Friday, February 22, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 8, Finale): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Superman has the hots for Supergirl but she's his cousin so he doesn't have the hots for her at all. Instead, Supergirl checks on the computer for a double and finds Luma Lynai on the planet Staryl. Luma and Kal-El fall instantly in love and he asks her to return to Earth with him.

Oh no! This is terrible! As soon as Luma Lynai gets to the earth's solar system she becomes weak and unpowered! (Today's No-Prize goes to Jim for nailing the ending to this final bit of match-making.) Naturally, Supergirl is still spying on her cousin. It's beginning to feel like the Maid of Might is a stalker. And it's still creeping me out a bit that Superman's dream woman is his cousin. I always thought they had a very brother/sister vibe about them. Then again, Lois Lane is the only woman for him in my book. (You couldn't tell I was a Lois fan? Are you even reading this blog?)

Superman speeds Luma back to her home planet with the blue and/or orange sun, depending on which panel you're reading. Actually, it appears they've settled on orange now. Luma takes her time telling Superman she's feeling better (all the way home, actually. Guess she didn't recover as soon as they left the earth's yellow sun behind. Or maybe she just feels that being carried by a big, strong superhunk was kinda ginchy).

She doesn't quite understand what happened, so once again we're treated to Superman talking about growing up on Krypton and then coming to Earth and getting powers under the yellow sun. (Yeah, I know -- my whole beef about the weird placement of that backstory in another scene was silly but you have to admit it was a clumsy way of getting the info out. Right in the middle of their love discussion Superman and Supergirl tell each other about where they both grew up and from whence comes their powers? It was weird, I tells ya! Okay, I'm over it. Let's move on.)

When he finishes telling her his backstory, he offers to move to Luma's planet, but she won't have it. Earth needs its Superman. Her thought balloon, however, is a classic romance comic "I'll always love you..." said with the tearful turned face. This was done at a time when romance comics were selling well so a little borrowing from that genre couldn't hurt.

I'm wondering if Superman's offer was sincere. He's spent most of his life dedicated to truth, justice and the American Way. He's earth's greatest hero. He's more tied to that planet than he ever was to Krypton. And yet he's willing to leave it forever for a woman he met five panels ago? He didn't even take a whole story, let alone a whole comic (" a booklength adventure!") to fall in love. It rings a wee bit hollow to me. Especially since she says, "No! Earth needs you! Go – forget me!" and the next panel he's back home. Didn't take much to convince him. No argument, no fuss, no goodbye.

Then again, how serious was she? He made the offer. She could've said yes. But instead, she pushes him back into the arms of another, er, planet.

Perhaps I'm wrong. The next panel has him back on Earth with Supergirl in his arms. Maybe it's he's feeling so blue that the hand that's touching him turns blue itself. (oooh, spooky! Coloring error or subliminal message? It's a Superman story from 1962 – coloring error.)

Resigned to his bachelorhood, Superman bids Kara adieu. "Maybe fate had a purpose in foiling your three attempts to get me married off!" Supergirl ponders her own summing up of the experience, thinking that perhaps Lois Lane (yes!) or Lana Lang (no!) could be fate's plan for him.

Back home in her Linda Danvers identity, she tells her adopted parents the entire story. Linda swears she's learned her lesson and will never play cupid again. But what's this? While doing her homework, she comes across a picture of Cleopatra. Immediately, her mind starts whirring, wondering if she would make a perfect mate for Superman.

SLAM! She shuts her book and with a somewhat evil expression (not sure why she looks evil, but that arched eyebrow and pursed lips kinda give me the willies) catches herself. She made a promise not to interfere and by gosh by gum by golly, that's what she's gonna do! No more cupid! From now on her only other persona will be as Supergirl!

And that's the end of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID! I hope you enjoyed it. If so, let me know in the comments!

