Story. "Hammer Man" The Comic Book Commando has never fought anything so strange. If only he could get some rest.
"Look at this, Cartoon!"
Johnnie's fairy tale princess, made of luminous light and glowing flesh, walked into the living room, her feet hammering the floor with waves of light as she crossed the wooden floor and its single large rug that hugged the furniture in the center. She was dressed to the hilt, glowing necklace, earrings of dazzling diamond moons, sparkling rings that made her hands light up and a smile that would make any teenage boy's genes go from double helix to triple in the blink of an eye.
She sat next to him on the arm of his chair, pushing her golden hair back from her eyes so she could look at what he was reading. Her golden eyes smiled. "Hammer Man. Never heard of him."
For a brief moment he hadn't either as the touch of her skin on his arm caused his neuron receptors to begin working overtime hollering, "What are you waiting for you, dolt? She loves you, you love her. What more do you need?"
"Me either." He admitted, ignoring the pleading of his body. After all he wasn't a jerk, and he didn't believe that sex solved everything. Usually it just complicated things, not made them better. His blonde hair was dropping limply across his shoulders from the shower he had gotten out of about fifteen minutes ago. A cold shower. All the way cold. And during winter time that was skin turning blue cold. "He was doing a lot of those kinds of showers lately." He sighed inwardly.
His blue eyes caught hers for a moment and the obvious love between them flamed for a moment.
He caught his breath and shifted his six foot frame slightly to accommodate the waves of hormones that threatened to overwhelm him. Again! He loved her. She lived in his apartment. Mostly. But he had never...you know. It wasn't honorable. And she would probably have turned him into a toad if he had tried. He wanted to think. Sometimes he didn't know if he was just in denial, or truly wanted the best for her, or both, or...the thoughts were too confusing, like most of those kinds of thoughts are to the young and as yet unwise in the matters of love, so he killed them. Gently.
Sometimes when he woke up before her, he would lie on his side, just watching her breath, her eyelids fluttering as she visited whatever world cartoons went to in their sleep. He would see her chest rising and falling gently like soft surf on a sunny beach. His heart would stop sometimes during those moments and he would catch his breath and then he would feel his eyes starting to water. Usually, she didn't wake up when he felt like that. She must have known he was watching her, she was pretty sensitive to that, but she gave him his moments of introspection and pride and kept him closer to her by doing so. Easier to catch a honey bee with honey than with sour grapes.
Yeah. They bundled. Slept side by side, arms wrapped around each other at night. Sometimes. When they weren't battling zombies, werewolves, vampires, mad doctors, aliens and other assorted human and inhuman beasties, but they did sleep...mostly on the go. Him on a bus to school or work, and her...he wasn't really sure if she ever really slept. He would open his eyes up at night sometimes to check if she was really asleep or not and she would either be gone, or if she was still next to him, her eyes would be closed. But he knew her well enough by now to know she could also be doing something else.
You see, Cartoon, was a Princess from the universe of cartoons. It was a strip of infinite land that bordered our own universe. It had few contact points. One of them had been the burning high rise where Johnnie had rescued her when she was pretending to be a small child so she could test his courage. He had passed the test and he had been granted enormous comic book powers. One day she had sat up beside him in bed, taken his trembling hands...because he still had to fight those hormones, remember?
She told him. "Johnnie, you're now the Comic Book Commando. Fighting for good against evil."
He had almost died on that bed, because he had burst into laughter. Not a good thing when you're seated next to a woman who can turn you into a froggie, or even just slice your head off with her magical sword which she could pull out of the air anytime she needed it. Nice trick he had thought at the time, until she looked ready to use it on him.
Then she had calmed down. After he had promised to cook breakfast for her the next morning and make her favorite waffles and fries. For some reason she loved fries and waffles. Don't ask him where she got that from, but he suspected it was from reading comic books about his world. And yeah, right her people wrote stories about this world and the heroes here. He didn't think such existed much anymore, but evidently her world had a sliding scale of values when it came to heroes that accommodate the earth's sometimes sparse treasury of such.
"Okay! Okay!" He had hollered, clamoring to get her temper down into the more arctic regions, so he could survive the night. "I'm sorry. Look, let me make it up to you. Waffles and fries for breakfast!"
Her sword had wavered over her head, from which it would have descended and struck his head off. (Though she swore afterwards she had only been pretending; he didn't believe it for a minute. No one's that perfect an actor! ) "Really?"
She let the sword slide back into her dimension and slid closer to him. "I'm just being honest with you, Johnnie. You know I can't lie." She told him sweetly.
He looked into her eyes and smiled. But inside he was thinking, right and I'm a horse in sheep's clothing. Everyone lies about something! He had thought.
Immediately the sword reappeared.
"You read his thoughts!" He snapped at her. "That's so...so..."
The sword wavered over his head.
"Scary." He finally said.
She burst into laughter and the sword vanished again. She threw her arms around his shoulders and hugged him close. He was reluctant at first. The hormone thing you know, but it's not good to say no to a Princess, especially one with a magical sword that could appear and take your head off at any given moment.
But getting back to the Hammer Man. He was really cool. A great red suit with blue and white stars on the shoulders, shoes that were solid blue with white stars on their tips, and a great big hammer, even bigger than Thor's. As a matter of fact the hammer could be any size you wanted. He was on page twenty and he had already clobbered a skyscraper with it to get at aliens who had taken it over and killed everyone inside. Just like that! BOOM! The building was history and a cloud of dust dirtying the skies of Chicago.
Did he mention that he was a Chicagoan? That's right. And an ex-policeman who had tried to stop corruption in his department and been framed for the very thing he was exposing. How's that for turnaround. Then one night he went camping out in the woods and a nuclear tipped missile accidentally strayed from an overflying Air Force jet. It had been struck by lightning. Yeah. Big storm. So he wasn't having much fun anyway, except for the display of lightning in the sky. So when he saw the incredibly huge object coming down from the sky at him, he had this hammer in his hands. It was made of a new alloy and he was testing it on the firewood to see if he could split logs with it. Didn't work, but as luck would have it, a lightning bolt struck the nuclear missile. It detonated. But not in the usual way. Instead of exploding outwards, it exploded inwards, but even though he wasn't smashed to smithereens and turned radioactive at least, the energies released from the inversion...for some crazy kind of comic book logic...the energies lanced into his hammer.
Of course he was holding tight to the hammer, and voila, Hammer Man was born.
Cartoon looked at him and shook her head. "Johnnie, you and your comic books."
"Yeah. And don't forget you wouldn't be here if I didn't love them, light bulb!"
It was a term of endearment He had for her. She frowned. She didn't like the implications of being a light bulb, because they can be switched off. "And He would be missing out on the most beautiful, smart Princess in this or any other universe...not to mention He would not be a..." He raised his voice in an imitation of the way TV announces heroes..."THE COMIC BOOK COMMANDO!"
He leaped to his feet and held his hand up, the Hammer of the comic book appearing in it.
Cartoon almost burst her gut with laughter.
He set the Hammer down and gave her a hug. She leaned into me. "Someday."
"Yeah." He sighed.
Guess I didn't tell you either that if we were to have...you know...her connection to our world would be broken. Then kaboom, no more Princess. Gone. Forever. And me, a lonely Comic Book Commando. Very lonely.
He felt a tear wetting his eyes.
She pressed it away gently with her finger. "What's wrong?"
"This is going to sound stupid and silly."
"And everything else doesn't?" She laughed.
He smiled. And just like that she forgot about what he might have told her and he forgot about what was causing his eyes to get moist.
The front door flung open and Laurie burst inside. She's his brunette friend he hangs with sometimes and plays music with. She's got one of me for a boyfriend too, a clone of me. I made two extras of me for her and Koomay. Aren't I nice? She finally discovered it, but she didn't care. He was me, even if cloned. And that was enough. Or at least that's what I hoped when she and Cartoon hung out together without me. God only knows what they said behind his back, which might explain why his ears burned sometimes when they were together and turned red hot when they were with Koomay as well.
Koomay is the other woman in his life at work.
"Johnnie! Come quickly!" She urged in alarm.
"You're about to die!"
He gave Cartoon a blank look, grabbed the Hammer that stay was manifested on his chair and ran after her, Cartoon on his heels, manifesting her sword as she flew along behind me. The Landlord managed to come out of an apartment at that moment, a bottle of Jim Bean in his right hand. He was swigging on it, when we rushed by.
Had he taken the time to look back he would have seen the Landlord empty the bottle, and go back into the room and slam the door. No doubt to sleep off what he thought was hallucinations. He took a moment to worry about the guy, and maybe even pity him, but not much longer. The man was a snoop and a Lech, and if he wasn't also nice in other ways, he would've sent him packing into another dimension or something the way he treated the women sometimes.
Laurie threw open her front door and he ran inside. My clone double was on the floor and a very odd creature was about to swallow him. He was almost all the way inside its throat, when he dashed in. The monster rolled several eyestalks around to look at me, sprouted a mouth with lots of teeth and said. "You're inside me!"
"Not really." He said with a smile, then grew his hammer to the size of a small horse and smashed its tail. My duplicate shot from its mouth and collided into the wall. Laurie ran to him as the creature rolled over to give me its full attention.
"Regards from hell." It bubbled in a strange, wet voice to me.
"Regards from heaven." He shot back at it, then increased the density of his hammer, made it with sharp, wicked little points on its head, then smashed it in the face.
The face sank inwards, but then popped out again.
Cartoon raced in front of me and sliced the head with her sword. The sword passed through it, and then exited the other side. The head squirted some green ichors several moments, but didn't tumble.
"Nice try, chickie!" The monster told Cartoon then slammed her with one its tentacle eyeballs. She flew against the wall, stunned.
He looked at his hammer and thought for a moment, what if...?
The creature leaped at me.
He shoved the hammer down its throat and told it what to do.
The creature's eyes shone with triumph for a moment, thinking it was going to swallow me and the hammer, and then the hammer did its thing. It began doubling in size, over and over and over.
He grabbed his duplicate from the floor where he lay and Cartoon and Laurie helped me carry him outside as the hammer did its job. Laurie shut the door.
The Landlord chose that moment to come out of his door again.
He saw the second Johnnie between him, Laurie and Cartoon...Cartoon's glowing skin, which was bright enough to light the entire complex, now that she was emotionally supercharged...and the sword in her hand.
He looked at the second bottle of Jim Bean in his hands, shook his head, and then went back inside. Several moments later we heard a bottle smash against the door of the apartment.
We paused to see if he would come out again. He didn't.
There was a WHOOMPH sound from inside Laurie's apartment and she opened the door to look inside. There was monster all over the floor, ceiling and walls. She groaned. "It'll take me days to clean the place up!"
The Johnnie in our arms stirred, and we helped him stand up. He gave me a quick glance, winked, and then took Laurie by the hand and inside. "Don't worry, honey baby, I'll clean it up for you. He blinked at his hands and they became mop heads gleaming with soap.
