Deck Log Entry # 173 The Silver-Age Challenge---So, You Think You Know the Man of Steel?

It always goes this way.  I get an idea for a Silver-Age quiz because a couple of good questions pop into my head.   


Now you might be thinking that I like it when that happens because doing a quiz is an easy way to knock out a Deck Log Entry.

Yeah, right.  Let me tell you, it’d be much easier to pound out a few pages on Space Cabbie or Captain Compass and call it a column. 


Because, after the one or two questions that came to me easily, I have to think of several more to reach my requisite of ten.  And that ain’t that so easy.  First, they have to meet the “Wow, I didn’t know that!” requirement.  With all the comic-book knowledge distributed amongst you, my fellow Round Tablers, I know that all the questions are going to get correctly answered, or nearly so.  But for those of you who didn’t know every answer, or didn’t participate, but just wanted to follow along, the information revealed should be unfamiliar, but fascinating, details about familiar characters.


And then there’s the task of making the quiz Google-proof.  Search engines have taken a lot of the fun out of quizzes.  It’s difficult to come up with tidbits that somebody, somewhere, hasn’t already discussed on the Internet and can be dredged up by plugging in two or three key words.


And each quiz takes another round of questions out of play and my field of esoteric information dwindles.


Every time I post a quiz, I figure “That’s it!  I’m out of questions,” and I start leafing through old Space Cabbie stories.  But, eventually, I’ll remember some clever bit of business, and I go through the whole process all over, again.  And it always seems to happen in the summer.  Maybe it’s the heat.


As you’ve guessed, this Silver-Age quiz covers the granddaddy of super-heroes---Superman!  Every question concerns the Man of Steel or something from the Superman mythos.


You veterans know the standing rules, but for those of you encountering one of my quizzes for the first time, here they are.  The most important restriction---the one that seems to give folks the most trouble---is that only Silver-Age knowledge matters.


Now, I define the Silver Age as beginning in 1956 and ending in 1968; those are the parameters.  My questions come only from material published in that time frame, and that’s where you’ll find the only acceptable answers.  Responses based on information put out after 1968 don’t count.  And I warn you newbies up front:  that limitation is a factor in many of the questions, and it always seems to trip up someone.


The good news is, yeah, sometimes I miss stuff.  If you come up with a Silver-Age answer that suitably fulfils the question, but is different than the one I had in mind---because you remembered something I forgot or didn't know in the first place---then I’ll gladly credit you with a correct response.  But you’re going to have to cite your source.  “But I always thought . . .” answers don’t cut it.


Lastly, this particular quiz isn’t limited to just Superman and Action Comics.  Anything published by DC from 1956-68 which included the Man of Steel is fair game.


All set?  Great!  As usual, I’ll start with a lob . . . .



1.  Why did Clark (Superman) Kent most commonly wear a blue suit?


2.  Who was the featured villain in the only Brave and the Bold story in which Superman appeared after the title adopted a team-up format?


3.  Who was the first character in a Silver-Age story to mention the Superman of Earth-Two?


4.  On what television series did Clark Kent fill in as guest host because of his resemblance to its star?


5.  Superman once ran for the office of United States Senator from the state in which Metropolis was located.  Why was the Man of Steel disqualified from the race?


6.  Name the team of crime-fighters in which Superman was not only a member, but he was appointed its permanent chairman.


7.  According to DC, what was Superman’s age? 

8.  Unlike other articles from Krypton, green kryptonite did not become indestructible under the rays of a yellow sun.  So why didn't green-k meteors burn up in Earth’s atmosphere before reaching the ground?


9.  If you want to find it, go to 28 degrees North latitude/50 degrees West longitude.  What did Superman put there?


10.  What gift did Superman give to his good friend, the Batman, to commemorate their one-thousandth case together?


I’ll do the usual round-up in a couple of weeks.  Good luck!

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I'll take a stab at some of these:

1) The special chemicals that Superman applies to his Clark Kent suits to make them friction proof permanently dyes them blue.

2) MULTI-FACE from Brave & Bold #63 (D'65) "Revolt of the Super-Chicks!"

