21 June 2018

Easing Troubled Minds

No, of course i wasn't going to leave things like that.

The Kryptonoid kept Superman on the defensive through most of the next issue's story, until the penultimate page. In addition to featuring the turning point of the fight leading to our villain's defeat, that page also reveals the answer the question posed in the previous post - How did the Kryptonoid animate the lightpost?

Freaked out at the notion of bonding with his own destruction, he's down for the count in only 3 panels.

My guess of the eye-beams transmitting the microorganisms to enable control was correct, but i didn't think to specify having the beams generated by the X-17 robot.

Now you can sleep easy with the knowledge of how Kal-El prevailed.

page art by Curt Swan & Frank Chiaramonte, words by Martin Pasko, for Superman #329 (1978)

How To Bake A Super-Villain

Villains are often as much the stars of comic books as are the Heroes.
As in most forms of storytelling, the heroes are to a large extent defined by their villains. While easy enough to populate the book with generic thieves and politicians (or whatever sort of villainous type one might prefer to insert), trying to create a memorable villain can be a far more difficult feat.

And when your hero is Superman...  well, the complaints about the difficulty of writing villains for him are nearly as legendary as Kal-El himself these days. And understandably, especially back in the days when he could juggle planets while kissing Lois. Whatcha gonna do?

Well, let's jump back 40 years and see how Marty Pasko handled the problem. This morning we saw Clark using the telephone landline to his Fortress Of Solitude (of which Clarks seem to be so fond). The reason he was calling was to check with the computer on a bit of Kryptonian history. Like nearly all Kryptonian history, it involved his father, Jor-El.

Step One) Begin with a Kryptonian organism.

A friend of Jor-El named Ser-Ze had developed a type of commensal (sort of a non-parasitic symbiote) that could animate synthetic component and react to nerve stimuli...

Once again, however, that dreaded X factor pops up. They hadn't considered that living organisms, by nature, multiply. What happens when they grow past the material they were designed to inhabit?

It didn't go well, and soon they were faced with outright revolution and invasion from within...

In the aftermath, some remaining samples are discovered which, of course, means they're going straight into Jor-El's usual trashcan - outer space...

Decades later on Earth, since Jor-El shot most of his trash in the same direction that he launched his son...

Superman, in space dealing with the bus the Commensals rode in on, notices the Kryptonian origin of the piece that got away...

...and, as we well know, anything from Krypton gets a massive level-up upon entering Earth's biosphere...

The two collide, sending each flying in opposite directions and dropping Superman unconscious into the sea.

Step Two) Add one high-powered military officer with a bitter grudge against our hero.

The general in charge of the mission that was scrapped by Superman's mission in space (for the government), has shown a consistently hostile attitude toward the Man of Steel. Far more than one might think we'd see from just having his command undermined...

Step Three) Add one recovered & reprogrammed Superman robot.

Step Four) Combine Kryptonian Organisms and Superman Robot.

Step Five) Blend in Military Officer (Mix Well)

Step Six) Fold in Surprise Ingredient - an unexpected power.
(I know what my theory was as to how this power worked. Have you got one?)

Step Seven) Combine hatred of Superman with hatred of Jor-El for added spice. (Caution - may get too hot!)

There you have it - ready to serve.
But, we're all out of comic, so i guess we're done here, eh?

page art by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte for Superman #328 (1978)

C.K. Phone Home

Sorry about yesterday. Spent all my words elsewhere. I'm sure i'll dig up some more for today.
But, first - a quick reminder of life in 1978 - 40 years ago, Superman had a land line* to his Fortress Of Solitude...

...and the president of Tri-State Bell had what even the President didn't have - Kal El's phone number!

panels by Curt Swan and Frank Chiaramonte from Superman #328 (1978)

*(For younger readers, a "Land Line" refers to an ancient practice wherein phone signals actually traveled along a physical wire. This required a "Phone Line" to be in place connecting both ends of the conversation. Whether strung along a series of poles or buried underground, it was referred to either way as a "land line".)  

19 June 2018

The Secret Life Of Sue And Sally

As mentioned this morning, Flying Nurses and honorary Fly Girls - the twins Sue And Sally Smith - had just seven issues of their own comic, starting with #48. We also mentioned that the strip was usually drawn by Joe Sinnott.
But what came before?

The final issue of My Secret Life, #47, featured the debut of a new series created by Joe Sinnott. Joe wasn't just the artist on the strip, they were his girls. The writer on Sue and Sally's adventures is uncertain, but Joe Gill is the frequent guess as tho whose work it might be.

They debuted in September of 1962, and it was a good concept. Our heroes are positive heroes - healers by nature. They're pretty girls, always a bonus on the artwork for drawing in the readers. And their arrangement keeps them constantly moving from one potential danger zone to another, with the opportunity for widely varied and interesting background visuals. There's definitely great potential if the series had been more noticed by readers of the time.

To wrap up today's look at the Flying Nurses, here are Sue and Sally's first and final adventures. Their first appearance was on the cover of My Secret Life, with art by Charles Nicholas and Vince Alascia -

Fire Storm features pencils from Joe Sinnott with inks by Vince Colletta -

As seen in the story above, with Joe Sinnott's original concept we get a twin telepathic connection between the sisters. Whoever wrote the ongoing series ignored that potential and it was never mentioned again.

We saw the splash page for their final tale this morning. The credits on Symptom Of Evil are more nebulous. Dick Giordano is the 'best guess' penciller, and the inks are from the Vince Colletta Studio rather than the man himself.

page art from My Secret Life #47 and Sue And Sally Smith - Flying Nurses #54 (1962, 1963)