Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The original title, "The Man Cockblocked by History!" was rejected...

There are any number of Superman villains, but I seem to come across a lot of issues where a gloryhound scientist goes off the rails. Like today's issue! From Action Comics #433, "The Man Who Was Buried on Page 64!" Written by Cary Bates, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Murphy Anderson.

Superman saves the President from drowning, but that's just the straw that breaks the camel's back for Norm Sythe. Years ago at Clark Kent's graduation, the inventor was the commencement speaker; but was really there to use his "mento-extractor" to harvest unused brain-power from three grads...and Clark. Now with his equipment super-charged with Superman's unused brain-power (and if you've read 50's Superman stories, that has to be a helluva lot) Sythe is able to control the three grads, use them as invisible flying phantoms to kidnap Superman, and "brainwash" him into thinking he's in a Kryptonite cage. All to get his revenge on history.

All his life, Sythe had actually accomplished some impressive feats--like discovering the earliest human skull to date, a Dead Sea scroll, a "multi-tailed comet"--but never received the acclaim he felt he deserved, because some major historical event always pushed him off the front page!
Geez, how old is Sythe? Pity he lived before the twenty-four hour news cycle...

Sythe plans on using the mento-extractor to terraform the moon, giving it an atmosphere and plant and animal life out of nothingness. This would be an unbeatable historical event: nothing, but nothing would push that off the front page! Except maybe the moon overloading with energy and exploding, as Superman warns Sythe. Sythe just thinks Supes is a jealous bastard, but Superman blasts through the imaginary Kryptonite cage--which faded away, for some reason--and tears out the extractor. As Supes is about to take it into space, Sythe tries to use it again, causing it to explode. The moon reverts to normal, and the grads don't remember a thing, including Clark's secret identity.

The next day's headlines read "Superman Saves Moon from Doom," while Norm Sythe is "buried" on page 64...the obituaries. What's the lesson of this one? Um...gimme a second...accomplishments should be their own reward, not accolades or glory. No? Maybe, sometimes being overshadowed isn't the worst thing in the world? Don't steal mental energy? Listen to Superman? Ah, I don't know.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Ha, yeah too bad that title wasn't chosen instead because it really seems to fit the story. As for the moral of the story; I don't know, maybe that life just isn't fair sometimes? Oh, and yes listen to Superman, he seems to to just about always know what's up.