Oops, still have to catch up on these.
Nick Perks drew this Santa/Superman piece. So how this works is that every day until Christmas Eve, you can click on the current day’s Advent Calendar post and it’ll have a story in it that is part of my countdown of the 24 Greatest Superman Christmas Comics ever told! And I’ll add links to the previous days in each new installment.
Here’s Day 1, #24 on the countdown.
Here’s Day 2, #23 on the countdown.
Here’s Day 3, #22 on the countdown
Here’s Day 4, #21 on the countdown
Here’s Day 5, #20 on the countdown
Here’s Day 6, #19 on the countdown
Here’s Day 7, #18 on the countdown
And now for Day 8, #17 on the countdown is…
“Ex Machina” from “Christmas With the Superheroes” #2, by Paul Chadwick.
In this tale, a motorist stranded in a broken-down car in the middle of a blizzard decides to end his life. He’s about to pull the trigger when he hears a knock on his window and it’s Superman!
Superman comes into the car and uses his heat vision to slowly re-heat the car and also to help work on the man’s engine. While he does so, the two men talk and Superman slowly gets out of the man just why he was willing to go to the extremes of killing himself over this situation. As it turns out, there are three major reasons (outside of “stranded in a blizzard and no one will stop to help him,” which Chadwick cleverly has Superman point out that the car happens to be blocked on a curve, so people don’t see the stranded car until they’re right on top of him and the roads are covered with ice, so stopping quickly would likely cause cars to spin out, so no one does that and, sadly enough, once you’ve passed the person by, it’s easy to just keep on going). One, he just got divorced to his wife after many years of marriage. Two, he’s dying from a degenerative disease. Three, he’s estranged from his daughter due to his wife’s prejudices against the daughter’s husband.
The interesting here is that Chadwick doesn’t have Superman offer any quick fixes. The guy IS going to be dead soon, Superman just wants him to try to patch things up with his daughter before then. The man doesn’t even contact his daughter in the comic. Superman only temporarily fixes the car. He doesn’t, like, fly him away or something like that out of an old comic book. No, the best he does is send the man to a kindly couple in the area (the same kindly couple that are obviously why Superman happened to be in the area where he could find the man)…
The subtle work by Chadwick in Superman crushing the gun and then flying away while the pieces of the gun fall to the ground? That’s some exceptional storytelling by Chadwick.
The story is a BIT too bleak to be higher on the Christmas countdown, but it’s still a good story.
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