More Like “Mild-Mannered Attention Whore,” If You Ask Me

25 Stories Featuring Appearances by Clark Kent in a Book Not Published by DC Comics

1. “Sword of the She-Devil,” Marvel Team-Up #79 (Marvel, 03/79)

Now, I’m not saying Martha Kent’s little boy is so desperate for attention he spends his off hours making appearances in his competitors’ comics just to get noticed by his fans. I’m simply saying the evidence supporting that statement is so overwhelming that it shouldn’t have to be said. Exhibit A: this fun tale featuring the unlikely pairing of Spider-Man and Red Sonja. Turns out Kent is an “ol’ buddy” of Daily Bugle editor Joe Robertson, and he just happened to drop by during the newsroom’s annual Christmas party. Why? Certainly not for the free snacks — it’s hard to believe one of Perry White’s shindigs would put out less food and  booze than a party catered by J. Jonah Skinflint.

2. “Excalibur’s New York Adventure,” Excalibur #8 (Marvel, 05/89)

Whoa, sounds like someone woke up on the wrong side of the Fortress of Solitude this morning. Quick, Clark, make with the Super-Amnesia Kiss!

3. “21st Century Boy,” The Ultimates #3 (Marvel, 05/2002)

This time it’s Clark, Lois and Jimmy out for a night of glamor and investigative journalism, this time tracking down the Ultimate Marvel (Earth-1610, for those who care about such things) version of Tony Stark for an interview. Man, that Jimmy looks like a dweeb no matter which Earth they put him on, huh?

4. “Krobaa, the Abyss That Walked,” Venom: Seed of Darkness Flashback -1 (Marvel, 07/97)

“And don’t me started on those tacky ceiling fixtures… or this drab linoleum… or  what passes for a color scheme around here. Honestly, darling, I don’t blame these poor fellows for acting so frantic, having to work in this pit of style deprivation all day long.”

5. “The Devil’s Deliverance,” Daredevil #8 (Marvel, 06/99)

Then there are the times when no one utters the words “mild-mannered reporter” or “a great metropolitan newspaper,” but you can totally tell it’s him just by the glasses, blue suit and spit curl. Like here, for instance, where he’s announcing the apparent suicide of Mysterio…

6. “Trial and Error,” The Avengers #228 (Marvel, 02/83) 

…or here, providing background information about a hijacking while Cap lectures Tony on the importance of getting a good night’s sleep…

7. “Charge of the Dark Brigade,” Secret Wars II #7 (Marvel,01/86) 

…or here, informing the world about the hottest new cult trend: “sitting around and thinking.” I’m guessing Lois didn’t try too hard to beat him to the punch on that scoop.

8. “Hearts of Oak… and Heads to Match!” The Avengers #296 (Marvel, 10/88)

When not announcing the news, our Man of Steel also has a habit of showing up in scenes where members of the media gather to interview heroes, or to gawk at the crazy stuff that always seems to happen whenever the superheroes are around. Here, for instance, a bespectacled “Clark” muses about Thor’s hairstyle choices…

9. “Abominations,” Amazing Spider-Man Annual #23 (Marvel, 1989) 

…while here, he shows up in the Daily Bugle newsroom just in time to stare, his eyes agog, at the sight of a business-suited She-Hulk storming out of Jameson’s office…

10. “Prison Reform,” Captain America #260 (Marvel, 08/81)

…and over here, he shows up incognito as a fedora-wearing reporter at a press conference held by Captain America and the warden in charge of a prison where the Avenger was incarcerated at the time…

11. “Untitled,” Youngblood #3 (Image, 08/92)

…and here, as an overly zealous member of the press screaming his questions at members of the Youngblood team. Though, given this is a Rob Liefeld book, “screaming his questions” is pretty much a given.

