One-Shots Book Club Week 1: Superman (1939-) #76

@AquamonC137 Oh you naughty person…

1 Like

@baseballmaniac01 Interesting thought… but I think the story, while campy, lacks the distinct wackiness that they would bring to the Silver Age Superman stories.

1 Like

@my friend the Cephalopod, What did I do?

@DCComicsCrisis That’s the compilation of the Superman TAS episodes of the same name, right? I watched the individual episodes and loved them.

@JLWWSM I’m glad you enjoyed the story. And it is fun seeing a less grumpy Batman hanging around with Superman. My theory is that Batman is just going through an awkward teen phase where he thinks it’s not cool to hang out with Superman anymore. Evidence: his room in the Hall of Justice. If that’s not the rich superhero equivalent to a Keep Out sign, I don’t know what is.

2 Likes

Oh it was the issue and pg. # reference. I’m sorry I’m a savage.

Ah the kind of book club I have time for… a single issue one.

I know this has nothing to do with anything, but am I the only one who noticed the caption in page one made it seem like a reprint of Superman #76, even though this supposedly is Superman 76??? Either I read it wrong or they archived that story from a later re-printing because it was in better condition. Was jarring but hardly had any hindrance to the storyline.

1.)Overall, do you think this was a good team up story?
For what it was I think it was. I mean today it would be simplistic and kind of corny. but for the time and considering that the novelty of team-ups in and of itself was a new concept to readers I think it worked. They gave both characters equal time to shine and made situations and utilized both of their strengths and made them play off each others skills. And had some fun with Lois Lane interacting with Batman and even briefly Robin with Lois Lane.

2.)What effect (if any) did this story have on later Superman and Batman team ups? Do you believe Superman and Batman team ups or even superhero team ups in general would be different if this story was never published? If so, how?
It had a huge effect short term, in this story was pretty much the basis for most of Wold Finest run, at least until the latter issues in the Bronze Age. But as far as modern stories, other then laying the groundwork for them to be considered the greatest superhero team-up pairing I don’t think it affected much. Their relationship changed a LOT post crisis. And while they are a bit more chummy now compared to in the mid-80’s they are still nothing like this.

As for team-ups in general not sure it changed much. They were one of but not the first superhero team-ups. And sure they would have happened even if this one didn’t. Although we might think of someone like Green Lantern and Flash as the true more iconic team-up pairing instead and not look at Batman and Superman together in the same way.

3.)Give this story a rating on a scale of 1 to 10.
6 whihc is a good rating for me for a golden age book. Golden age and silver age (especially silver age DC) just don’t age great reading today and can sometimes feel more like a job then entertainment. The fact it got above a 5 is a compliment. I am glad I got to read this classic key storyline, but what worked for kids in the 50’s does not hold up well for a middle aged man in 2019. At least not this one.

Incedentally I read all of the stories in here… except for the text piece, as I don’t read golden age comics text stories because I don’t hate myself. So might as well share real quickly my thoughts on them.

The one about the wannabe detective was a decent one. The concept was creative even if Superman doing all of that for the dude was logic that only could have existed in an old comic book. Likable guest character.

The Lois Lane centric story at the end was… well… a Lois Lane story from the 50’s. Lois Lane’s writing (and writing of female characters in general at the time) was just so cringe. I could disect why it was bad, but probably not entirely fair to savage something written over half a century ago by modern eyes. But I really wonder if even little girls found this stuff entertaining and if even in the 50’s women didn’t find this kind of thing insulting. I get it was written by men, but did men just never talk to or have women friends in those days… ever?

This was a fun read though, thanks for suggesting it.

1 Like

@DanTheManOne1 Requiring little time was my goal when starting One-Shots.

By the way, the text box at the beginning is a good catch. I think they did use a reprint when restoring this. Specifically the reprint from World’s Finest #179, since that issue also reprints a story from the 1950’s called “The Origin of the Superman Batman Team”, which the text box at the beginning appears to be referring to.

And I too read ever story except the text one (were those stories just included for filler?), but I decided to only focus on the first story. And as you said, the Lois Lane story is… well, it’s definitely a Lois Lane story from the 50’s. I can’t imagine women weren’t offended by things like that, but I feel like it was normalized to the point where it wasn’t shocking and few people actually went against it. And I’m not sure him many girls read Superman back then; his early adventures feel target towards young boys.

The story on the text stories in Golden Age comics is that it was determined in I believe the later 30’s (a couple years after comics were created if I remember reading right), that for comic books to get the same subscription rates as magazines, they had to have a certain number of pages with text only content. Comic style pages didn’t count.

It was originally six pages but in the early years of the rule was whittled down to 2 pages, then eventually 1 page. As such comics had to put out text content in their books to keep the subsciption rates down and make them profitable. So editors basically hired whoever would work for cheap to write a text piece (usually a story but once the count got to 2 and eventually 1 page they became mostly articles of some kind). I believe they mostly hired the same writers who did pulps at the time, but also know that sometimes editors, assitant editors or even people working in the office who just wanted some extra money and a chance to see something they write get published would pound out somethign quickly.

Comic book editors acted under the pretense no one was actually going to read them anyway, and basically looked at them as a means to an end. So legend is that a lot of times they did little or any editing and just cared if the word count met the required number of words to get them the necessary number of pages they needed. And as such the writers who at the time were not exactly proud to be writing comic at the time just rushed something out for a quick paycheck.

