Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tales from the 50 Cent Bin! - Superman #186

This installment of Tales from the 50 Cent Bin is brought to you by Leonard Nimoy.

"If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning."

Great words, I guess. So, I've got two (or three!?!?) stories/issues left to look at, and this issue comes from the hip, peace-loving, war-making 60's. Today's issue is Superman #186. I was trying to find an issue from this decade and that's hard because most issues cost a lot. Luckily, I was able to find this one for 7 bucks, which is kind of a shock. Most issues from this decade run up a lot especially if they're in good condition. Anyway, I've got two stories for this post because the book usually ran with two stories at this time. Well, enough of the preambles! On to the issue!

"The Two Ghosts of Superman!"
Writer: Otto Binder
Artist: Al Plastino

The story starts out as reformed mobster, Flashy Fisher, comes to Clark Kent with an offer to dig up some lost treasure. He claims that he was told about the location by the ghost of Captain Kidd. Clark considers Flashy has had a little too much of "The Jack Daniels," but checks out his claim as Superman. The claim turns out to be true and Superman donates the treasure to charity. Clark then traces this claim and another claim that involves the ghost of Jesse James to Sir Seer, a psychic with the power to pull ghosts from the spirit world. Think "Ghost Whisperer" without the fine-looking Jenifer Love-Hewitt. To find out the truth, Clark, Lois, and Lana go to check this guy out.

To prove Sir Seer to be a fraud, Lois asks him to summon Queen Isabella of France. Shockingly, the dead queen does come and says that there is treasure buried in the Batcave. Superman is able... now this  is funny... Superman is able to schedule a visit with Batman for the press to visit the Batcave. They find the treasure there and it's reported about in the Daily Planet. It then revealed to us that Sir Seer and his men faked the ghosts of Captain Kidd and Jesse James and planted the treasures, but they did not fake Queen Issabella's ghost... Hmm, something's amiss here.

Visiting the Batcave? Weirdest moment in the book. I can only wonder how Superman talked Batman into that.

Later, Superman, Lois and Lana come back to Sir Seer's place to summon the ghost of Jor-El... wow, he's back! Again! Superman asks his dead father about some experiments he and Supergirl are conducting on weapons and Ghost Jor-El tells him to stop the experiments or Superman and Supergirl will die. Superman ignores the warnings and heads off to the Fortress of Solitude. Later, Lana and Lois are together when they feel an explosion. Apparently the Fortress has indeed blown up... then how are they feeling it in Metropolis? The Fortress is in the Arctic!

To find out if Superman is indeed dead, Lois and Lana head to Sir Seer's place to summon Clark's ghost since he was with Superman. Suddenly, Clark's and Superman's spirit appear and it's revealed that Clark is Superman! Superman mentions that without him, the criminal underworld would have a holiday. Later, Sir Seer and his goons try to take the opportunity to have fun, but Superman (!!!!) shows up and stops them. It's revealed that Superman knew what was really going on and planned from the first meeting to take them down. I'll just show ya'll this because it's hilarious. The story ends with Sir Seer in jail and Lois being miffed at Superman's tricks.
Superman's great plan? Funniest moment of the book. "BONK" indeed.

"Clark Kent: Gangster!"
Writer: Leo Dorfman
Penciller: Curt Swan
Inker: George Klein

While the reporters of the Daily Planet are living the good life, the rest of the Daily Planet deliverymen aren't feeling they're getting treated right. So, they go on strike to stick it to the Man, man! Perry tells all of the reporters that they are on a leave of absence until this strike clears up. I guess 'Ole Bob will be getting his paper from the Daily Bugle for a while... Anyway, this really leaves Clark with little to do, so he decides that he will create a new secret identity during this time off. He's sees a car chase and changes into Superman to stop it. The car runs into a river, so Superman saves the escaped convict, and he takes him to the hospital.

Since the man, Pete the Penman, is in coma, Superman decides to STEAL his identity (Well, he Does!) and pose as Pete to thwart the underworld. He disguises himself as the man (who looks a little like Tony Stark) and heads to some shady places. A group of criminals called Larceny Associated (lol) found out he escaped and know that he can imitate any handwriting in the world. After they test him, "Pete" joins the group. Superman is able to capture each member of the group one by one by knowing their plans and getting there when they try to commit their crime. In the end, Superman reveals himself to the group and arrests them. After the strike is over, Clark's story about Superman's secret identity is printed in the Daily Planet and the story ends.
Also, who thinks Pete reminds you of? Magnum P.I.?

Elsewhere, Pete the Penman gets shanked in his cell... Okay, that didn't happen, but what do you think ended up happening to the real Pete when he went back to prison? Oh well... it's just the Silver Age.


 These were two fun, funny stories. I'll admit that I enjoyed the silliness of the first one more than the second one. They were simple and fun. I actually got a kick out of Superman's complex plan. The thing that got me laughing about it was he actually went to Batman and asked for permission to use the Batcave. Now that takes guts and the funny thing is that Batman agrees. "Fine, Superman. You can bring the press down here and let them see by big penny." It's hilarious. The way Superman and Supergirl made that earthquake also made me laugh a little. They were using their heads for that one... Pun Intended.

The second story was okay but good. It was funny seeing Superman just try out another identity. It does kinda irk me that he just steals the dude's identity. Still, it was a fun, simple story with some good art by Curt Swan. All of the art in the issue is pretty good. Also, the cover to the issue actually was interesting. It was also a panel the book, by the way.

Well, I'm out.For my next look, it may not be all laughs and giggles as I look at an Elseworlds story. This should give you a hint: DRAGO!!!!!!!! Peace and God Bless.

NEXT TIME: SUPERMAN - COMMUNIST!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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