Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Many thanks to reviewer Wallace Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Cover date: July 1963
Writer: Leo Dorfman
Penciller: Curt Swan/Kurt Schaffenberger
Inker: George Klein
Cover: Kurt Schaffenberger
"The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue"
"One morning in Metropolis, on an imaginary day which may, or may not ever happen..."
Part I: The Titanic Twins... the publisher of the Daily Planet posts a notice of pay raises. Everyone got a raise except Clark Kent. Sliding next to Clark, Lois gloats. "Frankly Clark, those raises were given for getting scoops. You've got to be more dynamic... a go-getter." Clark tries to be gallant. "I guess I'm just a flop, Lois" he says out loud, but to himself he is amazed that everyone has gotten a raise by writing stories about his exploits as Superman.
When Perry offers to take everyone to lunch in celebration, Clark declines. Perry thinks that Kent is embarrassed but the fact is that he has been called to the Fortress of Solitude. When he arrives, he is greeted by Supergirl who tells him that the people of Kandor are anxious to speak with him. Turning on the view screen, the tiny people of Kandor, shrunken into a bottle by Brainiac, start off by complimenting Superman for his many accomplishments but then list his failures: restoring Kandor to it's original size, finding an antidote to Kryptonite, and wiping out evil. For the second time that day, Superman is faced with his shortcomings. Kandorians give Superman an ultimatum: "Within six months, if you fail, we will ask you to let one of us change places with you and try to accomplish them!"
Agreeing to the six-month trial period, Superman decides to take a bold move. For years he had been working on a brain-evolution machine, powered by the rays of every variety of Kryptonite, to increase his mental power a hundred times. Although Supergirl wants to test the machine on herself, Superman insists that the risk be his. Entering the chamber, Superman places the headband in position and tells Supergirl to adjust the machine to maximum power. As the power increases, Superman screams in pain, but before Supergirl can cut the power, it explodes. Staring in astonishment, two Supermen stand now before her, one in a solid-red costume and one in a solid-blue, each a hundred times smarter than the original.
Wasting not a moment, the two set to work redesigning Brainiac's enlarging ray and power source. Leaving Supergirl to guard earth, they fly Kandor to the fringes of the solar system and the two Supermen hurl fragments of "hyper-megneton", an element unknown on earth, together to form a small planetoid. The hyper-megneton then attracts the shattered remnants of Krypton, including every piece of Kryptonite, from the remote corners of space until it recreates Krypton.
Using Brainiac's ray, the two Supermen expand Kandor to original size, and in the presence of the yellow sun, every citizen of Kandor now has super-powers. Naming the new planet New Krypton, the people of Kandor use their powers to also recreate such wonders as the Jewel Mountains, the Scarlet Jungle, and the cities of Krypton. But, says Superman Red, "In this solar system, you will always be a planet of super-beings. Is that what you want?"
Part II: The Anti-Evil Ray... The decision is made. Kandorians decide that they should return to their original galaxy to live a normal life. In anticipation, Superman Red and Superman Blue had already placed the planet on an orbit which would return it to the original constellation.
Returning to the Fortress, they find the Bottle of Kandor in it's usual place. Supergirl had created a copy of the city to serve as a memento, and celebrates by checking off two unsolved super-problems. However, a mental voice breaks the celebration.
Lori Lemaris, and the people of Atlantis, had seen what the two Supermen had done for Kandor. For centuries, Atlantean mer-people had been considered freaks, hiding from the humans, and hoped that Superman Red and Blue could also help them find a new world. Remembering the Memorial World of Krypton, now unnecessary since New Krypton exists, the two Supermen, Supergirl and Krypto focus their heat vision on the polar ice-caps creating a waterworld. But how to transport the citizens of the underwater civilization of Atlantis through space to the new planet? Launching magnetic meteors in a spiral orbit between earth and the new planet, the two Supermen create an immense tunnel for the Atlanteans to "swim" to their new planet, "Hydra".
Returning to the Fortress, the two Supermen address their next task: erasing crime and evil from earth. As Superman Blue draws out the designs for an "Anti-evil ray", Superman Red is already building the device. After only a few seconds of exposure to the ray, giant Warrior ants lose all aggression and cease their battle. With their test a success, the two quickly construct many of the devices, place them in satellites, and launching them into a precise orbit above the earth.
Within seconds, criminals stop in their tracks, returning their loot. But there is more. In Russia, Prime Minister Kruschev orders his arsenal of missiles dumped into the sea. On Cuba, Castro releases all of his political prisoners. In space, Brainiac reconsiders his attack on earth. And Luthor creates a serum to cure every known disease. After the Supermen analyze the serum, they add a few drops to each of the major rivers of the world and miraculously the blind can see, the crippled can walk, and even Luthor re-grows his hair. As a reward, Luthor is paroled pledging to devote his life to science.
