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Comic Book Legends Revealed #415

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COMIC LEGEND: Was “For the Man Who Has Everything?” the first time Superman used his heat vision offensively?


There is a famous sequence in Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ “For the Man Who Has Everything?” in Superman Annual #11 (which you folks just picked as your #2 favorite Superman story of all-time) where Superman takes out his anger on Mongul…


Superman blasts him a few more times…



A reader asked….

There’s an internet legend that says that “For the Man Who has Everything?” is the first time that Superman EVER used his heat vision offensively (i.e. the first time he shot somebody with it, as opposed to just melting stuff or damaging/destroying inanimate objects).

Can anyone confirm if this is true or not?

I HAVE heard this before.

Anyhow, no, it is not true.

I asked Mark Waid if he could save me some time and point out an example that predated this story, and he suggested 1978’s Superman #322 by Martin Pasko and Curt Swan where Superman does, indeed, use his heat vision on the Parasite…



Thanks, Mark!

EDITED TO ADD: Reader CaptainKal has an even earlier example, also against the Parasite, in Action Comics #340…



Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed related to Superman!

Was Superman a Spy?

Was There a Superman Reference in Every Episode of Seinfeld?

Did Orson Wells Once Team Up With Superman?

Did the Famous Phrase “Truth, Justice and the American Way” Not Include “American Way” Originally?

Did the Nazis actually take it upon themselves to rebut a Superman story?

Did Jerry Siegel Try to Have Superman Reveal His Secret Identity to Lois Lane Very Early On?

Was Superman Declared 4-F Because He Read the Eye Chart in the Room Next to Him Accidentally With his X-Ray Vision?

On the next page, find out the huge plot hole in a classic Superman tale and how DC fixed it in a later reprinting!

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Dang, Parasite’s pretty well endowed in the below the belt department.

Drew Melbourne

April 19, 2013 at 9:53 am

Interesting that Superman claims his hair and nails don’t grow under a yellow sun! What a strange power that would be! Think: Luthor could have exposed Superman to Green Kryptonite and shaved him bald, and he would have stayed that way forever!

Coward! You ignored my challenge to spot the same sort of plot hole fix earlier made in a reprint of “The Last Days of Superman!” Kneel before Waid.

Kidding. But just for fun, we’ll throw it open to the readers–plot holes covered in reprints. There’s a third, too, from Superman #139–anyone spot it?

Ha! I said I’d do it! Just not for this week. ;)

A male’s ceremony is a Bar Mitzvah. The woman’s is a Bat Mitzvah.

Of course it is. Silly typo. Fixed now! Thanks.

Interesting tale about the comic-book-for-hire.

For the record, Mark Waid showed up in the comments to tease me over not addressing a topic he suggested to me when he gave me his answer to my Heat Vision question. However, I’m planning on addressing that bit NEXT week. ;) So for the time being, I’m making his comment invisible until I address it next week, so as to not spoil the surprise!

It’s a shame Torres didn’t do more superhero stuff because I’m digging his inks over Swan’s pencils. Good stuff!

Also, I thought Red K’s effects were supposed to be unpredictable. Why then would if affect Krypto and Superman the same way, especially 1,000,000 years apart?

Red K was unpredictable when you come across it. But once you see what it does, it would have the same effect on any other Kryptonian who encountered it again.

So if it did one thing to Supergirl, it would do the same thing to Superman if he encountered it. You just don’t know what effect the Red K has until you see what it did to someone else first.

Man, that bar mitzvah comic is possibly the best thing I’ve ever seen. I love that it even exists.

By the by, it still says bat mitzvah in the intro paragraph. And you say Red Son instead of Red Sun both in the Legend title/question and the intro paragraph.

I’ve heard of, but never had the opportunity to read “Under the Red Sun.” Was it ever reprinted in any trade parebacks? Also, it sounds a bit like it might have indirectly inspired the Justice League animated episode where Superman is catapulted into the far future and finds out that the only person still left alive on Earth is Vandal Savage.

Actually the 1963 version makes MORE sense if you realize kryptonite was supposed to only work if Superman has his powers. So under a red sun the red K would have had no effect.

That Bar Mitzvah comic really should have been on the list for the greatest Superman stories, even just for the fact that it exits.

I thought a bat mitzvah was what Bruce Wayne’s bar mitzvah was called.

