Sunday, August 08, 2010

Super Swipe #6: Subtly Done

As I mentioned in my last post, some swipes are blatant, with only a few minor changes. And others are so subtle that it hardly seems fair to call them swipes; rather they are simply inspired by a previous story.

So it is with today's example. Commander Benson talked recently about the updated story, Action #288's The Man Who Exposed Superman. This is a terrific story, as CB ably demonstrates with his post. Indeed, it is only because that was such an excellent tale that I recognized its inspiration in a little story from Superman #90, called Superman's Secret Past.

First, let's go over the elements of similarity. In Action #288, Perry White decides Clark Kent is the logical choice to cover a TV show honoring Superman, that will be set in Smallville. In the earlier story:

In the later story, there's a side-plot about Lana Lang suspecting Clark Kent of being Superboy, while in Superman #90 that's relegated to a single panel. In both stories, there's a trinket from Kal's babyhood that threatens to give things away:

Both stories revolve around the old Kent home, although there are some significant differences. In the Action story, we learn that Clark has kept ownership of the house for sentimental reasons, and it is boarded up. In the Superman tale, the house has been sold to a Professor Snelling, who's living in Smallville while researching a biography of Superman.

In both stories, a bunch of souvenirs are hidden in the old house; in the earlier tale they are located in a lead-lined closet that even Supes is unaware of, while in the later story, they're hidden in the tunnel Superboy used to leave the house without being observed.

Both stories feature a tribute to the Kents. In Action #288, this is implied by the entire story rather than stated, while in Superman #90, it's explicit:

Aside from those similarities, however, the stories are dramatically different. In the earlier tale, the professor voluntarily abandons an opportunity to discover Superman's secret identity, while in Action #288 the climax comes as a crook uses desperate means to force Clark Kent to admit his double life.

Comments: I concur with Commander Benson that Action #288's story is a classic, while the Superman #90 tale is sweet, but not quite top-shelf material.

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