Reign of the Supermen #121: The Goofy Superman

Source: Superman vol.1 #163 (1963)
Type: Red K TransformationHoax-happy Silver Age Superman strikes again!

He goes after the "Mad Bomber of Vineville" who is up to his 99th explosion (about time Superman did something about him!), but when he throws himself on the bomb, the blasted ground reveals a chunk of red kryptonite! Superman quickly leaves before anyone can see his transformation, but strangely, he goes back to his Clark Kent clothes. Good thing for him Clark Kent doesn't grow an ant head, then! Instead, he goes "goofy" and starts walking on his hands, sitting on wet paint and blowing raspberries at the cops.

Silver Age justice is excessively swift. Clark and the Mad Bomber are both declared insane at a hearing and are whisked off to the same asylum that same day.
Unabomber... guy who walks on his hands... same thing, really. Let's just say this ain't no Arkham Asylum. Actually, it seems predominantly populated by guys who think they're historical figures.
And they've got working cannons on the battlements.
The hell? Anyway, Clark soon snaps out of it, but he can't make the warden believe he was faking it! They know him as John Doe, but they've got his fingerprints in their safe, so he can't leave! Especially not after "General Grant" rips off his shirt and reveals his Superman costume. So what does he do? Raid the safe with his super-powers? Nope. Prove he's Superman and not a loon who thinks he is and trade on the good will he's generated to get his prints back? Neither. No, instead he plays tricks on the guards and inmates, seeming to use his powers, but allowing them to discover it was all a hoax.

So we have Superman switching coal with a fake diamond, or throwing melons painted to look like cannonballs, or throwing a scarecrow draped in an American flag to the wind so people think he's out there flying.
Why? That's a good question, but it doesn't have a very good answer. See, Superman sees the warden get his fingerprints out of the safe for inspection with his x-ray vision. (So now he grabs them at super-speed? Nope.) He asks the guard that's now used to getting hoaxed if he and the Mad Bomber can go out to the yard to try a melon bomb. The guard agrees, since it's all fake anyway, but Superman huffs and puffs on the "General"'s cigars at super-speed, creating lots of smoke, and creates a thunderclap with his mighty hands. In the confusion, he heat visions the fingerprints from afar, hoping the warden will think they got burnt in the explosion. THEN, he finally flies away.

So that notion from Wednesday's Reign piece is proven once again: The Silver Age Superman just can't help himself. He's so powerful, only the most ridiculously convoluted schemes can rescue him from terminal boredom.

"Say, Siskoid! If that's all true, then the cigar-chomping, great example for kids, Superman up top ISN'T ACTUALLY the Red K-affected "Goofy Superman"!" Well... hoaxes aren't just for the Man of Steel, you know!


SallyP said...

Good grief, this is insane. But still...a part of me misses that sort of insanity in today's books.


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