Adventure #270, "The Stolen Identities!"

ADVENTURE COMICS #270; March 1960; DC Comics; Mort Weisinger, editor; 
cover-featuring Superboy in "The Stolen Identities!"  On the cover, which  looks
like Curt Swan with Stan Kaye inks, our young hero is lying peacefully  asleep on
his bed-- oddly, fully dressed in his Superboy costume, with a book  open on
his stomach.  His loving foster parents are looking in on him--  only they're
not quite his parents, for they have removed masks showing that  they actually
have green alien faces with antennae.  "Put on your 'Martha  Kent' mask
quick!  Superboy is about to awaken!  He mustn't suspect  that we are not his
parents, but aliens from anothr world!"

Review by  Bill Henley

One trick Uncle Mort Weisinger had in his long career of  selling comics to
young kids was to exploit their deepest fears.  Just  about everything a kid
might fear-- being rejected by parents or friends, being  abandoned, becoming
ugly, being blacballed from a club or clique-- happened to  Superboy at one time
or another.  And here is another childhood fear on  display, for what could
be more terrifying than finding out that your parents  who love you and on whom
you are dependent are really alien monsters?

On  the splash page of the inside story drawn by George Papp (I don't know
the  writer), the alien "Ma and Pa Kent" have revealed themselves to Superboy
and are  aiming a ray at him causing him to become "enormously fat" (yet another
kid  fear).  "And there is nothing you can do about it, Superboy, if you ever
want to see your foster parents again-- ALIVE!"  "SUPERBOY embarks upon one 
of the strangest adventures of his super-career, when he becomes the
unwilling  foster-son of monsters from another world, in the amazing tale of the

On the planet of Xelthu, some of its green, reptilian,  antennaed inhabitants
focus  their relescopic X-ray cameras on the faraway  planet Earth, on the
village of Smallville, and on a certain "typical" (yeah,  right) Smallville
home.  As Ma and Pa Kent sit relaxing in their living  room, Pa gets an odd
feeling that "hostile eyes are staring at me", but Ma  pooh-poohs the idea; "Don't
be silly!  It must be your imagination!"   But Pa's imagination comes to life
as he and Ma find themselves disappearing  from their peaceful living room to
find themselves "prisoners in a world of  monsters".  "Do not panic!  You will
be quite safe as long as you do  not oppose the masterminds of Xelthu!"  The
Xelthuans seem offended by Ma's  outraged description of them; "We are not
monsters!  We are simply beings  who evolved differently from yourselves!"  But
what do these aliens want  with this simple, elderly Earth couple?  Ma and Pa
are horrified to find  out as they observe the aliens make plastic masks of
their faces and duplicates  of their Earth clothes-- items which enable the alien
couple Nerp and Irm Gikk  to impersonate them.  Shortly, Nerp and Irm are
beamed right into the Kent  living room, as Pa groans, "Then it's true!  Monsters
are masquerading as  us on Earth!  I wonder what they intend to do!"

Investigating the  Kent home, Nerp and Irm are surprised to find the bedroom
of a teenage son-- and  even more surprised to discover a closet full of
Superboy robots and a scrapbook  of super-feats.  "I'm afraid the Kent family is
not as typical as we  thought!"  They call back to Xelthu to send a teenage
alien to Earth to  take the place of young Clark Kent, but the "master
teleport-ray" breaks down,  leaving the Kents stranded on Xelthu and the pseudo-Kents
faced with the task of  fooling their super-son.  That son is about to return
from his patrol,  musing, "Fighting all sorts of menaces and perils is exciting! 
But  afterwards, I like nothing better than returning to the safe, sane
atmosphere of  the Kent home!"  Arriving home, the Boy of Steel announces "I'm
starved!  After I switch identities, let's eat dinner right away!"  But Irm Gikk
is  horrified to discover that the dinner Ma Kent had in the oven was a roast
beef;  "The very thought of meat-eating makes Xelthunians feel ill!  I can't go
through with this!" "You must steel yourself!"  Nerp sternly directs.  
Clark enjoys the meal his Ma produces, though Ma herself seems oddly upset-- 
"Just a headache, son!"-- but after dinner he is puzzled to discover that not 
only have Ma and Pa left their meals untouched, but the tin cans the food came 
in have been bitten into!  As Clark goes to bed, though, he concludes that  Ma
and Pa are just playing some kind of weird joke on him (yeah, that's quite a 
sense of humor the Kents have).  The aliens look in on their sleeping "son" 
(dressed in Clark Kent pajamas rather than his costume as on the cover) but 
their thoughts are not parental; "It is important we communicate with Xelthu 
about getting rid of Superboy and replacing him with a msaquerading youth from 
our planet!"  Constructing their own teleporter, the aliens send the  Superboy
robots back to Xelthu where they are deactivated.  Ma Kent remains  defiant;
"You won't beat our boy so easily!  Nothing can harm Superboy  except
Kryptonite, and you have none on this world!"  But when the aliens  start a search for
Kryptonite, she is mortified to realize she has blurted out  her son's
weakness.  Finding a Kryptonite sample in a lead box in  Superboy's workshop, Nerf
and Irm  create a K-powered teleport ray to use  on Superboy.

