Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman ComicsMany thanks to reviewer Seth Isaacs.
DC Comics Presents #67Cover date: March 1984
Co-Plot/Scripter: Len Wein
Co-Plot: E. Nelson Bridwell
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: Murphy Anderson
'Twas the Fright Before Christmas
It's the night before Christmas, and Superman is flying over Metropolis when he spots a young kid trying to hold up a charity worker on the street. Superman swoops in to investigate, but the kid only has a toy gun, and is not a threat to the worker. However, when Superman inspects the toy gun with his X-ray vision, he finds that the gun actually has a hypnosis device built into it, and that the gun has hypnotized the boy into trying to hold up the charity worker.
Superman flies the boy to the North Pole and his Fortress of Solitude, where he breaks the hypnotic spell on the boy. The boy is Timmy Dickens, he tells Superman that he checked the hall closet where his parents hid his Christmas presents, and that is where he found the toy gun, as well as a toy ship he has on him. Using his super-hypnosis on the boy, he finds out the gun hypnotized him to steal money and deliver it to the local Big Shott Toy Store. Superman realizes then that his old enemy, Winslow Shott, aka the Toyman, is behind Timmy's hypnosis, and that the Toyman has sold lots of other hypnotic toys, so that unsuspecting kids will go on a stealing spree for him Christmas day.
Superman bundles Timmy up in his cape for the flight back to Metropolis. But they haven't gotten far when Timmy's toy ship shoots a beam at Superman, which makes him fall from the sky. Superman deftly gets himself underneath Timmy, protecting Timmy from the fall, and then passes out. Tommy shakes Superman to wake him up, worried that they will both freeze to death, when some of Santa's elves show up and carry Superman off, with Timmy following.
Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, the Toyman has been monitoring all of this via the remote camera he built into Timmy's toy ship. His camera has stopped working at this point, but he is happy with his success. He gloats about how he found a meteorite laced with White Dwarf-Star matter on sale as a paperweight. Then he used his genius to transmit that high-gravity energy through his deadly toys, causing Superman to fall from the skies.
Back at the North Pole, Superman wakes up to find himself lying in a bed surrounded by elves and Santa Claus. Santa introduces himself, and Superman finds it hard to believe that he never saw Santa's workshop before while flying over the North Pole. However, Santa says that nobody can find his workshop unless he wishes it. Santa and Superman then head into Santa's hi-tech communications center, where every boy and girl in the world is monitored to see if they've been naughty or nice. Then they walk through Santa's workshop, where all the toys are made. This reminds Superman of an old toy he had while he was a baby on Krypton, a thought projecting device. Unfortunately that toy was destroyed when Krypton exploded.
Santa offers to help Superman with the Toyman, since Superman still hasn't recovered from the gravity beam. Santa and Timmy take off in Superman's sled, and Superman quickly joins them when he finds that he is still too weak from the gravity beam to maintain flight on his own.
They quickly reach Metropolis and land on the roof of the building where Santa's monitors tell him the Toyman is hiding out. Superman flies down the chimney and crashes in on the Toyman's lair. The Toyman orders his robotic toys to attack Superman. While Superman would normally beat the toys with no trouble, some of them are armed with a small amount of Kryptonite, making it difficult for him to beat them. Fortunately, Santa comes down the chimney as well, and releases his good toys to attack Toyman's evil toys. With the help of Santa's good toys, Superman is able to beat the Toyman, who is led off by the police. Superman then finds the Toyman's list of everyone who bought his hypnotic toys, and using his super-speed, he rounds them all up. He then returns to Santa and Timmy, to thank Santa for his help in capturing the Toyman. At that moment Timmy's toy ship fires off another gravity beam which hits Superman.
Superman wakes up to find himself lying in the snow at the North Pole, with Timmy huddled over him. Superman is confused, and wondering if his encounter with Santa Claus was all a dream. He flies Timmy home, and then goes to Clark Kent's apartment. He goes to remove his street clothes from his cape pouch, and finds something else in there as well. It's his old thought projector from Krypton, the one that was destroyed. It projects an image of Santa Claus wishing Superman a Merry Christmas.
