Sunday, November 30, 2008

Song of the Week: Mika - Grace Kelly

No apologies. I like what I like. :)

Music Meme: 1969

Continuing my list of favorite albums from every year I've been alive.

1969

John Denver: Rhymes & Reasons



This isn't my favorite John Denver album, but it's his first and the one that started my mom's love affair with his music. Growing up, we always had John Denver playing in the car and he's now inextricably connected with my childhood. More than that though, I've grown to appreciate him as a song-writer and a vocalist over the years and even if this isn't my favorite album of his, it's certainly my favorite of 1969.

Close runner-up: Joe South's Don't It Make You Want to Go Home (a favorite of my dad's).

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)



I hadn't meant to go on a Jules Verne kick, but David starting spotting ads for the DVD release of Brendan Fraser's Journey to the Center of the Earth. Ads with T-Rexes in them.

Because I am physically incapable of watching any sort of remake or adaptation without seeing the earlier versions first, I had Netflix send us the 1959 version (it's in color, unlike the still above, by the way) starring James Mason and Pat Boone. In a few years, David probably won't put up with those kinds of shenanigans, but for now he's willing to watch what I order as long as the dinosaurs are there. And he's enough of a geek that he enjoys watching various versions as much as I do.

I've never read the Verne novel, so I didn't know what to expect story-wise. I guess I was hoping for something like At the Earth's Core or a subterranean version of The Lost World, but Journey is a lot more subdued than those two.

Not that it's a quiet or boring movie by any means. It's just that the excitement comes from its sense of mystery and the drama between characters more than it does from giant monster attacks. I am absolutely okay with that; it's just not what I expected.

The movie opens with Edinburgh's celebrating the recent knighthood of one of its citizens, Professor Oliver Lindenbrook (James Mason). Lindenbrook is a geologist, so as a congratulatory gift, one of his students (Pat Boone) gives him a piece of volcanic rock he picked up in a curio shop. The rock is heavier than it should be, so Lindenbrook starts testing on it and finds hidden inside another, denser kind of rock. What's strange is that the interior rock is only found in Iceland, while the volcanic rock comes from the Mediterranean. Chipping away at the exterior shell, Lindenbrook discovers markings on the Icelandic rock and eventually cleans it up enough to see that it's really a stone plumb-bob.

The markings are actually writing, so Lindenbrook deciphers it and learns that it was written by a scientist named Arni Saknussem who disappeared a while back while searching for Atlantis. Lindenbrook deduces that that Saknussem discovered another world beneath ours and managed to get the plumb-bob message out before he died. If that sounds overly goofy, it's because I'm forgetting some details. It's all believable in the context of the film.

Lindenbrook transcribes the text on the plumb-bob and learns that it reveals the entrance to the world below. He sends it to Professor Göteborg, another famous scientist who lives in Sweden, for verification. When he doesn't hear back from Göteborg, Lindenbrook writes again. This time he gets a response, but not from Göteborg. The University in Stockholm writes to let Lindenbrook know that Göteborg has disappeared. Lindenbrook estimates the date of Göteborg's disappearance as being approximately when the first letter would have arrived. It's a lot of set-up, but it goes by quickly and it's made enjoyable by Mason's suaveness and the sheer, boyish charm of Pat Boone.

Boone's Alec McKuen is a good guy, but he's not as irritatingly fresh-faced and squeaky clean as I'm imagined a Pat Boone character would be. He's in love with Lindenbrook's niece Jenny (played by Diane Baker, who apparently guest-starred in every single TV show made in the 1960s and now plays House's mom) and a lot of the first act is about their relationship and whether or not unwealthy Alec will ever be in a position to propose to her. This is a 1950s movie about the 1800s, so obviously their relationship is pretty chaste, but there's some hand-knee action that shows that Alec isn't above trying to cop a nineteenth century feel. Also, Alec is the first one to start shedding clothes when things get bad below ground, and there's a hilarious scene towards the end with Naked Alec, some nuns, and a sheep.