Still suspicious the next morning of his parents' odd  behavior, Clark
gestures to Pa Kent to help himself to the breakfast toast--  only to have his
suspicions confirmed when Pa takes a bite out of the metal  toaster instead of the
toast!  "You fool, you!  You couldn't control  your appetite, could you,
Nerf?"  Exposed as nonhumans, the Gikks reveal  their true faces and warn Superboy
that his real parents' lives back on Xelthu  depend on him behaving himself. 
They explain that rather than being a  planet of another star, Xelthu is
actually a subatomic world, and that they must  perform an unspecified "mission" on
Earth.  "What IS your mission?  If  you are not planning to steal my world,
or harm it, perhaps I can help  you!"  But the aliens demur; "No!  We don't
trust you!  You may  only PRETEND friendliness, then try to defeat our mission!" 
The Irms fire  their "tele-ray" at Superboy, intending to send him too to
Xelthu to join his  parents in captivity.  But instead of being weakened and
teleported,  Superboy only becomes ridiculously fat!  It seems that the aliens
foolishly  used red kryptonite instead of green K as the power source for their
ray, and it  had its usual unpredictable effect.  The henpecked Nerf is berated
by his  mate; "Can't you ever do anything right, Nerf?" 

For some reason,  the Gikks allow Superboy to fly off on routine errands, in
his "super-plump"  state, while they try to repair the teleportation ray. 
Flying around  Smallville like a super-blimp, our hero reminds Lana Lang that
they have a date,  to which she replies, "You forget it!  I can't stand fattys!" 
Posing  for a statuefor the Chamber of Commerce, Superboy enables the artist
to sculpt  him in his normal shape by creating a trick mirror to slim down his
image.   Returning home, Superboy finds the aliens still determined to
implement their  mysterious "Plan Z" to save their world....but when they try to use
their  "tele-ray", the Red K power source again fouls things up, causing
Superboy to  become super-tiny instead of super-fat.  Going off on patrol again, 
Superboy stops a robbery and a murder by blocking a bullet that is as big as
he  is.  Next, the aliens finally explain their mysterious mission; the world 
of Xelthu is located inside an atom which is located "atop one of the world's 
highest structures", and their mission is to relocate that atom "where
nothing  on Earth can harm it-- war, lightning bolts, and so on!"  Again Superboy 
offers his help in accomplishing this mission and is rebuffed.  Once again 
they try the tele-ray and again it malfunctions, this time turning Superboy into 
a giant.  In that shape, he traverses the world using his microscopic  vision
to study the world's tallest structures looking for Xelthu.  There's  no joy
at the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Eiffel Tower (though Frenchmen react  in
awe at the sight of a giant-sized "Super Garcon") but at the Empire State 
Building Superboy finds Xelthu, and even spots his captive parents.   Chipping off
the tiny bit of the building on which Xelthu exists, Superboy drops  it to
the bottom of the ocean, where he figures the tiny world will forever be  safe
from harm.  Acknowledging that Superboy has accomplished "Plan Z" for  them,
the "masterminds of Xelthu" exchange the Gikks for the real Kents (and 
Superboy's robots).  "Thanks goodness you got those aliens to return us,  son!"  "I'd
save a thousand worlds to see my mom and dad safely  home!"