However, when they return to the Fortress they are horrified to see Supergirl releasing the criminals of the Phantom Zone. "She's gone berserk!" screams Superman Red.
Part III: The End Of Superman's Career... What had appeared to be a horrible mistake turned into a pleasant surprise. The "Anti-evil" ray had been so successful that even the Phantom Zone criminals had been reformed. Once released, they sought to travel to New Krypton and begin useful lives. Supergirl had also made this same decision. Unfortunately, to reach New Krypton, they would need a spacecraft. Miraculously, as if on cue, the Legion of Superheroes appear with a giant space arc to transport the travelers safely.
Once they have gone, Superman Red and Superman Blue receive a frantic call from Luthor. Mxyzptlk has been sighted in the skies above Metropolis. Streaking to the city, the two are astonished to see Mxyzptlk using his magic to create a monument to all super-beings on earth. "It's the least I could do to make up for all of the mischief I've done in the past," says Mxyzptlk. And, to surprise them even more, Mxyzptlk speaks his name backwards voluntarily returning himself to the 5th dimension.
With Kandor enlarged, Kryptonite eradicated and crime eliminated, the two Supermen realize that they are now free to marry. Lana Lang and Lois Lane have always been the loves of Superman's life but how to decide which Superman marries whom. The two decided to construct giant steel "L's". Standing on a distant Himalayan mount, they decide that whichever "L" is struck by lightning first would chose. As luck would have it, both are struck simultaneously. Sitting on the mountaintop, each is frustrated. "Frankly, if I had my choice, I'd marry Lois," says Superman Red. "And I'd pick Lana," says Superman Blue. "Then our problem's solved," they agree.
The Supermen each reveal the truth to the woman they love and both Lana and Lois readily accept their Superman's proposal. Later, the two couples meet in the park and each woman is surprised to see Clark Kent standing next to them. Soon, the confusion is explained and they decide to have a double wedding. After weeks of preparation, Jimmy Olsen arrives to be Superman's Best Man and Lucy Lane is Lois' Maid of Honor. Standing excitedly in the hallway, Lucy proposes to Jimmy and a triple wedding is performed.
But all is not well in the Superman Red household. Lois senses that her Superman longs for New Krypton and arranges for Superman Blue to build a "Super-Suit", with jet controls, to get them to the planet. On the fateful day, Superman Red, Lois, Krypto and the Super-Horse wave goodbye to Lana and Superman Blue and head off to their new life. Lana turns to Superman Blue and asks, " Be honest with me dear. Wouldn't you like to be with him on New Krypton?" "Frankly no," he says. "I've come to love my home here on earth."
Several days later, Superman Blue visits Perry White in the Planet offices to make an announcement. "Now that crime and evil are wiped out, earth has no need for a Superman, so I'm going to retire." Leaving his robots to take care of any disasters, Superman dedicates himself to science and his family.
Four years pass, and Jimmy and Lucy visit the Kents and their two children. Later, after they return home, they look in on New Krypton. Kal-El, Lois and their twins appear content in their way of life, with no regrets that they came to New Krypton. But, suppose this story had actually happened. Which couple do you think would be happiest?
Story - 3: While this story was meant to be whimsical and very "up-beat", it often comes across as a too-good-to-be-true Superman tale. In this "imaginary story" Superman is able to have everything he might ever have wanted: he re-creates Krypton, enlarges Kandor, can marry both Lois and Lana, have children and live on both earth and Krypton... all at the same time. While it's fun to speculate on, it would truly be the end of Superman's career as we know it.
Art - 4: This story was drawn by Curt Swan and George Klein at their artistic peak. Strangely though, while the interior art was predominantly by Swan and Klein, the editor of the book, Mort Weisinger, had Kurt Schaffenberger draw all of the faces of Lois and Lana throughout the story. This was something that DC editors had done rather routinely over the years. At points through Superman's history, the interior art were drawn by one artist and faces by another. For example, during Kirby's work on JIMMY OLSEN, both Al Plastino and Murphy Anderson drew Superman's face over a Kirby body. Often the appearance is strange, but adding Schaffenberger's faces to Lois and Lana was not a bad touch even though Swan's version of Lois and Lana was quite good.
Cover Art - 4: The cover to Superman #162 was done by Kurt Schaffenberger. This was also a bit odd, since Curt Swan had drawn almost every Superman cover since number 117. The only other cover he did not do during that period was Superman #160, also drawn by Schaffenberger. The cover itself tried to capture the idyllic lives of Supermen Red and Superman Blue, each married to the woman of their dreams, living where they wished, as they wanted, in peace; truly, the embodiment of the American dream during the cold war of the early 1960s.
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 LaneŠ DeadŠ 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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