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Crisis on No-Christmas Earth – The New Adventures of Superboy #39

December 18, 2014

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Superman, like pretty much every other comic book superhero, has had his share of Christmas stories. Batman has had them. Spider-Man has had them. (A lot of them.) So why shouldn’t the Man of Tomorrow? We’ve covered one of his before, right here on this very blog. And today we’re going back to the Kal-El well in a tale that traps his younger self in a world he never made — a world without Christmas, no less. Bah humbug, Superboy style!

This early 1980s story (Paul Kupperberg words, Kurt Schaffenberger art) opens with a merry holiday celebration in the Kent household, complete with Ma, Pa, Clark, Lana Lang and Pete Ross, all caroling around a sumptuously decorated tree. And surprisingly enough, Clark’s practical joking bully, Bash Bashford, is part of this merry assemblage. But it turns out Bash isn’t too merry on this particular Noel, and perhaps for reasons that have nothing do with his embarrassing attire, which looks to be stolen from John Travolta’s Saturday Night Fever wardrobe:

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How moody is he? Moody enough to snap cheap plastic mistletoe with his bare hands!:

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After delivering a harangue on how empty and without meaning the holiday season is, Bash storms out into the night. This gives Clark a chance to sneak away and change into Superboy, and it’s in that guise that he meets up with Bash. Resolved to knock some Christmas spirit back into him come hell or high water, he wraps the teen into his cape and whisks him away to an alternate Earth, traveling between the dimensions in whatever way Superboy/man did back in those pre-Crisis days.

Superboy chooses a world without a Christmas — Earth-un-X-mas, perhaps. Which is basically your typical post-apocalyptic wasteland:

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Any number of questions are begged here. How did Superboy know how to get to this particular Earth, amidst the infinite array of parallel universes from which to choose? Are their road signs? And what are the implications of a world without Christmas? Wouldn’t this also quite possibly be a world with Christianity, with all the consequences that would have for Western civilization? Or is it simply a world where Christian theology took hold, but a warm, gift-giving holiday tradition never found purchase?

Sadly, none of these queries are answered. Instead we get a fairly typical story, with brick- and stick-wielding ruffians menacing Superboy and Bash. And, of course, a parallel Clark, one without superpowers (maybe, like Superboy-Prime, he simply hasn’t developed them yet):

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Pa Kent is around too, marveling at the “unusual words” used by this flamboyantly dressed stranger:

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Where is that caroling coming from in the last panel, you ask? You’ll have to read the comic to find that out, and to learn what ray of hope Superboy and Bash (I keep wanting to call him Biff) leave on Earth-un-X-mas, not to mention whether or not Superboy becomes some lame Christ proxy for this beleaguered alternate reality. Suffice it to say, Superboy’s original mission is accomplished, and Bash returns home with reinvigorated cheer:

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This comic is silly. This comic is lame. Which puts it right in the groove of most superhero Christmas stories, the rock-hard fruitcake of stapled newsprint. Welcome to the club, Superboy. Ho. Ho. Ho.

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