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Superman 141
"Superman's Return To Krypton! (Part 1)"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND Part I ("Superman Meets Jor-El and Lara Again!") November, 1960

Story: Jerry Siegel Art: Wayne Boring

(Originally Reviewed On 06/20/02)

On the splash page, The Man of Steel announces to Jor-El, Lara, and Lyla Lerrol that the great space ark is about to blast off, and that once they enter it, they'll escape Krypton's destruction!

In Metropolis, Superman flies towards an observatory and meets with Professor Galsworthy, astronomer, who appears to be agitated, and within the observatory, he asks The Man of Steel to look through the telescope and see what's excited him, but Superman uses his telescopic-vision, when he soon exclaims... "Great Scott!" When Galsworthy asks what they've just seen, The Man of Steel begins to fly away, and tells him that he intends to find out! In outer space, Superman uses his super-speed to pass beyond the solar system, and soon sees a gigantic planet-sized creature! Not knowing if it's friendly or hostile, he moves towards it, only to have the pinkish alien beast reverse its course and fly at high speed! Increasing his own speed, Superman finds that he has flown too fast and has sent himself through the time barrier into the past!

He recognizes the planet which orbits the red sun from light-rays he once overcame and studied. It is the planet Krypton, which exploded after he was sent to Earth! Since he's in proximity to the red sun, The Man of Steel must land before he loses his powers or else be doomed! Safely on the planet's surface, he finds himself with no more powers than a Kryptonian under a red sun. Since Earth has a yellow sun and has lighter gravity, he is given super-powers, but on Krypton, he is an ordinary man!

He slowly realizes that since he can't soar away on his own power, he'll be trapped when Krypton meets its destruction! Superman notes the irony that he escaped the planet's doom as a child, but will meet its end as an adult! He soon comes upon a spaceship, and wonders how this can be when such things did not exist prior to Krypton's end? Superman hears a voice in Kryptonese and is told by the movie director to enter the prop "space ship" with the other extras, who are also clad in strange space costumes! He is grateful that his costume has caused him to be mistaken for an extra and the former Man of Steel will have a chance to earn a living on this planet. He notices the girl seated near the director, and is haunted by her beauty, then wonders if he's imagining it or is she staring at him? The director assures his subjects that since it is a prop, the spaceship can't fly any higher than a regular airship, and that they are safe.

But, as the rocket is flying through the air, the rockets begin to fail, and the pilot has fainted! Aboard the ship, Superman activates the emergency rockets, knowing that if he had his powers, the results would have been even more spectacular, and the pilot soon revives, then takes over. Once the ship has landed, Superman's attention is turned towards the girl, who has unbelievable beauty. The director calls for a halt to the "Space Explorers" movie until they can secure the use of a fire-breathing space creature from the Kryptonian Zoo, for a key scene. He then tells his extras to keep wearing their costumes for the next few weeks, as part of a publicity stunt for the film, for which they receive a bonus before being called back for more work. Receiving Kryptonian funds, Superman walks the streets of Krypton and sees the planet in a new way, not a dead world, but a planet teeming with life! He turns towards a massive viewing screen, where the wedding of Jor-El and Lara is to take place at The Palace of Marriage, and he is overcome by the sight of his parents!

He hails a jet-taxi, then heads for The Palace of Marriage, grateful for the chance to see them, even though it's during a time before he was even born! Since the wedding is open to the public, Superman is able to attend, and one guest notes the resemblence between him and a statue of his grandfather, Jor-El I, which is a part of Kryptonian customs that there be statues of both families to adorn the wedding. The ceremony begins and he sees that his parents make for an attractive couple. He'd like to tell them who he is, but decides to wait until after the ceremony. As Jor-El and Lara recite their vows, Superman knows that they'll have a short time before the planet meets its end. Jor-El and Lara don their own marriage bracelets,which have a color variation signifying their union, and whose colors no other couple may duplicate. The newlyweds head for the waiting jet-car, while Superman comes to the decision that if he tells them that he's their son, he'll have to tell them about their impending deaths, then relents.

