COVER STORIES for 03/11/2007
COVER STORIES INSTALLMENT #96
Welcome, faithful readers (and those of you joining us for the first time) to the 92nd installment of Cover Stories, the weekly column in which I, Jon B. Knutson, present a group of covers with a common theme!
This week's theme is "Super-Kids," and yes, that means lots of Superman covers! You should also note that, with one exception, these covers feature a son of Superman who looks EXACTLY like his father did at the same age! Kryptonian genes are scary, aren't they? By the way, the first two covers I can provide complete synopses of the cover tales, thanks to my writing a rather lengthy review of a bunch of Super-Sons stories for the late, lamented Kryptonian Cybernet!
Here's Action 392, featuring not just a super-son of Superman, but also a Bat-son as well! This cover was by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson.
Since this was the second part of a two-part episode, let me give you a brief recap of both issues, shall I?
Action Comics #391 and #392 feature a two-part Imaginary Story that may well have been the inspiration for the 1970's Super-Sons stories in World's Finest. This story (Aug & Sept 70) began with part 1: "The Punishment of Superman's Son!" At City Hall, Clark Kent and his son, Clark, Jr. witness Batman, Jr. receiving the Metropolis Medal of Valor. Batman is obviously very proud of his son, and announces he'll soon retire and let his son take his place. When Clark asks Clark, Jr. when he'll start acting like a Superman, Clark, Jr. says he's trying.
That evening, Superman flies to the planet Muse X-1 to take the Flowing Fugue, rarest plant in the universe, back to Earth. However, when he returns, he has to send in the Batman, Jr. medal presentation story, so asks Superman, Jr. to bring the musical flower to Maestro Mortini at the Metropolis Music Academy. However, Superman, Jr. flies too fast, and the friction burns up the plant. Superman berates him. Batman and Batman, Jr. show up, and Batman needles Supes about their sons. Supes gives his son another chance when a gang with a special tank tries to steal a computer. However, Supes, Jr. is tricked by a covering of fake Kryptonite on the tank. Superman decides to close the gap between him and his son by taking him to the Fortress of Solitude. However, when Superman has to fly off on an emergency and leaves his son behind, Supes, Jr. misinterprets the actions of a Superman, Jr. robot and accidentally releases the animals of the Interplanetary Zoo in the fortress. When Superman returns, he feels he has no choice but to expose Superman, Jr. to Gold Kryptonite, which wipes out his powers.
Concluding in the Sept. 70 issue of Action, we get to see a flashback to when Superman and Superman Jr. made an appearance on Father and Son Day in Metropolis. To teach his son a lesson, Superman used his powers to make Jr. fail to win any of the contests against normal human boys. The lesson was supposed to be that Supes Jr. should use his powers to help people, not to humiliate them. In the present, Clark Jr. is trying to adjust to life without superpowers, but when his father is exposed to Green K (and he fakes a weakness to it himself -- faked since Green K only affects super-powered Kryptonians), he gets the opportunity to save his father's life. Superman flies him to the Fortress, where he voluntarily uses a pair of Cosmo-Kinetic Bracelets to transfer his powers to his son.
"The Shame of the Super-Son!" was by Bob Kanigher, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, and I believe they did the first part, as well. Also in this issue were the Legion of Super-Heroes in "The Legionnaires Who Never Were!" by Cary Bates, Win Mortimer, and Jack Abel, the last Legion feature in Action.
A different kind of super-kid here... this kid doesn't resemble his father at all, does he? This cover was by Nick Cardy.
"The Satanic Son of Superman," which takes place in the future, where his son, Krys (no Jr. in this story, but it's a son anyway) has super-powers his father is not aware of, although Krys' powers aren't used for good things... he changes water to poison gas, for example. Superman's wife died giving birth. When they go to visit the lunar colony, Krys is acting normally, but then suddenly decides to don a space suit and have some fun. He causes rocks to burst out of the surface, which opens a hole in the dome of the moon colony. Superman repairs the hole, and spots his son running along the lunar surface.
Superman recalls when he and his young wife discussed the future of their child. His wife, Krysalla, told him she was a witch. The super-computer couldn't determine what kind of offspring they'd produce, but decide to go through with it anyway. Meanwhile, Krys has no memory of being on the lunar surface. Returning to Earth, Superman hypnotizes his son, and finds Krys was responsible for the rocks and poison gas, among other disasters.
Superman decides the only thing he can do is prevent the menace of Krys from continuing, and shoots his son with a strange weapon. However, when Krys' body slumps over, a twin splits off from him. This twin is the true demon, who compelled Krys to admit to his crimes under hypnosis. This person is an "invisible Siamese twin," who would cause Krys to go into a coma whenever he entered this dimension. Now, the twin is strong enough to live in this dimension without Krys. Suddenly, android assassins bent on killing Superman and his son appear, killing the twin. Superman hurls the assassins away, then uses his heat vision to thaw out Krys, who had just been put into cryogenic suspension from the weapon.
"The Satanic Son of Superman" was by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson. Also in this issue, Superman in "Healing Hands from Beyond!" by Bates, John Calnan and Anderson; plus the Teen Titans in "The Secret Olympic Heroes" by Bob Haney and Cardy, reprinted from Teen Titans #4.
So, that's the two issues that I used to own, read, and reviewed... on to the two that I don't know so much about!
You know, you'd think Superman would've learned from his own experience as Superbaby and Superboy, that you can't use a hairbrush to spank a super-child! (Pa Kent tried the same thing in a Superboy imaginary story, with the same results. Then again, there was at least one Imaginary Story in which Lois tries the same thing, too... only against the adopted Supergirl in at least one tale!).
This cover was by Swan and George Klein. This issue's tale was a "novel-length" adventure, "Clark Kent's Super-Son!" in two parts: "The Brat of Steel" and "Once There Was a Superman!" Both parts were by Otto Binder, Swan, and Klein.
This story really featured a lot of guest-stars! There's Batman, the Barry Allen Flash, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Green Lantern (Hall Jordan), Supergirl, Robin, the Martian Manhunter, the Atom, Titano, Luthor... what a cast!
And you know, I could've sworn I'd read this story somewhere before... but I don't remember any more about it than could be extrapolated from the cover!
And believe it or not, this two-part story wasn't the entire tale! In the next regular issue (193 was an 80-Page Giant), the story concluded!
Yes, things have taken a tragic turn here... as they're wont to do in these Imaginary Stories (I recall reading one in which the super-kid is a girl, and Lois dies... might've even been a Lois Lane issue!). Once again, the cover was Swan/Klein.
"The Death of Lois Lane!", the conclusion of this story, was also by Binder, Swan and Klein. Not so many guest-stars in this part, though!
Also in this issue was "The Super-Luck of Badge 77," reprinted from Superman 133, by Binder and Al Plastino. This story, I actually do remember! Clark Kent is assigned to be a temporary policeman for a story he's writing, and is given lucky badge number 77 for his rounds. Clark uses his super-powers and super-wits to make it appear the badge is indeed lucky as it "saves" his life several times! And at the end of the story, he's surprised to notice what the "77" looks like upside down!
Join me next time for another installment of "Cover Stories," in which I'll present another installment of "Comics They Never Made" 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 !