Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekend reading

Another Friday, another time to let the Randomizer run rampant through my Superman long boxes.

Let's see what our reading assignment for the weekend will be, shall we?

Moving from Superman's girl friend to his best pal, it's Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #117!

Why is everyone wearing capes?  I guess we'll find out.

Although I'm more interested in seeing what's up with portly, bearded Batman!

See you next week.

Pencils by Curt Swan
Inks by Neal Adams

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #117
January 1967
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Weekly Panels of Steel #13

It seems like it's been a while since I've been able to say this, but...

Damn, if there wasn't a ton of potential for the Weekly Panel of Steel!

Just let that soak in for a second...

I had a hard time choosing, not because of lackluster storytelling, rushed art, or blah stories.  No, this time I had a hard time choosing because there was just too much good stuff to choose from.

And we owe it all to Adventures of Superman #1.

Three stories told by seven creators at the top of their game, having fun with the classic Superman!

It doesn't get much better than that, and here's the proof.


You wouldn't be if you picked this up and read Jeff Lemire's wonderful story about the potential of youth, imagination, and Superman.

Plus, it's Jeff Lemire doing Superman!  How cool is that.

Script by Jeff Lemire
Artwork by Jeff Lemire
Colors by Jose Villarrubia
Letters by Wes Abbott

I can't just leave it at that, as then I wouldn't be able to post this pic.

There's always something about Superman wrecking a car that harkens back to that first damn cover!

Script by Jeff Parker
Artwork by Chris Samnee
Colors by Matthew Wilson
Letters by Wes Abbott

And finally...

If we can get issues that are a third as good as the inaugural issue was, I'll be happy.

Script by Justin Jordan
Artwork by Riley Rossmo
Letters by Wes Abbott

Adventures of Superman (Vol. 2) #1
July 2003 
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #9

TITLE: Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #9


COVER DATE: May 1959


26 pages


So I wasn't around in 1959, much less reading Superman comic books, so there is nothing to remember from when I first read this. In fact, the first time I did read this issue was immediately after the Randomizer picked it for a random review. This particular issue is a relatively new addition to my collection, and up to this point it's gotten the cursory thumb through and then cataloged and filed away.

You see, one of the things I've been up to while my two blogs lay fallow has been auction hunting. My LCS started getting into the auction business about two years ago, and lucky for me, he's had a nice and steady supply of Superman Silver Age books on the block. It came at the perfect time, as my collection of Superman books was starting to get into the expensive Silver Age era, now that I had finished up the Bronze Age.

Maybe one of these days I'll put a post up going through my auction finds for fun, but for right now, we're here to talk about Lois Lane! This book actually has three separate stories, but we're going to focus on the last one featuring America's Favorite Crooner, Pat Boone!

Superman's Mystery Song!

  • Penciller: Dick Sprang
  • Inker: John Forte
  • Editor: Mort Weisinger


Lois Lane and Pat Boone team up for a duet honoring Superman!  But if it's honoring his exploits and quest for justice, why must Superman make sure no one can ever hear it?


While picking Lois up at her apartment, Clark discovers what a huge fan she is of Pat Boone!  Coincidentally enough (as is so often the case in the Silver Age), Pat Boone is due to be interviewed by The Daily Planet.  After the interview, Pat sits in on the rehearsals for the annual Daily Planet office party/talent show.  It's there that he overhears Lois singing, and is impressed enough to offer her a spot doing a specialty number on his latest show.

It's decided that Clark will write the lyrics to a special song that Pat and Lois will duet together on.  Clark racks his brain for lyrics, but has writer's block and goes to bed.  Lucky for him, that a burst of inspiration hits him during a dream, and he wakes up and writes the lyrics for his song.

Superman only then realizes that as they start singing his song on live t.v., that he must stop them!  Why?  Stay tuned...

Meanwhile, Superman manages to disrupt two more live concerts where Lois and Pat plan on singing their new song honoring Superman.  Eventually, Superman let's Pat Boone know that he was the one sabotaging his live performances, as the lyrics that Clark wrote contained a clue to Superman's secret identity.  Superman has prepared new lyrics, but when he goes to retrieve them from a pocket inside his cape, they're gone!

Utilizing the powers of his fan club, Pat Boone puts the word out about a missing envelope.  It's eventually found and returned to Pat.  In gratitude, Superman uses his microscopic vision and photographic memory to restore a broken master disc for one of Pat's latest recordings, while also producing a million copies for distribution at super speed!

Later on that night on live television, the country is finally able to hear the revised version of the duet by Lois Lane and Pat Boone, and we're finally clued in as to why Superman didn't want the original song sung in the first place.


You can take Lois out of her teens, but you can't take the teenager out of Lois!

Ahhh...1950's, when a "talent" like blowing smoke rings at the office was admired.

Says the man smoking three cigars!

You gotta love a girl who "groans on pitch!"

Even Pat Boone, in his prime, couldn't get the special effects to work for his version of "Rock 'n Roll Creation".

Social media, circa 1959.

...and finally, the real reason Superman couldn't let that song be heard!
And that brings a close to our inaugural random reading.  I hope you all enjoyed this look back into the mad-cap world of pop-stardom in the good old days.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Adventures in horrible costume design

This has to be one of the worst costume designs I've seen in a long time.  Ladies and gentlemen...I present to you, the Gyronaut!

It's not the aesthetics, as the long blades spanning out from the collar definitely create a "unique" look.

No, this has everything to do with functionality.

It's not bad enough that when in use, the costume has ten steel blades that spin around like a helicopter, thus giving you the ability to fly and make your getaway.

No, the real kicker is that this suit is remote controlled by your partner!  That's right, you're up there flying around with the blades of death spinning inches from your neck, and you're not even in control of your own destiny!

