Saturday, December 03, 2011

“22 Stories in A Single Bound”

My LCS is gearing up for its annual year-end sale and to start things off, they’ve put the bagged and boarded back issues $5 or less on sale for a dollar. I certainly don’t need any more back issues right now (but I’m always happy take hand-me downs [Jim]) with the complete runs of Marvel’s Battlestar Galactica and the comic from the 1990’s Superboy TV series sitting in mostly unread piles by my bed (that’s not even scratching the surface of my current bedside bundles). However, I can rarely withstand the lure of picking up a few issues to fill-in some gaps and occasionally I’ll get something totally random, a simple one-and-done or snapshot of a series. It’s only a dollar, right? That’s a dangerous “investment”, because usually if the issue is really good, it’ll start me on the pursuit of the whole series on ebay. Then I can collect another pile of books to decorate my bedroom floor (Luckily, my wife doesn’t look on that side of the bed). Case-in-point: Superman Adventures #41 dated March 2000.

Set in DC’s animated universe (the best and most cohesive DC realm of all time), this is a real gem of a comic with a really nifty concept. Each page is a stand-alone story – 22 pages means 22 stories. Some of them are more character pieces than “stories” I guess, but why quibble. Here’s a quick list of all of them and a brief synopsis for each. I’ll expand on the most memorable ones:

1. “…As Superman”

Classic origin tale – think of it as the opening sequence from the 1950’s show.

2. “Superman’s Power Trip”

Intergang’s increased Superman’s powers to uncontrollable levels and he’s shooting heat vision everywhere. Luckily, his super hearing is also enhanced, allowing him to find the crooks with his eyes shut.

3. “What Would You Do If YOU Were Superman?”

Angela Chen conducts a video interview of people on the street, asking them the WWYD question. Included in the report – Clark Kent.

4. “A Week in the Life of Lois Lane”

This is a great eight-panel story. The first four blocks shows Superman saving Lois in various predicaments from Monday through Thursday. On Friday, she looks to the sky while being accosted by an armed robber. When she hears from a nearby TV store display that Superman is off world rescuing the Space Shuttle, she hauls off and decks her attacker. “Oh, for Pete’s sake…Can’t count on anybody sometimes…!”

5. Mr. Mxyzptlik in “The Pest From the Fifth Dimension”

This is the first of four Mxy tales each featuring an ingenious (and quick) way of sending him back to the 5th dimension. Clark Kent is interviewing Professor Hamilton when Mxy shows up to turn up the heat, loudly stating his name. Clark uses his tape recorder to play Mxy’s name backwards and…”Poof!”

6. Lex Luthor in “Business As Usual”

One of my favorites! Mercy (Lex’s personal assistant/chauffeur/bodyguard) shows up reciting the full itinerary of Lex’s day. While she’s speaking he’s writing on a small notepad.


“Simple efficient solutions to each of the problems, Mercy. Make sure they reach the appropriate departments.”

“Wow! Only 9:03 and we’ve done a whole day’s work! So, uh…What are we gonna do now?”

“The same thing we do every day, Mercy…Figure out a way to destroy Superman”
[Superman flies by right when he says this – intentionally…like clockwork perhaps?]

This is a perfect character piece. Lex never even turns around to face Mercy, but maintains his constant vigil, looking outside his window the entire time.

7. “All In A Day’s Work”

Maggie Sawyer and the SCU have just taken out Metallo, but the people are only shouting about Superman when he arrives and he came by to encourage HER!

8. Lobo in “Sign Here”

Lots of sound effects from fighting action. Lobo is wreaking havoc, because some (alien) tourists asked him if he could get them Superman’s autograph.

9. Jimmy Olson in “Mr. Action”

The Metro Pirates gang is chasing Jimmy Olsen, cornering him inside a dead end alley. Jimmy turns and fells the three of them with one punch (thanks to an anonymous assist by Superman’s super-breath).

10. “Ninety Days Later…”

Another favorite! Mxy’s back and this time he’s terrorizing both Superman and Batman. In short order, Batman intimidates him into saying his name backwards. Perfect Batman!

11. “Supergirl’s Secret Emergency Weapon”

Kara’s grounded from flying around as Supergirl until she first cleans her room for Ma Kent. She sneaks out to help a distressed farmer and returns to find her room cleaned thanks to Superman. “Just don’t open your closet door.”

