Superman #298 "Clark Kent, Get Out of My Life!"

Comic: Superman
Publisher: National Periodical Publications, Inc.
Published: Vol. 38 , No. 298, April 1976

Story Title: "Clark Kent, Get Out of My Life!"

This chapter opens with Superman flying on the splash page,
covering his ears to avoid listening to Lois wondering where her true
love, Clark Kent, has disappeared to, the prosecution wondering
where his star witness, Clark Kent, is and Morgan Edge complaining
that his news anchorman, Clark Kent has disappeared and now his
ratings are bombing.  He is ready to wring Clark's neck.

At the beginning of the tale, Clark and Lois are walking through the
streets of Metropolis hand in hand.  As they walk, a man is hit by a
car and Clark ignores him.  Lois asks if he needs help, and Clark
states, "He's beyond help now.  I wonder if it's going to rain--?"  A
plan crashes and hits a boy flying a kite.  Clark comments, "At least
the kite got away--"  A syndicate man comes begging for Clark's
help to hide him, maybe at a police station.  He rips open Clark's
shirt, and asks for Superman's help.  Then he is shot to death. 
Clark is more irritated his shirt was ripped.  He hopes he can hide it
with his tie at work.

Then Clark wakes up from his dream, hot and sweating.  He
realizes it is because he is wearing his Superman uniform under his
orange pajamas.  It occurs to him he hasn't worn it in a week, and
his dream is his guilt that he had not performed his duties as
Superman in that time.  So, now it is time to reverse his trend and
become Superman exclusively for awhile.

At this point, the artists (Curt Swan and Bob Oskner) demonstrate
what had occurred in the last two issues.  Clark and Superman are
experiencing a split-effect.  As long as he is Clark, he is now a
normal human in ability.  However, when he wears his Superman
suit, he has all of his normal abilities.  It shows Clark's passionate
kiss of Lois, punching Steve Lombard and being assertive with
Morgan Edge.

However, he is feeling guilty, and wasn't aware of it, since jobs for
Superman were being done by someone else, or no one at all.

Outside of his apartment at that moment, Lois rings his doorbell,
and he doesn't respond.  It appears Clark forgot they were going
canoeing.  Clark had changed his mind in the time between telling
the doorman to let her up to his apartment, and her arriving there. 
As much as he wants to let her in, he has made up his mind that it is
now time for Superman.  So he flies out the window as Superman
(in a classic pose (the same as the final Curt Swan Action Comics

Lois is let into Clark's apartment by the doorman (whose name I
used to know).  He's not there, and they surmise the only way he
could have gotten out is by the open window.  Lois thinks Clark
might be being mean to her because she had always been so mean
to him.

Enter Xviar... er... Mr. Xavier, Clark's next door neighbor from
another planet.  His job is to assassinate Earth.  Finally Superman is
doing what he had hoped for.  He has left his apartment unguarded
for Xviar to infiltrate.  He plans to access some ultra-advanced
equipment that Superman has left behind on his secret shelves
behind his bookshelf.

Meanwhile, Superman is flying off to his arctic home, the Fortress of
Solitude.  He starts to monitor world situations in the most extensive
crisis monitoring system outside of the Justice League satellite. 
Suddenly his monitors lose signal.  Quick to assess the problem,
Superman is immediately flying out of his fortress.

Meanwhile, a man with no taste in clothing decides to try out his
strength.  He has just split a horseshoe, but it took some effort.  He
feels he should be lifting Sherman tanks.  He can barely lift 2000lbs. 
His solar energy transformers are not working.  He is not achieving
the Superman level power he expected.

As Superman flies off in space, he cogitates that just about every
other screen on Earth must be messed up too.  A monstrous
sunspot  has formed.  Even Superman cannot destroy it.  Instead,
he can break it up by whirling like a propeller.  Now the sunspot is
thousands of times larger than Earth.  Astronomers on Earth take
note, and observe, "This can only be the work of... SUPERMAN!"

Breakaway to see a 1 ton barbell floating in space.  The solar
powered strongman has hurled it in space and has no clue why his
equipment has suddenly started working.  (does this guy know how
his equipment works, or about sunspots?  Weird)  Now it is time for
him to pursue his lifetime dream with a vengeance.  Is he a hero or
a villain?

Superman returns to his patrols, but now he returns with a
vengeance.  No breaks for the big blue cheese.

As he flies of the courthouse trying Max Danner as an Intergang
executive, he knows he cannot land and change, because it is time
for a full time Superman.  He hopes the case is strong enough
without him.

Elsewhere in town, some Intergang members are robbing a bank. 
The crooks are pleased at how easy the heist was, and are
pondering where Superman has been of late, when suddenly, their
car is upended, and they are captured in the act of fleeing the scene
of the crime.  As he is about to take them to jail, the money which
had fallen from their car suddenly starts floating into the air, into the
orange clothes of the solar-powered strongman, who also flies now.

As Superman flies to capture this new foe, he disappears. 
However, he leaves a calling card in money that says, "Solarman
was here" floating in the air.  Superman promises to get him and
quickly change his name to a prison ID with numbers.

