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Author Topic: Remarks on various old Superboy stories  (Read 3151 times)
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Johnny Nevada
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« on: September 24, 2006, 07:08:38 PM »

Copied-and-pasted from my weblog (with just a few edits), I wrote this up on some of the old stories (largely Superboy stories, thus my posting it here) I'd read via the AIBQ/Comic Book Archive website linked to somewhere on here:

A website called  AIBQ/Comic Books Archive (http://www.aibq.com/catalog.php)  features various old DC Comics that've been scanned in and saved in the .cbr format (which I'm told is really just a renamed .zip or .rar format), which can be read via installing a reader. Thus, I was able to read some comic stories I'd heard about or thought looked interesting from their covers for the first time that I otherwise wouldn't be able to (either for the original issues' costs, lack of likelihood of being reprinted, or just not read yet). Some of the stories I've read include:

Superboy #10 (1950): The first appearance of Lana Lang. Apparently in this story, she just moved to Smallville, vs. later stories showing she's lived next door to Clark for years.

Comics Cavalcade #34 (mid-1940s): Featuring humor stories, particularly the Fox and the Crow, Nutsy Squirrel and other old DC funny-animal stars not seen in years (even in reprints---you'd think DC would want to keep up the trademarks, given how zealous mega-conglomerates like DC's owners, Time-Warner, are about protecting every last possible property these days...). I was disappointed DC didn't bother to reprint any of their old humor titles when they were doing their "Millennium Edition" reprint series back around 2000---but did find time to reprint "Kingdom Come" #1 (which was only out a few years earlier)...

Superboy #75 (late 50's): A story about Superboy in his younger years being punished for misbehaving(!) by Ma and Pa Kent. The cover features Pa Kent trying to (unsuccessfully) spank(!) the invulnerable youth.

Adventure Comics #103 (1946): The first Adventure-issue that Superboy appeared in (after moving over from "More Fun Comics"). Also appearing in this issue (and moving over from "More Fun", which had turned into a humor title): Green Arrow, Johnny Quick, Aquaman, and the Shining Knight. The Superboy story deals with Clark celebrating his tenth birthday (with a way-off-model-looking Pa Kent and slightly-off-model-looking Ma Kent seen, though given this being an early story featuring the Kents---from what I can tell, their first appearance in a story that isn't about Kal-El's initial landing on Earth---there probably wasn't yet an established model for what they looked like).

Justice League of America #144 (1977): A story by Gerry Conway about a battle against invading Martians that took place just before the team's origin, and involved every hero that would've been around in 1959 (the year that their origin would've originally taken place per the team's actual origin story in JLofA #9; this story ignores issues of comic-book-time and takes place in 1959, with a glib line about superheroes "having ways to stop the clock and avoid aging". Uh-huh; tell it to Dick Grayson...), including characters like Rex the Wonder Dog, the Challengers of the Unknown, Plastic Man, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen (both drawn in their late 50's style, Lois' pillbox hat and all).

Superboy #145 (late 60's): The classic story about some alien TV show producer from another dimension secretly filming Superboy's life who slips Ma and Pa Kent some anti-aging potion and reverses the Kents' aging from being elderly to middle-aged to appease his TV network's head honchos. OK, goofy premise (though given it's TV executives' "wisdom" being involved, maybe not *too* goofy), but it did establish the Kents' late-middle-aged (vs. elderly) look that mostly lasted for the rest of the pre-Crisis era.

Superboy #149 (late 60's): A story about Clark Kent and Lana Lang meeting Bonnie and Clyde, who're robbing a bank in Smallville. This one was written to jump on the popularity of the late 60's film "Bonnie and Clyde", plus taking advantage of Superboy's 1930's time-era at the time...something that comes into play (and up as an issue) in the stories below.

Flash #153 (1965): "The Mightiest Punch of All Time!", a story vs. Prof. Zoom, where Barry saves the day by, well, doing the scene seen on the cover (hence the story's title).

Superboy #168 (late 60's): Back to Superboy's "1930's" time-era, this one features an attack on Smallville by Hitler's minions, in order to get Superboy to leave forever.

