WHAT IF...Superman Turned to Crime? An Origin Retold by Creator Jerry Siegel!

Ed offers an (admittedly lengthy) explanation as to the importance of one of his favorite Silver age Superman books:

Superman #137 May 1960 

The detailed cover of issue #137 was cut-off & reprinted (with just the scene of a flying Superman with a thin black mask) in the MORE well read & popular issue of 80 Page Giant #1, from 1964, shown below for readers who may not be as detailed in their love of Superman as a fan like Crazy Ed:

NOW do you recognize the "Superman in Criminals eye-mask"? 


Because Superman #137 is one of the most famous & recognizable Silver Age Superman stories of all!  

Because Comics.org (the recognized detailed Comics database) has this indexed info for Superman #137 May 1960:

Credits Script: Jerry Siegel [The origin of Superman is retold (by Superman Co-Creator Jerry Siegel) with new details] :

Pencils: The classic cover and interior art for this work was drawn by (arguably) the greatest Superman artist of all time -- Curt Swan


Super-Menace: Wolf Derek; Bonnie Derek; Jor-El (Flashback; Cameo); Lara (Flashback; Cameo); Jonathan Kent (Cameo); Martha Kent (Cameo); Superbaby [Clark Kent]


A freak accident creates a duplicate of Kal-El's rocket including a double of it's tiny passenger. On Earth, Kal's doppelganger is adopted by a crooked couple, the Dereks, and becomes Super-Brat...(& later) Now grown to manhood and significantly, immune to Kryptonite, Super-Menace battles the Man of Steel, however on the verge of victory he learns the truth about himself and the evil Dereks.

Reprinted:   in 80 Page Giant (DC, 1964 series) #1 (August 1964)

(OK, with all that background): From here on in...it's Ed's embellishment!
  • In retelling the origin of Superman,  Superman Co-Creator Jerry Siegel asserts a new set of details of the baby Kal-el's trip to Earth from doomed Krypton; he passed through a "cosmic space cloud" of unknown energy--and an artificially created duplicate of the rocket & it's contents (including Kal-el) was formed, who (unlike the Bizarro imperfect duplicate formed of Superboy in Smallville) was a PERFECT copy of Superman, although a living essence created by chance in space of pure "cosmic force." 
    • This "creature" landed on earth in its duplicate rocket, but while the "real" baby Kal-el fell into the hands of the loving Kents, the "other' super-being infant was found by & went in the care of Wolf and Bonnie Derek ('Bo Derek' ? you must be kidding...no, in 1960, that was the adopted-mothers name!), a husband & wife team of evil (but VERY small-time) criminals, who raised the super-powered being in direct opposite standards to the good values of the Kent family.

    Written by Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel & a full book length drama (rare for 1960 DC story lines) that ends in a battle to the death between the 2 adult Super-beings; it was NOT written or offered as an imaginary story...but an untold event in the Superman continuity.

    The Overstreet Guide does NOT recognize issue #137 with any "breakout" guide notes. The Guide has issue #137 "buried in the grid" between #131-139 without #137 being highlighted at all!

    ANOTHER TWIST TO THIS story by co-creator Jerry Siegel:  "a cosmic cloud in space that alters humans in a rocket flying through it" was published by DC a full year or more BEFORE the origin story told by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby in the 1st appearance of the Fantastic Four (#1).

    • LAST Point to consider: If "Elseworlds" (DC's answer to "WHAT IF?" tales of Marvel) succeed beyond DC's own well loved (see 80 Pg Giant #1 again, for proof of this!) so-called 'imaginary stories' of the 1960's, how does this story from 1960 compare to 2 other VERY popular ELSEWORLD plots: "what if the rocket carrying baby Kal-el had landed elsewhere...?"

    "SUPERMAN: Speeding Bullets" and "SUPERMAN: Red Son"

    both "elseworld's" stories are 'highly sought after' 'well reviewed' and 'widely popular' tales, TODAY, 50+ years after Superman #137?


    C 2008 by Crazy Ed Savitt; updated Feb 2012