Tag Archives: Lana Lang

Superman 319 – who created Solomon Grundy?

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It’s not obvious in the image, but the gooey guy lifting up the cab on the cover of Superman 319 (Jan. 78) is Solomon Grundy, the Earth-1 version.

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Pasko, Swan and Chiaramonte begin a multi-part story with a few different plot threads in this issue.  There is a lighthouse, the home to a secret government project, L.D.S., but not much is clear about that in this issue.

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Lois and Lana are catching up while riding in a cab when Solomon Grundy emerges from the sewers in a rampage.  Superman is confused.  He left Grundy on the Moon, and this one seems more powerful than the original.

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Lana Lang gets footage of the battle between Superman and Grundy, who escaped at the end of it.  Morgan Edge is delighted, and Clark even snubs Lois when she tries to set up a lunch date, preferring to sped time with Lana instead.  Can’t really blame him.

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Grundy comes back into action as the issue ends, keeping Superman busy while the mysterious lighthouse gets attacked by a robotic octopus.  And the reader discovers that the Parasite is back, having retrieved his prism, he used it to regenerate Grundy from the swamp waste left in the sewers after his previous encounter with Superman, and is boosting his power levels as well.

The story continues in the next issue.

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Superman 317 – Metallo wants Superman’s heart

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A great Neal Adams cover on Superman 317 (Nov. 77), for a story by Pasko, Swan and Adkins.

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The pieces of the puzzle come together as we learn that Metallo was transformed into the creature he is by Skull agents, against his will.  Albert Michaels had been looting STAR Labs to supply their tech, including a matter teleporter, which Metallo stole, and has been using to kill Skull members by replacing their hearts with fake kryptonite.

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A casual comment from Lois Lane, and a mistake by Martin Korda, make Clark realize that his new producer is really Metallo in disguise.

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In a complicated switcheroo, Superman replaces a Skull agent with a dead Kandorian, so that Metallo winds up with a useless heart, and collapses.

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Superman confirms that Metallo is Korda, but is not prepared when one of the Skull agents turns out to be Albert Michaels, who use the teleporter to escape.

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As the issue ends we find out that the real Korda was kidnapped, but will be joining WGBS, and Morgan Edge is more than happy to finally reveal Clark Kent’s new co-anchor: Lana Lang.

Superman 176 – the Super-Pets travel through time, Green Kryptonite returns, and Superman speaks the truth

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Were chalkboards often used in courtrooms at the time Superman 176 (April 1965) came out?

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The Super-Pets, who were frequent guest-stars in the Legion of Super-Heroes series in Adventure Comics at this time, join Superman for a time travelling romp in a story by Dorfman, Swan and Klein.

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After a will leaves a huge bequest for an animal shelter, to be overlooked by the Super-Pets in a managerial capacity (the guy clearly has great faith in these animals), because of the nasty actions of an ancestor, Superman recruits the Pets to join him on a trip to the past, to learn more about the man.  Krypto, Streaky, Beppo and Comet all take part, while Proty II is said to be busy on a mission in the future.

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They find that the ancestor is a junk dealer who frequently abuses animals.  The story also tells a (highly fictionalized) version of the creation of the American Society for the Protection of Animals, as the passage of a law protecting them from being abused gets passed during their time in the past.  The story is not bad – largely consisting of the man trying to injure the Super-Pets, but having no success, due to their powers.

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The talking green kryptonite returns for a follow-up story by Binder, Swan and Klein, covering its “activities” now that Superboy has grown to Superman.

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It’s not as much fun as the first tale.  The kryptonite is on hand as Superman constructs his Fortress of Solitude, and is once again used in an experiment to nullify its effects.  The experiment works, although it makes the kryptonite deadly to humans.

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When the process wears off, it becomes deadly to Superman again, and he disposes of it in space.  But the rock passes through the cloud that changes green kryptonite into red.

The ending announces that there will be a follow-up story, which comes in the next issue.

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Dorfman, Swan and Klein fill in some Kryptonian history in this otherwise silly tale, which has Superman and Supergirl telling nothing but the truth for a single day, no matter what the consequences.

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Lois Lane and Lana Lang try to take advantage of the situation, asking Superman which of them he prefers, but he gets out of the situation by yelling his answer too loudly to be understood.  The story has a couple more instances of this kind of “out.”