As has become my custom, I won't be posting next week so that I can find the next comic to give the business to. There's a lot of prep needed – searching for the right story, making scans, etc. so I'll need the time. Come back March 3rd for the next comic book revisit! And while you're waiting, tell all your friends that this blog is the best place on the web to revisit the gems of the golden age, atom age, silver age, and bronze age. Share the love!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 7): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Superman and Supergirl gave the legionnaires chunks of an anti-gravity meteorite for Christmas. Then, after quite a build-up, Saturn Woman finally enters the scene. The next thing you know, Superman is all over her, liplocking under every piece of mistletoe he can find. Is Saturn Woman the one he'll fall in love with? Find out now in Part 7 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

"Hey, what do you mean by kissing my wife twice, Superman?" come the angry words of Lightning Man. Well, I guess we should've known that anyone who can get plaques for loveliness would probably be off the market. Superman is immediately chagrined and makes a hasty retreat. Supergirl is also upset. She forgot to do her research. (Ever heard of Google, Supergirl? You haven't? Oh, right. You're the 1962 version and even though you've spent a lot of time in the future, it's really more about superpowers, wacky Christmas trees and jumpsuits than futuristic innovation.) She now wishes she'd set him up with Phantom Woman. Wrong again, Supergirl. She's hitched to Ultra Man.

Once back in the past that is their present, Supergirl confesses. She tells Superman that she had been trying to set him up and had failed. Next comes an hilarious and yet oddly creepy panel where Superman tells Supergirl he could only fall for someone like her. Then comes a lengthy discussion about cousins marrying that seems bizarre in contrast to the intimate picture below it.

The drawing looks like two lovers. But they're cousins, so that's icky. But some places it's legal to marry cousins so they can't do a total ick on it for fear of insulting all those married cousins. Then comes a description of Kryptonian law. This panel is just... well take a look for yourself. Weird, isn't it?

Wisely, Supergirl gets some distance. Supes, however, is not through lecturing. A quick recap of their origin story later (really? The origin story? That's what we needed in this panel? I'm not sure why. Seems a bit of a non-sequitor to me), and Supergirl, speaking of the sun as the source of their powers suddenly remembers the large computer she's standing next to. What? I am so confused. They recap their origins and discuss their power source so that we can get to the computer? Isn't there a less clumsy way of doing that? I can think of a couple dozen ways, just off the top of my head. It's just... weird. These last two panels feel like changes from the editor. Maybe they have a "story of Krypton" and "sun as strength" quota and they were behind. However, I could be wrong. Often things seem very out of place and later in the story that information becomes a key component of the story. Perhaps the origin and power recap are foreshadowing. Guess we'll have to wait and see, because Supergirl has an idea and when she's playing Cupid, there's no stopping her!

Supergirl enters some data in the supercomputer and badda bing, it gives her the name of a planet – Staryl. Apparently, there's a duplicate of Kara living on Staryl. Oh goody. Superman can fall in love with his cousin without it being his cousin, and yet it still has a creepy factor! That's quite a feat.

Superman agrees to go to Staryl to meet his cousin's double. He heads for a planet revolving around a blue sun. The next panel has Supergirl spying on her cousin with her telescopic vision. I have no idea how much time has passed, but Superman is already liplocking with the caped double of Supergirl. "Love at first site," thinks Kara. She then adds a thought about the "super-scientific devices" of Staryl allowing her double to speak English. Just in case you was a-wondering, dear reader.

Superman and Luma Lynai (how amazing that this Supergirl look-alike romantic interest just happens to have the initials LL like every single woman Superman's ever fallen in love with! What are the odds?) fly around Staryl starry-eyed. Good thing she's also super-powered, has a logo on her chest and wears a cape. Then again, she wouldn't be a double for Supergirl otherwise, so I guess that makes total sense. He wants her to come to Earth with him and get married. She wants to go wherever he goes (wonder if she can cook for aliens and clean the fortress?). I have no idea why, but in the background there's an orange sun when two panels earlier Superman distinctly mentioned it was orbiting a blue sun. Of course, there's a big orange ball-o-fire behind the small blue sun, but why mention the blue sun if only an orange sun can be seen from the planet? And is this the one true love who will marry Superman and make all of the comics printed after it a lie because she's rarely mentioned ever again? She must be! She's the one! He loves her! She loves him! They're going to Earth! What could possibly go wrong?