Act One is fun, but Act Two gets awesome when Lindenbrook and Alec rush off to Iceland to try to beat Göteborg to Saknussem's secret entrance. There's murder and betrayal as Göteborg and one of Arni Saknussem's descendants each try to find the underworld before Lindenbrook and Alec. During all the intrigue, Lindenbrook and Alec meet a local farmer named Hans who joins their expedition, but doesn't speak English. That necessitates their including a translator in their party, so they also bring along a woman played by Arlene Dahl.

Peter Ronson as Hans is the coolest character in the movie. I love that he speaks Icelandic the entire movie, but never comes across as anything less than intelligent and capable. It would've been so easy to make him a comic figure suitable only for lugging around heavy packs, but Hans is an indispensable member of the team and everyone acknowledges it the entire way through. He's made even cooler by his love for his pet duck Gertrude whom he brings along on the expedition.

Arlene Dahl's character is also wonderful. She's smart, capable, and never tries to use her gender as a crutch to get her out of something. Lindenbrook needs convincing that she can carry her own weight, but she more than proves herself. She's also, incidentally, heart-breakingly beautiful.

The only thing I didn't like about the movie were the special effects on the dinosaurs. Putting fake back-sails on live reptiles and calling them dimetrodons is cheesy. Not that cheesy can't be fun and cool. I appreciate it, for example, in schlock like the 1960 version of The Lost World where the whole movie is cheesy. But the rest of 1959's Journey to the Center of the Earth doesn't give off that vibe. It's awesome in all other ways and it needs awesome dinosaurs too.

That factor alone makes Journey ripe for a remake or five. I can't imagine any of the subsequent versions in my Netflix queue matching this one in terms of cast (Greg Evigan is no James Mason) or set (the 1959 underworld looks fantastic), but as long as they're updating the dinosaurs, it would be cool to see them try to keep the mystery and drama of the plot intact. I'm not counting on it though. The '80s version is next on my list and it's modified the story to fit a couple of kids, their nanny, and Emo Phillips. As Verne would say, "Le sigh."

Four out of five pet ducks.

Holy Hurricanes, Aquaman!

This is one of those "cartoons in the 1960s and 1970s" DiDio was talking about in that last post. Notice the distinct lack of crime-fighting. I've got to get the DVD set and see if they were all this way. (Edited to add: Now that I've watched the whole thing, I'm uncertain about watching more of these. It's kind of creepy how much the makers of that cartoon hated Mera.)



See? Chappelle knows Aquaman's no superhero.



The rest of the JLA pretty much know it too.



All he wants to do is dance.

The Aquaman Problem

All the covers below were totally stolen from Once Upon a Geek, who just finished up a very nice Aquaman Week. There are more cool covers in that link, so go look. I just picked a few to illustrate the point of this post.



There's been a lot of talk amongst Aquaman bloggers (all three of them) this week about an interview Dan DiDio gave to the LA Times. When DiDio mentioned the top five, key DC franchises, interviewer Geoff Boucher noticed the absence of Aquaman from the list. DiDio replied that he thinks of Aquaman as a second-tier character and then followed up with why he believes that is. He calls it The Aquaman Problem.

According to DiDio:
You have to remember, a lot of our fan base has been reading comics 20 or 30 years now. They've see a lot of stories and a lot of things. We're always trying to find a way to give them something new but also give them exactly what they want. There's a lot of challenges with some of our characters. Like Aquaman. Most of people's memories of Aquaman are actually from cartoons in the 1960s and 1970s than they are from the comics. We do have a small loyal fan base, they are people who enjoy that comic, [but] Aquaman has never been an upper-tier success. The challenge is how to make him that.


