Superman 61 – The Prankster’s Radio Program, Lois dyes her hair, and kryptonite debuts

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One of the stories in Superman 61 (Nov/Dec. 49) is among the most important Superman stories ever told.  It is not the one in which Lois Lane dyes her hair.  But apparently that was considered more cover-worthy.

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The Prankster reveals that he is likely the richest man in the US in this story, by Woolfolk and Plastino.

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After the Prankster has his radio show, which promoted his crimes, pulled off the air, he travels the country, adopting disguises and purchasing all the air time on every radio station in the US.  Even in 1949, can you imagine how much money this would take.  ALL THE AIR TIME?  Clearly, the Prankster is fabulously wealthy.

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The Prankster runs dead air, except for the time he is required to fill, which he does.  He runs a show that mocks Superman.  Superman is pissed off, and creates static disturbances to block the broadcast.

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Superman outright sabotages the Prankster, whose deeds have not been illegal.  Superman prevents the Prankster from broadcasting the correct time, and he loses his radio licenses.

But the Prankster returns, as he always does.

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Lois Lane gets completely demeaned in this Woolfolk, Boring and Kaye story.

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After Lois sees a blonde actress kiss Superman, who just saved her life, Lois decides to dye her hair blonde, as if that would completely change Superman’s attitude towards her.  We see in this story that Lois shares an apartment with a roommate, Peggy Wilkins.

When Clark sees Lois’ blonde hair, his reaction is less than pleased.

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And while Superman is busy trying to stop crime, Lois wanders through the story, lovelorn and crying, and dyeing and re-dyeing her hair.

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In the end, her red dye washed out, Lois is left soaked and bedraggled, humiliated and laughed at by all – and she clearly has not learned a thing.  There will be no lack of these stories, making Lois look desperate and pathetic, in years to come.

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It’s the final story in the issue that has the good stuff.  Finger and Plastino give Superman the answers in this tale.

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The story opens on Swami Riva, a cheap hood who is surprised to find that his phony hex worked on Superman, and that the hero collapses,losing all strength, when Riva is around.

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Superman is also mystified.  He checks the hoods records, and finds nothing special about him.  So he investigates the stone on the turban, and finds that it came from a meteor.  Superman then travels backwards through time, and through space, to the source of the meteor.

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He winds up a ghostly figure observing Krypton, although he has no idea what planet this is.  He does notice a man who looks a lot like him, and even sees himself as a baby int he arms of Lara, but suspects nothing.

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Superman sees the destruction of the planet, and follows the rocket to Earth.  Only when he sees Ma and Pa Kent find the baby does he realize that he has seen his true parents, and the destruction of his world, Krypton.

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He uses a ruse to get the stone away from the Swami, and drops the kryptonite into the river, hoping to never have to deal with it again.  There is a brief theorization on how the atomic change that destroyed the planet also converted its remains to a metal toxic to people from that world.

Kryptonite had already been introduced into the radio show, but this marks its first appearance in the comics.  This would remain the first encounter of the Earth-2 Superman with the mineral, but for the Earth-1 version, a different first encounter took place for Superboy.

Swami Riva makes a return in a Mr. and Mrs. Superman tale in 1980s Superman Family.

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