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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – A Strangely Awful/Awesome Superman Mystery

Every day this August I’ll be spotlighting strange but ultimately endearing comic stories, one a day (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of past installments of this feature.

Today we look at an odd Superman “mystery” from Superman #157…

In this story, written by Jerry Siegel and drawn by Curt Swan and George Klein, it is Superman Appreciation Day and an alien race has sent Superman a present – a computer that will answer any three questions you have about the future!

Naturally, Lois wastes one of the questions on a question that can’t be verified, which thereby makes it useless as a “test” question…

So Jimmy has to test it with the second of THREE questions!! It is only three questions here! Of course, we should not let these waste of questions hide the fact that Superman thinks that both Linda Lee (his teenage cousin, who an earlier issue of Superman – also written by Siegel – has already been eliminated as a viable candidate) and his married mermaid ex-girlfriend, Lori Lemaris are viable options for marriage.

In addition, I shouldn’t blame Jimmy for wasting questions when Clark himself wastes the final question just to get Perry White off of his back…but oh wait, the machine says LL instead of Superman! How will LL save him?

This leads us to the next day when Bizarro comes to celebrate Superman’s day with some green kryptonite. Everyone is at the festivities so Superman is slowly dying at his own celebration! Superman then reflects on the history of LL in his life..

I love that in the Silver Age, not only were characters all dicks, but characters all quickly believed the worst of each other. “Lois and Lana are mocking my death!”

Anyhow, ultimately, a little kid saves him…

But is his name LL?!?!

Wow. That was one awful “mystery” by Siegel. But so bizarre that it was still worth reading!


Commander Benson

August 28, 2011 at 6:35 am

I’ve always wondered about the use of the rather peculiar name for Superman’s rescuer in this tale—Steven Snapinn. The surname “Snapinn” is just out-of-the-ordinary enough to suggest that it was deliberately used, rather than just conjured up for the story.

The name—as “Steve Snapinn”—would appear again in “The Wizard of Odds”, from SUPERBOY # 140 (Jul., 1967), where he was mentioned (but not seen “on camera”) as one of Clark Kent’s classmates.

A little Googling around the Internet provides a POSSIBLE answer. For many years, at least from 1958 to 1985, Milton Snapinn was a letterer for DC, with the bulk of his work appearing in the early-to-mid-1960’s.

I compared the lettering of several of the story’s panels with exemplars of lettering known to be done by Milton Snapinn around the same time. I’m no expert, but the lettering in “Superman’s Day of Doom” sure looks like Milton Snapinn’s work.

And I found one on-line source that identified Snapinn as the letterer for that story. That source came to the same conclusion that I did—that there is a Steven Snapinn who was/is a relative of Milton Snapinn. Perhaps, his son.

Not a lock, but it seems like the right answer.

Lois, did you ever think that Superman might be destined to marry Lex Luthor? Metropolis is the “City of Tomorrow,” after all.

randypan the goatboy

August 28, 2011 at 8:05 am

I always figured Superman would end up with Lori lemaris. up top she is all woman…but the hoohah is all macerel…Im sure Lori used to get the “smells like fish ‘ line alot

Lyla Lerrol’s absence in this story is a crime!

Wow. That was one awful “mystery”

By normal standards, yeah. By Weisinger standards though it seems about normal.

I guess they never explained since Superman still has his superpowers until near the end when he states that his superpowers are going away, he could do a lot of stuff. Why didn’t he just use his super breath to blow the kryptonite to 50 feet away (which i think was the standard distance for effect), or his super suction breath power to pull the lid to the kryptonite closed, or use his super ventriloquism to tell someone, or the other hundred super things he seemed to develop every week? It seemed like his last moments were spent whining and using his super voyeurism to watch his friends.

Impressive detective work, Commander Benson! Sounds like a Comic Book Legend waiting to happen!

Yes, great stuff, Commander Benson!

Even for a Jerry Seigel story, that’s a lot of [CHOKE!]s. A lot of people give modern creators grief for making Superman too emo and crying all the time, but it seems Superman’s creator himself was the biggest champion of all for Superman showing his teary side.

I love how casual Lois Lane is about descending from a helicopter by holding a rope one-handed and with no other safety harnesses.

That’s what I love about Lois, man. She’s hardcore.

I’d like it if Superman came into Harry Potter’s world and met Luna Lovegood.

Supes said it best. Groan!

I know that this is least of the problems with the story, but how random is it that Superman knows the name of the Elephant?

There was some story where they went overboard in listing all the “LL’s” in Superman’s life, including people with the letters “LL” somewhere else, like Barry ALLen, or even one “L” like Jimmy OLsen, but for the life of me I can’t remember it.
I thought it was one of those DC stories there they came up with a cover first, depicting Superman surely dying deader than dead, then they write a story with a poor plot twist that somehow resolves it. But no, the cover was for another story in that issue: Superman is forced to release a Phantom Zone prisoner because under Kryptonian law, he was due for parole. Damn liberals!

I have a Spanish comic book with this story. Since “Little Leaguer” translated to Spanish doesn’t have a double-L. they made the boy’s team name “Los Lobos.” The boy’s name, BYW, was changed to “Pedro Ruiz.” And since Lightning Lad’s is known as “Rayo” in the Spanish comics, they changed the caption under his picture to “Legionario,” which is only a single L, but what else could they do?

So is this the one where they first mentioned the LL pattern?

There’s a Superboy story where it’s prophesied a hound will save him–and it turns out to be an “autograph hound.”

@Fraser: No. This story was from the November 1962 issue of Superman. The earliest story I’ve found that brought attention to the LL pattern was Supergirl’s debut in Action Comics #252 (May 1959), when she chose the name “Linda Lee.” That was just a few months after the issue that introduced Lori Lemaris, but no special attention was drawn to Lori’s initials in that one.

Superboy #86 (January 1961) noted the importance of Lana Lang, Lex Luthor, and Lightning Lad in Superboy’s life; and in Superman #141 (November 1960), Superman guessed that Lyla Lerrol’s initials had to be LL before learning her name.

Correction. the stories that introduced Lori Lemaris and Supergirl were both published in the May 1959 issues; Superman #129 and Action #252, respectively. But only the Supergirl story mentioned the LL pattern.

Thanks Bob. As soon as you mentioned the Supergirl issue I remembered that bit.

For no particular reason, I’m suddenly reminded of a really obscure story (if it exists): As a kid, I have a clear memory of a story in a B&W hardcover (printed in the UK, maybe?) where the Flying Grayson’s killer was the circus clown, who was bitter they got top billing. It’s obviously not canon, but does anyone know if that exists? Was it a newspaper strip? or what?

@Fraser: That sounds familiar. I didn’t follow the newspaper strip, but it might have been from one of the animated series. Possibly even the Superman radio show. I listened to the series a couple of years ago, and it had a few Batman crossover stories. One of them involved Robin’s origin, but I don’t remember the details.

I think this is in fact the story that ruined comics for me. If I recall correctly I read it in one of those giant-sized reprints, the huge tabloid-size ones. I was really into the story until that cop-out ending, and suddenly the whole house of cards came down and I could picture the writer struggling to come up with something to fill out 12 pages and it was getting close to deadline and there was a bottle in the desk just waiting for him to type “THE END”. And after that, comics were just a thing people did to make money.

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