Action Comics #169: "Caveman Clark Kent!"

Action Comics #169
"Caveman Clark Kent!"
June, 1952

Story: John Broome
Art: Al Plastino

Somewhere on Earth, people still wear animal skins, fight savage creatures barehanded, and make their shelter in caves! There is an isolated place where no progress has been made for centuries! Now, the Man of Steel has discovered a world of a million yesterdays! When he does, Lois Lane and Clark Kent experience a set of situations which reveal to the girl reporter a new side of the mild-mannered reporter! You will be amazed at the sight of "Caveman Clark Kent!"

In a room far below the science building at Metropolis University, the seismograph alarm goes off! A huge tremor has just occurred on Earth! The seismograph records tremors anywhere in the world! Scientists can judge the location within a few thousand miles, but they cannot determine the epicenter from the recording of just one shock! As the two scientists await reports from the inhabitants of the affected area, Perry White enters the office of the Daily Planet. The editor asks Clark any arrival news on the wire, and the mild-mannered reporter replies there have been several wires, but none of the reporters know anything about the huge tremor! Perry wants Lois and Bill to hire an airplane and locate the source of the seismic shock! The professors at Metropolis University can only provide the reporters a vague idea of where to search, but it would be a sensational news story if they were to find it! As the mild-mannered reporter figures the Man of Steel should have a look, Clark reads about a thick fog moving in over Metropolis Airport, and an airplane is in trouble! Moments later, in an alley beside the Daily Planet Building, the mild-mannered reporter becomes Superman, and heads off to save the airplane!

Faster than a speeding bullet, the Man of Tomorrow soars over Metropolis, and arrives at the airport. His super-hearing picks up that the airplane's instruments are broken and the pilot cannot land in the fog without them! As the ground crew hopes the fuel will last until the fog lifts, they see the Man of Steel! The Man of Tomorrow uses a fuel oil drum and flag pole as an impromptu torch for the airplane to follow for a safe landing! Once the rescue has been completed, the pilot informs Superman he only had fuel enough for four more minutes! The Man of Steel is glad everyone is safe, but suddenly feels exhausted! Back at the Daily Planet office, Lois has come to say goodbye to Clark, before she and Bill take off in search of the source of the seismic shock! As the girl reporter notices her co-worker's listlessness, Clark knows the reason why, and he must accompany Lois on her search!

Since Bill Carter has been given the job of finding the source of the seismic tremor, Clark knows just the way to get the assignment switched to him! Once the mild-mannered reporter has become the Man of Steel, he begins a whirlwind tour of Metropolis, and Bill Carter has a story to write about the excavation for the new hospital. Perry White assigns Clark to go with Lois for the search! As the airplane makes its way across the ocean, Lois wonders if they will be able to locate the source of the seismic shock, and what will it turn out to be? Clark knows they haven't got much information to go on, but the two reporters must do their best! If his dizzy spells he has been having mean what he thinks, they had better find it or the Man of Tomorrow may be finished! As the airplane continues across a mountain range on the other side of the world, it is suddenly caught in a down-draft! Lois sees birds, which Clark identifies as pterodactyls, which disappeared from the Earth a million years ago!

The mild-mannered reporter can't change to the Man of Steel to save the airplane, or Lois will learn his secret identity! Perhaps a luminous dial will bring the pterodactyls to their aid! The pterodactyls are attracted beneath the airplane by the luminous dial! The rising air currents from the winged reptiles wings have righted the airplane! Now Clark can guide it to a safe landing! After the mild-mannered reporter has made a crash landing on the floor of the mountain cavity, he sees the motor has been smashed! Lois sees something worse... a stegosaurus! Clark can't worry about the girl reporter suspecting he is the Man of Steel now! If he doesn't stop that stegosaurus, Lois Lane is doomed! SSSSSSSS Just as the mild-mannered reporter is about to reveal his other self, a caveman leaps upon the stegosaurus, and startles it away! When asked by the caveman if they are from another tribe, Lois insists they are friends! She knows if the caveman ever got the idea they were enemies, poor Clark wouldn't stand a chance against this muscular and handsome caveman!

When the girl reporter says they came from beyond the mountains, the caveman cannot believe they came from beyond the edge of the world! As the caveman tells them about the great ball that fell from the sky and shook the earth, Clark realizes the great ball may have caused the seismic shock! Their search may be over in this isolated valley! Lois realizes they have been dropped back into the Stone Age, but she is confident the Man of Steel will save them! Clark agrees and knows that finding the great ball will be the most important assignment of his career! After following the caveman through a primeval forest, Lois will stay with Goada, while Clark will be sheltered by Lars, the dreamer! As the mild-mannered reporter makes friends with his new cavemate, he sees that Lars has invented the bow and arrow! As Lars heads off to study the great flashes in the sky, Clark knows he is going to discover the use of fire, and takes the opportunity to become the Man of Steel!

Superman begins feeling weak once more and spots the mammoth globe embedded in the earth below! The seismic tremor was caused by the landing of the largest Kryptonite meteor ever to strike the earth! The Man of Steel had feared something like this when he felt weak back in Metropolis! The impact sent up tiny particles of Kryptonite dust over the Earth by wind currents and caused his current condition. He had to be the first one to locate this! As Superman starts to figure out a way to prevent its discovery by criminals, he is met by Lars, and is told this wonder substance has saved all life! The plants and animals which depended on them were dying until days ago when the plants began receiving nourishment from the Kryptonite! If the Kryptonite is needed to sustain life, how can Superman get rid of it? Fortunately, the mass of Kryptonite is in a location which is unknown to the outside world! The inhabitants know nothing of the Man of Steel and the fact that Kryptonite weakens him! He has time to figure out what to do! Lars does not know what to make of this third stranger who can fly! Back in the village, Clark is present when Lars is about to show his great discovery to Goada, the girl he loves!

