Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Graphic Novels - Bronze Age Superman: Action Comics #439

Graphic Novels is brought to you by the guys who made Spinach.

Spinach: that stuff that makes you stronger (as well as your forearms the size of your head)!

Welcome back to Superman Month on Random Thoughts. Today, I’ll be going over a random issue from the Bronze Age: Action Comics #439. But first, here’s a little backstory on this age. This age began in the early 70’s (basically when Dennis O’Neil started writing on Superman) to COIE, which was about 1985. This age in general was a bit more social commentary-ish and a little darker than the Silver Age of comics, and Superman had his share of Social Commentary and dark stuff (read “Whatever Happened To the Man Of Tomorrow?”). Today’s issue is not that. Clark also got a new job during this age: news reporter at WGBS. That’s right. Clark Kent had a Tom Brokaw-type job and somehow was able to keep his identity a secret. Well, after that funny tidbit, on to the issue!

Action Comics #439
Writer: Cary Bates
Artists: Curt Swan and Bob Oksner
(There is also a back-up story after the Superman story starring the Atom. I won’t go over that today, but maybe someday…it’s actually kinda weird.)

The issue starts out as Popeye asks Olive Oil to marry him….hold up! Let me try that again.

The issue starts out as Captain Strong as Olivia to marry him. All of the sudden, some hulking monster comes into their boat and punches Strong out of the boat. Apparently, Strong has been telling all of this to news reporter Clark Kent of WGBS (that still sounds weird). Anyway, Clark doesn’t believe him, stating that Strong must have experimenting on some seaweed called Saucha again (think Spinach; only add madness to that super strength). Strong tells him he hasn’t touched the stuff and that he has a little pouch of the stuff hidden so he won’t use it. Clark tells him that he will get Superman to look into it and Strong leaves. Clark changes into Superman and flies to the boat. It’s a full mile from the dock. Superman goes into the boat and finds Olivia. She’s scared, and we find out why when …Bluto comes out of the water and drags Superman in.

They fight and the boat gets wrecked, so Superman has to save Olivia from drowning. The Bluto – like Caveman escapes. Superman takes Olivia to Strong and then sets out to find out more about the caveman at STAR Labs. It turns out that the caveman (called Carnox because it was discovered by the scientists Carson and Knox) was accidently released by the scientists at the lab. They tell him that Carnox then went for open water. Superman begins to realize that the caveman was after Strong’s bag of weed (lol) and leaves to meet with Strong and Olivia as Clark Kent. He tells them what he has learned and that it would be safe for Strong to stay at Kent’s apartment so Superman can watch after him. Strong doesn’t take it too easily, but accepts the living arrangements.

The next day, Clark gets picked on some random bully neighbor (who must be overcompensating for something) and Strong gives the random bully neighbor a left hook. Later, as Clark is cooking, Carnox busts in and takes Strong. Clark changes into Superman (funny change to me) and saves Strong.

After all of that and a Big Jim ad, Superman lays the hurt on Carnox and takes him out to sea where the sauncha bag is at beneath the sea. They go in, and after a few moments Superman comes out carrying the caveman…or cave-midget/alien from another world. EH? Well, it turns out that Carnox was an alien who landed on Earth a million years ago. When he landed, he doubled in size and began to become caveman-like. To stop the progression (or regression, I should say), he froze himself in hope of a cure. When he woke up, he panicked and ran for the docks where he found that sauncha. He then realized that the sauncha could cure him. After all of that is said and done, Superman decides to fly the alien back in time a million years so he could be in his own timeline (hmm…..must’ve found the flux capacitor somewhere). He then goes to Strong and Olivia and tells them the news and the story ends.


And that’s the end. Was it good? It wasn’t bad at all. It was ok. It was certainly weird seeing look-a-likes of Popeye characters in a Superman comic book. It was the reason I got the book. It was a nice, simple, short story. Plus, it was a little funny as well. It even has a small twist at the end. The art was nice, and that’s all I got. I have one more thing to add though:

“Sauncha’s a hell of a drug!”


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