Superman 139 – Super-merman, the first Superman annual, and red kryptonite

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Lori Lemaris is back again, and Superman wants her in issue 138 (Aug. 60).

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The story, by Siegel, Boring and Kaye, begins as a wealthy and successful man falls for Lois Lane and proposes marriage, only to be rejected, because she longs for Superman.  Lori Lemaris promptly shows up, looking for Superman.

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Ronal is close to death, and Superman proves incapable of saving him.  Ronal’s dying wish is for Superman to marry Lori, to Lois Lane’s dismay.  Superman picks up his romance with Lori, and somehow winds up with a merman body.

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But it all turns out to be a giant hoax they are playing on Lois, trying to convince her to move on with her life and find someone else.  It fails dismally at this, as Lois just sees the effort as a sign of how much Superman cares about her.

With the cruel games that Lois and Superman play with each other, they really are suited to be a couple.

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This issue also contains an ad for the first Superman annual.  I was going to give it its own entry, but this works just as well.  It’s all reprints anyway, covering pretty much every member of the Superman supporting cast.  The biggest significance of this book is that it was the very first DC annual, and enough of a success to spawn a huge amount of follow-ups.

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Red kryptonite makes its first appearance in this book, in a story by Binder, Swan and Forte.  Red kryptonite had been introduced in the Superboy series in Adventure Comics, and a couple of those stories are briefly flashed back to in this tale.

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Red kryptonite has unpredictable effects on Superman, and would rapidly become a mainstay of his stories in the 1960s.

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In this story, it winds up giving him extremely long hair and fingernails.  This threatens to expose his identity, as he is not able to cut them himself.  But with the aid of Supergirl and Krypto, Superman gets properly groomed, so Clark Kent shows none of the red kryptonite effects.

 

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