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 is an odd one, since reader Rich C. actually wrote in to Great Comic Book Detectives asking me to find an old Superman story that he read, but upon finding it and reading it myself, I saw that it was perfect for this feature. Rich had remembered it as an imaginary story, but it was actually in-continuity, bizarrely enough!
Action Comics #370 (by Cary Bates, Curt Swan and Jack Abel – with Abel doing such heavy inks that you would be shocked to learn that Curt Swan penciled this issue) opens with Superman having nightmares about his past, remembering people he knew he had never met before. So he tests out his hunch by digging out the spaceship he landed on Earth in and seeing how old it was. He is shocked to learn that it is over 100 years old!
Yes, before he landed on Earth, the rocket was diverted to another universe where it landed on a caveman planet…
As soon as baby Kal-El landed there (dubbed Sonn by his parents), the planet began to evolve quickly (it turns out that his body gave off a sort of “positive evolving radiation”). However, there were these evil dragon-like beings there and their energy blasts could turn people evil. Sadly, Sonn’s older sister got blasted by one, so she became evil and kept trying to mess with her younger brother…
As society evolved, Sonn got married, had a kid and became the president of this world…
His sister, though, accidentally unleashed the evil energy all over the world, turning everyone against each other, leading to atomic war…which they all blame on Sonn, who goes on the run even as he becomes an old man (maybe change out of your distinctive costume if you’re going to go on the run, dude)…
Anyhow, his son, Vol, was immune to the evil radiation (just like his dad), so he came up with a way to DE-VOLVE his father, which, in turn, would devolve the rest of the world and get them back to their caveman roots, which would rob them of their society, but would at least bring them to an innocent, pre-evil, time.
As Vol’s brain devolved, he managed to first launch his now infant father back on his original course. So Kal-El landed on Earth. As it turned out, since this was another universe, time worked differently and only a minute or two had passed in our dimension.
Soo…yeah, that was all IN continuity. Superman had a wife and a kid out there and that’s just part of his past. Super weird.
Thanks for the inadvertent suggestion, Rich! If anyone else has a suggestion for If I Pass This Way Again (or for Great Comic Book Detectives), drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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