Superman 72 – the Prankster’s boss, Perry White’s family, and Clark Kent gets fired

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Heading into space with Superman on the cover of Superman 72 (Sept/Oct 51), although the story itself is the final one in the issue.

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The issue opens with a tale featuring the Prankster, which is beginning to feel mandatory.

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Schwartz, Boring and Kaye have the Prankster working for someone else in this story, a mob boss called the Financier.  He sets up the Prankster’s crimes for him, but the Prankster gets offended at how the Financier treats him like a one gimmick villain, and decides to not use pranks in his crimes.

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Superman overhears this, and so he decides to put the pranks into the crimes himself, messing things up along the way, and causing friction between the Prankster and the Financier.

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As Superman intended, the two villains turn on each other, and he is able to grab both.

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Hamilton and Plastino introduce Perry White’s family in this story, which sees Perry in his private life, as he avoids the paper, to avoid gangland reprisals.

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Perry’s wife Alice makes her debut in this story.  Not much is done with her character, for many years.  In fact, she is not even seen again until an issue of Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen in 1960.

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There is also a newbie reporter at the Planet, who Perry challenges to turn in a scoop worthy story within a day.  Superman helps the boy round up the bad guys threatening Perry. Only at the very end do we discover that the boy is really Perry’s son Will.  Will winds up with a job as a Planet reporter, but never makes another appearance.  Probably switched to some other paper, rather than have his dad as his boss.

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The final story in the issue is the cover story, by Woolfolk, Mortimer and Kaye.  Clark Kent gets fired after writing a story that misquoted a developer, leading to a lawsuit against the paper.

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A failed inventor round up a bunch of other failures, and brings them all on his space ship, heading out into space where they can all die together as failures.  He has major issues with depression. Lois Lane sneaks aboard, because a rocket ship full of doomed people is a great place to be.

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Being trapped in space makes all the people on the ship confront their fears and traumas, and they work together (with hidden assists from Superman) to bring the ship back to Earth.
Not as good as the cover makes it seem.

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