Tag Archives: Daily Planet

Superman 265 – Perry White on the story

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Perry White, largely sidelined since the introduction of Morgan Edge, gets to take centre stage in the Maggin, Swan and Anderson story from Superman 265 (July 1973).

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Edge shows himself at his worst, demanding that Perry prove himself, his Pulitzer Prize being twenty years old. What have you done for me lately?

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Perry is upset, and talks with Clark about the situation.  But he also decides to show Edge what he can do.  He spots two young people wearing gloves on a hot summer day, and thinks there must be a story in that.  He is more right than he imagines, but when he approaches the kids, they repel him with a force blast.

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Clark changes to Superman, but to is surprise, the force blasts are able to repel him as well.

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Steve Lombard has a small role in this story, a scene that will set the pattern for many of his appearances in this decade.  He attempts to humiliate Clark in front of the WGBS staff, but Clark turns the tables on Steve, and he gets made a fool of instead.

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Anyway, back to the story.  Perry White keeps digging, with Superman’s help, and they uncover a secret military base, mutant children, and a madman named Callixto who has been manipulating the kids, forming them into an army through which he intends to conquer the world.  Superman destroys Callixto’s plan, and machines, and frees the children.

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Perry White gets to broadcast the story, although a more in depth report will be printed in the Daily Planet.  And just as Clark turned the tables on Steve Lombard, the tale ends with Perry White blwoing smoke into Morgan Edge’s face.

The mutant kids return in a couple of years, in the pages of Action Comics, giving Perry White his super-cigars.

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Superman 233 – Kryptonite No More!, and the Fabulous World of Krypton begins

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Big changes were afoot in Superman 233 (Jan. 71), as Denny O’Neil, Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson updated the character for the 70s.

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An experiment on kryptonite backfires somewhat, sending Superman plowing into a sandy desert.  But it also has the effect of neutralizing all the kryptonite on Earth, no matter what the colour.  With one fell swoop, the seemingly endless and easily available way to kill Superman was gone from the comic.

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Morgan Edge, the head of WGBS, which had recently bought the Daily Planet, had already been introduced in the pages of Sueprman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.  In this story he demands Clark Kent go out to do a live broadcast on a rocket launch.  This requires some speed on Clark’s part, as the rocket launch goes wrong, and he has to get into his Superman gear to save the day, all while supposedly filming the action.

But he does well enough that, by the end of the story, Edge has decided to make Clark a permanent newscaster, over the objections of Perry White.

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The scene in which Superman gets confronted by a criminal armed with the now-powerless kryptonite is a classic sequence.  The neutralization affected all the kryptonite currently on Earth, but as the years passed more would “fall,” until this entire story got rendered moot.

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The tale ends on an eerie note, as the imprint of Superman’s form in the sand rises and stumbles away.  The Sand Superman has been born, and this storyline will play out over the next year.

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The Fabulous World of Krypton debuts in this issue, with a story by Bridwell and Anderson.  The series would jump around to various Superman books, before becoming a minisseries in its own right before the end of the decade, although by then the “fabulous” had been dropped.

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This first tale deals with Jor-El’s experiments with anti-gravity, and his construction of a golden rocket, to the laughs of General Zod and the rest.  No one believes in his invention, except for a young pilot, Lara.  She sneaks onto his craft and pilots the test flight, although the ship winds up losing communication after landing on the moon Wegthor.

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Jor-El uses more conventional craft to head out and rescue Lara, and this beautifully drawn story becomes canon on how the two fell in love.

 

Superman 174 – Clark Kent imagines he is Superman, and Mr. Mxyzptlk becomes a hero

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An interesting cover image on Superman 174 (Jan. 65), and the story, by Hamilton and Plastino, lives up to it.

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Clark Kent is stunned when a man walks into his office, claiming to be Superman, and demonstrating his abilities.  He is even more shocked when he discovers that he himself has no powers at all.

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Clark calls on Batman, wanting someone to confirm that he really is Superman, but Batman treats him as though he were just a snooping reporter.

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Clark challenges the Superman claimant’s memory, getting Lana Lang involved as he recounts an event from Superboy’s life, but the “impostor” knows everything that Clark does.  Doubting his own sanity by this point, Clark heads to a psychiatrist.  After some discussion, the psychiatrist believes that Clark began fantasizing that he was Superboy because of him being a lonely and weak teen, and that the delusion has simply grown over the years.

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Sadly, this story opts for a quick and easy “out,” as the Superman claimant turns out to be one of his robots, gone renegade.  The robot impersonated Batman, and also planted a red sun device in the heel of Clark’s shoe, to remove his powers.

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Mr. Mxyzptlk switches sides in this story, by Siegel and Plastino.

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He decides to become Super-Mxyzptlk, and follows Superman around, jumping ahead of him whenever there is trouble, and using his magic to save the day.  For a change, he is genuinely not trying to be a pest – but he is anyway.

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I do enjoy the ending, in which Bizarro pops up, joining others in a celebration of Mr. Mxyzptlk’s heroism.  He builds a statue of the imp, but of the Bizarro version he knows – Kltpzyxm.  Mxyzptlk is taken aback by the statue, which he considers insulting, but in reading the inscription gets transported back to his own dimension.

Not the greatest story, but it’s neat to see Bizarro defeating Mxyzptlk, even accidentally.

Superman 170 – the John F Kennedy story, and Lex Luthor courts Lara

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Despite the absurdity of the cover scene on Superman 170 (July 1964), there is actually no need for it to be an Imaginary Story.

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The issue opens with the delayed story that has Superman working for John F Kennedy on his program for improving the health of American youth.  Bill Finger and Al Plastino put this story together, and it was pulled because of the president’s assassination.  At the request of Johnson, the story was run in this issue, despite Kennedy having died.

