Lois Lane is Missing a Tooth, OR, Rappin' About Reboots With Uncle Johnathan

The other day, I was reading some Silver Age comics (natch) and I came across this plot point in Lois Lane No.50, from July 1964.


At first I was going to merely point this out and mention that from my experience with people of the generation that Lois would have been sliding through at the time, she almost certainly didn't get any sort of replacement; that right up until the original Crisis Lois Lane was missing a molar. How very strange by today's standards! How uncomfortable that would make some people feel!

And then the next day I heard about the Great Upcoming DC Reboot and the surrounding kerfuffle and the two got a bit muddled together in my head, such that when I got distracted by the new puppy and such I kept mulling it over and turning it around, and I came to this conclusion: Lois Lane's missing tooth means that reboots don't matter.

Think about it: by the strict rules of the ContinuiNerd, that tooth was gone up until the Crisis, but realistically it was probably forgotten by the end of the issue. The extraction, after all, existed solely as a means for Lois to learn about laughing gas (so that when she went back in time later on she could use some to try to disrupt Superboy and Lana Lang's first kiss - SILVER AGE!). But it happened, right? Theoretically, it should occupy as valid a space in the canon as Brave and the Bold No. 54, which came out the same month and featured the first teamup of Robin, Aqualad and Kid Flash in what would become the Teen Titans.

The obvious difference, of course, is that the tooth doesn't matter and that its absence isn't really interesting, whereas the concept of teen sidekicks getting together to fight crime does. If Lois had had her tooth replaced by a cunning fake that contained a Superman signal device or a piece of emergency kryptonite or something then it might have cropped up a few more times during the Silver Age, and had an appearance in All-Star Superman, and maybe Flashpoint Lois would have a secret spy tooth that shoots lasers or contains an emergency raft or has the Atom hiding inside.

Over time (and given good writing, of course), the fun, interesting, compelling stuff will keep coming back, while the drek and garbage and redundancies will fade away or be changed for the better: Krypto the Superdog will always come back, but Comet the Superhorse never will. Jimmy Olsen will never die but if we ever see the Blood Pack again it will be because someone has made something interesting of them.

Lois Lane is missing a tooth; Lois Lane is not missing a tooth.

It doesn't matter if Lois Lane is missing a tooth. Unless it makes for a good story, of course.

The Seamier Side of Smallville

Welcome back to Smallville, Ladies and Gents. As per usual we find our hero Superboy utilizing the full range of his extraordinary powers to help teach one of his peers an important life lesson. This time, the lesson is about safety!


 Yes, safety! The kind of thing that you can only truly comprehend once you've watched another boy taking a bath!


Correction: filmed another boy taking a bath!

The Unfunnies: Shorty in the Rain

I'm sitting here waiting for Hurricane Earl to finish crawling up the coast of Nova Scotia to trounce us - okay, I'm sitting here reading old Superman comics, but I'm aware that the storm hasn't started yet and I'll know when it gets here, and that's almost like waiting - and so I thought I'd try to get topical with my Unfunny. This is as close as I could find:

This is middle-era Shorty, after his stint in the Navy but before he becomes a scuba diver. He takes no guff.

Oh hey, the wind is picking up. If Halifax is unexpectedly flattened and I'm never heard from again, consider that punchline as proof of my prophetic genius. Otherwise, have a good Saturday.

- from Superboy No. 22


The Unfunnies: Peg Hits the Beach

Peg is one of those DC characters who lurked in the interstices for years, starring in a half- or one-page gag every couple of issues. She's a typical blonde teen girl who occupies a world in which all of the females under a certain age have either one giant tooth or a portal to a realm of pure radiance situated in the middle of their faces.

This comic is of course completely mystifying to one such as myself who hates and fears the awesome cancer-spewing might of the sun, but I suspect that the saga of a girl who sets out to get a sun burn in time for the big dance and then can't go to the big dance because of her sun burn might have been a head-scretcher in even the most heliophilic of eras.

