COVER STORIES for 03/12/2006
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #44
Welcome to this 44th edition of "Cover Stories," in which I look at a number of comics covers with a common theme!
This time around, the theme is "Family Ties" - no, there's no Alex, Mallory, or Jennifer Keaton here... it's all Superman and his family!
Didn't know Superman had an Aunt Minerva, did you? Thought the only Aunt Minerva in comics was the one in the old Captain Marvel stories? Well, this Win Mortimer cover should dispell any doubts there, eh - although admittedly, I believe she only appeared here in Action Comics #160.
Minerva Kent was the younger sister of Jonathan Kent, Clark's foster father (yeah, there were a lot of Kents that turned up in various stories, weren't there? I recall a rich uncle who wanted to adopt Clark in a Superboy story or two). Anyway... in this story, Minerva Kent insists on moving in with Clark, who is concerned she might discover he's really Superman! Fortunately for our hero, he's able to set her up with a suitor of hers who's been following her around for some time (yeah, that was simpler times... these days, the guy would just be a stalker!).
The art in this story was by Wayne Boring, with inks by Stan Kaye. Also in this issue of Action Comics were Tommy Tomorrow in "Mystery of the Little Worlds" with art by Curt Swan and John Fischetti, Congo Bill in "The Crime Circus" by Ed Smalle, fillers starring Little Pete, Jerry the Jitterbug, Peg and Professor Eureka (but not all together!) by Henry Boltinoff, The Vigilante in "The Capture of the Four Aces" by Dick Wood and Bob Brown (reprinted in Super DC Giant #S-15), and a public service page featuring Buzzy in "Old Folks are People, Too!" by Jack Schiff and Win Mortimer!
Okay, enough of the adopted family members... I know what you want to see... Jor-El and Lara, right? In fact, I'll just bet you're Jonesing for some covers featuring Jor-El, just so you can see that unlike his counterpart on the TV series "Smallville," Superman's Kryptonian father was really a good guy, right?
And, as we can see from the cover to Adventure Comics #217, here Jor-El and Lara come to Smallville to tell their son they're really alive, and take him away from Jonathan and Martha. Completely different from the TV show, right? Right? Oh, right...
Well, this cover was by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. The cover story, "Superboy's Farewell to Smallville" was by Otto Binder, Curt Swan, and George Klein, and was reprinted in Superboy #156, which is where I'm sure I must've read this story, which was continued in the next issue. I don't believe this was an imaginary story, but instead it turns out that it's not really Jor-El and Lara... but I could well be wrong!
Next in this issue was Buzzy in "What Are You Getting Out of School?" a PSA by Jack Schiff and Win Mortimer, followed by Aquaman in "The Day Aquaman Couldn't See" by Ramona Fradon, a Peg filler by Henry Boltinoff, the text filler "Strange Animal Alliances" by Jack Miller, Green Arrow in "The Riddle of the Five Trophies" by George Papp, and a Varsity Vic filler by Boltinoff!
So, Jor-El doesn't make the best impression there, does he? Let's see if he fares any better in Superboy 74!
Wow, a bit of déjà vu here, isn't there? Yep, once again Jor-El and Lara miraculously survived Krypton's destruction, but this time around, it's a book-length novel in three parts to tell the story! The cover here is by Curt Swan with Stan Kaye inks. Before we get into the story, however, there's a PSA featuring... yep, it's Buzzy, by Jack Schiff and Win Mortimer!
OK, on to the story... "Superboy's Voyage to New Krypton" was written by Otto Binder, with art by John Sikela. Reprinted in Superboy Annual #1, the tale begins when Superboy falls sick from Kryptonite poisoning, and his Kryptonian parents show up to bring him back to health. As the story continues, the Super family leave Earth in search of a new home, bringing Krypto with them, naturally! But all is not beer and skittles on New Krypton, where the Els don't have super-powers, and they learn that a moon is about to fall on the planet!
Now, does anything bug anyone else about this tale? Let's say that, yes, Superboy's parents are indeed alive... and their best plan is to take Superboy away from Earth, and bring him to a planet where he's got a) No super-powers, and b) No possibility for romance or perpetuating their race, ever.
The issue also featured a Tricksy filler by Henry Boltinoff, as well as a Peg filler by Boltinoff.
Let's hope Jor-El and Lara do better on this last cover, courtesy of Lois Lane #59...
Hmmm... well, this isn't much better, is it? Lois Lane's gone back in time to Krypton, and she's stealing Jor-El away from Lara??? One wonders what Lois was trying to accomplish (no wonder Superman and Batman are pulling a joke on Lois later in the issue).
This cover was, naturally, by Kurt Schaffenberger, who drew the cover story as well as the first story in the issue (yep, the lead story wasn't even mentioned on the cover!). "Lois Lane's Super-Perfect Crime" was written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, while "Lois Lane's Romance with Jor-El!" was written by Otto Binder. Curt Swan and George Klein handled the art chores on "Superman and Batman's Joke on Lois Lane," which I imagine involved them teaching Lois some kind of lesson... and given what else Lois was up to in this issue, perhaps she actually deserved it?
Thanks, as always, should go to the Grand Comics Database, without which I wouldn't be able to tell you half as much about these books as I do!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," and in the meantime, you can check out my blog at http://waffyjon.blogspot.com for other musings and ramblings by me, or email me with comments about this column at !