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Superman travels back in time to investigate, and winds up in a prehistoric era, with both dinosaurs and cavemen, and even a red sun.

As far as I understand, the red giant phase is something our sun has yet to experience, not part of its distant past.  But whatever, it leaves Superman powerless.

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Superman runs afoul of a tribe, lead by Guarr, but eventually proves himself to them.  Guarr wants Superman’s costume, which retains its invulnerability. Somehow.

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One of Superman’s robots comes back in time, worried that his master has not returned.  He brings Superman back to the present, and they leave a costume for Guarr to wear and die in, and be dug up centuries later.

I have to confess, I wish it wasn’t Wayne Boring on the art.  Superman grows a beard while in the past, but Boring never makes it look like much more than some shading.

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Dorfman and Mooney pit Supergirl against some unheroic Heroes in this story.

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The Heroes are a rock band, who dress as Batman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern, as well as a girl dressed as Supergirl.  Linda enjoys their music, but they are really a gang of thieves, who steal from the locations they perform at, while everyone is watching their Supergirl.

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Supergirl notes the correlation between the thefts and their performances, and goes to question their Supergirl.  She has also just figured out what is going on, and wants no part of the ban anymore.  When Supergirl shows up to rehearse for their next gig, the boys are suspicious.  She seems to be much better than she had been previously, and they suspect she is the real thing.

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They lay a kryptonite trap for her, but their pans backfire badly.  It was not the real Supergirl, just their singer, pretending to be, so the kryptonite does nothing.  Supergirl calls on the Justice League of America, and Batman, Green Arrow and Green Lantern are happy to help her round up the band, while Hawkman sits, stuck on monitor duty.

 

 

Action 344 – Superman dreams Batman’s dreams

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It’s the height of the Batman tv craze, and that spills over into Action 344 (Dec. 66).

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Binder and Boring probably regret having their names associated with this tale.  It begins as Superman and Batman hang out and switch brains.  It’ll be fun!  Oops, look what a klutz Batman is in Superman’s body.  Ha ha.  Groan.

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Then Superman starts having dreams, which are really easy to “decode” as referring to Batman’s enemies.  The Joker is the first, with squirting flowers, white faces, and laughing mania.  The Riddler dream sees a sphinx.

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The last dream flirts with the idea of the Penguin.  Superman has no idea what is going on, and starts freaking out.

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Batman explains it all.  When in Superman’s body, he spilled red kryptonite, which induced dreams based on the flash cards of Batman villains he had been showing Superman.

Yeah, ok. I guess it could have been worse.

 

Action 342 – Grax debuts

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Jim Shooter and Wayne Boring introduce a less successful foe for Superman, Grax, in Action 342 (Oct. 66).

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The story opens out in space, as Grax runs in to Brainiac.  He claims a higher intelligence level than the android, and bests him in their first encounter.  Grax is heading to Earth to kill Superman, after Superman destroyed his criminal empire.

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Grax sticks a bomb belt on Superman, so powerful it will destroy the Earth when it explodes.  Superman has a day to try to get rid of it, but it withstands anything and everything.

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It’s somewhat interesting to see Superman’s increasing desperation, when the belt seems as indestructible as he is.

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In the end it is Brainics who comes to Superman’s assistance.  Both because Grax bested him, and because he wants to defeat Superman himself, Brainiac gives Superman the information on how to defeat Grax.  It requires a giant magnet, as you might have guessed.

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Superman and Brainiac congratulate each other on their defeat of Grax, who vows to return.  He does, and in this book, but about six years down the road.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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!

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