Bates, Swan and Anderson bring a new supporting character into the WGBS family in Superman 264 (June 1973), Steve Lombard.
Lombard looks a bit bigger and rougher in his first appearance than he would come to appear, but the football player is quickly established as a good person, as he rescues a child falling from a building, even though this ruins his knees, hours before a big game.
Steve seeks help from a doctor who has a solar healer device. It’s clearly new and experimental, as it winds up creating a energy-based double of Steve, complete with football uniform.
Steve has some degree of control over his doppleganger, which he realizes as he watches his phantom play in the game he had to miss. No on realizes it is not the real Steve Lombard, and he takes credit for the victory. Steve meets Lois Lane and Clark Kent afterwards, and shows off his ego, sexism, and desire to torment those weaker than him. All elements of earlier one-shot characters that had been seen working at the Daily Planet over the years, and Steve’s name even echoes that of Steve Bard, a minor supporting player in Lois Lane’s strip in the 1940s.
To Steve’s dismay, his phantom does not simply cease to exist when no longer wanted, and winds up in a deadly battle with Superman. The phantom is now out to kill Steve, until Superman disperses his energies.
Steve mans up at the end of the story, admitting he did not really play in the game, and resigning from the team. But to Clark’s dismay, Morgan Edge offers Lombard a job as a sports commentator on WGBS.
A really good intro for the character.