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Comic Book / Superboy (1949)

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"The adventures of Superman when he was a boy!"

Superboy (1949), as well known as Superboy (Volume 1) or Superboy starring/and the Legion of Super-Heroes, was a comic-book series published by DC Comics from 1949 to 1979, totaling 258 issues (plus one Annual published in 1964).

Superman, as created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1938, was a fully-fledged adult. That same year, Siegel pitched the idea of writing the adventures of a young Superman, but it was rejected. After several more rejected pitches, though, DC decided the idea had kid-appeal potential, and they created Superboy without Siegel's input. Superboy's first story was published in More Fun Comics #101 (January-February, 1945). However, the Superboy strip was moved to Adventure Comics only six issues later (More Fun Comics itself didn't last much longer. Issue #27, published in November-1947, was the final one).

As Superboy became the Adventure Comics star, DC decided to give the character his own title. Thus, Superboy began publication in March-April of 1949. At first a bi-monthly comic-book, Superboy's wild success (it was the first successful super-hero solo title after World War II, and it was frequently the second best-selling superhero during the Silver Age) ensured that it became a near-monthly book, and a monthly series in 1972. Ironically, Superboy would lose his position as his own book's solo star shortly afterwards.

In 1958, Adventure Comics #247 had introduced the Legion of Super-Heroes, a super-team of teen heroes from the future who idolized Superboy. The Legion became a hit, booting Superboy from Adventure Comics in issue #300. In 1969, the Legion was likewise booted from AC by Supergirl, and started looking for a new home. Four years later, they found a permanent residence.

As of issue # 197 (September, 1973), the Superboy strip was renamed to Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the focus shifted from Clark Kent's adventures in past Smallville to Superboy and the Legion's adventures in the 30th century. With issue #222, the title officially changed to Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (December, 1976).

By the end of 1979, DC decided to split Superboy from the Legion. Issue #259 (January, 1980), has Superboy to leave the 30th century permanently (although he returned several times), his former book being renamed to Legion Of Super Heroes 1980/Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 2), which retained the legacy numbering, and young Clark Kent's adventures were moved to a new book, "The New Adventures of Superboy"

DC cancelled Superboy's second magazine in 1984, and in 1986 retconned Superman's childhood career out of continuity (thusly, sending the Legion's continuity into a tailspin). Depending on the retcon, Superboy's adventures never happened, they happened to a pocket universe's Superboy, only his Legion adventures happened, or everything happened. Be that as it may, this book's effect upon the franchise has been long-lasting. Superboy's adventures fleshed Superman's parents out, introduced characters like Lana Lang, Pete Ross, Bizarro and the Legion of Super-Heroes, and inspired two different live-action shows: The Adventures of Superboy, which had its own comic adaptation, and Smallville.

Superman (1949) story arcs with their own pages include:

Tropes found in other issues of Superboy (1949) include:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: In issue #204, Brainiac 5 resigns from the Legion when Kara convinces him to run off with her. Brainiac returned shortly after, when the real Kara appeared, and he found out he had eloped with a Supergirl-like android.
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The series, via its use of a floating timeline, saw the Boy of Steel's era set in the relative past. As such, an early 1970s story saw Lana Lang interested in 50s hula hoops.
  • The '50s: Issue #171 (January 1971) saw his time era moved from being stuck in the 1930s to perpetually 15 or so years behind the then-present. Thus, 70s Superboy stories often featured nostalgic 1950s elements (Lana Lang interested in hula hoops, Clark pondering rock and roll, etc.).
  • Aliens Speaking English: Justified in issue #117. The invading aliens from the planet Sklan observed Earth for years, learning about its cultures and languages, before beginning to infiltrate.
  • Already Met Everyone: In issue #80, Superboy meets his cousin Kara, the future Supergirl, when she travels back in time. In Action Comics #358, teenager Clark also found his cousin during an incident where he accidentally ended up on Argo. The fact that he didn't recognize her when she arrived on Earth years later was explained to be the result of Laser-Guided Amnesia.
  • Alternate Universe: In #117, Superboy finds five evil counterparts of his Legion pals, and realizes that they come from an alternate universe. Then he ponders over the multiverse, the potentially infinite issue of alternate universes.