12. “Merry Christmas, X-Men,” X-Men #98 (Marvel, 04/76)

Christmastime in New York City is a magical experience: skating at Rockefeller Center, taking in the window displays at Macy’s, getting a horse-drawn carriage ride through a snowy Central Park…trust me, if you’ve never been there, it worth making a trip. In this special Christmas issue, the X-Men do just that, taking time out from fighting evil mutants and giant robots to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Alas, a few giant robots have other plans for them, as readers of this issue quickly found out. But just before the issue’s regularly scheduled mayhem commenced, readers were treated to a few scenes of the “all-new, all-different” X-Men team members (who were still in the early days of working together as a team) getting to know each other as they walked along the streets of New York, streets that also saw a certain mild-mannered type out enjoying the evening with his dark-haired companion and a fellow who looks suspiciously like bigshot DC editor Julius Schwartz. Coincidence? Comic readers know there’s no such thing…

13. “Down Times,” WildC.A.T.S.: Covert Action Teams #8 (Image, 02/94)

Don’t be embarrassed if you didn’t catch Kent’s appearance in this image right away; he’s certainly not the most… pronounced part of this panel. In this story, members of the WildC.A.T.S. team are posing as cruise ship passengers while investigating the disappearance of another cruise ship in the same part of the ocean (three guesses what happens to this ship later in the story). The improbably proportioned lady lounging in the image above is Voodoo, and just before she gets into a bit of flirtatious banter with her android partner, we get the smallest glimpse of a well-built, bespectacled man in the background who looks like he’s trying a little too hard to keep his eyes focused elsewhere. Of course, there’s always the chance these two aren’t meant to be Kent and Lane, but the “Daily” on the newspaper held by someone next to them, as well as a similar cameo by Marvel’s Jean Grey and Scott Summers on a following page, seals the deal.

14. “Down Among the Dead Men,” Marvel Knights Spider-Man #4 (Marvel, 09/2004)

This, on the other hand, is unquestionably another cameo by Kent in a Spider-Man book. You don’t see much of either Kent’s or Lane’s face in this panel, but the red-headed photographer and the note on the computer (“Don’t forget to capitalize – Perry”) makes it pretty clear which major metropolitan newspaper office we’re looking at here.

15. “Just Talkin’ ‘Bout Shaft,” Youngblood Strikefile #8 (Image, 11/94)

You know, I understand it’s a little harder these days to find a decent phone booth for a quick costume change, but you’d think he’d have the good sense to keep his shirt on until he was a little farther away from the crowd of gawkers.

16. “Cool Hands Warm Art,” Web of Spider-Man #75 (Marvel, 04/91)

“Honest, Lois. I was about to change into my suit and help citizens caught in the freak blizzard when this lithe young lady in a swimsuit swooped down and carried me to safety. I thought, gosh, it would be rude not to accept her help… oh, stop looking at me like that, I totally saw you making eyes with that bucket-headed dude.”

17. “Whom the Destroyer Would Destroy…”, Thor #476 (Marvel, 07/94)

Sometimes, the big guy doesn’t even get lines or the chance to work with buxom young heroines. That’s okay; all that really matters to him is getting in front of the camera, like this scene in which he and Lois act as extras in an office standing in the place where a seriously missing-in-action Donald Blake used to work.

18. “Into a Darkling Plain,” The Avengers #327 (Marvel, 12/90)
When he’s feeling extra-cheeky, he even likes to ad-lib a little something in the script, just to remind us he has a few more memorable lines than any of those other Johnny-come-lately superheroes, like his reference here to his trademark  “faster than a speeding bullet” line…

19. “Fire,” Power Pack #57 (Marvel, 07/90)

…or a little “it’s a bird, it’s a plane” action here…

20. “Darkness Falls,” Ghost Rider #66 (Marvel, 10/95)

…or a call back to his famous “This is a job for Superman” line here: “On second thought, Lo, that gentleman with the flaming skull for a head seems to have the situation under control. Let’s get back to this delicious crème brûlée.”

