I was originally going to put this as a single post but it got rather long so I am going to split it in two...
Two weeks ago I borrowed a book from the public library. This book was the Archive Editions of DC’s World’s Finest Comics, Volume 3. This volume archived World’s Finest Comics # 102 – 116 spanning the years 1959 to 1961.
As I read through these old comic books something stood out to me and it wasn’t the robots and monsters that abounded during the late Silver Age. Nope it was the fact that Superman seems to really dislike animals, both real and imaginary.Don't read if you don't like 50+ year old spoilers.
The first clue to this fact comes in the very first episode, “The Caveman from Krypton”. During this comic two African elephants escape from the zoo and, according to Superman himself, are “stampeding in Terror!”
Does Superman fly down and pick them up with his super strength? Oh no, not Superman, he unravels a wire wastebasket. Forms the razor sharp metal into a lasso and ropes the legs of two multi-ton animals that cannot jump because a fall can crush their own lungs.
Thank you Superman the zoo always wanted elephants covered with bleeding lacerations, four broken legs, smashed ribs, and busted tusks!
The very next episode, # 103 “The Secret of the Sorcerer’s Treasure”, is a wild one. First Batman encounters a man who looks like the model used in Edvard Munch’s ‘TheScream’ paintings . I’m not kidding the man’s facial expression never changes.
His babbling about a dragon is dismissed until the dynamic duo encounter a Chinese Long dancing in the city park.
Batman decides to try to keep it in the park by driving the Batmobile around its legs.
Robin is right of course. Dancers don’t always watch where they put their feet so the obvious happens.
Time to get a new Batmobile!
Batman and Robin finally trap the dragon in a cave only to find that it has vanished by the time Superman arrives to give them backup. Batman interrogates the Scream wannabe and finds out the dragon came from a magical box.
Among the four magical items mentioned in the panel above is a magic disco ball
See I wasn’t kidding, a magic disco ball!
Using the disco ball Batman forces the dragon back to tiny size when it next appears and seals it back in its Chinese puzzle box. Superman, not content with merely containing the dragon tosses all four items into space incinerating the priceless living creature trapped within one of them.
Thank you Superman, the Chinese will now hate you forever.
Superman takes a break from his animal hating escapades for a few issues until we get to episode # 109, “The Bewitched Batman”. Here Batman is accidentally placed under a sorcerer’s curse in which he must fight a dragon. Robin points out that to defeat this curse all Batman needs to do is confront a dragon-like animal. Instead of just going to Komodo Island Superman scours outer space in search of an alien species resembling a dragon.
After apparently finding the planet Pern and stealing someone’s green. Superman carries it back to Earth. Dragons can apparently breathe in space!
Wheee! I had to share this picture. Ilove how the dragon is enjoying the ride!
Batman gives the dragon a whapp on the snout that wouldn’t phase a horse. Lucky for Batman dragons have glass jaws because it knocks the dragon out cold.
…and Superman carries the ‘baby’ back home.
Apparently the protest by the Chinese made him reconsider animal abuse and things improve greatly in the next several issues. Then comes issue # 112, “The Menace of Superman’s Pet”, where we learn that Clark Kent is an irresponsible pet owner...
Copyright 2012 Laura ‘Tamara’ Henson except for the images which are property of DC Comics and used under the Fair Use act for review purposes.