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Author Topic: Great Superman "Backup Strips?"  (Read 13181 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: October 27, 2006, 12:37:56 PM »

Superman comics, especially SUPERMAN FAMILY, have had some terrific backup stories over the years: "Tales of the Bizarro World," "The Private Life of Clark Kent," and even "Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes."

By far my favorite of all time was the Martin Pasko backup that featured Morgan Edge, and had him discover a cleaning lady at the UBS building is his mother. It was the first to mention that Morgan Edge is Jewish but in fact, does not practice.

During the Weisenger years, there were the Superbaby backups, which featured Superman using a memory device to recover memories he's lost due to Kryptonite exposure over the years. The greatest one ever had Superbaby kidnapped by his "Uncle Brainiac," who finds Superbaby too much to handle.

Strangely enough, the Superbaby stories remind me the most of a lot of Joe Haldeman short stories. In science fiction, the person that saves the day is the only person that thinks outside the box and really sees the nature of the problem. On the other hand, Haldeman wrote stories about cranky and eccentric older people that didn't have to figure out the nature of problems: they solved them just by being themselves. That's Superbaby for you, right there: he fixes everything not by brains but by just being a baby.

There are a couple that I only vaguely remember:

Wasn't there also something of a backup starring "Mr. and Mrs. Superman," featuring Superman and Lois's identical twins being married inside the Bottled City of Kandor with their offspring?

What was that one backup story about Superman's son in 2020, who killed off Clark Kent (faking his own death) and started using several different secret identities?

The "Jimmy Olsen, Mr. Action" backups in SUPERMAN FAMILY had a lot of great art by Kurt Schaffenberger. Jimmy ditched his bow tie in favor of a turtleneck and golf hat. With that golf hat of his, it looks a lot like "Jimmy Olsen Goes to Dublin." The idea of Jimmy Olsen as being a young truth-buster and gang reporter that tends to get in over his head all the time with smugglers and so on, a cross between the Hardy Boys and Jonny Quest...was a really interesting way to take the character. Leo Dorfman was principally responsible for a lot of these, and the heyday ended when he died in the late seventies.

Thus far, 2006 has been "The Year of Jimmy." SUPERMAN RETURNS has him steal the movie and get all the best lines. There was also Jimmy's treatment in ALL-STAR SUPERMAN #4, the release of the SUPERMAN FAMILY ARCHIVES reprinting his adventures, and the center stage that Jimmy took in the Busiek/Johns "Up, Up, and Away" story...

Why not end the Year of Jimmy off maybe with a return of the "Mr. Action" backup? All I'm saying is all.

There was also the Schwartz-era "World of Krypton" stories. I am almost 100% positive this was inspired by the "Tales of Asgard" backup in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. Here's the thing about backup flashback stories involving weird fantasy worlds that a hero is tangentally connected to: it's pretty much an excuse for tons of monsters. For this reason alone, "Tales of Asgard" was almost always more fun than the MIGHTY THOR story that it came with.

The thing I liked best about "World of Krypton" by far was that it had Jor-El as a hero in his own right, a two-fisted scientist in his own way as interesting as his son, yet at the same time a very, very different character from his son: he was more a sort of "Doctor Who" type (particularly as played by Pertwee) who was a vigorous person with a lot of elbow grease, in a planet that on the one hand, was conservative, uptight, and civilized, on the other hand surrounded by exotic natural wonders and monsters. Superman has always been brainy, but his braininess was more a kind of savvy; Superman was always experienced and a man of the world, whereas Jor-El in "World of Krypton" was more explicitly studious, and perhaps a bit more eccentric.

It wasn't a Superman backup, but it was still interesting to mention: the EXTREMELY short-lived "Tales of the Amazons" backup in WONDER WOMAN.

It was a backup with a very interesting concept: the stories of the Amazon women before Wonder Woman's birth that ran for three issues between WONDER WOMAN #247-249 (1978).

