Best 1953 Adventures (6)
July 26, 2018
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1953 adventure novels. Happy 65th anniversary!
Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood‘s satirical superhero comic “Superduperman.”
MAD, the influential satirical magazine founded in 1952 by Harvey Kurtzman and William Gaines, was launched as a comic book written and edited by Kurtzman, and featuring illustrations by Kurtzman, Wally Wood, and the equally talented Will Elder, Jack Davis, and John Severin… but it was not, at first, a hit with readers. This changed after issue #4 (April–May 1953), thanks to “Superduperman,” which viciously parodied the popular comic-book superheroes Superman and Captain Marvel. Daily Planet reporter Clark Kent becomes Clark Bent, an emaciated dogsbody at the Daily Dirt who uses his x-ray vision to peek into the ladies’ powder room; Captain “Marbles,” meanwhile, has given up fighting crime in order to prey upon ordinary mortals — whom he has come to despise. Intrepid reporter Lois “Pain” isn’t into Superduperman — he’s a creep! MAD, as America would know and love it, was born.
Fun facts: Read it here. In a fine example of the first-time-as-comedy-second-time-as-tragedy trope, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons have credited this story with inspiring their 1986–1987 super-antihero comic Watchmen: “We wanted to take ‘Superduperman’ 180 degrees — dramatic, instead of comedic.”
JOSH GLENN’S *BEST ADVENTURES* LISTS: BEST 250 ADVENTURES OF THE 20TH CENTURY | 100 BEST OUGHTS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST RADIUM AGE (PROTO-)SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TEENS ADVENTURES | 100 BEST TWENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST THIRTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST GOLDEN AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FORTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST FIFTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SIXTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST NEW WAVE SCI FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST SEVENTIES ADVENTURES | 100 BEST EIGHTIES ADVENTURES | 75 BEST DIAMOND AGE SCI-FI ADVENTURES | 100 BEST NINETIES ADVENTURES (in progress) | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | NOTES ON 21st-CENTURY ADVENTURES.