Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Classics - Superman #176

   It's funny how our tastes change.

   Like many fans my age, some of my earliest memories are reading DC Comics - Superman, Batman, the Flash, Aquaman and Green Lantern were my early favorites.

   But as I grew older - which is to say, eight to 10 years old - I moved over to Marvel's comics, which seemed more "grown up."

   As a result, by the time this issue of Superman was published in 1965, I wasn't reading this title anymore. The adventures of the Man of Steel just seemed frivolous and often silly.

   So here's the funny part - now that I'm older and wiser, I find that I really enjoy these titles. There's a sweetness and innocence about the stories that are just delightful.

   For example, in this issue (picked up at a recent convention for two bucks), there are three stories.

    The first involves time travel and one of my favorite bizarre Superman Family concepts - the Legion of Super-Pets. So Krypto the Super-Dog, Speedy the Super-Cat, Beppo the Super-Monkey and Comet, the Super-Horse, make a trip back in time to investigate a man who was a champion for animals - and they exact some revenge on a guy who was cruel to animals.

   The second story, believe it or not, is even stranger. It's narrated by a hunk of Green Kryptonite! The stone recites how it hurt Superman (much to its regret), how it helps him establish a new home, and then threatened the lives of Superman's friends.

   The final story is one of those "Superman is acting weird but we don't know why" tales, as our hero must tell the truth (in the most harsh and brutal way possible). Lois and Lana try to use his affliction to uncover his deepest secrets, but of course, that never works, as Mr. Honesty uses dirty tricks to get around giving a straight answer.

   So, the stories are silly and light - but they make me smile, and I honestly think I enjoy them now more than I did as a kid. Pehaps I appreciate the whimsy more, perhaps it's a longing for a more innocent age - but this issue is a wonderful time capsule, opening the door or a simpler, sweeter time.

   In other words, it's a nostalgic treat - even if I was too thick to appreciate it the first time around.

Grade: A-


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