Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Ooh, timely.

Look, I'm about to drop an unpopular opinion: just because it's your dying wish, doesn't mean you get to be an asshole. Just recently, a kid in Texas said his dying wish was to have abortion outlawed. I'm not mentioning his name, since he said he would like his name remembered for that. It just seems like a weird thing for a kid to wish for, just for starters; but could you imagine the uproar if a dying kid said his wish was to make the ssssssslightest incremental step in gun control? His Twitter mentions would be dead before he was. Okay, maybe the no-abortion kid is innocent and sweet (and not a conniving political opportunist) and just thinks it would be swell if no one got an abortion; but yeah, you're a guy, and IT'S NOT YOUR PLACE TO SAY. Don't like abortions? Don't have one. Bam, done. Maybe throw some money into real sex ed and other forms of birth control. This kid is ruining dying wishes for me, not unlike today's comic! From 1976, Action Comics #457, "Superman, You're Not Clark Kent--and I Can Prove It!" Written by Gerry Conway, pencils by Curt Swan, inks by Tex Blaisdell.

The villain this month is the completely disposable Whirlicane, but Superman has a bigger problem: his old friend Pete Ross had contacted him, since his son Jonathan was dying. Not of anything in particular really, even; per the doctors he was deteriorating like "Jonathan has lost the will to survive!" Pete tells Supes, you know what would fix that right up? Jonathan's always wanted to know Superman's secret identity. Sounds like a scam, but this one might be on the level. Superman mulls it over for about a panel, before deciding saving a life was more important than his secret identity, and promptly shows Jonathan, changing into Clark Kent. It does not go over well.

Jonathan had kept a scrapbook about Superman, and depending how old he was when he started, he could have several stuffed full of times Lois tried to prove Superman was Clark but failed. (Wait, those were newsworthy somehow? And wouldn't Lois's rep be just destroyed after the fifth or ninth time?) Supes takes the boy to the Galaxy Broadcasting Building, and changes back to Clark Kent, but is seen by Steve Lombard, who thinks it's an attempt to get back at him for his practical jokes. Steve "unmasks" Clark, and everyone boos Superman for trying to trick a little kid. (Good thing they didn't know he was a dying little kid, and thus even more special.)

Superman takes Jonathan along to punch up Whirlicane, which while amusing, doesn't solve his trust issues. (Which might've been his larger problem: Jonathan didn't seem to believe the doctors that told him he was getting better.) But, a trip back to Clark Kent's apartment wins him over: Clark's medicine cabinet was empty, and Jonathan reasons any normal man would have toothpaste, razors, bandaids, prescription opioids, and so forth. Superman wouldn't need any of those, and apparently, neither does Clark Kent. Jonathan makes a miraculous recovery a whole panel later, with the added closer that his dad, Pete, knew as well; he had since the Superboy days.

This predates the classic "The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man by eight years or so; but is nowhere near as good. Also, Tim Harrison wasn't all "gimme secret identity" right outta the gate, either...And when I was making mini spinner racks, I used this cover a lot, since I thought it was iconic and amusing. I'm not about to get into the memes, though.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

I call bullshit on that being the kid's dying wish. Especially in Texas where they still execute mentally-retarded criminals. Unless he found out he was almost about to be aborted or was a survived abortion himself, I think his parents put him up to it. Just doesn't sound right. Ask for something you could actually use kid.....you know before you kick it.