Tuesday, 18 June 2013


Images copyright DC COMICS

When I was a lad, due to the sometimes sporadic nature of U.S. comic distribution in Britain, I would often visit newsagent in different and far-flung neighbourhoods in search of MARVEL and DC comicbooks.  This was because I was almost always guaranteed to find some mags on sale in some shops that weren't available in others, thus making my  investigative expeditions to distant territories well-worth the wear and tear on my shoe-leather.

One such mag was ACTION COMICS #406, containing two SUPERMAN stories and an ATOM and FLASH team-up.  The back- up Superman tale (An Untold Tale of Clark Kent) was an interesting little adventure set in London, and one that made quite an impression on me as a 14 year old boy.  It had atmosphere, an interesting premise (even if the Superman impersonation was pushing things a bit far), and great art from CURT SWAN and MURPHY ANDERSON.  Plus a superb colouring job by persons unknown.  (To me, that is.)

But why talk about it when I can show you?  So, roll up your eyelids and feast your peepers on the cracking little classic below.


baab said...

i had to come back to this.
Is this in reference to the moral turnaround in the current screen version ?

Or am I simply reading too much into a harmless article.

When I was a boy there was a VG foodstore in Forgewood Motherwell.
It was a notorious area if you did not live there.
We would jump on a 240 bus,jump off run into the shop,attack the rack,pay the man,run out of the shop,cross the road for the bus on its return journey.

Well worth it.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how often the copy on the comic cover is inconsistent with the actual story. On the cover Clark Kent's thoughts are that ghosts don't exist, whilst in the actual story, his words are that ghosts are spirits of the dead! Perhaps this was to comply with the comics code? Nevertheless, it's a good little story.

Anonymous said...

Another one of those books that for me takes me right back to a certain time and place - picked this up in Birrell's (newsagents) in Cambuslang always remember at first being disappointed by the art on the Flash v Atom reprint (by the great Alex Toth) until I got into it it since been one of my favourites (if I recall it was a 2 parter) a great book well worth checking out . McScotty

Kid said...

Baab, I haven't seen the new movie yet - I just thouight it was a nice little story.


Anon, I think on the covers, they just went for short and to the point. Remember, sometimes the cover illustrations themselves had only tenuous links to the story - it was whatever was deemed likely to pull in the readers.

Also, Clark's thought inside was probably 'shorthand' for "Ghosts are SUPPOSED to be the spirits of the dead! But ANYWAY, I'm Superman! And I'm alive!"


Indeed, McScotty - the lead Superman tale is a nice little read as well.

PhilSee said...

What a great double act 'Swanderson' were - you can't beat a good inker over great pencils. Just thinking of some of the great combos like Adams / Giordano, Colan / Palmer or Kirby / Sinnott. I have been reading some Tales of Suspense Captain America lately (Marvel Masterworks Cap vol 3) and lamenting at what a lousy job Syd Shores does there, still couldn't bury Jack's dynamic art at that time. Took me a while to appreciate Curt Swan's art - I read a lot of Superman as kid but as soon as I was exposed to some of the Marvel artists it seemed to pale by comparison.

Kid said...

If only Curt could have drawn as dynamically as Jack, but in his own style, Phil, then it would have made a huge difference. Carmine Infantino is reputed to have laid out some Swan tales in order to 'punch' them up a bit. Kirby exaggerated things for dynamic effect - Swan went for a more 'realistic' effect, I think.

Lorenzo said...

Lovely! Thanks for posting this wee gem! I particularly like how ole Supes adds to his "But ghosts don't exist" thought by handily adding "...and I'M Superman!" just, y'know, to remind himself of that salient fact, NOT at all for those readers too young or too dim to have never heard of Clark Kent - LoL!

Kid said...

I think the approach back then was to treat every comic as if it might be somebody's first, so mention of him being Superman accentuated the 'visual dichotomy' for potential new readers. I'd imagine there are quite a lot of intelligent people of all ages who may not have heard of Clark Kent. (Or have forgotten the name.) Not everyone immerses themselves in the world of comics to the extent that we perhaps do.

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