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You Might Not Want to Pull Pranks on Superman

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Comic News Comment
You Might Not Want to Pull Pranks on Superman

In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I spotlight at least five scenes/moments from within comic book stories that fit under a specific theme (basically, stuff that happens frequently in comics).

Reader Andy N. wanted to see a collection of instances where “Clark Kent using his powers to cause a Steve Lombard prank to backfire.”

Steve Lombard, created by Cary Bates and Curt Swan, was a former football star who was hired as the new sports anchor at Galaxy Broadcasting System (WGBS-TV), where Clark Kent was working as a news anchor. While Bates created the character, it was his fellow Superman writer, Elliot S! Maggin, who seemed to take the greatest shine to the oafish Lombard, including the idea that Lombard would pull pranks on Clark but Clark would use his powers to make the pranks backfire, as seen in Steve’s second appearance (and first as Clark’e co-worker)…

However, here’s the interesting thing, while that is the iconic aspect of Lombard and Clark’s relationship, it actually did not happen all that often. What DID happen was that Steve would pull a prank on Clark and then Clark would get REVENGE on Steve later on in the issue. Steve, though, would almost always get away with the INITIAL prank.

There WERE examples of the classic trope occurring, though, of course.

One happened when they were all transformed into “Old West” versions of themselves in Superman #278…

A particularly clever one occurred in Superman #286…

In Superman #293, it is a strange woman (who turned out to be a visitor from the future) who made the prank backfire…

So that one doesn’t really count for the trope, but I figure combined with this bit from Action Comics #459, where Clark ACCIDENTALLY causes Steve’s prank attempt to backfire, it would count as one…

Finally, even in the original Superman vs. Spider-Man crossover, Clark caused a prank of Steve’s to backfire…

Superman #282 is a fascinating story, as Steve has even REALIZED that every time he pranks Clark, he gets pranked back even worse, and yet he STILL pranks Clark! He then spends the rest of the issue tensely awaiting his comeuppance…

By the way, the display image is from Action Comics #449, in a story where Clark Kent is the superhero and Superman is the mild-mannered reporter.

That’s it for this edition of Drawing Crazy Patterns! Thanks for the suggestion, Andy! If anyone else has ideas for things that get repeated a lot that you’d like to see me spotlight, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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