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Comic Book Legends Revealed #416

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COMIC LEGEND: DC corrected a major plot hole in the classic Superman tale “The Last Days of Superman” when it was reprinted in a 1977 Treasury Edition.


This is a sequel to last week’s story of a similar situation with the Superman classic “Under the Red Sun.”

In the classic Superman story in Superman #156, “The Last Days of Superman” by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and George Klein (#62 on our list of the 75 Greatest Superman Stories of All-Time!) Superman believes (erroneously) that he is dying from a rare Kryptonian virus. Supergirl gathers his allies to cross off the items on Superman’s proverbial bucket list.

At one point, Supergirl goes back in time to explore a rumor that a Kryptonian scientist cured it…


As it turns out, Superman never had the virus (Jimmy Olsen did something stupid). However, do you notice the major plot hole here? Mark Waid certainly did. He challenged me to find it. I did not. He then told me what it was and there it is when DC reprinted it in a 1977 Treasury Edition. Notice the change in the page…


Hilarious. “Uh…yeah, red kryptonite! That’s the ticket!”

Classic change.

Interestingly enough, earlier in the story, the Treasury Edition also catches a typo with the Legion…

but the very next page does NOT catch another typo…

Interesting (by the way, from reading that Brainiac 5 panel, if you thought “Huh, I wonder if they’ll go to the ol’ Legion trick of having Legion members think a teammate is evil for no reason?” Then you would be on the right track).

Thanks, Mark!

Mark also wished to open up to the audience to see if anyone could find a THIRD time that DC did this, with Superman #139 (which was reprinted in 1983 in DC’s Digest series). If you can find the change, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com and I’ll feature you in a future Comic Book Legends Revealed!

Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did Mike Myers ask to re-do all of his Shrek dialogue with a Scottish accent after they already had a rough cut of the movie finished (costing Dreamworks to go over budget making changes to his already animated scenes)?

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Here’s my new book, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? The cover is by Kevin Hopgood (the fellow who designed War Machine’s armor).

If you want to order a copy, ordering it here gives me a referral fee.

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

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Assuming everyone knows the Dobie-do/Scooby-doo.connection.

I would have gone with the “fatal to any human being” line, myself. Did Kryptonians refer to themselves as human beings during the Silver Age?

I love that Supergirl and Superman can fly back in time to before Krypton exploded but they don’t seem to want to warn anyone or at least take some survivors back to the present with them. (Although I’m sure there’s some story out there where they tried and I just haven’t read it).

Since the Legion is standing right there, why didn’t Supergirl use a Time Bubble?


April 26, 2013 at 10:36 am

I figured it was Braniac 5 having an extensive knowledge of Kryptonian scientists and their dealings before the planet blowed up. But then I havent read much Silver Age LOSH and he is a Braniac so who knows.

I’m not seeing the Braniac 5 typo.

@Black Manta.. Brainiac 5 is spelt Brainic 5

I have a copy of the early1950s dobie gillis collection.VERY funny stuff,and what makes it cooler, is that the stories take place in the Minneapolis/st. Paul area,and u of m, of the late 1940s.

I have that issue of foom magazine, and my name is listed as one of the submiters.I know one of the published submiters personaly.The drawing was done right in front of me.Many pros came from the ranks of submiters listed,it was their first exposure before fandom for most.In short, the very beginning of their careers.

Funny how they did that after the whole Charcoal fiasco…

Charcoal fiasco?

And, wow, that is a pretty error-ridden story. On top of the ones listed, the colourist (or printer) even messed up Brainie’s face in the panel where Supergirl jumps to the past…

(Also…Cosmic King? Interesting mistake. That’s like ‘typoing’ Superman as Ultraman…)

I’m surprised I caught the Superman plot hole. But I also think I used Byrne revamp reasoning to dismiss it. Doesn’t Superman’s/Supergirl’s skin act as some sort of battery so he has super powers for a while even if he isn’t exposed to yellow sunlight? Maybe I’m thinking of Aquaman’s water dealio.

Kamino Neko: This was the Charcoal fiasco, regarding another fan-created character used earlier in Thunderbolts: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2005/08/11/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-11/

Pecos Asbestos McGuiliguty

April 26, 2013 at 12:11 pm

@ Dolphus

Was thinking the same thing.

Of course, there is an even bigger flaw in the story – merely that if she can travel back through time, why not simply travel back in time and PREVENT Superman from being exposed to the contaminate?

I suppose one could argue that you can’t mess with events that have now become an aspect of time itself, but that rule is broken all the time.

I’m afraid someone is going to have to explain to me what the ‘uncaught error’ is in that Brainiac 5 panel, because the only difference I see is that his beaker has a green substance in it.

Pecos: It’s just that his name is misspelled.

Charcoal fiasco?


The guys who created Charcoal tried to sue Marvel for (I think) $10,000. It was a BS lawsuit. Kurt Busiek or Tom Brevoort could give you more details over that whole mess.

Pecos: The last “a” is missing in Brainiac 5’s name. A minor error compared to accidentally misnaming a hero after a villain. Fortunately for Lightning Lad, the Legion hadn’t met Cosmic King yet (only the Adult Legion version had appeared at that point) so Cosmic Boy was less likely to give him a hard time about that error than he may have during Levitz’s run.

Oh yeah, Thunderbolts and fan created characters. Sounds like they didn’t have any problem with this one.

@Da Fug – while Kryptonians do hold yellow solar energy in their bodies, so they can retain their powers even when not exposed to it (underground, etc), it’s also established that red solar radiation is absorbed preferentially, to the point that it will push the yellow energy out. So going to Krypton, even if the story is of an era that uses the ‘battery’ explanation, will depower Superman/-girl pretty quickly. (IIRC, kryptonite is also supposed to work the same way before it gets to a lethal level.)