Don't forget to come back Friday for the thrilling conclusion of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 6): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Supergirl cleaned the fortress and then she and Superman flew into the future to attend a Christmas party hosted by the adult legionnaires. Because our heroes forgot to bring presents, they slipped out the back door to rustle something up. What could they be? Find out now in Part 6 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

It doesn't take our super pair more than a few moments to return with Christmas presents I know I'd like to get. It seems they went into outer space and found an anti-gravity meteor (who knew such a thing existed? I never learned about them in astronomy class. But then, my professor – a man named Johnny Mathis, I kid you not – was not super-powered and thus, probably hadn't personally searched all of space in the moments it takes to find one of them). Supes breaks it up into little pieces so each of the legionnaires can put a chunk in their belts. "You need only give mental commands, activating it, and you'll fly!" So not only are the meteors able to break the pull of gravity, but they do so only when given a mental command?

Wow. Just... wow. That is some cool meteor. If Johnny Mathis knew about this and didn't tell him I'm gonna be so ticked off. Bet that's what all those shuttle missions were about, too. Hubbel Telescope is probably looking for them as well. It's a conspiracy to keep ordinary people from having mentally-commanded anti-gravity belts! They're saving all the chunks for the superheroes who may some day materialize!

Back to the story. Everyone likes their present. But Supergirl has much more on her mind than mere meteors. She's got some matchmaking to do. First, she shows Superman a plaque that honors Saturn Woman for driving off space monsters. Then she whips out a second plaque that honors her for "...exceptional intelligence and loveliness!" (Loveliness? Really? They gave her a plaque for that? Is physical beauty still the only real accomplishment of a woman 1010 years into the future? Can you imagine giving Batman a plaque for craggy handsomeness or Superman for good grooming? Loveliness. Oh, man.)

Superman responds to the plaques with "She must be quite a gal." Doesn't he already know her really well from his youth? He was in the Legion with her, for crying out loud. He already knows she's "quite a gal." Perhaps it's temporary amnesia brought on by searching for anti-gravity meteors.

Saturn Woman enters the room giving Superman a va-va-vooom moment (why is she touching her breast? That tease). He says he never dreamed she'd grow up to be such a spectacular beauty. (So... he considered her hopelessly ugly as a teenager? Perhaps he thought she'd peaked at 18 and there was nowhere to go but down. Whatever he thought of her, she's a mind-reader so she knew all about his low opinion. Or I could be wrong he thought she'd grow up to be a beauty, but just not a spectacular beauty. If so, his thoughts probably weren't all that offensive. And now, back to the story.) Pleased that Superman is attracted to Saturn Woman's nationally recognized loveliness, Supergirl sets a mistletoe trap (and that's why it's Christmas, of course! I should've seen that one coming).

And then come two panels I would've loved as a little girl, had I owned this story then. (I'm actually relating this story to you from an 80 page giant because I sold my copy of the original. This is an all Supergirl giant, Adventure Comics 390 from Mar-Apr 1970. My copy is, of course, coverless. A low grade collector such as myself never balks from a coverless book as long as the stories are intact. Anyway, my point is that I can't believe I missed buying this giant when I was a kid because 80 pages of Supergirl fun, excitement and romance is something I would never have passed by. I really missed out.)

Superman gives Saturn Girl a big smooch and by gosh and by golly, the lad likes it. In fact, he likes it so much, he gives her another. Supergirl is overjoyed. She immediately builds these two kisses into wedding bells. Saturn Woman doesn't appear to be fighting it, either. Could Supergirl have found the perfect match? Ooh, la la! With all these liplocks, she may just have succeeded!

How will you find out? Looks like you'd better come back Wednesday for Part 7 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A little treat

Because I didn't give you an update yesterday (I forgot that my computer was going to do the big monthly backup and the backup program conflicts with both my wp and my image programs, so I couldn't get it done) I'll give you a little visual treat. Years ago, just a short time before his death, I had the pleasure of speaking on the phone to Curt Swan, one of the giants of DC's illustrators. My little fangirl heart melted with joy. Then, to my utter surprise and astonishment, he drew something just for me.


This gorgeous pencil drawing of Saturn Girl, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl is perfect for this story and this blog. I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day and will return on Monday for the next installment of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Friday, February 15, 2008


Well, the day got away from me and I messed up. Didn't get the next part written. I promise it'll be up Monday. I'm very sorry for the delay.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 5): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Helen of Troy turned out to be a bad choice, especially when Supergirl stole all the attention from her. When Supergirl and Superman returned to the Fortress of Solitude, however, the Maid of Might put her sites on a new possible mate for Man of Steel: Saturn Girl! How's that going to work out? Read and find out in Part 5 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Supergirl cleans up the Fortress of Solitude. (Okay, I was sort of expecting a plan to be put in motion. You know, she's got to pursuade Supes into heading into the future. I don't get the connection between cleaning and the whole storyline.) Superman is pleased. "Some day, when you're married, it'll be your wife who will do your housecleaning!" says Supergirl. And there we have it. I totally missed it because I don't live in the early 60s. "Wife" is no longer solely defined by housecleaning and cooking meals (the two things we've seen in this story that are traits of a "good wife"). Yeah, I could see Helen of Troy cleaning the oven. And Saturn Girl is certainly suited to cleaning the grout in the shower with a toothbrush.

