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I started reading comics regularly after 'Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns'. Since then, I've become a co-host on 'The LanternCast' (a podcast dedicated to Green Lantern that's been on the air since 2008), started a new podcast covering the late 1980's DC series Action Comics Weekly (appropriately titled The Action Comics Weekly Podcast), and have been the curator of THE blog on the internet dedicated to the character of Ragman, created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert published by DC Comics starting in 1976 and currently appearing on The CW show 'Arrow' as portrayed by actor Joe Dinicol. I'm an avid fan of comics, classic rock, and speaking my mind. Welcome!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Deeds of a Supergod...

(Covers to Action Comics #385 - #387)
I want to depart briefly from the typical content of this blog. As you're probably aware, this isn't going to have a thing to do with Green Lantern or theories on the various related series going forward. But bear with me because I've been wanting to cover these three issues of 'Action Comics' for a long time. It started about two years ago when I saw all three of these issues in the bagged and boarded back issues bins at my local comic shop Austin Books and Comics. I was JUST heavily getting into comics but I knew enough about the industry to know that, for comics from 1970, having single issues back to back with a continuing storyline was unusual. But ABC had those issues priced at roughly $15 an issue and each time I wandered into the shop, I decided against it until, about a month ago, I found them in their discount store (called the 'Sidekick') for $5 an issue. And now you get to enjoy the fruits of my good fortune with the AMAZINGNESS that these three issues contain within their pages.

The storyline opens the random-est of meetings between the Man of Steel and the Leader of the Free World...

(Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans Superman...)

Of course, as with any good story from the early 1970's, if you start off this way then you HAVE to go the exact opposite route for the remainder of the story. Suddenly and out of nowhere, outside of the Fortress of Solitude, a giant metal hand appears and begins burning a message into the door of the Fortress. The alarms begin to clang at a frequency only the Man of Tomorrow can hear and he speeds out of the White House and to his Fortress. The message reads, "Superman your help is urgently needed in year 101,970 coordinates x78-543/20." And Superman confirms this information with a quick scan of the metal hand with his microscopic vision and noticing that the metal alloy that makes up the hand is "not yet discovered in 1970!" And so Superman finds himself at an impasse. So he decides the only way to not break his promise to the President AND still answer this futuristic cry for help is to take a faulty Time Bubble to the future...

(What do those kids from the future know about time travel anyways?)
So Superman ignores the sign, the warnings of his experienced time traveling friends and his own better judgement and takes the Time Bubble hurtling into the far future. Everything seems just fine until...

(Who could have possibly known?!)
Superman quickly gets over his rapid aging and gets down to business. Apparently he's been called to the future because the monetary reserve which houses over fifty trillion dollars worth of currency, has been broken into repeatedly and no one can seem to figure out how. So Superman agrees to be locked within the vault for a 12 hour cycle to discover who or what is stealing the money from the vault and how they're going about it. After a few hours, Superman suddenly sees something in the Pulsato-Energi fence (one of the vaults many security measures)...

(Umm, WHAAAA?!)
After narrowly escaping defeat, Superman hides in the rest of the Energi fence and waits out the creature as it consumes a large amount of money then disappears. Finally the 12 hour cycle is over and the vault opens again. Superman explains quickly that he found the 'thief' and needs some supplies quickly before the vault closes again. Befuddled, they comply and Superman goes to work in the vault with his 'paint-atomizer' on the currency in the vault and, locked inside once more waits for the creature to appear. Suddenly the creature appears and begins to consume money again and then randomly explodes as Superman explains, "I noticed it consumed only currency that was red, yellow, or orange -- the warm pigments of the color spectrum! I guessed that by tricking it into eating blue money -- one of the cool colors -- I'd 'poison' the thing! So I sprayed yellow paint on several types of blue coins!" With the threat neutralized, Superman begins to head back home in his Time Bubble when suddenly...

(Invisible Time Barriers are a bitch...)
Oh noes! Superman is stuck in the FUTURE! So, what the hell, why not do a little sight seeing? So he flies down to Earth and does a little sight seeing where he is suddenly attacked by almost everyone, so he hides. As he's hiding he sees a 'Wanted' billboard for 3 criminals dressed in his costume so, to avoid further attack, he zips into a museum and hides as a statue dressed in the 'traditional' wear of the 1970's. Suddenly the futuristic heroes known as the Multiple-Men show up and 'gift' superman with one power each using a gas. Superman passes out and wakes up in the 'observation pit' surrounded by doctors and scientists of the future...

(Suicidal Superman can no longer die...)

And the first issue ends there, but the craziness hasn't even BEGUN until the next issue brings us back into the story...

(Super Boredom!)
In a feat of sheer awesomness, Superman, between last issue and this one, got SUPER bored and decided to go hurtling even FURTHER into the future because, well why not? But as the Action Ace (a name for Superman that has now become my favorite) enters the even more futurey future Metropolis than the future Metropolis of last issue, he is apprehended and brought before the 'central-control complex' because he was caught using super powers in the city. As Superman asks why he is disallowed from using his powers, he is told a story of a super team trio called the Naurons who eventually gave way to infighting between the two male members of the team over the affections of the female member. As a result of their super fighting they wrecked the earths atmosphere and the rest is history. Superman agrees to comply with the edict of the future Metropolis and goes touring the city and checks the future 'Daily Planets' records to know what happened to Lois, Jimmy and Perry. On his way out of the Daily Planet, he spots a hover-vehicle going out of control and realizes he must break the law and save the occupants. As he leaps into the air he is instantly apprehended. As he protests, he is shown why his interference isn't needed in the first place...

