Sunday, April 18, 2010

A'S'HGACB:SH*: October 1938 - Superman Got Issues

*This is part of a semi-regular series in this blog "A 'Slight' History of Golden Age Comic Books: Super Heroes". To catch up on the other posts, click the label in the right hand column or at the bottom of this post, abbreviated to A'S'HGACB:SH.

October 1938 - Month 5 in the Golden Age of Comic Book Super Heroes. Superman is still relegated to back pages of Action Comics and still not the cover feature since issue #1.

The boys (Seigel and Shuster) are surely setting the basic premise of our hero in stone here, though all the detailed elements aren't there, the basic formula is intact.

Danger in the form of a flood presents itself:

Perry White is still not the name of the editor (though Clark and Lois do call him "Chief" and the Daily Planet is still called the Daily Star...

...and Clark is already a sucker for Lois. Poor orphaned easily duped by a pretty face and Lois' firm caboose.
Duped by the strong female figure, he still can't hold it against her, even at the expense of his job.

This really was Seigel painting a very clear black and white picture of all the elements of the story for the 1938 adolescent reader. What young boy couldn't see himself giving it all up for the sake of a woman...especially if he knew he didn't really need the job and if he had super powers.
Here we get the drama of the great things Superman must overcome to still get the job done. In these early days before he had the ability to fly, just missing the last train to Valleyho was something of an obstacle.
Of course this also gave a chance for Superman to save Lois' hash. This would have been a disaster had Clark been aboard the train...he wouldn't have seen the bridge buckling and the entirety of the passengers except himself would have been killed.

Ah well. Our boy Superman is still as naive as the young men reading the comic.

Obviously this was well before Ma and Pa Kent were introduced into the mythos. Pa would have told Clark not to be cow towed by an overbearing boss when Clark was in the right, and Ma would have surely taught him not to be so swayed by feminine wiles. Not to mention, the callousing over that Lana Lang gave him as a teenager would have Clark being less of a sap around Lois.

But - Clark's milquetoast personality was exactly what Seigel and Shuster wanted to give the double identity with Superman more of a contrast. All in all it's good solid stuff! The stuff the golden age of comic book super heroes is built on!

See y'all tomorrow!

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