Take a deep breath, Joanna. It's a snapshot of another era. In the time period this comic was written the thought of a woman running for President would've been as fictional as the time log. Okay, I'm better now.

Superman scoffs at the idea of getting married because protecting earth against "various perils" comes first. Undaunted, Supergirl smiles while thinking, "That's what you think! Little do you know what's cooking in this eager little brain of mine!" (argh! A pet peeve. The use of the word "little". Little is often used by males to describe female accomplishments. "Nice little song you wrote there." "That's a good little picture you drew." So the male comic book writer has Supergirl self-describing her super-brain – capable of just as many mental gymnastics as Superman's super-brain -- as little. Okay, I'll quit. I promise.)

Still obsessed by how clean the fortress is (did he never pick up a broom?), Superman says, "What a fine cleaning job! Is there some way I can show my appreciation?" And now the plan has hatched! I should never have doubted Supergirl's super-brain. Immediately, she asks him to follow her into the future to attend a legion party. Superman's game and both jump into the rainbow time stream. But what's this? They aren't exiting in the usual spot. Supergirl is flying past the point where the superheroes were young.

They land 10 years past the usual exit so the teens are now adults. (Of course, Superman doesn't seem to think about the fact that he, too, is an adult.) Lightning Lad is Lightning Man (but Supergirl is still Supergirl because she hasn't aged). Always a keen observer, Supes notices that there's a fake Santa in a rocketship and concludes that it's Christmas.

Inside the clubhouse, there's a space-age fake Christmas tree and what's this? Phantom Girl has become Phantom Lady and she's a teapot! (I always keep my promises, F.S.)

Cosmic Man and Phantom Lady give Superman and Supergirl photos of their Kryptonian parents as gifts (I'm not sure how they knew they were coming, but we'll just assume Supergirl set it up somehow). They photographed them off the time scope "to give you if you came to the party." Oh, so it wasn't a sure thing. I have a feeling we're supposed to accept this without questioning, so I'll move on.

Superman and Supergirl slip out the back because they didn't bring presents. Wonder what they'll get? It has to be pretty super because, well, that's obvious. And where's Saturn Woman? They came all this way to see her and so far they've just run into a couple of guys and a teapot. Oooh, the anticipation is too much!

Well, not too much not to make you wait until Friday. Yeah, I got started really late on this entry so I'm cutting it a bit short. Still, I can promise you this: there's kissing ahead! What? You were hoping for a superhero battle, a villain, or some sort of action? Well, those warriors did poke at Superman a couple pages back. That doesn't count? Too bad. This is a primo silver age Supergirl story and that means there's kissing ahead! Besides, what else did you expect from this Valentine's edition of Comic Books Revisited? What better story than WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 4): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Superman meets Helen of Troy. He then stands around while warriors try to kill him. Meanwhile, Supergirl makes quick work of the beasts of doom (a unicorn and a minotaur). But when the guy who let the beasts out is ready for punishment, Supergirl refuses to kill him. It's not her choice, however. It's Helen and her excruciatingly slow thumb gesture. Now let's get to Part 4 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID before Helen's thumb runs out of gas.

Although Helen has decided to give the beast-keeper a thumb's down, Supergirl uses her superbreath to pressure Helen's thumb into a positive gesture. Proudly, Superman compliments her on her quick thinking having obviously figured out what just happened in the thumb war.

Having done so well in the recent beast crisis, Supergirl is proclaimed the "Toast of Troy", which angers the egotistical Helen because she wants all the attention. Yeah, perfect wife material for Superman. He'd love to have a wife who wants all the attention and hates being overshadowed by superdeeds.

