I consider myself fortunate that when I began reading comics, DC converted several titles to 100 pages. These were goldmines for classic Golden and Silver Age gems and classics. The new lead story, not so much. World's Finest #223 (My-Ju'74) introduced the most unexpected character. In fact there was even a Warning, and I quote: "Throughout comics history, there have been shocks and sensations galore! But we guarantee that the following amazing story is so startling, we never dared revealed it before!"


We, being writer Bob Haney (you see where this is going) and editor Murray Boltinoff, and dragging artist Dick Dillin into it. It starts with a serial murderer in Gotham City, dubbed the Boomerang Killer, as he uses two-pound metal boomerangs to slay his victims. Batman, without any clues is stymied, passes by Boston Brand's grave and gets Deadman's help to track down the BK. Before this can turn into a Brave & Bold story, Morgan Edge sends Clark Kent to cover the BK news to get ratings. So Superman arrives in Gotham and saves several people from the BK who always escapes.


Batman and Deadman track down a clue that leads to a mental institution where Batman is shocked to find out that the man he's pursuing is....... (SPOILER ALERT).....Thomas Wayne......Junior! He is the older brother of Bruce who suffered a head trauma as an infant that left him brain-damaged and a danger to society.


Superman becomes suspicious that Batman is protecting the BK by destroying evidence. He confronts Bats, unaware of Deadman's prescence and learns the truth. Superman decides to nab this guy but Batman has Deadman possess the Man of Steel. Batman then tries to reason with his unstable sibling, only to get clobbered by a boomerang. Somewhere Digger Harkness is smiling!


Deadman as Superman tries to smash in, only to find out his ghostly being has negated Supes' powers. Just then someone tries to destroy the building Batman is in. Deadman leaves Superman who saves the day. Batman reveals the true villain and motive, as is his wont, and proclaims his psychotic brother a victim and pawn. That should make the families of the four people he killed feel much better.


Anyhoo, Thomas Jr escapes but under the control of Deadman who justifies it to keep him from harming others and giving him a new life!


Wow! I wonder if Denny O'Neil or Julius Schwartz knew about this! My first WF featured the Super-Sons, my second...this. Is it any wonder why I like a little continuity?


Oh, and wait, there IS a sequel!! 

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Speaking of Batman's brother... I think there was a typically wrong and off-putting reference to this storyline in Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #115.


I picked up a remaindered copy of it (of course) and read it years ago, but I recall it seemed to be about a deformed lunatic who had grown up in a secluded corner of the Batcave the whole time the Wayne's were raising Bruce and he was even lurking in the secret cave of the World's Greatest Detective all the while said great Darknight Detective was operating from said cave.


It was just so wrong....


So wrong in fact that no-one has even written a summary of it in any of the sites I just looked up to confirm the details of it.  Nor has anyone posted an image of the cover in any of the sites I'd normally use to stick it up here.


I was amazed at the time that they'd let a relaitve unknown tamper with such a core element of the Batmyth like this.  I would say this is the closest the post-crisis, pre-Morrison Batverse got to discussing Thomas Wayne.

...The 100-Page Super-Spectaculars ( Which , as I'll get to , I don't think should be called " 100-pagers " at all , but...) of the later Bronze Age certainly did have some good stuff , but for my opinion , the " true " 100-pagers of the 1972-73 period - the adless ones , w/a Nelson Bridwell-handled lettercol , " A Look Through The 100-Page Super-Spectacles " , were the REAL DEAL !!!!!!!!!!!

  DC was only abkle to maintain them at adless for so long , and I remember that , when the SHAZAM! one came out later in 1973 as the first one with ads , I was disappointed .

  I wished they'd been able to keep it going long enough for the Shaz. one to be one .

  Anyway , I feel that only " truly " 100-page comics - 96-page comics with NO ADS , and that should go for the four slick/cover pages as well - should be refered to as " 100-pagers " .

  But that's just me I gues...???

Phillip Portelli wrote:

"Oh and I guess Superman told the world about these future heroes. Oddly enough, he always lamented about Mon-El being trapped in the Phantom Zone and yet he had a statuette of him as a Legion member from his Superboy days!"


