Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Action #305: As We Begin Our First Story

"Why Superman Needs a Secret Identity!", from Action Comics #305 (October 1963), was written by Leo Dorfman.  Pencils by Curt Swan, inks by George Klein.

This story is full of sobering twists, but begins with a bellylaugh.  Perry White's got the measles, and he's confined to a hospital for a few days!  Clark and Jimmy are on their way to get some work instructions, when they take a wrong turn on the way to Perry's room in the Isolation Ward and interrupt a weird kind of robbery.

Benny the Blaster is famous for strong-arm robberies by way of a little bottle of what he announces is nitroglycerin.  As we children of the 1960s knew, all you had to do was look cross-eyed at nitro, and it would go off!  (Kind of like your big sister.)

Benny wants the valuable radium in the hospital's safe (used for radiation therapy).  He starts his countdown, and Clark has one minute to either abandon his Secret Identity and dash in as Superman to rescue the others, or .... be vewwy, vewwy snee-ee-eaky, as Elmer Fudd might say.

The last panel of the page is a great one, as it visually illustrates the great "split" between the mild-mannered reporter and the mighty Superman. 

Let's use a branching form of Alternate History to explore what might happen if, through various scenarios, Clark Kent is known to be the Guy from Krypton.

In the first page of our opening salvo, Superboy thwarts a bank robbery inventively, inspiring Martha and Jonathan Kent to proudly tell the world that their son is Superboy.

Aren't these brief snippets of human interaction great?  Lana teasing "fraidy-cat" Clark, the Kents telling their son how proud they are of him, and so on.

Stay tuned for Friday's continuation of this great story.  Would everything have come up roses if a Strange Twist of Fate (TM) had revealed Clark Kent as Superboy in Smallville?

See you then!

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