So I’m watching the Superman documentary from the previous Saturday Night Showcase and they show images of a set of Superman mini-comics packaged with Sugar Smacks (we call them Honey Smacks now to make parents happy). Superman. Mini-Comics. You know I had to look into this.
Not that I found a whole lot, mind you. Best I can tell at this stage is that in 1955 Kellogg’s partnered with DC Comics to release three minicomics starring Superman and his friends. Thus far I have only found scans of one. Apparently, according to a picture I found of the comic graded by CGC, Curt Swan and Stan Kaye worked on it, but there are no credits on their own. I did find an actual scan of the first of the three comics so at least we can take a look at that. So thank you to the website Superman Premiums and scanner Jay Hernandez for at least making this one available. I guess we’ll leave Etheria for next time because when I find a new minicomic that I didn’t know about, especially a series, I want to strike while the fire is hot in my mind.
There’s an ad for the giveaway comics. Kellogg’s and Superman already had a history together thanks to Kellogg’s sponsoring the Adventures Of Superman show. Sponsoring shows was something they did back in the 1950s, and numerous ads of Clark, Jimmy, and Perry having a bowl of Sugar Smacks together or casually walking into someone’s house for breakfast. Not Lois because girls spread their cooties at the breakfast table or something. However, you can have a bowl with your sister if you’re a kid. Yeah, I don’t get 1950s casual sexism either.
So let’s read one of those comics. “The Supershow Of Metropolis” is closer to a Jimmy Olsen story, like Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen. It also lacks Lois Lane. I guess she doesn’t like sugary cereals. I can relate. I prefer Rice Krispies for my Kellogg’s breakfast.
This is the layout for the comic, two panels a page. Luckily there’s enough pages that there appears to be a full story here. Yes, that is possible with a minicomic. Read along with me and see for yourself. Oddly nobody has breakfast in this comic.
The Daily Planet is raising funds for a new crime lab, I mean “detective lab”, with updated equipment. Now they’ll be half as good as Batman’s lab. Jimmy Olsen, cub reporter at the time, has been working hard at getting the fundraising going, and plans to help Superman with props for a series of shows to raise even more funds. However, Clark is worried Jimmy is working too hard and as Superman convinces Perry that he should take time off. Perry tells him to take a far away vacation and he’ll hire a temp until he returns.
Worried that the temp may be so good that he’ll be replaced, because he’s watched too many sitcoms partway through, Jimmy decides that he’ll use one of his many disguises to be his own temp, calling himself Johnny Bolton. The disguise looks interestingly similar to Clark, with black hair and glasses. No, we don’t make fun of the glasses here because we’ve shown that IT’S NOT JUST A PAIR OF GLASSES! Jimmy’s also using a wig, remember. However, Superman sees right through his disguise, literally with his X-Ray vision and figuratively by recognizing Johnny shares one of Jimmy’s mannerisms. So clearly he’ll recognize how much this means to Jimmy and let him stay involved, or give the real reason he sent Jimmy away that we don’t read about until later, right?
Of course not! This is a story from the Silver Age of comics, where Superman would come up with some plan to embarrass his friends when they do something stupid. He does this a lot, which doesn’t say the best things about Superman OR Lois and Jimmy. You’d think by now he’d realize his “lessons” never stick. Apparently he also only watches sitcoms halfway through. So, Superman has “Johnny” acting as his prop man, telling how he’s doing such a better job than that loser Jimmy Olsen. Plus you’re not a redhead so Hollywood won’t hate you nearly as much. It hurts Jimmy’s feelings so he decides to ruin his own reputation. Johnny’s, not Jimmy’s. So let’s see who backfired first, Jimmy or Superman.
1 point for each of those caption gag references you get. Actually, it’s a Bizarro gag so maybe you’re supposed to give me the points or something. I don’t know, I just wanted to show you what “Johnny” looks like and how he pulled it off. Silver Age Jimmy was as good at disguises as he was getting into trouble. And considering how often and badly he got into trouble that’s some impressive disguise skills.
“Johnny” tries throwing an axe to make Superman look bad on stage during one of the shows, but it hits a rope, drops a sandbag on him, and the audience think it was done on purpose as a joke. So Superman praised Johnny for being more clever than Jimmy. Next, Johnny goes on stage and brags about being Superman’s NEW best friend and that with the two of them that detective lab is surely going to be done. This causes a bunch of criminals to throw grenades at the stage! They came to the theater with hand grenades to throw at Superman! Regular hand grenades. That’s missing the memo HARD! This is Silver Age Superman. You could toss a nuke at him and he’d complain about the giant mosquito.
So Superman proclaims that Johnny is new bestie and Jimmy Olsen is history, because he will not stop torturing his friends if it means they’ll learn a lesson. They will not so the torture never ends. I’m pretty sure this is one for the Superdickery files as well. JimmyJohn is so distressed that he doesn’t see the same crooks about to capture him, but Superman knew they’d come for his new bestie and used him as bait. Yes, he used his best friend, whom he knew was Jimmy, as bait to capture the bad guys after trying to get rid of him to save him.
Here’s a thought: WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL HIM ABOUT THIS INSTEAD OF FAKING HIM BEING SICK! I’m sure he would have gone along with the idea or talked you into the Johnny Bolton disguise so he could still take part and stay safe because they’d think he was just another intern. It’s Jimmy Olsen. You know he’s going to pull some stupid stunt because it’s Jimmy! This is the guy who pushes random buttons on devices he comes across, continues to use totem pole magic even when it backfires, has gotten himself turned into a giant turtle man, a big-brained future man, and Stretch Armstrong. The boy has never been too bright. I’m listening to the early Superman radio dramas he premiered in (some random copy boy in the comics was retconned into Jimmy) and he still isn’t that bright. You complain about him lying and this whole thing started because you didn’t trust him with the truth. Superman is my favorite superhero but Silver Age Superman could be a jerk.
I hope you read along on the website and showed the scanner of this site a bit of love with your reading. I have however put together an easier experience, so I guess I pulled a Silver Age Superman here. Yes, I’ve put these together into a PDF file to download or read online. Sorry for the border. I couldn’t get my PDF making setup to get rid of it. Now if I can just find the other two comics I’ll have reviewed the whole set. Yes, I did give credit to the scanner, Jay Hernandez and the hosting website I got them from, Superman Premiums. Check out some of the other Superman-related promotional stuff that was released, including a hanging thing from the same year as the minicomics. If you share this with others, please give all proper credits and do not sell it. I’m pretty sure there’s still copywrite and legal stuff involved even though I doubt Kellogg’s or DC cares personally at this point. Here’s the comic link.
Superman Sugar Smacks #1 (1955)
In the next installment I’ll get back to the current list and return to Etheria to see She-Ra’s next amount of crazy shenanigans.