Mild Mannered Reviews - Classic Pre-Crisis Superman Comics
Many thanks to reviewer Wallace Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Superman #30Cover date: Sept/Oct 1944
Writter: Jerry Siegel
Penciller: Ira Yarborough
Inker: Ira Yarborough
Cover: Joe Shuster Studio
"The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk"
At a busy intersection in Metropolis, a small, strange man reading a newspaper walks nonchalantly into the street without looking. Brakes squeal, but the curious man is hit by an oncoming truck. Ambulance workers work feverishly on the man, but cannot find a pulse. "This man is dead!" Putting him on a stretcher, they try to lift him into the ambulance, but try as they might, he is too heavy. More and more men come to help, and suddenly the little man just sits up. "Confusing, aren't I?" he giggles, then flies to the ambulance, starts the engine, drives it up the side of a building, and into space where it explodes in a burst of color. Picking up the newspaper the man was reading, the policemen are amazed because all of the words are backwards.
At the Metropolis Museum, the curator is about to unveil a statue when this same, curious man walks in. "Has anyone here seen McGirk?" he screams. The curator tries to proceed, but the small man keeps interrupting. "Hey McGirk! Where the Dickens are you." "How do you like that McGirk standing me up like this?" When the curator pulls the drape off of the statue of a man seated in a chair, the little man points up and says, "That's him! That's my pal McGirk! Hey you lug, cut the daydreaming and let's get goin'." Coming to life, the statue stands and, apologizing to his impish friend, follows him out of the museum.
Later, at the Metropolis pool, a small man appears to be drowning in the deep end. Several lifeguards dive in to save him but the man keeps appearing in different areas of the pool, even floating above the pool. An instant later, all of the water in the pool is gone.
And still later, Clark Kent and Lois Lane are covering the Metropolis city council meeting, when a debate erupts over city streets. The Mayor attempts to talk his way out of a bad situation when he suddenly begins braying like a donkey. Leaping up, a small man runs to the front of the chamber demanding bandages, then spinning around the mayor until he looks like a mummy. "What kind of doctor are you?" asks an aid. "Tee-Hee! Who said I was a doctor!" squeals the little man who begins racing around the room. Slipping away, Kent becomes Superman and chases the man out the window, and flies away. "I thought I was the only man that could fly," says Superman. "But I am no ordinary man. I am Mr. Mxyztplk!"
Chasing the small man through the skies of Metropolis, the imp begins to wreak havoc. First, he builds a road out into the lake which Superman moves back to its correct place. Then the little man starts a wind which blows piles of waste paper over the city. As a final touch, the little man stops all engines, paralyzing Metropolis' cars, busses and trains. Putting all of the streetcars in a long line, Superman orders everyone inside and pushes the cars along their route. As suddenly as they stopped, motors begin functioning again, and Superman heads out to survey the damage.
On Main Street, the Mayor is leading a circus parade. Superman streaks down to the parade, hoping to convince the Mayor that he should postpone the event. "Nonsense," says the Mayor. "He wouldn't dare annoy me again." Wrong! At that very moment, invisible fingers lift the mayor up and flip him from animal to animal, and cage doors swing magically open. Superman's speed is all that stops the deadly animals from being released into the streets. And at the same moment through the city, pranks are appearing out of the blue: water comes pouring out of radios, music from refrigerators, and sparks from water faucets.
High above the city, Superman spots the sprite sitting on a bridge and confronts him to quit these shenanigans. "Why should I?" he asks. "I haven't had this much fun in years!" Mxyztplk explains to Superman that he is from another dimension where he had worked as a court jester. Also being somewhat of a scholar, Mxyztplk discovered two magic words: one that would transport him to earth and the other which would send him back. "This three-dimensional world is so backward that I can easily conquer and rule it. Think of that! A court jester could become a king," giggles the imp.
"So what's the second magic word," asks Superman. "That is funny! With your meager three-dimensional intelligence you thought that you could trick me into saying the magic words "KLPTZYXM"! Good Grief!Š I just said the magic word!! You tricked me! It ain't funny," screams the imp as he fades back to his dimension.
Back at the Planet, Lois is infuriated, and slaps Clark smartly on the face. "Instead of writing a story about the mayor losing his voice, you published a story ridiculing my lovely new hat. And don't try to deny it because the article is signed with your name," screams Lois. "But Lois, I never wrote such a story. It must have been the work of the Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk," says Kent winking at the audience.
Story - 3: This story is important in the Superman mythos because it is the first appearance of Mr. Mxyztplk (spelled Mxyzptlk in most every other appearance) and opened a completely new weakness for the Superman characterŠ magic. However, the story itself was nothing special. Primarily, the story revolved around five vignettes of Mxyzptlk's mischief with Superman appearing at the end to show Mxyzptlk that three-dimensional beings weren't as dumb as he thought. While those vignettes were amusing, the story itself was rather straightforward and uncomplicated. This story did, however, provide much of the inspiration for the first appearance of Mr. Mxyzptlk in the animated version of Warner Brother's Superman cartoon.
Art - 4: Following the success of Superman, Joe Shuster was swamped with work and hired many assistants to help with the load. Among those artists were Wayne Boring, John Sikela, and Ira Yarborough. Since Mxzytplk was a "imp" character, Shuster chose Yarborough, whose style was a bit more "cartoony" than the other artists to illustrate this story. Even though Yarborough's style was not as realistic as others in the studio, his pacing and story telling were quite good. The splash for this story could easily have been the cover for the book, showing Superman flying above a beautifully drawn Metropolis with Mxyztplk floating just in front of himŠ a classic first image for Mxyztplk.
Cover Art - 2: Like many covers done for Superman comics in the mid-1940's, the image on the cover of Superman #30 had very little to do with the story inside that has become a classic, The Mystery of Mr. Mxyztplk. This may have been because the studio was producing so many stories that they weren't always sure which story would appear in what issue and a generic cover would be easier to produce. The cover to Superman #30 was done by the Joe Shuster studio and featured Lois walking arm-in-arm with Clark Kent while ignoring Superman.
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!
- Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (Spring 1978)
- 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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