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Action Comics 469
"Clark Kent's Lonely Christmas!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Story: Bob Rozakis
Art: Tex Blaisdell and John Calnan

It's Christmas Eve at Galaxy Broadcasting, and Morgan Edge has given out the bonuses to the staff, and while each one is happy and content, a certain mild-mannered television reporter is dejected. Edge asks Lois why Clark is unhappy, and she assures him that she's tried to give her fellow reporter some holiday cheer. Sportcaster Steve Lombard lets his boss know that he hasn't been pulling any pranks on "Ol' Clarkie Boy!" Daily Planet Editor Perry White likes Edge's present and taste in cigars. As the festivities wind down, Lois tells the others that she'll spend the holidays with her folks, while Steve will visit his Aunt Kaye Daye, and Clark Kent, the last one left in the room, sighs, and leaves.

It is a beautful snowy night in Metropolis, as WGBS roving reporter walks past a mother and son, who are admiring a store window display featuring Superman, and he overhears as the boy wishes that The Man of Steel could come over for Christmas dinner. As the mother assures her son that Superman is probably spending the holidays with his friends, Clark sighs, and continues his walk. Nearby, a speeding car is out of control on the snowy street, and is about to slam into a brick wall... but the mild-mannered television reporter nonchalantly reaches out with one hand, and stops it in its tracks. While Clark continues his walk, the driver has gotten out, and stares first at the retreating figure, then at the deep impression on his car's hood... which resembles a handprint! The man stares at the poster of The Man of Steel, who is advising traffic safety, and sighs.

In Smallville, Clark Kent has come home to his foster-parents' home, and as he sits in the living room chair, he recalls the Christmases he had spent in years past... from Superbaby using his x-ray vision to see what his present is, to a time when The Kents invited Peter Ross and Lana Lang to sing Christmas carols. For a time, the loneliness is forgotten...

Now, Clark begins to wander the streets of Smallville, and on the way, he sees two children standing outside in the chilly weather. When he asks them what they're doing, they tell him that they're waiting for Santa to arrive. When Clark asks if their parents know what they're doing, the two kids tell him that they have no parents, and that they live... there! Clark recognizes the building, for it is Smallville Orphanage, and it was his first home when he arrived on Earth. With his x-ray-vision, he also sees the caretakers, a married couple, who are sad that they haven't much to give the children so they can have a Merry Christmas.

Seeing this, Clark tells the children to go inside because he has a feeling that Santa is on his way! A Christmas bonus is a nice gift, but now at super-speed, the mild-mannered television reporter goes on a shopping spree, using the money to pay for his purchases, which is left in a startled clerk's outstretched hand.

Inside the orphanage, the elderly couple are surprised to find the stockings stuffed with toys, and a Christmas tree in their midst. They weep, but with joy over this wondrous sight, while outside, Clark has seen their reaction to this visit from Santa. He begins to walk away, and is singing a Christmas carol. Now, Clark Kent is no longer lonely, for he is surrounded by a sea of smiling faces.

A special Private Life of Clark Kent tale, and if you ask me, they were all special because they gave readers the chance to see what the mild-mannered reporter did when he wasn't being Superman.

For many, the holidays can be a happy time, while for others, it can be a less than merry occasion.

I could imagine The Man of Steel using his powers for charity during the holiday season, but what was Christmas like for Clark Kent?

He's alone. In what some would call "Pre-Crisis," Clark lost his parents, then his foster-parents, and devoted his life to helping others. When the holidays arrive, what would be his reaction? If there were an emergency, this would be a job for Superman, but for Clark, things are different.

Even in his loneliness, the mild-mannered television reporter can still manage to surreptiously save a motorist and his vehicle from the hazardous holiday weather. To cope with the time of year is another matter.

Clark has his memories of happier times, and even these can soothe him for a time, but still, he must go on, searching for something...anything in the snowy streets of Smallville.

He's an orphan twice over, and he could relate to the children, as well as the elderly couple who were their caretakers. It's a personal thing for Clark, and with the Christmas bonus, he puts it to good use in order to help others than himself.

In six pages, Bob Rozakis managed to cover these themes, and present a holiday story which showed how The Man of Steel's alter-ego could be affected by something other than magic or Kryptonite... the holiday season.

Artists Tex Blaisdell and John Calnan capture Clark's world, whether it's his workplace in Metropolis, or the quiet, tranquil smalltown setting of Smallville, these two men gave an everyman quality to the story, and made it all the more special.

Tex and John also drew one of my favorite storylines in Batman, "Where Where You On The Night The Batman Was Killed?" by David V. Reed. They are storytellers and certainly excelled in that respect.

Edmond Hamilton's line about "Do Good Unto Others And Every Man Can Be A Superman" is often quoted, most notably by Tony Isabella. As Bob, Tex, and John have shown us, Clark Kent isn't too shabby, either!

This is my favorite Bob Rozakis story because it shows that whether in the blue suit with the cape or in the other blue suit with the glasses, the character is still a Superman and my hero.

This Review Is Respectfully Dedicated To Bob Rozakis!
Thanks, Ye Olde Answer Man!

Steve Chung
"Clark Kent's Lonely Review!"