Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Metropolis Mailbag and Fudge -- mmmm!

Here is the "Metropolis Mailbag" for Superman 171, which you'll recall is cover-dated August, 1964.

Here readers asked questions, pointed out errors, and otherwise interacted not only with the world of Superman, but the world of ADULTS.

Taking the letters in order ...

The first refers to Sally Selwyn, a beautiful heiress who had appears in Superman 165 and 169. Chalk up the editorial reply to "empty promise," because Sally didn't appear again. Of course, maybe a story was in the pipes but didn't make it into print.

Next we have the exposure of a prank letter, where a reader asks about somebody's previous request to have plastic surgery to copy Superboy's face. The reply admits as much and says, in effect, at least we got a story element from the affair.

The third letter proves editor Mort Weisinger's theory that the comic-book audience would rotate every few years. The writer -- probably about ten years old -- has never heard of the Superman radio show. So the editorial reply confirms that To Tell the Truth's TV host Bud Collier DID play the Man of Steel on the radio.

Next we have a smart-aleck who tries to tie up DC in a wrangling over tetanus/lockjaw, regarding Mr Mxyzptlk's recent appearance when he couldn't talk. In turnabout fashion, the smart-aleck editors reply that Mxy's docter in Zrfff made the mis-diagnosis, not DC.

The last letter also tries to catch the staff in a wrong-side-of-the-road snafu, which is easily slipped out of.

In between is a letter asking DC to reprint its stories featuring JFK. Besides the cover story, "Who Is the Mystery Masquerader?" which appeared in Action 309, there were several others, such as "Superman's Mission for President Kennedy!" which appeared in Superman 170, the issue immediately preceding this one. Also, JFK welcomed Supergirl to the White House in Action 252. (There are surely others.) The editors wisely reply that "it's too soon after Mr Kennedy's tragic death to reprint them."

Now, notice two things about this reply. First, the editors call him "Mr" not "President" Kennedy. I wonder if this were intentional. Secondly, the publishers of today would have rushed out a reprint "Special Memorial Edition" of those stories before the last assassin left Dallas city limits!

The bottom third of the page has an ad for the now-defunct "Tootsie Roll Fudge." Nowadays you can't buy the stuff. It was crowded from the marketplace by Tootsie Rolls and Tootsie Roll Pops.

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