Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and forty-second installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends.
DC halted a Superman comic strip storyline about atomic energy by request of the U.S. government
I'm Going With False
Years ago, my first book came out, called Was Superman A Spy? And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed.
If you'd like to order it, you can use this code if you'd like to send me a bit of a referral fee.
The title of the book was a reference to one of my favorite old Comic Book Legends Revealed columns about how the U.S. War Department took issue with the Superman comic strip having a storyline involving atomic energy, specifically the use of a cyclotron in a series of strips by writer Alvin Schwartz and artist Wayne Boring.
Here's the thing, though. As the story goes, the War Department asked DC to cut the story short and they did so, transitioning to a story involving Superman playing college baseball.
However, I don't believe that they actually DID cut the storyline short. As you can see from the strip above, the story involving the college baseball team was already part of the strip and the whole thing seamlessly moved from being about Superman surviving the cyclotron to being Superman trying to prove his super powers against a baseball team.
In other words, by the time that the government got into contact with DC (they erroneously first tried to contact the credited writer on the strip, Jerry Siegel), the strip had moved on on its own volition. The late Alvin Schwartz (who only died eight years ago) never said that he changed the ending because of the War Department.
I think the confusion comes down to Newsweek running a story saying that the cyclotron story had been dropped for the baseball story. However, at the same time, Time Magazine reported the opposite, that the cyclotron story was finished by the time the War Department asked them to cut it out.
I tend to believe it was already finished and that it wasn't a case of DC cutting the storyline short (do note that I got that little part of the story wrong in my original book).
Check out some other legends from Legends Revealed:
Check back soon for part 2 of this installment's legends!
And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com!