Friday, January 07, 2011

Let's Read Superman 180

Superman 180 is cover-dated October, 1965.  We're going to read through it together, but not at a page-a-day.  A little faster this time.

First off, feast your eyes on that gorgeous artwork by Mr Swanderful.  Just look at these (Caucasuian?!?!?) island beauties.

It simply astounds me that the women's faces drawn by Curt Swan were not considered beautiful enough, sometimes, by the DC powers-that-be.  For certain "presigious"-type tales, Lois Lane main artist Kurt Schaffenberger was drafted to provide faces for Swan-drawn figures of Lois and Lana.  For a prime example of this, scope out the classic tale of Superman Red/Superman Blue in Superman 162.

As you can see on this cover, Mr Swan was perfectly capable of drawing beautiful women "all the way up."  Va-va-VOOM! as they used to say.

Here we see our luscious unadorned (except by clothing, darn it! -- just kidding) island girls looking fresh from San Francisco, complete with flowers in their hair.

Let's read the cover text box.  It really seems to be a lot of words, huh?  But I think all that verbiage is consciously used for dramatic effect to lead up to the boffo title, "The Girl Who Was Mightier Than Superman!"

The dialogue tells us the name of this mere slip of a girl who has knocked Our Hero cattywampus, and that, due to this single judo throw, the Mighty Stranger is now obligated to marry Orella.

But read Superman's comment.  Is he concerned that he is now engaged?  Is he worried that Lois Lane's lock on his affections has been snipped with bolt-cutters?

No.  It's the SHAME of it all.  He's been beaten by a girl.  Man, don't you know -- that's when the FUN begins!

All seriousness aside, take a look at the staging of this dynamic cover.  Our cover girl Orella is swinging Superman around like a shot-put.  She's got an appropriate stance, with has feet planted, her hip turned one way and her shoulders slanted like a Louisville Slugger.

But look at Superman.  It's a dramatic pose, but in your mind's eye, try to "rewind" from his current supine position.Was Superman standing next to her when Orella grabbed his arm?  If so, then her grip would be reversed as she reached down to grab his wrist.  About the only way she could grab ahold of him with this grip is if she were standing on a ladder above him, or if  he were already flat-out on the ground, simililar to the sequence in the Superman II film when Crhsitopher Reeve spins Terence Stamp (Zod) into the Coke sign.

To quote Yul Brenner, "Tis a puzzlement."

Still, just from the cover alone, it's no wonder that this is an issue of the "World's Best-Selling Comics Magazine!"

On the inside front cover we have this great GI Joe ad.  Who among us remembers the GI Joe TV commercial jingle?  To the tune of "The Caissons Go Rolling Along," a mighty male chorus sang, "GI Joe, GI Joe, Fighting man from head to toe!" and I forgot the rest.

Yes, the original "Action Figure" was a big draw for boys who wanted to play army.  Also, he was way more rough-and-tumble than those girly Barbies.  I mean, GI Joe had ball-and-socket wrist-elbow-shoulder assemblies.  Not for him those wimpy, plastic-covered "Ken joints."

I never had a GI Joe myself, my army men were always the three-inch-high injection-mold plastic kind.

However, I DID somehow acquire a GI Joe footlocker.  I still have it.  I use it to keep my model-building stuff in:  my Testor's paint and brushes, model glue, and old Aurora instruction sheets.  Some of those little paint bottles are forty years old.

1 comment:

Bunched Undies said...

That GiJoe ad is great. That was the hot toy in my squandered youth.

I believe the next line of the jingle was "on the land...on the sea...in the air".

I don't remember if there were anymore lyrics.

As me and my buddies got a little older and the novelty wore off, we began to experiment on pur GiJoes.
The arms were held on by an elastic band in the carcass. I rigged mine so if you pressed hard on his back, his arms would fall off. GiJoe "Action Casualty", we called him.

Good clean fun.

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