Brian Cronin has been blogging for years at Comics Should be Good, and now he's edited a brand new book of comic book trivia, Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent? To celebrate, he's created a list of 10 reasons why Superman isn't as much of a dick as you think he is.
The nifty website Superdickery.com works under a fun concept. Take all of the covers from Superman comics where Superman appears to be acting really mean and then take the covers at face value. So if Superman says, for instance, "Pat Boone and Lois are singing a new song about me! It's a great tune, but I must use all my super-powers to prevent it from being a hit," (which is exactly what he did on this cover) then they act as though Superman is actually being a….well…you know. So here are ten covers where Superman is acting like a jerk along with the explanation from within the comic for his behavior on the cover (in the aforementioned Pat Boone story, Superman actually wrote the song for them but he accidentally put clues about his secret identity into the lyrics. So he needed to stop them so he could revise the song).
1. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #114
That's not actually Superman, but Proteus, a water god who can change his appearance. He enjoys messing with mortals (all the most famous tragedies at sea, including the Titanic, were caused by him) and he chose Jimmy Olsen and Aquaman as his current prey. Superman captures him and flies him to another planet where he can't cause any more damage.
2. Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #81.
Lois' oxygen hose was tangled up and she was about to die if Superman didn't de-attach it and get her back inside the space capsule.
3. Action Comics #408.
The astronaut in question has gotten stuck in a vortex that has evolved him to the point where he has telepathic powers. He forces Superman not to save him because he wants to stay in the vortex longer. He uses his powers later to let everyone know that Superman tried to help but he wouldn't let him.
4. Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #135.
Superman is pretending to be under the control of a hypnotist to find out where he is hiding some people that he kidnapped. Superman pulls Lois Lane back from the cliff but she "dies" of a heart attack. What really happened is that she pretends to be dead while Superman uses a super-whistle to temporarily deafen the bad guy while he checks to see if he can hear a heart beat.
5. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #114.
Mr. Mxyzptlk's magic is making Superman act "wrongo" (that's actually what they call it in the comic – "wrongo").
6. Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #39.
In this "imaginary story" (which is what they would call stories that didn't happen "in continuity"), Lois marries Superman and is furious when she discovers he has kept paintings of all of his old girlfriends. As it turns out, though, they are magic paintings of all of his friends that an evil sorceress made that he was keeping safe because anything that happens to the paintings happens to the actual person. This is made apparent when their son drops a red splotch on Lana Lang's mouth on the painting which makes her shoot fire in real life. At the end of the issue, their son draws a moustache on Lois. Superman wants to kiss her anyways, because he's always been curious what it would feel like to kiss a woman with a moustache. You're revealing more than you likely intended, Superman!
7. Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #30.
Superman temporarily adopts Jimmy Olsen. But then he hears an oracle say that "Superman will destroy his son on June 17." So he had to get Jimmy to quit being his son before that time (and he didn't want to worry him by, you know, telling him the truth instead of some elaborate ruse). After he succeeds and tells Jimmy, he learns that the prophecy was about an artificial sun Superman had created awhile back. Sadly, canceled adoptions are irrecoverable.
8. Action Comics #358.
This is an elaborate framing of Superman. A volunteer steps up willing to "box" with Superman. After Superman taps him, the man dies. The man was a mob boss trying to frame Superman for murder by taking a pill that would allow him to appear dead. What he didn't know was that a rival of his gave him an untraceable poison instead, so the man actually did die. Luckily, Superman eventually learned the truth.
9. Superman #218.
This was a really disturbing example of Mr. Mxyzptlk messing with Superman. Mxyzptlk was disguised as the kid and the mother was just a creation of magic. When Superman got Mxyzptlk to say his name backwards, the woman ceased to exist, but as she vanished, her last words were "How I wish I was really your wife, Superman!" Yikes, that is messed up.
10. Action Comics #441.
This is the only "cheat" on the list. Superman never actually hits Flash in the comic. What happens is that the Weather Wizard hits Superman with a special type of lightning that causes Kryptonians to go into a murderous rage against the person next to them, which in this case was the Flash. However, it was not Superman that the Weather Wizard blasted, but Flash wearing a Superman mask (Superman was wearing Flash's costume).
Why Does Batman Carry Shark Repellent is out tomorrow.