(This one's from Superboy No. 15)

Hip-happy Heroes Part 6: The Futuristic Finale!

Hip-Happy Heroes comes to its inevitable conclusion with the tale of the proudest fatty of all: the indomitable Bouncing Boy!

Bouncing Boy, aka Chuck Taine, is a special case, as he didn't just become fat, he started out fat and got fatter. In fact, Chuck was one of maybe ten fat guys left in the far-off and evidently calorie-conscious world of the Thirtieth Century, and possibly the only one who wasn't a decadent crime-boss or corrupt politician. No, Chuck was a simple delivery boy in a blue suit:


Even the moost brilliant scientist has a fatal flaw, however, and this one's was his extreme frugality. More specifically, his tendency to put top-secret formulae into old pop bottles instead of investing in proper transport containers.

He probably should have spent a bit more money on his delivery guy, too, instead of hiring Chuck. See, Chuck is the stereotypical fat guy, which means that a) he has no self-control, and therefore is unable  to resist stopping off at the robot fights on his way to deliver the fluid.

b) He can't go fifteen minutes without a snack of some kind, so he buys himself a pop from a vendor.


And c) he's just a bit stupid. So not only does Chuck pick up the wrong bottle, he, like Jimmy Olsen before him, manages to drain the whole foul-tasting thing before he realizes that he's probably just poisoned himself.


 Happily, this all takes place in an origin story, so not only does Chuck gain the power to turn into an even fatter guy and bounce around instead of staying the same size and dying, but he isn't fined and/or jailed for destroying an important scientific discovery. Presumably he was fired, but that just paved the way for him to join the legion of Super-Heroes and eventually marry a girl who could split into two. So... good job on the gluttony, Chuck.

Of course, the saga of Bouncing Boy doesn't end there. As is the fate of most extremely silly characters, ol' Chuck was somewhat... despised by a fair number of people. And so, the Matter-Shrinking Projector was deployed.

Suddenly, Bouncing Boy was no longer a fat guy who could swell up like a balloon, he was just a skinny guy with a bad haircut. As was always the case in such situations, he was immediately (mostly) booted from the Legion and started devoting all of his time to picking up chicks.

"There we go." said the writers, dusting their hands, "No more fat guy troubles for us." But! The show was not yet over. I'm not sure if Bouncing Boy fans started voicing their displeasure or if a fat guy in the Legion was just right somehow, but the idea wouldn't go away.


The forces of irony must have had a hand in making Superboy the second Legion fatty, considering his terrible behavior when introduced to Iresa: during the terrible reign of Dynamo Boy he was given a two-panel dose of Bouncing Boy's power before being summarily booted from the clubhouse.I don't think that he learned anything from it, but it sure was fun to watch.


Not long after, the entire Legion was imprisoned by arch-fiend Nardo, and the intrepid Matter-Eater Lad attempted to eat his way to freedom. Captured and due to be executed, he was saved by Superboy, but the strange interaction of ray-gun and Kryptonian youth caused a curious change in the lad from Bismoll:

Yes, the curse of Bouncing Boy had struck again! Now the boy who was dinstinguished by his constant eating was morbidly obese! Oh, the humour!

Finally, though, during the Legion's struggle with the villain Evillo (the man so determined to get his point across that he dressed like the Devil) the universe righted itself:

Evillo's chief scientist, a man with a lot of issues to work through, acted as a deus ex machina to fix all of the Legion's physical defects: one-armedness, excessive fat, fat deficit, etc. Finally all was right with the world. Worlds. Galaxy-wide planetary federation.

So for those of you keeping track, Bouncing Boy started out fat, got fatter through the effects of something that should have killed him, got skinny through the influence of something that probably shouldn't have done what it did, briefly got fat again (not pictured) thanks to some crazy ray and was finally restored to his old self for good by a semi-insane scientist with an upside-down face. What fun!

Now and forever, friends, HIP-HAPPY MEANS PLUMP!





Hip-Happy Heroes Part 4

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!