As such… the quality showed. Although to be fair, those things were written for kids in the 40’s and 50’s so hard to know how they read to kids then vs to us today, but I have yet to meet anyone who has told me that they ever read one that was actually worth the time they spent reading it.

Eventually some time in the 50’s don’t know if anyone knows exactly when, editors realized that they could just re-print letters sent to the editor about the books and that would fill the required amount of pages, and they wouldn’t have to hire writers to half ass a story. And thus the letter columns were born, and continued on even after the whole restriction was no long necessary.

5 Likes

@DanTheManOne1 Interesting! It’s crazy that letters pages were born from the same necessity that created those crappy golden age prose pieces.

1 Like

I didn’t Know that about the letter pages! thank you for sharing that @DanTheManOne1!

“Overall, do you think this was a good team up story?”

Team up story? Sure – it highlights what makes each character work both on their own and how they compliment each other, like how Superman lifts the cruise ship up in the air and notices a man with a concealed pistol, and Batman corners him and questions the man and uses deduction to make him the prime suspect.

If I would critique it, I think the most interesting tension is Batman and Superman finding out each other’s identities and that’s kind of resolved a little too quickly. Maybe it’s more of my modern sensibilities, but all the running around trying to avoid Lois, making sure she doesn’t find out while having her flirt with Batman was the least interesting part of that story to me. However that part did create a good punch-line for the end of that story with Robin breaking the tie and “going on a date” with Lois (I say in quotations because, I mean, he’s ten); it’s nice to see that Dick’s suave nature that we’ll be used to in the 70s and forward was there even from more or less the start. :joy:

2.)What effect (if any) did this story have on later Superman and Batman team-ups? Do you believe Superman and Batman team-ups or even superhero team ups, in general, would be different if this story was never published? If so, how?

As I mentioned, it kind of helped establish the idea of Batman being of further assistance for Superman when even he’s stumped on a case. I don’t know if there’s anything super iconic about this story that would make team-up stories impossible if it weren’t to happen, but it’s a decent enough one that it sets a good precedent.

“Give this story a rating on a scale of 1 to 10.”

I guess I’d give it a 6. Like, it’s not bad, but after they figured out their identities, I started to lose interest rather quickly.

Here’s a fun fact about this book – this story has actually been remade in recent years. It was expanded on and rather reworked in Superman/Batman Annual #1, written by Joe Kelly and drawn by a motley of artists, including frequent Kelly collaborator Ed McGuinness, White Knight’s Sean Murphy, and Invincible artist Ryan Ottley. It keeps the idea of the cruise ship and Bruce and Clark being unlikely roommates and expands on it, including Deathstroke, Owlman, Ultraman, Superwoman, and…a certain alternate universe version of Deathstroke that looks and acts a lot like a character Joe Kelly and Ed McGuinness worked on for years.

What’s odd is that DC Universe doesn’t have this or now that I think about it any of the other 4 annuals. I have no idea why that’s the case, unless said alternate universe versioin of Deathstroke was a little TOO close for comfort?

Want to compare LL in the main story with the backup. In the main story she’s the “girl” reporting getting into scrapes and Superman’s hair (which they say at least twice) but she’s smart and fun and leaves both boys hanging when she’s off to dinner with Robin. In the backup trying to marry her friend off to Clark, I find her completely unlikable. Get Clark out of the way so she can snare Superman, ugh. And their brilliant plan is to serve him Yankee Bean soup. Cuz nothing says I love you like bean soup. And, at the end her friend marries the French hairdresser!

@msgtv I think she’s unlikable in the main story too. She just acts as force of chaos. However, she is portrayed as more intelligent, so that’s good.

2 Likes

@Jay_Kay I like how you brought up them complementing each other in the story. I like that the writers gave each character things to do.

Squid I agree but at least there’s redeeming qualities in the first story. Read some very early Action and she’s even more horrible. She calls Clark terrible names, believe she uses the word “loathe” on her feelings for him. It’s actually remarkable that she’s become maybe my favorite supporting character in comics.

Oh yeah Lois way supermean to Clark back in the day and just really cut throat when it came to snagging a story from him

One comic, right right…the comics back in 1952 were supersized, Dude! This was a long slough, 3 comics in one, I’m exhausted!!! But good nostalgic fun!

I won’t own up to the views and opinions expressed in this comic, since I was born in the enlightened age that started two years later…

Everyone has done an excellent job answering the questions of our mysterious host, so I’ll just toss out some “from the caboose” observations: (the discussions about this possibly being the tip of the Silver Age, the fact that Sups and Bats hadn’t really teamed up for most of the 40’s when that would have been such an obvious money maker, and the origins of the one page stories that morphed into the Letters Page were fab!)

The first story in particular of Bruce and Clark meeting each other in their secret identities was very much in the spirit of the 40’s Rom Coms that featured genius actresses like Claudette Colbert in all kinds of silly predicaments (P G Wodehouse’s Bertie and Jeeves stories also come to mind). You just want to shake our two heroes up a bit on the shoulder and say “wake up, focus on what’s important, you silly fellows.”

There’s truly nothing quite like humans falling in love to make those poor victims start doing irrational nutsy jealousy-driven stuff. Yet few if any of us would be here today without that chemical reaction…

I’ll go with the 8 out of 10 rating others have used here, if we are only talking about the first story. The other stories kinda crawl in as “fillers” and 4s or 5s…

Now on to the other 4 book clubs I owe assignments for, huff huff…

2 Likes