Action Comics #469: "Clark Kent's Lonely Christmas!"

Action Comics #469
"Clark Kent's Lonely Christmas!"
(March 1977)

Creators: Story: Bob Rozakis Art: John Calnan & Tex Blaisdell

It's Christmas Eve at Galaxy Broadcasting. Morgan Edge has given out the bonuses to the staff. While each one is happy and content, a certain mild-mannered television reporter is dejected. Edge asks Lois why Clark is unhappy. She assures him that she's tried to give her fellow reporter some holiday cheer. Sportscaster Steve Lombard lets his boss know that he hasn't been pulling any pranks on "Ol' Clarkie Boy!" Daily Planet Editor Perry White likes Edge's present and taste in cigars. As the festivities wind down, Lois tells the others that she'll spend the holidays with her folks. Steve will visit his aunt Kaye Daye. Clark Kent, the last one left in the room, sighs, and leaves.

It is a beautiful snowy night in Metropolis. As the WGBS roving reporter walks past a mother and son admiring a store window display featuring Superman, he overhears the boy wishing that the Man of Steel could come over for Christmas dinner. As the mother reassures her son that Superman is probably spending the holidays with his friends, Clark sighs, and continues his walk. A speeding car is out of control on the snowy street, and is about to slam into a brick wall. The mild-mannered television reporter nonchalantly reaches out with one hand, and stops it in its tracks. While Clark continues his walk, the driver gets out of his automobile. He stares first at the receding figure, then at the deep impression on his car's hood. It resembles a hand print. The man stares at the poster of the Man of Steel, who is advising traffic safety, and sighs.

In Smallville, Clark Kent has come home to his foster-parents' home. As he sits in the living room chair, he recalls the Christmases he had spent in years past: Superbaby using his x-ray vision to see his present, and a time when the Kents invited Peter Ross and Lana Lang to sing Christmas carols. For a time, the loneliness is forgotten.

Now, Clark begins to wander the streets of Smallville. On the way, he sees two children standing outside in the chilly weather. When he asks them what they're doing, they tell him that they're waiting for Santa to arrive. When Clark asks if their parents know what they're doing, the two kids tell him that they have no parents. They point to a nearby building as where they live. Clark recognizes the building as Smallville Orphanage. It was his first home when he arrived on Earth. With his x-ray vision, he sees the caretakers, a married couple, who are sad that they haven't much to give the children so they can have a Merry Christmas.

Clark tells the children to go inside because he has a feeling that Santa is on his way. A Christmas bonus is a nice gift, but now at super-speed, the mild-mannered television reporter goes on a shopping spree. The money used to pay for his purchases is left in a startled clerk's outstretched hand.

Inside the orphanage, the elderly couple are surprised to find the stockings are stuffed with toys, and a Christmas tree in their midst. They weep with joy over this wondrous sight. Outside, Clark has seen their reaction to this visit from Santa. He walks away, singing a Christmas carol. Now, Clark Kent is no longer lonely. He is surrounded by a sea of smiling faces.

A special Private Life of Clark Kent tale, and if you ask me, they were all special because they gave readers the chance to see what the mild-mannered reporter did when he wasn't being Superman.

For many, the holidays can be a happy time, while for others, it can be a less than merry occasion.

I could imagine the Man of Steel using his powers for charity during the holiday season, but what was Christmas like for Clark Kent?

He's alone.

In what some would call "Pre-Crisis," Clark lost his parents, then his foster-parents, and devoted his life to helping others.

When the holidays arrive, what would be his reaction?

If there were an emergency, this would be a job for Superman, but for Clark, things are different.

Even in his loneliness, the mild-mannered television reporter can still manage to surreptiously save a motorist and his vehicle from the hazardous holiday weather.

To cope with the time of year is another matter.

He's an orphan twice over, and he can relate to the children, as well as the elderly couple who were their caretakers.

It's a personal thing for Clark, and with the Christmas bonus, he puts it to good use in order to help others than himself.

In six pages, Bob Rozakis managed to cover these themes, and present a holiday story which showed how the Man of Steel's alter-ego could be affected by something other than magic or Kryptonite... the holiday season.

Artists John Calnan and Tex Blaisdell capture Clark's world, whether it's his workplace in Metropolis, or the quiet, tranquil small town setting of Smallville.

These two men gave an Everyman quality to the story, and made it all the more special.

John and Tex also drew one of my favorite story lines in Batman, "Where Were You On The Night The Batman Was Killed?" by David V. Reed.

They are storytellers and certainly excelled in that respect.

This is my favorite Bob Rozakis story because it shows whether in the blue suit with the cape or the blue suit with the glasses, the character is still a Superman and my hero.

This One's For Bob Rozakis, the Answer Man!

Steve Chung
"Clark Kent's Lonely Review!"