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See, kids? Comics can be fun AND educational! – Action Comics Annual #1

June 12, 2011

I recall this one sitting in a stack of comics that my grandparents kept on an end table next to the couch in their house. For my easy access and reading pleasure whenever I was there, I guess. Man, they were a couple of great people.

Even though I hadn’t read this comic in probably twenty years — up until a week ago — I could quite clearly remember its John Byrne/Art(hur) Adams/Dick Giordano content. You see, this comic book taught me two valuable life lessons, one of which I’ve carried around with me in the back of my head for decades. Decades. Yes, plural.

Here’s the first, less important one: Cut off jean shorts on a leggy blonde can be a good thing.

To wit:

Incidentally, I’m not sure about the Mr. Peanut t-shirt. Could there be something Joe Camel-ish about him? Or do I need to get my head off that *ahem* track?

The big lesson needs a little set up. To summarize the plot of this book, the above blonde (named Skeeter, of all things) is being hunted by her neighbors in the deep south, who’ve assembled in a torches and pitchfork type of mob. She finds safety, but is later revealed to be a little more than meets the eye. The story is like some weird combination of Dracula, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Southern Comfort. Suffice it to say, some bad, creepy, evil things go down. Said bad things gets the attention of both Batman and Superman, but Batman is the first to come into contact with Skeeter’s long legs and Daisy Dukes. Things go south (no pun intended) fast:

Batman crashes through the thin walls of the her shack, but plops straight into quicksand:

Could this be the end of the Batman? Where’s the announcer from his old TV show when I need him?

Superman is the next one to come up against this devil in cut off blue jeans:

Uh-oh. I think you see where this is going — though this isn’t the second bit of vital info.

Magic.

Yes, Superman wilts in the face of her mystical assault like a plantation belle with a case of the vapors. And she gets real ugly real fast:

Batman to the rescue:

And get ready, friends. Here comes the lesson that I’ve carried around with me all these years. Are you ready? Okay:

Now you know! And knowing’s half the battle!

The story wraps as most of the early post-Crisis encounters between the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader did, with them (and their Art Adams Jay Leno-jaws) less than cordial in parting:

I’ve never once questioned that assertion that a person can swim in quicksand, so every time I’ve seen a movie with someone doing that slow “I’m sinking!” bit (I’ve never had a chance to test the assertion myself), I quite literally think Let yourself sink, you idiot. You can swim your way out. Batman said so.

My most recent “usage” of this knowledge came during Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, when, after I got done thinking I’m watching an Indiana Jones movie that sort of blows, I thought Just swim out, Indy. You don’t have to grab the snake. And pull a Marvin Gaye on that annoying kid of yours when you get out.

According to various points on the web, you actually can swim in quicksand, depending on its depth. So Byrne wasn’t full of it when he wrote that. And it was with great trepidation that I looked that up, because I’d hate to have been misinformed all these years. By Batman, no less.

You learn something every day. That’s a good thing, even if what you learn is practically useless.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. chris permalink
    June 15, 2011 12:20 pm

    Yep. I had this issue as well and it’s “if you keep your head you can swim in quicksand” lesson has stayed with me.

  2. March 25, 2016 7:37 am

    I’ve got this comic – must dig it out and re-read it.

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