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Ten Goofiest Moments in World’s Finest #151-160

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

Today we look at ten issues of World’s Finest Comics, #151-160, written by Edmond Hamilton (#151-159) and Leo Dorfman (160), with a plot assist from Cary Bates (#151) and spot work from E. Nelson Bridwell (scattered pages in scattered issues). They were all penciled by Curt Swan, and inked by George Klein (all but issues #151, 155 and part of 157) and Sheldon Moldoff (whatever Klein didn’t ink).

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

10. Chill out, Superman!

In #151, two mysterious super-powered kids show up in Metropolis. Superman, naturally, figures they are alien scouts for a possible invasion of Earth. Wait…what?

I also love that very specific bulletin. “Alert! Still no one harmed! We will keep updating you so long as no one is harmed! Once someone IS harmed, expect radio silence!”

Superman must really be rattled by these kids. Later on in the issue…

What was Superman going to do, hit them?

9. Naturally…

In #154, Superman and Batman marry Lois Lane and Batwoman, respectively. I like how, even in 1965, the result of their union is so obvious…

8. We only employ ACTUAL fortune tellers at this carnival!

Now, don’t get me wrong, in this bit from #160, I guess the fake fortune teller guy might have been preparing to bilk the poor suckers who he was fooling into thinking he was an actual fortune teller. But he hadn’t actually DONE anything yet, right?

So Superman and Batman bursting in to bust the guys chops for pretending to be a fortune teller just because he was an ex-con? That’s kind of messed up. And I love the carnival owner firing him for being a “phony.” Yes, because what we all know is that carnivals only employ ACTUAL fortune tellers. It gets even worse later on when you learn that this is only the beginning of a long game of entrapment by Superman and Batman…

7. You’re So Vain….

In #153 (an Imaginary Story where Batman thinks Superman killed his dad), Batman enters Superman’s Fortress of Solitude and makes a discovery…

Why, exactly, does Superman have a statue of himself as Clark Kent in his Fortress of Solitude? Is it a shrine to himself? Weeeird.

6. Oh, Robin, always blaming others for your own stupidity…

In #152, Batman and Robin try to solve the mystery of the super youths. Batman suggest super-androids and they go to test his theory…

“They deliberately let us think they were androids!” Huh? How did they do that, Robin? “I think that guy on the street is the president of the bank. Look, he’s walking into the bank! Oh, he’s just making a deposit. He deliberately made me think he was the president of the bank, that brat!”

5. A Not-So Surprising Reveal…

Later in the issue, the kids’ identities are revealed, but the process of the reveal is quite haphazard…

Oh, the drama! WHO COULD THEY BE?!?!?

4. Me think Edmond Hamilton’s idea of de-evolution is problematic…

In #151, Superman and Batman discover a device that evolves and deevolves people.

The evolution aspect has at least some logic to it…

but I like the idea that de-evolution just consists of Superman growing a beard and getting dumber (and saying “me” instead of “I”).

3. Superman and Batman must have been pretty bored…

As I mentioned before, raiding the fake fortune teller earlier was all part of an elaborate scheme by Superman and Batman into convincing the guy that he had magic Zodiac powers, so that he would eventually begin to sell his secrets to other crooks so Batman and Superman could arrest them all in one fell swoop…

It’s not even necessarily a BAD plan, but boy is that a lot of effort for minimal results, and the morality of pushing a guy from a penny ante con into a much bigger con seems kind of iffy.

2. “Hey Batman, what are your parents getting you for Christ… “My parents are deeaaaaad!”

That was the popular meme going around the internet a few years back, where a panel from #153 was re-jiggered to make it into that amusing joke panel. I detailed the origin of the panel in a post here, but here is that page, from #153, in all of its goofiness…

What’s interesting is that the original panel is quite nearly as funny as the fake one!

1. Superman, seriously, you need a hobby…

In #155, Batman is seemingly replaced as Superman’s partner by a new hero named Nightman (whose origin turns out to be quite similar to the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s musical, The Nightman Cometh). At the end of the issue, we discover the Nightman’s identity in an astonishingly elaborate (and goofy) example of Batman and Superman just effing with each other….

