Not sure if you’ll be able to help me with this one, but I’ll give it a try. I’ve just been re-reading “The Tragic Day Ma and Pa Kent Died”, reprinted in SUPERBOY #165 (“Superboy’s Red Letter Days”), and was wondering when and where it was originally published? It’s a hugely touching tale that I think cemented Superman’s moral framework. With all his powers, he wasn’t able to save the two people he loved the most, which is true of all of us when we have to face the mortality of our friends and family. Also, how was this particular scenario referenced (if at all) previous to this story being published?
— Terence Stewart (tstewart@npg.org.uk)

The story originally appeared in 1963 in SUPERMAN #161 with the title “The Last Days of Ma and Pa Kent.” In that first printing, Ma and Pa were the older versions that were familiar to readers through most of the Silver Age.
Prior to this story, the death of the Kents was only referred to in passing, with an indication that Martha had passed away a few months before Jonathan, rather than at the same time, and that both had died of old age.
*****
Why was Superboy introduced in 1993, several years after Crisis ended? What were they trying to dowith this new version of the original?
— Scott Redding (redd2142@yahoo.com)

They were trying to sell comic books. Since the John Byrne revamp of the Man of Steel eliminated his life as Superboy, a new character had to be created to take the name.
*****
I recently came across a reprint of a Superman comic from either the late 1940s or early 1950s that featured Orson Welles as a guest star. Other than the expected politicians and world figures, how many other “real life” guest stars have appeared in DC Comics over the years??
— B. Vesey (bvesey@hotmail.com)

That story, “Black Magic on Mars” originally appeared in SUPERMAN #62 (Jan-Feb, 1950). Among the other celebrities who turned up were entertainers Perry Como, Pat Boone and Steve Allen and wrestler Antonino Rocca. Perhaps the most famous “real-life” co-stars Superman had was Muhammad Ali in the tabloid special that was published in the 70s.
*****
I seem to remember a planet that Lex Luthor owned or ruled. What was its name?
— David G (estradason@aol.com)

Lex was the superhero and Superman the villain on the planet Lexor, as shown in SUPERMAN #168 (April, 1964).

*****
I had a comic in the early 70s with Superman. He was in a strange world with a gargoyle riding on his back. I think it was fiery. I believe he also grew a third eye in the front of his forehead. It is not the old issue with Brainiac where he also had a third eye, but on the back of his skull. Does anyone know what issue this is?
— Stealth Master (sha_dow40@hotmail.com)

I did a search of what I had handy and could not come up with the issue in question. Anyone?
*****
I have a poster of Superman that I am trying to identify: It is 17.75 ” wide and 23″ high. I am told it is from a supermarket display from the late 1960s. I can send a picture if that would help (I’m sure it would.) The picture is of a Curt Swan style Superman flying in space with the Superman name in the upper left corner and I think Earth in the lower right hand corner. There is a tail that indicates he has flown into space from the planet. Do you have any idea or is there an address I can send a picture to?
— mark.natelson@ey.com

Without seeing it, there’s not much we can do to identify it. How about sending a scan to us here at SBC? I’m sure editor Jason can post it in an upcoming column and then we’ll see what suggestions people have for its origin.
*****
Would the pocket universe version of Superboy (post-crisis) grow up to be very much like the silver age Superman?
— Bob Dobalena (rrfingerhead@yahoo.com)

My guess is that he would. (By the way, Bob, are you a fan of the Monkees?)


Is there a website where you can read comic books online?
— keavydee (keavydee@hotmail.com)
You can check out CrossGen’s line of books at www.crossgen.com. There are freebies of the first issues of a baker’s dozen of the titles and you can access the rest for $12 for a six-month membership.

And speaking of CrossGen and the more traditional printed version of their material, it’s time for a few more quickie reviews…