Later in the interview, Boucher mentions the plethora of reboots and reimaginings and changes of direction that Aquaman's undergone. DiDio agrees that it's a huge part of the problem:
There have been so many twists and turns. It's left the character confused; we try to build a strong foundation for the characters and Aquaman does not have that right now. We have to get him back to a core conceit so we can build him back up again. We need to build on what is recognizable and draw people back in. And everybody wants to try to take on the character. I have a running joke: In all my dinners with the talent at conventions, I get three or four writers who will lean into me and say, 'I know how to fix Aquaman.' Everybody says that. It's become a cause célèbre. It's a running joke but, really, it's not a joke because I know people do love the character. We're going to be very cautious from this point forward because I want to make sure it's perfect. I don't want to add to the confusion when we take another pass at him.


When asked which version he prefers, DiDio responds:
That's the problem. That's the Aquaman problem right there. You go to people and the audience is split. It's split by generation gap. A lot of guys want the long hair and the harpoon hand, a lot of guys want the green gloves and the orange vest. It's hard to reconcile the two. And a lot of times if you try to blend, you compromise both.


Over at i09, Graeme McMillan offers his take on solving the problem. I don't agree with all of his solutions (getting rid of the name "Aquaman" because it's radioactive sounds like a baby-bathwater scenario to me), but he's certainly right about one thing:
Aquaman should be awesome.

No, really; no matter what version of Aquaman you want to look at - and, to be honest, my personal preference is that Atlantean Royalty one with the hook - there's all kinds of potential there. You could go all-out mystical with the "lost civilizations under the sea" angle, you could go scientific exploration considering how little we know what's going on in 70% of the planet. You could point out that, in order to be able to swim in the depths of the oceans, Aquaman has to be pretty strong, and that his sight must also be pretty keen to be able to make out things in all that murk. Add that to his telepathy, and he's a one-man X-Men... one that could, if you so choose, be at the very least a Prince of Atlantis. There's so much potential in the Aquaman concept, whichever one you choose, that it should be impossible to fail.
So why isn't that potential reached (at least from a popular perspective)? It doesn't have anything to do with the name. It's all about something Graeme mentions earlier in his post:
Admittedly, that whole "He talks to fish and can swim really fast" thing doesn't help his case; we all dig Michael Phelps - who, interestingly enough, can also talk to fish, although he likes to keep that quiet - but no-one really wants to see him in tights fighting crime, you know?
And I'd argue that no one really wants to see Aquaman fighting crime either. At least, not full time. There's so much potential for Aquaman, but I don't think much of it has anything to do with being a superhero. Aquaman belongs to a different genre: fantasy or scifi; maybe both. And that's probably why superhero fans haven't taken to him in a big, popular way. Maybe they never will.



That's not going to stop DC from trying though. DiDio mentions in his interview that he's written an Aquaman story for an upcoming Christmas special and Once Upon a Geek has a whole post on the future of Aquaman, including his appearance in DC's next big event comic Blackest Night. Once Upon a Geek also speculates that Geoff Johns & Ethan Van Sciver have eventual plans for an Aquaman: Rebirth mini-series.

Me, I've got no idea. And in spite of my comments about his not really being a superhero, I've got no ideas about how to fix him either. I mean, I know what kind of take on him I'd love to read, but I'm not convinced that it would make him a popular character. And frankly, my knowledge about what's been tried so far is so poor that I'm not even sure I wouldn't just be repeating something that's already been done.

But it ain't my job to fix Aquaman (something - in the spirit of the holiday - that I'm very thankful for). I don't envy those whose job it is, but I'll be impatiently waiting for them to figure it out.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Namor News: Black Friday Edition

Now that my friends in the US have had some time to sleep off their turkeys, how 'bout lets catch up with the Sub-Mariner?

Namor vs. Human Torch



By Bill Everett.

Namor movie?

I'm a bit leery of totally buying into this story because ComicBookMovie.com is the only place I've read about it. You'd think one of the larger sites would've covered it if it was legit. But, they quote Variety as their source (as opposed to some nameless "insider"), so maybe there's something to it?

