Friday, February 20, 2015

Tell the Truth and They Think It's Hell!

In pages 2 and 3 of "Superman's Moment of Truth!" from April 1965's Superman #176, we learn a little more about Superman's sudden attack of truth-telling.  And it's not just him, Supergirl, too.

Superman tells the truth about a baby pageant from hell, and when Lois upbraids him, he replies that he just told the truth as he saw it.

Meeting Supergirl, he hears her tell a similar story about a dinner the Supergirl Fan Club.  Well, they DID ASK how she liked the food.

AS you can tell from their conversation, this sudden spate of candor isn't something our Super Heroes are doing on a whim.  It seems as if it's a duty, a task they must do, if only for today; a day that's "going to be the longest day of the year for both of us!"

More examples of perhaps unwanted honesty, as Superman  informs Jimmy that his date is a fake (wouldn't YOU want to know?).  I like the tossed-in reference to Jimmy Olsen's canonical girlfriend, Lucy Lane.  (As an airline stewardess, perhaps she's on a long assignment overseas.)

But aren't we glad that Professor Potter's onion-juice squeezer isn't a facet of every municipal installation?

But as we can tell, the "psst -- get a load of this!" (once known as the clothesline or back-fence network) information system works fast!  Perry White sort of knew what to expect when Superman laid the stinky truth on him about that ever-present cigar.

And that afternoon. when Superman takes his place at a scheduled trial, who knows what will happen to him at the hands of a tricky defense lawyer?

Since I'm very experienced in courtroom etiquette (hundreds of hours of Perry Mason, Matlock, Law and Order, and Judd for the Defense), my first thought is:  Why doesn't the prosecutor yell, "OBJECTION, Your Honor!  Relevance?"

I suppose that our hero's super Kryptonian brain plotted out a few branching possibilities and was prepared for some trick like this, because Supes doesn't bat an eye at the defense attorney's outrageous demand to learn the Secret Identity.

Over the weekend, we'll wonder along with Lois ... what will Superman do?  Come back Monday to find out, in the next pages of this dynamic Super-Tale!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

MA-29 - Tunes from Terra

It's time for another ragtag fugitive collection of songs about space, aliens, and other worlds.

1 - Man from the Moon -      Dean Barlow and the Crickets  1954
2 - Flying Saucer -       Little Walter  1957
3 - Rockin' Space Girl -      Jimmy Grubbs    1958
4 - Journey to the Moon -      Eddie Dee & The Sputnicks     1959
5 - Zoom a Little Zoom -      Tom Glazer and Dottie Evans       1959
6 - X-15 - Johnny Bond 1960
7 - The 'Lectronic Brain - The Moonbillies 1960
8 - Sputnik - Conway Twitty 1961
9 - Will There Be Space in a Spaceship -   The  McGuire Sisters 1961
10 - Space Age Santa Claus - Hal Bradley Orchestra w/ Patty Marie Jay 1962
11 - I Got a Rocket in My Pocket - The Lollipops 1962
12 - Les Martien (Martian Hop) - Henry Salvador 1963
13 - Our Favorite Martian - Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics 1964
14 - Space Hop - Davie Allan & The Arrows 1965
15 - They're Here - Boots Walker 1967
16 - American Moon -   "Heart's Delight Follies '69" Cast   1969
17 - Flying Saucers Have Landed -   Paul St John   1972
18 - Science Fiction Double Feature - Roxy “Rocky Horror Show” Cast 1974
19 - Disco Theme from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” - John Williams 1977
20 - Rocket Love - Stevie Wonder 1980
21 - Major Tom (Coming Home) - Peter Schilling 1983
22 - International Colouring Contest - Stereolab 1994
23 - UFO - Boris the Sprinkler 1995
24 - Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You) - Violent Femmes 1995
25 - Zombies from the Beyond - Cast 1996
26 - Spaceships to the Rescue - Peter Lund 2002
27 - Aliens Really Stink - UFO Phil Hill 2005
28 - Spaceship to Mars - The Racketeers 2010

 Some of these tunes are really special in one way or another.

I first heard Track Five, "Zoom a Little Zoom," at the age of about six or seven, in my grade-school classroom, on a record about the space age.  Thank you, Mrs West, Mrs Lemaster, or Miss Molz, whichever of you it was!  The educational record was released in 1959, and titled Space Songs.

Track Fifteen is a wonderfully wonky announcement to the world, as if the world didn't already know ... They're Here!

Track Sixteen, judging by the record credits, is from a musical.  The score for at least this song has been published.

Track Nineteen was included as a 45rpm in the original LP release of John Williams' soundtrack for Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Track Twenty-Four is of course a reworking of a song originally from an incarnation of The Flintstones

Track Twenty-Five is the title song from a 1995 off-Broadway musical.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Security, Silly Putty, and Superman

What a combo!

This is the next page of Superman #176.  The Comic Book Database tells us that "Professor Eureka" ran from 1952 to 1966 in various DC comics.  Comic Vine reports that it was another gag strip by Henry Boltinoff.

Regarding this particular edition, ain't it just like an egghead to make all these precautions and throw it away like that?  The same behavior obtains today as people buy a candy bar and a diet pop, or drive rudely on the highway to make it to church on time.  Ah, humanity!

Silly Putty is still around, of course, and it WILL lift print or comics from a newspaper.  But don't try that trick on one of today's comic books -- they're too glossy and improved, dontcha know.

Here is the first page of our cover story.  Both the tale (script by Leo Dorfman; art by Swan & Klein) and its telling are superb.  We start out with a seemingly odd occurrence, and eventually find an explanation.  This particular story illuminates some Kryptonian past, as well as examining the impact of "total truth" on society.

Regarding this first page ...  Don't you love the "BOFFF!" sound effect in Panel One when the kid crowns Superman?  And isn't Superman's honesty at the Baby Pageant refreshing?  What a great expression on his face as he lays out the "rude" facts.

See you next time!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Paying the Bills

More from our page-by-page tour through Superman #176:

This subscription page is not only prime fodder for the those-were-the-days crowd, it's also a bit of a conundrum.  You see, I assume that these ads were set up long before the particular issue in which they ran.  Memory tells me that they were commonplace in DCs of the times.

What intrigues me is that one of the art pieces from this ad is from a story IN THIS VERY COMIC BOOK!  That's right.  The blog post from a week ago contains it.

To me it seems a bit of recursive comic-book magic.  I am certain that the upper image in this ad, Superman running with a money bag, is likewise from a published story ... but my old brain can't recall it.  Any suggestions?

"Jerry the Jitterbug" was one of those often-encountered gag strips.  Comicvine tells us it was by Murry Boltinoff;  The Comic Book Database  tells us it appeared in a bunch of titles, without giving specific issues.

The bottom half of the page is a typical ad for Cheerios.  These Rocky-and-Bullwinkle Cheerios ads kept running long after the original network runs of the cartoon (1959-1964).  But this ran about the end of the show's first-time run.  Syndication kept it evergreen, of course, into the 1970s.

See you Wednesday!

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© by Mark Alfred