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Off My Mind: What Happened to Superman & Big Barda's 'Special' Videotape?

Superman claimed to have no recollection afterwards but perhaps he was trying to avoid an awkward situation.

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 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.

Edited by TheWitchingHour

There's no way Barda is getting off Scott Free after this...

Posted by BlackArmor

It's just one of those things we pretend never happened. What didn't happen, I have no idea what your talking about, wink wink nudge nudge

Posted by Michiel76


The best part is that something like this actually got published. How many people work on a comic before it even hits the shelves? And not one of them says anything during a meeting like: Hmmm you know guys, this may look like fun but should we actually put this in print???

Wow think about it.......

Posted by Grim

yeah. they rocked each others world, but they dont want their far-less-super spouses to get jealous and ask questions, so temporary amnesia it is! lol

Posted by Dernman

The tape was put on the internet and for just 39.99 you can see just how super Superman really is. 
Is he really faster the a speeding bullet? Act now and you will receive bonus footage of Big Barda sneaking a hidden camera into the JLA's woman's locker room.

Edited by BlackArmor
Not sure if this appropriate but I don't care
Posted by DXmagma

New 52 lol

Posted by Outside_85

Byrne, Byrne, Byrne...

Posted by Gscythe

@TheWitchingHour said:

There's no way Barda is getting off Scott Free after this...

i see what you did there... lmao

Posted by Mutant God

well since theres a reboot this never happened unless DC wants to recreate this scene

Posted by Dernman
@Mutant God said:
well since theres a reboot this never happened unless DC wants to recreate this scene
Oh it happened. Once something is on the internet not even a little thing like a universal reboot can change that. :p 
Edited by DarthShap

Actually, Linkara did an awesome two-part review of this arc two years ago.

My guess is, James Robinson spent a lot of time on Atop the Fourth Wall after the three-part review of his awful Cry for Justice.

Posted by Kairan1979

I wonder if something is wrong with me because I wish the movie was real and I could see it?

Posted by Eyz

@Dernman said:

@Mutant God said:
well since theres a reboot this never happened unless DC wants to recreate this scene
Oh it happened. Once something is on the internet not even a little thing like a universal reboot can change that. :p

Well, it happened "to the previous DCU".

Which if you think for a second (the whole DCU) happened as much as the current one, they are both as fictive as each other :P


So, why didn't we get a sort of follow-up to that (pre-Flashpoint) XD

Awww..we missed this occasion!

Posted by GothamRed

My guess is since darkseid seemed to buy it to show scott, I assume he kept it. He says he watches it for her, but his eyes are on him...

Posted by DarthShap

@Kairan1979 said:

I wonder if something is wrong with me because I wish the movie was real and I could see it?

I want to say yes but it probably does exist in one way or another. There is this little thing called the internet and it is pretty f***ed up at times.

Posted by Dex_Starr

So um...Isn't Badra suppose to be 7 feet tall? Why is Superman towering over here?

Posted by luckydomino1

with lois lane gone i think batman deserves a new love interest she would be a good choice

Posted by Herx

Stores sold it as Superman 5, and with the memories of superman 4 still stuck in their minds nobody watched it :P

Posted by Lvenger

Ah this unfortunate issue. Bryne did do a lot of controversial stuff with Superman during his tenure as writer/artist but this ranks up with Superman's execution of the pocket universe Zod and Ursa. Hopefully this is one of the stories that has been erased in the New 52 continuity.

Posted by FoxxFireArt

If this had happened in the internet era. The porn would already be all over the internet and Barda would have a reality TV show on E!.

Posted by Superguy0009e

yaaaa, i hate this issue, basically, Barda is raped for humor

Posted by mikeclark1982

this would have been an AWESOME addition to the superman/batman arc "supergirl"... it came out when the sex tape craze began! IT COULD HAVE BEEN AN AWESOME SIDE STORY! batman confronts superman for his "side hustle" and whatnow.

Posted by The_Happy_Pirate

Wait...... Didn't Tiger Woods try and use that defence?

Posted by azza04

John Byrne.......what were you thinking.

Posted by Primmaster64

HAHA! Supes did it with Barda!