  • Artistic License – History: In issue #103 "The Three Ages Of Superboy", Superboy travels to three different periods of time. Ancient Egypt, where he finds slaves building the pyramids (which were actually built by free paid workers), 510 AD England, where King Arthur and his knights wear full plate armor (which appeared around 1420), and 1876 Missouri.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In issue #50, Superboy drinks an enlarging potion called "Titan Tonic", and grows a mile high. He becomes so big that his head hits the clouds and can catch an airplane with one hand.
  • Betrayal by Offspring: Subverted in #177. Superboy is menaced by a new villain called Calculon who uses his amazing brain power to deduce his secret identity, so Superboy (supposedly with the police's cooperation) sets up a frame where the Kents are arrested and held for supposedly intentionally selling contaminated food, which fools Calculon (really Lex Luthor wearing a 'brain enhancer' and sunglasses) into thinking he assessed it wrong, because there was no way that Superboy would arrest and jail his own parents if he was really Clark Kent.
  • Chronoscope: In a comic story (based on a script from the Superboy live-action TV series that wasn't, apparently), Superboy flies out into space in order to make a home movie to show his friend that the friend's father was a hero during the war. Superboy goes faster than light so he can film the light coming from Earth, which shows what happened in the past.
  • Combo Platter Powers: Issue #195 introduces Drake "Wildfire" Burroughs, an astro-engineer who decides to join the Legion of Super-Heroes after his body is transformed into a mass of sentient antimatter energy preserved in a containment suit. His powers include super-senses, matter-transmutting, size-changing, intangibility, flight and the ability to fire antimatter energy blasts.
  • Comedic Spanking: In #55, Jonathan Kent decides to spank his son for skipping classes...which proves to be a bad idea given Clark's super-toughness.
    Jonathan Kent: "This hurts me more than you— OWWW!"
    Clark Kent: (thinking) He can say that again!
  • Comic-Book Time: Superboy's time-era was originally shown as being either vaguely defined or taking place at the time of publication. Starting in the late 50s, the Superboy writers corrected this and set Superboy as taking place in the '30s (before Superman's 1938 debut date in the comics). By the late 1960s, this was clearly becoming unfeasible, and Superboy was then placed firmly on a sliding timescale 13-15 years behind the present-day Superman, moving his time-era up to The '50s and then the late 1960s / the early 1970s by the time Crisis on Infinite Earths hit.
  • Covers Always Lie:
    • The cover of issue #5 has Superboy and Supergirl performing a trapeze show which does not happen in the story.
    • The cover of #161 depicts Clark Kent tossing his Superboy suit aside and leaving his parents and his town. In the story, Clark contemplates to get rid of his powers, but he never considers abandoning his parents.
    • The cover of #258 features Saturn Girl crumbling to dust in Lightning Lad's arms. In the proper story, Garth was merely victim of an illusion attack.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Legion was the cause of this for Superboy. They originally appeared as supporting characters in 1958 Superboy story "The Legion of Super-Heroes!", then starting in 1962 they appeared as the backup feature in Adventure Comics where Superboy had been the star since 1946. Within a year they had taken over the comic, reducing Superboy to the back up in what had been his title, and not long after solo Superboy stories stopped appearing altogether (though he continued to appear as a member of the Legion.) A decade later they repeated the feat when they started appearing in Superboy (1949) as a backup feature, which was renamed Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes and eventually just Legion Of Super Heroes 1980 as they again took over the comic and Superboy got Put on a Bus.
  • Depending on the Artist: Although most of the artists (like Curt Swan) drew Pa and Ma Kent as grey-haired old folks, illustrators like Bob Brown depicted them as a middle-aged couple. Some artists even missed their signature glasses.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Issue #151 dealt with a villain tricking young Supes into thinking he had accidentally killed Lana Lang with a careless display of strength. Grief-stricken, Superboy turns himself in to the police and sits brooding in a jail cell, giving the villain and his mooks a free window of opportunity to commit crimes unopposed. Naturally, it's all a ruse, and Lana turns out to have been merely kidnapped and is totally unharmed.
  • Engineered Public Confession: In issue #5, the treacherous Duke Norvello threatens to kill Queen Lucy if she does not insult her subjects publicly, and then he gloats that, after destroying Lucy's reputation, he can get rid of her puppet queen and do whatever he pleases to the "stupid peasants". Too bad for him, Superboy planted a microphone in his room and broadcast his gloating speech to everybody.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: In issue #13, one rampage happened due to Superbaby's desire for a pet, as shown on the cover.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In issue #85 "The Impossible Mission!", Lex Luthor has a breakdown when he realizes that he has accidentally prevented Superboy from saving President Lincoln's life, since even he knows that Lincoln was a good man.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Clark Kent, Lana Lang, Pete Ross, and (until his turn to villainy) Lex Luthor all attended Smallville High. Clark and Lex going to the same school was retconned out in the 80's, and back in canon in the 00's.
