Saturday, 15 November 2014

Superboy: When Superman were a lad!

Cover for Superboy #175 (1971)

Superboy # 175 (DC)

Leo Dorfman (w) Bob Brown Murphy Anderson (a) 

Growing up in the sixties and seventies one of the comics that I regularly purchased with my limited pocket money was Superboy, adventures of Superman when he was a boy. Living with his parents Ma & Pa Kent in Smallville, Kansas Superboy was already a well established hero before he eventually upped an left for the big city or Metropolis as we came to know it.

This particular issue published in June 1971 contains one major story, Doomsday for a Super-Phantom plus a little two page short which I'll return to later.

One villain, Faustus part of a declining coven brings his declining family together to steal the powers of the boy of steel, but is forced to use modern scientific technology to enhance his (and their) magics to do so.

It fails at first, and off his relatives go leaving behind just one. A young orphan called "little" Asmo who has a bit more of the arcane powers in him than the rest rest of the clan, "uncle Faustus " included.

The story is fairly typical of the era with serviceable art and aimed at the still younger readership of the day and given that Superboy carried on until the mid eighties you can guess who inevitably won.

However the two pager at the back is also worth a read. Superboy first appeared in March 1949 as Dc cashed in on the popularity of the Superman franchise.

This meant of course that Superboy's adventures took place in the late twenties/thirties which caused a wee bit of a continuity problem and eventually they were set in the fifties. Ma and Pa Kent were also made to look younger.

How did this happen? The Superboy Legend we are told how an alien TV producer who uses pictures of real events in Smallville to create his show uses a youth serum to make the Kents younger.

It doesn't work well when his producers ask him to make a show of Superman where he needs erm, older characters. That's show business!

Still this issue and others like it were part of the mainstay of National/DC comics back in the day.

The modern Superman (including the latest "reboot" in the "New 52") doesn't appear in public until his "twenties" and Superboy is no longer part of the DC canon. Shame really.

There are other versions of Superboy, both clones, but they never live up the Boy of Steel himself!

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