Reign of the Supermen #537: Clark JFKent

Source: Action Comics #309 (1964)
Type: Impostor
Who IS that Clark Kent hanging with Superman and friends if not a robot? Well it all has to do with Superman getting an invitation from the White House to offer a brave astronaut the nose cone of his spacecraft, which he of course must first secure. Here's some Superman vs. Cephalopod action for you, because you've been good and I aim to reward goodness:
But what's that at the top of the page? Perry White plotting with POTUS against Superman? Ooh, conspiracy! The Prez next asks the Man of Steel to get some deep rock for a spelunker and a rare healing plant for a great doctor, and to deliver the stuff to the TV studio where they're shooting "Our American Heroes". But the show doesn't want to honor those lame human heroes, no. It was all a ploy to surprise Superman with a homage of his own! It's basically "This Is Your Life" and while it's appreciated and everything...
...Clark Kent's expected to be there. Oops! Well, he'll just call a Superman robot when the time comes. In the meantime, he just enjoys the parade of friends behind the lead curtain, some even from his Superboy days, and hey, all three of his "L" girlfriends!
Watch the spoilers, narrator! Lori tries to warn Superman that Lois and Lana are working together, which puts the kryptonite-strength dread in him. Yep, they're going to try and prove their mutual suspicion correct with a robot scanner. If and electric Clark Kent gets to the studio, the jig'll be up, and thanks to his super-senses, Superman knows it. So Supergirl, the Super-Pets, Pete Ross, the Kandorians, the Jimmy Olsen Fan Club, the bleeding LEGION... everyone shows up to this thing. These producers have mad booking skills, yo. (The latter required for Element Lad to zap a chunk of power-sapping Gold K the Club was about to give Superman by mistake. THAT would have been embarrassing!) Oh, and Batman, of course. That's too bad, because he's disguised himself as Clark Kent before. But he could still do a little bit of quick-change, right? Wrong.
Because of there's one thing Silver Age Batman loves, it's practical jokes. (Still, the number of times he too has been trapped in secret identity-uncovering schemes, revenge must feel especially sweet.) So when Clark Kent DOES show up, his true identity is a complete mystery.
Have you guessed, faithful reader? (Perhaps my clever clue in the title gave it away.) That's right, it was President John F. Kennedy the whole time.
HOW did he do such a perfect Kent? Presumably just mouthed words as Superman used his super-ventriloquism, or else Superman's got a strong Massachusetts accent we didn't know about. WHEN did Superman have time to contact JFK? That's not quite as obvious. All you need to know is that he makes good on favors owed and that you can trust him with your secret identity.

Of course, we should talk about the time of this issue. Though it's cover-dated January 1964, it actually came out barely a month after Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It would be crass to say Superman would stay safe, and even more tasteless to wonder if there was a Kryptonian on the grassy knoll. So I apologize for bring these ideas up, just as DC apologized in its letters column (Action #312).

5 comments:

d said...

Unfortunately, JFK informed Judith Exner of Superman's identity during a bit of loose pillow talk, who them informed Sam Giancana, who then had Pete Bondurant put a hit on Lois Lane.

Siskoid said...

Is that CANON?!

John Trumbull said...

That's got to be the only time comic books have ever acknowledged how long it would take Batman to remove a disguise. In most any other story, he'd whip off his Bizarro mask and that would be it.

Siskoid said...

This time, he went for heavy grease paint. He's lucky that mask isn't a complete write-off after that.

Bradley Walker said...

What, you think he's got just the one mask?

That's one indicator of the SIlver Age, Batman putting a mask OVER his cowl.

 

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