  • Expy: Issue #10 introduces Lana Lang, a Superboy-obsessed girl who was determined to discover his secret identity, essentially serving as a teenaged expy of Lois Lane for teen Clark Kent.
    Yes, this little lass with a fatal curiosity is as pretty as Lois inquisitive as Lois harassing as Lois Lane...and even has the same initials as Lois Lane!
  • Farm Boy: Subverted in Superboy 1949. In Pre-Crisis continuity, the Kents sold the farm before Clark started school and bought a general store in Smallville, whereas Clark became Superboy at age 8 (Smallville's still a one-horse town, however).
  • Forgotten First Meeting: In issue #80, Supergirl goes back in time to meet her teenager cousin and play with him. Both kids hit it off immediately, but Superboy wipes his memory out after Kara leaves so he does not reveal Supergirl's existence prematurely.
  • Friend-or-Idol Decision: In issue #90, Pete Ross is invited to his popular, wealthy classmate Joe's big costume party...on the condition that Pete doesn't bring his dull friend Clark Kent along. Pete retorts he is not going anywhere without his best friend, and Joe threatens to scratch him off his guest list forever if Pete rejects his invitation. Pete suggests Joe to go and do that, and goes skating with Clark.
  • Funetik Aksent: In #161 "The Strange Death of Superboy", Clark meets Austrian brain surgeon Franz Haller, who has an almost indecipherable German accent.
    Dr. Haller: "Ja! Vidout der timely intervention of zis superjunge..."
  • Gender Bender: In issue #78, "Claire Kent: Super-Sister", Superboy is turned into a girl by a telepathic alien girl from a matriarchal planet who's insulted by Superboy's chauvinistic thoughts. Superboy has to adjust to being a girl in both his secret and super identities... but in the end, it turns out to be All Just a Dream.
  • Genre Shift: The book starts off as a mix of standard super-hero story and sitcom antics, set in a quaint Midwestern town, where Superboy mainly deals with crooks, corrupt businessmen, jerkasses, meddlesome love interests and the occasional supervillain. As the 50s and 60s chug along, though, more sci-fi elements become mixed in, and by the time the Legion become co-stars, the book has fully transitioned into a sci-fi Planetary Romance starring super-heroes in the far-flung future.
  • Girl's Night Out Episode: In #242, the backup story is entitled "Girls' Night Out" and is about four female Legionnaires who go out for a night on the town only to encounter and deal with a group of terrorists/looters.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: In issue #204 "The Legionnaire Nobody Remembered", a teen of the 75th century accidentally changes history, causing Superboy to both his Legion's entry test. Determined to fix his mistake, the unnamed youth travels to the 20th century, joins the Legion under the codename "Anti-Lad", and then makes them believe he ruined Superboy's test with the intent of taking his place. Whereupon, he teleports back to his own time, hypnotizing them into forgetting everything about him (except for the feeling that they must give Superboy another initiation test for some reason). The only evidence left of Anti-Lad's time-fixing adventure is a picture of a forgotten, unknown stranger which the Legionnaires get puzzled over.
  • Hero Does Public Service: In #43 "The Super-Farmer of Smallville", young Clark Kent rebuilds a whole burned farm.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Issue #161 "The Strange Death of Superboy" (1969), Clark become fed up with letting people -especially his school bully Bradley "Bash" Bashford- stomp over him because he must protect his secret identity or leave to deal with an emergency, and longing to be normal. He uses carefully controlled doses of kryptonite to bring himself down to a human level, and enjoys it briefly, only for disaster to strike and make him realize that Superboy is desperately needed, so he risks his life to get his powers back. By the end, he seems happily enough reconciled to how complicated his life will always have to be.
    Superboy: "I've had it, Pa! What good are testimonials...statues in my acclaim...when I've never had the simple joys...even pains...other kids have! I just want to be a normal...ordinary everybody else!"
    Pa Kent: "You can't be like "everybody else", Clark! You're something "special"..."
