Superman #116: "The Ray That Changed Superman!"

Superman #116
 "The Ray That Changed Superman!"
 September, 1957

 Story: Jerry Coleman
 Art: Al Plastino

 With the exception of Kryptonite, the Man of Steel cannot be harmed... not by punches... not by intense heat... not even high voltage electricity! What can be the result when the hero of Metropolis is subjected to... "The Ray That Changed Superman!" One night as the Man of Steel is watching a passing circus parade with Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen... the cub reporter admits to his pal that he still gets excited just like when he was a child, and the girl reporter says she likes the clowns the best! This particular circus is featuring Hector Reilly, one of the funniest clowns in history! Both reporters can only gape when a strange emerald ray shines upon Superman! Jimmy sees his pal being placed in some kind of trance, and the Man of Steel continues to stare at the poster of a circus clown!

 When the emerald ray ceases to shine... Superman asks the circus owner if he could act as a clown in the show. The girl reporter knows the Man of Steel is due at a charity exhibit in five minutes! Despite urgent pleas from Jimmy and Lois, the Man of Steel continues to don clown make-up for the show! Tonight's feature attraction is the Clown of Steel, who will dive into a tub of water! Since the water is cold, this particular Super-Clown uses the heat of his x-ray vision to warm up the water! The Clown of Steel dives into the now-empty tub, with clouds of steam rising... As the audience responds with roars of laughter, Super-Clown is about to perform a death-defying feat high above the air!

 The Clown of Steel climbs so high that he runs out of ladder! The girl reporter wonders why Superman is performing as a circus clown when he has important work to do! Superman is not the same since he was struck by the emerald ray! Super-Clown suddenly misses the trapeze and calls out for the net! The Clown of Steel falls downward, then decides to stop short! One hour later, Super-Clown performs, and then becomes the Man of Steel once more! He remembers the emerald ray -- seeing the poster of the clown -- and then performing as a clown in a circus act! As the following day's headlines confuse some readers... one man is amused! With ten years of research and study -- he can appreciate the results -- making the Man of Steel a puppet of his experiments! Using fragments of powdered Kryptonite mixed with special chemicals containing the energy which illuminates the emerald ray makes all of this possible! With the emerald ray, the inventor can make Superman believe he is anything he wants him to be just by projecting it at him while the Man of Steel looks at a picture! Two other men are interested and follow him! Their boss will be very interested in this!

 The next night, as the Man of Steel makes a guest appearance at the dedication of a new hospital... the emerald ray shines once more upon Superman, who is standing in front of a poster advertising the new movie, "The Showoff!" If the emerald ray works, the Man of Steel will become a showoff! Lois and Jimmy watch as a dazed expression comes over Superman beneath the emerald ray, and both reporters can only wonder how the hero will be affected this time! Superman approaches a construction worker, telling him to put his drill away, and prepare to be amazed by the job he is about to do! Bystanders gape as the Man of Steel performs some super-drilling, and reporters prepare to write about Superman wasting his time on an unimportant task like that! The Showoff of Steel is about to perform a stunt that will make some real headlines! Seconds later... in Italy... Superman works at super-speed with some bricks he just fashioned with his own hands...

 The Showoff of Steel prepares to build a tower that leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa! It is built around a girder of solid steel which slants groundward and has enough support to maintain its crazy angle! The Showoff of Steel soars into outer space, where he reaches the moons of Jupiter... He pushes one of Jupiter's satellites into Earth's orbit -- near the moon! With the satellite about where he wants it, Superman rearranges the mountains on the satellite in a feat that will truly amaze the people of Earth! The Showoff of Steel gives it a super-shove so that it whirls in just the right path! Back on Earth, the Man of Steel claims being unable to remember where he has been! He remembers the emerald ray -- the poster of "The Showoff" and nothing more! That evening, Superman spots a reminder of what he has done! There is another moon -- larger than the other one! There is a message -- created by the rearranging of its landscape! Superman hates himself for showing off! He will return soon, after carrying the satellite back to Jupiter!

 The following day, at the headquarters of Rex Malcolm, the criminal scientist... he learns from his men about the emerald ray and its effects upon the Man of Steel! Malcolm tells them to buy it -- at any price! The inventor agrees -- reasoning he can always build another one for his own amusement! Later... Superman arrives in answer to the phone call to police headquarters about a bomb planted in a building opposite a big advertisement! The two men prepare to turn on the emerald ray! Once more the strange radiance bathes the Man of Steel, and he stares at an advertisement for whisper rattles for tots! The Man of Steel is now in the mood for some candy and receives a special super-super lollipop! Super-Tot is now in the mood to play with a big pail!

 He is soon making giant mudpies at the beach! The effect should last for no more than an hour, and then Superman will return to normal! At Rex Malcolm's hideout, the criminal scientist retrieves his invention -- from its hiding place beneath the garage -- in a secret lead-lined cellar so that even the Man of Steel's x-ray vision cannot detect it! Rex Malcolm returns with a menacing machine... The device creates sub-sonic vibrations that can render everyone nearby unconscious! Once he uses it, his men can walk into a dozen banks, looting them -- and get away without anyone trying to stop them! With their special suits, the vibrations will not affect Malcolm and his men! He had thought they would have to wait for the Man of Steel to leave Metropolis -- since he is the only one who could have thwarted their plans -- but now that he believes himself to be an infant -- he will continue playing on the beach! In the office of the Metropolis police commissioner... the "inventor" of the emerald ray is being congratulated for making the criminals believe his machine actually worked! Now, Malcolm and his men will bring theirs out in the open, and the Man of Steel will stop them! Rex Malcolm cannot understand why his device is failing to operate properly!

 Seeing Superman, they try to flee, and are prevented by an unseen force! While playing in the sand, the Man of Steel created a large, transparent plastic dome! He exerted super-pressure upon the silicon sand and transformed it to transparent plastic. He then slipped the dome around Malcolm and his men while they were about to activate their device! The plastic dome contained the vibrations, harming no one! Now, Superman will lock them in! SMASHH! Rex Malcolm can only stare at the destruction of his machine -- the result of years of work! He will never be able to construct another! At the commissioner's office... Superman apologizes for fooling his friends with this little hoax -- but he had to be convincing! They had heard rumors of Rex Malcolm's deadly machine and were waiting for the Man of Steel to leave Metropolis before they used it! The authorities did not know where or what it was, so they contacted the Man of Steel, and had Lieutenant Winters to pretend to be an inventor of an emerald ray which is supposed to have a strange effect upon him -- but this would all be a hoax! Lieutenant Winters mentioned his "invention" at a place Malcolm's henchmen were known to frequent -- and they fell for the bait! Lois Lane wishes the machine did work! The girl reporter would use it right now -- and have Superman see "The Man Who Couldn't Keep A Secret!" She would then discover his secret identity!

 Green Lantern's power ring emits an emerald ray.

 Super-Clown retains his red cape while performing his antics!

 Red Kryptonite has unusual effects on the Man of Steel, and the effects last anywhere from twenty-four to forty-eight hours.

 In the Adventures of Superman episode, "Panic In The Sky," an amnesiac Clark Kent stared up at an asteroid, and assumed it was the moon.

 Rex Mason is the Element Man known as Metamorpho.

 Black Canary can emit sonic vibrations with her "canary cry!"

 Steve Chung
 "The Ray That Changed Superman!"