Comic books have always have a wide variety in stories and plots. Every once in a while things could get extremely bizarre. The Golden and Silver Age comics contained numerous wacky and absurd stories but there was a Superman story that happened in the 80s and it's hard to believe it actually happened.
A few weeks ago, writer James Robinson sat in our our podcast. He brought up a strange issue of ACTION COMICS written and drawn by John Byrne. Somehow I had blanked out the existence of this two part story that was published in 1987.
The quick summary of what happened is Big Barda was on Earth, fell under the control of a former henchmen of Darkseid named Sleez and she was forced to record some footage of a questionable nature. To make matters worse, Superman was pulled into Sleez's scheme and a very special Superman movie was about to be made. Despite DC's 'The New 52' and the slight relaunch of the DC Universe, the question remains, what were the repercussions of this event and shouldn't it have been made into a bigger deal in the comic universe?== TEASER ==
The story takes place in ACTION COMICS #592 & 593. Sleez had the power to mentally control his adversaries. Despite being strong willed, Barda was no match for Sleez. The first thing he did with her upon putting her under his control was had her wear a lot of make up and dance around for him in a skimpy outfit.
While you don't actually see it happen, apparently Sleez had videotaped the dance and took them to an associate of his that distributed videos of an...adult nature. This video tape made it's way to Darkseid.
Darkseid didn't take any time in bringing this video to the attention of Barda's husband, Mr. Miracle. The first question might be how exactly did Darkseid come across an adult video tape distributed by a small shop in Metropolis? Apparently his agents acquired the tape. It wasn't made clear if this was a normal duty Darkseid's agents had to perform. Does this mean Darkseid has a large collection of amateur video tapes in his personal library? Unfortunately for Mr. Miracle, he is shocked to see his wife performing...whatever exactly she was performing in that video tape.
Where Superman comes into the picture is he was investigating a strange radiation emission coming from Sleez linked to some hospital patients nearby (they're not important in all this). Superman was quickly put under Sleez's mind control and both Superman and Barda were taken to a movie director. It was Sleez's hope that the money made off of a movie starring the two of them would be enough to forge an army.
Mister Miracle soon begins to track down his wife. It's not clear how much time has passed and how much actual filming has taken place. We see the director outraged over the lack of passion between the two mind-controled heroes.
Apparently the lack of passion is Superman's fault. The filmmaker says he lacks sex appeal and Sleez realizes that he must be trying to resist his mind control. Barda was shown as having a strong will as well. Does this mean her strong will still wasn't strong enough to resist or did some part of her deep down not mind being in Superman's arms.
Scott Free soon finds and crashes the set before things can go further. It appears he arrived just in time. Whether or not this is the first scene filmed or not, we'll never know. The makeshift studio would likely be looked over to make sure any footage is destroyed but because both were under mind control, they can't say for certain if any footage actual was saved.
Superman tries to capture Sleez but it appears he chose to end his life rather than be captured. Superman attempts to discuss what happened with Barda. He claims his memories are foggy but there was the possibility that something happened. Barda felt it was best to leave it at that (maybe because her husband was watching and listening attentively).
What happened to the filmmaker? Was he arrested? If so, on what charges? Would Superman and Barda testify that they were forced to act in front of a camera while under the influence of a mind-controling alien that apparently blew himself up? Most likely the guy had the appropriate filmmaking license to make and distribute films of this sort of nature. If any footage remained, he could make a fortune since superheroes are the equivalent of celebrities in our world. But doing so would also reignite the wrath of Barda and Superman.
The other question is, did Barda and Scott ever discuss this afterwards? Was Barda able to resist Sleez's control but part of her didn't want to because Superman was involved? Perhaps this is a reason to be thankful 'The New 52' has swept some past events under the carpet.