Sunday, September 02, 2007

The World's Finest Cookout

Seen here is the cover of the very first issue of WORLD’S FINEST that I ever saw. I thought the cookout/camping theme was kind of appropriate for Labor Day weekend’s last blowout of summer. Me, I gotta work today so I hope those of you who do party have a safe and happy one!
This was actually the second of two appearances of the imaginary sons of Superman and Batman (see below for the first from 1965). Now, these were not the legendarily awful Bob Haney Super Sons stories (that he insisted were IN continuity in spite of all evidence to the contrary). These were cute stories set just a decade or so into the future in which both heroes had married—in a double ceremony in fact—their respective sweethearts (Lois and, for Bruce Wayne, Kathy Kane) and later had kids. It’s established that many kids of that time period wore superhero playsuits to emulate their idols so the kids can pass without having to be out of costume.
By the second story, a scant 5 months later, the adult heroes are showing a bit of gray around the temples. It happens when you have kids. That story features the kids screwing around playing pranks on the adults until its eventually discovered that they’ve been replaced by Mister Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite. Coincidentally, this exact same plot was used a year or so later in continuity only with Supergirl and Batgirl having been replaced by Mxy and Bat-Mite!
Nice silver age art by Curt Swan and George Klein make this one supreme nostalgia for me. Off to work now.


sam kujava said...

important book in my youth. My folks thought that comic books were
silly and a waste of my time. I was looking for something to convince my parents that comic books were worthy of my interest,
and this cover struck me as proof
of some sense of realism in this
fantasy world.
Here are Superman and Batman, out
in the park, cooking hot dogs on a
picnic with their sons! Okay, Batman is snoozing after a hard night of crimefighting. Superman is
doing all the cooking, via his handy heat vision.
How many comic book characters dealt with family matters? How many
even had real families? This cover,
and story, attracted me greatly.
Of course, this being a super-hero
comic, there was villainy afoot and
a touch of the fantastic. But rooting the story in real family
relationships was a good foundation
for a story of this type, and I am
surprised it isn't used more often.
Spider-Man's protective nature toward his Aunt May is another good
example of this family tie that binds.
As for the art, George Klein only
inked the first chapter of this story. For some reason, Sheldon Moldoff inked Curt Swan's pencils
on the second chapter. I only found
this bit of trivia out years later,
but even as a fresh kid, I noticed
something odd, about the difference
in art from one chapter to the next. I prefered Klein's inks, then
and now.

Anonymous said...

Two of my all time favourite covers from the era, thanks for posting about them! If only Superman Red and Superman Blue had sons as well...wait a minute I think they did! I seem to recall a schaffenberger cover with a Christmas tree. Thanks Steve always a pleasure checking your site.

Emilio Pacheco said...

I read that story in Portuguese when I was a kid.