Supergirl finally realizes that perhaps this wasn't the best choice of mate, though her reasoning is that Superman failed to fall in love. A wee moment, yet again. He was there for a very short time and in that brief visit he didn't say more than a couple of words to Helen. He spent most of it having swords and spears bent on his manly chest. How on earth is he supposed to fall in love when he barely noticed Helen? Was her beauty alone supposed to do the trick? Oh, Supergirl, must you buy into the misogynistic thinking that beauty is a woman's only asset? That a pretty face is the only measure of a woman's worth? That beauty alone is the only attribute that informs a man's desire (for men, too, are being short-shrifted by this myopic attitude)? Maybe Supergirl needs to start hanging out more with Wonder Woman.

With the Helen thing a bust (no pun intended), Superman and Supergirl go back into the rainbow time stream. Supergirl acknowledges that she goofed by choosing Helen but that she would do better next time. Superman just stares at her as if he can read her thought balloon. Then again, he's probably wondering what the heck that whole episode was about, since there was no emergency and he had to log the trip in the Time Travel Log Book.

Back at the Fortress of Solitude, Supergirl spies some small statuettes of the Legion of Superheroes. Her thought balloon gives some exposition about the club for the new readers. Seeing the Saturn Girl statuette, she's found her next romance victim. A grown-up Saturn Girl would be perfect for Superman!

Have to admit, Saturn Girl does seem a better choice than Helen of Troy, but you know how those time barrier relationships can go. Still, it is an intriguing choice and it'll be fun to see the legionnaires. Wonder how Supergirl is going to talk him into going with her this time? The old note by the Log Book won't work. Besides, he's standing right next to her. Guess we'll have to wait and see on Wednesday for Part 5 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 3): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Supergirl had crossed the time barrier and was in ancient Troy visiting the beautiful Helen. She'd left a note for Superman to join her in hopes of doing a little matchmaking. Superman's arrival is imminent, so let's get to the story of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Flying through the rainbow of time (no disappearing this time. Instead we're back to the time barrier being bands of color) Superman races to ancient Troy worried that Supergirl might be in trouble. Upon arriving, he flies to the arena and asks Supergirl, "What's the emergency?" His cousin coyly tells him that she never said it was an emergency and then quickly introduces him to Helen of Troy.

The court advisor is worried because Helen appears to be attracted to the man whose underwear is on the outside. He thinks, "The flying mortal might thwart my evil ambitions!" A moment whilst we consider this. It's ancient Troy where the gods often show up and hang out with the people, or so their stories say. Seeing a guy flying would, I'd assume, give one pause. Is he a god? I'd think he'd have to be because no one else flies. That's Hermes' game. Although he's not dressed like Hermes, were I in ancient Troy, I'd probably put my money on that anyway. Yet Mr. Advisor instantly assumes he's a mere mortal. Not only that, he also assumes this stranger is there to thwart his evil plans. Does Helen fall in love so quickly that a fancy red cape is enough to dazzle her? Or perhaps she likes people who fly? Whatever the case, the advisor correctly assumes that Superman is trouble. (Had he also assumed Superman was rocketed to earth as a small child when his home planet exploded, he'd get extra points.)

Rhondous (that's the court advisor's name) urges the warriors to destroy Superman "...lest he win the princess's heart!" Since they're all dressed for battle, they agree. I'm not sure what the evil plan is, but apparently it includes some warrior marrying Helen. He doesn't appear to be too particular about which one it is.


Dutifully, the warriors attack Superman, who stands there looking bored and superior. Supergirl hears their shock at his inability to be slain and says, "Disappointed fellows?" Meanwhile, Rhondous gasps while hiding behind a pillar, stunned that the warriors' weapons have no effect. He decides to unleash the beasts of doom. (Oh, man, not the beasts of doom! With a name like that, they're gonna be horrible, frightening, hellish monsters! Hold me; I'm frightened!)

The beasts of doom are... a unicorn and a minotaur. A unicorn? Really? That's your beast of doom? Little girls like unicorns. They about as scary as My Little Pony. Rhondous, you are one incredibly lame adversary!

