free web hosting | free hosting | Business WebSite Hosting | Free Website Submission | shopping cart | php hosting
Superman 138
"Two backup stories"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND "Superman's Black Magic!"

July 1960
Script: Jerry Siegel
Art: Al Plastino

"It all began innocently enough, at a DAILY PLANET masquerade party that Clark (SUPERMAN) Kent attended disguised as Satan!" Clark is truly resplendent in a form fitting red union suit with pointed tail, goatee, and skullcap fitted with horns, as he carries a mean looking trident. Lois wears a modest angel outfit with puffy sleeves, and other revelers are outfitted as most of the Justice League, including Perry White as Superman. For no particular reason, Bruce Wayne is there too, in a Batman outfit!...obvious to us because he's not wearing the cowl. Lois tells Clark she thinks it is to laugh, but Clark smirks knowingly.

Then, Clark's telescope vision picks out a couple of toughs, Duke Haskell and Lefty Montez, in a distant alley. They're agreeing to keep to their respective ends of town, since there's plenty of loot for both their mobs. Clark makes a feeble excuse and leaves the party. "Everyone" knows those two are criminals, but the law has never been able to get any proof, so our man decides it's time to take action. Still in his Satan disguise, he crushes some rocks and extracts (Selegue alert!) the flammable magnesium. This provides a cloud of smoke to his dramatic appearance in that distant alley. The pair cower in fear as Super-Satan offers to strike a bargain with them. Montez is interested but skeptical, since there's always a catch. Supes replies cryptically that, in return for three wishes, a price will be made known at the proper time, but that if they're not interested then he'll return to "The Other Place." This kind of talk leaves the pair a little upset, but not too upset to make their requests: one million dollars in cash, a king's ransom in diamonds, and a "terrific, perfect hideout where the law will never be able to enter and grab us!"

With a chilling laugh, Super-Satan agrees, skewers their jackets through the shoulders and flies them to a desolate, windy mountain peak. There, he beckons and calls the million dollars to come. As it happens, in a nearby wooded area, a pair of counterfeiters he'd been tracking are gloating over the million dollars they've just printed! Supes' vacuum-breath (!!!) abruptly draws the fake cash away from them and it floats out of the sky toward Haskell and Montez. In a puff of magnesium smoke he takes his leave, sheds the Satan outfit, nabs the counterfeiters with their pockets full of fake cash and deposits them with the FBI, then returns to the mountaintop.

Now dressed as Satan again, Supes receives the order to bring a king's ransom in diamonds, and leaves again in a puff of smoke. Predictably, he locates a coal deposit and squeezes out four diamonds the size of a fist, and drops them at the gangsters' feet. Reminded of that final wish, for a perfect, law-proof hideout, he flies the pair down the mouth of what Montez takes to be a bottomless pit but which Supes knows is a dying volcano. Soon they're facing the flames of what they reasonably believe is "The Other Place" and have become somewhat upset. What good are the money, the gems, down here?! Supes manages an uncharacteristic gloating laugh for the occasion. Montez is furious, accusing Super-Satan of having planned this all along. Staring him down with a slight leer, Supes offers to take them back if they write down every crime they ever committed, and the names of everyone else who was involved..."for the records!" After they've complied, Superman bursts out of the disguise, and the boys are furious. "You lied! You said you wanted the confession for the records!" "Yes," Supes retorts, "the police records! I ALWAYS keep my word!" After turning the pouting pair over to the precinct station, Supes puts on the Satan outfit again and returns to the party. (The elapsed time must have been something around an hour. ) Lois says she's glad he's feeling better; Clark replies he was eager to return because he was having such a devil of a good time. The end!

This was probably the first appearance of Bruce Wayne/Batman in this title! Bruce, always the detective and friend of the police, is shown eating a donut.

Plastino was not the most dynamic of the Superman artists, but seems to have had a good time rendering up a sinister, Satanic Superman and the harsh lighting inside the volcano.

A criminal defense lawyer might have had the case thrown out because it was clearly a situation of entrapment, moreover because the written confession was acquired under duress, but that's another story.

Coming...Super-Attractions! Superboy #82: "The War Against Superboy!" Krypto is turned into a Bizarro, among other tragedies; Lois Lane #18, in which she falls for Astounding Man, yet another of her failed romances with powerful costumed men from other worlds; and Jimmy Olsen #46, in which he suffers amnesia and is relegated to Midvale Orphanage, which also houses Linda (Supergirl) Lee.

AND THEN! A belated Valentine's Day offering to you all...

Lori Lemaris returns to play cupid in "The Mermaid from Atlantis!"

Script: Jerry Siegel
Art: Wayne Boring

"Years ago, Superman saved the life, but lost the heart of a beautiful mermaid from Atlantis!" We see a few flashback panels from Supes' college days: Lori, who pursued her studies while pretending to be crippled, leaps from her wheelchair and into a river, while Superman looks on, agog. The two had been building a hot romance, but the gentlemanly Clark Kent had apparently never gone so far as to touch her leg. Flashing to another story, Lori is in an Atlantean hospital bed, her condition deemed inoperable. Brave Superman, unwilling to accept this prognosis, scours the universe for a merman-surgeon who can perform the operation, and on another world finds such a man in Ronal; he and Lori fall in love and marry, thus tying up a loose end in Superman's retconned earlier life.

Today, though, Perry assigns Clark and Lois to photograph some undersea scenes for the Planet's Sunday magazine. Clark reacts with shock to the word "undersea," but Lois raps his chest with the back of her hand and offers to hold his hand. Meanwhile, Lori lounges on her undersea divan and smirks. She had telepathically picked this situation out of his mind...perhaps flagged by the word "undersea"...and suddenly has an idea. Ronal swims into the room and, since they're all telepathic, knows what she's thinking, and urges her, "DON'T DO IT!" But, she simply must: she wants Superman to be as happy as they are, so she's going to trick him into proposing to Lois! Ronal stands back a pace and hopes she knows what she's doing.

