Superman in Crisis

SiC 26 — We’re Gonna Need Another Superboy! (08:01:1985)

Reviewing the Super-less Crisis on Infinite Earths 8 (1:24) and DC Comics Presents 87 (27:33), and then responding of course to all of your feedback (56:57)!

5 replies on “SiC 26 — We’re Gonna Need Another Superboy! (08:01:1985)”

I found your comments on the difference in the “echoes” (or lack of echoes) of the deaths of the Flash and Supergirl in Crisis on Infinite Earths very enlightening and helpful for me. I remember, in the aftermath of the series, not feeling as upset over Flash’s death as I was over Supergirl’s, but I don’t think I’ve ever been able to articulate why that was, but you’ve helped me to realize that Barry Allen’s death, and the repurcusions of that, had a more continuing effect, or at least mention, post-Crisis, than Supergirl’s, and that had a lot to do with my different reactions. As I’ve mentioned in the past, this podcast of yours is giving me a much better understanding of the Crisis than I had at the time, and even in its aftermath. Thank you.
I enjoyed the Superboy-Prime story (which I’ve always looked at as a two-part story in one issue, pretty much the way you covered it), but I’ve always been a bit skeptical of writers (even my beloved ES!M) introducing superheroes into the “real world”. Part of my brains thinks “Well, if there’s a Superboy in the real world, why isn’t he in the news every day? He’d certainly be a bigger deal than movie or TV stars, or singers (except, of course, for Dolly Parton).” Personally, I’d rather have this Superboy come from another, more clearly “fictional” Earth, but I guess that avenue was closed off when there were only five universes, clearly defined, left.
You wondered about the reference to Bobby Kennedy as “the only superhero from Earth-Prime”. Elliot S! Maggin has long made mention of his admiration for Robert Kennedy, and I think this was just another example of that. It probably makes more sense to those of us “of a certain age”.
I’d also like to point out that Elliot S! Maggin recycles. Maggin “stole” from himself in writing this issue. If you read the dialogue between Superman and Superboy, as Superman was forming the tidal wave into a waterspout to pull it up into the sky, so he and Superboy could both use their heat vision on it, Superman says something about spinning out “like a ski racer missing a gate”. Maggin used exactly those same words in his 1981 novel, Miracle Monday (“Then, suddenly, like a ski racer missing a gate, he spun out into the open sky.”), as Superman pulled a tidal wave into a water spout up into the sky so he could evaporate the water high in the sky. Almost the same situation; almost identical words. I thought this was interesting.
Finally, you wondered if, in her previous adventure, Kristin (Superwoman) Wells, was suffering from amnesia, the answer is no. She had gone back in time to find out Superwoman’s secret identity, not knowing that she, herself, would become Superwoman. Faced with a situation that required Superwoman, but seeing that none of her likely “suspects” were going into action, she took on the mantle of Superwoman, herself, thus cementing her legacy as that superhero. No amnesia involved.
Thanks for a fun and informative episode.

Hi Jon, Solid podcast as usual. I just want to share some thoughts about both Crisis # 8 and Dc presents # 87. Of the two major Deaths, I thought the Flash one was the most heroic and sad. Kara took on the Anti-monitor with hopes that she might survive the encounter. The Flash certainly knew he wouldn’t survive and he went ahead anyway. That panel with his ring in the rubble was heart breaking. These two issues got rid of 2 characters that were not selling. The Flash had his title canceled and I don’t think anyone was buying the Supergirl book either. I remember Wolfman saying that fans commenting on the loss stated they hadn’t bought her comics in years. DC Presents was a bit confusing to me. I never read it before but I read his following appearances in Crisis and Infinite Crisis. I had trouble reconciling the appearances but this issue explains that he had almost no experience as a hero and maybe never gained the maturity to be as selfless as the other grown up heroes. I thought naming him Clark was like Naming a boy Sue. It would insure beatings to come.
Speaking of Sue, The first time I heard the ” Mary Sue” label being used is when Wolfman created Terry Long as a love interest and future husband for Donna Troy. I found out later that Long was Wolfman in comic form and thus a Mary Sue. Boy, Do I remember the readers hating him and it was inappropriate for him to date a student he was teaching . The Dc presents book had a nice line thrown in harking back to Superman the Movie where young Clark is told ” you are here for a reason”. Man, I loved that line. Other minutia- for some reason, I just noticed with this issue that Curt Swan draws really pretty women. Maybe as good as anyone in his era. Also, to add my 2 cents about Superwoman, she and the women in her future were all dressed ( dare I say it) like strippers. The males in the future were overdressed but even the other citizens were almost in underwear. Maybe todays world has made me aware of who strange it is.
Thanks for the work you do and I’m looking forward to your upcoming appearance in the Resurrections podcast.

I don’t know if I’m broken as a fan but Flash’s death doesn’t really resonate with me as much as Kara’s did. And this is coming from someone that didn’t start seriously reading comics until nearly two years after Crisis ended. So I had zero skin in the game either way. This is a good issue and historic and Barry went out like a hero, but it seemed lesser than Kara’s. It’s weird. I don’t understand it. Maybe it’s because I was more of a Wally guy.