Okay, so the cuddly beasts are unleashed and Supergirl totally buys into the whole doom thing. "Ulp! Two fierce creatures... a minotaur and a unicorn... are running amok! They're attacking the spectators! Since Superman is busy right now, I'll handle this menace!" (I guess Superman is busy standing still while warriors attack him. Or maybe he's flirting with Helen. I'm not quite sure. And why does Superman have to be busy in order for Supergirl to take care of My Little Pony? Is there a hierarchy between them? Is Supergirl not allowed to save people unless Superman is busy? 1962 was not a good time to be female. They got less respect than Rodney Dangerfield.)

Supergirl subdues the beasts with some bad puns while the untrampled spectators give her compliments. (I'm assuming the trampled ones aren't up to conversation at this point.) It's also become apparent that when Supergirl introduced herself, the entire arena heard her because someone in the shadows says, "Not only is Linda Lee beautiful, but she is more powerful than Achilles!" (Shadow Guy could be Rhondous, I suppose. It's not clear. Without a headband, I just can't tell.)

I'm now thinking that might've been Rhondous because in the next panel he tries to cover his tracks, telling Supergirl to slay the guy who let the beasts out. Since Rhonny told the guy to do it, he'd probably prefer it if the beast keeper gets offed. Supergirl refuses to do so. There's that whole "no killing" code and all.

Helen decides to make another appearance. She tells Supergirl that it's not her decision whether to kill the guy or not. Nope, that's Helen's choice. She explains the whole thumbs up or down thing to Supergirl and ends with "...Now to decide!" Ooh, the tension mounts. What will her thumb do?

And this leads to a fabulous thought balloon that could've come straight out of The Simpsons. Supergirl's thinks, "She's starting to gesture "thumbs down"!! What'll I do??" Apparently, it takes Helen a long time to gesture. There's enough time for Supergirl to have that whole thought balloon, and possibly come up with a plan and then execute the plan before the gesture passes the point of no return into a no. I'm no Flash, but I can do a thumb's down pretty quickly. Maybe ancient people lived at a slower pace and felt that gestures shouldn't be rushed.

The question is, how on earth is Supergirl going to keep Helen from completing her thumb's down gesture? There's so much power in that digit of destiny! Oh woe is me, the suspense of that slowly gesturing thumb is almost too much for me. I must know what happens next! How can even Supergirl control a thumb on someone else's hand?

You'd better come back on Monday to find out if Helen will complete her gesture in Part 4 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 2): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

When last we read: Supergirl watched a sad movie and decided that she needed to play matchmaker for her cousin, Superman. After dreaming of him happily married, she awoke with a plan and an idea of the perfect wife. Who is it? Join me now for Part 2 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID and find out!

Supergirl heads off to the Fortress of Solitude because she's figured out who the perfect woman is for Big Blue the Bachelor. Once finished in the fortress (don't let your curiosity get too out of control as to what she did there. We find out in the next panel) she heads off into the time stream by turning invisible. I like the effect of this panel – much cooler than that rainbow thing they usually use for the time stream. Kinda neat to see her fly out of the fortress and disappear.

So what did she do in the Fortress? She left Superman a note. He finds it after returning from some nondescript space mission (my guess is he was visiting his dear friend, the ugly green alien. I hear they're very tight). The note says, "Superman: Important! Join me in Ancient Troy on day indicated in Time Traveling Log Book! Supergirl."

On a table in front of Superman is none other than the Time Traveling Log Book. I'll admit that I never knew this existed. I had no idea that Superman and Supergirl (and Krypto the superdog, and Beppo the supermonkey and Comet the superhorse and Streaky the supercat and the host of other super beings) had to log all of their time travel in a book. ("January 23, 1961, went to January 22, 1961 to tell myself not to eat Lois's spaghetti and meatballs. Bleurg." "January 23, 1962, went to January 22, 1962 to beg for table scraps because Superman wasn't eating. Woof!")

I'm assuming Superman, upon reading the urgent note, immediately checked the log, signed in his own trip and made sure Beppo wasn't cheating by throwing his feces at the book instead of signing it.

"And now let's visit Ancient Troy where Supergirl has flown through the time-barrier..." Oh yes, let's do that. What is she up to? Is she looking for Hercules because he is mighty enough to be Superman's mate, not that there's anything wrong with that? Nope, she's making a bee-line for a famous beauty because we all know that good looks make a person invulnerable to harm. What's that? It doesn't? Er... I guess Supergirl sorta forgot why Superman isn't married. Apparently she thinks it's because he just hasn't found anyone pretty enough.