I don't know. It feels weird.

Namor statue



In case anyone has a buttload of money burning a hole in their pockets and wants to know what to get me for Christmas.

Namor comics in February

Here's where Namor will be appearing in February from Marvel.

ADAM: LEGEND OF THE BLUE MARVEL #4 (of 6)



Written by KEVIN GREVIOUX
Penciled by MAT BROOME
Cover by JUAN DOE

The dreaded Anti-Man has returned...the Mighty Avengers barely stopped him before, and now he's stronger than ever! But why is the Blue Marvel, the only man who has ever managed to defeat the villain, rocketing to the bottom of the ocean? Guest-starring NAMOR!

32 PGS./Rated T+/$3.99

CAPTAIN AMERICA #47



Written by ED BRUBAKER
Pencils & Cover by STEVE EPTING

The New Captain America in the hands of the enemy in China! His secret past as the Winter Soldier in danger of coming to light! And what are his old Invaders teammate the Sub-Mariner and the Black Widow doing while Bucky Barnes faces his darkest past? By the best-selling Eisner, Harvey and Eagle award-winning team of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting.

32 PGS./Rated T+/$2.99

HULK #10



Written by JEPH LOEB
Pencils & 50/50 Covers by ED MCGUINNESS

Guess what Emmy nominated, Eisner Award winning Jeph Loeb and superstar fan fave Ed McGuinness have for you THIS month?! There was a time when the world's mightiest heroes got together to fight foes too great for them to handle all by themselves. No! Not the Avengers! The other guys: HULK! NAMOR! SILVER SURFER! DOC STRANGE! The original Defenders are back! But what terrible threat could bring them together again? How about THE OFFENDERS! RULK! TIGER SHARK! TERRAX! BARON MORDO! If you have to buy ONE comic this month -- be sure to by TWO copies of HULK!

32 PGS./Rated A/$3.99

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Freaklot of Namora

I'm so bored with Secret Invasion, but Marvel's figured out how to get me to buy at least the initial one-shot intro to their next big event. Put Namora and the rest of the Agents of Atlas in it.



And Jeff Parker promises that's just the beginning of the Agents goodness we'll be getting in the coming year. I know about the new ongoing series, but I wonder what else he could be talking about.

Cephalopod Theater

The Tale of How

Featuring a giant octopus, some dodo birds, and the little white mouse who saves them. Also some gorgeous animation.



Thanks to Robert Hood for pointing it out.

Creepiest Darn Thing You'll See Today

I can't figure out how to embed this one, so you'll just have to go look. It's totally creepy and worth it though. Short, too.
A mile and a half (two and a half kilometers) underwater, a remote control submersible's camera has captured an eerie surprise: an alien-like, long-armed, and—strangest of all—"elbowed" Magnapinna squid.

Adventureblog Gallery: Whozits and Whatzits Galore

20,000 Leagues



By Gedeon Maheux.

Brick Bradford in the City Beneath the Sea



By Clarence Gray.

Swordfish Wrestling



By Lou Fine.

Mermaid



By Anne Acaso.

You want Thingamabobs? I've got twenty!



By Jess Hickman.

"The Call of Sigmund"



By Sleestak.

Blogarama No More

So, the breaking news today is that the rest of the Blog@Newsarama crew and I are moving elsewhere. If you haven't read about it and care to, here's the initial announcement and here are a couple of follow ups from Fearless Leader JK Parkin.

Even though I haven't been doing the heavy lifting at the blog, it's heart-warming to read the comments of support both on the blog and other places. As JK and others have hinted, the band is staying together, we're just switching venues. We can't talk about where the new digs will be just yet, but we'll let you know as soon as we can.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Tortuga Times: November 25, 2008

Captain President



Yet more evidence that we made the right decision.

The Dashing Dozen

Bookgasm has Michael Chabon's list of twelve books that influenced his Gentlemen of the Road swashbuckler. There's some good readin' on that list.