    Ma Kent: "B-but I can understand, Jonathan! He is being deprived of a normal youth!"
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: In #80, Supergirl time-travels to the past to meet her teen cousin. Superboy is happy to have someone to play with, but when his cousin wins their first game he's surprised that "a mere girl" can best him. Kara states he'll have to get used to the idea that a girl can be a match for him.
    Superboy: "How did you, a mere girl, ever get here ahead of me?"
    Supergirl: "You'll just have to get used to the idea that a Supergirl can be just as super-duper as a Superboy!"
  • Identical Grandson: Issue #217 introduces Laurel Kent, Clark Kent and Lois Lane's 30th century descendant, which looks almost identical to her 20th century female ancestor.
  • Incest Subtext:In #80, Kara travels to the past to meet Superboy, and Clark looks a tad smitten with his cousin. And that is before they aim two strangely-phallic spaceships at each other.
  • Jerk Jock: Issue #157 introduces Bradley "Bash" Bashford, Smallville High's resident top jock (and smug asshole) who teen Clark Kent had to put up with.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Issue #89 has Superboy meet Mon-El, an amnesiac with powers like his, who assumed due to this that he was Kryptonian. Near the end of the story, Clark gets suspicious and lobs lead boulders painted to look like Kryptonite at him. Mon-El collapses, and Superboy flies in to accuse him of fakery — but the trauma has brought his memory back; he's a Daxamite, a member of a race similar to Kryptonians, but with a weakness to lead poisoning instead of Kryptonite. To keep him from dying, Superboy puts him in the Phantom Zone, preserving him for a thousand years until the Legion finds a cure in "The Death of Lightning Lad". Later retellings have Clark and Mon-El seeing if Mon-El was a Kryptonian (whose memories were slowly coming back) and Mon-El getting sick after Clark takes out a lead box containing some Kryptonite.
  • Letters 2 Numbers: In #131, Superboy needs to remove Luthor's fifth dimensional powers (siphoned off of Mr. Mxyzptlk), so he tricks Lex into saying his name backwards by baiting him into cracking a numerical code: "18-15-8-20-21-12 24-5-12", meaning "R-O-H-T-U-L X-E-L".
    Superboy: "You decoded the numbers the computer said would take away your magic! Those were the numbers in the "code message" I gave you! R is the 18th letter of the alphabet, O is the 15th, H the 8th...When you read those digits, you said your name numbers!"
  • Long-Lost Relative: Subverted in issue #89 "Superboys Big Brother". Superboy happens upon an amnesiac alien boy, and circumstancial evidence leads him to believe that boy is his older brother (whom he calls Mon-El). Eventually, Mon-El gets his memory back and realizes that Superboy is mistaken, since they are not even from the same planet.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: In issue #205, Brainiac misses Supergirl so badly that he builds a Kara robot in his sleep, programming her to run away with him.
  • Man in the Iron Mask: In #5, evil chancellor Norvello gets an iron mask locked over Queen Lucy's head and melts the key. His plan was to keep Lucy masked and locked up while he carried out a smear campaign against her, but Superboy exposes his plan and then releases and unmasks Lucy.
  • Mecha-Mooks: In issue #219, Tharok from the villainous group Fatal Five, tries to create an army of semi-android life forms to conquer the universe.
  • Mermanity Ensues: In #194, Superboy is turned into a water-breathing, fish-tailed merman by a renegade Atlantean scientist called Harkon, with the purpose of forcing Superboy to work for him.
  • Mistaken for Superpowered: In #5, when Lucy of Borgonia moves to Smallville, Superboy uses his powers stealthily to make people believe she is some kind of Supergirl.
  • Monumental Damage: In issue #117, as an alien is revealing his plan to destroy humanity, he is imagining buildings like the Roman Coliseum, the Notre-Dame cathedral, the Eiffel Tower, the Big Ben Tower, the Sphinx of Giza and the Washington Monument being chucked out into space, and the Statue of Liberty and the entirety of Manhattan disappearing under the water.
  • Mundane Utility: The Teen of Steel constantly used his powers to help his parents around the house, the farm and the store. For example, in issue #10, Clark holds up a piano so that Martha can sweep under it.
