In every installment of “If I Pass This Way Again,” we look at odd comic book plot points that were rarely (sometimes NEVER!) mentioned again after they were first introduced.
This time around, we're taking a look at a bizarre plot point from 1969's Superboy #157 (by Frank Robbins, Bob Brown and Wallace Wood) that was suggested by my pal Martin Gray (you can check his website out here).
In the issue, a gorilla named Koko in the Smallville Zoo has gotten infected with a virus. Koko is very weak. Superboy, though, comes up with a brilliant idea. He can help give Koko his strength back through the use of red-sun irradiated bananas. You see, apparently, according to this issue, Superboy's powers mainly come from the yellow sun of Earth, but it seems as though that they specifically also come from "high potent super food" like bananas that he ate as a child.
So Superboy plans to go to a planet with a red sun and get bananas that will give Koko limited super powers to give him enough strength to get better.
Of course, this being a comic book, the banana plan does not go according to plan. Lana Lang stops by the Kents to borrow some bananas for the school jock, Bash, who also thinks that Clark Kent might be Superboy. So she gets one of the super-bananas and Bash eats it and it gives him super powers. People assume that he is Superboy, so he goes along with it and starts acting like he is the real Superboy.
The actual Superboy decides to play along with the story by having Bash think that he has Superboy's other powers. He then lets Bash know about a meteor that is coming towards the Earth. He knows that, deep down, Bash is too scared to actually step up, so Bash has to admit that he is not the real Superboy.
Luckily, the powers wear off and everything is fine. Including Koko is now healthy, which is nice.
As you might imagine, the bananas aspect of Superboy's powers were never mentioned again. It really seems like Frank Robbins just came across an article about super-foods and thought that the pun was way too cool to pass up.
Thanks for the suggestion, Martin! If anyone else has a suggestion for an interesting plot point that was introduced and then almost instantaneously ignored, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!