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of...

Bud Light?

Pirate pets



Via National Geographic. (I know. I'm surprised too.)



By Jodi Kurland.

Pirate Cuisine

Here's a recipe for Pirate Soup.

And another one for Pirate Quesadillas.



Mmm. Quesadillas...

Star Pirate



Pappy has the tale.

Mickey Mouse and the Pirate Submarine



Via Golden Age Comic Book Stories.

And if that's not enough Disney pirates for you



Check out Life's Pirates of the Caribbean photos.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lost City Raiders?



Anyone see this cross between Waterworld and Indiana Jones? I can't imagine its being very good, but I'm wondering if its worth TiVoing next time its on or sticking in my Netflix queue.

Adventureblog Gallery: Ships in the Night

Kipling's "A Song of the English"



By W. Heath Robinson.

Sea battle



By Frank Brangwyn.

The sinking of the Andrea Doria



"The ocean liner Andrea Doria listing as it sinks after colliding with Swedish liner Stockholm in fog after midnight off Nantucket Island." One of the millions of images from the newly available Life photo archives. I'm going to be playing with this a lot this week.

"Sunken Cities"



By Frank R. Paul.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Song of the Week: Kenny Rogers and the First Edition - Ruby

Another blast from my past...

Music Meme: 1968

Continuing my list of favorite albums from every year I've been alive.

1968

Johnny Cash: At Folsom Prison



I really thought I'd have to do a few more entries of albums I didn't learn to appreciate until later in life, but not for this year. I've been listening to this record for as long as I can remember and with good reason. It started before I could even walk.

I'm probably not fully aware of how much this album shaped my musical tastes. Certainly Johnny Cash was a unique individual with an inimitable sound. I've never heard anything else like him, so it's not like I can point to him as the reason I love any of the specific sounds that I do. But my other favorite musicians and bands - from Willie Nelson and David Bowie to U2 and Duran Duran - all have this in common: they're all innovators, but they're also easily approachable ones. All of them may not owe those traits specifically to Johnny Cash, but they almost certainly owe my appreciation of them to him.

No runners up from this year. Not by a long shot.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Something besides a man

The Hathor Legacy

Paul Taylor, one of the artists on The Cownt, was recently interviewed for the Hathor Legacy site about his popular webcomic Wapsi Square. It's a cool article with some great insight into Paul and his work, but I'm also linking to it because it introduced me to the Hathor Legacy site itself.

I haven't browsed much yet to see how much our specific tastes and opinions align, but I love the concept and the tag-line, "the search for good female characters." You can read their mission statement here and catch up on the conversation here. What I can't seem to find there is any mention of who Hathor is, but a quick Google tells me that she was the Egyptian goddess of love, music, and beauty.

The Bechdel Rule

One of the things the Hathor Legacy mentions is Alison Bechdel's famous movie test. It's an easy test to remember and sets up some great criteria that more writers should implement. To pass it, a movie just needs to have 1) at least two women in it who 2) talk to each other about 3) something besides a man. The Hathor Legacy adds that the women should be named characters, which I suppose is an okay amendment, but it's worth noting that it's not in the original comic strip that the Rule came from.

Also not in the original strip is any sort of suggestion about what this Rule should be used for. It's in the context of one woman sharing her personal preferences with another woman and it's never said that all movies should have these elements. I don't see that suggestion in my initial look-over of the Hathor Legacy either. What I'm getting - and what I totally agree with - is simply that more movies should be that way. The Hathor Legacy also includes TV shows, books, and comics, but admits that this is less of a problem in those formats.

I'm looking forward to finding out what the Hathor Legacy writers are into and what they think should be better. In the meantime, NPR also recently had this discussion and came up with its own, short list of shows that meet the Rule's criteria (giving special mention to The Middleman, yay!).

Did you know NPR had a pop culture blog? How have I been missing that?