How does something like that even OCCUR to Superman? “It’d be funny if I hypnotized Batman. You know, for kicks. I’m sure he’ll like it!” I also like Superman’s bizarre attempt to make it seem like he wasn’t lying. “I told him to wear a lead-lined mask, so I could honestly say I couldn’t see his face.” Oh, Superman…

22 Comments

The first place is amazing, Superman has so much time in his hands, that he even worship an statue of Clark Kent in his fortress :D

But Batman in number 7 is too cunning, I mean, what if Superman had an statue of Bruce Wayne in his fortress?, it would be like “Oh my God!!, Bruce Wayne is Superman!!, that means I’m Superman so I should kill myself!!” Smart :D

Peace

#7 isn’t that goofy, if you assume that Superman could occasionaly take people unaware of his secret identity into the Fortress? “Hey, Superman, I’ve notice you have shrines to all your friends here, except Clark…”

#7 isn’t that goofy, if you assume that Superman could occasionaly take people unaware of his secret identity into the Fortress? “Hey, Superman, I’ve notice you have shrines to all your friends here, except Clark…”

In other Fortress stories it was a plot point that Superman had a Clark statue to fake people out in exactly that way. But the implication in this story seems to be that Superman basically keeps a trophy room of honors he’s achieved as Clark Kent. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a sign to Batman that Clark was Superman (which I guess he didn’t already know in this story) but rather that he wasn’t.

And I love the carnival owner firing him for being a “phony.” Yes, because what we all know is that carnivals only employ ACTUAL fortune tellers.

Unlike on our world, precognitive powers do exist in the DC universe, so it might not be that silly for carnival owners to expect their fortune tellers to be real. Perhaps in the DC universe there are a number of metahumans with low-level precog capabilities who are actually employed as carnival fortune tellers?

randypan the goat boy

May 29, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Ahhh the silverage…is it any onder that an entire generation came up thinking comics were supposed to suck. i call them the original founders of image comics.. Wetworks # 3 ever come out yet?

@ randypan: These don’t suck (and I’ve never thought the term “silverage” was particularly cleaver), they’re “goofy”, but they’re also a hell of a lot of fun. We could certainly find plenty of goofy moments in the pages of more recent books, but we might be harder pressed to find as much sincerity, or imagination.

I do wonder that an entire generation has come up thinking that comics magically became good overnight in 1986.

Mxy/ Bat-Mite awesomeness. Now I have to go reread World’s Funnest for the millionth time.

Twice in these panels, it fails to occur to Superman that the way to see whether someone is an android is by turning on his X-Ray vision. (Only the cowl was lead-lined, after all.) Super-hearing in one case, and letting-Batman-and-Robin-follow-a-tunnel-in-the-ground in the other, seem like much more complicated solutions than, y’know, *looking.*

I just realized that the giant brain’d Batman from #151 is in Brave and the Bold! I always wondered where that one came from.

I would seriously read a comic starring Superman if his attitude was more like it was in the last panel of #10!!

To randypan the goat boy: Your comment “Is it any onder that an entire generation came up thinking comics were supposed to suck. i call them the original founders of image comics.. Wetworks # 3 ever come out yet?” is the most hilarious thing I’ve ever read on a comic site! I feel off my chair laughing. Sorry, but I could never ever see or understand what was so cool about the Image creators. In fact, after years and years of collecting the Marvel titles they were working on, I was getting so fed up with their pin-up layouts and excessive crosshatching and such that I was about to drop X-Men and their other work. Thankfully they left Marvel just in time and some talent took over. From reading the late Don Thompson’s reviews at the same time in the CBG, he felt the same way and was about to bail on their titles too. Then they formed Image, solicited a tone of material that most shops had to pay for when they ordered, and Image was slow, if ever, delivering their product. Result, again from what I read in CBG at the time, many shops had money tied up in delayed product they couldn’t sell until it arrived, of course. I’m not sure which should be credited with the demise of the most comic shops in the U.S.–the current recession or the inception of Image comics. I’ll never buy one solely on principal. I’m also glad I sold the shop I ran just a few months earlier. Talking to the new owners some time after Image was a personal anecdote regarding Image–they blamed the delayed product for almost putting them under their first year. Image–“We make you wait…and then it’s not worth it.”

talk about goofy for can not believe that batman and superman would be fooled back then by batmite and mr myxplink as the super twins. plus batman even in the worldest finest came off as reall nasty including mind wiping robin. not to mention superman being bored he made a bat robot his partner.

Ohh, these have to be *by far* the goofiest comics moments you’ve featured this month. Cronin! On the other hand, they might not really count, since they are *intentionally* goofy as opposed to being done (at least partially) seriously without realizing how dumb they would come off.