The whole “SUPERMAN ANNUAL 11 is the first time that Superman ever used his heat vision offensively” is really odd when you take into account the fact that Superman blasted Mongul with heat vision in DC COMICS PRESENTS 36 back in 1981. Hence, not only was SUPERMAN 11 not the first time Superman ever used heat vision on someone, it wasn’t even the first time Superman used heat vision on Mongul.

Ben, I’m pretty sure that was a direct influence. And yes, it’s in one of the Showcase Presents Superman books (#4) as well as the Superman Past and Future collection of time-travel stories.

The link to the William Zanzinger story doesn’t work. I’ve read about it elsewhere, but I was hoping to see your account in case there was anything different.

The Bradmans celebrate a bar mitzvah, but they also have a son named Christian. Don’t you just love multiculturalism?

mike sangiacomo

April 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

I’ve been writing a ton of stories leading up to the 75th anniversary of Superman, who was created right here in Clebeland. Here is a link to the Plain Dealer website where the stories have run. Following the links in the stories to even more stories.

Michael San Giacomo


Ah, Clebeland. Home of the mighty Clebes.

Good thing they fixed that mistake, otherwise the story would have been silly and made no sense.

@phred – Have you actually read Superman Under the Red Sun? It’s a powerful, poignant piece, and will be remembered longer than Internet sarcasm. .

Now I understand that “Heh” comment, Brian. I hadn’t read this when I wrote my own answer.

Brian, Google Chrome says this website contains malware. I accessed anyway because I have good antivirus software, but I’d like to know if anyone else has the same problem.

Brian, Google Chrome says this website contains malware. It’s never happened before. I accessed anyway because I have good antivirus software, but I’d like to know if anyone else has the same problem.

Yes, I do, from Firefox. Apparently it’s on some Google blacklist. Fortunately, in FF you can toggle off the warning/blockade.

In Internet Explorer I get a warning the site wants to install a new font, which I don’t recall before. Perhaps that’s involved.

It’s this annoying thing (but all in all a good thing, I guess) that a lot of the web servers do where they react kind of slow to problems. We had a problem this morning, we fixed it and then NOW we get blocked. Pretty annoying. In any event, if anyone sees this, the site is currently safe.

Martin- to each his own, I guess. I’m glad you and everybody else gets enjoyment out of the story and any silver age Superman story. One of the reasons I comment on a lot of these threads is so that I get a little email back to tell me when somebody has something to ad to the conversation, because I always keep an open mind that somebody will be able to point out something that is good in a story that I hadn’t seen before and it will expand my horizons and let me appreciate something I wouldn’t have otherwise.

But I’m not going to apologize for ragging on Silver Age Superman. I can only apologize for not doing a good enough job of it to make my comment worth reading, so sorry for that.


Exclusive comic book for some kid’s ceremony. Some people have evidently too much money. Can you be more snobbish than that? But then again, stereotypes have a grain of truth.

Exclusive comic book for some kid’s ceremony. Some people have evidently too much money. Can you be more snobbish than that? But then again, stereotypes have a grain of truth.

Snobbish? Are you kidding me? Are you telling me that if you had enough money you wouldn’t do such a thing for your kid? What’s the point of having money if you’re not going to use to give joy to your loved ones in ways you normally couldn’t? It’s not like they made that comic to show off to a bunch of poor people.

Travis Stephens

April 20, 2013 at 1:19 am

Gotta love Supe’s placard maker. Signs for everything in case he forgets. But you would think he had a better one. You know, one that does not look like someone hand lettered their 8th grade science project. Whoever made the Smallville sign did a heck of a job. Still legible after a million years.

Travis Stephens

April 20, 2013 at 1:43 am


I’m not really going to make a value judgment on the comic book. Many people would think some of my purchases to be excessive. It is relative. When I lived overseas many people thought Americans were hedonistic spendthrifts. But then you have to wonder what that family used for toilet paper.

Any idea how much it cost to do something like this in either 1988 or 2013 dollars. It may be less expensive than some of the things I’ve seen in some of the children’s catalogs I get.

One website suggested roughly $18,000 1988 dollars, which is roughly $35,000 in 2013 dollars.

So, if that’s true (I can’t confirm it, which is why I didn’t mention it in the piece), that’s obviously a lot of money but not exactly insane when you have millions of dollars. Look at what a typical family spends on a Bar Mitzvah. Proportionally it is probably much less.

I don’t think of it as snobbish at all. Just a really creative and cool idea. Iif anyone had ever done that for me, I’d be thrilled.

The Superman under the red sun story can be found in Best of DC Digest #1, I believe. Which came out in 1979 (so I suppose that’s the reprint the change was made for.)