Cartoon shut their door and turned to me, after her flaming sword vanished.
She gave him a big kiss and a hug, and all their differences dissolved once more into the heap of memories none of us really want to reinvestigate when it comes to people we truly love with our heart and soul. He could feel her energies melding with his own and while maybe not exactly human as we understand it, it was something he loved and cared deeply about. Something he lived for and would....die for if necessary.
The Comic Book Commando was once more just a normal teen, walking beside the best looking girl this side of the universe. Now wasn't he just the luckiest of guys!
Working with some new software.
I'm going to work on creating podcasts of my work in a serialized manner. No more than fifteen minutes, because my voice won't last much longer than that and it's going to be unedited.
Hopefully, the first one or two will be ready for tomorrow.
Looks like fun for me. Fun for you too I think.
Meanwhile, don't take this video podcast too seriously. I sure didn't.
Rock and Roll the Comic Books."A Cartoon Story." by John Pirillo. "Love is sometimes a glow in the dark."
Rock and Roll the Comic Books.
"A Cartoon Story."
By John Pirillo.
It was a fierce battle, and no one was going to back off. No one was going to give an inch without getting blood in return. Lots of blood.
Trouble was, it was all from his picking fingers. They hurt like someone was cutting off a piece at a time and were starting to bleed. But he was relentless; he couldn't give up, because the fate of a world depended on him.
He was the Rock and Roll King and the beautiful Princess beside him, Cartoon, was the woman of his heart and soul and he couldn't let her be swept away by the hordes of Zombie guitar players who were hungry for her body, as well as her soul.
So he kept on picking at his electric guitar, his Jimmie Hendrix afro, flagging in the breeze of all the megawatt amps behind him and the ones behind the Zombie King, who was rocking on from the other side of the zombie horde, using the power of his rock and roll to stir them, to move them, to guide and rush them for he and Cartoon.
Johnnie had fought a lot of weird battles lately, but this had to take the cake for the most blood he'd shit.
"Oh shitzleputt!" He cursed as one of his picking fingers got so greasy from blood that he made a bad note.
That gave the zombie horde all the time they needed to reach the platform he and Cartoon were on. She took out her drum sticks, the ones he had gotten from the comic book Rock and Roll Stars and began poking at the closer ones. Each poke took out a zombie, but for every zombie she poked and annihilated into a cloud of gray and blood colored dust, came another one, just as eager as the last to take a bite of her tender flesh and anoint her into zombie hood.
"You won't win this battle, Johnnie!" Screamed the Zombie King. "My Mojo is greater than yours."
"You have no Mojo." He hollered back, staring down the monster. "Because you don't even know what it means, you son of a dog bone!"
The Zombie King snarled, revealed all twenty of his scary teeth, each one of them capped with gold and diamond studs. "Pretend you're tough, but admit it, this time I win!"
Johnnie reached into his back pocket where he kept the comic with the Rock and Roll King. Issue Number Ten, where the Rock and Roll King had a blaster for a right hand that could knock space ship out of the sky. He hurriedly thumbed through the pages, feeling the energies grow. He was getting better at this.
Then he started to lose the energies, until Cartoon put both her hands over his and gave him that smile that would knock the socks off a space suited astronaut.
His right hand flew up, now a cartoon blaster and he began firing into the horde. Zombie parts flew into the air, their snarls continuing as their heads separated from their bodies, then there was only one left. The Zombie King.
The Zombie King put down the bone guitar he had been playing and then stomped across the space of the auditorium towards them.
"I don't need hordes to finish you!"
Johnnie let the blaster hand dissolve back into his good right hand again, then pulled Cartoon against him.
He felt her warmth suffusing his body for a moment, and then said. "You don't have to stay with me."
"I'm not going anywhere without you. If you die, I'd rather not live!"
"But that monster won't let you die! He'll suck your flesh dry for centuries!"
"Just let him try!" She cursed, her eyes flashing with fury, and then turned to join me in the battle. We raised our silver swords tipped with Twinkies. They were deadly. The only way you can slice and dice a living zombie like the Zombie King is with one of those. It may sound a bit Disney, but it's true. They hate Twinkies. It separates them from their bones, and dissolves them back into dust ands them off to LaLa Land where they have to face the karmas they've created by their horrible deeds.
Oh yes, and in case you were wondering, not all zombies are made that way. Some choose to be that way. They're the worst and they're usually led by a scoundrel like the Zombie King. God knows I'd dissolved him a hundred times by now, but his hatred for me and humanity was so strong that he kept coming back from the dead.
Some day, when...if...I had the time, I'd have to do some research to see why he gets away with dying so many times and coming back. Was another human re-energizing raising him, a black sorcerer type like those from Doctor Strange? Speaking of which, I'd forgot to close up my Doctor Strange back home. I just hoped Elizabeth didn't sneak in and start reading it; it might let loose a horde of different monsters for me to take out.
The Zombie King leaped to the stage I and Cartoon stood upon and raised two swords over our heads. "Which to die first. Eeny, Meeny, Miney."
Cartoon and I both swung our Twinkie swords at the same time, one beheading him, the other slicing his body from neck to abdomen.
His head clunked to the platform we stood on, making a kind of squishy sound, then his eyes looked up at us. "Oops!"
Then the head the halved skeleton all made a powder puff explosion and vanished into gray and red dust.
Cartoon and I choked on it for a moment, and then took a deep breath as we leaped off the platform, which dissolved, along with all the remains of the battlefield. The local Wal-Mart store. Most of the patrons had scurried out as fast as they could when the zombies came a biting.
We exited the huge store, and then hugged.
"One of these days we really gotta get a life." I told her.
"You do." She said, smiling as she raised her lips for a kiss. "Me!"
We kissed. Oh, did I tell you that I really, really love this girl. Even if she is a cartoon that glows in the dark. Sigh!
Indigestion, A Cartoon Story, by John Pirillo. How do you defeat a monster with an appetite bigger than its stomach?
A Day in the Life "A Cartoon Story" By John Pirillo Being a hero isn't all it's cracked up to be. Just ask the Comic Book Commando!
A Day in the Life
A Cartoon Story
By John Pirillo
He stood beneath the star studded skies, Cartoon to his left and a strange cactus with big brown eyes on his right that held a cactus spear. They were watching the horizon for signs of the approaching enemy. "I don't like it." Johnnie finally spoke after the building silence.
"Who does?" The gruff sounding cactus shot back in an annoyed tone. "No one likes to pull up their roots in the middle of the night to fight Karnies."
Cartoon glanced at the cactus. "Spine, they're your own people."
"Yeah. But their spines go the wrong way."
Johnnie almost laughed, but then he remembered where he wasn't. He wasn't on Earth. He was in the land of Cartoon, her domain. A world caught in a universe where all the laws of man were turned upside down by the fourth law of cartoonism, "That which man has imagined. Exists. That which man has not imagined. Exists. Put them together and you have our world. Everything is real, including a few improbabilities and impossibilities."
How in the world had he, just a simple teenager wanting to finish college, with a part time janitorial job end up being a Comic Book Commando with the power to command the powers of every comic that had ever existed? Simple. He had saved a young girl from a horrible fire and the horrible girl turned out to be Cartoon. She had triggered the magic within him that gave him the powers.
It was something no one, including himself, ever talked about, but soon he would have to. The dead kept lining up to be killed again, werewolves, vampires, things of unimaginable ferocity, prehistoric creatures...you name it...kept trying to put a nick in his shiny new armor. He really, really hated that.
Spine gave him a roguish smile. "You understand laddy?"
"Boy, do I."
Cartoon glared at him.
He shrugged. She was the Princess, not him. It was her job to smooth the feathers of the disgruntled. His job was to put them three under if they were evil and mean. Simple fact. He was the hero.
She elbowed him.
The hint of arrogance blew out of him like air from a balloon. "Why'd you do that?"
"Third Law of Cartoonism." She recited. "No hero shall gloat over the misfortune of others, nor shall he ever disagree with the Princess!"
He gave her a blank look for a moment, and then broke into laughter. Bad move. She elbowed him again. "Look, Cartoon, I'm not your subject. I'm just here to help."
Spine nodded. "He has a valid point, My Lady. Best not to upset him. We need all the heroes we can get right now. Especially now. They're coming and coming fast."
Johnnie surveyed the horizon, but the nearest of the cactus army was still about the same distance away. "If that's fast, then I'm a Westinghouse Washing Machine."
Spine gave him a suspicious look. "You're making fun of me."
"Not really." He lied, reminded again of how sharp Spine's, ah, spines were.
Cartoon gave him a knowing look, but said nothing.
"So what's the plan?" Johnnie asked Spine.
"We hurry down this hill and ambush them."
Spine began moving, a fraction of an inch at a time, as if he were attempting to move, but couldn't get past slow motion.
"Nope. Don't think so." Johnnie said.
"Then what?" Spine asked, miffed at Johnnie's refusal to run down the hill.
"How about I run down the hill and ambush them?"
Before Spine could reply, Cartoon spoke up. "Better yet, how about if we don't ambush them, but just slow them down." She bent closer and whispered in his ear. "We build a trench in their path and it'll take those years to get past it. Maybe by then they'll have changed their mind about war."
"By then we probably won't even be alive." Johnnie quipped, then instantly regretted it as he got a look from both Spine and Cartoon that boded nothing good for him.
"Okay. Your way, Princess."
Johnnie unslung his backpack and reached into it. He rifled through the comic books in their plastic protections and finally stopped on one. "Got it! Give me a minute!"
He closed his eyes and imagined his right hand changing.
"Johnnie!" Shrieked Cartoon.
He opened his eyes and his right hand had turned into an electric pump shovel capable of digging a shovel load a second. Thick wire cables ran up from his shovel hand into his wrist and arms. He grinned. "Back in a sec!"
He winked at Spine and ran down the hill. Awkwardly. Holding a comic book in one hand and a hundred pound electric pump shovel in the other made for a bit of lack of balance. He fell forward at the bottom.
"I'll help you, laddy." Spine called out from above, and fractionally moved.
"I've got it!" Johnnie said, getting back to his feet. He shoved the comic book into his rear pocket, and then turned his other hand into an electric pump shovel. He almost fell again.
"I'm almost there, laddy!" Spine hollered enthusiastically.
Johnnie looked back. Spine didn't look as if he had moved an inch yet.
Johnnie eyed the plain before him. "Mmmmm." He muttered, realizing he had a long stretch to dig, even with electric pump shovel hands. The next moment his legs turned into motorized wheels and he began moving swiftly along the stretch of land, shoveling sand and rock aside, until within a few minutes he had dug a trench about ten inches deep and about a dozen miles long. He undid his electric pump shovel hands and motorized wheel feet and turned his legs into a huge water borer. The tube struck the earth and pounded into it, directly in the trench. In about ten minutes he heard water gurgling and it began to trickle up and around his water borer legs.
