So I pulled out my copy of Action Comics #309 (Feb. 1964) for those “Look-Alike Squad” panels to accompany this post, and upon my re-perusal of the book, I wanted to note a couple of other things.
The comic is primarily remembered for its use of President John F. Kennedy as an important plot point…specifically, due to lead times and distribution and such, that it was out at about the same time JFK was assassinated (comics being dated far ahead of their release dates, in case you’re wondering about the “Feb. 1964” thing). You can see the JFK panels in question at Fred Hembeck’s site, under “November 22nd,” and Fred has a full synopsis along with one of his patented cover reproductions here.
Speaking of the cover, that was the first thing I wanted to mention. I find myself more than a little amused by Batman’s cherubic smile, behind Supergirl’s head of hair, there:
I blew it up nice and big for extra creepiness. No need to thank me. Also, if you look at the full cover, you’ll notice that while everyone else in line is looking in the general direction of Superman, Batman appears to be staring straight out at the reader…I know there’s no pupils visible, but he’s definitely facing forward. Distracted by a crime in the distance? An Animal Man-esque awareness of the reader? Trying to get a good sniff of Supergirl’s hair? Your guess is as good as mine.
Here’s something else you don’t see Batman do too much of anymore…going way out of his way to mess with someone, and having a good laugh at that person’s expense:
I love the “why do I put up with this crap” look on Lois’ face at the end. (And to think about it a little further…this situation only occurs for plot reasons, to remove Batman as a potential “Clark Kent” stand-in for when Supes and Clark are supposed to meet face to face. But when you consider it…what Batman has done is, for an event celebrating Superman, gone out of his way to don elaborate make-up specifically to tweak Superman’s girlfriend. Is Batman that desperate for attention? “Hey, look at me, everyone! I’ve got Bizarro make-up on and I fooled Lois Lane! WOOOOO!” He might as well just put on the lampshade and make a complete spectacle of himself.)
On the letters page, I found myself disappointed when I realized that someone was writing this letter “in character” (or “characters,” as it were). It was so much better when I briefly thought it was a fan expressing his actual murderous distaste for Superman…’course, that sort of thing wouldn’t get that much attention or play until many years later, when ‘blogs were created:
And then there’s this letter, where it may sound like the guy’s going overboard describing the potential greatness of a Jimmy Olsen Annual:
…except for the fact that he’s absolutely, 100% correct (and assuming this isn’t a letter from the editor, if you get my drift).
Citizen Kane. The Mona Lisa. Michelangelo’s David. And this:
That humanity can bring such beauty into the world yet gives me hope.