Sunday, January 31, 2010

Untold Tales of Superboy #1

As Mort Weisinger took over the reins of the Superman family of magazines, he and his writers set about developing the Superman legend as it would come to be known during the Silver Age of comics. In the stories devoted to Kal-El as an adult, this took the form of the Superman family, with Kandor, Brainiac, the Fortress of Solitude, etc. In the Superboy stories, the focus was more on tales like this one, where we learned how the Lad of Steel learned to overcome some of the limitations and problems that arose from his powers.

As I have mentioned in the past, a lot of this was probably reader-driven. For instance, in this issue, this letter appeared:

In the story, Superboy remembers the first time he ever did his super-feats in public:

But the next day, as he walked to school with Lana Lang, a problem arose:


So Lana is naturally suspicious of Clark from that moment on, and inevitably, he finds himself in situations where he has to use his X-ray vision to do something while in his civilian identity. He can't let the glasses melt, and if he takes them off, she'll be suspicious as to why. So:

And, improbably:

Now that's wacky! At any rate, Clark eventually realizes the only solution:

Now the only thing left is to quell Lana's suspicions about the earlier incident.

Silly story, undeniably, and yet it does help to establish a reasonably important point in the Silver Age Superboy and Superman. There were several other "Untold Tales" and I will discuss them in future posts.


Blaze said...

It explained it well until someone on staff woke up and realized if X-Ray Vision was melting glass, why wasn't it burning a hole in everything between Clark and the escaping lion? And if he could control the intensity to merely look thru the brick walls, why couldn't he control it not to melt the glass?

And thus was born Heat Vision.

It's a shame young, inexperienced Clark didn't think of the method devised in "Lois & Clark" on television. He lowered his glasses to the bridge of his nose and peered over them to use his X-Ray Vision. A visual bit business for TV that was carried on into the "Adventures of Superman" cartoons.

David Akers said...

It explained it until Lana realized that if he had been wearing the candy glasses, he wouldn't have been able to see!

Jacque Nodell said...

These wacky stories and crazy explanations (i.e. the mask) never cease to amaze me!

David said...

Did they really use to have such a thing as candy glasses? And here I thought I was cool, pretending to eat a real cigarette. Imagine how awesome it would have been to start chewing absent-mindedly on my glasses and then -- as my friends looked on amazed -- gobble them up entirely.

I'm actually a bit more disturbed by the display behind Clark that says, "Amaze Your Friends," and features an assortment of handguns! Don't tell me...licorice? Although that could have been fun, too. "I swear, Mom, if you make me take another piano lesson, I'm going to eat my gun!"