I know that I've been a little bit cranky around here lately, so let's chill things out with some classic Silver Age silliness, shall we?
I mean, look at it--we've got Superbaby AND gorillas...this is like all my favorite DC hobbyhorses wrapped up into a big nerdgasm!!
Sadly, though, as per usual, the cover lies to us. Superbaby is NOT in this story, and at no point does he fight monkeys. Sigh. I demand my 20¢ back--with 35 years compound interest, of course.
What we do have, though, is what would have been sold to us as an Elseworlds story, had it come up 20 years later (now, of course, it's Earth-17.5). It's an imaginary story, wherein Kal-El spacecraft crashes in deepest Africa instead of Kansas. Whereupon Kal-El is raised by gorillas as one of their own. Yup, they're ripping off Tarzan, Krypton-style. Mommy ape names him Karkan, which was apparently just far enough away from Tarzan to avoid legal action by the Burroughs estate. We pick up the action when teenage Karkan discovers other..um...."hairless ones."
I won't go into great detail on this comic--if you've read or seen ANY version of Tarzan EVER, than you can write this story in your sleep, up to and including where Karkan fights wicked hunters and is eventually lured to join human civilization by the pretty white girl. Yawn...where's Bo Derek when you really need her??
Still, the issue is chock full of wondrous editorial notes, such as:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you just witnessed the invention of ape font. Still, I would have declared this the greatest comic of all time if they had had the cajones to actually do the whole story in ape language...Also:
See-far power?? It's a good thing he never describes his super-breath! Sigh...where's Grodd when you need him?
Anyway, I suppose I should just share the big payoff with you:
Mmmm, taste that derivative goodness. I warned you--not a shred of original thinking went into this issue. Still...Gorillas!! Superbaby!!! I'll probably get cranky again tomorrow, but for today, all is well in my world. Because Superbaby am king of the apes!!
Wasted potential to be the greatest story ever from Superboy #183, 1972. If only...If only...