Okay, on to other stuff that may or may not meet the Bechdel Rule, but that's okay too...

Kitty Hawk



I started reading this webcomic expecting a typical action/adventure story, but it's a lot more than just that. Sure there are jet packs and robot pilots and mysteries, but there's also a beautiful, quiet story about a young woman trying to figure out where she fits into the world around her. And the art's amazing. Start here and click Next.

Atomic Robo and the Sparrow

I'll have more to say about Atomic Robo's awesome Sparrow character later, but for now, you can see what her creators have to say about her here, including how she was initially going to be a dude until it became apparent that a lot of Atomic Robo readers are girls. Very cool.

Miss America



Pappy's got a Golden Age story about everyone's favorite teen super-heroine from the '40s.

Lost: Season Five



Gettin' excited! (Thanks, /Film!)

Courtney Crumrin and the Prince of Nowhere



Newsarama talks with Ted Naifeh about the latest installment in his awesome series of charmingly spooky graphic novels.

Resident Evil 4

It's coming. I'm nervous about it, but I liked the first two enough that I'm still excited to see more. (The third one was okay.)

Amber Atoms



Coming in February from Image Comics.

AMBER ATOMS #1
story, art & cover KELLY YATES
colors MICHAEL E. WIGGAM

"CHAPTER ONE"
Blast-off with the newest sci-fi adventure heroine Amber Atoms! Follow the ongoing adventures of this modern day "Flash Gordon" as Amber dreams of leaving her mundane life, but not exactly how she imagined. Mercenaries and aliens suddenly invade Amber's world as she learns that her family history could decide the fate of the galaxy.

FEBRUARY 18 - 32 PAGES - FC - $3.50

CBR has more info here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Adventureblog Theater: Action Girl Trailers

None of these are brand new, but here's some Action Girl stuff that I'm looking forward to.

Lost: Season 5



Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince



Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Adventureblog Gallery: Valkyries and Other Women of Awesome

Trixie



I don't remember where I found this; I just like it and don't remember seeing it hanging in theaters.

Betty and Veronica: Super-Spies



Via Chris Sims. If only all Betty and Veronica comics could be like that.

Valkyries



By Ted Mathot.

Marvel's Valkyrie



By Mitch Foust.

Queen Meave



By JC Lyendecker.

"The Red Dust" and "The Conquest of the Moon Pool"





Both by Lawrence Sterne Stevens.

Steampunk Leia



By Björn Hurri.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Saturn Girl is one of "The Three Superheroes": Action Comics #267



Last time we saw Saturn Girl, she and her Legion friends were a bunch of butt-holes. Was that because they were dealing with super-baby Superboy? Let's see what happens when they meet Supergirl.

Our story opens with a bus trip on the worst-planned field trip in history.



A) That driver sounds just a little too happy about delivering the bad news.

B) How late do they have to be to be totally screwed by a drawbridge? Did they not know they had to cross a drawbridge and that it might potentially be up?

Fortunately, one of the students is Linda Lee (secretly Supergirl). She slips out the back of the bus, dives into the water, grabs hold of the ship, and pulls it down enough that it'll clear the still-lowered bridge.



Maybe it's just me, but if I'm a drawbridge operator and I'm witnessing a ship suddenly lowering in the water for no apparent reason, my first thought is not going to be, "Yay! Now I don't have to lower the drawbridge!" What if it just as suddenly popped back up while it was under the bridge? Idiot.

At least the kids make it in time to see Superman. Yay!

But while they're at the fair, things start to go wrong. An Electric Death Machine used to demonstrate Superman's invulnerability goes haywire and almost explodes. Linda debates ruining her secret identity in order to stop it, but while she's thinking, a familiar-looking redheaded kid uses lightning powers to destroy the machine for her. He leaves, but not before letting Linda know that he knows she's Supergirl.

And then...



