Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Superman #197

Superman #197 (On Sale: April 11, 1967) also known as 80 Page Giant #G-36 is an "All Clark Kent Issue" an sports a Curt Swan/George Klein cover. As a kid I always thought these themed 80-page giants were just a whole bunch of goofy fun. They packed them full of everything they could find that might interest a kid: cavemen, firefighters, gangsters and robots. What's not to love?

Inside we start with "Clark Kent's New Mother and Father" from Action Comics #189 by Edmond Hamilton, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley. Next we have "Clark Kent Meets Al Capone" from Superman #142 by Otto Binder, Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye. In it Superman travels into the past to get the measurements of a gigantosaur, but he is weakened by Titano’s Kryptonite vision during his return. The weakness causes Superman to stop before reaching the present. He ends up in the 1920’s. There, he meets a young Perry White and helps him get a story about Al Capone.

Next is "The Truth Mirror" from Action Comics #269 by Jerry Siegel, Curt Swan and George Klein. Lois Lane receives a mirror from her uncle Ned. The mirror possesses magical properties which allow it to show a person's true self. The mirror reveals two disguised criminals to Lois as well as the secrets of some of her friends. Lois then uses the mirror to learn Superman’s secret identity.

Next we have "Caveman Clark Kent" from Action Comics #169 by David V. Reed and Al Plastino followed by "Clark Kent Fireman of Steel" from Superman #129 by Otto Binder and Al Plastino. In it Clark Kent has taken a job as a temporary fireman for a news story. Chief Hogan does not want Kent around and tries to get him to quit by placing Kent in danger. Clark still acts timid, but his powers as Superman save him. He is forced to protect his secret identity several times, but eventually the chief is forced to believe Kent leads a charmed life.

Next is "Superman's Toughest Day" from Action Comics #282 by Bill Finger and Al Plastino. In it Clark Kent takes a day off from the Daily Planet and assumes his duties as Superman. A Clark Kent robot is sent to fill in for him on a date with Lois Lane to tour a plastic factory. The robot’s hands become covered with a solvent which exposes the metal underneath.

The last story is "When There Was No Clark Kent" from Superman #127 by Jerry Coleman, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye. In this tale while collecting information for a story at the Bottle Works, an explosion apparently kills Clark Kent. Unable to find a way to explain how Clark survived, Superman decides to go without a secret identity.

Edited by Mort Weisinger.

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