by Robert Gillis, who didn’t have anything better to do. (3/2015)

From Action Comics #202 (May 1955): Just two pages from the story but enough to provide lots to um… Think about…

Action Comics V1 204 000002

So a letter is delivered to the Daily Planet for Superman. We’ve seen this before and it even happens on the Superman TV shows and in the movies. Superman gets lots of mail addressed to the Daily Planet. No big deal there. But for some reason Perry is all over this letter – he’s acting like Superman never gets any mail.

Back to the story. Lois will give the letter to Superman when she sees him. Clark thinks to himself that he could use his X-Ray vision, but aw, Perry’s desk blotter is lined with lead. Do they still make lead-lined blotters? Weird.

Anyway, Clark makes a VERY unconvincing excuse about being tired and quickly leaves to don his cape, then in (Panel 4) as Superman he makes a — as the caption panel calls it — a “conventional” entrance. Yep, “CONVENTIONAL.”

You know, if I were asked to give an example of a “CONVENTIONAL” entrance, the words, “man flying through the window” would not be used.

ANYWAY, Superman is about to open the letter but just then, {THE CONTRIVED EMERGENCY} occurs. The radio announcer helpfully booms, “Attention please! Large meteorite heading toward Metropolis! Take shelter – anywhere – quick!”

WOW.

JUST WOW.

Glad the guy doesn’t work for FEMA.

So while everyone races to hide under Perry’s lead lined blotter (kidding), Superman races off, apparently punching Lois in the chest (panel 5) and he flies into space…

Action Comics V1 204 000003

…to intercept the meteorite. But whoops, he doesn’t hit it hard enough, so he {wait for it} SMASHES it again into the sidewalk right next to where THREE INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE STANDING! (See them in panel 3? They are RIGHT NEXT to the METEORITE that came hurling down from space and is being SMASHED by Superman!) all over the place!  Fiery meteorite rocks exploding everywhere!

Thankfully, the EXPLOSIVE DESTRUCTION of a HUGE FLAMING CHUNK OF SPACE ROCK RIGHT NEXT TO THE PEOPLE has no effect on them – because, um… um… Um…

*Cricket* *Cricket* *Cricket*

The realism in this era of comics still gets me every time.

ANYWAY, for good measure, Superman then uses his super-breath to scatter the meteorite dust to the “four winds. “ Thank God meteorites are never radioactive or contain unknown chemicals, or give people super-powers, or have unpredictable effects, but whatever.

So Superman zooms back to the Planet, and Perry gives Superman the letter, and says, “Here you are. Tell me if there’s a story in it.”

Seriously?

No, SERIOUSLY?

Let’s recap. Superman gets a LETTER in the MAIL. He arrives to read said LETTER but a METEORITE makes an untimely descent toward the Big Apricot and will surely cause lots of damage and death, so Superman intercepts and destroys the METEORITE in spectacular fashion in four or five panels, nearly killing a few people in the process. No big deal, because when Superman returns to the NEWSPAPER OFFICE no one even mentions the meteorite and Superman saving millions of lives. They don’t even ask him about it, if there are more meteorites coming, what the meteorite was made of, or even bother to ask if someone got a picture, because Perry wants to see if the LETTER has a story in it.

Looking for a story Perry? Um, Perry, the METEORITE that nearly wiped out Metropolis? THAT’S a STORY.

But not in the Silver Age. A meteorite nearly ka-booms the entire city and Superman stops it? Must be Thursday!

All that’s missing is Perry picking up the phone and saying, “Stop the presses! Kill the “Superman Saves City from Gigantic Meteorite!” headline and replace it with “Superman gets a letter in the mail!”

I have said before — the Silver Age Perry White would not recognize a story if it came crashing into his office.

Fun footnote: Although the letter is only a message to Superman from a friend in London saying he will arrive in Metropolis on a certain day, Superman uses the letter as a ruse to fool – I kid you not – INVISIBLE SPACE ALIENS in the same story.

Only in the Silver Age, kids! Only in the Silver Age!

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