Hip-Happy Hero: Superman
Ah, Big Fat Superman. I had never read the story in which he appears before looking it up for this series of writings, but I was somehow positive that he existed, somewhere, in some extremely chubby form. Big Fat Superman is my new symbol for everything that is right about comics.
A little set-up for Big Fat Superman: one day, Lois Lane and Clark Kent are visiting some thinly-disguised analogue of NASA in order to cover the unveiling of their new surface-of-Mars simulator. By some crazy random chance, Clark is randomly chosen to be the random reporter to have a whirl in the simulator.
Suddenly, something crazy happens in the simulator, and Clark is forced to use his super-powers to flee the scene, fake Mars lander and all. But what could rattle so cool a customer? What could shake those nerves of steel?
BAWOOM! Explosive super-fattening, that’s what!
1. How Did He Get So Big?
It’s a bit of a complicated story, actually. Tell you what: I’ll let an alien with a moustache tell it:
So: Superman drank some bad juice, but because he’s Superman he didn’t die, he just got really fat. Makes perfect sense, really - the most remarkable part of the whole thing is that it’s one of the few times that something like this has happened to Superman and he hasn’t mentioned that there must have been kryptonite in the juice or the stopper or something. It was, like, a reflex action for him back in the day.
2. What Were the Social Ramifications?
As per the newscast, the affections of the people of Metropolis were extraordinarily fickle. Save the city form destruction five times before breakfast, sure, thanks, we love you. Show a little human frailty, though, and WHAMMO! They drop you like a hot potato.
And of course there was always the issue of Lois Lane to deal with, but for once her snooping was fairly easy to deal with: Clark - with the aid of some A/V Club knowhow - just pretended to be radioactive for a few days. Whether he eventually had to fake a long struggle with cancer in order to put her off the trail yet again is an issue left unaddressed.
3. Well, How Did He Lose the Weight?
Boring old exercise, AGAIN. Superman-style, of course, so it involved digging holes and smashing things and so on, but still… so conventional.
4. Could His Method be Used By the World at Large?
Better not risk it.
Hip-Happy Hero: Superboy
Yes, Superman must have been having flashbacks throughout the course of his journey through obesity, because pretty much the exact same thing happened to him when he was a kid.
Oh, some of the details were a little different, to be sure. Clark leaves Smallville for a few days and when he comes back finds the entire student population of the town fat as can be. He takes the opportunity to make fun of everyone for a bit, but then:
COMEUPPANCE! Soon Fat Superboy is soaring through the skies of Smallville. Since everybody else is already pretty tubby, there’s not too much made of his sudden loss of condition. The perennial “snoopy dame” problem does crop up, however:
It WAS some pretty sloppy cover-up work, really. Superboy allays her suspicions pretty rapidly, though - Lana Lang might be observant, but she’s also gullible as hell.
But what caused all of the fattening in the first place? Superboy is stumped until he gets help from a couple of giant hogs:
Yes, it’s another case of beverage malfunction. Seems the local agricultural college had been using rays to speed the growth of corn, and though the rays had no effect on animal tissue, the corn, when fed to cows and the converted into milk, did. And guess where Smallville High got all of its milk?
Like Superman, Superboy worked off his flab with a series of eXtreem eXercises. Once again: boring. However, and lucky for the junior citizens of Smallville, he also goes to the trouble of figuring out how to de-biggen them without resort to exertion (good thing, too, because most of them seemed content to just keep on being chunky).
Yes, it’s a wonderful example of why all inventors should make sure that their creations run in reverse: cows fed on shrunken corn produce people-shrinking milk! Hooray! I expect to see Shrinkilac on store shelves by Summer!
Keep the dream alive: always remember that Hip-Happy Means Plump!