The tagline on the cover of 247 was worth reading in and of itself just for the cheesy sexploitation: "NAKED Steel in a Sorcerous Realm at the DAWN of history!"

The backup was interesting, like "Tales of Asgard" and "World of Krypton," because it was a creature-feature; here it was the equal of "Tales of Asgard." It featured giant squids and sea creatures. In one story, the Amazons are attacked by a colossal tarantula, only to be saved by a Griffin, who rules a realm of sky beings that worship "the Nameless God."

"Tales of the Amazons" also showed us more details of the Amazon rebellion and Hippopolyta recapturing her girdle, as well as the Amazons' detour into another dimension.

The backup's most enduring contribution was the villainess Astarte, who first appeared in "Tales of the Amazons" as Diana, an Amazon killed by Hercules during the Great Escape (who was the person that Wonder Woman was named after).

A sword and sorcery backup with good looking women might be interesting to read in a contemporary Wonder Woman book, now that with Rucka and so forth there's much of an emphasis on her Amazonian supporting cast.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006, 12:53:51 PM by JulianPerez » Logged

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davidelliott
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2006, 06:41:13 PM »

Wasn't there also something of a backup starring "Mr. and Mrs. Superman," featuring Superman and Lois's identical twins being married inside the Bottled City of Kandor with their offspring?

Well, those were the adventures of the Superman and Lois of Earth-Two, set back in the '50's, shortly after they got married.  I remember reading a couple of them and recall the art was by Schaffenberger, which was cool....

I never even knew about the Morgan Edge stories... if you have the issue, can you scan it and maybe have it posted in the comics section here? I would love to read it!!!
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2006, 07:25:41 PM »

Mother of Morgan Edge:

http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Sophie_Edelstein

Superman's Kandorian double married to a Lois double, with children (the story is on this site):

http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Van-Zee

There is a thread around here somewhere about the Superman of 2020, I think it was a 1980 story...
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006, 07:29:32 PM by MatterEaterLad » Logged
JulianPerez
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2006, 07:36:29 PM »

The issue with the backup story where Morgan Edge revealed he was Jewish and changed his name to hide his heritage, was ACTION COMICS #468 (1977).

The story was very touching, and also made a Grade A jerk like Morgan Edge a human being.

darn! I promised Great Rao I'd scan for him the "Adult Legion" story in ADVENTURE COMICS #354-355 a few months ago, and it's slipped my mind.
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Aldous
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2006, 08:51:15 PM »

By far my favorite of all time was the Martin Pasko backup that featured Morgan Edge, and had him discover a cleaning lady at the UBS building is his mother. It was the first to mention that Morgan Edge is Jewish but in fact, does not practice.

It's effectively the Morgan Edge origin story and also a favourite of mine. In fact, I remember talking to India Ink and others about that story a while back. India mentioned it on the old DC boards:

India Ink (August 2002):
Quote
Finally (for this post, anyhow), Pasko provides a 6 page Close-Up: Morgan Edge (again by Swan and McLaughlin, in Action 468) which is indeed memorable. It's a story that has stayed with me for all these years and makes me mourn for the loss of the Morgan Edge as he once existed (the sad thing called Morgan Edge from the reboot Superman comics is hardly worthy of that name).

"My Son, the Orphan!" sparkles on the page with Pasko's language. Again it's hard to resist quoting all the dialogue, as Morgan encounters his mother. Although everyone thinks he's an orphan, Morgan Edge (the real Morgan Edge, not Jack Kirby's intergang stand-in) is actually Morris Edeltstein, and his mother is Sophie Edeltstein who still works as a cleaning woman (as she has done for 45 years "I'm happy that way! Why should I change?"). Ashamed of his past and his name, Morgan Edge has kept up a disguise all these years, but brought to a realization by his mother, he gets up to accept his Man of the Year Award at the Broadcasters' Association ceremony, and relates the truth about himself.

