Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics

Many thanks to reviewer Wallace Harrington (

Superman #123

Superman #123

Cover date: August 1958

Writer: Otto Binder
Penciller: Dick Sprang
Inker: Stan Kaye
Cover: Curt Swan

"The Girl of Steel"

Torrential rains, a flood... disaster. Where there is a disaster, we will always find Superman. And where we find Superman, we can usually find Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. While Jimmy busies himself piloting the Flying Newsroom, a huge helicopter converted to get stories first-hand, Lois decides to parachute into the melee (wearing her hat, high heels and dress). Unfortunately, her parachute fails to open, and Superman leaves the flood victims to streaks and catch her in the nick of time. Heading back to the Flying Newsroom, Lois cuddles into Superman's arms, oblivious to the rain and the flood below. "I'd like to be in your arms always, Superman, as your wife..." she sighs. "Uh, sorry Lois, but you know the answer to that... Only a Super-Girl could keep up with me!" explains Superman. Hearing that, Jimmy begins to feel sorry for Superman, wishing that he could make a Super-Girl appear to keep his pal company.

A few days later, Superman rescues an archaeologist who was trapped in a cave by a landslide. The professor offers to reward Superman, but Superman tells him to give Jimmy the souvenir. That night the Professor comes to Jimmy's apartment with a totem, and explains that the inscription on the totem reads, "Once every century, magic totem grants three wishes when jewel is rubbed under a full moon." Looking out the window, Jimmy sees that there is a full moon, and decides to try it that night. Once he is alone, Jimmy rubs the jewel, and true to his promise wishes for a Super-Girl, with super-powers equal to Superman's, to appear and become his companion.

When nothing happens, Jimmy laughs and walks away, not noticing that in the glow of the moonlight something has, indeed, begun to happen. A ghostly shape begins to take form, and solidify. Then, a beautiful girl, wearing a costume similar to Superman's appears. "Go and join Superman on the morrow," booms the totem. "I obey, totem spirit," says the girl, who flies out of the window.

The next day, Superman sees a plane falling out of control. As he rushes to save the falling plane, a terrific backwash nearly knocks Superman out of the sky. Looking up, Superman is surprised to a girl steadying the plane. "I am Super-Girl," she says.

Once they land the plane, Super-Girl explains that Jimmy had wished for her, that she was there to help Superman, and be his constant companion. With that, she puts her arms around Superman. "Are you glad I'm here?" she asks. "Eh... let's not rush things, Super-Girl," mutters the embarrassed Man of Steel.

Back at the Daily Planet, Jimmy had brought his totem to show off and tells Lois what he had wished for. To his surprise, Superman and Super-Girl fly in through the window, amazing Jimmy, but stunning Lois. With a Super-Girl around, her chances of marrying Superman have just flown out the window. Lois looks at the totem, and remembers that the archeologist had told her that all she had to do to cancel a wish was to rub the magic jewel again. Embarrassed at her selfishness, Lois tearfully realizes that if she did that, not only would Superman lose Super-Girl, but that he would still not marry her.

The transition from lone Superman to super-team is a hard one for Superman and Super-Girl. When they attempt to put out a warehouse fire, the effect of their combined super-breath blows the roof off of the building. Later, when a teller accidentally locks himself in a bank vault Super-Girl adds her x-ray vision to Superman's to make the metal melt faster, only producing an explosion. When they both arrive to stop an elevator from falling, they bump heads in the elevator shaft.

Realizing that Super-Girl has all of his powers, Superman decides to let Super-Girl handle things herself so he can spend more time as Clark Kent. Walking down the street with Lois Lane, Super-Girl flies over. After noticing the similarities between Clark's face and that of Superman, she uses her x-ray vision and discovers his costume under Clark's clothes. "Well, hello there Superman," she calls out to Clark, who is standing right in front of Lois. Hurriedly avoiding Lois' questions, Superman flies after Super-Girl and angrily tells her to stay out of his way.

Upset, Superman flies out of town, where he sees a washed-out bridge and off in the distance the Metropolis Express speeds onward. Superman decides to hold that section of the track up, not knowing that it was a trap. From an airplane above, two crooks throw a piece of Kryptonite onto the tracks, weakening Superman. Super-Girl uses her super-breath to force the plane down, then swoops down to grab the Kryptonite. "I'll remove the Kryptonite," she says. "You see, not having been born on Krypton like you, I'm immune to the stuff."

Super-Girl can fly only a short distance before she is also weakened. Being an exact duplicate of Superman, Kryptonite weakens her as well, and it takes all of her strength to crawl away.

Making her way to Jimmy's apartment, Super-Girl tells Jimmy that she got too close to the Kryptonite, and realizing that she would not recover begs him to rub the jewel and cancel the wish. Reluctantly, he follows her wishes. As she fades away, Super-Girl sobs, "Give my love to Superman," and she is drawn into the mysterious limbo from which she came.

At the office the next day, Jimmy explains the strange story to Lois and Clark. Wondering if Superman will ever marry her, Lois begins to walk away but notices a note on her desk. "Dear Lois! I've fallen madly in love with you! But I'm too shy to pop the question in person... Will you marry me?" But, Clark Kent signed the note. Looking at Clark, Lois figures that if Superman were really Clark Kent, he would never propose. "That's Sweet of you Clark, but I could marry you only if you were really Superman." Clark smiles. He had figured she would react that way. But what if she had accepted?

5Story - 5: This story was another "Imaginary Tale" involving Jimmy's travails with the magic totem. The Girl of Steel was actually the first of three chapters; the others were "The Lost Super Powers" where some thugs stole the totem and wished for Superman to lose his powers, and "Superman's Return to Krypton" where Jimmy uses the totem to send Superman to visit his home world before it was destroyed. While this is an excellent story, this issue of Superman is important in the Superman mythos primarily because it introduced Supergirl. DC comics had trademarked the name "Supergirl" many years before the creation of the character. In 1949, the first Supergirl appeared in Superboy #4. Almost nine-years later, this story provided a second tryout for the character and reader response was so positive that, within a year, DC decided to introduce Supergirl in an on-going role. One striking thing about this version of the character was the costume of Super-Girl. This costume is practically identical to the one that the "real" Supergirl will wear when she appears as Kara Zor-El in Action #252 (May 1959) save for one important fact. Originally, Super-Girl had red hair, and her costume was an orange tunic with green cape, skirt and boots. Many reprints of this story have been re-colored giving Super-Girl blond hair and using the more conventional blue and red color scheme that eventually became Kara's costume.

5Art - 5: This story was drawn by Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye. Sprang was best known for his classic work on Batman during the 1950's, illustrating some of the most famous stories featuring the Joker, Two-Face, Penguin and the Riddler. During the 1960's prior to his retirement, Sprang became a regular working on Superman-Batman team-up stories in WORLD'S FINEST. This was one of his few stories to appear in the Superman title and is excellent work.

4Cover Art - 4: The cover to Superman #123 was done by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. It is a typical, solid example of Superman art from this time period featuring the lead story with Super-Girl. The cover shows Superman holding up washed-out rain tracks and Super-Girl pulling the train along the tracks.

Pre-Crisis Superman Comic Book Reviews



  • 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”




Compilation Volumes


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