The next feature in this issue is the ADVENTURE debut of  Congorilla, who in
a game of musical backups had just been pushed out of ACTION  COMICS by an
expanded Supergirl feature, and in turn pushed Green Arrow out of  his
long-running slot in ADVENTURE (though the amazing archer still had WORLD'S  FINEST  to
hang out in). "Of all the wonders of the Congo jungle, no  phenomenon is more
fabulous than the amazing man-ape, CONGORILLA!  His  daring feats of strength
plus his keen, human intelligence combine into a huge  fighting machine that
leaves both his friends and foes limp with awe!  But  how is it possible for a
giant gorilla to think like a human being?  Learn  the amazing secret of the
extraordinary jungle creature known as.... the NINTH  WONDER!"  On the splash,
panel, the golden gorilla picks up a jeep full of  "ivory raiders" and lifts
it over his head.  A gold shipment on the Congo  River is captured by a gang of
"river pirates" using a miniature  submarine.  But Congorilla leaps into the
water and seizes the sub by its  anchor chain, hauling it up onto shore and
leaving the pirats high and  dry.  "That's CONGORILLA!  The natives talk of a
golden gorilla who  has the intelligence of a man!"  "Maybe he has ONE man's
intelligence, but  TEN men cannot equal his strength!"  For his next feat,
Congorilla breaks  into "an abandoned fort converted into a scientific laboratory"
to rescue  Professor West, a kidnapped scientist (but apparently not Iris
West's  absent-minded dad from THE FLASH).  It seems a criminal scientist named Dr.
Kovec has captured West to get his atomic secrets before they can help the 
"Western democracies".  Kovec and his gang are baffled how a mere beast can 
comprehend Prof. West's plight, but when Congorilla evades their bullets by 
locking himself and West in a chemistry lab with no exit, they conclude, "That 
ape ain't so smart after all!  He trapped himself!"  But Kovec is  astounded
when he looks through a chink in the wall and finds that the ape is  working
with chemicals in the lab.  The result of the simian experiment is 
nitroglycerine, which he uses to blow a hole in the wall and escape with Prof.  West.  
Next, Congorilla learns that Mau Mau agitators have stirred up  trouble between
white plantation owners and the "normall peaceful" Wambu  tribesmen, and halts
the fighting without bloodshed by flying a crop-dusting  plane and bombing
the rebellious warriors with choking insecticide gas. "The  beast not only has
extraordinary intelligence and strength, he USES his power to  help people in
distress!  Thank goodness he's no legend...but a  FACT!"  (Of course the Wambu
and Mau Mau might see things differently,  viewing Congorilla as a pawn of
sinister European colonialists.)  

But how did Congorilla become such a brainy wonder?  The answer, we  learn,
lies in an incident where "famed hunter Congo Bill" (who had had a long  career
in ACTION COMICS before being anthropoidized)  and his kid sidekick  Janu
came across a Congo native struggling in the water and menaced by  crocodiles. 
They rescue the old man only to find him near death from a  fever, but
nonetheless, in gratitude, the "aged medicine man" offers Congo Bill  a magic ring
which he says will give him the power to exchange his human mind  with the mind
of a mighty golden gorilla.  Later, after an encounter with a  gang of ivory
raiders slaughtering elephants, Congo Bill spots the fabled golden  gorilla and
decides to test the strange promise.  The ring works and Congo  Bill finds
himself gifted with the strength of Congorilla, with which he is able  to lift
the raiders' jeep and hurl it into the nearby lake, and frighten the  elephants
into moving to a safer stamping ground.  But there is a downside  as well, for
when Congo Bill becomes Congorilla, his human body has the savage  mind of
the ape and has to be restrained for safety.  "And now that you've  met
CONGORILLA, follow his startling adventures in the next issue of ADVENTURE  COMICS!" 

Congorilla appeared in ADVENTURE through issue #283,  April 1961 (skipping
#282) before being squeezed out by "Tales of the Bizarro  World", which was in
turn replaced by the Legion.