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Lana Lang is doing a television special on how Americans are behind Europeans when it comes to health.  Apparently nothing has changed in 50 years.  Kennedy gets Superman to promote health among the youth, and he does so over the next few pages.

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But eating well and working out is not just for the young, and Clark Kent has to fake weakness as Perry White puts the Daily Planet staffers through their new health regime, despite the complaints of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.

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The health program serves Clark well when the staffers get trapped during a hike, and Clark can claim its Kennedy’s workout program that has increased his strength enough for them to escape.  Supergirl cameos, along with her fan club, and Jimmy Olsen’s.

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Now for the cover story, by Siegel, Swan and Klein.  Luthor escapes from prison, and decides to head back in time to Krypton, woo and win Lara, and by doing so prevent Superman from coming into existence.

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The plan works pretty well at the start.  Luthor claims to be the hero of the planet Marlat, with some faked movies to back up his story.

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He wins the trust of the Krytonians when he warns them about Brainiac coming to steal Kandor. No one believes him, until it happens.  But once it has, the council are happy to listen to Luthor.

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Lara is quite taken with him, despite being engaged to Jor-El.  Luthor arranges for Jor-El to get trapped while on an exploration, and quickly wins over Lara.

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They get to the wedding ceremony, and Jor-El is racing frantically to stop them, as if this were The Graduate.  But fate intervenes, as Luthor’s anti-gravity device wears out, and he collapses under Krypton’s higher gravity.  He has to admit that he is really from Earth.  Once he has admitted being a liar, they brain scan him, and find out that he is from the future, and send him back to Earth.

So really, there was no need to make this an Imaginary Story, outside of making the reader think there was a possibility of Luthor’s plan succeeding.

Superman 133 – how Clark Kent got his job, and Superman joins the army

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Superman joins the army in issue 133 (Nov. 59), but first…

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Jerry Siegel and Al Plastino share an Untold Story about how Clark Kent got hired at the Daily Planet, one that ignores the various first meetings of Clark and Perry that had been already related in Adventure Comics.

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Clark moves to Metropolis, with no idea what job he intends to find, despite having taken journalism in university.  Only when his landlady accuses him of being a criminal does he decide to become a reporter.  He heads to the Daily Planet, meets Lois Lane (ignoring all other first meeting stories), and despite showing off his impressive memory, gets sent on a loser assignment at the zoo.

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Clark turns a dud story into a scoop by disguising himself as a gorilla and getting into a fight with another one.  But Perry is not impressed, as this was an accident.  He sends him out a second time, and again finds fault with him, despite his story.

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Perry than gives him kryptonite, and orders him to get a photo of Superman with it.  Really?  This is what you have to do to get hired at the Daily Planet?  Why does Clark not just try another paper?

Anyway, he takes the picture at super-speed, and Clark gets the job he fought so hard for.

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Siegel also wrote the cover story, with Boring and Kaye on the art.  Superman gets drafted, and goes through basic training.

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The story is largely comic, with the angry drill instructor the butt of the humour, as Superman makes everything easy for the men he is with, no matter how hard the instructor makes it for them.

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Superman winds up getting promoted to general, and then allowed to retire.  But he does take one action in his new capacity, promoting the drill instructor.  Gosh, isn’t Superman a nice guy?

Superman 108 – Perry White’s son, and lady cops go after Superman

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Before we delve into the silly sexism of the cover story for Superman 108 (Sept. 56), there is another story about Perry White’s son becoming a reporter.

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Schwartz, Boring and Kaye make no reference to William White, Perry’s son who became a Daily Planet reporter, in this story, which deals with Perry White’s son Perry Junior, who becomes a reporter on the Planet.

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To be fair, this is quite a different, and much better, story than the first one.  Perry’s relationship to his son is not kept as a secret, giving both characters more to play off of.  And Perry Junior spends the story trying to prove that Clark Kent is really a mob boss, Mr. Wheels.

But in the long run Perry Jr. fared no better than William, as neither ever made a return.

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Al Plastino does the art as a group of women cops in Metropolis try to prove Superman is Clark Kent.

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The story could be worse, I suppose.  None jump on a chair because of a mouse, for example.  But the women are not shown to be particularly capable or clever, and apparently have nothing better to do with their time that harass a reporter.

Superman 106 – Superman’s first deed, and Luthor’s power suit

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Luthor builds a super-suit with none of the flair of his later designs, in Superman 106 (July 1956).

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But the first story in the issue, by Hamilton, Boring and Kaye, is more important in the larger scheme of things.  A scientist is doing research on Superman, and his earliest activities as Superboy in Smallville.  Perry White decides to help him out, ordering his staff to find the earliest Superboy deed they can.

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Superman is quite suspicious about all this.  The scientist has a bad reputation, years earlier he had caused a panic with a false report of an approaching meteor.

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But as nothing the scientist is uncovering seems dangerous to him, Superman helps out, telling them all about his voyage to from Krypton to Earth.  Superman is now able to remember this, and even his parents, though of course he had no memory of Krypton in earlier tales.  From this point on, his super-memory will allow him to recall a huge amount of Kryptonian details.

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On the flight, baby Superman got out and played with a comet, which wound up diverting its path.  This was what the scientist was after all along.  His forecast years earlier had been right, but Superbaby saved the Earth without realizing it.

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Luthor’s super-suit is saved for the final story in the issue, by Coleman, Boring and Kaye.

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This suit is designed to harness the energy that Superman expends.  So the more Superman does, the stronger Luthor becomes.  Luthor causes all sorts of emergencies, charging his suit off of Superman, before confronting him.

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Superman theorizes, correctly, that the suit would also transfer his weaknesses to Luthor.  He exposes himself to kryptonite, which weakens Luthor as well, enough that Superman can remove and destroy the suit.