"This is the sultan of song, Clark Kent…!"

§ November 22nd, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on "This is the sultan of song, Clark Kent…!"

Issue #94 of Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane (August 1969) brings us a reprint of a Kurt Schaffenberger story from issue #20 of the same series…”Superman’s Flight from Lois Lane!” You know, for a comic that’s actually starring Lois, it sure doesn’t show her in a good light most of the time…and this story is no exception, as it focuses on the great lengths Superman goes to in order to get away from her!

The story opens with Clark and Lois preparing to jump out of an airplane for a little skydiving, apparently an assignment for the Daily Planet. However, Clark’s chute has a malfunction and doesn’t open, resulting in Clark hitting the ground fairly hard:

After his crash landing, Clark manages to get his chute open and, using his super-breath, billows it open and shoots himself back up into the sky to make it appear as if he never hit the ground. Lois misses all this, as, after noticing Clark’s initial chute difficulties, she covered her eyes in terror, not opening them again until Clark had successfully returned to the skies.

Upon returning to the Planet, Lois sits at her desk and ponders the day’s events: “Hmm…if Clark is Superman, he could have done something to that parachute while my eyes were shut!”

Clark notices the usual “is Clark Superman?” gleam in her eye, and decides that he’s had enough trying to protect his dual identity around Lois: “Things would’ve been different if I hadn’t become Lois’ co-worker on the Planet!” Thus, Superman’s solution? Quit the Planet? Hit the streets, looking for “Help Wanted” signs? Put his resume up on Monster.com?

Nope…he travels back in time, to the day that he first started at the Daily Planet! Superman arrives on the very day that he was to accept his job at the great metropolitan newspaper, somehow sidestepping the whole paradox of being in two places at once, since no mention is ever made of the younger version of himself being present at the same time as his older self.

Anyway, he takes a peek inside the Planet with his x-ray vision, “for old time’s sake,” and sees someone placing a want-ad for a radio disc jockey…with Lois Lane, who’s filling in for the classified ads girl. For some reason, Clark decides that being a disc jockey would be a perfect job for him, since it would require staying in a small room and changing records about every three minutes and having to say something on the air about as often, thus leaving him plenty of time for his super-life. That previous sentence was dripping with sarcasm, in case you were wondering.

So he gets the job the old-fashioned way, by cheating his ass off:

He lands the job, of course, and is immediately assigned a young and pretty assistant named Liza Landis…yes, it’s the old “L.L.” thing again. Clark lets her know that he prefers to be left alone while he’s on the air, which she readily agrees to. “She’s discreet,” Clark thinks with no foreshadowing whatsoever, “thank goodness she won’t be a pest like Lois Lane!”

Mixmaster Clark then proceeds to become a hit deejay (that’s Liza at the far right):

The name of his show is “Songs with Clark Kent.” Good God, could he be more square?

So Clark continues to live the good life…acting as Superman by day, spinning some tunes at night. One evening, during a show, he finds himself nostalgic for Lois and checks in on her with his super-vision. Sure enough, she’s up to her neck in trouble, so Clark strips down to his super-suit, and pulls a convenient Clark Kent dummy out of an even more convenient secret panel that somehow has been fit into his booth. He dumps the dummy in front of the microphone and goes off to save Lois’s bacon. Reaction to the dummy is mixed:

Finishing his rescue, Superman zips back to the studio and switches back into his Clark duds after hiding his dummy. But, as he flies in, he manages to activate Liza’s amazing “leap of logic” powers in the next room:

She sneaks into the studio, only to overhear Clark announcing the record he apparently was just playing: “You have just heard a rare platter from the record-library, of the sound of Superboy in super-flight! It was recorded years ago!” Luckily this station had such a record, as Clark managed to overhear Liza’s comments as he flew in, and whipped out said record to cover his tracks.

Somehow Liza manages to jump to the conclusion that Clark and Superman are one and the same, and beings a campaign of terror to prove this theory: “If I can prove he is Superman, he may think I’m so clever, he might want to marry me!”

Clark has his own thoughts on the matter: “I can’t believe it! Liza is turning into a worse pest than Lois!” That’s hardly fair, since by that point all she’s done is 1) barge into the studio after hearing a loud “WOOOOSH”-ing noise, which I think we’d all would have done, and 2) tried to cut Clark’s hair with a pair of scissors to see if he’s invulnerable, which, okay, is a little forward, but still not up to Lois’ usual standard of excellence.

Liza’s final trick involves dumping some sour-smelling perfume on Clark, then rushing to go smell Superman at one of his scheduled public appearances at City Hall. Yes, to go smell him. Superman manages to outwit this cunning scheme as well, and Liza, ashamed of her behavior, quits her job at the radio station. Clark shows his usual sympathy and tact:

Anyway, the next day, Lois Lane shows up to interview Clark Kent for a story on the life of a deejay. “I’ve received permission from the radio station to study you day and night!” she says, causing Clark to dash out the door shouting “I QUIT!”

Superman then returns to the present day, having resigned himself to being unable to escape his fate via time travel, since quitting the Planet and getting a job at, I don’t know, The Los Angeles Times, seems to be beyond his abilities. He’s already proven he’s willing to cheat to get a job, so what’s stopping him?*

At the end, everything is back to normal, and apparently Lois retains no memories of having briefly met Clark as a disc jockey several years back. But no time travel story is complete without the wacky twist ending:

Clark’s not into the plus-sizes, apparently. You’d think Superman would be a little more open-minded than that. Also, either Lois has had a great deal of cosmetic surgery, or being a radio station owner’s wife is highly stressful, since Liza looks like she aged a lot more than Lois did, judging by their relative appearances in the flashback and in present day.

A couple of final notes:

Since this was a reprint of a story from several years earlier, all references to the “current” year were altered to represent the time of the reprint’s publication, 1969. In some panels this is done rather seamlessly, such as when Superman is travelling back in time and the years are shown flashing by in the background. In the next to last panel, though (and I realize it’s hard to tell in my scan), the “1969” is very obviously relettered.

According to the Grand Comic Book Database, the reprint is missing one tier of panels from the final page. I didn’t think to check to see if we had a copy of the original in stock, so I don’t know if those missing panels clear up all the time travel paradox shenanigans in this story. More likely, it’s just additional complaining about what trouble those pesky females are.

* Not to mention the fact that Clark originally got a job at the Planet by writing a scoop about himself. Journalistic ethics? What are those?

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