  • MYSTIC #31 by Tony Bedard, Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan. This one is tagged as a “Key Issue” because a new story arc is beginning. The premise is well explained and easy to get into. Giselle is a likable character, and the art is attractive.
  • ROUTE 666 #7 by Tony Bedard, Karl Moline and John Dell. Part X-Files, part Kolchak, part John Carpenter films, with some dark humor mixed in. I liked this one and look forward to seeing more.
  • NEGATION #13 by Tony Bedard, Paul Pelletier and Dave Meikis. The recap in this one told me everything I needed to know to jump into the story. A rescue mission is in progress, ending with a cliffhanger. I’ll look forward to more of this one too.
  • SCION #31 by Ron Marz, Jim Cheung and Don Hillsman II. This was disappointing; the entire issue turns on a single event: the return of Bron to his kingdom. Pages and pages of talking heads did nothing for me
  • SIGIL #31 by Chuck Dixon, Scott Eaton and Andrew Hennessy. The Bitterluck’s crew is trapped on a planet that gives “food chain” a whole new meaning. Unfortunately, the recap did not explain why the Captain is not with them, nor did I fully understand why there is a real person and a computer-generated version of her. Still, I liked the snappy banter among the characters and look forward to the next chapter.
  • RUSE #15 by Scott Beatty, Paul Ryan and Pablo Marcos. This one is my favorite of the line. The art is really nice and the story moves along with action, dialogue and some humor. Unlike some of the others that seem to zip by with a batch of full-page pinups, RUSE feels like it has some weight to it.
  • ARCHARD’S AGENTS #1 by Chuck Dixon and Mike Perkins. Since I liked RUSE, it follows that I would also enjoy this spin-off series. This one is a nice little story done in a single issue.

*****
I was wondering what your feelings are on any of the new Marvel books you might read currently, good or bad? Thanks.
— John (logansan88@hotmail.com)

When I worked at DC, we had a trade agreement with Marvel, so I got to see all their books. Since leaving DC in 1998, I have not seen any regular Marvel titles.
My son picked up a couple of the issues of MARVILLE and I read through them. I found the book to be a lame one-joke sales gimmick and not much more. The issue with the text printed over the artwork was bizarre – hard to read and seemingly pointless.
The only other Marvel book I have read in the past few years was the ESSENTIAL ANT-MAN TPB because it contained a few of the stories I did not already have in my collection.


FEEDBACK DEPARTMENT:
“Wish more had gone on here” is pretty much what sums up all my feelings to CrossGen. Their books are clearly tailored to be a paperback series and every individual issue reads like not even a chapter but a few paragraphs in a chapter in any average fantasy novel. Bought the issues monthly, have now given them all away and will buy the paperbacks instead. Good stories, albeit slow, great artwork and production values.
— Giovanni Spinella (Giovanni.Spinella@moneyline.com)

*****
Tom Galloway mentions:
>> Another pseudo crossover between two comics teams from different companies was done in NEW TEEN TITANS and DNAGENTS from DC and Eclipse by Marv Wolfman and Mark Evanier respectively. Similar to the FREEDOM FIGHTERS / INVADERS crossover, each team fought a doppelganger team of the other, and both stories appeared at roughly the same time. I believe the DNAgents doppels were the Recombatants; don’t recall what the Titans’ doppels were called. >>

Oddly enough, they were called Project: Youngblood, back in 1984 — almost a decade before the birth of Image Comics.
— Kurt Busiek

…Since we’re talking about doppelgangers, here’s one that comes to mind. A couple of years ago on a Batman Beyond episode, there was a version of Marvel’s Fantastic Four.
— Blue Burke (SCStingRays2002@yahoo.com)

*****
Thanks, everyone, for the help. I think Tor and Merlin may have been the “Top the Magic Master” and “The Last Merlin” referred to in SECRET ORIGINS #27, even if their names didn’t match exactly. (Dr. Mist was right; they were soon forgotten.)
As for what Mr. Terrific gave Batman… I think it was Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers.
— Orville Eastland (orville_third@yahoo.com)


One last note before closing: This week marks my 150th column for SBC… almost three years’ worth. Thanks to Jason Brice for inviting me to join the gang here. Thanks to my official unofficial researcher (and pinch-hitting columnist) John Wells for bringing his pile of information along to help me out. Thanks also to my various pals in the biz – Bob Greenberger, Len Wein, Rick Taylor, Mike W. Barr, Kurt Busiek, and Fred Hembeck, to mention a few – and outside it – Tom Galloway, Howard Margolin, and Bob Buethe come to mind – for your remarkable memories and able assistance. And thanks to all of you who come here every week to peruse my writing.

Don’t forget my daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.worldfamouscomics.com. And you can be a part of this column if you’ve got an interesting question… use the handy (and minty green) box directly below. See you next week.


Need some answers from the Answer Man?
Ask BobRo at It’s BobRo’s Answer Board.

Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.


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