After the lion incident, Cosmic Boy rescues Linda from a runaway rocketship ride. She wouldn't have been hurt obviously, but again, everyone would've known something was up with her. He too lets her know that he's in on her secret.

Later, back home, the "proper time" arrives. Linda has changed to Supergirl to investigate something and the three super-heroes show up to meet her. Supergirl recognizes them from stories Superman's told her about his childhood.



And there's our answer about whether or not the Legionnaires are jerks in general or just to Superboy.

It's interesting though that they claim to be the "children" of the original Legion. I don't know my Legion history very well (which is the main reason behind these posts), but I'm guessing that never got mentioned again. And you can see why. It's stupid.

Beyond the ridiculousness that the original three Legionnaires would have kids who looked exactly like them, there's just no point to it. The Legionnaires are time travelers. Why couldn't these be the exact same kids who tortured Superboy a couple of times before? They don't have to have aged alongside Superman.

I'm going to be watching closely to see if this is ever brought up again, but I'm betting that it's not. I'm betting that someone realized how dumb it was and dropped it. But still, from a continuity standpoint, there it is in black and white. Saturn Girl claims that she's the daughter of one of Superboy's Legionnaires (I'm sure we're supposed to assume she's Saturn Girl's daughter, but it's more fun to think that she belongs to one of the guys) and neither Cosmic Boy nor Lightning Lad correct her. That leaves us with one of two options.

1) She's telling the truth and all of the Superboy Legion stories feature different Legionnaires than the Supergirl ones do. I'm guessing that'll be pretty easy to disprove, but I'll keep my eyes open.

2) She's lying for no good reason. Proving once again that the Legionnaires are scumbags.

Okay, enough about that. The Legionnaires tell Supergirl that they've come back in time to recruit her for the Legion. She follows them back the the 30th century for a tour, stopping along the way to stick her chin in a Martian ice-cream cone.



That robot arm delivering Cosmic Boy's cone makes me want to visit the 30th century right now.

The trio introduces her to some other Legionnaires and we meet Chameleon (called "Chameleon Boy" here), Colossal Boy, and Invisible Kid. Then they tell her that she has to perform some kind of super-feat to win that year's spot in the club.

She digs a tunnel straight through the Earth, claiming that it'll cut down on air traffic because now people can drive from continent to continent. There are about a thousand things wrong with that theory, but the Legion lets it slide and so will we.

Except that the Legion still turns her down for being over 18-years old.



Supergirl realizes that she must have come in contact with some Red Kryptonite while tunneling. As she explains, "Red Kryptonite has unpredictable, temporary effects on any survivor of the exploded planet Krypton." In other words, it lets the writers do whatever goofy thing they want to make the story go in any direction they want. In this case, it's to cheat Supergirl of her Legion membership.

Not knowing how long the effect will last, the disappointed Supergirl returns to her time. Fortunately, she returns to normal after about an hour, but she's still sad that she's missed her chance at this year's spot in the Legion.



Now, I haven't read a lot of Superboy or Supergirl stories - just the ones I've talked about here - so I don't know how indicative these are of the rest of them. But I find it very interesting that both Superboy stories end with the hero's triumphing over adversity and his fragile self-esteem's being boosted by the love and adoration of everyone he knows, while Supergirl ends up on her bed with a wistful look in her eye. "Dear Diary, today was the absolute WORST!!!"

I'm curious about who Supergirl's target audience was in the '50s. Was it young girls? This story was a backup feature in Action Comics, and an issue with Hercules beating up a poster of Superman on the cover at that. That's a weird spot to put a comic for girls. Unless DC thought they could get both boys and girls reading that way. And who's to say they were wrong? I don't know either way.

But even if this story was intended for a girl audience, is it true that young girls in the '50s preferred to see their heroine moping at the end instead of getting to join the Legion? I don't have any answers; I'm just wondering out loud.

Next time, Saturn Girl meets Superboy again. But which Saturn Girl is it?

Stay tuned.

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