Story - 4: Why you ask am I giving this story a rating of four? On the face of it, the plot is absurd. The Toyman finds white dwarf star matter on sale as a paperweight??? Superman X-rays Timmy's toy gun but doesn't think to X-ray Timmy's toy ship???? The battle of good toys vs. evil toys??? This comic probably never won any awards for best writing, so why then am I giving this story a four??? For the very simple reason that this is a fun comic. It's not meant to be taken seriously, unlike way to many of the Superman comics being published recently. This issue strives to be a lighthearted Christmas story, and in that respect it succeeds admirably. Superman is in character in this issue, and acting like the hero he is in spite of the somewhat absurd situation he finds himself in. What makes this issue of DCCP 10 times better than any issue of "Adventures of Superman" written by Joe Casey is that it has personality. And like Samuel L. Jackson said in the movie, "Personality goes a long way..."
Art - 5: When I picture Superman in my head, I picture Superman as drawn by Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson. The Swanderson team does their usual outstanding job with this issue.
Cover Art - 3: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez drew a fairly standard cover for this issue. If only Curt Swan could have drawn the cover as well.
Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews
- Action Comics #1 (June 1938)
- Action Comics #2 (July 1938)
- Action Comics #3 (August 1938)
- Action Comics #4 (September 1938)
- Action Comics #5 (October 1938)
- Action Comics #6 (November 1938)
- Action Comics #7 (December 1938)
- Superman Archives: Volume 1 (1939)
- Superman #1 (Summer 1939)
- Action Comics #8 (January 1939)
- Action Comics #9 (February 1939)
- Action Comics #10 (March 1939)
- Superman #13 (November/December 1941) - The Archer
- Superman #19 (November/December 1942) - Case of the Funny Paper Crimes
- Action Comics #60 (May 1943) - Lois Lane - Superwoman
- Superman #30 (September/October 1944) - The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk
- Action Comics #80 (January 1945) - Mr. Mxyztplk Returns
- Superman #38 (January/February 1946) - The Battle of the Atoms
- Superman #42 (September/October 1946) - The Death of Clark Kent
- Superman #45 (March/April 1947) - Lois Lane, Superwoman
- Superman #53 (July 1948) - The Origin of Superman
- Action Comics #124 (September 1948) - A Superman of Doom
- Superman #60 (December 1949/January 1950) - The Two Identities of Superman & Superman Fights the Super-Brain
- Superman #76 (May/June 1952) - The Mightiest Team in the World
- Superman #80 (January/February 1953) - Superman's Lost Brother
- Superman 3D (1953) - The Man Who Stole the Sun, Origin of Superman and The Man Who Bossed Superman
- Superman #87 (February 1954) - The Prankster's Greatest Role
- Superman #88 (March 1954) - The Terrible Trio
- Superman #89 (May 1954) - Captain Kent the Terrible, Superman of Skid Row, and One Hour to Doom!
- Superman #91 (August 1954) - The Superman Stamp and Great Caesar's Ghost
- World's Finest #88 (May/June 1957) - Superman and Batman's Greatest Foes
- Superman #115 (August 1957) - The Midget Superman!
- Superboy #65 (May/June 1958) - The Amazing Adventures of Krypto Mouse
- Action Comics #242 (July 1958) - The Super-Duel in Space
- Superman #123 (August 1958) - The Girl of Steel
- Superman #127 (February 1959) - Titano the Super Ape
- Action Comics #252 (May 1959) - The Menace of Metallo and The Supergirl From Krypton
- Superman #129 (May 1959) - The Girl in Superman's Past
- Superman #130 (July 1959) - The Curse of Kryptonite!, The Super-Servant of Crime!, and The Town that Hated Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959) - Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl's Pal
- Superman #134 (January 1960) - The Super-Menace of Metropolis
- Jimmy Olsen #42 (January 1960) - The Big Superman Movie!, Perry White, Cub Reporter!, and Jimmy the Genie!
