Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Man of Tin, Brain of Steel

I tell ya, gang, if you're not buying these "Showcase" volumes, you're missing a World of Pain and Pleasure.

Yes, there's the usual over the top Silver Age lunacy like using telescopic vision to see what's happening on other planets (right now) and Jimmy Olsen in drag, living with a chimpanzee. But it's the tiny things, the little moments that really do it for me. Take, for example:


Wait, wait-- the BRAIN of STEEL? Now, there's a flattering epithet. Reminds me of Darmouth's Alma Mater, which sings that the school's graduates have the granite of New Hampshire in the brains; uh... thanks? Oh, and before someone says, "well, that's just like having a mind like a steel trap" .... no. No, it is not. Maybe the writer is talking about the computer, but even so, it sounds really bad for the Big S.

Or this tidbit, where Perry White is informed about some unemployed newsies. Note the "I'm going to use your head for a spittoon" look and the "talk to the hand" dismissal:


Ladies and gentlemen, Perry White, Humanitarian. "Are there no poorhouses?" Perry thinks. "If they're going to die, then they should get on with it, and reduce the surplus population." I love you, Perry. I strive always to model myself as an employer on your example, like the time you forced your best reporters to do push-ups in your office.

Later in the same story, for reasons too ridiculous on the macroscopic level to go into, Superman decides to build a stadium out of loaves and fishes, whereupon we discover just how powerful he really is:


Yes, Superman can turn TIN into STEEL simply by hitting it hard enough. That, as my grandfather would say, is decidedly off the chain. Who needs those sissies, Firestorm and Element Lad?

13 comments:

Julio Oliveira said...

Well, if Superboy Prime can change continuity with the strenght of his punches, Superman changing tin to steel should be easy cake.

AnthonyF said...

You're right. I should be buying these volumes. So far I only have the Green Lantern one.

Dorian said...

I'm surprised you left out Jimmy's casual racism and dyslexia.

Jon Hex said...

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa! I think everyone's forgetting something important. "Old boards and clay bricks"? "Perfect seats"? Kal-L must have been studying the recorded lessons of the great Kryptonian carpenter, Karo Prakt-R. Tragically, Crisis retconned these and many other accomplishments out of existence.

Renophaston said...

My dad pointed out that "tin" cans back then were almost always tin-plated steel cans. So even if he didn't have Super-Alchemy powers, he probably had Super-Metallurgy and I'm guessing Super-Caustic-Detinning-Solution (where do you think that comes out?) powers.

But then he builds not just a stadium, but a Super-Stadium? That makes that sports car he made for Jimmy seem less impressive.

Ratbat said...

Dyslexia and racism?

Chance said...

I used to have nothing but contempt for the Silver Age and its ludicrous stories. Then I started reading this blog, and began to grow a kind of grudging admiration for the Dadaesque lunacy of those childish comics of the past. Then I kept reading this blog, and I think I'm beginning to veer toward contempt again.

Dorian said...

Ratbat--There's a downright bizarre sequence where Jimmy dresses like an Indian and gives a little speech littered with "how"s and "ugh ugh"s.

Also, Perry keeps complaining about his spelling, and when we see examples he's continually transposing letters.

Scipio said...

Chance,

You do not have to choose between those feelings; embrace them both.

I've been a much happier since.

Ragnell said...

Hmm... I can fork over the 15 bucks to get the Superman Family volume, or I can wait until the blogosphere posts every panel...

Dammit, I'll fork over the 15 bucks. First I gotta finish my O'Neil/Adams Green Lanterns, though.

JP said...

If you would simply cease posting about Showcases I would certainly experience less pain from my credit card company. But then again, life would be infinitely duller in so many ways...

Chuck T. said...

OK, so telescopic vision shouldn't be able to see what's happening on other planets right now, and Superman would see what happened years (however many light-years he was looking, I guess) in the past.
Unless he had, like Tachyon vision or something. Little kids heads would've exploded if they tried that in the 50's. In the eighties, seeing other planets would've been hokey, old-fashioned. Today, I can totally see Grant Morrison throwing that one out there, and making it cool again.

Iustinus said...

Course, on Superfirends, Superman was able to turn tin into lead using his heat vision... ;)