Superman #400: "Bad Day On Bradbury Rock!"

Superman #400
"Bad Day On Bradbury Rock!"
October, 1984

Story: Elliot S! Maggin
Artist: Frank Miller
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Lynn Varley
Editor: Julius Schwartz

Space exploration was no longer a dream in the future, and the past was
kept only as a dim memory.  Galaxy News reporter Lois Olsen is in
communication with scientists on a new asteroid dubbed as Bradbury Rock.
The technicians and archeologists are now ready to make their
announcement about its origin.  The leader of the research team is Noah
Mandell, who is being told by an assistant that the little red light on
the camera means that they are on.  The Bradbury Rock Asteroid is a type
of time capsule, placed not by historians, but by people from a parallel
universe.  Mandell and his colleagues are confident that not only is this
asteroid not native to their universe, but it also holds the secret to
the true identity of the Man of Steel.

Lois Olsen beams her question from the Galaxy News Cruiser, and mentions
that her brother, James Olsen IV thought that Superman may have been
Morgan Edge.  Mandell smiles and waves her off.  The brother made a good
guess, but that would have been utter nonsense.  The reel-to-reel
projector shows a film from the mid-twentieth century, and found within
the asteroid.  "Look!... Up In The Sky -- It's A Bird... It's A Plane...
It's SUPERMAN!"  "Superman -- Who Can Change The Course Of Mighty
Rivers... Bend Steel In His Bare Hands -- And Who Disguised As Clark
Kent, Mild-Mannered Reporter For A Great Metropolitan Newspaper... Fights
A Never-Ending Battle For Truth, Justice, And The American Way!"  Dr.
Mandell adjusts his own glasses, and admires the clever disguise used by
the Man of Steel.  Lois Olsen is less than impressed.

The reporter displays an image of Superman, who does not resemble the man
on the screen.  Noah Mandell points out to her that the Man of Steel on
the screen is an actor named George Reeves, just as the others are also
actors in the film.  Early special effects show Superman carrying an air
force jet to safety -- and in another scene, Clark Kent joins Perry
White, Lois Lane, and Jimmy Olsen at the Daily Planet.  At the mention of
her ancestor, Lois Olsen brings up an image of James Bartholomew Olsen on
her shipboard computer.  The viewers can see that the only similarity is
in the bow tie.

The Galaxy reporter concludes her interview with the group of research
scientists, who are convinced that the Man of Steel was Clark Kent... and
not Morgan Edge or Bruce Wayne as has been believed in recent years.  She
asks if the discovery was worth the air time devoted to it and wonders if
the researchers have been in space a bit too long.  Let the viewers be
the judge of that.  In 2230, scientists are now able to retrieve items
from a parallel world... from a place once known as "Earth-Prime."  A
place where historical figures such as the Action Ace never existed, but
where fictional characters such as Mark Twain piloted a riverboat, Davy
Crockett, and Crazy Horse roamed the plains -- Charles Lindbergh made the
long flight to Paris, France... and people of all ages grew up on "The
Adventures of Superman!"  As his fellow researchers watch as George
Reeves saves Phyllis Coates, Noah Mandell knows that right now on Earth,
people are less than impressed with his discovery, but it doesn't
matter... In a such a time and place, can the need for heroic legends be
far away?

This was one of "The Living Legends of Superman!"

Simon Delmonte had requested that the rest of Superman #400 be reviewed,
and I do my best to honor such requests.

I wonder if Maggin modelled Doctor Mandell on Howie Mandell from "St.

The doctor and his colleagues wouldn't be out of place at a convention or
on SAR, I'm sure.

It was in the mid-'70s that I first saw "The Adventures of Superman" in

The Limited Collector's Edition from D.C. also had pictures from the
series on the inside back covers.

There's a place in my heart for this series and I'd like to think that
I'll never be so old that I would never want to see it again.

As drawn by Frank Miller, the Jack Larsen "Jimmy Olsen" looks more like
Jerry Lewis.

As an audience, are we inspired by the stories we see and read while
growing up?

I know that among those on the SAR list, we have a scientist, a newspaper
reporter, and a very special friend of mine who interviewed Noel Neill,
who played the original girl reporter.

I'm grateful for those who have brought us stories on the printed page,
on the TV screen, and in movie theatres.

Thanks to the many who have worked on Superman stories, I can suspend my
disbelief,  and believe that a man can fly.

This Review Is Dedicated To Simon Delmonte.

Steve Chung
"Bad Review On Bradbury Rock!"