- Jimmy Olsen #44 (April 1960) - The Wolf-Man of Metropolis
- Adventure Comics #271 (April 1960) - How Luthor Met Superboy
- Jimmy Olsen #46 (July 1960) - Jimmy Olsen, Orphan
- Superman #141 (November 1960) - Superman's Return To Krypton
- Superboy #85 (December 1960) - The Impossible Mission
- Jimmy Olsen #51 (March 1961) - The Girl with Green Hair
- Jimmy Olsen #52 (April 1961) - Jimmy Olsen, Wolf-Man
- Superboy #89 (June 1961) - Superboy's Big Brother!
- Action Comics #279 (August 1961) - The Super-Rivals
- Superman #147 (August 1961) - The Legion of Super Villains
- Superman #149 (November 1961) - The Death of Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #57 (December 1961) - Jimmy Olsen Marries Supergirl
- Superman #155 (August 1962) - Superman Under the Green Sun and The†Downfall of†Superman
- Justice League of America #13 (August 1962) - Riddle of the Robot Justice League
- World's Finest #129 (November 1962) - Joker-Luthor, Incorporated
- Superman #158 (January 1963) - Superman in Kandor
- Superman #160 (April 1963) - The Mortal Superman
- Superman #161 (May 1963) - The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent
- Superman #162 (July 1963) - The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue
- Superman #163 (August 1963) - Wonder-Man, the New Hero of Metropolis and The Goofy Superman
- Justice League of America #21 & #22 (August/September 1963) - Crisis on Earth-One! and Crisis on Earth-Two!
- Superman #164 (October 1963) - The Showdown Between Luthor and Superman
- Superman #165 (November 1963) - The Sweetheart Superman Forgot
- Superman #166 (January 1964) - The Fantastic Story of Superman's Sons
- Superman #167 (February 1964) - The Team of Luthor and Brainiac
- Superman #168 (April 1964) - Luthor - Super Hero and Lex Luthor, Daily Planet Editor
- Superman #169 (May 1964) - The Man Who Stole Superman's Secret Life
- Action Comics #314 (July 1964) - The Day Superman Became The Flash
- Justice League of America #29 & #30 (August/September 1964) - Crisis on Earth-Three! and The Most Dangerous Earth of All!
- Superman #173 (November 1964) - The Triumph of Luthor and Brainiac
- Action Comics #318 (November 1964) - The Death of Luthor
- Action Comics #319 (December 1964) - The Condemned Superman
- Superman #175 (February 1965) - Clark Kent's Brother
- Superman #181 (November 1965) - The Superman of 2965
- The Legion of Super-Heroes - Archives Volume 4 (1965)
- Superman #184 (February 1966) - The Demon Under the Red Sun
- Action Comics #338 (June 1966) - Muto - Monarch of Menace
- Action Comics #339 (July 1966) - Muto versus The Man of Tomorrow
- Superman #189 (August 1966) - Krypton Lives Again
- Action Comics #346 (February 1967) - The Man Who Sold Insurance to Superman and The Case of the Superman Imposter
- Superman #194 (February 1967) - The Death of Lois Lane
- Superman #196 (May 1967) - The Star of Steel
- Superman #199 (January 1967) - Superman's Race With The Flash
- Superman #200 (October 1967) - Super-Brother Against Super-Brother
- The Flash #175 (December 1967) - Race to the End of the Universe
- Justice League of America #63 (June 1968) - Time Signs a Death Warrant for the Justice League
- Superman #211 (November 1968) - The Name of the Game is Superman!
- Superman #215 (April 1969) - Lois Laneä Deadä Yet Alive
- Superman #224 (February 1970) - Beware the Super-Genius Baby
- Action Comics #393 (October 1970) - Superman Meets Super-Houdini! and The Day Superboy Became Superman!
- Jimmy Olsen #133 (October 1970) - The Newsboy Legion
- Action Comics #394 (November 1970) - Midas of Metropolis and Requiem for a Hot Rod!
- World's Finest #198 (November 1970) - Race to Save the Universe!
- Action Comics #395 (December 1970) - The Secrets of Superman's Fortress and The Credit Card of Catastrophe
- Jimmy Olsen #134 (December 1970) - The Mountain of Judgement!
- World's Finest #199 (December 1970) - A Race to Save Time!