Goada is less than impressed by the wheel! She wonders why Lars can't be a real man like Ogo, who has brought her a bear he has just killed! As Goada thanks the mighty hunter for her gift, Lars confides to Clark that she thinks he is a weakling! The mild-mannered reporter knows the feeling! The following day finds the Man of Tomorrow working with the wheel and finding a unicorn! The Man of Steel watches from concealment as Lars shows off his stone-wheeled chariot to Goada! Moments later, the unicorn-driven chariot is out of control, and Ogo saves the day by stopping it in its tracks! As Goada admits she should have never gone with that weakling Lars, Superman knows he will be needing a lot more help!

Back at the Kryptonite globe, the Man of Steel can hardly stand, and cannot come any closer. As he wonders what would happen if he were to get rid of it, he notices there are marks in the soil! Some of the pieces of the Kryptonite which were broken off the main body have been removed since he last was here! Why would one of the cavemen do that? After changing back to the mild-mannered reporter, Clark is introduced to Zerrin, and is complimented on making a pair of glasses for Lars from mica and twisted vines! Clark wonders how Zerrin knows they were called glasses! Lois has been taking notes CLINK...CLINK...CLINK... on a stone tablet. Zerrin compliments the girl reporter on the quality of her journalism for her Planet readers... er... the people of her tribe! As Lars strikes two stones together to create fire, the mild-mannered reporter concentrates on Zerrin, the caveman who knows about the glasses and the Daily Planet. After spotting Zerrin in the gloom, Clark tells Lars he is going for a walk!

Superman watches from concealment as Zerrin loads the pieces of Kryptonite which have broken off into a barge! As the Man of Steel resolves to learn where Zerrin has been taking the Kryptonite, Lars tells him he has discovered fire, and he can't put it out! Superman is confident he can handle an out of control forest fire, but Lars reminds him all the great beasts are running toward the caves! Everyone will be trampled to death! The Man of Steel soars with Lars, sighting the dinosaur stampede, and knows that lives are in danger! At the cave of Goada and Lois, the two girls see Superman and Lars coming to save them!

The Man of Tomorrow uproots a tall tree and creates a giant bow! ZZZZZING ZZZZZING The giants arrows have corralled the dinosaurs! Goada knows the flying man used Lars's invention to save their lives! As Goada and Lars are destined for a happy ending, Superman heads off in search of Zerrin, and the Kryptonite! The caveman has been storing the hunks of Kryptonite in a secret cave, a cave which could become a dangerous arsenal for criminals! Zerrin warns the Man of Steel from coming too close to the Kryptonite! The caveman knows both Superman's name and his weakness to Kryptonite! Zerrin has been collecting the loose chunks of Kryptonite to toss them into a bottomless pit inside the cave! As they walk, the caveman continues his explanation!

The Man of Tomrrow follows his guide to the base of a steep cliff where Zerrin reveals a tunnel to the outside world! The caveman went through it years ago, but was not happy with what he saw... wars and greed... so he returned and remained silent! Zerrin is the only one who knows that the outside world exists beyond the mountains! Zerrin wanted to make sure that no one from the outside world would find the Kryptonite and use it against Superman! The Man of Steel thanks Zerrin, but knows the main mass remains, and is needed to sustain life here in the valley! Days later, Lars informs Clark he has found a way to nourish plants with powder made from ground dinosaur bones! Now that Lars has discovered bone meal, the Man of Steel can get rid of the Kryptonite! After drilling a deep hole, Superman uses a pair of dinosaurs from the corral as a team to pull the Kryptonite into it! Once the Kryptonite mass has been dealt with, the Man of Steel brings Lois back to civilization! The following day at the Daily Planet, she is pleased to see that Superman kept his promise to bring back Clark, as well! When the girl reporter comments how she left the stone slabs behind, the mild-mannered reporter insists that they keep the valley of dinosaurs a secret!

This story was reprinted in Superman #197 (June-July, 1967).

Clark Kent (George Reeves) and his co-workers once found themselves back in the Stone Age in the "Through The Time Barrier" episode of Adventures of Superman.

Anthro was the first boy on Earth.

Superman (Christopher Reeve) saved an airplane in Superman (1978).

Bill Carter favors a green coat and red bowtie, sharing a sense of style with cub reporter Jimmy Olsen.

Stegron the Dinosaur Man is a foe of the Amazing Spider-Man.

The Man of Steel tackled "The Prehistoric Pterodactyls" in an episode of the Filmation "New Adventures of Superman" animated series.

The bow and arrow are the favored weapons of Green Arrow and Hawkeye.

The Flintstones are a Stone Age family.

Chariot races were popular in "Ben-Hur".

Unlike their modern-day counterparts, cavepeople had to rely on stone tablets.

Silvermane searched for the stone tablet which would restore his youth.

The mild-mannered reporter found another lost valley in "The Secret Life Of Clark Kent!" from Action Comics #324 (May, 1965) also drawn by Al Plastino.

Steve Chung
"Caveman Review!"