It's Bosom Buddies With Capes
Unless this is your first day reading the ISB, you're probably familiar with my tendency to get on obsessive tangents about certain things. There was a two-month stretch there where I literally could not get through a day without talking about Count Dante, and I still like to take a few moments in the morning to reflect on him and how he's touched my life--with his five fingers of Kung Fu death, that is.
Anyway, my current obsession--as should be obvious from recent subject matter--revolves around the recent Showcase Presents Superman trade and its wacky Silver Age stories. I've never really read a whole lot of Silver Age DC, excepting of course when I'd find an issue of Batman with a cover too awesome to resist, but I can't put this thing down.
For some reason, I find the old clunky DC stories a lot easier to get through than '60s Marvel ones. Maybe it's because they're generally made up of shorter stories, or maybe it's because the DC ones were written for children as opposed to teenagers and I read on a 3rd grade level, but they're a hoot.
Which is why tonight's selection of Badass Panels--a feature I'm considering making weekly, since Kevin's got a lock on the covers--comes from 1959's Superman #127.
As you can tell by the cover, it's the first appearance of Titano, a super-powered gorilla that pops up from time to time whenever a Sueprman writer is feeling nostalgic, and that's essentially what the issue's known for. But I'm far more interested in the curiously monkey-free "Untold Tale of Superman" that leads the book.
What happens is this: Clark Kent goes to write a newspaper story about a factory that makes glass bottles, because this is in the murky post-Spanish-American War pre-Watergate phase where newspapers really didn't do a whole hell of a lot. By sheer coincidence, he's caught in an explosion that shreds his suit, but leaves his indestructable Superman costume intact and his body unharmed, because he's Superman and he's invulnerable, which he likes to talk about out loud every few minutes.
Anyway, Lois shows up and sees a decimated factory and Clark's hat floating above the remains of his suit, and assumes the worst. Rather than dashing off home at super-speed and reappearing as Clark to keep the love of his life from suffering, Superman pretty much goes: "Yep, he's dead. I'm out this."
See, he's been thinking about abandoning his Clark Kent identity and just being Superman full time anyway, and sees this as the perfect opportunity to put his plan into action. Lois, meanwhile, is going to just have to deal with being wracked with grief over her friend being blown up.
Man. What a dick.
Superman decides he needs a place to chill, which leads to what may be my favorite panel of all time. Apologies for the low quality, but I don't have a scanner and people out there just aren't scanning their comics from 1959 these days, so I had to take a picture of it with my digital camera:
Man oh man. I think Chad once said that the three things we never need to see again in comics are Superman's origin, Spider-Man thinking about Uncle Ben, and a Batman and Robin gay joke. Superman and Jimmy, however, are still fair game.
That said, I'm not going to make a joke like that. I'm a serious comics blogger. I will, however, tell you that the very next piece of dialogue is Superman saying "And since we're such good friends, this time I won't keep it a secret! We'll let the world know that Jimmy Olsen and his pal Superman are living together in the same apartment!"
He says this, of course, with his hand soft-touching Jimmy's shoulder, while Jimmy raises a clenched fist, shaking it at all those prude Metropolitans with their outdated 1950s values.
It is pure comics joy.
On another note, it's pretty weird that Superman would divulge such a transparent clue to his identity, since every other issue in the trade revolves around him lying his ass off in a variety of cruel ways to his closest friends in order to protect his secret identity. I realize that Superman offering to shack up with Jimmy is a lot like Bruce Campbell offering to become my new dad, and he's a little thrilled at the prospects, but shouldn't he be saying something like: "Uh, Superman, Mister Kent lived in a single." Heck, maybe he assumed they took shifts on the bed, like Scott Pilgrim.
The roommate situation, of course, proves to be more trouble than it's worth, leading Superman to use three hula hoops at a time at super-speed and build a giant mailbox before he decides to chuck the whole thing and fake his own return from his own faked death.
It's a little complicated, but hey. That's just how they roll in the S-A.
Okay, one more:
It's ten bucks, folks. You need to own it.