Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Perry White, Businessman First, Responsible Journalist Second

I've been working my way through the complete Action Comics run of the Silver Age, and stumbled on this panel:

Gee, Perry, I don't know if this qualifies as a sure-fire gimmick, but I've often thought that maybe you should hire a third reporter and another photographer, and not always send Clark and me out to cover the same story....

In Action #331, Lois bribes a pressman to run off one copy of the Daily Planet with the headline story that Clark Kent is secretly Superman.  However, the joke is on her and Perry, as the pressman is suddenly taken ill and his assistants print the entire run of the paper with that news.  Fortunately, Clark has an idea:
Hey, if it makes the Planet a couple of bucks, who cares if we sacrifice our credibility?

What I find so amusing about this is that Perry could easily be considered a stand-in for Mort Weisinger.  Think about it; Weisinger was always using gimmicks to sell Superman comics, from Imaginary Stories to fake covers, to dream sequences, to Red Kryptonite stories.  And, I might add, he was very, very successful at this, which undeniably made his bosses at DC quite happy.

Any more examples out there of Perry looking for gimmicks to boost circulation?  I am sure there are plenty.


Comicsfan said...

At first I thought Clark was joking! Tell your readers it was all a circulation stunt and getting them to pay for news that was all a hoax? And expect them to have a good laugh at how the Planet ripped them off? It's astonishing that Clark and Perry are actually on the same page about this. Maybe Clark is on his way to becoming Perry. :)

Anonymous said...

I think it was dated by then, but there is a long tradition of newspapers pulling hoaxes on readers (as noted in the story). And I must admit I loved Clark "pretending" to be Superman (hamming it up dreadfully).-Fraser

Kirk House said...

In the first "adult" appearance of Lana Lang, she asked a horrified Clark to get her a job on the Planet; he rushed her into Perry's office, knowing that he would treat a small-town reporter with contempt. But Lana finessed the Chief by pointing out that having her on staff would drive up circulation in all the small towns (really?) Perry puffed up a storm on his cigar, did a 180, praised her for how clever she was, and hired her on the spot.

glen soikie said...

nice work old school is the best school

Al Bigley said...

And, what about that time-honroed chestnut of Clark having to keep his Superman ID secret, as not to jeopardize his co-workers and loved ones? Won't crooks and super-foes also take that headline seriously, and come a-gunnin' for Clark and his pals and family?

Al Bigley