- Superman #233 (January 1971) - Superman Breaks Loose!
- Jimmy Olsen #135 (January 1971) - The Evil Factory!
- Superman #234 (February 1971) - How to Tame a Wild Volcano
- Jimmy Olsen #136 (February 1971) - The Saga of the D.N.Aliens
- Superman #235 (March 1971) - The Sinister Scream of the Devil's Harp
- Superman #236 (April 1971) - Planet of the Angels and The Doomsayer
- Jimmy Olsen #137 (April 1971) - The Four-Armed Terror!
- Superman #237 (May 1971) - The Enemy of Earth
- Superman #238 (June 1971) - Menace at 1000 Degrees
- Jimmy Olsen #138 (June 1971) - The Big Boom!!
- Superman #240 (July 1971) - To Save a Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #139 (July 1971) - The Guardian Fights Again!!!
- Superman #241 (August 1971) - The Shape of Fear
- Superman #242 (September 1971) - The Ultimate Battle
- Jimmy Olsen #141 (September 1971) - Will the Real Don Rickles Panic?!?
- Jimmy Olsen #142 (October 1971) - The Man from Transilvane!
- Jimmy Olsen #143 (November 1971) - Genocide Spray
- Jimmy Olsen #144 (December 1971) - A Big Thing in a Deep Scottish Lake!
- Superman #247 (January 1972) - Must There Be A Superman
- Jimmy Olsen #145 (January 1972) - Brigadoom!
- Jimmy Olsen #146 (February 1972) - Homo-Disastrous!
- Jimmy Olsen #147 (March 1972) - A Superman in Super-Town!
- Jimmy Olsen #148 (April 1972) - Monarch of All He Subdues!
- Superman #292 (October 1975) - The Luthor Nobody Knows!
- Action Comics #458 (April 1976) - Make Me a Super-Hero! and Masquerade of the Nutty Kid!
- Action Comics #484 (June 1978) - Superman Takes a Wife!
- Superman #328 (October 1978) - Attack of the Kryptonoid
- Action Comics #489 (November 1978) - Krypton Dies Again and Where There's a Will... There's a Fray
- Superman #329 (November 1978) - I Have Met The Enemy... And He Is Me! and The Secret of the Talking Car
- Superman #330 (December 1978) - The Master Mesmerizer of Metropolis!
- Action Comics #490 (December 1978) - No Tomorrow For Superman
- Action Comics #491 (January 1979) - A Matter of Light and Death
- Superman #331 (January 1979) - Lockup at 20,000 Feet
- Action Comics #492 (February 1979) - Superman's Secret Afterlife
- Superman #332 (February 1979) - The Eternity Cage
- Action Comics #493 (March 1979) - The Metropolis UFO Connection
- Action Comics #494 (April 1979) - The Secret of the Super S
- Action Comics #495 (May 1979) - Attack of the Ultimate Warrior
- DC Comics Presents #14 (October 1979) - Judge, Jury... and No Justice!
- The Superman Story (1979) - The Life Story of Superman
- DC Comics Presents #57 (May 1983) - Days of Future Past
- DC Comics Presents #67 (March 1984) - 'Twas the Fright Before Christmas
- DC Comics Presents Annual #3 (1984) - With One Magic Word
- Superman: The Secret Years #1 (February 1985) - Dreams and Schemes and Feeling Proud!
- Superman: The Secret Years #2 (March 1985) - Reach Out and Touch
- Superman: The Secret Years #3 (April 1985) - Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #80 (April 1985) - A World Full of Supermen!
- Superman: The Secret Years #4 (May 1985) - Beyond Terminus
- DC Comics Presents #85 (September 1985) - The Jungle Line
- Superman Annual #11 (1985) - For The Man Who Has Everything
- World's Finest #323 (January 1986) - Afraid of the Dark
- DC Comics Presents #97 (September 1986) - Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter
- Superman #423 & Action Comics #583 (September 1986) - Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?
- Showcase Presents: Superman Family - Volume 1 (October 2005)
- Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons (December 2007)
- Not Brand ECHH #7 (April 1967) - The Origin of Stuporman
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