I don't remember Superman being too morose about Mon-El.  SuperBOY, yes.  But in any case, Superboy was under a post-hypnotic suggestion, implanted by Supergirl*, which made him forget significant details of the future when he returned to his time, in case he ever accidentally learned of his parents' death, for example.  I'm sure that whenever Superboy returned to the past, he was aware that Mon-El would indeed be freed from the Phantom Zone to join the Legion in the 30th century... but he forgot exactly how and when, and so continued to try to find a way to release him (since it might be his own method that DID free Mon-El eventually.)





*Hi Commander!

Possibly but Superman did encounter Mon-El in the Phantom Zone. Did he remember his Legion missions with his "older brother"? Twice in Adventure Comics #369-370 (Ju-Jl'68) and Superboy and the Legion #208 (Ap'75) Mon-El travelled from the 30th century to Smallville of Superboy's time while his contemporary self was still in the Zone, giving him the opportunity to see himself! Even in the first Composite Superman story, Mon could have seen his statuette with the Legion and learn that they were from 1,000 years in the future!

Wouldn't be the highlight of my day!!

Mon-El has always been the Gordian Knot when it came to time-travel in the Superman mythos.


At first, the idea of Superboy regularly zooming 1,030 or so years into the future to have adventures with his Legion buddies was a peachy idea.


Then, after the Boy of Steel grew up to be Superman, his cousin Supergirl was made a member of the Legion---a Legion contemporaneous to the one that Superboy palled around with.  A tricky situation, but dodgable, as long as the super-cousins remained separated by stories.


Then Uncle Mort overturned the apple cart by having Superboy and Supergirl show up at the same time in the same story.  "The Stolen Super-Powers", from Adventure Comics # 304 (Jan., 1963), to be precise.  Now you have a problem.  Superman was shocked as all get out to see Supergirl arrive on Earth.  But, how could that be when, as Superboy, he had already met the Girl of Steel during Legion business? 


When reader Jerry Weissman, of Providence, Rhode Island, asked that very question, in the Legion Outpost lettercol in Adventure Comics # 333 (Jun., 1965), Weisinger had an explantion ready to go---thus, begat the existence of the post-hypnotic command implanted into Superboy's brain by Supergirl.  Whenever the Boy of Steel learnt anything specific to his future life while on Legion missions in the thirtieth century, the post-hypnotic command caused him to forget those details whenever he returned to his own time.


It seemed like a simple, pat solution.


Except Mort forgot a little detail himself---Mon-El.


Mon-El arrived on Earth in Superboy's time, and after being inadvertently exposed to lead, Mon was cast into the Phantom Zone by the Boy of Steel to save his life.  At the end of that story, we saw Superboy swear to find a cure for the deadly lead poisoning afflicting Mon and then release him from the Zone.


Periodically, Mon-El would pop up in various Superman family titles, rendering whatever assistance he could from the Zone to the now-grown-up Superman or Jimmy Olsen or Lois Lane or Supergirl.  Often, these scenes would bring about the reassertion of Superman's promise to cure Mon and get him out of the Zone.  ("Yeah, I'll get right on that---right after I take care of that 'enlarge Kandor' thing.") 


The spanner wrench in the reduction gear, though, was the Legion story in Adventure Comics # 305 (Feb., 1963).  This is the tale in which Mon-El is permanently released from the Phantom Zone, over a millenium after he went in, when Brainiac 5 develops a permanent cure for Mon's lead poisoning.


This is where the whole post-hypnotic-command-in-Superboy's-brain thing gets ricketty.


If one assumes that Mon-El's past history with Superboy is just enough of a personal detail that the Boy of Steel forgets that Mon gets cured and freed in A.D. 2963 whenever he returns to twentieth-century Smallville, that allows for his frequent reflexions, as boy and man, that "someday I just gotta find that cure for Mon-El and get him out of that intangible hell I put him in."


But it doesn't make sense with regard to other events, such as the ones you pointed out, Philip.  If the post-hypnotic command applied to Superboy's memory of Mon-El and the Legion, then, why wasn't he confused by a Mon-El figure being among the Legion statuettes kept in the Kent basement, seen in Adventure Comics # 350 (Nov., 1966)? Or by Mon's presence among the (different) statuettes of the Legion on display in the Superman Museum, in both Composite Superman tales?


Now, one could rationalise those things away.  Superboy knows that the post-hypnotic command makes him forget details specific to him whenever he gets home and he has learnt to accept those gaps in his memory, trusting that the Legion knows what its doing.  (That was the Weisinger universe, all right.)  So when he saw the Mon-El statuettes, he might have figured, "Beats the hell out of me why a figurine of Mon-El is there, but it probably makes sense when I'm in the future."


