After the events of Action Comics 544, Lex Luthor returns to Earth and begins plans for his revenge against Superman. Meanwhile, Lois returns to Pittsdale for some R&R, while Lana prepares for her big interview.
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As I was listening to this episode, and recalling reading this issue back in 1983, I was feeling a bit wistful. In 1983, I was 27, just finishing my 5th year as a high school teacher, and this comic really brought home to me that comics were now (at that time), not being written exclusively for kids. I know this was late in the Bronze Age for me to have that realization, but the storylines here, Superman’s guilt over the fate of Lexor, Lois’ working for her identity separate from Superman, and Perry’s marital woes, were clearly aimed at adult readers in ways that the 8-year-old kids who were the target audience of my Silver Age youth would probably have struggled over, made me begin to see comics differently, I think. Clearly, there were action and adventure enough for young kids to enjoy, but, just as clearly, there were elements that I wouldn’t have liked or understood as a kid. In retrospect, from a 21st Century perspective, I can appreciate the writers direction, to produce something both kids and adults could enjoy, but I also see the seeds of what would be, for me, the approaching end of the period of my life when I would unreservedly see every comic with childlike joy and wonder. As I get older (I’m about to hit “Medicare Age”.), I understand more and more the etymology of the word “nostalgia” (from Greek words meaning “pain or longing for one’s home”), because no matter how old I get, childhood memories have an extremely strong “pull” of “home”. Thanks for this episode, which brought forth a lot of memories and introspection for me.