Posted by VanAce

I assume it is in the Fortress of Solitude for private viewing.

Posted by ComicMan24

LMAO I doubt it is in continuity anymore.

Posted by Decept-O

@TheWitchingHour said:

There's no way Barda is getting off Scott Free after this...

That's the funniest damn thing ever! Bwa Ha Ha!! I love it!

Posted by Destinyhero20

The bigger question is why Darkseid have the tape in the first place

Posted by thanosrules

it was only captured for beta-max; no one in the new 52 has the ability to play it...

Posted by Baddamdog


Posted by DarkShadows

Hahaha. Were they trying to shoot a sex video? lol.

Posted by The Poet

Obviously this happened right before the Justice League Unlimited team. I mean Sups doesn't have Lois and Scott seems to be gone...brings some questions...

Posted by SneakyBawls

Guess Brody was wrong.... Wonder Woman AND Big Barda could handle Supe's......*ahem*....

Posted by MrMiracle77

As part of my ongoing collection efforts, I picked these issues up several years ago. Since the director only has the one camera and the one set, I always figured it was safe to assume he was shooting the scene linearly and didn't get far enough to actually get any decent footage before Scott interrupts.

Having grown up in the midst of her own cadre of Female Furies, Barda is not particularly modest. She has, however, developed a certain fondness for privacy (and once nearly throttled a peeping tom). Still, being filmed in a compromising situation is a minor deal compared to what she'd suffered growing up on Apokalypse.

As for Darkseid's involvement? Barda's father is a storyline matter that is still up in the air. Big Breeda's ovum were used for a number of test-tube children, but she usurped the process to insure one was fertilized by way of a man she loved (I'm betting Kanto). Darkseid may have picked up the tape as a way of blackmailing Breeda or the father, or just to mess with Scott's head; as he loves to do so.

Posted by Miss_Garrick

I've read this issue, so I have wondered how Darksied got a hold of the porn tape. He probably does have a secret room for his "collection".

I think the reason Barda was more suseptible to Sleez's power than Superman was, is because her life on Apokalypse was almost nothing but brainwashing 24/7, till her love for Scott Free broke her out of it.

Posted by rico_3088

man, that is about as weird as Bruce banner saying he raped She hulk during the old man logan thing. How could scott ever live up to superman in sex, i fill bad for him.

Posted by The Impersonator

I wonder if that videotape still exists. Anyone knows which store I can find this tape? :P

Posted by Cafeterialoca

Why couldn't you leave this story buried comicvine!

The rape of Big Barda is appalling and shame on you for wanting to dig it up again!

Posted by pspin

So Darkside has a minion that is a porn director named Sleez and a whole personal lirbrary of movies. Batman has a plan for everything by going through everyone's history. And people say that comics today are messed up ..... right

Posted by VioletPhoenix

Superman has a sex-tape? Superman made amateur porno?! Badass..?

Posted by turok_son_of_stone

shhhh! were not supposed to ask questions!!

Posted by NightFang

Just wait, this will be the next superhero porn parody.

Posted by difficlus

@The Impersonator said:

I wonder if that videotape still exists. Anyone knows which store I can find this tape? :P


Posted by djames216

Reading this article immediately reminded me of this site. I think a cover relating to the story in this article is featured in somewhere. No it's not a porn site. It highlights various comic covers etc that show Superman being a total dick to other people - hence the name of the site.

Posted by Or35ti

Hahahaha well Darkseid is the Justice League's first and current villain now. Maybe he'll make Superman and Wonder Woman do the same thing. Or maybe he's just looking for his tape. lol

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

That was...HILARIOUS. But one point was brought up that is really interesting...was Barda resisting the mind control more...or was she subconsciously not minding being in Supes' arms? Wow Scott, better check your woman!

Posted by MrDirector786

I remember reading this story. I heard that this story actually pissed off Jack Kirby himself (who was alive at the time) because Barda is a character he created based off of his wife.

Posted by trailofdead

I read this when I was a kid and I didn't really get it. Then I went back a couple years ago and was pretty surprised by the story. What was Byrne thinking? Maybe he was pissed at someone and did it as a cruel joke. Sounds like something he would do...