etragedy's Superman #19 - Case of the Funny Paper Crimes review

Not yet issue 20 and already the writers are struggling


Superman has only been around a few years, but he's already a multimedia star. In addition to his appearances in other media, he carries two comics, Action Comics and this one bearing his name. The problem is, when you have a character appearing in print every day as well as in other media weekly, it's hard to come up with villains and stories to challenge your hero - especially if he's a walking, talking, flying god-on-earth. 
 
And that brings us to this issue - where Superman has to take on comic characters from the funny pages of the Daily Planet in some kind of weird recursive meta-fiction. Oh, not only that, but they are giant size, incorporeal, and somehow manage to have a bunch of human henchmen that appear out of nowhere. 
 
I know what you're thinking - Mxyztplk again, right?  
Wrong. 
 
But you almost wish it was. That the creators would keep all their preposterous storylines within one chaotic imp-like character that we could ignore. Sadly, they come up with an even more ridiculous explanation for all this. 
 
Perhaps the only redeeming quality of the 'Case of the Funny Paper Crimes' is what is perhaps a veiled plea for creator's rights that appears at the end.
 
Another indication that the writer's are struggling is 'Superman, Matinee Idol'.
 
Here we have an imaginary story where Lois and Clark go to the movies. The movie they see is followed by a Superman cartoon, After some nods to Paramount for their excellent work, They then have see a credit on the screen for ' Action Comics' and ' Superman'  - to which Lois repiies, 'I've never seen those magazines', and Clark wonders how they know so much of his life.
 
Typical of Superman stories of the time, what we have here is a one problem story - the kind that could make for a Sunday funnies comic strip, stretched to several pages. In this case, Clark has to distract Lois every time he changes on screen, so she won't learn his secret identity (never mind the 200 other people in the audience).
 
The film they see is a sequel to the first Fleischer cartoon, with the Mad Scientist escaping from prison, and it pretty much bears a strong resemblance to the second Fleischer cartoon (which also had already been screened by then), in that Superman has to do battle with a giant robot.
 
There really isn't much to get excited about here - not only is the story not very engaging, but it also has a ton of problems that just don't make any sense in the context of the Superman series. Fortunately, the writers disclaim it on page one as 'Our First Imaginary Story', but even so, that doesn't really make it worth the time.
3 Comments
Posted by Silkcuts

Are you reading these books in some sort of Trade?  

Posted by etragedy
@Silkcuts:
Anywhere I can find 'em - trades, reprints, etc.
Posted by etragedy

This particular issue can be found reprinted in as well as in 'Superman Archives Vol. 5' and 'Superman from the 30s to the 70s' and 'Superman from the 30s to the 80s'.

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.