At a Kryptonian Sky-Hotel, he is unable to sleep, and sees the night life, as the citizens are unaware that all they know will soon come to an end. He is determined to escape Krypton, but since he no longer has any super-powers, the matter of how is in question. Another night, and Superman decides that he wishes to visit his parents, becoming their friend without telling them about his true relationship to them. He builds a gyroscopic device, then visits his parents, where Lara sees that he looks familiar,a nd Jor-El senses something about the stranger. He asks Jor-El's opinion of his invention, and his father tells him that he shows great promise as a scientist. When asked for his name, he gives his real Kryptonian name of Kal-El, which is not bad since he hasn't been born yet, and names ending with "El" are very commonplace on Krypton. Jor-El sees the odd costume, and he explains that he is a movie extra who'd rather be an assistant to a great scientist like Jor-El than be an actor. He is told about exams being held for job applicants at the missile base where Jor-El works, then is told to wait for a moment.

Jor-El gives him a memory pillow, which will enable him to pass the exams with top grades, and Superman almost slips by saying, "Thanks, Dad!" Two dogs run into the yard, and while Lara tells him not to worry, Superman knows that these dogs will be the parents of his pet, Krypto! As he leaves, Lara tells her husband that she hopes that they see him again, and Jor-El tells her that he felt some overwhelming force which urged him to help Kal-El. As he sleeps, the memory pillow feeds information into Superman's subconscious mind. The following day at the missile base, he is to be Jor-El's new assistant, and he is told that the assignment was a request by Jor-El, who congratulates him. The two develop a kinship, as Jor-El compliments him on his work, and hopes that Kal-El doesn't mind that he offer some "fatherly" advice from time to time, and he smiles, knowing that his father is a swell guy, and that it's strange that he's about his own age!

One night, Jor-El invites his assistant to a dinner party, and Superman is introduced to the lovely girl he saw during the filming of the space-movie. He tells Jor-El that somehow he senses that her initials must be "L.L." Amazingly, every girl who was special to him had those intials, and even now, he is unable to take his eyes away from her. Jor-El tells him that Lyla Lerrol is Krypton's foremost emotion-movie actress. She tells him that she noticed him during the filming of "The Space Explorers" and sees that he's still wearing his costume, as he agreed. As they dine on food-pills, and listen to the singing flowers' soft serenade, he admires Lyla's features, while she senses that he's different from other Kryptonian men, as if that space suit of his were somehow real! She asks him to tell her more about himself. Fearing that he'll somehow betray himself, he evades the question, and soon watches her, as she swims in the anti-gravity swimming pool. Lyla swims like Lori Lemaris and is as curious as Lois Lane. He decides to leave before he makes a fool of himself over her. He hails a jet-taxi and soars away, while Lyla senses that he's been deliberately avoiding her, which interests her more than ever! The Man of Steel knows that romance on Krypton is not for him, as he must make his escape before Krypton dies!

I believe that the story is by Jerry Siegel, if memory serves, and artist Wayne Boring makes his version of the world of Krypton the definitive version in my opinion.

Wayne Boring would draw The Golden Age Superman's origin in Secret Origins #1, including a look at the Earth-2 version of Krypton, where each Kryptonian had the super-powers associated with The Man of Tomorrow.

The alien creature which Superman pursues, resembles a pink ant-eater, whose belly is overflowing with his last meal.

The Kryptonian movie director wears accoutrements which are similar to that of his Earth counterpart.

Don and Maggie Thompson wrote a Thor story called "Crisis on Other-Earth" which featured Hyperion of The Squadron Supreme and The Squadron Sinister. In this story, a film of the hero's exploits is being made, and a homage to the director and the movie set is drawn by Wayne Boring.

The pose which Superman is in when he sees the viewscreen announcing his parents' wedding is similar to the cover of a story where he is watching Jor-El's exploits as "The Superman of Krypton", as his father is protecting a princess. Wayne Boring presents a formidable version of The Man of Steel. Dynamic and godlike.

One wonders if Space Cabbie ever made it to Krypton or if he was set in the future.

In the World of Krypton miniseries, Jor-El I would be featured, as well.

The Kryptonian custom of the exchange of wedding bracelets was seen in "Superman Takes A Wife" when The Earth-2 versions of Superman and Lois Lane were wed.

The parents of Krypto share his eagerness and playful nature. They are cutely drawn, especially with the widely-open eyes, upraised ears, and lapping tongue.

The memory pillow would have no doubt have helped my high school grade point average. Sigh.

Back To The Future would have Marty McFly traveling to the past and meeting his parents when they were his age.

"L.L." would be a prominent theme for Superman during The Silver Age.

Part II is coming soon.

Steve Chung
"Superman's Review To Krypton!"