And there she is – Helen of Troy! It must be a challenge to be an illustrator and be told to draw Helen of Troy. It's not like we know what she looked like. Just that her beauty launched a thousand ships. That's tough to draw.

But draw her he did! (I believe the penciller is Jim Mooney, but don't quote me on that.) Helen of Troy sits serenely in the Royal Box in a giant arena. Next to her is a guy with a headband (is he from Krypton? I thought only guys from Krypton wore those headbands) and behind her is a guy from the 1960s. Well, he's supposed to be a Trojan, but his hair, long sideburns and goatee scream the 60s to me. Beside Helen is a giant vase because we all know that the only thing ancient people ever did was make pottery. They had it everywhere, even in their arenas.

Supergirl swoops in, startling Helen. While she swoops, Supergirl thinks some exposition, so the audience can catch up. Although Superman has never changed history (even over that meatball thing) Supergirl thinks she can because love conquers all (including the time stream, apparently). She stoked because the most beautiful woman in history would make a perfect match for Supes. Yeah, I'm still not seeing that (especially since Lois Lane owns a man-bait dress that makes her irresistible).

Headband guy turns out to be the court advisor of her father, King Tyndareus (we know this because he announces that fact to her. I would've thought she already knew, but apparently beauty doesn't equal smarts). He tells Helen to beware of the strange flying maiden. Helen dismisses him and asks Supergirl "Who be you?" (That's how Trojans spoke, I guess. I had no idea). Supergirl introduces herself as Linda Lee. I'm not sure why. When she's in costume, she's usually Supergirl. And there's always her Kryptonian name, Kara Zor-El. And since we saw in the beginning that she's living with her adopted parents, she's usually Linda Danvers. But nope, she uses her orphan name, Linda Lee. Not that it matters because she's in the past, but it just strikes me as a bit odd.

She tells Helen that she wants to introduce her to the world's mightiest man, who'll be dropping in shortly. That's got ole Helen intrigued, but that darn court advisor butts in saying that he won't be mightier than the warrior-suitors who'll be battling in the arena that day. Apparently, they're all hoping to "gain Princess Helen's favor." Ooh, fight! Hope none of them are made of Kryptonite. (Nah, no chance. There is no Kryptonite in the distant past because Krypton hadn't exploded yet. Well, it may have exploded, but nothing had been able to make the trip across however many lightyears away Krypton was. Okay, this is a slippery slope. If I start talking real astronomy, we're in big trouble because of the fact that every star you see in the sky is merely a reflection of that star in the distant past because of the time it takes light to travel through space. We really don't want to try to wrap our heads around Superman arriving on Earth as a baby and pieces of his planet littering our landscapes as it it were the next planet over.)

It sounds like the scene is set now for Superman's arrival. Will he fall in love with the beautiful Helen? Will the court advisor throw a monkey wrench into the works? Will Supergirl get in trouble for using her real name ("Oh, look at this ancient scroll we just uncovered – it says a flying maiden named Linda Lee chatted with Helen of Troy. It has a drawing and – holy cow! That's Supergirl! Then Linda Lee must be her secret identity!")? Will the other suitors defeat Superman (Sheya, right)? Will a thousand ships remain in the dock if Helen gets the hots for Big Blue? Come back on Friday for Part 3 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Action Comics 289 (Part 1): WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID

First, my apologies for the delay in getting this story started. Something exciting happened that came out of the blue. I can't talk about it now, but I promise to tell you when I can. (It's not comic-related; it's from another area of my life).

Okay, time for another silver age revisit! Even though we just had a silver age book, I don't want to be predictable. I'm not posting in any specific order. Truth is, I wanted to do a Supergirl story because she was one of my favorites as a kid. I just adored Supergirl. She wasn't perfect like her cousin, Superman. And she was more powerful than most characters in the DCU (DC Universe). I was always excited when a new Supergirl story was in the spinner rack.

This book has a cover date of June, 1962 (It was reprinted in Adventure Comics 390, an 80 page giant dated March, 1970). If you're a fan of the Legion of Superheroes, stick around because you have some guest appearances to look forward to – including the revelation of a big secret.

