Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Those Pesky Asteroids!

And comets, meteors and rogue planets! Here's another thing I noticed in my reading of the Action Comics starting with #200. Superman seemed to spend half of his time saving Earth from one asteroid or other bit of cosmic debris after another.

 Action #204:
It took awhile for the next one to come along, but after that it was Katie bar the door.  Action #221:

Action #222:
And #223:
Action #227:
Action #232 featured not one, but two near impacts:
In some cases, these asteroids/comets/meteors performed functions similar to Red Kryptonite later in the Silver Age.  For example, the comet in #221 imparted to Superman a magnetic power that was handy at times, but gave him headaches in his secret identity as Clark Kent.  The meteor in #232 ended up giving Superman the powers of Superman Junior.  The meteorite in #204 appeared to force Superman to perform all his super-feats while standing on his head.  And the comet in #227 was thought to have caused his X-ray vision to become uncontrollable.

I'll see if there are any further examples of this.  I seem to recall that one of the episodes of the Superman TV show in the 1950s also featured Superman saving Metropolis from an asteroid.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Man in the Background

I've been remiss in posting a lot lately, but I've also been reading a lot of comics that fall outside the target of this blog; I'm working my way through a couple of series, including the 1970s Flash issues and Cerebus. But as it happens, I got a hankering to read the Action Superman stories starting from issue #200, and I began noticing the man in the background of a lot of scenes set at the Daily Planet offices. And I do mean a lot. Action #200:
Action #202
That's the only instance I can find so far of him having any lines, but he appears quite often:
Sometimes he's portly, sometimes he's rather svelte:
But the pipe and the bald head are absolutely ubiquitous. Well, the bald head is, occasionally he does take the pipe out of his mouth:
He's also the little man in this picture which was pointed out by longtime commenter Ralph C:
There's not really any mystery here; apparently Superman artist Wayne Boring put editor Mort Weisinger into a lot of panels as an inside joke.
Update: For a more biting look at Mort Weisinger from Boring, check here. Hat tip to commenters Wordsmith for the suggestion and Diane for the link.