21. “A Dream of Flying,” Rocketeer Adventures 2 #1 (IDW, 03/2012)
Okay, now let’s count down my personal favorite Superman cameos. The Rocketeer debuted in 1982 as a love letter by Dave Stevens to the Saturday matinee heroes of the 1930s and ’40s. Gloriously retro in all the ways that matter, the strip has been published off and on over the years by a variety of publishers; after Stevens died in 2008, IDW Publishing released a hardcover collection of all the Rocketeer stories, then commissioned a new series based on the character with work by such luminaries as John Cassaday, Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek, Michael Kaluta, Alex Ross and Mike Mignola; Stan Sakai’s “A Dream of Flying” appears in the first issue of the second volume. In it, the Rocketeer is shot down by a young man with a gun while flying over a tiny hamlet (or a “small-ville,” if you will). The shooter — whom we learn is named “Lex” — holds him at gunpoint and demands he hand over the rocket pack, but then a young boy arrives on the scene and gives the Rocketeer the distraction he needs to knock the lout out. As a way of saying thanks, the Rocketeer takes the young boy — who just happens to be wearing red and blue clothing — for a ride through the air, and we find out the boy lives with an older couple, one of whom is named Martha. Hmmm…

22. “Men!” Uncanny X-Men #245 (Marvel, 06/89)
For those of you too young to remember, “Invasion!” was DC’s big crossover event in the summer of 1988, and as the title suggests it was all about a big alien invasion of Earth. Naturally, the heroes succeed in sending those extra-terrestrial aggressors packing, but not without a few disaster-movie moments along the way. As it so happens, this was during a time when the X-Men were hanging out in Australia, the same country that saw massive collateral damage in DC’s crossover. So Chris Claremont and crew had a ball crafting a Mad-type parody of “Invasion!,” complete with a shot of a certain famous newspaper building, a certain editor who grunts “don’t call me chief” at an overly exuberant freckle-faced kid, and a certain spit-curled newscaster getting ready for his next broadcast.

23. “Untitled,” Daring Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special #1 (Marvel, 11/2009) 

The Phantom Reporter appeared exactly once during the Golden Age of comics, in Timely Comics’ Daring Mystery Comics #3. For their 70th year in business, Marvel brought him back for a special “secret origin” issue in which Richard Jones recalls his investigation of a murder that leads to him becoming the Phantom Reporter in 1939. Early in his career, we find out he gets a pep talk from a fellow reporter who, if you recall, started out in the business around the same time. (Sidebar: How long do you think Clark’s secret identity would have remained a secret if he had gone into action as Super-Reporter….?)

24. “Street Fighting,” Fantastic Four #538 (Marvel, 08/2006)

During Marvel’s “Civil War” event in 2006, a whole lot of crazy things happened, but all you need to know is this: our heroes were forced to choose sides in a fight
with the U.S. government that decided it was time for all super-powered beings to register with the authorities. While all this was happening, Thor’s hammer landed in the middle of Oklahoma, leading to, in the Thing’s own words, “every two-bit strong man, hero, bad guy and weasel for a thousand miles in any direction” heading that way to see if they had what it takes to lift the legendary hammer (Thor himself was M.I.A. at the time). While the Thing sorts out his own feelings about the whole register-with-the-government situation, the scene shifts to a late-night gathering of some of those “strong men” and “weasels” waiting patiently in line to take a shot at lifting Thor’s hammer, including one interesting-looking fellow who shows up in a tie and rolled-up shirtsleeves. And what is that piece of red cloth he’s holding in his left hand…?

25. “The Past is a Bucket of Ashes,” Thor #341 (Marvel, 03/84)Finally, we come to his extremely entertaining scene during Walt Simonson’s legendary Thor run. Having decided to adopt a new secret identity, Thor turns to Nick Fury for advice on how to set one up. Fury points out the obvious — there’s no hiding those massive shoulders and blond hair, even if Thor ties it in a ponytail — so he hands the Thunder God a pair of glasses, saying “it always worked for that other guy.” Uh-huh. Sure enough, “that other guy” just happens to be on his way to a press conference in the next room, and even he is fooled by the incredible disguising powers of a pair of unfashionable eyeglasses. Great Scott!

 

About these ads

One response to “More Like “Mild-Mannered Attention Whore,” If You Ask Me

  1. This is hilarious. Interesting note: I actually a Thor Visionaries book that had #25 in it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s