by Robert Gillis

What was so special about the silver age of comic books? Read about it HERE

In the 1960s, the Superman comics (Silver Age) got mighty silly with the addition of Streaky the super cat, Krypto the super dog, Comet the super horse and yes, Beppo the super monkey, and many others. Let’s take another, closer look at Beppo, shall we?

“Beppo was an experimental monkey Superboy’s father, Jor-El, used to determine whether his son could survive space conditions. He stowed away in Superbaby’s rocket, and when it reached Earth, like Superboy and Krypto, he gained super-powers under the yellow sun.” – Superboy No. 76 (October 1959) “The Super-Monkey from Krypton”

Let me get this straight: Beppo the Super monkey STOWED AWAY on Kal-El’s rocket ship and NO ONE noticed? The little compartment for Kal-El wasn’t that big … There wasn’t room for Lara in the rocket, but a MONKEY stowed aboard? As Jor-El and Lara said their final good-byes, neither noticed the MONKEY?

Imagine the scene in Superman the Movie (DVD extended version):

Lara: He will defy their gravity.

Jor-El: He will look like one of them.

Lara: The monkey won’t look like one of them …

Jor-El: His dense molecular structure will make him strong.

Lara: And the monkey, too. There’s a monkey in the ship.

Jor-El: He will be fast. Virtually invulnerable.

Lara: There is a M-O-N-K-E-Y in the ship. THERE. Biting our son on the head. What’s the Kryptonian word for, Ebola?

Jor-El: He will not be alone. He will never be alone.

Jor-El places green crystal in spaceship. Beppo promptly begins gnawing on it.

Beppo: Eeek! Oooh — ah — ah — green banana!

Jor-El: You will travel far, my little Kal-El. But we will never leave you, even in the face of our deaths. The richness of our lives shall be yours. All that I have, all that I have learned, everything I feel, all this and more, I bequeath to you, my son.

Lara: And the monkey, too.

Jor-El: You will carry me inside you all the days of your life. You will make my strength your own, see my life through your eyes, as your life will be seen through mine.

Lara: Oh, look, the monkey is scratching! The monkey has fleas! Will the fleas gain Super-Powers on Earth, too?

Jor-El: The son becomes the father, and the father, the son. This is all I – all I can send you, Kal-El.

Beppo (thought balloon): Crystal, yuk, not banana.

Kal-El: Gurgle

Green Crystal: Error in module FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE CONSTRUCTION, we apologize for any inconvenience. Would you like to report this error to Microsoft?

Kal-El, Mr. Total Recall, didn’t remember any of this? When the ship landed on Earth, The Kents heard the baby crying but not the eee-oo-ah-ee-oo-ah? of the monkey?

Pa Kent: Why, it’s a baby Martha! Not a scratch on him! And there’s some indestructible yellow, red and blue blankets … and a green crystal with lots of simian teeth marks.

Ma Kent: We’ll name him Clark, after my family, and raise him as our own! The sole survivor of a lost race!

Pa Kent: What about the monk —

Ma Kent: The SOLE SURVIVOR of a lost race of … SUPER-MEN!

Now let’s jump ahead to Adventure Comics No. 322 (July 1964) “The Super Tests of the Super-Pets … ”

” … With all Legionnaires being kept busy in the effort to defeat the Time Trapper, the Super-Pets were enlisted to stand guard in the clubhouse.”

The Universe is about to be destroyed. Quick! Get the horse, monkey and dog to guard the fort! The time trapper, an evil being made of pure chronal energy, will be no match for the cat with the cape!

“Saturn Girl made the pets temporarily telepathic so they could communicate with each other while on duty.”

Oh, yeah, this is getting more plausible all the time.

” … Seeing them at the special table Superboy had made for them … “

Isn’t that sweet — Superboy made the pets a special table. Of course, Superboy had plenty of time, since he was never doing normal stuff, like kissing girls or anything …

High school guy: Hey Clark, I made out with Lana Lang at the sock hop Saturday night. What did you do?

Clark: I made a special table for the Legion of Super-Pets to hold their meetings!

High school guy: You are such a loser, Kent.

Clark: Sigh. If only I could tell him I just pretend to be a loser to conceal my secret identity of SUPERBOY!

High school guy: Um, you said all that out loud, Clark.

Clark: Damn.

“Chameleon Boy’s friend Proty II decided that he, also being a super-pet, would like to join their Legion. The other animals were doubtful as, compared to their super-strength, he was just a blob.”

It’s not easy being a blob.

” … but pledged that he could join if he passed a series of tests given to him by each of them in turn.”

The first challenge: Solve the puzzle of the mysterious can opener.

“Beppo’s test for Proty was to keep the Legionnaires out of their clubhouse for one hour, which Proty accomplished by building a strange-looking machine and playing dead beside it, making it seem that incomprehensible scientific traps were set in the clubhouse.”

Great idea! The Legion had nothing else going on at the time (except the time trapper trying to annihilate the space-time continuum) and probably welcomed this little conundrum by the super-pets as a pleasant diversion while the universe was imploding around them.

Oh, yeah, we miss Silver Age Superman.

Hello There!

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