And thanks buttler, et al for explaining the Charcoal thing.

It also looks to me like the original “Cosmic King” panel has Invisible Kid racing to the time bubble in his invisible form.

That Supergirl-on-Krypton panel has bothered me since it was first published. My own thought back then was that maybe Kara was an invisible phantom not affected by the red sun because she was already on Krypton (a time travel gimmick DC had used before). But there’s a flaw in that theory.

Travis Stephens

April 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Wasn’t there an arc in Adventure comics where the LSH tried to help Superman go back time and save Krypton/his parents? Think if Krypton is saved it causes problems in the 30th century. Also if you travel back in time Pre-Crisis w/o a time bubble, you are phantom that is out of phase with reality. Superman went back in time saw his parents that way.

Giving Supergirl the power to travel through time and space to Krypton effectively breaks the entire Superman mythos. The retention of her powers looks like a minor gaff by comparison.

@Cass: Back in those days, Superman could dot hat sort of thing all the time. The rules were that he couldn’t exist twice in the same tim period and that he couldn’t alter the course of past events, and editor Mort Weisinger generally made sure they held fast. Time-travel that doesn’t let you change anything about the past isn’t all that big a deal, really.

I’d be hard-pressed to name a member of the Superman cast who didn’t time-travel to Krypton before it exploded. Jimmy Olsen did it in issue 101 of his comic, Lois Lane went there and tried to steal Jor-El away from Lara (Lois Lane #59). Superman certainly went back to Krypton more than once (Superman #123, 141, World of Krypton #2), even bringing Batman along at least once (World’s Finest #191). Heck, teenage Jor-El even traveled in time and met Superboy (Superboy #121)! I’m not sure Perry White ever made the trip, anyway.

Post-Crisis, people still kept making that trip. Kon-El, the Jack Knight and Mikaal Tomas Starmen…

Heck, Superman, Supergirl AND Superboy have time-traveled to Krypton already in the New 52.

If Humus Sapiens was the winner, I’m afraid to think of the losers.

Speaking of Dobie Gillis, I once read that Scooby Doo started out as an animated version of Dobie. Fred was Dobie, Daphne was Thalia, Velma was Zelda and Shaggy was, obviously, Maynard G. Krebs.

Amusingly, the Dobie Gillis *comic book* was “repurposed” into a comic book that was clearly trying to cash in on Archie, *Windy and Willie*. That short-lived title was launched in 1969, using old Dobie stories altered enough to no longer contain any Dobie Gillis licensed content (which license DC no longer had).

Photos of Dobie as a blond always look weird to me. I gather he only looked like that for the first season.

A while back DIAL B FOR BLOG not only related the Scooby Doo and Willy and Windy stories, but also reprints a TV GUIDE cover where Zelda and Thalia face off each other over Dobie for an article on “What Teenage Boys Look for in Girls.”

Also a funny parody of a famous Flash cover as “SECRET ORIGINS: Teens of Two Worlds.”


“DC reprinted it in a 1977 Treasury Edition” – There’s no such thing. Treasury’s were what Marvel called their version of what is known in printer’s terms as a Tabloid. DC only referred to their large comics as tabloids, never treasuries. I bought many of them at the time.

In this case, the reprint is in Limited Collectors’ Edition #C-52, subtitled “The Best of DC volume 1″.

Amusingly, the Dobie Gillis *comic book* was “repurposed” into a comic book that was clearly trying to cash in on Archie, *Windy and Willie*. That short-lived title was launched in 1969, using old Dobie stories altered enough to no longer contain any Dobie Gillis licensed content (which license DC no longer had).

Another classic Comic Book Legends Revealed!

but also reprints a TV GUIDE cover where Zelda and Thalia face off each other over Dobie for an article on “What Teenage Boys Look for in Girls.”

The thing is, WAS that Zelda and Thalia? The cover credits two other actresses.

Never heard of Charcoal as I’ve never read Thunderbolts.

Submitting a self-created character to be used as a one-time villain is good fun, but Marvel using him for 40 issues instead is something entirely different. Not cool without giving the man some more credit…and money.

Humus Sapiens? Sentient topsoil?

Has to be better than Hummus Sapiens, Arch-Foe of Vegan-Man.

That was a fun time to be reading Thunderbolts. Pretty much #50 – #75 is one of my fav runs on a title. It was sad to see Charcoal ‘die’. Especially considering every other character came back except him.


Comic-Reader Lad

April 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Pecos, Supergirl can’t travel back in time to prevent Superman from being exposed to the Virus X (or Jimmy Olsen’s Kryptonite lodged in his camera) because under Mort Weisinger’s time travel rules in place at the time, Supergirl would have been turned into a phantom if she traveled back to a time where she already exists.

That’s how she can be on Krypton before she was born without being a phantom.

“If Humus Sapiens was the winner, I’m afraid to think of the losers.”

There was El Guacamole, The Terrible Topenede, and Poi Pot Pete….

humus ? hummus.
unless you eat dirt

Don’t judge me, Sandra.

I see they also corrected Brainiac 5’s skin color – always interesting to see another one of the classic green/grey coloring errors in practice.

Something of a nitpick. Thalia wasn’t rich. She WANTED to find and eventually marry someone rich. She made claims that it was to support her family

Out of curiosity, is that Mel Blanc in the image with Warren Beatty?

Incredibly cool of Busiek et al. to keep that decades old promise to the fan. =0)
And he even got to ink a page! Cool stuff.

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