  • Multilayer Façade: In #107, Red Kryptonite makes Clark jealous of himself as Superboy. He proceeds to reveal his superpowers and starts doing his fantastic feats openly. Some out-of-town criminals who arrived in Smallville to kill Superboy with Green Kryptonite learn of this and make plans to strike Clark at his home. Eventually the Red K's effect wears off and Clark proceeds to extricate himself from the crisis via the trope?. He makes up a story explaining that he knew that the criminals wanted to kill Superboy but didn't know when they'd strike, so he posed as Clark in cooperation with the Kents to force their hand.
  • Origins Episode: Issue #147 "The Origin of the Legion!" (May, 1968) finally revealed the origin of the Legion Of Super-Heroes, one decade after their first appearance.
  • Prequel: The Superboy and Adventure Comics books told the history of Clark Kent before becoming Superman, as the mainline series told the history of his present adult life.
  • Punch Catch: In issue #150, a super-powerful stranger called "Mr. Cipher" invades the Kents' household. When Pa Kent tries to kick him out, Cipher easily catches and crushes his fist.
  • Reluctant Ruler: In issue #5, Superboy makes a coup in the country of Borgonia fail, but Queen Lucy does not want to take the throne, considering her royal blood has only brought her grief and problems. However, her maid Elena talks her into it, arguing that Duke Norvello's tyranny has messed their country up, and Lucy is the only who is in a position to fix it.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: In #197, Timber Wolf, who had apparenly caught in the radius of a planetoid's explosion and reported as killed in action, reappears six months later after his "death", as no memory of the last six months (later it was revealed that he was abducted and brain-washed by a villain called Tyr).
    Superboy: "Bin—?! Brin Londo! All of us thought you were dead!"
    Timber Wolf: "As your 20th Century saying goes... "The reports of my death were greatly exaggerated!"
  • Robotic Reveal: In issue #117, Superboy finds a strange dog who looks just like Krypto, trapped in the Phantom Zone. Superboy calls him "Spot", and Krypto is happy to adopt him as a playmate, but Superboy soon learns that "Spot" was a Krypto robot built by his father Jor-El to compensate him for the loss of the real Krypto -in "The Super Dog from Krypton"-. Shortly after, Spot is smashed to pieces by a Kryptonite boulder, and its inner mechanisms are revealed.
  • Rule of Perception: In #201, tiny white stars are drawn around each Legionnaire to represent that they are feeling dizzy and succumbing to the effects of an invisible poisonous gas.
  • Secret Chaser: In issue #93 "Lana Lang's Superboy Identity Detection Kit!", Lana creates the eponymous kit to try to prove Superboy is Clark Kent.
  • Secret-Keeper: In #90, Pete Ross discovered Superboy's secret ID during a camping trip. A convenient flash of lightning revealed Clark changing clothes, and Pete kept it secret, not even letting Superboy know that he knew. He once even used his knowledge to become an honorary member of the Legion of Super-Heroes by claiming he had telepathy and knew Superboy's secret ID. Writing the identity on a lead tablet so Superboy couldn't see. Superboy assumed Pete was bluffing and that everyone else was just going along with the joke.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: In issue #90, Pete Ross discovers his friend Clark's second identity by accident during a camping trick, and he decides to keep it to himself.
  • Seen It All: The citizens of Smallville tend to be inured to weirdness due to years of frequent alien invasions, monster rampages, super-hero battles and the like. In issue #117 "Superboy and the 5 Legion Traitors!", Clark Kent's teacher in Smallville High School finds nothing strange whatsoever about her class being visited by five heroes from the future, even asking them to demonstrate their powers in front of her whole class.
  • Self-Imposed Exile: In #160, Superboy briefly exiles himself to the moon after being tricked into thinking he killed "Cleop Amahdi" (actually the body of Cleopatra reanimated by Professor Tingly).
  • Self-Made Man: The Legion's main backer R.J. Brande was an amnesiac time-tossed shape-shifting alien Durlan frozen in human form who became the richest man in the galaxy. In issue #258, after Earthgov embezzles his dough, he lets them keep the money saying he'll just have to go and make the journey again.
  • Sequel Series: Both the second volume of the Legion of Super-Heroes and The New Adventures of Superboy were sequels to this series.
  • Shockwave Clap: In #220, Lightning Lad calms a mob down by clapping his hands together and unleashing a booming thunderbolt.
  • Significant Anagram: In issue #217, Clark Kent and Lois Lane's descendant Laurel Kent uses "Elna" as an alias.