The issue features a  "Smallville Mailsack" lettercol, which mostly consists
of readers pointing out  supposed "boo-boos" in previous stories, and Uncle
Mort explaining why they  weren't really "boo-boos" at all.  In one letter,
however, reader Terry  Slaven of Snyder, New York, praises the previous story
"Prisoner of the  Super-Heroes" (the second appearance of the Legion) and asks if
there will ever  be a sequel in which Superman meets the other Legionnaires
grown up.   "Great idea.  We'll pass it along to our writers," Ye Ed replies.  
Another letter, from Eloise Murphy of Houston, Texas, asks if Lana Lang as a 
grownup is heartbroken because Superman prefers Lois Lane to her.  For an 
answer, Mort points Eloise to another of his titles, LOIS LANE, where "grown-up 
Lana Lang is still very much active" and "still hasn't given up on  Superman!"

Finally in this issue is an Aquaman tale-- though the  blurb on the cover
advertises it as "EXTRA!  A new AQUALAD story!"-- for  this is only the second
appearance of Aquaman's new kid sidekick.  But the  Sea King may come to regret
sharing his throne, for the story is titled "The  Menace of Aqualad!"  On the
splash panel, a wild-eyed Aqualad stalks  Aquaman with a spear-gun, as our
hero wonders if his new ward "intends to make  the fortune-teller's
prophecy...that Aqualad will replace me as king of the  sea....come true!"  Some friendly
sailors present Aquaman with a birthday  cake, and as he shares the
"home-baked" cake with Aqualad, the Atlentean orphan  he adopted in the previous issue,
he reflects "how poorly equipped I am to bring  you up, Aqualad!  I haven't
even got a home for you to live in!"   "Gosh, Aquaman!  I don't care where we
live!  I'm happy just being  with you!" Later, in a show for the benefit of
retired sailors, Aquaman performs  a death-defying stunt, diving from a helicopter
into just six feet of  water.  Onlookers expect him to be killed, but instead
of landing in the  water he lands in the spouts of his friendly whales. 
Later, observing an  old woman falling off a dock, Aquaman rescues her, and in
gratitude she offers  to tell his fortune.  "I don't believe in superstitions! 
But I won't  hurt her feelings!"  But the gypsy woman foresees "great danger for
you,  Aquaman!  Someone has come into your life who may imperil you... and 
REPLACE you!"  Aqualad gasps, "She means ME!"  but Aquaman brushes off  the
prediction.  But when Aqualad accompanies Aquaman to the aid of a  sinking ship,
the sea prince suffers a glancing blow from the prow of the  vessel.  Aqualad
insists he is unhurt, but shortly afterward he starts to  behave oddly,
showing a fascination with a statue of Neptune, the original "sea  king", musing
about the prospects of becoming King of the Sea when Aquaman is  gone, and
disappearing off by himself after having squids leave clouds of ink to  keep Aquaman
from following him.  Later, Aquaman is astounded when Aqualad  deserts him
while he is battling skin-diving crooks stealing rare fish  specimens; he gets
no help from Aqualad, though he does get help from a school  of luminous fish
who blind the attackers.  Then Aquaman is caught in a  giant net Aqualad has
constructed, and attacked by a maddened narwhale, with  Aqualad nowhere in
sight.  Is a crazed Aqualad scheming to destroy Aquaman  so that he can become the
new sea king?  Aquaman manages to escape the  net-trap and the narwhale, but
when Aquaman reappears he confronts the boy with  his suspicions.  But he
learns he has misjudged his young ward, as Aqualad  leads him to an undersea cavern
that is now lighted by luminous fish, decorated  with the Neptune statue, and
furnished with hamoocks and carpet made out of  net.  Yes, Aqualad's secret
is that he has put together a home for the two  sea rovers, as a birthday gift
for his mentor.  As swarms of fish pass by  in a birthday salute, Aquaman
muses, "I'm ashamed of myself for thinking ill of  Aqualad!  I said we'd need a
home....and he secretly MADE a home!   Yessir!  When I retire, he'll make that
prophecy come true!  Even now,  he's a true king of the sea!" 

I think that this Aquaman story  appears in the AQUAMAN ARCHIVES volume, and
(though I could be mistaken) that  it's the only story of the three in this
issue of ADVENTURE that's been  reprinted anywhere.