The abandoned plot point.

§ May 8th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized § 3 Comments

So in the Superman: The Ten Cent Adventure one-shot from a couple years back, Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White confronts Clark Kent about Kent’s passport, found dusty and forgotten in a storage closet. If Kent has been travelling around the world, reporting on important international events, White rightfully wonders, how is it that his passport is unused? The chief’s pretty steamed about it:

And how does Clark get out of it? “Sorry to run, Perry, but I see Jimmy Olsen over there! We’ll have to discuss this later!” And he dashes off to perform some super-action, leaving Perry to wonder…

…though apparently Perry doesn’t dwell on it, as we never hear about this passport thing ever again.

Now this was an interesting idea, I thought, though it does make Clark/Superman look a little dopey (oh, if only he had some kind of secret Arctic fortress in which he could hide stuff like this). His double identity is put on the spot, and if he owns up to never using his passport (since, unknown to Perry, he simply flew to where he needed to go under his own power), all of his reporting suddenly becomes suspect. From Perry’s perspective, either Clark made all these international stories up, or he otherwise misrepresented his involvement in procuring the story (using secondary sources rather than investigating firsthand, as it’s implied Perry had believed). Either way, his credibility takes a hit (admittedly more in the former case than the latter).

Or Clark could just own up to Perry that he’s Superman, but then that brings up the old question of Clark’s ethics (having got his job at the Planet by reporting a story on himself as Supes, and continuing to report on himself over the years).

But it’s a moot point since, as I said, Clark and Perry never speak of it again, to the best of my memory.

Another plot point that came and went was in Saga of the Swamp Thing #16 (1983), where Swamp Thing and crew exhume the body of Linda Holland, only to find that the body had already been taken. Swampy makes reference to having found “that device…designed to keep people away…from those graves…!”

Huh? What device? I don’t remember any device being found in any issues of Swamp Thing leading up to this. Well, according to the footnote, the story of said device would be told in an upcoming issue of the Superman team-up book DC Comics Presents…which also never happened. The next issue of DCCP to feature Swamp Thing was this one, and it had nothing to do with Linda Holland’s grave or devices guarding it.

This wasn’t nearly as annoying as the Superman’s passport situation…where that was an interesting complication in Superman’s life that was tossed away, making both Clark and Perry look foolish as a result, the Swamp Thing plot point was just an unexplained aside that didn’t really impact the story one way or the other. Plus, as Alan Moore took over and drove the book into an all-new, horrific direction, the many subplots and tangents from the earlier issues suddenly seemed less important. That particular DC Comics Presents story never came to pass, but no one much missed it, either.

Any other subplots/plot points you can think of that just fell to the wayside like that? Stuff that seemed like it should be a big deal, but just dried up, disappeared, or otherwise amounted to nothing?

On a slightly related note, the new volume of The Complete Peanuts 1959-60 featured the following strip, which I remembered reading in one of the paperback reprints as a young Mikester, and recalled this punchline every time one of Snoopy’s numerous brothers turned up in the strip:

The volume also contains this strip, which has nothing to do with forgotten/altered storylines, but does seem to feature a huge ol’ typo on Schulz’ part:

Given the context in which it’s used, and the lack of reasons why Lucy would just suddenly shout “BOING!” — it seems that Schulz left the letter “R” out of the word “boring.” I’m sure it’s been noted before by somebody, and probably old news to Nat, but couldn’t find any references. Still, just thought that was interesting.

I probably have some final thoughts on Free Comic Book Day, but I’ll get to those tomorrow. I need a break from thinking about the free books!

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