Tag Archives: Stan Kaye

Superman 145 – Lois learns Superman’s secret identity, the Interplanetary Circus, and the Night of March 31st

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Superman is facing some elemental danger on the cover of Issue 145 (May 1961).

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Lois’ sister Lucy Lane, who had been introduced the previous year in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, and already become a regular supporting cast member there and in Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane.  Siegel, Swan and Kaye have her try to help her love starved sister in this story.

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Lucy asks Jimmy Superman’s secret identity, and Jimmy decides to test Lois’ ability to keep a secret.  He lies to her, and tells her it is noted science fiction writer Rock Stirling, clearly meant to be The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling.  Lois swears to keep the secret.

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The remainder of the tale shows how bad she is at it.  Lois talks about Superman being Rick Stirling in her sleep, next to a live microphone, to her dentist while under sedation, and finally on live television.  Superman has to go into action to save Stirling from vengeful hoods.

Lois admits at the end of the story that she isn’t yet able to keep a secret.

Rick Sterling does return, in a story in Action Comics in the late 70s, along with other men accused of being Superman.

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The cover story, by Bernstein and Plastino, is not bad.  Pure alien action. Lois Lane and Clark Kent go to cover a new circus in Metropolis, which claims to have interplanetary performers.  Although Lois, and the other patrons, see this as a simple theme, Superman realizes that it is true.

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The ringmaster of the circus has come to force Superman to join his troupe, threatening to send out a plant monster to destroy Metropolis if he refuses.  Superman figures out that the plant creature needs sunlight, and causes an eclipse, which paralyzes it.  The circus packs up before Superman can tar and feather them.

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Siegel, Swan and Moldoff craft a much loved puzzler in this issue.  After writing a normal diary entry, Clark Kent goes to bed, waking up the next day.

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He finds that the world has gone crazy.  Perry White looks like a Bizarro, Streaky and Krypto behave as if they are the pets of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen.  Lois is dating Mr. Mxyzptlk.

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Lana Lang attacks Superman with the bottle city of Kandor.  Luthor, Bizarro and Brainiac show up to save him.

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The villains are happy to admit that they know his secret identity, they read it in the comic book.

The bottom half of the last page, printed upside down, points out that if the story opened the night of March 31st, then the events from the rest of the story took place on April Fool’s Day, and the whole story was a big April Fool’s joke.

Superman 144 – weapon x, and the Orphans of Space

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Superman, Supergirl and Krypto see Earth destroyed on the cover of issue 144 (April 1961), but have to wait for the third story in the issue for it to happen.

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Siegel, Swan and Kaye open the book with an entertaining twist on a typical Luthor story.  Once again he has created a super device to kill Superman.  This time it is “weapon x,” which is powered off of Superman’s own expended energy.  He gives the plans to a cell mate, about to be released.  He is to break Luthor out, but doesn’t.

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He uses the machine successfully against Superman.  It doesn’t kill him, but it does weaken him significantly.  The guy continues his crime spree, using the weapon every time Superman appears.

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But Superman had figured out how the weapon was powered, and kept some kryptonite with him to weaken himself, knowing this would be drawn into the weapon’s power source, weakening the weapon itself.  Eventually, Superman is able to overpower the man and toss him back into jail, and back to a cell with a very angry Luthor.

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Supergirl and Krypto guest in this Siegel and Plastino story.

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A failed experiment in the Fortress of Solitude sets off a chain reaction which destroys the Earth.  Bummer.  Superman, Supergirl and Krypto survive, but are hauled before an intergalactic court for planetary genocide.

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They are all found guilty, even Krypto, and have their powers stripped before being sent to a hostile alien world to die in some horrible way.

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But, surprise!  None of it happened.  It was all a red kryptonite hallucination.

Red kryptonite made for a lot of lame deus ex machinas.

Superman 143 – Bizarro tries to scare people

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Bizarro gets to star in the cover story from Superman 143 (Feb. 61), by Binder, Boring and Kaye.

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It is the forerunner of the Bizarro World series, opening with an explanation of Bizarro World, and the backwards way they do things.  Bizarro and Bizarro Lois now have two children, so apparently Bizarros age at a much faster rate than humans.

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They are shown to watch television shows from Earth, but react in very different ways.  When Bizarro sees an ad for a Frankenstein film, he is enraged that the creature is considered the scariest thing on Earth, and heads there to prove he is the most terrifying.

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But Bizarro heads to the film studio, and everyone he encounters assumes, for one reason or another, that he is not what he appears to be, and no one gets frightened.  Superman observes much of this from a distance.

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Because Bizarro is getting increasingly upset at not scaring people, Superman causes an electrical discharge, making peoples hair stand up, which Bizarro takes as a sign of fear and leaves happily.  He brings with him a Superman puppet, which is considered scary by his kids.

A really solid tale for a Bizarro story.

 

Superman 141 – Superman’s Return to Krypton

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Superman returns to Krypton, just like it proclaims on the cover of issue 141 (Nov.60), in this classic story by Siegel, Boring and Kaye.

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Superman tries to get rid of a strange alien creature he comes across in space, but winds up shunted backwards in time, winding up on Krypton before its explosion.  This story is the first time that the colour of sunlight Superman is exposed to is given as the source of Kryptonian powers.  It had already been established in the Action Comics story which introduced Supergirl, but this goes into more detail on the effects of the sunlight, and how their powers vanish under a red sun.

