Monday, August 18, 2014

Apparently some people still have time on their hands...

I have a batch of forced overtime this week, which will be swell when I see it on my check, but blows right now. I'm in a bit of a bind for time, but I did get a great pile of dollar books from the Comic Book Shop, including today's issue: from 1977, Action Comics #472. The opening story features Superman getting beat down by Phantom Zone escapee/man-hating Horu-Kanu master Faora, but we're checking out the back-up feature the Sporting Life of Steve Lombard, "If I'm Over Here...What am I doing over there?" Written by Bill Kunkel, art by J.Calnan and Tex Blaisdell.

Steve, being a poor but persistent practical joker, is today removing screws from Clark Kent's file cabinet so it'll fall apart on him, when he's surprised to come face to face with himself! The duplicate re-tightens the screws, but disappears before anyone else sees him. After another encounter where Steve wrecks a take, no one else sees the dupe, and he wonders if he's cracking up...or if someone isn't pulling a joke on him. Namely because he remembers Clark pulling something like that with Roy Raymond, and despite often being portrayed as a dimwit, Steve's smart enough to buy a tape recorder, which picks up his duplicate's voice--figuring a hallucination wouldn't show up on tape. Everyone shares a good laugh, but the duplicate Steve disappears--Lois and Jimmy had played along, but only knew he was a friend of Clark's. Namely, Batman.

Apparently, there was no crime in Metropolis or Gotham that week. I don't figure that reveal would sit too well with a lot of Batman fans today, since Bats is supposed to be grim and broody and obsessed; and certainly not fun. But I kind of like stories where we see Batman and Superman maybe doing silly stuff like anyone else would; although this is a bit of a throwback to when Superman seemed to make elaborate practical jokes about as common an occurrence as getting replaced by alien duplicates...which was pretty darn common in Metropolis as well.

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