Everybody ready? Okay, let's get to revisiting WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

It opens with a full page splash of Cupid aiming his bow at Superman, who is flying his giant key into the lock on the Fortress of Solitude. Not a lot of solitude there today, apparently, because Supergirl is also hovering nearby. While Cupid thinks semi-evil thoughts, Supergirl stops him from shooting, saying she wants the job of setting up Supes with the love of his life. It seems she thinks he's been a bachelor too long. I'm not certain why she feels she needs to set him up since he's already dealing with Lois Lane, Lana Lang, Lori Lemaris and a host of other LLs who've flashed in and out of his life. Does he really need yet another woman to not marry? Apparently so.

The intro text is also a bit ominous as it says, "Since Supergirl is the most powerful girl in the universe, when she decides to get something done, she is almost certain to succeed because of her fantastic super-strength, flying ability, super-vision and other amazing powers!" Phew! Now that's a run-on sentence if I ever saw one. And with the old axiom that "every comic is someone's first", they managed to get in the exposition of Supergirl's powers without having to work it into the story. And if you readers have never come across a Supergirl story, you now know what her powers are without me having to tell you. Everyone up to speed? Let's get to the story.

"One evening in Midvale, as Linda Lee Danvers, who is secretly Supergirl, watches a movie on TV..." We see Linda and her parents in a cozy family scene, but poor Linda is a wreck. The movie is a sad one, and she is weeping over the fact that the "...bachelor in that story delayed proposing too long! His sweetheart has married another! Now he'll never know true happiness! ::choke:: -- I feel so sorry for him!" Oh, sweet, tender-hearted Linda. That is sad. I wonder if you know any bachelors who have delayed proposing to either their childhood sweetheart or their current coworker inamorata, both of whom have the initials LL? Hmmm...

Because this is a silver age comic book, we can't go too many panels without a) some kind of action and b) some display of how super Supergirl is. Yes, I realize they told us about her powers in the splash, but a lot of kids didn't bother with all that text. Too ready. No, what they want is a demonstration of her awesome powers (not a demonstration of her ability to cry at movies). And coincidently, something in Midvale has just gone wrong! Is it an alien invasion? A new supervillain? A meteorite about to crash into the orphanage? Oh, if only, dear reader! For it is something almost too heinous to mention...

Part of Midvale is affected by a power outage! Quickly, Linda Lee Danvers becomes the Maid of Might: Supergirl! She's spots the problem with her X-Ray vision, tunnels underground to the damaged power line and then fixes it while admiring crowds ooh and ahh over her mightiness. She barely pays attention because, as is noted on her return home, she's still thinking about the sad movie.

"As Linda drops off to sleep, she dreams..." Well, good for her! Oh wait, we get to see what she dreams. Astonishingly, it's her cousin, Superman, sitting with an unknown female (not a redhead, rather one with the trademarked black and blue hair as has characters like Superman and Lois Lane). They're looking cozy on the couch as Superman lights a fire in the fireplace with his heat vision. Superman is telling his wife that he never knew what happiness was until he married her "...thanks to Supergirl!" Interesting. Supergirl dreams about other people saying nice things about her.

But wait, there's more! The next scene in the dream has Superman and an ugly green alien at the dinner table while his mystery wife serves dinner. Superman is happy that she doesn't mind him bringing home a "friend from another planet for dinner." (Very tolerant wife, because I've never seen that ugly alien before and I'm wondering how good a friend he can be if we've never met him in an adventure? And how does mystery wife even know it's a he? She could be cooking for an ugly female alien who's boinking her husband on the side. Then again, Linda is too pure to be having boinking dreams -- especially when they star her cousin.)

The next morning, Linda changes into Supergirl having arrived at a plan to make her "dreams of happiness for Superman" a reality. She even has the perfect mate in mind.

Ooh, who can that be? What woman would be the perfect mate for a man who's sworn not to marry because his enemies could get to him by harming his wife? It would have to be someone pretty darn amazing, I'd think. There's only one thing to do: stop the story here so you have to come back on Wednesday for Part 2 of WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID!

Friday, February 1, 2008

New story starting on Monday

It's been a whirlwind week with some exciting opportunities arising. I didn't have a chance to work on the next story much at all, but I plan to have part one of Action Comics 289: WHEN SUPERGIRL PLAYED CUPID for you on Monday. Yes, I felt it's time to have a Supergirl story. She was one of my favorite characters when I was a kid and that little dickens is in good form in the upcoming story from 1962. I hope to see you here!