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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 220

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Today we look at another great Jerry Siegel Silver Age Superman story, “Superman’s Return to Krypton!”

Enjoy!

Just a little while back, I wrote about how Jerry Siegel’s Silver Age work on Superman is often over-looked due to his, you know, CREATING Superman, which is a shame as his Silver Age work on Superman was often excellent. The last time around, I featured the imaginary story about the Death of Superman. Today, just EIGHT ISSUES earlier, in Superman #141 (with art by Wayne Boring), we see a “real” story involving Superman traveling through time and “returning to Krypton!”

The comic opens up with a simple enough premise, Superman is sent to check out an alien creature and in a slight fracas, he is sent back in time…

He ends up on a pre-exploded Krypton. Robbed of his powers by Krypton’s sun, Superman ends up getting involved as an extra in a science fiction film (where he catches the eye of the female star of the film)…

I love how Siegel insisted on keeping Superman in costume the whole story, so he comes up with the “stay in costume” gag.

Superman seeks out his parents and he finds that they are drawn to him as he is to them…

The memory pillow seems a bit like a performance enhancing drug, doesn’t it?

Superman’s mother tries to set Superman up with the actress from his film, Lyla Lerrol (LL, of course), and while Superman is drawn to her, he’s determined not to get too attached to her (good luck with that, Supes!)…

You really should get this story just to see the page I omitted following the page above where Superman and Lyla’s making out gets its own half-page/multi-panel spotlight.

Siegel and Boring really milk the drama for all the pathos they can. Just check out this page…

You can really feel just how brutal this must be for Superman, no?

So Superman decides that he can’t help but NOT try to help his father save the people of Krypton. They finally come up with the idea for a space ark. The only problem is WHERE the space ark is built…

With everything looking grim, Superman interestingly enough basically decided to accept his fate in this brilliantly executed final panel by Siegel and Boring…

Of course, just when he accepts his life (and death), Superman discovers that fate has other plans for him.

Get the full dramatic ending (plus the awesome making out spotlight) and read the full story in the collection Superman in the 60s, available wherever comic book collections are sold!

20 Comments

Matter-Pooper Lad

August 9, 2010 at 7:13 am

Great stuff! Imaginative and fun! From the days before super-heroes had to be… “realistic”.

And ironically enough Matter Pooper Lad, the themes, emotions displayed, passions, yearnings, tragedies, hopes, disappointments and social dynamics shown in these pages actually end up feeling more realistic than the so called “realism” of modern comics.

Good stuff.

On a side note, I’ve always wondered about that expanded ribcage separating the chest and the ab muscle region showed on non-Curt Swan Silver Age Superman depictions. I’ve never seen human beings with ribcages that long or ab muscle regions that low!

Regarding the ribcage discussion, check out the size of Supe’s torso in panel 4 of page 7.

I want to see how he survived!

Did anyone else find it strange that a world with no space travel has a fire-breathing space creature in their zoo?

God, I love that story! Ever since I read it in a DC Giant (I want to say Superman 232) as a kid, it has stuck with me as one of the best Superman stories ever. It shows what the best of the Weisinger-era stories did so well. I wish more writers today would put that much heart into a story.

Thank you, Jerry Siegel.

Yeah, guys, those fat torsos on Superman were courtesy of Wayne Boring. His stocky Superman became the standard after Joe Shuster was gone. And Al Plastino was excellent at mimicking Boring’s style. That was the golden age Superman.

Curt Swan came along and streamlined Superman, made him into what we we now know as the Silver Age Superman. But there’s no clear dividing line time-wise, because for many years Swan’s version would appear in the same comics as the Boring/Plastino version. Or the cover would be by Swan but the insides would be by Boring or Plastino.

I’ve always wondered why, when DC has stories featuring the modern Superman alongside the Golden Age Superman, why they don’t differentiate them by drawing the G. Age version as the stocky Boring version. Instead DC always shows two Supermen that are closely similar.

Note the silent panel in page 3 of the third part (Lyla and Superman kissing) : very unusual in a Superman comic-book from the Weisinger era : the pacing is fabulous, that moment stood in time.

Yeah, Sprout, it definitely was unusual. The next page (the one I did not feature here) is even MORE unusual. Go get the trade collection to see it, people!

Another thing interesting about Wayne Boring’s Superman someone once pointed out to me: he never seems to open his mouth. Seriously, look…his lips rarely if ever part. Not really good or bad, just something interesting to note.

I love that he sleeps in his costume.

One of the Superman classic stories. I first read it, believe it or not, in the Superman daily comic strip rather than in the comic book. A few things that have always struck me:

1. Note the original Brainiac as flesh and blood, rather than a robot.

2. I theorized the LL in this story was inspired by an MM: Lyla Lerrol reminded me of Marilyn Monroe.

3. Others depicted the Jewel Mountains as shiny crags that looked like slabs of diamond and other precious stones, this one of huge faceted gems stuck on a mountainside looks a little silly.

“He ends up on a pre-exploded Krypton. Robbed of his powers by Krypton’s sun”

IIRC at the time this story was written the explanation was that Kryptonians lost their powers in Krypton’s gravity. The “solar-powered” explanation didn’t come around until a few years later.

IIRC

You don’t. ;)

The “solar-powered” explanation was in place by this time.

I actually don’t know offhand the precise point that they changed to the solar-powered explanation. Anyone know?

The earliest account I can find is Action Comics #262 (March 1960) in the Supergirl story.

Which is probably why I misremembered since I got the Showcase Presents Supergirl volume a few years after Showcase Presents Superman Vol 2 (which has this story).

Anyway Superman tells her that they get their powers from the lesser gravity of Earth & the ultra solar rays produced by yellow stars.

Holy cats, this is awesome!

I mean really, that bit about Kandor and the space ark just shocked me. I did not see that coming. Go Jerry.

It’s funny; I just found out today that Mort Weisenger was story editor of the “Adventures Of Superman” show too! How cool is that?

Am I correct that this LL is the one that Superman is married to in his fantasy in Superman Annual 11 (For the Man who has Everything)? Which shows how awesome this story was that Alan Moore name checked it years later.

I read this in the Showcase book, all of that stuff is AWESOME!

Yep, it’s the same character (possibly her next appearance, actually).

One of the great doomed romances Supes experienced in the Silver Age, up there with Lori Lemaris. As a child I was never a fan of Boring’s artwork but appreciate it much more now.

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