But that rationalisation doesn't hold up under the events of Adventure Comics # 369-70.  When Superboy and Mon-El and Duo Damsel and Shadow Lass travelled back to 1930's Smallville, why wasn't the Boy of Steel's first reaction:  "Mon, how the blazes did you get out of the Zone?  And why aren't you . . . er . . . dead?"


O.K., sure, the other Legionnaires might have explained it to him, between panels of that story.  That would mean that Superboy would then have twentieth-century-gained knowledge that Mon wouldn't be released from the Zone until the thirtieth century.  The post-hypnotic command wouldn't apply.


And even if it did, for most of the events of Adventure Comics # 369-70, Mon-El resided in the Kent household, under his old identity of Bob Cobb.  Ma and Pa Kent never got any post-hypnotic commands.  So, let's say, a week after the Legionnaires defeated Mordru, Clark finishes Sunday dinner and tells his parents, "See you later, mom and dad.  I'll be down in my basement lab working on a cure for Mon-El's lead poisoning."


"Er---why, son?"


And if the post-hypnotic command didn't apply to Superboy's memories of Mon-El in the future---he knew darn well that Mon wouldn't get out until the thirtieth century---then why was he, as an adult, so frequently thinking "I need to find a cure for Mon-El's lead poisoning"?


Sure, the real reason is certain stories were written before other, contradictory ones were.  But the whole point in an explanation like "Supergirl's post-hypnotic suggestion" was it was designed to reconcile those inadvertent discrepancies.


And then there's Mon-El himself.  Sure, maybe one could say that, when future Mon appeared on twentieth-century Earth in Adventure Comics # 369-70, the present-day Mon, the one in the Phantom Zone, just happened to be watching something else.  But that doesn't explain another thing.  Occasionally, a Legion story would show Mon-El moaning and groaning over all of his friends and family from the twentieth century being dead and gone.  Adventure Comics # 356 (May, 1967), as one case in point.


Again, why?


As we saw in Adventure Comics # 369-70,  the twentieth-century Mon-El being in the Phantom Zone gets him around that pesky DC time-travel rule that states that one becomes an invisible, intangible phantom whenever he travels within his own lifetime.  Mon-El could zoom back to the twentieth century any time he wanted and hang out with his family and his old buds.


No, Mon-El was one of those situations that Mort hoped we wouldn't look too closely at.



You set up more problems that I saw, Commander! Yes perhaps while Legion Mon-El was in the 20th century, Ghost Mon-El was watching Daxam or Durla or Paradise Island and never saw himself. But not only the Kents knew Mon was a Legionnaire, so did Lana Lang and Pete Ross. And from Superman's time, Supergirl and Jimmy Olsen knew as well! In fact Mon-El was disguised as the alien villain in the 20th century, when Jimmy was made an honorary Legionnaire! Even Batman and Robin knew about the Legion!

Maybe Supergirl gave Superman another post-hypnotic suggestion to not think about Mon-El too much or that his statuette really represented his look-alike descendent (this was the Silver Age, y'know!).

Now I wonder if Mon-El could have been a Hero of Two Times!

While I first started reading comic books around this time and loved the 100 pagers too, unfortunately my first issue of World's Finest was the team up with Gold of the Metal Men.

With that said, especially with all the cosmic resets DC has had over the last couple of decades, I'm surprised no villain (especially HUSH!) has tried to pretend to be the "love child" of Thomas Wayne. Like maybe with some lady from before he met and married Bruce's mother. 

...According to Superman Through The Ages , the first Mon-El , Superboy , story is " word for word almost identical " to a story called " Superman's Lost Brother " from SUPERMAN #80 !!!!!!!!!!!

Except that Halk Kar, the alleged older brother, came from the planet Thoron which was smaller than Krypton but larger than Earth. Therefore while he possesed powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man, Halk was nowhere near as strong as Superman! And there was no weakness to lead, Superman didn't think Halk Kar was trying to deceive him and no trip to the Phantom Zone!

Some have suggested this story took place on Earth-Two!

