Friday, July 30, 2010

Super-Swipes #5

There are swipes and then there are SWIPES, and this is one of the latter. I talked awhile ago about the first appearance of Sun Boy from the Legion of Superheroes, and how large parts of that story were swiped from an earlier tale, but at least in that case the ending was significantly different.

Not so with this story, which introduces Legion member Star Boy:

The plot and most of the dialog are swiped from Adventure #195:

It would be tedious to point out all the similarities in the two stories, so I will settle for just highlighting the major plot points. In each case, Lana is annoyed that Superboy ignores her new dress. She gets an idea how to make him pay more attention to her from a movie:

Meanwhile, Superboy is surprised when he receives a summons to meet another super-powered youth outside of town. It's Marsboy/Star Boy. There's a brief discussion of how the youth gained his super-powers (in each case from a passing comet). In each story, there are two escaped criminals, one of which has been caught while capturing the other requires Superboy's help due to a super-power limitation:

In each case Lana Lang overhears the conversation and threatens the other super-powered lad with secret identity exposure unless he agrees to help her make Superboy jealous. Lana gets permission from her mom to visit the homeworld of the other boy with a demonstration of his ability to protect her:

In each story, the other super-lad takes Lana to his home planet, where he lavishes gifts upon her, including weaving a special cloth. In each case, Superboy, who is secretly aware of her plot, gripes about how odd it is that these heroes give her so much attention:

In each story, Superboy returns with a beauty in tow, explaining to Lana that she was indeed right: Girls from another planet are far more fascinating. Seeing her plans go awry, Lana pretends that the air on the other super-lad's world is affecting her, but:

This leads Lana to admit that she had blackmailed Marsboy/Star Boy into pretending to be wild about her. There is a slight difference in the two stories here, as in the Star Boy tale Superboy admits that he knew Lana's scheme all along and only pretended to be interested in the other gal. But in the end of both stories, Lana decides that while he may not be any closer to her, at least he's farther away from that interplanetary hussy.

A couple of notes: Marsboy had appeared a few times prior to Adventure #195, but as far as I know, this was his swan song. And Star Boy is shown as having dramatically different powers than the making objects heavy ability he would have during his Legion appearances. Indeed, his powers here virtually mimic Superboy's.


Blaze Morgan said...

Not that it crosses my mind more than once a decade, but I've wondered about Star Boy's convoluted history. Was it a case of continuity blindness, not noticing that one writer had him with nigh-Kryptonian powers while another writer had the super mass power worked up? Or was it a case of "seemed like a good idea at the time", and then realizing the Legion did not need another faux Superboy. "Change that mess!"

Pat said...

Blaze, I think it's more the latter. The writers and Weisinger looked at these characters as one-shots, who would not be appearing in a regular feature. So why not give Star Boy all of Superboy's powers, plus one (I didn't mention this in the post, but Star Boy also had "electrical vision" with which he charged the battery on the Lang's car.)? The opposite happened during the first appearance of Ultra Boy, BTW: he was only shown using one power in that story, Penetra Vision, although in his Legion appearances he had most of Superboy's powers with the limitation that he could only use one at a time. See also the cover to Adventure #267, which shows Saturn Girl splitting up a Kryptonite slab with lightning bolts from her eyes.

Blaze Morgan said...

That sort of ties in with an observation a buddy of mine. Back in these early, early days of the Silver Age, the term "super powers" almost always meant "pretty much Superman's powers". A few times they went nutty with "electrical vision", but otherwise whenever someone drank potions, travelled in odd dimensions, was exposed to to alien rays or jewels, they became Kryptonian wannabes.

A very unscholarly hunch makes me think the introduction of Legionaire characters gradually broadened the super power spectrum in the writers' list.

Aaron said...

I agree with the idea the Legion did help expand the idea of what superpowers could be - many of them became prototypes.