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Author Topic: Superman in the Silver Age  (Read 115750 times)
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Continental Op
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« Reply #72 on: March 28, 2004, 11:47:29 PM »

That's the odd thing... normally, Weisinger would have hedged his bets before making something like this official, and slipped in a caption warning that the events of the flashback "may or may not have been what really happened". But no, right on the splash page, we are told that it isn't a hoax, dream or imaginary tale, it "really" happened to the same Superman we read about every month... and it therefore had Uncle Morty's seal of approval as part of the Kryptonian  Kanon.

Strangely, I think the story reads more like the kind of story that would have appeared a few years LATER, when Murray Boltinoff took over as editor of ACTION COMICS. Of course by then, the story would have had Murphy Anderson inks in its "plus" column.

This one belongs to that subset of "wrong" stories you touched on. There's no reason it necessarily CAN'T be what happened, but like the Black Zero story, or the Pasko story where Clark super-hypnotizes everyone with his glasses to make them see him differently... it was never mentioned again, because everyone automatically  knew it just "felt wrong". There didn't need to be any actual evidence against it for it to be rejected from the canon.

(As for the age of the metal... I guess I wasn't clear enough in my summary about what happened... the rocket was aging along with everything else in the other universe, and it stayed there the whole time Kal-El did. When his son sent him back through the warp, Kal was a baby again only because Vol purposely "de-aged" him with his invention. Otherwise, he would have remained a dying old man when he returned to Earth's universe. )



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Osgood Peabody
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« Reply #73 on: March 29, 2004, 02:16:55 AM »

I would venture to say that Mort would not have allowed this story to slip through a few years earlier, but by 1968 seemed more lackadaisical about changes to the canon.  

There was at least one other serious lapse of editorial judgement that I can recall around this time.

There's a story in Superboy 158 (July 1969) that even more flagrantly flouts the accepted origin -- "Superboy's Darkest Secret" by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Wally Wood.  In this one, I believe Superboy stumbles across Jor-El and Lara's bodies floating in space in suspended animation.  I don't remember all the details, but there was some convoluted explanation as to how they were preserved, and why they couldn't be revived, and Superboy must leave their bodies to roam space through eternity.

Needless to say, this was another tale wisely and quickly forgotten.
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Just a fan
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« Reply #74 on: March 29, 2004, 03:53:03 AM »

Quote
I don't remember all the details, but there was some convoluted explanation as to how they were preserved, and why they couldn't be revived, and Superboy must leave their bodies to roam space through eternity
 here are the details  thanks to darkmarks site (http://darkmark6.tripod.com/superboyind3.htm)

Superboy No. 158
July 1969
Cover: Superboy looking at space capsule bearing bodies of Jor-El and Lara //Neal Adams
Story: “Superboy’s Darkest Secret” (24 pages)
Editor: Mort Weisinger
Writer: Frank Robbins
Penciller: Bob Brown
Inker, colorist: Wally Wood
Feature Character: Superboy
Supporting Characters: Jor-El, Lara (as bodies and in flashback; last chronological appearance; see Comment under MORE FUN COMICS #101 for chronology), Jonathan Kent, Martha Kent
Intro: Dr. Krylo (dies in this story)
Villains: Xonar (formerly Khai-Zor; last appearance in ACTION COMICS #223; dies in this story), Val-Arn (in flashback; last appearance in ACTION COMICS #223; dies in this story)
Comment: This is one of the most controversial Superboy stories of all, in terms of its “canonicity”.  Since the bodies of Jor-El and Lara are shown in this story, with the implication they could someday be revived, many Superman Family scholars deny its inclusion in the Superman canon.  Also, Krylo’s presence during the launching of Kal-El’s rocket has never been confirmed in any other text.  However, we have chosen to include it as a possibly canonical story, especially in view of the presence of Val-Arn and Xonar, who also appear in a canonical Superman Family story.
 Jor-El, in this story, says his transmission will start 15 years after the destruction of Krypton.  This is probably inaccurate, as Superboy is probably not yet 18 years old; most likely, it is 12 or 13 years since Krypton’s destruction.  (Also, no notation is made about the differences between the Kryptonian and Terran years’ length.)
Synopsis: Superboy receives a radio message which comes from a recording made by his father Jor-El.  He gets a fix on its location in outer space, discovers the bodies of his parents, Jor-El and Lara, in a floating space-capsule “coffin” radiating Green Kryptonite rays.  A Kryptonian villain named Xonar, formerly Khai-Zor, an enemy of Jor-El’s, almost knocks him into the Kryptonite with shaped charges, but another Kryptonian, Dr. Krylo, rescues him.
 Krylo explains that he had believed Jor-El’s prophecies of doom for Krypton, developed a form of suspended animation which he hoped would preserve himself and Jor-El’s family in space “coffins” to be flung into space by the explosion, with tape-recorded instructions on revival procedures included.   After Kal-El’s rocket was sent into space and Jor-El finished his last journal entry, Krylo ray-gunned both Jor-El and Lara down, subjected them to suspended animation treatment, and placed them in a space capsule equipped with a taped message for Kal-El, to be activated when he came of age.   Seconds later, Krylo’s robots did the same procedure for him and placed him in another space capsule.  Both capsules were rocketed into space only minutes before Krypton exploded.
 Both capsules were found by Xonar, formerly Khai-Zor, whose partner Val-Arn had perished in the cataclysm; Xonar himself survived Krypton’s destruction in a rocket he had built similar to Jor-El’s plans.   Xonar revived Krylo and used the taped message of Jor-El’s to lure Superboy, son of his old enemy, into a trap.  In the conflict that follows, both Xonar and Krylo die, but Superboy manages to get Jor-El’s and Lara’s capsule back to Earth with the help of a space-suited Jonathan Kent.
 But Jor-El’s tape is activated shortly thereafter and plays all the way through.  The voice of Jor-El tells his son and his son’s foster father that Jor-El had been irradiated with killing radiation while on an expedition into Krypton’s interior, which radiation he passed along to Lara, inadvertently, but not to Kal-El.  Since the incurable radiation would doom them both to a slow, lingering, painful death if they were revived, Jor-El asks that Superboy leave them both lifeless in space, should Krylo achieve his objective of preserving them against his will.  Sadly, Superboy and Jonathan Kent return the capsule to outer space.
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Osgood Peabody
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« Reply #75 on: March 29, 2004, 04:17:38 AM »