About a time when he was still in the Merchant Marine, and playing a poker game in a port on the western seaboard. One of the players, a wealthy man from New Mexico, bet his TV station in Albuquerque, and Morris beat the gent's heart-royal-flush with a spade-flush. Having done so well at the table, Edelstein knew it was time to quit.

At this the wealthy gent asks, "Whadja say yore name wuz, boyah?"

"Edeltstein. Why?"

"Figures! Only yore kind would decide to bow out when ya got all o' our dough."

Morris takes offence, while his adversaries at the table attack him, but the merchant seaman isn't so easily overcome, and leaves his defeated opponents on the floor.

At the ceremony, bringing his mother up to share in his success as Man of the Year, Morgan/Morris leaves his GBS staff stunned by his revelations. Clark asks Lois, "What difference does it make?" and she answers, "None, of course--it's just interesting, that's all..."

I remember describing more of the story as well, maybe on the STTA Superman in the 70s thread, but I suppose that great old thread, with the clean-up and new forum, has been deleted.  Sad

I haven't time to dig out the mag, but I recall that when young Edge has the fight with some tough guys over a card game, he escapes with his winnings which include the ownership title to a small TV station, and he explains that this formed the beginnings of his media empire.
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Permanus
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2006, 10:34:54 PM »

What was that one backup story about Superman's son in 2020, who killed off Clark Kent (faking his own death) and started using several different secret identities?
It wasn't just the one story, there were a few; Superman 2020 was Superman's grandson (not son) and obviously didn't care how it affected his father and grandfather that he faked his death, thereby condemning them to a life of having to pretend to grieve for him. As I recall, it wasn't particularly popular and I can't clearly remember any of the stories, just the premise. For some reason, I also remember that his girlfriend in one story was called Melodee Sellers. I shall probably still remember this about thirty or forty years down the line, when I will be under the impression that I am having breakfast every twenty minutes and won't be able to recall where I live.

My favourite backup stories, hands down, were The Private Life of Clark Kent. They were wonderfully cosy somehow, and not a little silly. In fact, I'd be grateful if someone could tell me where two of my favourites appeared (or better yet, put them up on the site):

In the first story, Clark has to go and interview an informant in a seedy bar and gets picked on by a rowdy drunk who doesn't like his face and wants him to take his glasses off so they can fight. (Of course Clark has ordered a glass of milk in this dive, which doesn't make the situation any better.) Finally, the drunk recognises him as Kent, the guy who does the news on TV, and proves to be a big fan. Phew!

In the second, Clark's neighbours, the twins called April and Maye Something, entrust him with their parrot for the weekend, and to his dismay, he wakes up the next morning to hear it saying: "Clark Kent is Superman! Clark Kent is Superman!" Thinking that the parrot is mimicking something he said in his sleep, Clark then spends a frantic day trying to make the it say something else, only to find that it was a practical joke pulled on him by the twins. Which means, of course, that he has to teach the parrot to say it again.

I really liked this kind of story, that built on the continuity and served to introduce new characters; I'm not sure, but I imagine that another neighbour of Clark's, Mrs. Moskowitz, no doubt inspired by the Hyman Kaplan stories, must have been introduced in one of these. Often, though, they were sort of Elseworlds premises, like the Bruce (Superman) Wayne backups, which were a bit dull.

I remember the premise for another series of backups, Superman's Diary (written in Kryptonese and heat vision), but I can't really bring any particular story to mind. Anyone?
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2006, 11:10:34 PM »

I didn't read Bronze Age comics, but I did laugh at April and May Marigold when I was looking into some things for Supermanica entries...
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Permanus
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2006, 11:32:36 PM »

I didn't read Bronze Age comics, but I did laugh at April and May Marigold when I was looking into some things for Supermanica entries...
I'd forgotten they were telepathic! Of course they were: they were twins, and in comics that only means one thing...
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