(Automatic De-Solidifiers, what would we do without them?)
As punishment for breaking the law yet again, he is sent to the retirement planet of Diodn where he meets other retired super heroes who are no longer needed. But, three days later, the Mayor of Metropolis visits the planet to recruit the retired heroes to save the city. First the retirees are against it until Superman, whom they idolize, steps up and rally's them to help. As they fly to Metropolis they soon discover what the issue is...

(Super Deeds!)
After acquiring all of the elements he needs, Superman plays super smithy and forges an 'ultra-strong' metal alloy to cover the silo and, as it begins to explode, he spirals it up and out into space, thus saving Metropolis from certain doom. The issue comes to an end as the retired heroes wait for Superman to return...

(Super Emo...)
As Superman continues to drift through space and time, the final issue of this series opens with Kal-El coming upon five astronauts floating in frozen suspended animation. Typically, Superman would know just what to do in this situation, but he decides to take a different approach...

(You know, if you can risk a trip through the sun for the purposes of excitement, why not?)
So, the superbly bored Superman, decides that saving people in the usual methods are also boring, so he decides to take them on a trip through the nearest Rainbow sun. Anyone would have really. As the astronauts awake to see Superman, he informs them they have been stuck in suspended animation for over 5,000 years. As they begin to ask Superman where he's been for over 8,000 CENTURIES (yeah, that's how far he is into the future apparently) Superman get's annoyed with their questions, flies away, crashes the nearest ship so they'll find the astronauts, then decides to hurtle even further into the future...

(Why indeed?)
As Superman slows his crazed acceleration into the future, he comes upon Earth. Only Earth is now deserted and dead, every natural resource used up. Coincidentally, he has arrived just as two GIGANTIC robots from the 'Galactic Sanitation Department' approach the planet to dispose of it. (yeah) After Superman gets rid of the robots, he begins his biggest and most ridiculous feat yet...the feat of playing God...LITERALLY...

(Step One: Cut planet in half, Step Two: Super breathe on planet...)

(Add some rain, plants and animals...)
(Finally, kidnap and displace the nearest humanoid alien life-form...)
Suddenly a killer drone that has been circling the universe for centuries attacks Superman. Apparently this drone was sent out by a dying Lex Luthor who created it to absorb his consciousness, thus allowing him to live forever in the hopes that he could avenge himself on Superman someday. As Superman's unconscious body drifts through space, a robot finds him and revives him. Superman immediately seeks out the drone for round two, knowing a second encounter will kill him and even hoping it will. In the process, Superman get's swept even further into the future, his consciousness slipping back into various times of his past, reliving his childhood on Krypton and his boyhood in Smallville. Suddenly he finds himself back in the Fortress of Solitude...

(Super bullshit...)

And we have reached the end of this three issue arc of lunacy. It was a LONG re-cap but my GOD was it worth it. I've NEVER read such Superman insanity in my life so far and I'm SO happy this was my first experience with the legendary Superman nonsense storytelling from the 1970s. Oh I cannot wait for more!

Hope you enjoyed this long escape from my Green Lantern theories. This story was too amazing to pass up. Don't forget to follow the blog and comment! Thanks!


  1. While these were some weird stories I don't know if you can call them Superman nonsense from the seventies. Superman went through a very definite evolution during that decade and eventually stories like these would phase out in favor of more character driven pieces. These books came out in very late 1969/early 1970 and were some of the last edited by Mort Weisinger, though from what I understand E. Nelson Bridwell (his assistant) was doing a lot of the heavy lifting around this time. To be fair Murray Boltinoff (who took over ACTION after Mort retired) would continue to publish some offbeat stories eventually they would give way to more standard Superman storytelling but eventually Julius Schwartz would take over the entire Superman line so you would get a more consistent tone for the character across his own books.

    I recently picked two of these issues up for cheap and was looking forward to reading them. Looks like I am in for a good time.

  2. I share your love for these books, but from a very different perspective... Action Comics #387 was one of my five first comic books, purchased off the spinner rack back in 1970 when I was five years old.
    The other thing that's notable about that issue in particular is that it's cover dated the same month / year as GREEN LANTERN #76, what many (myself included) consider the starting point of the Bronze Age of Comics.
    I love when new(er) readers gain an appreciation for older books.

  3. I share your love for these books, but from a very different perspective... Action Comics #387 was one of my five first comic books, purchased off the spinner rack back in 1970 when I was five years old.
    The other thing that's notable about that issue in particular is that it's cover dated the same month / year as GREEN LANTERN #76, what many (myself included) consider the starting point of the Bronze Age of Comics.
    I love when new(er) readers gain an appreciation for older books.