Thanks for filling in the blanks - boy that one was a doozy!

When the story's synopsis has to be nearly as long as the story itself, that doesn't bode well.  :wink:
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Singleman
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« Reply #76 on: March 29, 2004, 11:34:12 PM »

I read both Superboy #158 and Action #370 as a kid. Superboy's encounter with Jor-el and Lara  probably bothered me more because it violated all the Superman stories where Supes remembered his parents as having died on Krypton. Didn't he recall that their bodies were still floating around in space? While intriguing, it's a story that should be considered non-canonical. But I wonder how many other tales from that era would fall under the same designation.
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Aldous
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« Reply #77 on: March 31, 2004, 09:12:27 AM »

Don’t sell the comic short, though. I was going to do a brief review of “Superboy’s Darkest Secret” for Osgood... I probably could have done a little better than that synopsis because it leaves out important and very interesting conflicts, the most intriguing of which is undoubtedly the encounter involving Superboy and a distraught Ma and Pa Kent, who, deep down, are not happy at all that Jor-El and Lara are alive. I mean, let’s not skip over this encounter... There is enough fodder right there for much pondering. Is it only natural for Ma and Pa to feel ambivalent over the discovery of Superboy’s biological parents?

I must say, I always liked this adventure when I was a young kid. It had buckets of poignancy. I always wished like crazy, with every re-reading, that Superboy would ignore his natural father’s directive and awaken Jor-El and Lara. I could never quite grasp how he could just leave the capsule floating in outer space and return to Earth with Pa Kent. (Was Pa secretly relieved??!!!)

Here is the cover to GIANT SUPERBOY ALBUM No. 10, with “Darkest Secret” being the cover story and lead feature.

The art is by Bob Brown and the great Wally Wood, and the story is by Frank Robbins. I, too, wonder how this story made it past the editor, but I never thought it was “canon”. I don’t mind playing a little fast-and-loose with continuity, but even when I was young I never figured this for “real life”. It’s plainly a one-off adventure from the Bob Haney Universe. Is it my imagination, or did Frank Robbins (who I like very much as a writer and an artist) have a bit of carte blanche at DC Comics?

“Wisely and quickly forgotten”? Let’s not be too hasty, Osgood....  :wink:
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Osgood Peabody
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« Reply #78 on: April 01, 2004, 03:06:55 PM »

Aldous - feel free to review it - I don't have that issue at hand and haven't read it in years, so maybe you can give it a good spin.   :wink:

I agree this is an editorial lapse, and don't blame Frank Robbins in the least.  He wrote some fine Superboy stories around this time.  I tend to give Boltinoff more of a pass, only because he was consistent in his blatant disregard of continuity.  Weisinger, on the other hand, was more stringent at least within the Superman titles (up until 1968, anyway).  He had already established the convention of the imaginary story, and within that framework this story could still have had the same emotional impact IMO.
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Singleman
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« Reply #79 on: April 02, 2004, 02:49:24 AM »

I didn't mean to imply that I disliked the story. It was actually quite well done. It's just too bad that no attempt was made to follow up on Superboy's discovery; it was never mentioned again. Of course, it often seemed that Superboy and Superman were treated as separate characters rather than as the same person at different ages.
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