Monday, September 12, 2016

Super Happily Ever After!

The imaginary story of Superman Red and Superman Blue is the ultimate happy ending. In this fondly remembered tale from Superman #162 by writer Leo Dorfman with sumptuous artwork by the always reliable Curt Swan we have a story which misses barely a beat in its relentless effort to tie up all the loose ends.

Superman is condemned by the people of Kandor for failing to successfully enlarge the bottle city. Likewise he comes under pressure as Clark Kent for failing to get scoops. Also on the list of complaints is the failure to end crime across the globe and find a cure for Kryptonite. Instead of telling the Kandorians to stuff it of course, Superman feels guilty, so much so that he attempts to boost his brainpower with an experimental machine, one which ultimately divides him into two beings -- Superman-Red and Superman-Blue.

With the added smarts and the added help he quickly finds a way to recreate Krypton by drawing back together all the Kryptonite from across the cosmos and enlarges Kandor to set back onto this "New Krypton". They even go the extra length to pretty it up for the nagging Kandorians. Then Red and Blue take another planet and makes it habitable for the Atlanteans and scoops them up in a space funnel to take possession of the newly dubbed planet "Hydra".

Not content with these accomplishments, the two Superman create an anti-crime ray and outfit satellites to circle the Earth and radiate this mind-changing ray onto the whole population of the planet. Criminals reform, the Soviets apologize, and even Castro releases his prisoners. Lex Luthor is a changed man and comes up with a super drug to end all disease, so effective it even allows Lex to grow a new head of hair. The Phantom Zone villains are released and reformed and Supergirl shuttles them to New Krypton to live. Even Brainiac and the Superman Revenger Squad are defeated for good.

And finally with all crime defeated, the Supermen decide its safe to wed and raise families. Red picks Lois and proposes while Blue does the same to Lana. Mr.Mxyzptlk shows up to build them a monument even. The heroes wed their chosen brides and even Jimmy Olsen and Lucy Lane join the party. Then Red and Lois move to New Krypton while Blue and Lana stay on Earth to fend off natural disasters when they occur. The story ends on the absolute happiest note it is possible to imagine with all parties content.

The mandate of this story seemed clearly to come up with a yarn that would solve all the problems and they do a pretty darn good job.

The Superman-Red and Superman-Blue gimmick is revived in the 90's and runs for several issues through the books. I only ever read a few, so I don't really know how they can compare to this Silver Age classic, perhaps the most beatific Superman story I've ever read, wish-fulfillment at its finest.

Rip Off


  1. A prototype for the Imaginary Story gimmick was Superman #132, where Superman's Super-Computer shows him the story of what would've happened if Krypton hadn't exploded. It ends up with a recreation of the status quo, only on Krypton. The phrase "how ironic" makes another appearance, which usually meant "how predictable." Alan Moore did a bizarre and hilarious version of this device when he had Supreme's computer show him what it would be like to marry various girlfriends.

  2. I read this in one of the early 70's 100-Page Super Spectaculars. It's still one of my favorites.


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