Monday, February 27, 2006

BHM 27: The Black Newsboy Legion

Well, I don't know what else to call them. I'm talking about...

Ron Troupe, Black Reporter! Don't pretend you don't know who he is; he's Superman's brother-in-law. Poor Ron. If only his storyline had happened in the 1960s! He still would have married Lucy Lane after getting her pregnant, which would have gotten LOTS of press for comic books. But then, Jimmy Olsen, crestfallen, would have left both the Planet and the planet, emigrating to the World of 1000 Olsens, which is good, since no one likes Jimmy Olsen. Then, Ron would have gotten his own title:
"Ron Troupe, Superman's Brother-In-Law"
,
with its own groovy logo-font. And Superman would have a nephew, Jimmy Troupe (because in Superman's world it's considered appropriate for a woman to name her baby after the man she didn't marry instead of the man she did). Or a sassy niece, Trayna Troupe, with afropuff hair, purple bell-bottoms, and a Lois-like snoopiness that gets her in trouble a lot.

Such a world of missed opportunity...! But being a post-Crisis supporting character, he was instead destined to be completely reimagined (as some sort of impoverished social worker) then abandoned when the writers who created him were replaced.

Melba Manton (thanks, Bob Kanigher; that's funny!). She was a newcaster at WGBS starting in 1973. In Lois Lane #132, Melba was introduced in a story called "Introducing Melba". I've told you, Kanigher didn't do subtle. I'd be willing to bet good money that at some point in her career, she got taken hostage and a villain turned to Superman and said, "One false move and she's toast!"

Melba actually got storylines, like the time she was imprisoned in a concentration camp in the South African nation of Oranga. But she hasn't been seen since 1978 (Action #479); she needs to be brought back as the Oprah of the DCU.

Dave Stevens was the Daily Planet's "first black columnist", according to Perry White, and Perry erreth not. I wonder what he wrote about? Probably about being the Planet's first black columnist. Does his name sound at all familiar? It should; he's the one who called Lois "whitey". I guess after getting a blood tranfusion from Lois, reporting was then in his blood, because it was announced in a later story than he'd join the Planet Staff (Lois Lane #114).

Well, of course, he did. Everyone in Metropolis works for the Planet, except for guys in bright suits with matching hats and a pocketful of kryptonite. He continue to pop up in the background in the 1970s, but hasn't been seen since 1979 (Superman #338).

The Black Kid Perry and Alice Adopted Who Was Promptly Forgotten. Yes, at one point in the 1990s (80s?), the Whites adopted a young black boy, who I think was the orphan of some Planet worker who died of some horrible Superman-related causes ("Mr. Drummond's Housekeeper Eaten by Hellgrammite: film at eleven!"). So cancer-ridden Perry and news-widow Alice, whose mutual hatred is so deep they can barely get through breakfast without spitting grapefruit at each other, decide that a good way to save their marriage is by having children, and, since the very thought of touching each other nauseates them, that means having other people's children.

What the heck was that kid's name? Webster? Willis? Ah, yes; Keith; Keith Roberts.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Keith of the Dooomsday and the Conduit arcs?

No wonder people forgotten him!

Julio Oliveira said...

Yep. His mother abandoned him in a shelter after discovering that she was on the terminal stages of AIDS or something.

vic said...

Nobody can ever forget Keith. He was the most annoying creature ever to grace a comics page.

Scipio said...

"the terminal stages of AIDS or something."

Hm. I'll assume, then, that that was NOT a Superman-related cause.

Julio Oliveira said...

No, but Superman is the cause for him being adopted, since he as partially responsible for his orphanage being destroyed. With Keith having no one for taking care of him (since the person in the charge of the orphanage was killed by DNAliens that lived on Metropolis sewers) the Whites decided to adopt him.

The funniest thing is that he became Keith Roberts WHITE after being adopted.

Tom Foss said...

So many wasted plotlines...
Keith's adoption and Ron and Lucy's relationship both caused quite a bit of concern for Planet Publisher Franklin Stern. Who then started dating Ron's much younger sister, who really didn't like Ron and Lucy's relationship either.
That all seemed to be building to something until a new creative team came in.

At one point, shortly after Y2K, I had my first letter printed in a Superman comic, which in part asked about all these dangling plot threads. Like "what happened to Hypersector, Metropolis's 'neighborhood of tomorrow,' after Y2K? Shouldn't it be the 'neighborhood of the day after tomorrow' as a result?" and other such bothersome things.

Scipio said...

You want dangling plot threads in Superman?

How about the potentially fatal medical condition that Lois's mother has that only Lex Luthor has the drug to control?

Remember that one, huh?

John said...

Seems unfair of you to exclude Tawny Young from the Black Newsboy Legion just because she was part of Green Lantern's supporting cast instead of Superman's.

Scipio said...

OOooo! I never even heard of Tawny Young...

I need to look her up.

J'onn J'onzz said...

She WAS in the last 50 or so Green Lantern issues (from the 80's)... You know the ones where Hal had sex with a ring iduced grown child green lantern (DON'T ASK!) I seem to remember the issue where Hal slapped her for being too young to have a relationship and then started kissing her.

methane said...

Check out GL#185 for a date between John Stewart and Tawny Young (Her first appearance was probably in one of the 3 issues before, when Stewart takes over as full time GL, but I don't have those issues).

Yeah, a superhero dated a reporter. First time ever! As our favorite Martian said, she would appear as an occasional background character in GLC even after Stewart got married.

Steven said...

For the record, I LIKE Ron Troupe. Ron was the only guy still writing the paper when Lois and Jimmy would get kidnapped and Clark had to go off and rescue them. He also managed to blow up a racist's superweapon arsenal and save Superman's life in a pretty cool story.

It's a damn shame he was written out of the Superman books. When I write Action Comics, I'm bringing him back.

...Keith can stay in the car.

J'onn J'onzz said...

Unfortunately everyone's favorite Martian is about to die...