TITLE: The New Adventures of Superboy – vol. 1 Issue #9
RELEASE: September 1980
COMPANY: DC Comics
Writer: Cary Bates
Penciller: Kurt Schaffenberger
Inker: Dave Hunt
Colorist: Gene D’Angelo
Letterer: Ben Oda
Editor: Julius Schwartz
As a child, I grew up reading “Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes”, which would eventually be renamed to “Legion of Super-Heroes”.
By 1980, “The New Adventures of Superboy” was released and unlike the previous title, it would focus on Superboy living in Smallville and it’s a series I loved because it was good ol’ natured Superboy stories without the Legion, without the typical Metropolis distractions.
And also what I loved about the series is that it featured the artwork of Kurt Schaffenberger, a man who worked during the Golden and Bronze Age of comics and while known for “Captain Marvel” for Marvel Comics, he is best known for his work on “Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane” for DC Comics.
And while Schaffenberger worked on the final pre-crisis Superman tale, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?”, “The New Adventures of Superboy” was pretty much his final series before retiring.
So, for me growing up reading Schaffenberger’s work, “The New Adventures of Superman” was quite essential for necessary reading and looking at his artwork.
But Schaffenberg’s artwork had an oldschool feel of the Golden Age and combined with the written work of Cary Bates (whose work I enjoyed with “The Flash” in the late ’70s), these two were a wonderful team.
In issue #9 of “The New Adventures of Superman”, Clark Kent faked his death in order to protect his family from an ominous force, which he is not aware of what’s going on.
What Superboy is unaware is that in the Phantom Zone, Jax-ur, General Zod and Faor Hu-Ul have combined their powers to wipe-out the Kent’s memories of Superboy. Wanting revenge on Superboy for putting him in the Phantom Zone, they want to make him feel isolated and show him how it feels to have no family and friends.
As Smallville mourns the death of Clark Kent, his friend Pete Ross doubts his death. Pete and Clark were canoeing up the Smallville River until a geyser shot up. And when their canoe capsized, Clark drowned.
But Pete knows Clark intentionally capsized the canoe, because he found out his secret identity as Superboy while back during a camping trip. And when the canoe capsized, Superboy saved him.
As Pete and Lana Lang head to the Kent’s to give them a book belonging to Clark, Pete forgot he stuck his homework in the book. So, when he goes to retrieve it, he sees the Kent’s crying over the death of their son, which surprises Pete, because why would they be crying if Superboy is still around, meaning Clark is still alive?
Meanwhile, Superboy uses his x-ray vision from a distance, in tears of seeing his parents mourn Clark. But he can’t understand why someone robbed their memories of him being Superboy and because of that, he can’t risk their lives by revealing that he is Superboy until he finds out the truth.
But as Superboy watches from afar, the three criminals in the Phantom Zone are enjoying Superboy’s pain and his feeling of isolation.
Meanwhile, Pete does his investigation and finds a trap door which he saw Superboy used. Where will that tunnel take him?
If there is one thing about this comic book that stays in my mind, it’s the friendship between Clark Kent and Pete Ross. Pete was a character that has known Superboy/Superman’s identity and yet keeping it away from Clark that he knew.
This would play off once again in “Action Comics” issue #457 and “DC Comics Presents” issue #13.
But unfortunately in Alan Moore’s story “Whatever Happened to the Man of tomorrow?”, poor Pete is tortured into revealing Superman’s true identity and killed.
If there was anything cheesy about this story though is the fact that Zod and fellow criminals are still able to hurt Superman from the Phantom Zone. Shouldn’t be possible but it works…cheesy yes, but in an ’80s kind of way that makes it a bit more acceptable I suppose.
Still an entertaining ready nevertheless!