Saturday, January 29, 2011

Back to Our Story

Here are the next three pages from "Clark Kent's Great Superman Hunt," the first story of Superman 180.

Here we see that, at least, the stated goal for Clark's wild crusade has come to pass -- The Daily Planet's circulation is skyrocketing!  Meanwhile, our reader stand-in, Jimmy Olsen, is worrying about "that skunk," Clark Kent, ruining Superman's life by exposing the Secret Identity.

I like the depiction of Clark's mental image of Lois in captivity.  She's holding out her arms, pleading for her hero to rescue her.  And he's doing the best he can!  If only she KNEW how hard he's trying.

Meanwhile, building on the staged autograph collection of the days before, Clark has isolated the letters F and H as the probable initials of that Secret Identity.  (We, the readers, can't help but wonder what the heck is going on.  We know, of course, that Superman's initials are CK.)

Therefore, Clark has announced that since Superman has super-teeth, maybe he doesn't need a dentist.  So Clark, using super-speed, cross-references dentists' records and the phone book to narrow down "FH" guys who haven't seen a dentist recently.  Clever, huh?  Of course, the super-speed stuff gets done off-camera...

Well, Clark announces that four guys fit the criteria he has manufactured.  Trailing a camera crew, he goes to each man's address, building the suspense.

(When I read the couple of panels about Fang Hogan, I first wonder about the marketability of the trade name "The Human Beaver."  Human TERMITE, maybe.  Secondly, I wonder that, even in comic-book land, somebody could make a living by biting into telephone poles.)

With three "suspects" eliminated, we now turn to "FH" Number Four.  Herb Farr, come on down!

Now things begin to come together for us.  Herb Farr, the guy fingered by Clark Kent's investigation, is also "The Wheel," the guy who kidnaped Lois Lane and has held her under a death watch while telling Clark Kent to expose the Man of Steel's identity.

(In Creative Writing in college, our professor Val Thiessen summed up this turnaround plot twist by naming it "the biter, bit.")

So when Farr, "The Wheel," shows up at his mob hideout, his cronies are wise to things -- they think!  But consider the absurdity of the situation.  They think their boss, a big-time mobster, is Superman.


Is it just me, or does this seem a bit silly?  Especially when his skin bends a pinprick, and his hair breaks a pair of scissors.

What is up?  Obviously either Superman has had a third identity all along, or he is pretending to be Herb Farr.  But why?

Come back next time to learn more!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Man from O.R.G.A.N.

In 1965, virtuoso keyboardist Dick Hyman ventured into the spy business with his LP, The Man from O.R.G.A.N.

Here is my version of that album.

If you like it, leave a comment and say so!

Note that this version of the "UNCLE" theme copies the first season's use of 5/4 time.  Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Words from Our Sponsors

The next three pages of Superman 180 are ad pages.

The first of the three features a half-page Cocoa Puffs ad.  In case you didn't know what to call him, he is "The Cuckoo Bird."  Now, I don't know about "a laugh a minute," but the Bird's crack to his Gramps about picking on a guitar not the Bird is at least as funny as some of my jokes. 

Most of my jok --

OK, OK!  ALL of my jokes.  He's as funny as ALL OF MY JOKES!  Anyway ...

The bottom half of the page features an ad for send-away blueprints for various wheeled contraptions.  Man, in my opinion it would be really bad to build a unicycle and not be able to ride it.  That would be just about my speed.

I bet the put-put motor bike uses a lawn-mower engine.

Our second page of ads is a public-service announcement.  I think this character had a name, Pee-Wee, but I'm not sure.  Whatever his name is, the point certainly comes across effectively.  (Now if about a zillion percent of the people who read the thing would actually change their behavior.)

The next page from our 1966 comic features a familiar ad for that world-famous amusement park.  Good Ol' Whats-Its-Name!  (just kidding, with a riff on an old Peanuts gag)  Do you recall that song from the 1960s with the line "You'll never know how a kiss can feel 'til you're stuck at the top of a ferris wheel, that's when I fell in love, doan at Palisades Park!" ?

Well, that song referred to this place.  Also, did you know that the Gong Show guy, Chuck Barris, wrote that song?!?! It's true!

Now, this kid from Oklahoma never made it to Palisades Park.  Whenever I would read these ads, I would wonder why somebody would cut up a perfectly good comic book, just for a coupon.

Now, the George Barris features in the bottom half of this page IS NOT the same Barris as the Palisades Park guy.  He was a famous car customizer, and has been hired to help shill some car models for AMT.

The only models I ever owned by AMT were the Star Trek ships.  Everything else for me was the Aurora Monsters, Man!

See you later on in the week for the continuation of our story, "Clark Kent's Great Superman Hunt!"
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© by Mark Alfred