  • Spanner in the Works: Issue #201 features Molecular Master, an android programmed to infiltrate and poison the Legion and steal the Miracle Machine. His master's plan fails because of the appearance of Wildfire, a Legionnaire who Molecular Master was totally not expecting because Wildfire had been recently declared dead in action.
  • Stupid Sacrifice: In #5, Superboy interferes when a couple of crooks are attempting to kidnap Lucy. When one thug pulls one gun out, Lucy steps between Superboy and the thug, screaming she will not let them hurt him. Superboy tells her to stop, because he is bulletproof (unlike herself). Fortunately for Lucy, Superboy was quick enough to melt the speeding bullet.
  • Superdickery:
    • The cover of issue #64 has Krypto destroying a Superboy statue, while Lana gloats that he has become her dog now. In the story, Krypto becomes jealous of Superboy grabbing all the attention and praise, but he never goes on a rampage.
    • In the cover of issue #96, Clark's best friend Pete Ross has stolen Superboy's powers' suit and dog, has imprisoned him a cage, and ignoring Clark's pleas to not leave him dying of thirst, flies off to steal his buddy's girl. In the story, Clark is having a nightmare because something has transferred his powers to Pete, and his newfound power seems to have gone to his friend's head.
  • Surprise Incest: In issue #217, Superboy finds a new and gorgeous Legionnaire, becoming instantly entranced with her. He backs off when he learns that his new teammate -Laurel Kent- is his own 30th century descendant. She explains that he felt smitten with her, because she looks right like his (to him future) wife.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: In issue #98, Ultra Boy, an alien boy from the 30th century, wants to enrol in Smallville High School, excusing the lack of school records by claiming they were destroyed in a terrible fire.
  • Tempting Fate: In issue #10, Lana Lang's family moves the house next to the Kent's home. Clark feels disgruntled because Lana's presence delayed him in attending to an emergency, but he reassures himself by thinking that can't happen again. One panel -and several hours- later, Professor Lang asks the Kents to take care of his daughter while he and his wife go on a scientific expedition to Africa.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: In issue #201, the Legion holds an audition in the wake of the alleged death of Wildfire. The first applicant is Porcupine Pete, who can grow and shoot quills, but cannot control his aim; the second canndidate is Infectious Lass, who can transmit any disease she chooses to others, but she cannot control it as well as she claims, accidentally putting Star Boy on a sickbed; and Molecular Master, whose power is impressive and useful, but turns out to be an androide programmed to infiltrate the Legion and steal the Miracle Machine.
  • There Is Another: "The Super-Duel in Space was the first instance of Earth-One Superman running into other Kryptonian survivors, but Superboy #167 (September, 1958) retconned this only two months later by introducing Klax-Ar.
  • Time Travel: In issue #85 "The Impossible Mission!", Superboy goes back in time to 1865 to try and prevent Lincoln's assassination, and learns that history cannot be changed.
  • Very Special Episode: Issue #171 features a team-up with Superboy and the future Aquaman in an issue about the dangers oil and other pollutants can cause to sea life. Aquaboy's life is endangered when the oil companies are too concerned with profit to change their ways, and while he and Superboy manage to stop one company from poisoning any further, sea creatures died and they still have a long way to go before the oceans are safe.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Subverted in issue #68 "The Boy Of Steel Vs The Thing Of Steel" (October, 1958) when Superboy destroyed the very first Bizarro. The readership revolved, and so the character was recreated in Action Comics #254 (July, 1959).
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "The Man Who Could See Tomorrow!," the first story in the first issue takes place in the present when Superboy's already Superman, and having Clark flash back to his teenage years.
  • World War Whatever: By the 30th Century, there had been a number of world wars. In issue #228, one Legionnaire, Chemical King, dies to prevent World War VII in 2977. It is also mentioned that World War VI was fought in the 28th Century.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Although Clark Kent could time travel by flying faster than light, he was physically incapable of changing the past - some obstacle would always crop up to prevent it, even a highly improbable obstacle. He first learned this lesson in issue #85 when, after having just discovered he could time travel, he went back to prevent Lincoln's assassination. Against all likelihood, Superboy bumps into the adult Lex Luthor, who had simply been time traveling to take a break from the stresses of supervillainy. The encounter with Luthor delays Supes so he can't stop Booth's bullet. When Luthor realizes that he has inadvertently helped kill Lincoln, even he is aghast, and he goes home, badly shaken.