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The most interesting part of the tale is the flashback explaining the situation.  We learn that, at one time, Krypton was under the domination of aliens called the Vrangs.  Though most Kryptonains went along with their enslavement, Val-Lor stood up to Vrangs and spoke the truth, even at the cost of his own life.  The Vrangian execution of Val-Lor prompted a rebellion, and sent the Vrangs packing.  In commemoration of this, all Kryptonians spend one day each year speaking nothing but the truth.

This story gets referenced a few times in later tales.

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 171 – Rokk and Sorban debut, Mr. Mxyzptlk’s idiomatic curse, and Superman trapped on a red sun world

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Superman’s not doing too well on the cover of issue 171 (Aug. 64).

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Rokk and Sorban make their debut in a story by Dorfman and Plastino.

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They demand that Superman murder an innocent person, threatening to destroy the Earth if he refuses.

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Superman decides that the best way out is to kill himself, there by saving the Earth.  He crawls into a cave full of kryptonite, but the aliens transmute it into ordinary rock, and insist that he kill someone other than himself.

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While all his friends know about the situation, only Lana Lang tries to take action, entering a chamber that will slowly kill her by turning her to crystal.  Jimmy and Lois Lane just stand around feeling sorry for Superman, as he cures Lana.

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Superman pulls off faking the murder of Clark Kent, but the aliens are also aware of his other identity.  But the game is up, anyway.  Superman learns that the two had placed a wager on whether he would actually kill, and his refusal to do so wins the bet for Sorban.  They mention that they are from Ventura, the pleasure planet, also called the gambler’s planet, a location also used in Legion of Super-Heroes stories.

Superman is just glad the whole thing is over.

Rokk and Sorban return the following year in the pages of World’s Finest.

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Siegel, Swan and Klein bring back Mr. Mxyzptlk for another round of silliness.

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In this story, Mxyzptlk places Superman under a magic spell that makes any idiomatic phrase come true is some fashion, so when he says he is as hungry as a horse, a hungry horse suddenly manifests.

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Much of the story consists of these idiomatic “jokes,” until Superman tries undoing the magic by saying his name backwards.  In this case, he has to say “Le-Lak,” though in other stories, “Namrepus” works as well.

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The cover story, by Hamilton and Plastino, closes out the issue.  Superman is aiding a scientist by flying out instruments to monitor a distant planet, but the planet’s sun turns red while he is there, trapping him and leaving him powerless.

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Superman falls victim to the cavemen inhabiting the world, losing his costume to them.  Much of the story details his simple survival, with no powers, on this alien world.

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Astoundingly, the scientist is able to construct a rocket to bring him, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen out to the planet, where they rescue Superman.  Considering this planet orbits a distant star, there must be some heavy space warp or teleportation devices on the ship.

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 165 – Circe’s revenge, and Superman’s forgotten love

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There is a lot more deception taking place on the cover of Superman 165 (Nov. 63) than is apparent, thanks to a well-crafted story by Bernstein, Swan and Klein.

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Lana Lang is broadcasting an archeological dig, which uncovers and opens the tomb of Circe.  She claims to have been spurned in the past by Superman, and is seeking vengeance.

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Her magic is effective on Superman, giving him the head of a lion, and then a mouse.  She commands him to perform silly tasks, which he does, although he still manages to fight crime at the same time.

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But this is another of those stories in which nothing is as it seems.  Superman had actually been the victim of a successful attack by the Superman Revenge Squad, which prevented him from using his powers.  He discovered that they would work so long as he was upside down – a position which Circe’s tasks kept putting him in.  Of course, Circe wasn’t really the mythological Greek woman, it was Saturn Girl, aided by Proty II, who did the animal heads.

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Siegel and Plastino add another ill-fated romantic interest in this story, which sees Superman fall victim to red kryptonite, removing both his memory and his powers.

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With no idea who he is, Superman adopts the name Jim White, and gets a job as a lumberjack, and winds up falling in love with Sally Selwyn, the boss’ daughter.

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Things get hot between the two pretty fast, to the annoyance of another lumberjack, also interested in Sally.  When Jim proposes, this prompts the other man to attack him, leaving Jim paralyzed from the waist down.  Sally still intends to go through with the marriage, but Jim falls into the river, and is carried out to sea.

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Sally believes him to be dead, and he would be, if not for Aquaman and Lori Lemaris.  Lori uses her telepathic powers to help Superman’s memory, and the red kryptonite effect wears off under her care.  But now Superman has no memory of his time with Sally.

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So as Clark ends the story wishing there was a way to know if a woman would fall in love with him, instead of just his powered identity, he has no clue that Sally has done just that.

Sally Selwyn returns in a few months.