Sunday, December 19, 2021

Adventures in Comic-Boxing: Superman Catches a Bus!

 As a local Bus Transit Advocate for several years...

...You just KNOW I had to get a copy of ACTION COMICS #199 (DC Comics, Cover Date: December, 1954)!  

You know the old Henny Youngman joke about when his wife "sits around the house"... "she SITS AROUND THE HOUSE!"  

So it would seem that, when "Superman catches a bus"... "Superman CATCHES A BUS!"

...Let's just hope it's never one that I'm on!

Talk about "unanticipated delays"!


Achille Talon said...

I'm amused that, faced with a mirror of himself who's slate-gray, Superman's first reaction is “By Krypton, he EXACTLY LIKE ME, except he is EVIL", with no comment on the "slate-gray" thing. Was there a screw-up in the coloring job? Or is this evidence that Superman himself, in trade-off for all his amazing qualities, is completely colorblind, and has believed himself to be slate-gray too, this entire time? Perhaps that would explain some of his bolder wardrobe choices…

Joe Torcivia said...


That’s a wonderfully “out-of-the-box” interpretation of the Superman cover… but in those days, far more so than now, a comic book’s COVER had to get your attention with some eye-catching action, or startling out-of-the-ordinary (for superheroes, that is) development. There was a period at Silver Age DC where the cover was actually drawn FIRST, and the writer was faced with the challenge of coming up with a story that fit the cover image!

So, Superman’s declaration on the cover, was to get the “evil-duplicate” (still “out of the ordinary” in 1954) point across, while the game of “bus-toss-and-catch” checked the box for “eye-catching action”! (They didn’t call it “ACTION COMICS” for nothing!)

The "slate-gray thing” and its lack-of-notice WAS addressed in the story itself in that, when “Slate-Gray Supes” first appeared to do his dirty deeds, he was too far off and/or moving too fast for the “slate-gray thing” to register with civilians.

In fact, when Superman questions one of the witnesses to “Slate-Gray Supes’s” damage, he says: “Hmm… Come to think of it, this fellow wasn’t wearing a costume like yours at all, Superman! He was all gray, like a ghost, or… or, a phantom!”

And, considering that most ordinary folks have never seen Superman “up close and personal” - and only at a distance, if at all, it’s an easy observation to make. Also, Superman *knew* about it from eye-witness accounts BEFORE encountering it (unlike on the cover)!

Of course, that doesn’t explain this particular “bold wardrobe choice”! …I’m not sure ANYTHING COULD!

Elaine said...

Speaking of eye-catching covers...maybe you could do a Christmas post where you just ask us to nominate our favorite Christmas covers. I realize you can't currently access your own favorites to post images, so this might have to wait till next year to satisfy your blogging standards...but I'd enjoy finding out everyone's favorites. I myself use some comics with Christmas covers for Christmas décor--I set them up around the living room!

Joe Torcivia said...


That’s a great idea, even under these circumstances. There will need to be an additional wrinkle to it, which I will elaborate on in the next post.

Oh, and MY “Christmas décor around the living room” this year is plaster and drop cloths… and they’re not even festively colored. (Sigh!)