He made his legs...legs again and stepped out of the gathering water.
He ran back up the hill and stopped beside Spine. "It's okay; you don't have to run anymore."
"Thanks laddy." Spine said, gasping for air. "All this physical exercise is running me down a bit."
Johnnie smiled at Cartoon.
"Let's go home." She suggested.
She closed her eyes and a bubble of light opened before them. She gently lifted Spine by his arms, which had no spines, and stepped into the light. He followed.
"Libraries closing." The Librarian told him.
He jerked awake.
His head had fallen across the book he had been reading. Arizona Desert Explained. He yawned, stretched, then went to a book stack and placed the book there.
"Find what you needed?" The Librarian asked him.
"Not really. I'll be back tomorrow."
"We open at noon tomorrow." She reminded him, pushing the stack of books on the cart they lay upon towards her desk.
"Gotcha!" He acknowledged, and then headed for the elevator.
"Strangest damn dream." He said, yawning yet again.
He got into the elevator after the doors pinged open and pressed lobby. The elevator sank slowly. "I wonder what Cartoon's world really looks like."
The doors pinged open and he stepped out into the lobby, where other students were still chatting on benches, and preparing to leave. He passed several girls he knew, waved and they waved back, and then returned to chatting. He frowned a bit. He hadn't had much of a college life lately because of the adventures he inevitably found himself falling into...sometimes literally. But he didn't resent it. It was just...he yawned again. Exhausting.
He pressed through the huge close doors and stepped out into the quad, where dozens of students were talking to each other as others skated, skateboarded, walked and ran past to their classes, homes, cars and buses.
Speaking of which.
He barely made his bus.
He went to the back and shut his eyes. He could use a bit more rest. Last night he had fought off ten dozen zombies dressed like cheerleaders. It had been hard to polish them off, because they had such cute legs.
He grinned. Better not let Cartoon hear that thought or zombies would be the last thing he'd have to dread. And with that amusing thought, he sank into a gentle sleep. As he slept, he didn't notice that the passenger just in front of him and to the right wore a hat too tall and an overcoat with strange bumps poking from it all over the place.
Spine chuckled on the seat he was upon. "There's a good laddy now. Sleep well. More work to be done on the morrow."
Some kids turned to look back at the strange voice, but all they saw was Johnnie, his mouth hanging open in sleep. They laughed, giggled and joked and turned away.
Where's a friendly god when you need one? Thor's Hammer "A Cartoon Story" By John Pirillo. And you thought you had it bad!
"A Cartoon Story"
By John Pirillo
Hi! My name's Johnnie and I am the Comic Book Commando. No, not the kind you read about. Or see in the movies. Or watch on TV. I'm the real thing. I live and breathe comic books. I get my power from comic books.
I did this really dumb thing when a building was on fire and tried to rescue a young girl whose life was in danger. Trouble is. There wasn't a young girl. It was a set up to test me. It worked. I passed.
The young girl was really a Princess from another universe. And now I've got the power to draw on the superpowers, looks, and energies of any comic book hero I'm in contact with and then sometimes when I'm not as well. And it all came about because of a princess named Cartoon. You see she is a comic book. Comic book princess, that is.
She comes from a universe where everything is real, but everything is also a cartoon. And all the cartoons there are the ones we write here. She's in love with me. She glows in the dark. And I love her. Weird, huh? You haven't heard the half! Oh, did I tell you she's a Princess?
Johnnie woke up that morning with a headache that wouldn't quit. He had been up most of the night studying Norse mythology for his history class. Mister Morgan, his Professor, was a buff on the stuff and Johnnie loved mythology of any kind. The ancient myths were kind of parallel to the comic books of today, except with bolts of lightning, chariots and flying horses. But in this case it was more a case of a one-eyed god, Odin, who used his favorite son, Thor, to hammer some sense into the villains of their mythic world.
"It is believed." Professor Morgan had recited from an article clutched in his bronzed hands that had hair thick enough to make an ape jealous. "It is believed that ancient man had closer ties to not only nature, but to the gods. That at one time the gods walked the earth, sharing their knowledge and uplifting humanity."
Randall Garrett, an obnoxious twerk from the south side of town, raised a hand.
Professor Morgan winced, knowing what was to come, but being a patient and kind man, he nodded. "Yes, Mister Garrett?"
"I've heard that mead they drank would knock your socks off!"
The class burst into laughter, except for Johnnie and the Professor, who glared at Randall for a moment, then continued to read, ignoring the question. "One such god has been fictionalized and made quite popular by the Marvel Comics people."
He looked up. "Anyone guess who?"
Johnnie's hand bounced up first.
The class cheered.
Johnnie blushed. "A straight ace that is always fighting Loki and huge snakes that want to cause the end of the world."
Professor Morgan nodded. "Very good, young man." He turned to look at the rest of the class, who knew he had more to say. "The Ragnarok, as Johnnie so aptly pointed out, is the equivalent of modern day science's Big Bang Theory and the collapse of matter into Black Holes. The Norse were quite adept at the sciences, hiding much of their intellectual prowess in intellectual documents of mythology in order to avoid over scrutiny of the royalty at that time, who were short sighted and quite violent."
Randall jumped up. "Sorta like the way Galileo was treated by the Catholic Church for theorizing that the earth wasn't the central work of God."
Professor Morgan's right eyebrow rose. "An apt description. Very good."
Johnnie sighed. Somehow that jerk always got his neck out of the noose he made by coming up with something bright at the end of it all. Some day that game wouldn't play anymore for him, he thought as he prepared to write down the assignment for the weekend.
"This weekend's assignment. Draw sketches of two of the main Norse Gods and give a short history on both and how that history and their powers might be related to modern day history and science. That will be all. Have a lovely weekend."
He nodded to the class, and then turned his back to shuffle his paperwork into a neat pile and scoot it into a large manila folder. He was about to walk away, when Johnnie stopped him by joining him.
"What if the gods were real?"
Professor Morgan gave Johnnie an appraising look. "As in truly gods with horrific powers to demolish humanity and demons?"
"That's the drift."
Professor Morgan considered the thought a moment, and then said. "Tell me more."
Johnnie started to speak. The Professor held a hand up. Smiled. "In the essay you will bring me on Monday with the sketches I requested. Good afternoon, Johnnie."
"Good afternoon, sir." He replied, then on the Professor's nod, rushed back to his desk to gather his books and notes.
He was almost done packing everything into his backpack when he felt someone behind him. He turned around and Randall stood there glaring at him. "Sucking up to the Professor ain't cool, man."
"I wasn't sucking up."
Randall looked him up and down. "You for real?"
"Are you?" Johnnie said, and then since his front path was blocked, he scooted along the aisle of desks and exited from the side door out into the quad. He sensed Randall exit after him, but ignored it. He wasn't afraid of him. Just annoyed. The kid had a chip, not a block on his shoulder and someday it was going to get knocked off. Just not by him.
"Johnnie!" Cartoon's voice called to him, interrupting his thoughts.
He sat up, stretched, and rubbed his temples, easing the pains somewhat. Cartoon walked into the room, her skin emitting a soft golden glow. Her huge almond shaped eyes smiled at him as they always did. He always felt like he was somehow drowning in those gorgeous orbs.
"I made breakfast."
"Oh." He said. "Great." He went on a bit too quickly.
Her smile fell away. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. Nothing. Just some problems at school and a massive essay I have to get done before the weekends out. I also have to work the whole day at Al's Shop."
"Then you'll need a good breakfast." She told him.
He nodded. "Give me a sec and I'll be there." He told her, dashed into the bathroom, did a quick wipe of his face, put on deodorant and aftershave. He didn't shave. His face was always hairless. He slipped on his favorite Hulk Tee Shirt and jeans, then a pair of white socks. He whipped a hand through his long hair, sweeping it out of his eyes and ran into the kitchen where Cartoon was placing everything.
Bacon. Burnt. Eggs. Runny. Toast. Even more burnt. The smell in the kitchen was. Burnt.
Johnnie sighed inwardly, but made a brave show of it. "Looks great."
He dropped into his chair and she sat on the opposite one, watching him as he forced himself to eat the food without grimacing. "I love to watch you eat." She told him sweetly. "I'm going to make lunch for and dinner when you come home. I'm really getting a hang of this cooking thing."
Johnnie gulped the one good thing on the table. Orange juice. He slid from his chair. "Practice makes perfect."
She rose and gave him a hug. He hugged her back. He might have felt like he had just been subjected to ten minutes of harrowing torture, but he still loved her. "I love you." He told her, inhaling her fragrance. She always smelled like vanilla. Something about the makeup of her cartoon nature. Even when she had blood all over her from a battle, she never smelled like anything but sweet vanilla.
"I love you too." She told him and gave him a kiss that made him forget about homework.
She stopped him. "That essay?"
"Right. The essay." He said, working to subdue his savage hormones. She gave him a knowing smile and a promise of later, and then began cleaning up.
He went into the living room where he'd dumped the library books he'd checked out after his class. He thumbed through them. All were heavily illustrated. Like historical comic books, he mused to himself.
When he lifted the hand from Odin he could have sworn he saw a lightning flash through the blinds of his living room window, but that would have been impossible as there were no clouds in the sky that morning. It was a perfectly clear sky.
He quickly closed that book, and then looked at the one with Loki. The man was dressed like a circus clown, but with a look like the Joker from the Dark Knight Batman series. Hideous, but with a kind of pleasant grin. Then it struck him. What he had been missing all that week. When Randall had entered the class at the beginning of the week there had been this tremendous lightning storm and everyone had been drenched.
It was Randall's first day in the class. For a brief moment Johnnie had looked his way to see the kid staring directly at him. He had waved, and then looked away, thinking nothing of it.
But now as he eyed the sketch of Loki on the cover of the book, he noticed how close the resemblance was. Take away the scars and the hideous outfit and...Randall!
"Oh crap!" Johnnie groaned. "How did this happen?"
A swirl of cloud spun into existence in the center of the living room and lightning bolts shook in and out of it, lancing the living room air with bright strokes of incandescent light. Johnnie fell off the sofa, knocking the books off with him. He didn't notice that his right hand had fallen across one of the books.
Cartoon shrieked in the kitchen.
Johnnie started to get up, when the door blasted off its hinges and landed against the wall behind him. Randall walked out, clutching Cartoon by her right wrist. She was struggling to break free from him, but somehow he managed to hold on.
"Just like the Midgard serpent, hey glow lady?" He asked Cartoon.
She tried to slap him and he caught her other wrist. Then he flung her hard across the room. She landed in a heap against the front door. She was so stunned by the movement, she didn't move for a long time.
"Cartoon!" Johnnie cried out, leaping to his feet.
The moment he did something big weighted down his left fist. He glanced that way and almost dropped it. It was a huge hammer.
Randall's eyes widened a moment. "Thor!"
Johnnie said nothing. He was in a state of shock. But after another moment, he regained his senses and moved to step in front of Cartoon. "No. Me. What do you want, Loki?"
