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Superman 150
"When The World Forgot Superman!"


Story: Unknown Art: Curt Swan

(Originally Reviewed On 05/20/02)

On the cover, a man in a strange costume seeks to get the attention of the Metropolis Police by balancing himself on a tightrope with one finger, and the authorities look up in the sky, not knowing what to make of this guy who calls himself Superman, whom they've never heard of before!

The Man of Steel is well known for fights for his never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way, but one day all changes when he becomes an unknown, even to his friends Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, and Perry White on the day... "When The World Forgot Superman!" Having completed a mission in space, The Man of Steel returns to Earth, eager to see his friends once more, and as he begins to land, he sees a gas main explosion in a street sewer below, which will send the manhole cover into the air, and endangering citizens unless he acts swiftly...!

He lands and places his hands on the manhole cover to prevent it from soaring upward. A policeman asks what he thinks he's doing, and Superman greets him, stunned that the officer is less than pleased at seeing his latest life-saving feat! The officer is skeptical about The Man of Steel's claim about being strong as a thousand men, and then tells him to get off the street and out of the funny costume before he's run in for blocking traffic! Superman can't believe what he's hearing, and asks if the officer recognizes him, as having helped the law in fighting crime for years, but the veteran officer of twenty years tells him that he's never seen him before! The citizens laugh at the suddenly mortified Man of Steel, who can't understand how they've forgotten him!

At The Daily Planet, Superman lands on a ledge outside of the window, greeting Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, and Perry White. Lois stops her typing to scream at the oddly costumed stranger in their midst, while Jimmy thinks that he's a glory-seeker, and The Man of Steel wonders if he could be a victim of a practical joke, which would be appropriate on April Fool's Day, but not the case on the 11th of December, 1961. He races from the newsroom, with Perry White telling the two reporters not to pay heed to that nut or else they'd be overrun by the likes of him. In the store-room, Superman changes to mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, who soon learns from Lois about the strange man who came by and called himself Superman! Clark now knows that his friends aren't joking.

Everyone in Metropolis acts as if they've never heard of Superman, and Clark remembers a story which appeared in The Daily Planet on November 17th, and concerned The Man of Steel retrieving a sunken space capsule. Upon reading the paper, there is another story entirely, that of a pretzel factory robbery! (Holy Jen Contino, Batman!) Using his telescopic-vision, Clark sees that instead of a Superman statue in Metropolis Park, there is now one of Batman, and instead of a Superman museum, there is a space museum, and no proof that The Man of Steel ever existed! Clark wonders if this could be a Red Kryptonite-induced hallucination. Changing to Superman, he is determined to prove to the public that he does exist. On a tightrope in the middle of Metropolis, he balances on one finger, to the disinterest of the citizens below, who believe him to be just a costumed acrobat.

He descends and asks them if they can deny that he's flying, but they don't believe him, for there are rocket jets beneath his cape! The Man of Steel takes one giant leap, but the citizens see powerful springs on his shoes! Landing once more, he uses his super-breath to attract a falling stone statue, while the citizens believe that he'll be killed, but Superman succeeds in catching it, and they believe him!

A moment later, a small boy lifts the stone statue, and the child tells the crowd that it's a sponge statue, while Superman knows that a moment ago, it was made of stone and weighed several tons! As the crowd jeers him, he soars away, now knowing who is behind this insanity! On the outskirts of Metropolis, Superman calls out the culprit... that imp from the Fifth Dimension... Mr. Mxyzptlk! He admits making the world forget that Superman existed, as well as erasing all evidence of his many feats. The Man of Steel carves out letters from rocks and intends on spelling the imp's name backwards so that he'll return to the Fifth Dimension for the next 90 days. Using his super-speed, the letters are re-rranged, but the imp laughs, for the letters spell... Mtpzlkxy!

Having goofed, Superman re-arranges them into Ytxmzlpk, and the imp continues to laugh at his expense! He re-arranges them again, and again the imp reads Zylktxmp, while stifling a yawn. Xtkzlpmy! Tkmlypzx! Pktyxlzm! It isn't long before the imp is so confused that he can't recall his own name and suddenly blurts out... Kltpzyxm! Having said his name backwards, Mr. Mxyzptlk returns to The Fifth Dimension, and The Man of Steel's plan has succeeded, as he bids the imp a fond farewell for the next 90 days!

Superman returns to Metropolis, where he sees that Mr. Mxyzptlk's magic has worn off, and Superman's statue is back in Metropolis Park, along with that of Superboy, Superbaby, as well as Jor-El, Lara, and Baby Kal-El, along with the flag of Krypton, which are next to The Superman Museum, and his telescopic-vision shows that the Superman news story is once again in the back issue files once more! As he flies by the Daily Planet, he is greeted by the smiling faces of Lois Lane, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen, and is deeply touched by their friendship. Knowing that Mr. Mxyzptlk is no doubt angrier than ever, he can only speculate and knows that the next time will no doubt super-annoy him!

This review was inspired by Bob Buethe's story about his co-worker with the Superman memorabilia in his cubicle, yet when shown a picture of Mr. Mxyzptlk, the co-worker is unable to recall the imp, and perhaps this is yet another practical joke by that pesky sorceror from The Fifth Dimension.

Steve Chung
"When The World Forgot Superman's Review!"