Superboy #171 (1970): A story with Superboy teaming up with Aquaman, here called "Aquaboy" as a teenager. At the end of the story is an explanation admitting the "Superboy in the 30's" setting was getting too long in the tooth given Superman (and Lana, Pete, etc.)'s youth in the then-present, and so they stated they were moving Superboy's time-era up to the 1950's, and would "keep pace" with the 29-year-old Superman...except they forgot to bother with adjusting his time-era up at all through the 70's (would guess the nostalgia craze for the 50's that took place in the 70's---"Happy Days", "M*A*S*H", etc.---might've been one factor), and thus left him in the 50's until 1980, when Superboy's time-era got moved up to the late 1960's (where it stayed for the rest of the pre-Crisis era).

Superboy #195 (early 70's): A story featuring some song played on a Smallville radio station that keeps causing destructive weather around town. A few bits showing Superboy's new 1950's setting, such as Clark trying out a hula hoop, or the story's intro mentioning Elvis Presley, Frankie Avalon, and Pat Boone as the biggest music acts in Superboy's era (gee, no love for Fats Domino or Chuck Berry?).
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2006, 06:43:04 PM »

There are a lot of Superboy comics I loved, but what bothered me most were the jumps in time and such...I hated the young Kents, and I didn't like SB #168 (it even has an opening panel with Hiter addressing the masses)...I would have liked to keep Superboy in a more unspecified past, sort of a golden small-town setting with cars with big fenders and maybe running boards... Cool
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Johnny Nevada
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2006, 01:17:49 AM »

Quote from: "MatterEaterLad"
There are a lot of Superboy comics I loved, but what bothered me most were the jumps in time and such...I hated the young Kents, and I didn't like SB #168 (it even has an opening panel with Hiter addressing the masses)...I would have liked to keep Superboy in a more unspecified past, sort of a golden small-town setting with cars with big fenders and maybe running boards... Cool


I liked the 50's/60's settings myself---I find the 60's an interesting decade in history, plus said 50's/60's setting would at least let the general public in stories have knowledge/access to television sets, radar, satellites, non-experimental/non-sci-fi-style mainframe computers, etc... ;-)  

I liked the way Schaffenberger drew the younger looking Kents---by drawing them as late-middle aged (and closer to their elderly selves, but with brown hair), vs. the rather young looking Kents I saw in those late 60's stories. Then again, I like Schaffenberger's art overall anyway so I'm biased :-)

Guess part of Superboy's appeal is the nostalgia aspect of his being set in the past.... thus can see why they wrote the Superboy vs. Nazis story in SB #168 (though the Bonnie and Clyde one obviously was just a cash-in on the movie... :-p ), or Superboy meeting FDR (in an early 60's tale), or (in an early 70's story) Clark Kent discovering hula hoops (liked that bit in the story---felt bad for the other kids' teasing of Clark in that story...), etc.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2006, 11:28:40 PM »

Well, I kind of grew up on the "Hall of Fame classics" reprinted in the early and mid 60s comics, so Superboy outside of that Smallville didn't resonate with me...to me, the Kents looked significantly younger, and Martha had lost a lot of weight... Cool
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Johnny Nevada
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2006, 01:41:58 AM »

Quote from: "MatterEaterLad"
Well, I kind of grew up on the "Hall of Fame classics" reprinted in the early and mid 60s comics, so Superboy outside of that Smallville didn't resonate with me...to me, the Kents looked significantly younger, and Martha had lost a lot of weight... Cool



Ah, I see. :-)

I grew up in the 80's, with my initial exposure to Superboy being the old Filmation cartoons of the 60's (that aired in syndicated reruns when I was a kid)---I recall particularly liking Krypto (my childhood self would've loved the currently-running Krypto cartoon...).  Re: Comics expousre: Most of my comics reading has been via reprints/back issues (not having a lot of money for comics as a kid, so only read them sporadically---vaguely recall reading some of the 80's Superboy run as a kid though)....

And to cap this off, Schaffenberger's renditions of:

The young Kents:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Kents_silverage_young.jpg

And the old Kents:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Kents_silverage_elderly.jpg

(Yes, I'm surprised too that said pre-Crisis picture of the Kents in the infobox hasn't been eviscerated from its Wikipedia page in favor of that ugly Jim Lee rendition of the Kents posted to said Kents pages.... especially since I wrote most of the page info for Ma and Pa Kent / posted the pictures pre-abandoning-Wikipedia-editing... :-p )
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2006, 02:13:59 AM »

This is more what I remember as being typical, Martha carried a little more weight as well as being decidedly gray...

http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Image:Superboy53.jpg
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