Sunday, June 06, 2010

Super-Swipe #4: Mon-El's Older Brother

One of the significant events in the Superboy series during the Silver Age was the arrival of Mon-El on Earth. He became something of the poster boy for the imperfection of the Boy (and later Man) of Steel, as both Superboy and Superman were unable to solve his lead-poisoning problem and rescue him from the Phantom Zone. Indeed, we learned in the Legion of Super-Heroes series that Mon-El was only able to join the corporeal world 1000 years in the future.

But in fact, Mon-El's story was at least partly swiped from an earlier Golden Age tale. Here's Mon-El's ship crashing, from Superboy #89 (June 1961):

And here's how the story looked, way back in Superman #80 Jan-Feb 1953):

Superboy deduces that the stranger on the rocket ship is his older brother:

For the same reason that Superman claims Hal-Kar as a sibling in Superman #80:

The middle section of each story is quite different; in the Mon-El intro, we learn that Superboy begins to suspect that Mon-El is a fraud, even though he displays very similar abilities to a Kryptonian on Earth. In the original Superman realizes that his older brother has slightly weaker super-powers to his. However, the explanation for how each ended up on Krypton is very similar:

Large elements of Superboy's Older Brother were clearly swiped from Superman's Older Brother


joe bloke said...

is this the same Mon-El that seems to be in all the Superman books, at the moment? 'cause, if it is, I HATES HIM!!! hates him, I tell you.

Marc said...

Wow. I just read Mon-El's first appearance the other day when I started on the Legion of Superheroes Archives series, and at the time I thought the story was one of the more original and creative ones in the book. I guess I was duped!

Twin said...

Including his costume!

Mon-El was the prototype of all of the characters who have suffered at the hands of serial revisionists over the last 20 years or so, from Hawkman to Green Arrow, to Superman and Batman themselves.

And judging by the previous comments, poor Mon is still being pulled apart and put back together.

Makes the multiple Earth concept look better and better, n'est-ce pas?

earth-two said...

Twin, In fact it is commonly accepted that Halk Kar is the Earth-Two version of Mon-El, given that the former appeared within the timeframe of the golden age Superman's adventures. said...

I remember reading the Hal-Kar story when it was reprinted in a Superman Giant around 1970 and having a "WTF!" moment when I realized that this story had been ripped off to create the latter one (and Mon-El remains one of my all time favorite characters, no matter how much they screw him up).

CMN said...

What's the explanation on Mon-El having a Kryptonian name (i.e, if he's not from Krypton)?

Pat said...

The Mon-El name was coined by Superboy, with Mon for Monday (the day he arrived on Earth) and El added based on the assumption that he was Kal's older brother. Oddly, he kept that name, and the story does not reveal his real (original) name.