12. Darkseid in “Life According to Darkseid”

Darkseid is in complete control of all he surveys, but he’s not satisfied as long as Superman is still alive on Earth.

13. The Toyman’s Christmas List”

Yet another favorite this time penciled by Darwyn Cooke! Toyman’s writing a letter to Santa Claus, requesting lethal toys for his enemies. His prison guards don’t want to be left out and want gifts too. He has some…Santa decorated dynamite. That dude is so creepy.

14. Professor Hamilton in “Weird Science”

A moody piece where the professor is mysteriously working on an experiment. His co-workers jealously watch from the sidelines, wishing they could be involved in such an important study. Turns out he was just adding mint flavor to the office coffee.

15. “Another Ninety Days Later…”

Mxy’s as tall as a skyscraper, shooting Kryptonite out from his hands toward Superman. Superman flies this way and that to avoid the barrage. When the dust clears Mxy has spelled his name backward in the ground. “Poof!”

16. The Parasite in “Blackout”

Parasite is charged up on all the city’s power, crackling with electrical energy. Superman shows up and tells him he should have checked the weather forecast first. A downpour starts and Parasite fizzles out.

17. “Bibbo Versus Brainiac”

Lois Lane dead. Brainiac decapitated. Superman blown to bits. An imaginary story? Nope, just Bibbo showing Clark Kent the latest Superman video game.

18. “The Scoop of the Century”

Jimmy Olsen doodles while he reads the latest edition of the Daily Planet. He wishes he could find that “great story”, which would “put [him] on the map”. He wonders if there is a fresh take on Superman, maybe a secret identity. “Ah, forget it, Olsen…That’s gotta be your craziest idea yet.” He crumples up the paper and tosses it on the floor. The last panel zooms in on a picture of Superman sporting newly drawn eyeglasses. So close, Jimmy!

19. “Metallo’s Rampage”

In the jungle, Superman faces off against Metallo. Things look grim when he’s bathed in the green glow from Metallo’s chest piece. Then the Lions start to attack. Lions?! Yep, it was just a movie set and the real hero needed to take care of the cats.

20. “Yet Another Ninety Days Later”

This time Superman is trapped in the 5th dimension. Mxy has big plans for him and begins to place him in all sorts of crazy situations. Only now he doesn’t have to worry about being sent back. “What do you say ta that, ya big, wet banana?” “namrepuS! namrepuS!” And “Poof”, Superman disappears. I really loved the Mxy stories – can’t ya tell?

21. “Hero of the Bizarro World”

Bizarro’s world is experiencing cataclysmic eruptions. He picks up his green alien mouth-faced “dog” and thinks everything is fine.

22. “While You Were Sleeping”

The final story is another favorite. Panel one: Lois dreams of having super powers. Panel two: Jimmy dreams of having Perry White deliver him coffee. Panel three: Bibbo dreams of sleeping. Panel four: Lex dreams of killing Superman. Panel five: Professor Hamilton dreams of equations. Panel six shows Clark Kent at Midnight. The bed is still made, the suit is laid out, and the curtains are blowing from the open window. The double seventh panel shows “Superman until Breakfast” saving a plane that is crashing!

All the stories were inked by the legendary Terry Austin and featured the talents of multiple pencillers: Ty Templeton (1), Joe Staton (2,5,19), Neil D. Vokes (3,16,20), Bret Blevins (4,11), Min S. Ku (6,22), Cameron Stewart (7,17), Mike Manley (8,12), Craig Rousseau (9), Rick Burchett (10,14), Darwyn Cooke (13), Aluir Amancio (15,21) – series artist, and Philip Bond (18). This SUPERB comic was the swan song issue of then series writer, Mark Millar!

Not bad for a buck!


  1. I so want to go out and find this issue now!

  2. Awesome post! Yeah, my LCS had its Thanksgiving sale and it extends to the start of its Monday through the Holidays store hours, so I was there to get my issues of Aquman, Voodoo, and New Guardians and hit the $2 kids boxes. Those were $1 and I got around 15 for a cousin that is learning to read and struggling and my Angel Tree child. Scored the cousin The Billy Baston SHAZAM books and a $3.95 Mickey Mouse Twice Upon a Christmas for the Angel Tree Child. Yeah, I also bought a Batman Adventures with a touching tale about Catwoman and how Batman treats her it was #50. I will probably do a Friday post on it sometime.

  3. "What are we going to do today, Brain?"
    "Same thing we do everyday, Pinky. Try to take over the world."