The DCCP issue is one of my favorites. Of the ones I read anyway. Which is probably about 1/3 of the series.

I’ve been busy.

Anyway, because of the haphazard way I read Crisis Superboy didn’t really pop up on my radar until I got this issue in 1990 and then I started to really like the idea of a the character. He had a neat background and like Jon I love the conversation that Superboy and Superman had in space. Superman admitting that he’s worried is a big deal but it’s played in such a charming way.

I won’t go into what eventually happened to the character because this isn’t the forum. I will say that this issue went from being a solid $1 or $2 book to stupid expensive in 2005 when he popped up in Infinite Crisis. Same thing happened with Power Girl’s first appearance, which I paid $3 for in 1997. The back issue market has gone from what the book is worth on an average level based on Overstreeet to “This character is coming back in the comics or getting a movie/television series so their back issues are now worth bank.”

I’m not judging because I have financially benefitted from this sort of speculation. It’s just kind of fascinating.

Wait, I haven’t left any feedback in over a month? Yikes! And I had plenty of lame uninspired ramblings! Better get cracking.

Crisis 7 and 8 were huge for me reading them off the stands. I don’t think I’d read a superhero death story before, and it was profound. In a lot of ways, I lost a little innocence myself, but found the door open to greater stories and appreciation for my heroes. While I hadn’t read a lot of Supergirl or Flash, they were mainstays. Constants in the DCU. So this was big. Supergirl fighting to save everyone especially her cousin to the end. Flash running himself to death. Images that live rent-free in my mind forever.

My perspective on Supergirl is, in hindsight, perhaps the statements of “we’ll never forget you” were more about the fans than the characters in the DCU. I’m sure the reboot plan wasn’t established yet, but if you read the dialog with that angle, that she meant so much to so many readers of all ages, it retains its poignancy.

The other crazy thing is, essentially, all of the characters in Pre-Crisis are replaced with versions of themselves that don’t know the Pre-Crisis history. Post-Crisis Superman is not the same character as Pre-Crisis, because he didn’t have the same adventures, and doesn’t remember this Kara. And that trickles everywhere, into Batman, Batgirl, the JLA, all of them. Somehow, there’s still a glimmer of continuity to the Legion of Super-Heroes, but it never gets fully explained until those characters get reset even later. Anyway, it’s less of the heroes forgetting Kara, as much as the heroes are replaced as well.

Oh, let’s get back to this episode. DCCP 87. I did like the intro of a new Superboy, and sorry they never did right by him. Also, color me surprised that he wasn’t the first Earth-Prime superhero. I learned this year about Ultraa, first appearing in JLA #153. He migrated to Earth-1 immediately in that story, as Earth-Prime couldn’t handle a real superhero. But wow, that was 8 years before this story. Anyhoo, the revised origin for Superboy was interesting. I wonder if Kurt Busiek was deliberately homaging it in his later miniseries Superman: Secret Identity, which plays out very similarly, and indulges a bit more in the jokes any “Clark Kent” would have to put up with. It’s excellent, and overdue for a reread.

Quick note on Superwoman: DCCP Annual #4 was my introduction to her, and I still love her costume, powers, and potential. And it’s such a shame editorial direction killed any chance to explore it. Ah well.

Hey, about “Kryptonite no more.” While it may be less of a trope in Superman’s comics, I’m still seeing lots of green K in JLA issues in the late 70s and early 80s on my JLA-a-day reading this year. I’m quite sure the justification was it was the simplest way to knock Superman down with the threats they faced, either using green K, red sun radiation, and magic/magic-energy-imbued objects. Take your pick. (but what is “magic energy” anyway? and how hard or easy is it to duplicate Kryptonite radiation or red sun radiation? answer: because writer said so.) Just an interesting observation, kinda sorta.

Whew! Sorry this is so long! You’re a good sport for reading this, Jon. Thank you so much for this great show, and for mentioning mine as frequently as you do. Till next time, or until Superman, Superman, and Superboy all fly thru a red sun, make mine Superman In Crisis. (Remember that game?)

I know you issued the caveat that Superman didn’t appear in Crisis #8 but you were covering it anyway. And yes, he didn’t appear, but he did supply Ray Palmer with the shrinking ray so that totally counts!

I had forgotten how #8 took a step back and presented different corners of the DC Universe in the aftermath of Kara’s death. I always love seeing a wide variety of characters in these crossovers and having Perez and Ordway draw them is just icing on the cake. As for Barry’s death, I also thought it was well done, especially how they seeded it earlier in the series with him going back in time. I wasn’t really that familiar with Barry, as I didn’t read his book and he wasn’t in the JLA on a regular basis when I started reading the title with #204, but it still resonated with me. Of course, his death led to Wally taking up the mantle and he is maybe my favorite DC character as Flash, so it all worked out for me (side note: the current Flash series by Jeremy Adams is really good).

As for DCCP #87, it was a solid story. Interested to read it 35+ years later knowing what Superboy Prime eventually became. No hint of that here, of course. I’ll be interested to see how this story is followed up next month.

Now that school has started back up, I don’t know that I’ll get completely caught up, but I’ll try to stay my current week behind. Don’t want to miss out on the Super Jon goodness!

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