Break to WGBS where Morgan Edge and Lois Lane ponder the
disappearance of Clark.  Lois is defending Clark, since she knows
he wanted to go to court for that case (wow, talk about speedy trial,
only 1 week from capture to trial).  Morgan thinks Clark was scared
away by a little kid with a popgun, while Lois is sure Clark is NOT
like that anymore.  Lois thinks Intergang has kidnapped him.

Then Superman flies in and tells Lois not to worry.  He's known
Clark for a long time (his whole life, natch), and knows he can take
care of himself.  Edge wants to know where Superman has been for
the last week, that the whole town has gone to seed.  Superman
ignores Edge, as he has eyes ONLY for Lois.  As a matter of fact,
he starts daydreaming while she talks about the dangers of Clark's
disappearance.  Finally, Edge breaks Superman out of his trance,
and promises he will do... something about Clark.

Guess what.  Intergang does not know Clark has disappeared... yet. 
They send an assassin to his apartment, who climbs down from the
ceiling outside, and starts to break in when he is killed by a beam of
light.  Xviar complains that Earth criminals certainly are a nuisance,
and how they die so LOUDLY.  Very little dignity.

At this point Xviar has placed at least 7 of these super-advanced
items of Superman's on the floor of Clark's apartment, in a semi-
circle.  He ponders that his preparations are coming along as
planned.  Superman is sweating all the small stuff, while Xviar's 30
year assignment to eliminate the Earth is about to reach fruition.

Superman continues to deal with disasters, but needs some
downtime, so stops to talk to Mr. Action himself, Jimmy Olsen.  As
he flies in, Jimmy reprimands Superman, "Superman! I hope you've
got a better reason than that for leaving  Metropolis open for that
Solarman nut!"  Superman has no way to unwind with his friends. 
Jimmy tells him he should go talk to the people that usually help him
with his super-solutions.  Sadly, Superman realizes that he just left
one of those people.  It's just that he usually does it as Clark.  No
rest for the Superman.

Finally, it is time for the showdown with Solarman, who is standing
atop a statue of Superman bending steel in his hands.  Superman is
coming at him faster than a speeding bullet, but Solarman raises his
hands, and Superman destroys his statue from the impact of having
his trajectory adjusted.

Time for the villain monologue, in which he tells Superman how to
beat him without knowing it.

He explains that he has Superman to thank for his inspiration.  He
knew Superman got his power from the yellow sun, so he
researched a way to make his solar receptors do the same for him. 
Superman, of course, wants Solarman to keep talking and boasting,
so that he will continue to waste his energy.

Superman tackles Solarman and hopes he is stunned enough to be
grabbed into a wrestling hold.  However, as they roll, suddenly,
Solarman hits Superman and knocks him away for quite a distance. 
Solarman disappears to fly into Superman's course, and Superman
bounces off of the receptacles.  This amazes Solarman, because
that means he is continuing to get stronger and stronger.

Solarman punts a stunned Superman away from him and then
appears in Superman's path with a metal girder from a construction
site.  Here he uses his makeshift Louisville slugger to bat Superman
to the ground.

It looks as if the Metropolis marvel has been beaten.

Suddenly, Solarman's receptors start to smolder like a campfire. 
He's in big trouble and yells for help.  Superman grabs the receptors
off of Solarman, who is now saying, "I didn't really mean any harm,

Superman tosses the equipment off into space and then ponders his
own fate as he remembers how he defeated this villain.  All along,
he kept his head... er... pointed at Solarman and was using his heat
vision, which duplicates the effect of infra-red radiation.  He just had
to wait for the receptors to overload.

This proved it.  The world needs a Superman.  He has also decided
whose life is more important... his or Clark Kents.  He will do what
he must.

At that precise moment, in Clark Kent's apartment, Xviar has
finished setting up his trap, and is communication with the place we
only know as his homeworld.  Soon Superman's home will trigger
the assassination of Earth.

This story was written by Cary Bates and Ellot S! Maggin,
pencilled by Curt Swan and inked by Bob Oskner.  Julius Schwartz
was the editor.

I like how this team could keep a story riddled with suspense, and
show us characterization of all the characters we all know and love. 
The only person out of character to me was Jimmy Olsen.  I always
thought he felt comfortable talking with the Action Ace about
anything.  I guess he got so comfortable that he feels he can chew
him out as well.  In this story, Lois shows that she just wants a
strong man.  It could be Superman, but a strong, intelligent Clark
sure caught her fancy last issue.  Of course, Morgan Edge and
Steve Lombard have large enough faults Lois doesn't like either of
them much.

Of course, Superman also showed his greatest power in this story. 
His ability to think.  Much of this issue shows him pondering what is
next.  Much of this is because he can't discuss matters with his
friends.  (Of course, he might have considered talking to Batman,
but this is his comic, not World's Finest).

The cover date was April 1976, during which month I turned 14, so I
was fully into my comic collecting.  Of course, it probably came out
in January.

Finally, E. Nelson Bridwell answers Peter Sanderson that #300 will
be entitled "Superman: 2001!" a super-special story.