Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Back Issue Box: Superman Family #210

Last week I reviewed Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1, another in a litany of DC books where Supergirl is angry, borderline murderous, and the pawn of a villain. 

I'm sick of it.

Whenever I need a little palate cleanser, I head to the long boxes and look for some joy. I also have been nursing some sport fan ennui. My college hoops team is struggling. The Patriots didn't make the playoffs. 

So why not find a Supergirl sports story.

And so I give you a 40 year old comic, Superman Family #210,  with a wild Supergirl story with some dated references, some crazy sports action, an odd villain who seems like he would be at home in the present, and a rapid denouement. Plus, if you need a primer on Bronze Age, check out the other stories. Clark typing the future? Lois gets a puppy? Jimmy has doubles?

Buckle up! Here we go!

'The Spoil Sport of New York' was written by Bob Rozakis with art by the standard Supergirl art team of the day, Win Mortimer and Vince Colletta. 

A TV sports reporter is lamenting that Supergirl disrupted a Yankee baseball game when she used water to douse a riot.

Now there is no mention of disco records. But a riot at a baseball stadium before a game does remind me of the infamous Disco Demolition Night which happened in in Chicago in 1979. This comic is from 1981. So maybe that would be fresh enough for Rozakis to riff on?

It turns out that this sport reporter, Fred Fox, is so jealous of athletes after getting teased all his life for his lack of sports skills, that he became a sort of shock jock. He doesn't praise accomplishment; re razzes failure. Here he belittles some awkward Olympic tryouts.

And now, he will figure out a way to make no one interested in sports events. 

Meanwhile, Linda Danvers is adjusting to life in New York as a soap opera actress. Part of that is trying to deal with the slimiest pick-up artist and soap opera script writer Greg Gilbert.

Here, Gilbert arrives with groceries even though the two are heading to a boxing match. He brought the food because he knows Linda will invite him up after the bout for a 'late night snack'. Creepy.

But this is a perfect example of the 'peekaboo' pages we got of Linda in this time period. Mortimer always seemed to give us shots of Linda in her underwear getting dressed. 

But the fight turns out to be a strange spectacle. 

The fighters don't throw any punches. Then they hug. And then the two boxers leave arm in arm to get a bite to eat.

Much like at the baseball game, the spectators riot.

While Greg tries to lead Linda to safety, our hero slips away and changes into her Supergirl costume.

She makes a whirlwind in the auditorium to make everyone dizzy and short of breath. That takes the fight out of the crowd.

I love the bottom panels here. One, Supergirl taking part in the boxing spectacle by counting out the crowd is fun. But that last panel with many poses of Supergirl as she scans the place is brilliant. What is the strange radiation she senses.

But that's two sporting events with insanity breaking out that Supergirl happened to be at. Fred Fox wonders if she is the cause.

Certainly this look at 'Secret Hearts' makes me cringe.

The show has a doctor hitting on a patient!

I suppose early 80s soap operas were allowed a modicum of sleaze.

But poor Linda. Both on the small screen and in real life, she has had to deal with some winners.

Later that afternoon, Linda hears how the US Open in tennis, being played in New York, is in an uproar. Sure enough, the players are acting crazy, just like the bumbling Olympians in the early Fox page and the boxers. What is going on?

Supergirl quickly senses the odd radiation she felt at the boxing match. Indeed, it is coming from the pen of Fred Fox!

There is something funny about a journalist impacting people with his pen. 

And quickly Fox turns his pen onto Supergirl herself!

It seems to effect her the way it effected the other athletes. Suddenly she isn't in control of what she is doing!

Look at how giddy Fox is! This is one bitter man. 

Turns out Supergirl was playing possum.

Fox's 'Discoordinator' didn't make her lose control. But it did spur him into confessing to everything live on TV. With a finger flick she knocks him out.

That night, a rather comely Linda lounges in her room. That it until Greg shows up ... again. Ugh!

You can't think too hard about these stories. Maybe Fox could have sold his dis-coordinating tech to the mililtary and retired a billionaire instead of going on a one-man crusade against athletes. Maybe Linda should tell Greg to buzz off.

But there is a certain charm to these one-and-done quick hit stories. I was definitely a bigger fan of Linda in New York as an actress than her as a guidance counselor. So nothing wrong here. And certainly, a smart Supergirl acting heroically is always a bonus these days.

Overall grade: B


Martin Gray said...

This looks like fun, as dull as I find sports stories. I liked the Secret Hearts set-up too. It is puzzling that, as you say, Linda didn’t tell Greg where to go... is he actually a creep or just a bit too keen? I like people giving me food that they won’t necessarily get to eat.

Mortimer’s art is indeed letchy, but overall, really nice. And having read another Future State book today, I needed it!

Anonymous said...

As crapulous as the artwork was, I'll take this over The Super GothClown any day of the week...oh and Supergirl outthinks her opponent? Wonderful. Too bad she didn't make a habit of antagonizing shock jocks, might've made her stand out more....fan service panels notwithstanding.
Anyway as usual in these posts, I rail against the rushed pencils of Win Mortimer, but truly at least he was trying to make Supergirl look presentable, but his best is hamstrung by Vinnie "Never Missed a Deadline" Coletta's dead on arrival inks. Mortimer's lack of interest in background detail and his stiff figure work all looks three times worse due to Coletta's finishes.
Is this before or after Linda's character on "Secret Hearts" became a villainess? I seem to recall early in the Soap Opera arc "Margo Hatton" took what they call in pro wrestling "A Heel Turn".


Anonymous said...

Oh and Adventure #392, I think its called "The Super Cheat" Linda Danvers uses her super powers to bulldoze her way onto a sort of stand in for the Olympics to save some college chums from...foreign spies! It's rubbish from Cary Bates but lavishly illustrated by Kurt Schaffenberger, that is if you are interested in another sports story.


Anj said...

Linda's character becomes the villain later in this run. The hussy!

OOoh ... I have adventure 392 ...