Adventures of Jerry Lewis #105 (March-April, 1968)
“Superman Meets Jerry”
Writer – Arnold Drake
Penciller – Bob Oksner
Letters – Ira Schnapp
Cover Price: $0.12
Now what’s the best way to get over a week spent dealing with… The Darkness Within? Well, I can think of no better way than to enjoy a nice lighthearted comedy-filled weekend, and so… here we are!
Today and tomorrow will feature coverage from a couple of DC’s real-life comedians. Today’s Jerry Lewis, and for those following me on Twitter, you probably have a pretty good idea who’s coming up tomorrow.
Figure it’s a good time to cover some lighter books… we’re presently sandwiched between #BestEventEver and… the Five-Hundredth Daily Post here at the humble blog! If I’m not hit by a bus first, Post #500 will hit this Tuesday (June 13).
We open with Uncle Jerry, nephew Renfrew and their, I dunno… kousekeeper (?) W. Kraft… the “W” stands for Witch, natch. They’re watching televised coverage of Superman fighting a “cosmic creature”, which looks like a scrawny dragon… perhaps a variation on the DC villain I love to hate… “the nameless lizard man”… only with wings. Initially I thought they were watching the George Reeves program, The Adventures of Superman, but no… they’re actually watching the real-steel-deal here. We know what that means, right? This gets filed with my DC Universe titles! Anyhoo, as they watch Renfrew and Jerry have a difficult time opening a bag of generic-brand potato chips.
We shift to the fight scene itself, where the news reporters comment that for the past three days Superman has done nothing but fight creatures from outer space. Finally, the Man of Steel hurls an automobile at the beastie, and then… tears its head off! Wow, that’s pretty hardcore. Of course, by now he’d already deduced that this was more machine than monster, so… no harm, no foul. Elsewhere the monster-maker himself, Lex Luthor smiles… Superman has fallen right into his trap!
Ya see, that robot was stuffed with high quantities of a, get this, low-grade Kryptonite… probably the kind you get at the dollar store… which has now covered Superman’s costume. This will slowly, and will be unnoticeable until it’s too late! Lex intends to use his, heh, “Kryptonite Counter” to track Superman and find out his secret identity before he dies. That’s pretty sporting of ol’ Lex, I mean, why not just put high-grade K in the robot and kill Superman on the spot? Also, it turns out that Superman is already feeling the effects…
… in fact, after slipping into a phone booth to change… he falls asleep!
Later on, he returns to work at the Daily Planet. He’s hopeful he’ll get a minute or two to rest, however, Perry has different plans… Clark’s going to have to take point covering a present crisis… the pre-teen jungle! Ya see, teen-agers (with a hyphen) are currently the number-two public enemy (after China, of course). Jimmy on the spot provides some hard data… and, lemme tell ya… it’s pretty sobering. Did you know… 72% of all parents of pre-teens are frightened of them?! Did you know… 58% of music recordings are purchased by them?! I mean, this is horrifying…
Clark knows when he’s beat… and he wouldn’t want to have to forfeit his “Superman of America” membership card, so he agrees to visit with, who the Planet’s computers have identified as… the most typical, average, representative pre-teen… Renfrew Whatshisface (maybe it’s Lewis)?! He rings their doorbell, which interrupts “fall cleaning”.
Clark enters to see the house in shambles. He introduces himself and informs Jerry that Renfrew is the most average, yadda yadda yadda. Jerry’s intrigued, and invites Clark to take a seat… if he can find one among the mess. Jerry himself sits down on their destroyed television set… which is, unfortunately still plugged in. Before he knows it, Jerry’s seeing “the colors”… maaaaaaan.
As the “grown ups” chat, Renfrew goes about being an all-around nuisance… giving Clark a hot-foot, then dousing it with a pan of water… both things which, somehow… Clark feels! But how could that be?!
Jerry guides a now-soaked Clark to the bathroom so he can get out of his wet duds. He decides to stash the Superman costume at the bottom of the hamper… which, is probably a terrible idea. Anyhoo, Jerry offers Clark some of his clothes to wear while his dry…
… and, wouldn’tcha know it, Jerry’s maid Witch Kraft chooses right this moment to do some laundry!
She presents the costume to Jerry, who does… well, exactly what any of us would do in the same situation… tries that bad boy on! I can’t say he fills it out as good as Superman… or, hell… even as good as I would… least I have some roundness around the middle!
