[Cover now floating around the blogosphere, taken from Lee Barnett who got it from Steve Gerber, who got it from Dave Kraft, etc.]
UPDATE: WAIT! THE INTERNET HAS SPOKEN.
Apparently this cover originally had COVER LINES and they explain why Jimmy is crying. You can see the REAL cover here.
“floating around the net” how? If this is just an old cover, what makes it a sudden water cooler talker? lol I mean besides the fact that it is hysterical?
When will someone create a website for all these sorts of covers? The Rifleman one is the best…with the kid and that log on the cover…hahahahahaah
As disturbing as this image is, it should get some leeway as being thirty years old, when the art and editorial figures involved could reasonably be unware of the implications of the situation.
However, there is an almost identical scene in the conclusion Judd Winick’s First Thunder, in which Clark Kent walks into Billy Basston’s apartment and starts undressing. This scene, played out over several panels, is to build to a reveal to Billy that Clark is Superman. However, under any modern perspective, Billy should be saying the magic word or, at very least, calling 9-1-1 or otherwise completely freaking out.
Billy seems to be a magnet for this kind of situation. While I’m not a big fan of most of Ordway’s moderinzations to the Marvel mythos, he did skillfully tweak the problematic scene in Billy’s origin where he blindly follows the mysterious stranger into the subway. By making Billy (magically subconsciously) aware that the stranger was really his father (or rather, his father’s ghost), the horrifically bad judgement of the moment was addressed and countered.
Given two suspect situations/representations for both Superman and Captain Marvel here, I can’t help wondering if we have trends which mark more differences with the characters:
Superman – homosexual pedophile
Billy Batson/Captain Marvel – pedophilia victim with an inability to articulate “No,” possibly a willing participant for that.
I’m sorry to inform you that 30 years ago many young firebrands were pretty up to date on the imagery thing, and I’m sure they knew EXACTLY what they were doing with this cover.
FWIW, I think it should also be mentioned that in the original, the kid is saying,
“Superman–My dying wish is to know your secret identity–
–and you say you’re Clark Kent!
IT’S A LIE!!”
So, the word balloon(s) where deleted for humourous effect? I remember the context, but couldn’t remember if my recollection was from having read the story or the original cover.
I had this comic as a kid, so I knew it had word balloons. I will admit youthful naivete, since I never noticed the …subtext.
Since I’m sure you’re all curious, Superman finally convinces young Jonathan Ross that he is Superman. He takes the kid to his apartment…
… the kid looks in his medicine cabinet and is undoubtably convinced that Clark Kent is in fact Superman.
(Okay, okay. He only had a comb in his medicine cabinet. He’s Superman, he doesn’t need anything else.))
When will someone create a website for all these sorts of covers?
Already been done, except unlike this cover they’re unedited:
I have the comic and remember there are word balloons.
And that’s Pete Ross’s Pre-Crisis son.
Have they no shame? :-)
Thanks for that link!
The Beat beat me to it: most editors and artists 30 years ago knew EXACTLY what they were doing. I’m sure there were a few who did something questionable completely on accident, but the rest?
They were taking the piss.