Thursday, November 19, 2020

Back Issue Box: Superman #371, Private Life Of Clark Kent

Hard to believe that I am double dipping on an issue but today I will be looking at Superman #371 again. This time I'll be looking at the back-up story, a Private Life of Clark Kent feature by writer Bob Rozakis and artist John Calnan.

In my early years of reading comics, I loved these Private Life stories, whether in Superman Family or in the main titles as back-up features. These were usually stories with Superman outwitting someone but in his Clark Kent persona. It often involved Steve Lombard getting a come-uppance. But as a kid I liked how Superman occasionally needed to use his wits instead of his fists. 

They also were nice little palate cleansers after the more usual super-heroics that existed in the rest of the issue.

In retrospect, it is interesting that little Anj liked these quiet stories so much.

Now in the last issue of Superman, our hero was depowered and offput by being under an orange sun. So I thought the Private Life of Clark Kent in this issue would be fun to look at.

"Mind Over Money" starts out with Superman 'drilling' through space wormholes so they will remain open to him to travel throughout the universe more quickly.

As he exits one, he discovers he is next to a violet sun! Not only a violet sun ... but a violet sun going super-nova.

Superman has never been that near to a violet sun and so he dives back into the warp. But not before he gets a healthy dose of violent sun energy.

Back on Earth and in his Clark identity, our hero feels fine.

But then strange things start to happen.

He realizes he has forgotten his wallet and has no money on him. But magically he has the 60 cents he needs for the bus.

And then he magically has a two dollar bill to buy his collector's magazine he has been waiting for.

Clark wonders if Mxyzptlk is messing around with him. 

And he is even more suspicious when Steve Lombard shows up all chummy asking to take Clark out for breakfast.

On the way to the diner, Steve remembers he needs to pay his electric bill or they'll turn off the power. He asks if Clark will join him and go to the company's office to pay it in cash.

Of course, when Steve says cash, he means Clark's cash.

Ah Steve Lombard, never change you cad.

Clark decides to see if his sudden money-making power remains intact. He says he has a $50 bill in his pocket and sure enough one is there. 

Clark notices that the serial number on the fifty is the same that was on the two dollar bill. Something is rotten.

But before he can investigate more, a crook comes into the electric company billing office to steal the cash they have on hand. 

Ahhh, Bronze Age criminal bad luck! They always show up where the heroes are.

Now I may not like Steve Lombard but he does show some bravery here, charging on the armed robber! Thankfully, Clark is there to provide a super-assist.

While everyone swarms around Steve as a hero, Clark figures out the money issue.

He see the fifty he gave Steve explode with violet energy. Then he sees the 2 dollar bill he paid the magazine with also fade away.

It turns out that violet sun energy gives Kryptonians 'mind over matter' powers, or the ability to manifest thoughts into reality.

Good thing Synmar didn't take our hero to a violet sun system!

But then, being the good friend he is, Clark gets a real fifty to let Steve Lombard.

Of course, Steve was so caught up in the adulation of stopping the crime that he forgot to pay the bill!

Ah Steve ... don't ever change!

Okay, this is a silly story. But I always found it interesting that Kryptonians seem geared up to absorb all sorts of solar energy ... all except their own red sun! 

I don't know of any other violet sun stories or if Superman manifested this again. But given his current predicament with an orange sun, I thought I'd share this bizarre little story.


Professor Feetlebaum said...

I miss this kind of story. Nothing epic, just a day in the life of Clark Kent, who, by the way happens to be Superman. A minor mystery, neatly wrapped up in eight pages.

I assume Clark went back and somehow made good on the money given to the bus driver and the magazine dealer.

Anonymous said...

I miss the charm of the comics from that era. Maybe it was my age at the time. Current comics seem to be missing the fun as creators try so hard to be on the cutting edge. The backup stories found in Action, Detective, The Flash were short, sweet and silly good fun. Posts like this one are more than welcome!

Martin Gray said...

This is a goody, from that bit about time travel science from Bob Rozakis to John Calnan’s talent for drawing men with tights over their heads. Thanks for reminding me about it.

Anonymous said...

There is a Silver Age Supergirl Story "The Green Sun Supergirl", (Action Comics #337)she ends up in a solar system under a emerald sun, and of course powerless. But something about that green sun turned her into the world's most inventive girl scout, amateur rocket scientist, female Flash Gordon...she patched up her spaceship with primitive materials, flew back to earth nice as you please. So yes Kryptonians have a problematic and complex relationship with the chromatic spectrum.