Thanks, but I think I'd rather take the bus than strap myself into that flying death-trap.

And as near as I could tell, The Superman Family #196 from July/August 1979 was his only appearance.

What do you think...Potential left unfulfilled, or likely decapitation averted?

Script by Jack C. Harris
Pencils by Don Heck
Inks by Bob Smith
Colors by Jerry Serpe
Letters by Shelly Leferman

The Superman Family #106
"Displaced Double Identity"
July/August 1979 
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Randomizer finds a new home!

Longtime readers are probably aware that my first attempt at comic book blogging was over at The Random Longbox.

It was a site where I would let a highly customized computer randomly pick out a comic book from my vast collection that I would then have to read and talk about. It was a fun way to go through my collection and re-read alot of stuff that I wouldn't normally gravitate to right away.

That site eventually got mothballed and fell into dis-use as my real-life schedule got too complex for regular blogging. Still, I always enjoyed the randomness of it all, so I'm taking the Randomizer out of storage and hooking it back up here at Superman 101. This time, however, I've reprogrammed it to only select from the Superman family of books.

This blog has always been relatively random as it was, so look forward to things being "very" random in the future...I guess?  At the very least, we'll take a little more in depth look into the books chosen by the Randomizer and attempt to do some longer posts.

Now, it's time for the inaugural pull of the randomizer lever to see what book falls into our crosshairs for this week.

And the first one out of the gate is Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #9 from May 1959!

We are in for a treat, as the one-and-only Pat Boone shows up to serenade his biggest fan, Lois Lane!  But how does this turn of events threaten to expose Superman's secret identity?  You'll just have to come back next week and find out.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Current Affairs - Hector Hammond

From reading the solicitations of what's being released today, it looks like things with Hector Hammond are going to be heating up in Superman #20.

Hector Hammond is a character that is so closely associated with the Green Lantern family of books, that it got me thinking about if he has ever shown up in a Superman book before.  Nothing sprung immediately to mind, but luckily google knows all.

It turns out that he made one solitary appearance (aside from a cameo in a Green Lantern serial when Action Comics was Action Comics Weekly) in the pages of Action Comics #799!

This was during the time period where the art took a decidedly non-traditional look.  Very stylized and cartoony, with a definite nod towards the manga sensibility.  I'm a big fan of Joe Kelly's run, so I've learned to like the art from this period, but it does take some getting used to.

In fact, if Superman hadn't said his name in this panel, I wouldn't even have recognized good old Hector.

But there he is, in all of his big head glory, in his sole solitary appearance in the Superman books before the current storyline started.  He doesn't do much in this story, as he's basically being taken advantage of by another doctor at the prison where he's held.  There, he's being forced to mind-control Gorilla Grodd, who naturally gets in a fight with Superman.

All in all, it's a nice stand-alone story, with some interesting layouts and visuals.

Script by Joe Kelly
Pencils by Carlos Meglia
Inks by Carlos Meglia
Colors by Carlos Meglia
Letters by Comicraft

Action Comics #799
The Cage
March 2003
 Copyright (c) DC Comics

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wish granted

Ask, and thou shall receive.

Yes!  That is Jonathan and Martha Kent, evil criminals on the run!

Who knew that the imaginary story we recently read was the second half of a two-parter, with this part even better than the previous?

That's the one thing I love about the width and breadth of Superman stories...however crazy you can imagine a story, there's probably a published one out there that comes pretty darn close.

Script by Cary Bates 
Pencils by Curt Swan 
Inks by Dan Adkins 

Superman #230 
Killer Kent Versus Super Luthor 
October 1970 
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Monday, May 20, 2013


For those of you playing along at home with the quiz from our last post, give yourself two super-pats on the back if you were able to deduce that that wasn't actually Superman on the cover of Superman #231 getting pummeled by an orange robot, but Super-Lex!

What's that, you ask?  How could this be?

Well, anything's possible with the patented "Imaginary Stories" that populated the Super-titles with varying frequency during the Silver and Bronze Ages.

This particular story had Lex-El, the son of Jor-El, surviving the crash that brought both himself and his father to Earth!  Clark, meanwhile, was being experimented on by an evil scientist who implanted a "chromostimulant" into his brain, patterned after the "evil" chromosomes of the centuries most notorious crime couple...Jonathan and Martha Kent!

Forget Super-Lex and Gangster Kent, I want more imaginary stories of Ma and Pa Kent, the Bonnie and Clyde of the DC Universe!

Script by Cary Bates 
Pencils by Curt Swan 
Inks by Dan Adkins 

Superman (Vol. 1) #231 
"The Wheel of Super-Fortune!" 
November 1970 
Copyright (c) DC Comics

Friday, May 17, 2013

...and we're back it's been a while.

Honestly, we may end up saying the same thing again next year, after this post goes dormant. I'd like to think not, but we shall see.

So yeah, I'm back. In what capacity? That remains to be seen, but I've missed blogging about comics. Superman comics, specifically!! I don't think I'm going to be as bold as last time and try to do a post a day, but we'll see.

To get things started, I just took a random jog through my books and pulled out this one.  Superman #231, from November of 1970!



A precursor to the recent WTF cover gimmick, perhaps?

So what is the cause of so much consternation that they have to question reality right there on the cover?

Here's a multiple choice quiz. Put your Bronze Age Thinking Cap on, and I'll see you in a day or two for the answer.

  • That's really Lois trapped inside the orange robot after one of her patented secret identity schemes go awry.
  • That's not really Clark getting punched, but Lex Luthor?!
  • This was the one time that a villains scheme of using a robot worked to defeat Superman.  Sadly, there were never any Superman issues after this one as a result.

All right Superfans...see you in a day or two!