"The End of the World. What else would a god want?"
Johnnie's eyes tightened into a glare. "Not on my watch."
Loki waved a hand.
The front door to the apartment swung open and a huge snake's head flung inside and darted about, stopping once it located Johnnie. "I'd like to introduce you to one of the children of the Midgard serpent. His name is..." Loki paused, a finger to his chin in a thoughtful manner. "Ah, that's it. Your death!"
"Eat him!" Loki ordered. "Then eat her!" He finished.
The snake struck at Johnnie, its mouth opening to reveal huge fangs that were dripping poison. Without thinking about it, Johnnie ducked to the right of the snake head, and then struck it with all his might on the side of its face near its right eye. The eye splattered into orbs of blood and goo. Johnnie whirled around and smashed the hammer in his right hand into the back of its head. The snake's head exploded into globs of matter, blood and goo.
Johnnie stood there, his body immersed in gore, and Cartoon rising to stand next to him. "Get behind me." He warned her.
Randall eyed Johnnie thoughtfully. "Oh, I don't think so. You've got much worse to deal with than me, Johnnie."
Randall vanished in a cloud of lightning and thunder, which whipped past Johnnie, almost knocking him and Cartoon down, then shot up into the skies.
Cartoon threw her arms around Johnnie. "We're safe."
Before he could reply...
"Ahoy Mateys!" The Landlord said from the open door. "In a bit of a mess, are we?"
Johnnie felt a sense of relief, and then horror as he realized what it must look like with him holding this huge hammer and gore all over the place.
"Don't worry. I'll have it all cleaned up before the day is out. I was practicing a fun little lab experiment for my finals."
The Landlord looked at the mess. "What you kids call fun these days is disgusting!"
Then he saw Cartoon. His face brightened into a smile. "Look, whenever you get tired of this college brat, I'm just ten doors down and one floor up."
Cartoon smiled at the Landlord, but when he exited from view. She slammed the front door shut and grimaced. "He is disgusting."
Johnnie looked at the mess on the walls, ceiling and floor and himself and Cartoon. "I have to go to work and everything's ruined."
Cartoon shoved him towards the bedroom. "Clean up. Go. I'll take care of the mess."
Johnnie did as she said, but when he ran down t he stairs and to t he street to catch a bus, he hoped her idea of cleaning up wasn't the same as cooking. If it was, he'd have hell to pay.
He grinned. As if he didn't already!
He caught the bus and sat in the back. He watched the homes go by as the bus wound along the street towards his job. Someday he'd have to get a car.
For a brief moment a huge chariot appeared next to the bus, floating there, its wheels golden and sparkling like fire was living in them. Other bus passengers saw and screamed. The chariot followed them about another block, as passengers gestured and shouted, and then a very beautiful and huge man dressed in Viking Armor appeared in the chariot. He smiled at Johnnie and raised his hammer, and then he and the chariot shot up into the sky and vanished.
That night the news on every channel reported a very unusual UFO in Sacramento.
Battling a Genie is one thing, but a horde of demons...well, that could be a bit tough. The Magic Lamp. A Cartoon Story by John Pirillo
The Magic Lamp
"A Cartoon Story"
by John Pirillo
"Stuff it!" Johnnie told the Genie hovering over Aladdin's lamp. "I am not going to build you a duplex inside that ugly thing."
The Genie waxed his long mustaches with wet fingers he had just dipped in wax and gave Johnnie a loathsome smile. "It's the deal. Either you build me the duplex, or I vanish your girlfriends for the next thousand years!"
"You can't do that!" He screamed at the ugly being who pretended to be a nice man. "You're friggin' crazy!"
"No. I am just...me."
The Genie vanished into his ugly lamp and it shook around a bit.
Cartoon glanced at Johnnie, where he stood in the antiquities store, still stunned by what had happened. "You can't let him do that to Koomay and Laurie."
"I won't, but I just don't get it. I never touched any comic book with a genie in it. Never. Not in this life or any other!" He exclaimed angrily, his face flushed with anger.
"Maybe." Cartoon said soothingly. "But are you absolutely certain?"
Johnnie gave her a scrutinizing look. "You're up to something."
"Always." She said with the glint of a smile on her lips.
"From the day you tricked me in to rescuing you as a young girl in that high rise fire, you've been manipulating me."
He started to explode again, and then caught himself. "Okay. Mostly for the better, but you've never once....once explained the rules of this power I've been given."
Cartoon picked up the lamp.
"Ouch! Don't be so rough!" The Genie cried out from inside.
The Shop Owner glanced over at the two arguing, and then came over. "Is there a problem?"
He said it to Cartoon, thinking that Johnnie was abusing her. He hated abusive people. His father had been abusive to his mother and he was ready to knock anyone down if they even hinted at such. He stood over Johnnie by a good foot. He was an extremely tall man, and there was something oddly familiar about him, though he couldn't place it at the time.
"No problem. We'll take this lamp. Just a bit of a disagreement as to...how." She said with an amused look on her face.
Johnnie was stewing with anger at the way he was being manipulated, but inside of himself he knew it wasn't what it appeared to be. It never was. He just hated always being on the wrong end of the eight ball.
"Yeah. How much?"
The Shop Owner gave him a blank look.
"I said we'd take it." Johnnie said again, starting to lose his temper. He really needed to learn how to meditate. The stress was starting to really scramble his brain and his temperament.
"Take what, sir?"
Johnnie gestured to the lamp in Cartoon's hand. The Shop Owner looked that way. "She does have lovely hands, but you don't need my permission to take them."
He laughed, thinking his joke was quite amusing.
Johnnie slouched on the sofa, his brains scrambling to figure out what had just happened in that old store. He could clearly see the lamp. It would shake every once in awhile on the coffee table and he could even hear the Genie taking a shower. Taking a shower! Of all the ungodly things to do inside a lamp.
"I can't build a duplex." Johnnie muttered angrily to himself.
He felt a pair of arms slip around his neck, and Cartoon nuzzles his right ear. "Sure you can."
She came around and sat next to him, sliding against his right shoulder with the warmth of her glowing body. She usually dimmed the glow in public, otherwise people would wise up, or be extremely frightened, but sometimes she'd let it all hang out, like when they were battling zombies, werewolves and vampires.
"What's really eating you?" She asked finally, after giving him a chance to say it for himself.
He slowly turned to look into her eyes. "Rules."
"You're stubborn, Johnnie. You know that, don't you?"
She smiled. "When I need to be."
"Rules!" He asked again, more firmly.
She got up and began pacing the small living room. "When you saved me, you allowed your genetics to blend with my own, with my universe. All the laws that is true there are now latent within you."
"You mean you can turn into any cartoon character you want?" He asked, a bit surprised at her answer.
"No." She answered sadly. "For some reason it only works one direction. You can become us, but we can never become you."
"Why do you think that is?"
"Our ancestors when they first slipped into that universe were like yours. Desperate and hunted by creatures from your worst nightmares."
"Very." She answered. "We figured out a way to open a doorway between the universes. At first we were frightened when our bodies became light bodies, but then we got used to it. And as we did, we learned to blend with the other cartoon beings that dwelled within the realms."
"Superman, Batman, Daffy Duck...?"
She laughed. "No, silly. Those are your creations. Not ours. The cartoon world has rules just like your own and those who lived there before us were a kind and loving race. They never knew violence or despair. They welcomed us with open arms and hearts."
Johnnie held a hand up. "So how come every time I draw upon your world's energies everything gets so..."
"Screwed up?" She answered with a giggle.
"Yeah that too."
She gave him a somber look, her eyes piercing his own with a stare he hadn't seen before. For a moment he felt like he stood on the precipice of Eternity, everything gone around him, but the vastness of the Universe, and then that strange feeling vanished, replaced by the warmth and security of her closeness and her voice.
"We don't control Creation, anymore than you here of Earth can. Its rules align with a Higher Source."
Johnnie rolled his eyes, but accepted her words for the moment, until he could consider the better. "Well, time to get to work, I guess."
He stood up and headed for the front door.
He turned back. His face lit up. "Oh, my God! I know why I recognized that Shop Owner. He's the same man who I met as a child when my parents went shopping in his store. At the time I didn't think anything of the illustrated book he pressed into my hands. When my parents weren't listening he said. I can still hear them as clear as day, someday this will be important to you. Remember that."
At that given moment the magic lamp began to shake and smoke. Cartoon stood up and hurriedly backed away from it. Johnnie put an arm around her shoulders.
"I remember now, Cartoon. I remember."
The Genie hissed out of the lantern in a huge cloud of magical dust, each fist clenching a gigantic scimitar. "Prepare for battle!"
Johnnie turned to Cartoon. "Ain't it always the same? Teen finds cartoon, cartoon finds boy, everything becomes all crazy and there's battles and cries of despair and the hero has to save the day."
Cartoon laughed. "Come on, Hero. Afraid of a little adventure?"
"Not this time." Johnnie said, waving a hand. A gigantic scimitar shone in his left fist. His clothing turned into silk garments with a bow over his right shoulder and a loop of rope at his waist, caught in a red sash.
"Lead on, Genie!"
The Genie gave Johnnie a fierce look. "You will build my duplex!"
"Okay. Okay. If you say so. So what's the problem?"
At that same moment the front door vanished and they were staring into another world where giant demons were storming a palace. Civilians were screaming and running for their lives.
"Gotcha!" Johnnie said, and then he and Cartoon ran through the door opening and vanished into the world of the Genie.
The Genie roared behind them, and charged through like a gigantic diesel engine truck blasting its horn. It soared past Johnnie and lit into the first swarm of giant demons. "For Baghdad and the Nile! It cried.
"Ah, that's so corny!" Johnnie sighed as he and Cartoon rushed the same swarm.
Cartoon didn't have time to answer, because Johnnie had to hack at a giant demon that was about to clobber them with a mace the size of a small SUV.
Such was the life of a Comic Book Commando!
Johnnie is not just any teenager. He is powered by comic books. Romance and adventure. "The Comic Book Commando." Buy at Amazon.Com
Johnnie rescues a young girl from a burning building and is granted the power to access super powers of all comic book characters. He has to learn how to cope with fighting villains and monsters, and dealing with three girls who all love him.
He's comic book powered! Cartoon "The Comic Book Commando," on sale Amazon.Com
The Black Letter
"A Cartoon Story"
By John Pirillo
Ever since Johnnie had broken the grip of the emotions which had kept him tied to Laurie and Koomay, his life had not gotten simpler at all, but more difficult. He lay there on his bed that night, reframing all the situations he'd been through of late...from the Zombie King to the Spiral Death he had defeated only days before. Comics were his life, but at the same time, if he wasn't on his toes...every freaking minute, second of his life, it could also be his death.
You see, Johnnie was the Comic Book Commander. He had chosen that position in life, it had chosen him when he had risked his stupid life to rescue a young girl in a burning building, which as it turned out, wasn't in danger at all and wasn't really a young girl, but a comic book princess from a parallel world, dimension, pocket universe. You name it. It didn't matter. Facts were facts. Cartoons were real in her world. And they were...some of them...very, very dangerous.
He looked at a new scar on his right arm from fighting with the Zombie King. Just that alone reminded him of his position of power in the universe. Absolutely nowhere!
If God was smiling down on him, it was with his tongue in cheek, because Johnnie had become a comic book hero, but with a human's weaknesses most of the time. Sure, if he had a comic book on him, or could touch one, he could assume the powers of the hero of the book, but it didn't last, and if he wasn't careful and attended to the details of whatever battle he happened to be in at any given time, he could also be dead.
Even comic book heroes die. Just ask the fans whose favorite comic book was no longer being written and illustrated!
"Johnnie!" Cartoon's voice called to him from the living room of their small and very simple apartment.
He rolled over onto his back, sleep still eluding him. "What?" He hollered back.
"I can't sleep."
"Neither can I." He complained.
The door to his bedroom opened. The living room lights were out, but it was still almost as bright as day inside there. Illumination from Cartoon's glowing body. She was lit up like a miniature sun. He sometimes wondered what the neighbors thought when they saw his window blinds become bright like that, but not for long. Everyone had something going on in their life they wanted to keep secret, so no one was likely to come snooping, except for the Landlord. A born snoop if ever there was one. He was honest and fair, but he was also lecherous and a nose peeker. He stuck his nose in everybody's business.
Maybe it was the years of his life getting to him. After all forty is so ancient. Johnnie thought with a smile.
"Johnnie!" Cartoon called to him.
"Okay. Okay." He grumbled, and got up from his bed. He went into the living room, passing her without touching her and sat down on his couch. She sat next to him and cradled her head against his chest. "I don't like it."
"What! Too hairy for you?"
Not your chest, silly." She told him with a laugh, slapping his right leg, which was bare like the rest of him. He never slept with clothes on, except in the winter, and it was July hot outside, which meant hot and humid. The three rivers around Sacramento kept it humid all year long, but in the summer, it became stifling. Even with the air on, a cheap wall air conditioner, that chug chugged like the Little Train That Could from the children's story books. Even with that, it barely cooled the place and usually only the living room if anywhere.
So he slept butt naked in his bedroom. Usually he left the bedroom door open, but Cartoon had stayed up after him, boning up on the world's literature. Comic books. He smiled.
"No, not that. Don't you sense it?"
"Yeah. No. Sense what?"
"Something's about to happen."
"Yeah. Me. I've got to go to work tomorrow and face off Koomay and her amorous attentions so she won't suspect I have a Clone double, and work my butt off scrubbing all the floors. They haven't been cleaned for two days now.
Cartoon looked up into his face. "I'm going home."
I very nearly dropped her to the floor when she said that.
She laughed. "That got your attention."
I gave her a searching look. She smiled. "I am."
"I don't know why. I've been feeling this pull for days now. Even when we were battling the Zombie King and his minions, I felt it, maybe even stronger, if that were possible."
Johnnie nodded. "Yeah. Not much that isn't possible, is there?"
"No, there isn't." She agreed, knowing far more than I just how vast our universe was.
"What'll I do without you?"
She gave me a hard look. "If you so much as lay one hand or finger on Koomay or Laurie..."
I raised my hands in surrender. "My Clone doubles are doing their jobs just fine. No trouble there."
She sighed and closed her eyes. "Don't you ever get tired of lying to them?"
"I'm not sure."
She looked up at me.
"It's just that by lying they're both getting what they want...me."
"You're so conceited." She growled at me, and then pinched a bit of flab on my side.
"Oww!" I gave her a hurt look. "What was that for?"
"For avoiding what you must one day face. Telling them the truth. That you fell in love with both of them, but chose me."
I gently untwined her from me, stood up and began pacing back and forth. "I just can't...can't do that. I..."
"Love them too much to hurt them." She finished for me, sitting up to watch my reaction.
I froze there, my jaw hanging open.
"I can't. And that's what's killing me!" I exclaimed with a burst of anger. "It's not fair. Why did God put me in such an awkward position?"
"Maybe to see how you would handle it. If you would be honest."
"If being honest means breaking their hearts, I'd rather go to hell." I said with finality and stomped from the room, feeling angry as hell with her for reminding me to do what I had been putting off for weeks now, and what I knew was right, and the guilt I felt over being in such a hopeless predicament.
I fell onto my bed and went out like a light bulb switched off. I didn't even dream. I also wasn't aware of when Cartoon transitioned from my world to her own, or even how she did it. I knew she could. I'd even seen her stretch into it sometimes, temporarily, to pluck something out to use in battle, but I'd never seen her go all the way into her world.
I woke up next morning to a knock on my door.
I dragged myself out of bed and headed for the door to open it, then realized three things: I was butt naked still, Cartoon was gone, and it was still the middle of the night. Spelled trouble to me, but trouble doesn't usually knock, unless it's human. So I cracked the door to look out.
Hell had struck sooner than predicted. Both Koomay and Laurie stood outside my door, their faces stone hard. "Oh great!" I scalded myself. "Now the shit hits the fun for sure."
"Just a minute." I told them, and then rushed back into my bedroom, slipped on my faded jeans, and a tee shirt. I ran back and flung the door open. They marched in. Literally, like two soldiers going into combat. They both sat on the sofa, leaving me to stand or sit opposite them on the recliner.
I shut the door, causing the living room to fall into complete darkness for a moment, until I could find the lamp by the door. I turned it on, and then looked at them.
"What's up? Are you in trouble?" I asked, knowing that was the farthest thing from the truth. I strove to strike a middle ground. "Do you need my help? I now it's late, but I'm willing..."
Koomay held up a comic book.
My heart sank into my shoes and refused to come back.
I sat down like a stone falling from heaven in the recliner, causing it to almost fall over backwards. They didn't laugh. They didn't budge. Koomay just held the comic book up in the air, like a soldier waving a battle flag.
Koomay tossed the comic book to me and it landed in my lap. I turned it over. The Clone Commander. Issue Number One. Mint condition. I had given it to a third clone to protect the first two and me. It had failed. I was so...screwed!
Laurie burst into tears and wouldn't stop.
Koomay just sat there like a rigid statue, her eyes burning into mine. "How could you, Johnnie?"
I waited until Laurie slowed down in her crying enough to hear me, and then said. "I love you."
Koomay stared at me.
I looked at Laurie. "I love you too."
Koomay and Laurie both stared at me, their eyes burning with anger.
"I also love Cartoon."
"More." Koomay said the fatal words
"Than us." Laurie finalized.
I sat back in my recliner, speechless. How do you answer something like that after what I'd done and said? Very, very carefully I decided.
I looked at Koomay. "When I first fell in love with you, it was when you made sure I had enough to eat every night before I went home. You cared. And when I met your parents, I could see the kindness in them had spilled over into your heart."
I turned to Laurie. "We've played some bitchin' music together. Late at night. Everywhere and anytime. We make good music together, and you're a friend's friend. I trust no one more. You have never, ever said a word to hurt me, to notch me down, to take away our friendship, or lessen it."
I sat there a long time, my heart pounding in my chest. This was far worse than facing the Zombie King, his horrid eyes, and stinking breath or the Spiral Death and its hypnotic eyes that could seduce you into walking into a living fire and consume you. No, it was far worse. Because these two meant more to me than my own life. I had meant it when I told Cartoon I would rather go to hell than hurt any of them. But I had failed.
I had nothing more to say, to give, to refute the evidence. I had failed them as a friend and as a lover as well. I took a deep breath. "I just hope that someday you can forgive me for wanting to make it right between all of us, even if it turns out it was a stupid thing to do. God awfully stupid."
The silence lengthened further.
I said no more. I just waited for them to get it out in the open, to cut my head off, pound me into the pulp I deserved to be beaten into.
Instead, they got up, took me by a hand, and sat me down between them and put a head on both my shoulders.
"We love you too." Koomay said.
Laurie nodded. "Thank you for finally being honest."
"How long have you known?" I asked them.
"Forever." They both answered as one.
I felt a great sadness. I had hurt them both so much and they both meant so much to me. How can somebody do that?
We sat like that a long time, saying nothing at all.
I think we were all worn out from the emotional toll of our feelings and misunderstanding. We fell asleep on the sofa, they with their heads on my shoulder, and me with my head propped on the back of the sofa.
I didn't hear the front door open as Cartoon entered quietly. She slipped past us and went into my bedroom and prepared to go to sleep. She lay down, smiling. She never scalded me again about the girls after that. No reason too. I had become a man that night. Not because I told the two girls I loved them but because I had finally faced the truth, I really did love them and it wasn't my choice to chase them away to happiness, but rather let t hem choose what made them happy themselves.
How will it all pan out in the end? Will they still want a chunk of me in the end? Who cares? Right now I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I have three girls who love me as much as I love them, and no one is putting a for sale sign on my head, or an eviction notice. For now we were at peace and a treaty had been made.
Then the next morning, just before dawn, the front door smashed open and the Black Letter with his cape of velvet red stood there with massive swords in both hands. His leathery face and blood red eyes stared at my startled face.
"Are you the Comic Book Commander?"
"No." I answered, clutching a copy of the Three Musketeers classic I kept on my coffee table. "I'm your worst nightmare." I paused and then grinned. "The Eraser!"
The Black Letter gave me a look of utter horror.
The girls woke up screaming when I jumped from the sofa and over the table, a huge eraser in my left and right hand, a cape flowing over my back. A grim look on my face.
"Enguarde!" I cried out and together we met in battle as Cartoon rushed from the bedroom, a sword in her own hand, and Laurie and Koomay came running out of the kitchen with a butcher knife and a meat cleaver to join the battle.
And a good thing too, as just at that moment three of the Black Letter's evil henchmen leaped into the room through the front door, snarling fearfully, revealing horrid white vampiric teeth that lusted to suck out our life's blood.
"Die!" The Black Letter screamed at me.
I smiled. "I think not." Then rushed him.
The Super Guide to the Fleischer Superman Cartoons
by Ross May
from Superman Homepage
This article is from Superman Homepage...a great site for all things Superman. Take a look when you can, you won't be disappointed, I'm certain!
Fleischer Studios, later called Famous Studios after being acquired by Paramount, produced seventeen Superman cartoons and were shown to audiences between 1941 and 1943. For those not acquainted with the history of entertainment, it was typical for movie theatres to show at least one short cartoon before the feature film, which has since been replaced with straight advertising. This was the original venue for the Superman cartoons, though they have appeared on television since then.
Superman's original medium was, of course, comic books, and his second venue was a radio program that began in 1940. Superman's first moving picture appearance, animated or live action, was in this series of cartoons. Their importance in making Superman publicly renown can not be understated. With only the comic books Superman would have been popular with children in America, but the radio and cartoon serials made the character so well known that he was soon recognized by all of North America, and then the entire world. Thanks in part to these cartoons his fame would snowball to create his lasting success and international stardom.
The cartoons are available today on VHS and DVD. The following text is what Bosko Video, a company specializing in the release of classic cartoons, has to say of the collection from its DVD release of the serials:
The character "Superman" was created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He first appeared in the 1938 June issue of "Action Comics," and was an immediate success with the public. Paramount Studios obtained permission to make a series of cartoons based on the comic strip. They contracted with Max and Dave Fleischer to produce them as the Fleischers were making the other cartoons Paramount distributed. The pilot cost $50,000. This is three times what "Popeye" cartoons of that time cost. Subsequent cartoons in the series had a budget of $30,000. Cost for all 17 of the "Superman" cartoons was $530,000. The familiar phrases, "Look, up in the sky!" and, "Faster than a speeding bullet," were created by the Fleischer Studio for these cartoons. These cartoons had the luxury of using pencil tests, and a special effects department that had been created for "Gulliver's Travels." The elaborate shading on the characters, the expert cutting of the action scenes, and the stylized designs of the backgrounds makes this one of the most elaborate and sophisticated fantasy cartoon series ever produced by any studio. They remain a landmark in animation history, and a legacy for generations. This series was transferred from original 35mm prints and negatives. Never before have prints of this quality been available from ANY source, including laser disk. We hope that you enjoy adding them to your collection.
The Voices and CharactersSuperman/Clark Kent: Clayton 'Bud' Collyer
Lois Lane: Joan Alexander
Narrator & Perry White: Jackson BeckNowhere in the credits (within the cartoons) are the voice actors listed, but they were likely never upset over that fact, especially Bud Collyer.
Bud Collyer had been the voice for Superman and Clark Kent on the radio program since its beginning, and he actually insisted on not being credited there, feeling that he would not be able to get any other roles. Not only was Collyer's concern very real, he correctly realized that any and every Superman actor would be typecast, something that has since been a component of the fabled "Superman Actors' Curse." Fans have loved Collyer's work for the way he was able to make Clark have a slightly higher pitch than his own voice, while his Superman possessed a deep, rich sound. Typically, the voice of Clark switches mid-sentence to Superman when he speaks, "This looks like a job for Superman!" Collyer would voice Superman for years on the radio series and return to the character for television cartoons, voicing him for the last time in the late 1960's. Starting in the 1940's, a mandate was passed from the comic book publisher stating that every attempt was to be made to create a faade that Superman was a real person. This ensured that Collyer would not be credited anytime in the foreseeable future. This mandate would continue for years and cause actor George Reeves much strife when he made public appearances as the man of steel, because he was never permitted to tell children that he was merely an actor playing Superman, and not Superman himself. Bud Collyer, however, relished his anonymity, which was easy to maintain since he only provided the voice of Superman.
The Superman radio program had run through two women who voiced Lois Lane already when Joan Alexander took the role. In fact she lost it after three months, and it was Bud Collyer who insisted that she be allowed to win it back by blind audition, which she did. Alexander was recruited along with Collyer from the radio program to voice her character for the cartoons. She succeeded her previous voice actors in being the longest running voice for Lois, continuing in the radio program and brought back with Collyer for future Saturday morning cartoons starring Superman. Though Lois has few lines in the cartoons, Alexander takes those sparse quips to make the character truly sound like a smart and witty female reporter.
Jackson Beck was the only recurring voice actor not brought over from the radio program. Instead, he started out working with Superman in the cartoons before crossing over to the radio adventures. Beck used his grand, booming voice to its full extent when providing the introductions as the narrator, not unlike Collyer's own method and tone when speaking as Superman. Most listeners require a trained ear and instantaneous comparisons to be able to tell that the narrator's terrific voice comes from the same man providing for the Daily Planet's editor Perry White, who, though solid and clear, is probably unmemorable to most listeners and is just an extra character, albeit a recurring one. That was probably the intention of Beck and the studio. In 1942 Beck was taken on at the radio program as a recurring character, and in 1943 a new narrator was required there, to which he was well acquainted with doing. Also of note, Jackson Beck served for a time as the vice president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Actors. Like Collyer and Alexander, Beck was invited to reprise his character's role for television cartoons until the late 1960's.
There are, of course, other characters who speak in the cartoons. Most, if not all, additional male voices were provided by Collyer and Beck. Besides Lois there were only three other female characters ever heard - the woman's voice calling out, "It's a bird," Jane Hogan in 'The Mummy Strikes,' and the title character in the final cartoon 'Secret Agent,' who seems to have usurped Lois's regular position as strong willed woman and damsel in distress. It is likely that Alexander voiced all of these.
The Introductions and Famous PhrasesEach cartoon opens first with the Paramount mountain and insignia, then changes to a picture of a darkened sky where Superman, as a blur, flies by several times before leaving the letters 'Superman' on the last pass. It is when he is flying that the audience hears the "It's a bird! It's a plane!..." quotations. Interestingly, this phrase has been constantly misquoted, even in the information provided by Bosko Video. Most people start the phrase by saying, "Look, up in the sky!" What is actually said between two men and a woman is:"Up in the sky, look! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!"
The voices are provided by each member of the cast. The more familiar, "Look, up in the sky!" was used later on the radio program.
Here are the original credits for the first Superman cartoon as they appeared in theatres. A space represents a change in shots.
A Max Fleischer Cartoon
TechnicolorBy Arrangement with
comic strip created by
Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster
Dave Fleischer directed the first nine cartoons, all of which were produced before the studio was bought by Paramount and turned into Famous Studios. In the four earliest of these, his name is displayed alone on the final panel. There, a small, ringed planet can be seen underneath his name. In fact, the symbol looks exactly like the structure atop the Daily Planet building! Why this addition is present remains unknown. From the fifth cartoon on the director's name appears on the animators' and writers' shot in the credits, permitting no room for the symbol.
Not mentioned in these credits is scriptwriter and artist Jay Morton, who created the famous Superman introductions, descriptions, and taglines for these cartoons. It was he who wrote the, "It's a bird! It's a plane!..." line, as well as the following:
"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!"
"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to soar higher than any plane!"
"Faster than a streak of lightening! More powerful than the pounding surf! Mightier than a roaring hurricane!"
The numbers represent which episodes each quote appears in. As you might expect of the visual/audio medium, each sentence is represented with the object being described. The 'speeding bullet' sentence uses the same sky background as the one Superman zooms across. Indeed, there is no picture of a gun, and the small object hurtling in this instance is similarly coloured to those Superman flying shots, so the audience must decide for themselves whether the object being seen is actually a bullet or Superman speeding faster than one.
Some people say that the radio series is where Superman's famous phrases come from, but this is not the case, though it is understandable why there is confusion. Even in the comic books Superman was given various descriptions and exclamations of being "faster than X," or "greater than Y." The radio series took the concept of those descriptions and incorporated them into the narrator's introductions. Some of the descriptions come extremely close to being the same as the now famous lines, such as, "Faster than an airplane, more powerful than a locomotive, impervious to bullets." Jay Morton likely read the comic taglines and listened to the radio introductions as a basis for his own lines. It just happens that his phrases became the most popular, and were then adopted by the radio program and eventually by the comics as well.
The following is what the narrator tells us of Superman's origin, spoken only in the first cartoon:
"In the endless reaches of the universe there once existed a planet known as Krypton, a planet that burned like a green star in the distant heavens. There, civilization was far advanced and it brought forth a race of supermen, whose mental and physical powers were developed to the absolute peak of human perfection. But, there came a day when giant quakes threatened to destroy Krypton forever. One of the planet's leading scientists, sensing the approach of doom, placed his infant son in a small rocket ship and sent it hurtling in the direction of the Earth just as Krypton exploded! The rocket ship sped through star studded space, landing safely on Earth with its precious burden, Krypton's sole survivor. A passing motorist found the uninjured child and took it to an orphanage. As the years went by and the child grew to maturity he found himself possessed of amazing physical powers."
Kneitel and Sparber (writers of the first cartoon) might have written this back-story, but it seems more likely that Morton wrote it, as it is technically part of the introduction and seems to possess his personal flare.
Notice that there is no reference to the Kent family. In the original comics' back-story, the Kents discovered the baby Superman and did give him to an orphanage, only to return and then adopt him. The cartoon back-story would have viewers assume that Superman was raised in the orphanage. This change is probably due to time constraint more than anything else, and since the Kents would never appear it did not matter whether they existed or not.
Fans might be inclined to believe that the comment that Krypton, "burned like a green star," is an allusion to Superman's weakness, kryptonite. This could very well be the case, or it could be taken that Krypton had much plant life. Superman historians will point out that kryptonite did not appear in a Superman story until a June 1943 production of the radio program, two years after this first cartoon. Yet it seems that as early as 1939-1940 Jerry Siegel had envisioned an element called "K-metal" that would render Superman powerless. So, it is quite possible that Krypton's green colour in this cartoon is a reference to the as-yet unused kryptonite. After all, the planet is seen radiating a mysterious green light, probably not a good sign for any planet.
This is the phrase spoken after the back-story is completed. The image on screen shows Superman with his hands at his waist and his cape flapping in the wind. At the mention of Clark Kent, Superman morphs into his secret identity.
"The infant of Krypton is now the man of steel, Superman! To best be in a position to use his amazing powers in a never ending battle for truth and justice, Superman has assumed the disguise of Clark Kent, mild mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper."
In subsequent cartoons, all of which did not contain the back-story, this same shot comes right after the "Faster than! More powerful than!" lines. Here is the description for the second cartoon, 'The Mechanical Monsters.'
"This amazing stranger from the planet Krypton, the man of steel, Superman! Empowered with X-ray vision, possessing remarkable physical strength, Superman fights a never ending battle for truth and justice, disguised as a mild mannered newspaper reporter, Clark Kent."
This cartoon happens to be the only episode where Superman employs his X-ray vision power, so in the remaining fifteen cartoons that same introduction is used but "Empowered with X-ray vision," is omitted.
The CartoonsFollowing is an intensive look at each cartoon. The dates provided are the release dates of each cartoon to movie cinemas. Notice that Isidore Sparber is sometimes credited as I. Sparber and William Turner is sometimes shortened to Bill Turner. These changes seem to have no reason, as each individual has enough room to display their full moniker in the credits.Superman
September 26, 1941
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Steve Muffati, Frank Endres
Story: Seymour Kneitel, I. Sparber
Musical Arrangement: Sammy Timberg
A mad scientist sends a letter to the Daily Planet threatening to use a destructive ray on the city at midnight. Lois already has a lead on the story, and knows that he is operating high atop a mountain. She pilots an airplane to get the scoop on the story, but is captured by the villain. The scientist uses his ray to destroy a bridge, and a newsflash describing the incident is listened to by the Daily Planet staff. Clark goes to a stockroom to change into Superman and leaps out a window, but as he is flying to the source of the ray it hits the Daily Planet building, causing it to fall over. Superman corrects the building and then takes on the beam itself, punching away the energy. The scientist turns his machine to full power, but that only thwarts Superman for a while before he reaches the source and twists the pistol of the machine, causing an overload. Superman rescues Lois and the scientist from the building as the weapon explodes. Superman tosses the villain in jail and Lois writes up the story for the Daily Planet.
November 28, 1941
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Steve Muffati, George Germanetti
Story: Isidore Sparber, Seymour Kneitel
Musical Arrangement: Sammy Timberg
A bank is robbed by a giant flying robot, who takes the money to a secluded hideout containing many other robots and where a man operates a control panel. The Daily Planet reports that a jewel exhibit will be showing rare treasures to the public and that precautions have been taken to guard them against the, "mechanical monster." At the exhibit, Clark is inspecting the gems when Lois greets him. Suddenly, one of the robots breaks into the building and begins to steal the jewels. Lois gets inside the cavity of the machine where all the gems are being placed while Clark goes to a phone booth and calls the office. Upon exiting, Clark can not find Lois so he re-enters to change into Superman. Superman then chases the mechanical monster and uses his X-ray vision to spot Lois inside the machine. He wrestles with it in the sky, which causes him to plummet to the Earth and for it to lose the jewels, but luckily Lois hangs onto the robot. Superman crashes into power lines and requires time in freeing himself from them. Meanwhile, the robot reaches its master, who is enraged that the jewels have been lost. He ties up Lois and sets her on a platform that gets closer and closer to being submerged into a giant vat of smouldering metal. Superman untangles himself from the power lines and breaks into the lair. He defeats the numerous mechanical monsters, rescues Lois and captures the inventor. Lois writes up the story for the Daily Planet.
January 9, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Myron Waldman, Frank Endres
Story: Seymour Kneitel, Isidore Sparber
Musical Arrangement: Sammy Timberg
A billion dollars worth of gold is being shipped via train to the National Mint. Lois boards the train and says goodbye to Clark, as she is going to write a report on the event. An armoured car filled with masked men chases after the train. Two of the men board the train and wrestle the conductor and an armed guard. Lois hears gunshots and goes to the engine to investigate. She tries to stop the train but can not. At a station, a signalman waves a red lantern but the train speeds by. He uses Morse code to alert other stations that the train is running wild. The Daily Planet also receives this message and Clark decides to change into Superman. He reaches the train just as the criminals have diverted the tracks so it will collide with explosives. Superman uses his bare hands to move the tracks back onto the main course. The criminals then blow up a bridge as the train is crossing it, but Superman expertly guides it all back onto the track. Finally, the villains throw a bomb that destroys the engine and coal car, but not before Superman rescues Lois. The train begins rapidly rolling downhill, but Superman pulls it forward. The masked men use tear gas and gunfire on him, but he is undeterred and brings the train cars to their destination with the gold. Lois writes about the event for the paper.
February 27, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Willard Bowsky, Reuben Grossman
Story: Bill Turner, Ted Pierce
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergIn Siberia, scientists discover a giant dinosaur frozen in ice. They bring it America and display it in a museum, still encased in ice. The Daily Planet's editor receives a call from a professor saying that the monster might still be alive. At the museum Lois is getting a tour of the refrigeration unit when a can of oil falls into a generator, causing serious malfunctions. Workers race to get the system working again while the ice thaws and the dinosaur awakens. It breaks free of the ice and destroys the building, trapping Lois inside. The Daily Planet receives word of the event, and Clark changes into Superman. He frees Lois of the rubble, then uses a boulder to fix a dam that the creature broke. The dinosaur lumbers through a river and breaks through a bridge, which Superman supports and ties up with thick metal cords. Lois enters a sporting arena and reaches an upper level to take photographs of the beast. Superman hurls a metal cord from the bridge at the dinosaur, tying it up. It is close enough to Lois that it catches her in its mouth, but Superman pries its jaws open and rescues her. Superman subdues the creature and Lois writes about the adventure, saying that the dinosaur will be on display.
March 27, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Orestes Calpini, Graham Place
Story: Bill Turner, Carl Meyer
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergPolice headquarters are destroyed by the Bulleteers - three men who pilot a high tech bullet car/plane. The next day, from high atop a mountain outside the city, the Bulleteers announce that if they do not receive all the funds from the city treasury they will continue to destroy power plants, firehouses, and municipal buildings. Lois interviews the mayor who says that the city will not give in to any threats. Meanwhile, the buildings said to be targeted are barricaded and sentries are posted. The Bulleteers read in the Daily Planet that their demands shall not be met so they go out in their rocket and destroy a power plant, causing a blackout in the city. Lois, who was working late, drives off to investigate while leaving Clark behind. Clark changes into Superman and hits the rocket vehicle before it can punch through the treasury, but the ricochet causes it to fly wildly and breaks apart a building, sending heavy debris onto Lois's car. Superman saves her, and is then buried himself when the vehicle succeeds in toppling the exterior of the treasury. The Bulleteers park it and get out to loot. During this time Lois sneaks into the rocket vehicle and tries to sabotage the controls. The Bulleteers return and take to the sky, kidnapping Lois. Superman frees himself and goes after them, dismantling the vehicle. Superman saves the occupants as it crashes to Earth. Lois, once again, writes about the event for the Daily Planet.
April 24, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Myron Waldman, Thomas Moore
Story: Dan Gordon, Carl Meyer
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergAn observatory is seen sporting a giant magnet. The magnet activates and pulls a meteor close to Earth as city residents watch including Lois, Clark, and Perry. The fiery meteor falls from the sky, rolls along a street and splashes into the harbour. Later, the scientist responsible says he is aware that the mayor has instructed him to stop his experiments, yet he tells a squad of policemen and Lois on assignment that he will continue his research. He intends to use his magnet again to attract a meteor to within a mile of the Earth for examination, then send it back into space once his work is completed. The police rush at the astronomer, but he pulls a lever which activates a wall, locking the men out. The scientist turns on his machine, bringing the comet to Earth, but the police stop the generator and break electric cords in the power room, not realizing that now the comet will strike the Earth for certain. The comet hits another heavenly body which breaks apart, sending dozens of meteors crashing into the observatory. The scientist and the police officers escape, but Lois stays behind to telephone the Daily Planet. After overhearing the phone call Clark catches a taxi to the observatory. On the way there a large meteor nearly crushes the car. Clark changes into Superman and soars to the observatory. He lifts some debris that has Lois pinned, then attacks the giant comet but is unable to stop it. Superman uses a rope and his super strength to wind up the dynamo to create electricity, then tries to reattach the broken power cords. They will not reach so he grabs each end and uses his own body as a conductor. With the power back on, Lois activates the magnet and sets it to repulse the comet, which flies back into the sky. In a darkened room in the observatory Lois rushes to a figure who she thinks is Superman and plants a kiss. It turns out to be Clark, who switches on the lights and is much amused.
May 15, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Steve Muffati, Arnold Gillespie
Story: Seymore Kneitel, Isidore Sparber
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergA Native American comes to the Daily Planet office and tells Perry, Lois and Clark that Manhattan rightfully belongs to his people. He insists that their paper write about this and order residents (presumably all non-Aboriginal residents) to vacate it. The three find the order to leave preposterous. The man threatens them that modern science will make them change their minds, then leaves. Lois follows the man to the docks where she steals away in the back of his motor boat. They arrive at a secret location, and the man spots her in the back. Without coercing or forcing her, he invites her into an elevator to witness something amazing. The elevator takes them to an underwater base, and there he traps her in a special chair to ensure that she will not interfere. He activates a machine that controls several cords with tuning forks on their ends planted in the ground. When charges reach the tuning forks, explosions and earthquakes result. After chaos erupts in the city Clark changes into Superman. Leaping into the sky, he notices that unnatural explosions are coming from the waterfront. He dives into the water and begins pulling out and dismantling the cords and tuning forks. The sabotage causes the machinery outside and inside the base to rupture, resulting in a hole. Water quickly gushes into the base and the scientist escapes to the surface in the elevator. Superman also goes to the surface and is ready to apprehend the man when the scientist tells him that someone is still in the base. Superman dives back into the water while the man sends a bomb down the elevator shaft. Superman rescues Lois and they escape before the bomb goes off. As the scientist makes his getaway in his motorboat, it is suddenly lifted out of the water by Superman, still holding onto Lois. Lois, as usual, writes about the event for the Daily Planet.
July 10, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Willard Bowsky, Otto Feuer
Story: Bill Turner, Carl Meyer
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergTremors are being felt on a populated island on which rests the volcano Mount Monokoa. Clark and Lois are sent to report from the island. Once there, Clark is not permitted to enter a restricted area because he lost his press pass. Clark goes to the police station and waits for the chief to return while Lois is told by an expert that the plan is to blast the rim of the crater facing away from the city on the island so when there is an eruption the lava will flow harmlessly into the sea. The eruptions begin before the explosives team is fully prepared, and falling boulders break a cord so they are unable to set off the dynamite. Clark hears the eruptions and changes into Superman, then stops a giant boulder from striking the city. He then gets Lois to safety and joins the broken cords, setting off the explosives. The lava starts flowing down the other side of the volcano. Later, Lois is writing about the event on her typewriter and Clark finds his missing press pass sticking out of her purse.
August 28, 1942
Director: Dave Fleischer
Animation: Orestes Calpini, Jim Davis
Story: Jay Morton, Dan Gordon
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergClark and Lois are outside a circus tent as Lois laments having to cover such a boring event. When the show is about to begin she heads inside and he heads to the Daily Planet. At the circus, a monkey accidentally opens a cage containing a dangerous, giant gorilla. Workers try to catch the beast, but it is stronger than their combined strength. The circus tent is nearly evacuated when the gorilla starts lumbering after a small girl. Lois gets the girl to safety, but now the beast is following her. Meanwhile, upon reaching the Daily Planet building Clark hears several sirens. He catches a taxi and tells the driver to see what the commotion is. Upon reaching the circus, Clark discovers that frightened elephants have broken several cages, allowing lions and panthers escape. Clark changes into Superman and begins rounding up the ferocious animals and subduing the elephants. The gorilla has cornered Lois on a high wire platform, and Superman leaps high to save her. Superman and the gorilla fall and hit electrical equipment, resulting in a fire. Superman tosses the gorilla into the high wire safety net, finally stopping the animal. Superman rescues Lois from the fire and later, as always, Lois writes about the event.
September 18, 1942
Director: Seymour Kneitel
Animation: Myron Waldman, Nicholas Tafuri
Story: Bill Turner, Carl Meyer
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergAmerica has built the world's largest bombing plane. Japanese agents stow away on the aircraft while it is being loaded. Later, members of the press are allowed to have a look around. Lois hides herself in a locker in order to have a firsthand account of what the plane's historic maiden flight is like. The plane takes off and the Japanese agents tie up the crew and take control. Lois exits the locker, sees what is happening, and radios the ground for help. The air force is about to send up fighter planes but the Japanese men drop a bomb on the runway, preventing them from lifting off. Clark changes into Superman, soars into the sky and enters the plane. He then rescues Lois from being let out through the bomb chute. After defeating two of the agents he is about to enter the cockpit when the last Japanese man smashes the controls, sending the plane hurtling toward the city below. Superman returns to the ground with Lois, then masterfully lowers the plane onto a city street. Later, Clark and Lois ride together on a carnival ride that resembles a small airplane.
October 16, 1942
Director: I. Sparber
Animation: Steve Muffati, Graham Place
Story: Jay Morton
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergA man in a Superman costume is seen robbing stores. This person is of course not Superman, but a criminal who dresses as Superman and delivers his earnings to his boss. Several newspapers report on the Superman robberies, including the Daily Planet. Lois does not believe that Superman is the perpetrator. An office boy gives Lois and Clark two tickets to the opera, telling them that the editor wants them to cover it. At the opera Clark falls asleep. At the same opera the Superman criminal sneaks around stealing jewellery and such without people noticing it. One woman does realize and screams as the thief starts hustling away. Lois leaves her seat to investigate and runs into the perpetrator. They scuffle and she accidentally rips off his 'S' symbol. Not having seen the man's face in the light, Lois now believes Superman really is behind the robberies. She calls the police while Clark changes into Superman. On the roof, Superman faces the criminal who fires several shots from a gun at him. The criminal gets so afraid that he tries to get away and falls over the side of the building, but Superman catches him. Lois and the police see that there is a real and a phony Superman. Superman and the impostor go to see the crime boss. Once there the boss does not realize that Superman is the real deal, but after he knows he activates a trap door that drops Superman into a chasm. The two criminals push a desk over top the door and seal themselves inside a vault. Superman escapes the chasm and opens the vault, but the criminals are not there anymore after having used a torch to make a new exit. They are getting away in a car and nearly collide with a police car with Lois inside. Before the two cars can crash, Superman jumps in between them and apprehends the criminals for the police. Later, Clark is dozing off at the office when Lois returns, ready to type up her report on the event.
November 20, 1942
Director: Dan Gordon
Animation: Willard Bowsky, William Henning
Story: Carl Meyer, William Turner
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergLois and Clark have been interned at Yokohama, Japan. Every night at eleven Clark changes into Superman and removes the bars from his window, then goes out and sabotages various vessels, machines, bases etc. He then returns to where he is supposed to be a prisoner and replaces the bars. Lois wonders if it could be Superman who is behind the sabotage acts. After many nights and failed attempts at catching Superman, Japanese soldiers place up signs in English warning Superman that if he commits any more acts of sabotage then Lois will be executed. Superman, however, does not spot the signs and destroys a large ship. It is only afterwards that he notices one of the signs. As Lois is about to be killed by a firing squad, Superman appears and shields her from the bullets. He defends them both from the soldiers, then takes her away. Later, Lois is getting interviewed and photographed on a ship as she is returning home. She tells the reporters that Clark Kent is still in Yokohama, but Superman promised her that he would look after him. In Yokohama, when the clock strikes eleven explosions erupt. Superman is still sabotaging.
December 25, 1942
Director: I. Sparber
Animation: Dave Tendlar, Tom Moore
Story: Jay Morton
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergA security guard for a munitions plant is killed and his body is dumped into a swamp. A radio tells of the discovered body, and Lois decides to investigate by going undercover and getting a job at the plant. There, she overhears mentions of a suspicious sounding meeting. Lois listens in on a manager telling two workers that they did good work in disposing of the watchman. She also hears that dynamite charges are connected to a switch that will be thrown by the new night watchman. One of the men spots Lois and they chase her through the building. Lois is finally caught and placed inside a torpedo with dynamite. The new watchman sees what is going on and attempts to rescue Lois but is buried under scrap metal released from a heavy magnet. The torpedo is sent out to testing waters where onlookers believe that there are no explosives in it (not to mention no human). The torpedo is fired at an old barge, but Superman emerges from the scrap metal and takes the torpedo out of the water. He frees Lois, then goes after the men responsible. He decks them all and destroys watchman's switch, ensuring that the planted explosives can not go off. At the same time, one last man has taken a truck filled with TNT and driven it down a hill towards the plant, jumping out to save himself. Superman takes control of the vehicle and drives it off a cliff. Later, the criminals have been apprehended and Lois removes the watchman's hat and fake hair, revealing him as Clark Kent.
February 19, 1943
Director: I. Sparber
Animation: Myron Waldman, Graham Place
Story: Jay Morton
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergAn ancient Egyptian specialist, Dr. Jordan, is found dead at a museum. His assistant, Jane Hogan, is found guilty of his murder. A colleague to them both, Dr. Wilson, calls Clark and tells him that he has important information on the matter. Clark tries to hide his scoop from Lois, but she realizes that the phone call was about something juicy so she follows him. At the museum Dr. Wilson relates the history of an embalmed king and his guards. The pharaoh was a young lad who died, and his giant warriors were so faithful to him that they drank poison so that they could protect him in death. Dr. Jordan had excavated these mummies and reconstructed their burial chamber in the museum. Studying ancient formulas, he created a serum he called the fluid of life. Dr. Jordan injected the guards with this fluid, but never reached any results. He also tried to open the outer casket of the pharaoh, which was booby trapped by poisoned needles. Clark opens the casket while anticipating the needle, causing light to emanate from a jewel on the pharaoh's sarcophagus. The light reaches the guards and animates them. One of them throws Clark into a casket, who breaks out as Superman. He rescues Lois and Dr. Wilson from being hurled into a raging fire by the guards and defeats them. Later, Clark for once writes about the story as Lois has been hurt and her arms are in bandages, looking very much like a mummy's wraps.
March 26, 1943
Director: Dan Gordon
Animation: Orestes Calpini, H.C. Ellison
Story: Robert Little, Jay Morton
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergNazi soldiers in white costumes are pretending to be deities to a group of native Africans. Their base exists inside two giant hollow statues with heavy artillery. A plane containing a pilot and Lois is fired on by the Nazis, taking them down. At the crash site the dieing pilot gives Lois the coordinates of an American fleet on a piece of paper, and tells her to destroy the document. Before she can do so she is captured by the Africans, but still manages to hide it under a rock. Lois is interrogated and refuses to give any information. For this, the Nazis allow the natives to burn Lois alive on a pyre, with hopes that she will relent to save her life. The paper is found by one of the Africans, and the Nazis leave Lois to them and the fire. The Nazis radio a submarine fleet, giving the location of the American vessels. As Lois is beginning to succumb to the heat, Clark and his own pilot fly over, spotting the fire and the crashed plane. Clark parachutes onto a cliff overlooking the fire and changes into Superman. He rescues Lois and fights the Nazis on top of the statues, but a heavy door with a broken handle prevents him from entering the base. Lois disguises herself in the white costume of a fallen soldier and enters the base from ground level. She tries radioing American forces but one of the Nazis sees through her disguise. The Nazi tries to destroy the radio console but Superman enters just in time to stop him. Just as the German submarines are about to fire on the American ships, planes bomb the submarines, thus ending their threat. Adolf Hitler, alone, listens about the event on his radio.
June 18, 1943
Director: Seymour Kneitel
Animation: Nicholas Tafuri, Reuben Grossman
Story: Jay Morton
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergThe Daily Planet finances an expedition led by a man named Henderson to investigate caverns that were discovered by his father. Clark and Lois accompany him, and at the entrance to the caverns Lois and Henderson depart in a boat and will meet Clark inside later. While unloading the boat inside the caverns it drifts away, forcing Lois and Henderson to chase it. Later, Clark enters the caverns and can not find his companions. He goes on foot into a large, lit cavern, and finds that they have been taken hostage by half human, half bird people, and are about to be lowered into a molten substance that will turn them into statues. Clark changes into Superman, rescues them, and exits the bird people's domain. He throws a bomb at the cavern entrance, sealing it off and preventing them from getting out. Back at the Daily Planet, Perry White commends Lois on her story before burning it, saying that nobody would ever believe it.
July 30, 1943
Director: Seymour Kneitel
Animation: Steve Muffati, Otto Feuer
Story: Carl Meyer
Musical Arrangement: Sammy TimbergClark is at a drugstore when a car crashes through the window while chasing another vehicle. The occupants get out, steal another car, and continue their chase with guns blazing. Clark jumps onto the back of the car. Police in a squad car spot the chase and save the woman driver being chased while the villains, along with Clark, get away. It turns out that the villains are saboteurs, either directly working for or sympathizing with the Axis cause. The woman was a spy who now must get a list of their names and plans to Washington. A police escort takes her to the airport but is ambushed by the villains. The woman drives through the shoot-out onto a mechanical rotating bridge where two of the saboteurs have been waiting. They trap her on it by activating the bridge. An accident causes her to fall unconscious on the tracks where giant rollers move the bridge. Meanwhile, Clark has allowed himself to be captured and tied up by the saboteurs, and once the last of them leave he changes into Superman and traps several of them in an elevator. He soars to the bridge and saves the woman by pushing the mechanical bridge back, taking the rollers off the tracks. He personally flies her to Washington, then takes back to the sky while the American flag flaps proudly in the wind.
Superman/Clark Kent: Clayton 'Bud' Collyer
Lois Lane: Joan Alexander
Narrator & Daily Planet Editor (Perry White): Jackson Beck
End NotesI hope you found these notes informative and entertaining. My personal opinion of all the cartoons is that a lot of care was put into them. Though the stories are often sub par, on several occasions they are quite fun and exciting. Strictly thinking of the artwork and animation involved, they are quite amazing to watch, particularly many of the stunts that Superman completes. His detailed actions are much more exciting than in any of the more recent Superman cartoons. If you are a Superman fan and want to experience pure, Golden Age excitement, then these cartoons will be a joy to watch.I recommend to anyone who read this article to check out the Superman Homepage information on the Superman radio program, as a lot of its history connects to these cartoons. I also recommend looking up Fleischer Studios in a search engine to find out more about the company and people who created these serials. Most importantly of all, if you have not already seen these cartoons go in search of a copy of them.
References'The Complete Superman Collection: The Paramount Cartoon Classics of Max & Dave Fleischer.' Bosko Video. 1991.Markstein, Don. 'Don Markstein's Toonopedia- Max Fleischer Studio.' - "http://www.toonopedia.com/fleischr.htm"
Rozakis, Bob. 'Kryptonite.' - "http://www.silverbulletcomicbooks.com/bobro/105695684482145.htm. 2003".
Tollin, Anthony. 'Superman on Radio.' - "http://www.supermanhomepage.com/radio/radio.php?topic=r-radio".
The Baker Street Universe Book Store