A few days later, the ship chartered by the Planet drops anchor for the night. Clark and Lois wish each other a good night's rest in advance of the next morning's work. But, VERY early the next morning, Lois and a crewman share a laugh as she leaves Clark to sleep while she is lowered in the bathysphere and gets the scoop. Lori, aware of Lois' little joke on Clark, orders a sea creature to wrap its tentacles loosely around the bathysphere. This causes Lois to faint. Then, Lori wakes Clark with a mental blast that Lois is in danger; Clark takes this to be his "super-instinct" at work. Scanning with his x-ray vision, he quickly dives to the scene. Lori sends Mr. Sea Creature on his way, but some sharks then attack, are kicked out of the water, and Supes brings the bathysphere to the deck. Lori beams him another message, to take Lois..."so beautiful, so helpless..." in his arms and kiss her. On deck, he has indeed put an arm around her waist and Lois looks up at him, expecting a kiss. The big lunk then kisses her forehead! Lois flares at him for the brotherly little peck, and he recoils. "Can this be sweet, fragile Lois?" And, underwater, Lori's also a bit surprised by his action, but considers her next scheme.

Belowdecks, Clark razzes Lois for needing a rescue, but says it serves her right for trying to scoop him. She retreats to her cabin and has a good cry: "He treats he as though I were KRYPTONITE! =sob= He'll never ask me to marry him! Never NEVER!"

The next day, Lori finds a life raft adrift. Its carrying a young blonde guy with a coat of arms on his shirt. Why, maybe he'll fall madly in love with Lois, and a jealous Superman will be forced to propose! Soon, the Planet ship sees the raft and pulls the guy aboard. "Presently," the amnesia-stricken castaway is flattering her, and proposes! She walks away to think it over, and figures she could do worse, since Superman will never propose. She asks her old pal and punching bag Clark for advice, but he cuts her off: "Don't bother me with stupid love problems! Can't you see I'm s-sea-sick?!" But, after staggering to his cabin, he switches to costume: " think Lois is on the verge of making a terrible mistake! I'd better act FAST!" Later, the guy and Lois are in a clinch, he proposes again and she's about to answer, when a voice says, "NO! You two CANNOT marry!" And, there on deck are Superman and an older fellow sporting a neatly trimmed beard and wearing a quasi-military uniform covered in braid. He addresses the blonde guy as Prince Gregory of Varonia, the betrothed of Princess Helene of Elmar! Should he marry a commoner, it would cause a war, so he waves a sad farewell to Lois as Supes flies the men off to their little principality. Lois simmers : "Nice going, Superman! YOU won't marry me, and you stop a prince from marrying me! My pal!"

Lori frets. She knows that Supes wasn't jealous at all, that he just wanted to save Lois from future heartbreak. Well, she's not done yet. Back on deck, Clark tells Lois he's over his seasickness and so, anyway, about that advice she wanted...! She storms off. "Let me give YOU some advice! Go get sea-sick again!"

The next day, Superman explores the waters 50 fathoms below and sees that all the fish have Lois' face! And then they don't! He figures he's either going nuts or else is falling in love! Off to the side, meanwhile, there's Lori with a control box. The Lois faces were masks that dissolved when she pushed a button, of course. Since his thoughts still aren't moving in the right direction, she's going to have to try something even MORE desperate! So, later, Lori commands a couple of whales to ram the Planet ship! To preserve the schtick that Clark is clumsy, he falls over the rail into a whale's mouth! Lori gloats that, by escaping from the whale, the Clark/Superman deal will be revealed and he'll HAVE to marry Lois in order to maintain the secret! (Wha--?!) But, that'll be okay because he truly cares for her. Seconds later, the whale's jaws open and Clark tumbles out. Lois figures this is proof positive that Clark is Superman, as only he would have the strength to open those jaws. But, then, there's Aquaman, waving hello and saying that Superman, while on patrol, noticed Clark's dilemma and asked Aquaman to handle the situation. All in a couple of seconds! Actually, Clark thinks at us that he found Aquaman with his telescope vision and, with super-ventriloquism, asked for a favor.

Later, Supes flies to a little outcropping...or maybe it's a tortoise...where Lori sits, and he tells her he tweaked to the situation when he saw her causing the Lois masks to disappear. He then requests a promise that she'll allow him to pick his own wife, and she agrees grudgingly. Later, on deck, Lois silently ponders whether Superman will EVER propose to her, and Clark silently fumes. First, Supergirl tried to get him to marry Lois, and now Lori. "Who will try it next...KRYPTO??!!" The end!

Wayne Boring liked to draw fish, I'd say. Every undersea panel shows at least 5 really great fish, and some depict small schools. He may have kept an aquarium; these aren't just tuna, they're variously finned, and moving convincingly.

Lori has big hair, nicely coifed. Maybe the salt water gives it extra body. Lois wears hers shorter than in her own book. Not only that, aboard ship she's wearing a sensible, though tight, sweater...AND SLACKS! As I've noted previously, Wayne Boring was a great one for ignoring the characters' normal outfitting in favor of what he considered appropriate. Very admirable.

Clark Kent sleeps while wearing his Superman suit under his pajamas! It says so here!

Inside the bathysphere, we see a big ol' press camera with a flash attachment, which my wife says would have been pretty useless underwater. We don't know how far Lois was lowered, but we see her using a 35 mm camera, which I'm told would have done the job all right. This assumes there was ambient light, of course, as the bathysphere has no lights on it.

Tom Orzechowski
San Francisco CA