At this very moment, Clark’s superpowers have started to return… remember, that low-grade K had covered his costume… with his costume off, the effects have lessened. Anyhoo, he can see, via his x-ray vision that Lex Luthor (and a mook) has arrived. After a quick turn of the head, Clark can see Jerry Lewis wearing his Superman costume! Uh-oh… if he doesn’t act fast… Jerry gon’ die! Unfortunately, while his x-ray vision has return… his super-speed and strength have not… Clark kayos himself trying to run through the wall.
In the bathroom, Lex starts threatening Jerry… to which, Jerry bites his (Lex’s) finger, wraps him in the shower curtain, and runs away. You’d think he really was Superman, until you realize he just left an armed man with an itchy trigger finger in the same house as his young nephew! The whole thing’s moot, however, Lex (and the mook) give chase, firing shots with every step… shots which are being deflected by the Superman costume!
Renfrew must have heard the gunshots, because he runs to Witch Kraft to inform her that Uncle Jerry’s in a whole mess’a trouble. Meanwhile, Clark comes to… and with the costume even further away, more powers have returned. With the grace of a hippo on a lily-pad, he fumbles through the wall of the Lewis home. Just then, Kraft and Renfrew have (already?) caught up with Lex and the mook… neither of whom have any qualms about unloading a gun in the direction of a woman and a child.
One of Lex’s bullets hits Kraft’s broom… remember, she’s a witch… sending them both flying. Kraft being an accidental altruist, takes the brunt of the landing. Renfrew bounces off her belly, at which point, Clark has regained his powers… and flies through an entire city block to catch him.
We return to Jerry as he makes it to the junk yard… where he decides to “hide” under a tub full of potato soup? Okay. Well, the tub allegedly weighs 100 lbs., and Jerry lifted it without any trouble at all… how can that be? Well, lucky for him, Clark Kent is hiding in a nearby tree performing some super-suction with pin-point accuracy… that is, until he sucks up a bird!
Anyhoo, by now Witch Kraft has come to… and has also arrived at the junk yard. She whips up a mighty wind to send Luthor and the mook flying! At the very same time, the feathers of the bird that Clark inhaled begin tickling his allergies… and so, he super-sneezes the thing right into Kraft’s dome! It’s funny, half of Clark’s sneeze is in the thought balloon… I gotta start sneezing like that!
With Kraft kayoed (again), Lex and the mook hit the ground. In the distraction, Clark sucks the Superman costume off Jerry’s body… and, yeah… I know how that sounded. After catching it, he blows the Kryptonite dust off of it… and he’s back in action, socking Lex in the mush before calling it a day.
Our tale concludes with Jerry reading the latest edition of the Daily Planet whose headline reads “Clark Kent, Star Reporter, Missing” (they use almost as many commas as I do! Gotta work on their ellipseseses, tho)!
Now this is where it’s at! The last time we discussed a Jerry Lewis book, it wasn’t half as fun as this… it was actually, not all that great. It’s hard to really “critique” (if that’s in fact what I do here) a comedy book… I’ve got a short-stack of old comedy and funny-animal books I’m really wanting to cover here… but, it’s challenging to come up with with any sort of analysis besides saying “this was/wasn’t funny”.
Now this book… was pretty funny. I’m about 100% positive that much of that had to do with the inclusion of Superman… I mean, sight gags are kind of a “thing” in this book… to see those gags happen to Superman (rather than Jerry) was a lot of fun. I mean, we’re used to seeing Jerry Lewis fumble and stumble… but Superman? We actually saw Superman suck a bird in while using his super-breath! How funny is that? What’s perhaps funnier is that… that sort of thing never happens… though, it probably ought to!
The storytelling device here was well used. Having the costume riddled with low-grade K was a great idea, which facilitated the entire affair without feeling terribly gimmicky. I joked about Lex going this route rather than just killing Superman… but, c’mon… this is the Silver Age… a time where Lex Luthor would build a billion dollar robot, just to steal a fifty-grand from a bank. I think we can allow this.
Anyone whose read this blog for an extended period of time (or has lucked upon just the right posts) knows that I am a big fan of “lore”. I love the concepts of inter-connectivity, continuity, and world-building. Seeing Jerry Lewis as being an actual part of the DC Universe… even if it’s just “here and again” makes me so much happier than it should. I mean, this counts as an official appearance of Superman. If we were to chronologically index every “canonical” appearance, this would be among them (at least if you ask me)! Love it.
My main take away from this issue is… damn, now I gotta track down the Flash Meets Jerry, Wonder Woman Meets Jerry and Batman and Robin Meet Jerry issues… and I’m sure at least one’a those ain’t coming cheap! I can’t say with 100% certainty that this hasn’t been collected in trade… but I really doubt it. If you happen across this one for a few bucks, I’d say snag it. If you happen across the other “Jerry Meets…” comics for a few bucks, er… lemme know!