Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Towns Without Pity

The appeal of these types of covers should be obvious. As with so many Weisinger-edited magazines, this cover presents a puzzle to the reader. Why does this town of Cyrusville hate Superman?

The answer is somewhat convoluted, but in essence Cyrusville is named after its wealthiest citizen, Bruce Cyrus. Bruce was a fellow orphan at the Smallville Orphanage and has always despised Superboy/Superman because of an incident where Superbaby caused him to lose a chance at adoption:

But as Bruce and Superman observe the scene (apparently invisible), they discover some information that puts a new light on the incident. Moments after Bruce was pitched through the window, a chandelier fell right where he was standing, so Superbaby actually saved his life. And it turned out that the couple who adopted the young baby instead of Bruce did it not because he got muddy, but because they wanted to have the joy of teaching the baby how to speak and read, etc. And in the end, Cyrusville becomes the town that loves Superman.

A year later, the basic premise was recycled in Batman #136:

In this story, Batman chases a crook into a former ghost town. At first the townsfolk seem friendly, but when Batman expresses his determination to locate the criminal in their midst, they attack him and Robin. It turns out that they are aliens planning an invasion of Earth, but Batman foils their plans and captures his quarry.

But that's not the end of the Towns that Hated:

In this story, Smallville turns against Superboy as it appears that he's the reason monsters are appearing all over town, whenever he uses one of his vision powers. But it turns out that Lex Luthor (still a good person in this story) is accidentally responsible for the problem, and with the situation resolved Smallville welcomes Superboy back.

Update: Commenter Twin pointed out this similar cover:

Somewhat different circumstances in that story. A bunch of crooks have stolen a formula that will make people want to attack the person who drinks it. As it happens, the crooks are testing it in coffee at a restaurant, and Bruce happens to be one of the people who drink the loaded java.

BTW, one of the things I noticed while looking through some Superman covers the other day was that the artists certainly liked to depict people attacking the Man of Steel with bazookas; check these other examples:


Blaze said...

This is hardly the only issue where Superboy gets treated like a "bum". Those Smallville citizens have some pent up rage/jealousy issues. Superboy saves their town, and the planet, twelve times a week but the smallest excuse is enough to form a mob and run him out.

Rage and jealousy issues...and not too bright. One thrown cabbage upside his head might be all it takes to have Superboy snap and turn Smallville into an empty patch of smouldering ground. Despite the fact the angry mob wants him gone, they apparently still have some deep conviction that he's a good guy.

nyrdyv said...

Superboy dripping from tomatoes that he has been pelted with. You don't see that very often.


Steven G. Willis

Twin said...

And Batman got into the act at least once more:

Doug said...

I love this blog! In fact, Karen and I over at the Bronze Age Babies ( have nominated your blog for a Kreativ Blogger Award. Check our post of 6/3/10.