It also has the Death of Superman imaginary story in there. Which made the recent best Superman stories list on CBR.

Those digests were so great.

Travis Stephens

April 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm

18K is a bit more than I would have guessed. But no doubt DC charged for their indicia/logo and a fee for using Superman. Factor in the creative costs for using their talent and a possibly for pulling them off of other projects, and I’m assuming a press run of 200-250 copies. Still I would have that half the amount would have been a little much.

I assume that malware mentioned in earlier comments was that fake/scam “antivirus” software that got into my work PC

Here’s a question, if anyone happens to know the answer: in paying for the personalized Superman Bar Mitzvah comic, did the price include retention of the original pages by the Bradmans…? If so, 8-9 pages (including a cover) of original Curt Swan Superman art would have been one hell of a gift. And, if they still had the pages today, probably worth every penny they spent.

I actually regret that scene in “For the Man who has everything.” Ever since then, every Superman artist thinks they need to draw a “grim and gritty” Superman with glowing red eyes.

I had no idea about the change to “Under a Red Sun.” Haven’t made my way through the Showcase Presents Superman volume that reprints it; I assume it’ll contain the “corrected” version, but it’ll be interesting to see either way. The JL episode it inspired is badass, too!

In a recent reprint of Superman time travel stories, they went back to the original version, so I bet that’s the version in the Showcase Presents.

Ah, okay. Using the original version rather than the modified one would be true to the purpose of the Showcase volumes too, I reckon.

Hmm, never seen that Superman story, amusingly, like ‘The Man Who Has Everything’ my first exposure was in Justice League.

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This is amazing. They even got Curt Swan to draw it! I wonder how much DC was paid for this. Maybe I should start saving my pennies.

The story of the Bar Mitzvah comic was covered over at IO9, and I was surprised at the level of vitriol from the commenters concerning the spending of “vulgar” amounts of money for a present for his kids. Some people really got bent out of shape that the guy was allowed to do such an extravagant thing. I thought it was awesome.

If you combine the first and second Legends, you get the notion that Superman would make a pretty interesting mohel.

If you’re, y’know, me, and your brain works funny, that is.

“It’s a quake! Quick, get into the house”

Dammit. If Silver Age comics were realistic, their characters would all die earning a Darwin Award.

a really great Superman story by Binder that shows how different Superhero fights were handled is Superman 134, where the Krypton outlaw scientist KULL EX masquerades as Superman on Earth. The real Superman uses his wits to oust the impostor.

Fisticuffs? Nope. Superman: “a fight is out of the question, it would wreck the whole planet!”

Of course Alan Moore, the ‘great’ Superhero deconstructor would have to be the first (or second) to use heat vision on living things…

More than the goof with the ray, it’s been well established that kryptonite doesn’t affect non-super Kryptonians. This is why the ground under Argo City had to turn to anti-kryptonite, to threaten the citizens. “How conVIEEENient,” said The Church Lady. Also, I never understood how the dying sun would cause the ice caps to melt, while leaving the climate livable for both Superman and the flora and fauna. All of this is surprising, considering that the story was written by a writer as good as Hamilton.

The custom Superman comic is cool as hell.

But Supergirl used red kryptonite under the red sun to get powers according to another one of the Comic Book Legends Revealed installment.

Mark Waid was on the right track but Superman used heat vision to attack the Parasite in the latter’s first appearance Action Comics #340 August 1966. He blasted the Parasite hoping only his strength was stolen only to be blasted back with heat vision.

Glorious Godfrey pulling Superman’s strings once again. Dastardly!

Thy called it “The Weapon: Laser Vision” on the cover, for some reason….I guess it sounded cooler than “Heat Vision”

Interesting legend, about the heat vision. I can see why it originated. The Silver Age Superman is so repressed, his whole Clark Kent persona can be an exercise in passive aggression, so when he is depicted as openly displaying fury, it’s a big deal.

Spending that money on a birthday gift may or may not be snobbish. My own rule is that something is snobbish (or bourgeoise) when you buy something not because you enjoy it, but because you want to show off to your neighbours and friends and bystanders.

Angelo Torres’ inks over Curt Swan’s pencils make a pretty sweet combination!

And I also thought of the Jim Starlin-drawn fight in DC COMICS PRESENTS between Supes and Mongul in regards to the heat vision question. Pretty sure he also used it against Captain Marvel in the SUPERMAN VS. SHAZAM tabloid.

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