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...According to Superman Through The Ages , the first Mon-El , Superboy , story is " word for word almost identical " to a story called " Superman's Lost Brother " from SUPERMAN #80 !!!!!!!!!!!
Philip Portelli said:

Except that Halk Kar, the alleged older brother, came from the planet Thoron which was smaller than Krypton but larger than Earth. Therefore while he possesed powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man, Halk was nowhere near as strong as Superman! And there was no weakness to lead, Superman didn't think Halk Kar was trying to deceive him and no trip to the Phantom Zone!

Some have suggested this story took place on Earth-Two.

I knew there was a reason I liked having you on this site, Philip!  :)


You're spot-on about the fact that the two stories aren't identical, and I'm glad you pointed it out.


Too many sources insist that "Superboy's Big Brother", from Superboy # 98 (Jun., 1961) is a pure re-write of "Superman's Lost Brother", from Superman # 80 (Jan.-Feb., 1953).  It's not.  To be sure, the initial sequences which set the stage---when Superman discovers Halk Kar, in the earlier tale, and when Superboy finds Mon-El, in the later one---are nearly identical, in depiction and dialogue.  No question about that.


But, from that same premise, each story takes off in a different direction, with nothing in common to each other, except for the explanation of why Superboy/man mistook the new arrival as his big brother.


Good catch, friend!

No, Mon-El was one of those situations that Mort hoped we wouldn't look too closely at.

Frankly, I don't think Mort looked all that closely at these situations himself.

The "Dark Shadows Ripple Effect" I once proposed (in a nutshell, that frequent trips in time cause "ripples" which in turn create slightly different realities that the travelers themselves are not even aware of) may apply in the cases discussed above.

Thanks, Commander! Actually I read the Halk Kar story when it was reprinted in the 80 Page Giant Superman #222 (Ja'70) which I got from a dealer at a flea market when I was 9 or 10. It was subtitled "Superman's Secret Family"* and that was waaay before I ever read Superboy #89 (Mon-El's first appearance).** Mon-El was the only hero to properly join the Legion that wasn't specifically created for the Legion, save for the Super-Cousins.

I can't remember if it was you or Mister Silver Age who brought up the point that Mon really got the shaft from Superboy! The quick version of events:

  • Mon crashes on Earth in a spaceship--has no memory
  • what he does have are a letter and medallion inscribed in Kryptonese from his parents, Jor-El & Lara who it must be noted left no such objects with Baby Kal!
  • Superboy comes up with a confusing, convoluted and overly complex rationalization to "prove" that Mon is his older brother, who seems to just be going along with it.
  • Along with another super-wrong judgement call, Superboy is overjoyed about his new sibling!
  • Also Mon says he's "at least 18" and is a few inches taller than the Boy of Steel!
  • The Kent family sets Mon up as travelling brush salesman, Bob Cobb (no, really!) and give him a truly awful plaid suit!
  • The bloom comes off the rose pretty quickly as Clark notices, somehow, that Mon's belt-buckle is made from non-Kryptonian metal!
  • Immediately Superboy suspects Mon, so that night he exposes him to Green Kryptonite which has no effect on him!
  • Superboy is furious that Mon has deceived him by going along with the conclusion that he himself came up with! Remember Mon was still saying that he had no memory of his previous life!
  • Mon appears to flirt with Lana, furthering Superboy's misgivings!
  • Superboy sets up a complex trap to prove his suspicions, on an asteroid, using lead balls painted like green K meteors!
  • Instead of catching him in his "lie", the lead is poisonous to Mon but the pain restores his memory and he tells Superboy who he is, how he met Superboy's parents, why, if Superboy's brains were dynamite, he couldn't blow his nose and how he forgot to sign his "If-Dying-Do-NOT-Put-Me-In-The-Phantom-Zone-For-A-Thousand-Years!" clause on his life insurance policy!
  • Superboy can't help but feel responsible for this, yet he vows to find a cure "some day when I grow up to be Superman!" and stops doing irresponsible things like this!

Strangely Mon still has warm feelings for our Kryptonian Kolumbo, I tell you the man's a saint!

* Other stories were "The Sweetheart Superman Forgot!" with Sally Selwyn and "Jim White" and "The Sons of Superman!", an imaginery story featuring Jor-El II and Kal-El II, who became briefly the new Nightwing and Flamebird. Both great stories!

** #98 was the debut of Ultra Boy with its amazing Curt Swan cover and artwork. I'm very fond about this one because, at one point, it was the oldest book in my then small collection!


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