Observation for Now

It has always seemed to me that the human race needs more things to wonder about, rather than less.

-- Gregory L Reece

Friday, February 06, 2015

"Tales of Green Kryptonite, No. 2" -- Part One

And now we begin the second story in April 1965's Superman #176.  (Part 1 of the "Tales of Green K" series was in Superman #173, cover-dated November 1964.)




This fun story of part of "the Superman Legend" was written by Otto Binder, penciled by Curt Swan, and inked by George Klein.  Tell me, if a piece of Kryptonite could think, what would it be cogitatin' about?  Would it look forward to fulfilling its niche in its existence by happily irradiating any and all Kryptonians?  No!

In the Silver Age, a self-conscious piece of Green K would be filled with existential angst.  It only wants good things to happen, yet by its very presence it brings pain, woe, and death to our friend Superman.  Let's grant the conceit of consciousness, for the sake of a fun story ...

Isn't that a great splash panel?  Superman's standing there, looking at a piece of Green Kryptonite NOT KILLING HIM.  While the rock (and the readers) are shouting, "turn around, you big Super-Doofus!  That rock is making your friends sick!"

Isn't it tricky and fun, that there's a primitively suggested face drawn onto the surface of this softball-sized rock?  On this page, we see how this poor piece of irradiated mineral has had its lethal fate thrust -- thrust, I say! -- upon it, causing pain to younger versions of the adult Superman.  Our story proper begins on the next page.


 
The final panel of the flashback brings us up to speed.  When the Kryptonite became temporarily harmless, the then-Superboy tossed it into "the desolate Arctic!"

Over which, a decade or so later, Clark Kent and other passengers are now flying in a commercial aircraft.  This must have been one of those times when Superman gritted his figurative teeth and traveled like an ordinary human, to maintain his Earthly identity.  After all, it might look sort of suspicious for Clark Kent to teletype his story from Madrid or Malaysia, and ten minutes later show up at the Daily Planet offices saying, "Well, I'm back!"

And it's a good thing, too, because this plane is goin' down, baby!  And rather than swoop outside unseen and carry the plane to safety, Superman instead decides to join the passengers in parachuting down.  I like this; it allows the people to be self-reliant and heroic on their own (as best they can).  It's typical, of course, of our noble hero to super-scan the parachutes to make sure they are all functional, which is why he takes the one bum bumbershoot in the plane.

Isn't panel five a fine depiction (for a comic book) of the Northern Lights?  And the parachuters look pretty cool, too.  Although artist Curt Swan spent most of World War II behind the lines drawing for Stars and Stripes, he DID go through basic training and had surely seen parachute landings performed (with varying skill).  The guy in the foreground may have come in a little rough, but he's a civilian!  I'm sure that he agreed with the old pilots' saying that "Any landing you can walk away from, is a good landing."

Of course, our Super-Hero doesn't have that problem, even when he drops "like a stone."  What a nice one-point touchdown!

What will happen when Clark (Superman) Kent joins the ragtag bunch of marooned plane passengers?  What new threats will he face?  Will the presence of Green Kryptonite thwart Superman's rescue of these people in the Arctic wastelands?

Return for Part Two of "Tales of Green Kryptonite, No. 2" -- at this blog, next week!

 

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