Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A World without Christmas...and without Superboy, which might be worse.

I don't usually hit seasonal comics anywhere near their proper seasons, but I stumbled across this issue last week and it was too perfect. If only it was any good...from 1983, the New Adventures of Superboy #39, "A World Without Christmas!" Written by Paul Kupperberg, art by Kurt Schaffenberger.

With his parents called away suddenly at Christmas (for reasons that may or may not have ever been brought up again) Clark's classmate Bash is staying with the Kents over the holiday, and seems to be somewhat lacking in holiday spirit. Even the prospect of a pity-smooch from Lana isn't helping! To his credit, Bash knows it's mostly just a bad mood, but he does feel Christmas has become too commercial and plastic; and depending on what year this book is set, he either has a valid point or really should've noticed that some time ago. Clark changes into Superboy, taking it upon himself to cheer the kid up, by drastic means if need be. Like taking Bash to an alternate universe.

Superboy's narration mentions his recent discovery of "a whole slew of alternate earths that exists parallel to this one!" And by God Rao, once Superboy discovers he can do something, he is going to do it at any possible opportunity. Wrapping Bash up in his cape, Superboy flies him to an alternate earth without Christmas!...how the hell would you find something like that? Are they clearly marked? Evil universe, gender-swapped universe, funny-animal universe...no-Christmas universe!

The alternate Smallville is a shambles, with terrible smog, armed and violent locals (including a small child in short pants with a spear) and a cowardly Clark Kent! It's weird for Superboy to see a Clark that's as scaredy-cat as he has to act, but isn't it weirder that this universe doesn't have a Superboy yet somehow made it's own Clark Kent? Moreover, whenever I read stories like this, I wonder how the hell this no-Christmas world hasn't been hit by a stray asteroid or shrunk into a bottle by Brainiac or destroyed by any of the myriad disasters Superboy had already saved his earth from in his short career? And now I'm legitimately surprised our earth is still here.

As alt-Pa Kent explains to Superboy that peace-loving types like himself face constant violence from the rest of society, Bash teaches some of them Christmas carols. Seriously. He's glad that even in this situation, some people still help their fellow man. The leader of the peace-types (who turns out to be alt-Bash) thanks them for their help, but says they have to spread their message of peace themselves or they're lost. Still, they will remember Superboy's help every year...on December 25th!

Man, and I thought the Christ-imagery in Man of Steel was overdone.

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