"Uh...I...I'm very fond of girls..."

3) That would be Marty Baxter, THE SMASHING SPORTSMAN from Justice League of America #55 (Au'67).

4) The Tonight Show Starrng Steve Allen.

5) Because he wasn't a natural born citizen OR his legal residence is the Fortress of Solitude. Of course, Clark could run!

6) The Club of Heroes from World's Finest Comics #89 (Jl'57) which predated the JLA.

7) I'd like to say 29 but I'll go with 35 since it's the Silver Age.

8) Green Kryptonite does not combine with oxygen so it cannot burn.

9) No idea.

10) The mystery of NIGHTMAN or just his costume from World's Finest #155 (F'66)

Heh, as I looked down your column of answers, Philip, for a moment I was worried that this quiz might have been over almost before it started.

But, although you did well, my friend---nailing six out of the ten---you still missed enough to give anyone else who wants to take a stab at it the chance to nail some bragging rights.  Particularly, you stepped right into a snare that I had laid out.

Still, for this level of quiz, sixty percent is impressive.

Like in your Legion quiz, you get me with something from Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane!

1. I believe the blue suit and the red tie were to remind the (young) reader which person in regular clothes was Superman.

5. You don't have to be a natural-born citizen to run for U.S. Senator, only President and Vice-President. You do have to be 35 years old, however (see #7).

7. 30

8. If they were large enough they could still reach the ground in a smaller size, after burning (like all other meteors).

9. Lori Lemaris' Atlantis

I suspect that you're correct, Mr. Willis, in that Clark Kent's blue suits and red ties were designed to promote easy identification by younger readers.  But there was also a reason given within the fictional conceit of the Superman mythos for why Kent usually wore a blue suit.  That's the one I was going for.

As for the age requirement for a U.S. senator, the Constitution specifies the minimum age to hold the office of United States senator is thirty---not thirty-five.  Thirty-five is the minimum age for serving as the President or Vice President of the United States.

I knew I should have checked instead of relying on memory. U.S. Senate is 30, U.S. Representative in Congress is 25.

A great quiz. And I'm on vacation, so I have time to answer.

1 The suits were treated to resist friction, and the treatment turns the cloth blue.

2. IQ, in B&B 192

3. The Smashing Sportsman, JLA 55


5. He's not born in the state (you brought this up in a previous post).

6. Club of Heroes?


8. Kryptonite is friction proof.

9. Fortress of Solitude

10. A mystery to solve, by hypnotizing Batman into becoming his own rival, Nightman.

I'm pretty sure (even without the senatorial discussion) that Superman was over 30 back in the Silver Age. The "perpetually 30" came in with Julius Schwartz' editorial era (I read an article going into this, but it was many years ago).

I've often pondered how comics have become so much more insistent on teen/early twenty something protagonists over the years, when it didn't seem to bother anyone in the Silver Age. Reed and Ben would have had to be late 30s to serve in WW II, at least, for instance, and Hal Jordan served as a pilot in the Korean War, which puts him late 20s or more.

So the Silver Age established kryptonite was friction proof, and that changing its color changed its chemical/radioactive properties. Any other unusual qualities anyone remembers? I know the B&B with Metallo established that green k is harmless to human because the particles are too small and fast to affect us, but that's way after the scope of this blog.

oops. Just realized B&B 192 is way outside parameters too. My bad.

As I recall from my hazy memory of those happy times when I read Silver Age DC comics, Superboy kept destroying his clothes and Ma Kent couldn't keep up with mending them, so he whipped up some chemicals to make them fireproof and friction-proof (and possibly bulletproof, to, at least to a limited degree.)

However, they found that when they dunked various garments in vats of the stuff, it would stain the material, except for fabrics dyed red, white, or blue -- which is why young Clark Kent always wore a white shirt, blue trousers and a red sweater, and the adult Clark Kent always wore a blue suit with a white shirt and red necktie.

An exerpt from the U.S. Constitution:

"No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen."

You don't have to be born in the state. You can move there on election day.

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