Friday, February 10, 2012

Today in Comics History: Well, she's no Lori Lemaris...

Today in comics history, on February 10 of the sixteenth year after a Kryptonite rocket crashed and ruined about four hundred linear yards of prime Kansas farmland as sure as if the earth had been burned and salted, a parable, or fable, or perhaps Suparable, is about to take place in the very classrooms of Smallville High, home of the undefeated football team the Fighting Luthors. While Young Joker chortles in the foreground (seriously, purple and green?), Young Crystal of the Inhumans lets a worried teen Clark Kent in on a practical joke they're about to play on one of their teachers.

Panels from "The Old Maid of Smallville!" in Superboy v.1 #83 (September 1960), script by Jerry Siegel, pencils and inks by Al Plastino

Why, those little rapscallions...making fun of their elders. As Clark says, "don't make fun at someone who isn't beautiful, because Superboy will crush you into tiny cubes." Or something like that. Anyway, we've all known kids like this, who give the word bully a bad name, and they're about to learn a lesson. A...Super-Lesson.

So what is Clark about to do? Take these two punks around the world to show that the myriad views and perceptions of human beauty? Take them forward to the 30th Century and show them that in the world of the Legion of Super-Heroes, no one judges another by their physical looks anymore (which explains how Chuck Taine got married to two hotties at once)? Take them to an abandoned cave outside Smallville and seal them inside a cave until they have to resort to cannibalism? Lead them down Crime Alley ten minutes before Zorro gets out? No, actually...none of these. Superboy chooses to make his teacher more conventionally "beautiful" rather than teach his classmates to have more acceptance and less cruelty to those not like them. Nice going, Clarkie. You should be ashamed of yourself. And for that time you set Lex's hair on fire. His beautiful, luxurious hair! No wonder your real parents sent you away, you Kryptonian jerk.

Anyway: Superboy's first step in turning a "dud" into a dream is to force her into an unwanted wet-tee-shirt contest.

Didn't Ma Kent warn Superboy against reading the clothing tags on women's' outfits? It's only polite, and more to the point, it's the sort of thing you don't do in Kansas. I think it's actually on their state flag.

So her clothes shrink and as everyone knows today, smaller clothing = more attractive. If you read the minutes of the Justice League of America members' meetings (held 22,300 miles above the earth), you can actually see Hawkman having a problem trying to put down on paper the actual sound of Wonder Woman punching Superman when she found out about this story.

Then, it's time to muss up her hair! Because, of course, they are no more hairpins left in Smallville so this dramatic change could never be reversed. This is probably the reason why Jonathan Kent eventually gave up farming and opened a general store in town: the county-wide demand for hairpins, not to mention the Kryptonite-spawned monsters that periodically tore up his land and ate his cows. With relish.

Superboy then finds it necessary to go to the moon—bwah-ha-ha-ha—to get crystal to make—heh ehh haw haw haw!—contact lenses in her exact prescription BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!

Then he breaks her glasses. Well that certainly is dedication to truth, justice, the American Way and vandalism, Kal. Why don't you just fly back in time and prevent her parents from having such an "ugly" child? I mean, nothing went the least bit wrong when you tried to prevent the birth of Hitler, right? Remember that? (see SUPERMAN AND THE HIDEOUS NAZI-EARTH FUTURE HISTORY GONE WRONG #1-12.)

Thus Superboy invents the contact lens, conveniently forgetting they were first invented by Leonardo da Vinci and made practical by scientists in 1801 and 1887. I bet he had this sort of discussion with Lois all the time when they were married. "Look, Clark, Perry gave us this beautiful Waring blender for our wedding. Say, did you know bandleader Fred Waring invented this?" "No, Lois, I did." Looks like the only things Superboy actually invented were hair loss and being a butthead.

"Oh, Superboy, I can get those repaired at Clem Hayseed's Opticians in Smallville..." "Nope! I've burned them away into dust! Done the same thing with your old-fashioned support undergarments, too!"

Then, something happens with a robot or an alien or somebody; I dunno, at this point I'm just waiting for the end where Pa Kent paddles Clark with an iron bar for being such a super-jerk. Needless to say, an electrocution death is waiting for someone. Later, the young son of this robot or alien will take a solemn vow to fight crime after a giant pocket calculator crashes through his window. "That's it," he vows grimly. "I shall become...a Brainiac!"

Later, Superboy sets up his teacher on a blind date with Saxton Hale, manliest man of all time...who is, for some reason, cosplaying as...well, Jimmy Olsen, I guess. Look, I didn't write the thing, I just read it, okay?

So, let's all celebrate February 10, the day that Superboy was a complete jerk. Well, February 10th: one of the three-hundred sixty-five days of the year he was, at least.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

I can just imagine Superman summing this particular exploit up in retrospect. "See, I did the hair down, glasses off, makeover before it was even consider cliche!" Superboy was the worst hipster ever!

SallyP said...

Ah, the hot librarian fantasy raises its head. Because ALL women with glasses are secretly hawt, and only need to let down their hair and get contacts, and they can get married and not have to teach obnoxious horrible brats anymore!

Woohoo! Everyone wins!