Friday, October 06, 2006

That's My Dad

I can never be prouder of someone, or more thankful for someone, than my dad (also called Dad). He was the Hand with the Paddle when I was younger, and the Guy Who Knows Things when I got a little older.

When we were expecting for the first time, twenty-some years ago, I asked him for suggestions on Dad-hood. He told me, "The best way to be a good father is to be a good husband." Word!
As the "baby" of the family, I got the "mature" Charlie, not the volleyball champion or the guy who had black hair but whose beard was bright red (I've seen the photo!).
But I'm so thankful that I still got the man who loved us enough to slay bookkeeping dragons every day, and took a second accounting job too. He loves to pretend to be scandalized by my "wacky" mom. Every Christmas Eve for a decade or more, he would read us a story aloud, "The Birthday of Little Jesus," which told of 8-year-old Jesus going into the hills to find a lost lamb. All three of us kids knew that Dad would do that for us.
Now he has to have an oxygen tube hooked to him, and use a walker. My dad, the same guy who excelled at sports all his life, hitting his last hole-in-one in his 70s (age that is), who used to run 2 miles a day at lunch when working, is now tethered to a machine and can barely walk the length of the house.
But now, as things wind down physically for Mom & Dad, I have never been prouder of my parents. Getting older, becoming dependent on friends, strangers, and relatives, has got to be galling. But, with dignity and a sense of humor, Dad is still dispensing wisdom and love.
Thank you Dad!

Super Watch!

Purchased in 1997 at a Warner Bros. Store, this splendilicious Fossil© watch is proof that sometimes corporate goofs can get it right! It was well worth the $45.
Besides being “Water 100 Resist” – whatever THAT means – and having a fun retro-industrial look to the silver case and setting knob, look at the Superman figure.
That little ol’ Supes is attached to the end of the second hand. That means he makes a complete Super-circuit every minute! Now look at the close-up. Rather than looking like a WB or Silver Age superguy, I’d say that this Superman looks a lot like the guy on the cover of All-Star Superman #1. Don’t you?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Last of the Super-Pets !

The fourth Super-Pet is a friendly, telepathic blob from Antares named Proty II. He's Chameleon Boy's pet, and has the same shapeshifting powers. He's Proty Number Two because the first one croaked bringing Lightning Lad back to life. Look it up!
Our last Super-Pet is Streaky the Super-Cat, who like Comet is a "pet" of Supergirl. As revealed in a storyline in Action Comics, Linda Lee, still incognito as Superman's "Secret Weapon," was trying to come up with a Kryptonite antidote by, basically, pouring a series of chemicals (long-distance via super-tongs) onto a piece of Green K.
Now, this must have been MUTANT Green Kryptonite, because, unlike EVERY OTHER piece of Kryptonite in the univers, THIS PIECE was reduced by atmospheric friction to marble size. Since Super-Creator Jerry Siegel wrote these tales, I guess nobody told him that DC had a "Kryptonite continuity rule," as stated in Superman #130: When passing into our atmosphere, Kryptonite "didn't burn up in Earth's air like ordinary meteors because Kryptonite can't combine chemically with oxygen, which cause combustion."
So, when this marble-sized piece of mutant Green K was experimented on by Kara Zor-El, nothing happened. That she noticed, anyway. Actually, "by a strange twist of fate," the Green K's properties were changed to turn it into "X-Kryptonite." Another strange twist of story-telling fate got that small piece of Green K (oops, "X=Kryptonite") into a ball of yarn that -- just by coincidence, mind you -- was being played with by the stray cat adopted by Linda Lee, which she'd named "Streaky" because of the zigzag on his side.
And now we come to the end of this subhuman tale. The art for the Super-Pets is from a story with art by Pete Costanza. The Superboy cover was drawn by the NEVER EXCEEDED Curt Swan.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Origins of Super-Pets

Our recaps of the Super-Pets' origins from Adventure 364 continues with perhaps the only two critters who could (technically anyway) REALLY be called "Super."

Lentils and Germs, I give you ... Krypto the Super-Dog, and Beppo the Super-Monkey!

Now, Krypto was baby Kal-El's pet pup, and was launched by dad Jor-El into space to orbit Krypton and return safely. However, a passing meteoroid whacked Krypto's rocket into deep space, and .. by a strange twist of fate ... it landed on Earth around the time that Clark Kent/Superboy became a teenager.
On the other rocket fin, Beppo was actually a hitchhiker on Kal-El's ship! As revealred in Superboy 76, he was one of Jor-El's experimental monkeys who hopped into the ship just before takeoff. Hmm, mayb e that's why there wasn't room for Lara?!?
In the origin story of the Super-Simian, he is never named. In fact, "Beppo" is the name of an organ-grinder's monkey that is "aped" (sorry) by the Kryptonian critter. He sees that the organ-grinder's monkey, named Beppo, is dressed in a uniform, and then steals Kal-El's super-playsuit, causing his ensuing mischief to be blamed on Kal-El.
At the end of the tale, the super-monkey flies into space, still wearing the playsuit! so, I guess that this means that Superboy's and Superman's outfit is the SECOND suit made by Ma Kent from the Kryptonian blankets also in the rockets. What a trivia question!
Beppo the Super-Monkey was given that name later on, in a later story.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Secret Origins of Super-Pets!

This GRRR-E-E-E-A-T-T-T !! Curt Swan cover is from Adventure 364, cover-dated January 1968. It shows four of the five members of the Legion of Super-Pets. Who's the fifth? Proty II, of course. Why he is "number two" is something for you to figure out. HINT: It involves lightning rods.
Anyway, in this story the Super-Pets feel unappreciated and go shopping for more appreciative masters. Along the way, they recap their origins, which I'll share with you.
First up, Comet the Super-Horse! After reading this recap, you will understand why some uncharitable souls have made the comment that it's creepy to think about Supergirl making out with her horse.

Yes, Comet's human form is called Bronco Bill, and as a rodeo star in Midvale, Supergirl's home town, he has dated and smooched up Linda Lee Danvers (this is in the Silver Age "real" world, of course).
And like Cinderella at midnight, Bronco Bill sometimes has to cut their dates short when the comet that's transformed him fades away.
Stay tuned for our next Super-Pet, another "faux" Super, Streaky the Super-Cat. He also is "owned" by Supergirl. who therefore has a 40% interest in the franchise name.
All original content
© by Mark Alfred