These were some pretty creative ideas: Mr. Mxyzptlk teaming up with Bat-Mite is a no brainer, but the Future-Batman and Super-Caveman is pure WTH stuff, and that Nightman one makes you wonder if Bats was as much into Superdickery as Superman was. My only problem is how wildly out of character they all come out across.

But you know what? I STILL would rather read this stuff than comics that are SO obsessed with “realism” that they forget the whole point of fiction is to *escape reality* and in fact only help us drown in negativity all the more. Why can’t they limit that stuff where it properly belongs (say, Noir films) and let superheroes just be heroic?

I so need a machine that can hypnotize my friends and family. Well, everyone. Except teenage boys since that would be pervy.

Hugo Sleestak

May 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm

Re: the giant brained Batman page … thanks for crediting Edmond Hamilton. His stories where a character goes into an evolution booth and either over-evolves or under-evolves are such a part of the pop culture consciousness now that we forget where this stuff came from. Here’s a link to Hamilton’s 1931 story, “The Man Who Evolved,” as a way of seeing where big brained Batman idea originally came from …

http://thenostalgialeague.com/olmag/hamilton-mwe.html

Me, I love that Batman’s response to Robin not wanting to help him destroy Superman for what amounts to a lunatic obsession is to not only erase his mind, but to send the kid back to his life as an orphan!

I wonder how Superman and Batman zeroed in on the “scouts for an alien invasion” or “super-androids” explanations when the Titanic Tots could’ve been unknown heroes or villains, Kryptonians or Daxamites, Legionnaires in disguise, or magical imps. Our heroes don’t seem to have much of an imagination.

I guess Superman had time for carnival crooks because there were no wars, plagues, or disasters that day.

Ah, Superman back then really was an a-hole, wasn’t he?

It seems like a lot of stories back then were based on “a-ha! gotacha!” moments, or mysteries, all of which had complicated, convoluted explanations behind them.

“I like how, even in 1965, the result of their union is so obvious…”

Wasn’t this the standard ideal for most women back then anyway? Or was DC just behind the times? Granted, as we’ve seen in other examples, Marvel back then was rather conservative when it came to it’s female characters as well…

JC LEBOURDAIS

May 30, 2011 at 7:07 am

Considering that a G/VG copy of any of these costs less than a modern comic, what’s not to like about the silver age? ’nuff said :)

>”But Batman’s personality and emotions have changed, too… and he is cold, ruthless, and without loyalty, now!”

Yes, he’s normally such a warm, lackadaisical and friendly fellow, as seen in entry#2.

Wow, Nightman looks a lot like Die Fleidermaus from The Tick cartoon. Nice to see him fighting Batman!

I’ve got all those goofy Silver Age WF’s and more. Edmond Hamilton gave us some of the best Superman stories in the mid-60’s. Luthor and Supes fighting mano y mano on a world that would later become Lexor- the only planet where Luthor was a hero and … By the way the planet was arid so Supes threw an icebreg their way which I assume melted nicely and filled up their oceans? Anyway Curt Swan artwork is ALWAYS a win.

Ever since his boyhood in Smallville, Superman has despised carnies. “Look! You can’t knock down all three milk bottles at once when they’re stacked like this, it’s physically impossible! These balloons are under-inflated, they can’t be popped with a dart even by a direct hit! I hang around with REAL telepaths in the future, this guy’s a total sham!”

I think it would look even weirder if Superman had creepy shines to all his mortal friends EXCEPT Clark Kent. “And this is what Jimmy Olsen, the redhead human I pal around with, looks like in drag. Here’s how Lois looks when she’s a mermaid wrestling a scorpion version of Perry White. Oh, and over there is one of Clark’s old hats, I guess. I also have his Pulitzer hanging there for some reason. He, uh, asked me to keep it in a safe place.”

Batman’s conviction that great inventions should be tested on humans raises some grim questions about neutron bombs and weaponized smallpox.

Superman’s curio-shopkeeper disguise is proof once again that even a dinky pair of granny glasses will conceal the identity of a man whom Marvello had literally seen and heard not five minutes earlier. The albino Caesar wig is a nice touch, though, I hope someone brings that back.

Wow, from Boy Wonder to orphanage in one afternoon. I wonder how Bruce Wayne handled that phone call. “Yeah, that kid I’ve been living with? Bored of him now. Come get him, I’ll cut you a check.”

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