Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Classics - Action Comics #308

Today's "Classic" comic is actually new to me - I picked up this copy of Action Comics cheap at a recent convention, and only just got around to reading it.

Originally printed in 1964, this is one of the craziest Superman stories I've ever read - and that's saying something.

It almost defies recapping. But I'll give it a shot.

Clark Kent and Lana Lang are on an archaeological dig in the Middle East when a freak accident throws Superman back in time - and into a parallel dimension, where he meets characters who seem similar to figures from mythology - but it's all mixed up.

So you have Hercules being affected by Red Kryptonite, having to complete Six Labors (instead of Twelve), and the chores are nothing like the ones from myth. Superman helps out, of course, just because he can. He meets Ben-Hur for no apparent reason. And instead of David, the kid with the slingshot is Jason. No idea why.

It's just a crazy, stream-of-consciousness story that rambles along and then gets wrapped up in the final panel, as the writer and artist apparently realized they'd run out of space.

The backup in the issue is a Supergirl story that is also silly, as she discovers a young girl with super-powers. She spends the story trying to discover the secret behind the girl's powers - and the final explanation defies rational thought.

She gains her powers by eating some Kryptonian food by accident. That's it.

But guess what? Even though these stories are silly bits of fluff, there's an irrepressible niceness about them, a sense of good humor than makes them fun to read.

You just don't see comics like this any more. One could argue that's probably a good thing - but there should be room for all kinds of comics out there, including silly ones.

What's the line from the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? "A little nonsense now and then is valued by the wisest man."

Grade: B-


No comments: