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Mr. Trix may want to reconsider this course of action – Superman #58

April 25, 2010

This is currently the oldest Superman comic that I own.  I paid more than I normally like for any single issue, but the temptation to get my hands on some 40’s Supes was too much to resist.  Fortunately for my wallet it was made affordable by its less than immaculate condition – even from the scan of the front cover you can see the rusted staples and the wear on the spine, and on the back there are a couple of small chunks out.  But it’s all intact, so I was good to go.

I’m not nuts about Golden Age comics in general, but I will say this for them – you certainly got a lot of bang for your buck back in the day.  This issue has not one, not two, but three Supeman stories inside.  Not bad for a dime.  The first, Tiny Trix, the Bantam Bandit, deals with the miniature James Cagney on the cover.  A comedic story, Superman catches a miniature crook, the crook pretends to be a kid to get released from prison, and then Superman has to recapture him.  The second, Lois Lane Loves Clark Kent, features Lois as she follows a doctor’s orders to try and give up her crush on Superman.  She transfers her Single White Female-esque obsession with Supes to Clark (seriously, Lois has issues), and our hero has to escape her clutches so that he can remain free to fight crime.  The last, The Case of the Second Superman, follows the adventures of a hero on another planet who asks Superman for help.

It’s this last story that makes the ish worthwhile for me – and please bear in mind, this was back when Superman got his powers from the weaker gravity of Earth and the relative advancement of Krypton vis-a-vis his new world.  It turns out that a rocket scientist here on Earth, to get his son away from a Volcanic eruption on a remote island, puts the kid in a rocket(!) to send him to America.  The rocket winds up travelling through space (nice aim, Dad) and ends up on a planet called Uuz, an icy world with weaker gravity than Earth.  He’s adopted by a family there and, because of his origins in Earth’s stronger gravity, becomes Regor, that world’s Superman.  He’s strong, he has better vision than those around him, and he gets about by giant jumps (tall buildings in a single bound).  He even has a secret identity as television interviewer Winki Lamm, complete with an L-named female coworker, Loria.

All goes well from him, until a villain named Bantor comes along and strengthens some hoods of his and whoops Regor, who leaves Uuz and winds up on Earth.  Superman bumps into him and takes him to the Fortress of Solitude (I believe that this issue was the first time that this name was used, though it’s not the Fortress of the Silver Age, more a castle at one of the poles).  There he puts Regor on a training regimen and the two travel back to Uuz, where Regor stays in his own personal hideout while Superman (disguised as Regor) tries to put an end to Bantor.  Eventually, with the help of the real Regor, he triumphs.  There’s a nice coda to the story as Loria is shown nagging “Winki Lamm” while, here on Earth, Lois is browbeating Clark.  It’s reassuring to know that horrid shrews are a common occurrence in the universe.

The last story felt to me like it would have fit in quite nicely in the books of the late 50’s and 60’s, and I mean that as a compliment.  I enjoy those stories, and I enjoyed the tale of Regor.  I could easily picture Curt Swan pencilling this type of story, and that may be the highest praise I can give (though Wayne Boring drew this one, and I certainly can’t find any fault with his work).  So this purchase, despite the heftier price tag, was more than worthwhile, and it was fun going though it for this post.  Hell, I even get a kick out of the ads from this era.

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