Thursday, September 09, 2010

And then there was the time Clark Kent's head exploded on live TV.

And yet the FCC gets all bent out of shape about the occasional 'wardrobe malfunction' or F-bomb. ...except it wasn't Clark Kent, it was a robot. And not even a Superman-robot; just an alien robot scientist who had lost his memory upon transporting to earth and Supes asked him to cover for, Crisis on Infinite Earths couldn't come soon enough, sometimes.

This is towards the tailend of the Silver Age, when a lot of the situations Superman got into probably could've been avoided with a few moments of thought, but his powers always enabled him to snowplow his way to a solution. Other people have probably pointed this out, but "work harder, not smarter" seemed like Superman's mantra, even if he did do a lot of the work in the blink of an eye with his super-speed.

Gee, it would've been nice to grow up in nobel country, as opposed to bat country. While I'm not so much a fan of decompressed storylines, every so often a comic can cram in too much for a single issue. Action Comics #571 has got the aforementioned alien scientist robot, who's trying to save his planet but got amnesia on his trip to earth; a Professor Alice Herman, who creates life in the lab, that then gets all out of hand, but she's too busy getting pissed off about being snubbed by the Nobel Prize committee; oh, and Superman, who almost seems like he's trying to get Clark's identity blown.

(Incidentally, wasn't part of Lex Luthor's silver-age origins, that he created life in the lab? Either that's not all that impressive in a world that has Superman, or Supes will go out of his way to step on that.)

Admittedly, that looks like it was mighty fun to draw. Superman asks his new robot pal to cover for him as Clark, but his interview with a droning city councilman blows. His. Mind. (Sorry.) Supes then has to swoop in, repair his friend, and later stage another news story with Clark demostrating a new android created by Superman; before the robot heads home to save his people. Man, Clark made up an assload of news in some of these comics, but he's never going to get that pundit job now.

Meanwhile, Dr. Herman ends up in ladies' prison...for something. I don't care enough to go back and figure it out, but Supes visits her with a gift: a book, "Winners of the Nobel Prize." Dick...Dr. Herman asks why Supes is being so nice to her, and Supes says self-interest.
Dr. Herman actually stops Supes before he drops any names...
I can just hear Batman: "Oh, yeah, Clark: having your parents murdered before your eyes certainly is a 'disappointment.' Especially compared to losing your hair."

From Action Comics #571, "Mission to Earth!" Written by Elliot S! Maggin, pencils by Alex Saviuk, inks by Dave Hunt. A typically great cover by Brian Bolland, and I thought he had done more Action Comics covers, but he did have a nice Superman one...

No comments: