Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Spy from Outer Space, Part One

Season: 1
Episode Number: 1
Season Episode Number: 1
Production Number: Unknown
Airdate: September 10, 1966

Writer: Mort Weisinger
Director: Hal Sutherland

Voices: Ted Knight (Narrator, Aliens), Bob Hastings (Superboy), Unknown (Police Chief).

Plot: Krypto alerts Superboy to a series of seemingly natural catastrophic events. It is soon realized that the events are being caused by an alien spy send to prep the Earth for invasion!

Review (Warning! Spoilers!): Before diving into this series, let's take a little look at Superboy's history.

Superman writer and co-creator Jerry Siegel had been trying to approve a Superboy character since 1938 but it wasn't until Detective Comics, Inc. saw the success of Robin, the Boy Wonder in the pages of Detective Comics in the mid-40s that they finally saw the potential.

However, at that time Jerry Siegel was drafted into World War II, which meant that he wasn't available to give any input into the character that he tried so hard to get published in the first place. This is the basis of the legal battles between DC Comics and the estate of Jerry Siegel over the rights to Superboy's character (which in turn is why these Superboy shorts never made it to the New Adventures of Superman DVD set).

Superman artist and co-creator Joe Shuster supplied the artwork for Superboy's first adventure in More Fun Comics #101, 1945. He was created to simply be a younger version of Superman, complete with his glasses-wearing alter ego, Clark Kent. Smallville was created for him to live in, as were his adoptive parents, Ma and Pa Kent. Lana Lang was created as a love interest and a young Lex Luthor even showed up to develop the origins of their rivalry. Joining the team were Krypto the Superdog, Streaky the Supercat and Comet the Superhorse.

One of the most important creations of the Superboy world was the Legion of Super Heroes who traveled back in time to visit Superboy. They were created in 1958 and it wasn't long before their popularity grew greater than that of Superboy, essentially taking over the title.

It was at that time that a small animation studio named Filmation was planning their first animated series. It was the New Adventures of Superman which would feature a seven-minute short called The Adventures of Superboy.

By the mid 80s, the DC Comics universe had expanded to such a degree that writers and editors couldn't keep up with the amount of history their characters were accumulating. Many new stories contradicted older stories, causing major confusion from their readers.

Something had to be done to correct all that was wrong with the DC Universe, so Marv Wolfman wrote the 12-issue maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths in which it was revealed that there were many, many alternate Earths, one for each of the contradictory stories, thus solving all of their continuity problems.

But Marv took it to the extreme and used a villain called the Anti-Monitor to destroy all of the alternate Earths leaving only one single Earth from which the comics could forge their own histories from that point on. Superman's origin was changed to the more familiar story: Clark grows up in Smallville, but becomes Superman when he moves to Metropolis. He never donned a costume while he was in Smaillville. Superboy's long standing history was destroyed in the Crisis but lives on through reprints of the Golden Age of comics and these Superboy cartoons.

Now that you understand the significance of these cartoons, let's talk about The Spy from Outer Space. Read about it in The Spy from Outer Space, Part Two.

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