by Robert Gillis

What was so special about the silver age of comic books? Read about it HERE
(Click any image to enlarge)

Slow news day so I thought we’d have some more fun with some gems from the Silver Age of comic books.

From the cover of Batman #101 (August, 1956): Whoosh! Batman’s cape and cowl have blown off his head! Robin yells that that particular cape, “…contains a clue to your secret identity!”

Hey Robin, you know what ELSE contains a clue to Batman’s secret identity? THE FACT THAT BRUCE WAYNE IS STANDING ON A ROOFTOP IN BROAD DAYLIGHT WEARING A BATMAN COSTUME!



From the same issue and story, the cowl and cape is later found by Clark Kent.  Proving he still doesn’t understand the whole “secret identity” thing, Robin blurts out, “SUPERMAN” as Batman says, “Clark Kent!”  Way to go there, boy wonder.  I mean, if Batman and Robin are on the street in DAYLIGHT certainly they’d attract attention, and Robin is standing there doing the, “HEY EVERYONE!  THIS IS CLARK KENT, HE IS REALLY SUPERMAN!” shout-out.    Hey Robin, why don’t you just frigging sky write it?  That way people in Metropolis can see it!


Speaking of things in the sky…

Here’s an interesting sequence from Lois Lane #73 (1967). Clark Kent has been possessed by an alien and doesn’t know he is Superman. Jimmy Olsen, expert pilot, is attempting to land on the roof of the Daily Planet (which seems impossible given that the Daily Planet globe covers nearly the entire small roof and there’s no obvious helicopter landing zone in sight) but anyway, the controls freeze, Jimmy loses control of the helicopter and crashes it THROUGH THE BUILDING into the newsroom.

ONE PANEL LATER, “After Jimmy is taken to the hospital and the debris is cleared away…”

  • Does the staff relocate to a safer area of the building (you know, one without some plastic and cardboard blocking the massive hole in the wall on the 28th floor the HELICOPTER CRASH caused?  I mean, there has to be a fire, ignited fuel, shredded metal and massive damage!   What about all the people in the streets fleeing the razor-sharp helicopter blades that have likely shattered in every direction?  Is the building even evacuated while the fire department checks that the building is safe after it was hit by a HELICOPTER????!!!!
  • Or do they rush to the hospital to see if Jimmy will even survive from CRASHING A FREAKING HELICOPTER THROUGH A BUILDING?


Nope, they just call housekeeping to grab a dustpan, sweep up the helicopter, and it’s back to business.  The show must go on and the intrepid reporters get their next urgent assignment – go judge the “Miss Pretzel” beauty contest. Yep — just another example of: a) the hard hitting journalism the Daily Planet was known for; and b) a perfect example of how Perry White would not recognize a great news story if it crashed into his office. Literally. I’ve read this story several times and the helicopter crash seems to serve no other purpose than to call attention to Jimmy’s signal watch (which alien-“Clark” swipes and Lois later uses to call Superman).   Jimmy isn’t even mentioned in this story after the crash.  Maybe the staff just sent a card and flowers.  After all, the Daily Planet has to keep covering these important news stories — such as the Miss Pretzel contest.

By the way, don’t worry; in the very next issue Jimmy is flying the copter again (seriously!).  I know, I was hoping the crash would have killed Jimmy, too.

Perry White must hate Jimmy as much as the rest of us, because just 12 issues before, in Lois Lane #61, Lois is exposed to a radioactive explosion that turns her into a lizard (don’t ask) and Perry tells Jimmy:

Oh, and by the way, thanks for reminding us Lucy Lane is a stewardess, Jimmy.  We would never know that since she ONLY wears the stewardess outfit EVERYWHERE.

Moving on…

In Lois Lane #74 (May, 1967) Lois is having her own adventures on Earth while the entire Justice League is having a meeting on a faraway planet. At the meeting, Superman correctly points out that the team should speed up their discussion since EARTH IS UNPROTECTED with the ENTIRE JUSTICE LEAGUE in a meeting. But Flash dings Superman for not following parliamentary proceedings and Robert’s Rules of Order. What would be nice to see: “There’s a motion on the floor and it’s been seconded to hit Flash in the head with his stupid little gavel a million times. All in favor? Motion carries.”

Interestingly, the JLA is negotiating a planetary treaty to set up a new asteroid prison for space criminals. I didn’t know they did this sort of thing; I would think that other planets would have their own laws about how to handle space criminals, but whatever. Anyway, speaking of exiling criminals to asteroids, maybe that’s where Superman came up with this idea:

In Action Comics #373 (April, 1969), Once again Superman proves he is a total dipshit. Supergirl tells Krypto, the dog who cannot talk (except for that one time with the cosmic meteor), about her existence, so Superman, as always, overreacts ridiculously and EXILES SUPERGIRL to a barren ASTEROID FOR A YEAR. He doesn’t even build a rocket ship; he just makes a plastic tube and THROWS her there. His teenage cousin, who didn’t do anything bad, is exiled to a frigging ASTEROID for A YEAR because she revealed her secret existence to a DOG.  A DOG!

Even though all of this is part of an elaborate ruse on Superman’s part (to see if Supergirl would obey his orders, sheesh) and Supergirl returns shortly thereafter, I’d pay real money for Supergirl to say, “You’re not the boss of me, Kal-El!” and then kick him in the jimmies and go announce her existence to the world. I mean, by this time in the comics, everyone on Earth knew Superman was not the only survivor of Krypton: There was Krypto, there was Beppo the super-monkey, countless Phantom Zone villains, the bottle city of Kandor (population 10 million, seriously) and other folks from Krypton stopping by for meatloaf every Tuesday. So what if people knew that a Supergirl existed? What in the world was the big deal?

Imagine Superman as a father:

Superman’s son: “Oops! Sorry I spilled that orange juice, dad.”

Superman: “Your carelessness displeases me! Death to you!” {Massive heat vision zap!}

In a recent podcast of “From Crisis to Crisis, A Superman Podcast,” Mike and Jeffrey called our attention to this Silver Age Gem: From Superman #145, May, 1961. Another example of Superman being a little too powerful in the Silver Age   Since SUNLIGHT powers  one of the members of an interplanetary circus that is causing a kerfuffle in Metropolis, Superman cancels out the green guy’s power by {wait for it}  pushing the MOON out of its of its orbit (thank God that the moon’s gravitation pull has absolutely NO effect on Earth whatsoever) so he can create an eclipse that will {wait for it} cut off all sunlight from the Earth.  {Um, anyone else remember that the Moon isn’t big enough to cut off ALL sunlight across the entire planet Earth?}  Thank goodness that twenty five years later they didn’t have Superman doing the exact same thing in Superman IV: The Quest For Peace in 1987!  Oh, um, wait.    Superman later apologized to the former residents of every coastal area on Earth.

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