05 March 2009

Oh 1959 Superman, you so crazy.

Showcase Presents: Superman Vo. 1. 

"Written by Jerry Siegel, Bill Finger and others; Art by Curt Swan, Dick Sprang and others; Cover by Swan and George Klein

Kicking off an exciting line of black-and-white reading library titles! This volume collects SUPERMAN #122-133 and ACTION COMICS #241-257, featuring the birth of the Silver Age Superman mythos, including the first appearances of Supergirl, Brainiac, the Fortess of Solitude and more!"

I got this book for Christmas a few years ago but then I had a baby, (or my wife had a baby) changed jobs, went to college, moved to a different state etc.  The book spent a year or so in a box but I've recently dug it out and read the sucker.
This book is freaking crazy!  Otto Binder and the other Superman writers were unquestionably insane.  Superman is a mad prankster in this thing.  I guess that by the 50's, Superman had become bored with 20 years of truth, justice and the American way and had decided to use his godlike powers to play sick and twisted pranks on both criminals and the innocent.  He seldom ever uses his super powers to, ya know, stop crime or beat up a bad guy.  Instead, he uses his powers to create huge schemes that trick the baddies into thinking they will get away with the crime only to realize later that the whole thing is a sham and that Superman set the whole thing up.  These schemes always involve lying, trickery and more often than not, crazy costumes.  Superman pretends to be a construction worker, a doorman, an ugly Superman that looks like Alfred E. Neuman, a policeman, a soldier, Superman from the future, old Superman, lion head Superman, a reporter named Kent Clark and of course a reporter named Clark Kent.  Superman is not just crazy.  He's Lucy Ricardo crazy!

When Superman finds out that there is to be an assassination attempt on the President, he does not stop the assassins.  No! Instead, Superman creates an epic scheme to trick the whole world into thinking that he is Superman from the future and that he knows about the assassination but cannot stop it because he can not stop history.  So of course the assassins are totally confident now knowing that future Superman can't stop them so they try to kill the President only to find that the President is... Superman in disguise!


Oh what will you think of next crazy 1959 Superman?  (Answer= insane scheme with costumes.)  I think the lesson here is that with great godlike power comes the great urge to play pranks on inferior beings an to address one's identity issues through cosplay

These stories are almost too fun and the art is beautiful.  You should especially check out the stories drawn by my favorite Superpants artist, Kurt Scaffenberger.  

Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

p.s.  Apologies to whichever blogger it was that recently compared Lois Lane to Lucy Ricardo.  I can't remember the details of the post and google has failed me in finding it again but I'm sure it inspired my Superman = Lucy revelation.  Maybe I just imagined it but more likely I read it at Occasional Superheroine or Chris's Invincible Super Blog
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