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By good fortune, he is mistaken as a extra on a science fiction movie being filmed, due to his costume.  A silly plot point allows him to continue wearing this suit for the remainder of the tale.  Superman is quite taken with the lead actress in the film, Lyla Lerrol, but also shocked to see that his parents are about to be married.  He attends the ceremony, though he does not introduce himself.

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Eventually, he cannot resist the opportunity, and heads over to their home to meet Jor-El and Lara.  He winds up becoming Jor-El’s lab assistant, though also still working on the movie.  It turns out Jor-El knows Lyla, and arranges and introduction.

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Things get hot between Superman and Lyla pretty fast.  The fact that he knows the planet is going to explode may well have something to do with that.  The panel that is meant to build suspense, showing the deadly forces within the planet’s core, instead comes off as something quasi-sexual, due to its placement between embraces.

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Superman helps Jor-El with the construction of a space ark to evacuate all of Krypton’s inhabitants.  Jor-El has been monitoring Earth, and Superman winds up seeing the Kents before their marriage, and even helping Jonathan Kent save Martha Clark from a thieving scoundrel.

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But the space ark was being built in Kandor, and despite his super-memory, Superman apparently forgot that Kandor was stolen by Brainiac.  Not until the alien shrinks the city does Superman realize what a bad place they chose to build the ark.  In a nice nod to continuity, Brainiac is shown without his head knobs, but with his chimp Koko, a way he had not appeared since his debut story.

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Superman resigns himself to perishing on Krypton, and decides to marry Lyla before this happens.  The final day of the shooting of the movie, the day before the wedding, Superman gets trapped on the movie’s rocket ship, and winds up shot into space.  Lyla is distraught, realizing she will never see Kal-El again. The story spares us seeing her die, along with everyone else on Krypton.  But the explosion shoots Superman ahead, back to his own time.

Lyle Lerrol would return in various flashbacks, dreams and imaginary stories over the next couple of decades, but not until the late 90s would a new version of the character be introduced.

The story did remain canon, and would be referenced many times before being eliminated in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Superman 140 – The Son of Bizarro

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Binder, Boring and Kaye craft one of the best Bizarro tales in Superman 140 (Oct. 60), as Bizarro and Bizarro Lois have a child.

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Both Bizarro and Bizarro Lois are horrified to discover that their son has been born deformed – he looks like a human.

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The other Bizarros are equally repulsed, and demand the child be destroyed.  Instead, Bizarro puts him on a rocket and sends him to Earth.

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The baby is found and brought to the nearest orphanage – which happens to be Midvale Orphanage, where Linda Lee is living.  She winds up taking care of the powerful infant, even though this puts exposing her existence as Supergirl in jeopardy.

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Supergirl brings the child to the Fortress of Solitude, and Krypto is more than eager to play with the boy.  After a machine explodes, Supergirl sees that the boy’s skin has altered to become that of a Bizarro.  But she assumes this is the result of the explosion, an accident she blames herself for.

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The Bizarro boy uses the duplicator ray on Supergirl, creating a Bizarro Supergirl who is far more devious and malevolent than other Bizarros, and who plots to kill Supergirl.

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Meanwhile, Bizarro has seen that his son now looks like him, and thinks that Superman is keeping his child away from him intentionally.  While the logic on this part is a bit off, it is Bizarro logic, after all, and good enough to cause the Bizarros to launch an invasion to regain the child.

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To prevent an all-out Bizarro attack on Earth, Superman uses the duplicator ray on a pile of kryptonite, altering to blue kryptonite, the only thing capable of killing Bizarros.  This is the first story to have blue kryptonite.

It proves successful in keeping away the Bizarros.  While all this was going on, other Bizarro children have been born, and the fact that they start off looking human, and then change to Bizarros, gets understood.

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So Bizarro returns home with his son.  Bizarro Supergirl lays a trap for the real Supergirl, but winds up getting killed herself, from exposure to blue kryptonite.

No other Bizarro Supergirl is created until after the millenium.

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.

 

Superman 138 – Titano returns, and Lori Lemaris plays matchmaker

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Titano returns in Superman 138 (July 1960), in a story by Binder, Boring and Kaye.

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It’s not a great story, to be frank.  Superman uses an alien time viewer to check on Titano, but the time viewer is also a teleporter, and he brings Titano back to the present.  From that point, the story basically just replays his first outing, with his rampage, grabbing Lois King Kong-style, and using his kryptonite vision on Superman.

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Superman gets Titano to calm down by bringing him the giant coconuts he was about to eat before being teleported.  Then he takes him back to prehistoric times.  But Titano returns the following year.

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Lori Lemaris tries to get Superman to propose to Lois Lane in this story by Siegel, Boring and Kaye.

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Figuring that Superman ought to settle down, now that she is married, she uses her telepathic powers in an attempt to prompt him to do so with Lois, but it fails.

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So she resorts to increasingly bizarre plans, including making Superman see Lois Lane’s face on a whale.  How exactly that will make him marry her is beyond me, but perhaps it makes sense to an Atlantean.  She sets Lois up with another man, but that fails to make Superman jealous.  Finally, she tries exposing his secret identity, figuring that once Lois knows he is Clark Kent, he will have to marry her.

Aquaman steps in to mess up that plan.  This is the first time Aquaman and Lori Lemaris appear in a story together, but as yet there is no explanation for their very different Atlantises.