Superman #186: "The Two Ghosts Of Superman!"

Superman #186
"The Two Ghosts Of Superman!"
May, 1966

Story: Otto Binder
Art: Al Plastino

Can the spirits of those long gone be summoned from beyond the grave? Can the ghosts of Captain Kidd, Jesse James, and other notable figures return to reveal the locations of their long-lost treasures? Even the Man of Steel himself cannot perceive trickery when Sir Seer, the medium practices his unique art. After an after-life prophecy comes to pass, and Superman disappears from the Earth, Sir Seer peforms his greatest seance when he summons forth... "The Two Ghosts Of Superman!"

At the Daily Planet in Metropolis, mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent is at work when "Flashy" Fisher, the hood asks if the Man of Steel would be interested in some easy money for one of his charities. "Flashy" knows where Captain Kidd's pirate loot is located deep undersea, and if Superman recovers it, "Flashy" will donate ten percent of it to any charity he wants! Captain Kidd told "Flashy" where the treasure and Clark tells him to leave a note with Superman's mail. Later, the mild-mannered reporter is going over the unopened mail with his x-ray vision, and sees Captain Kidd's treasure map! As the mild-mannered reporter becomes Superman, he wishes he could use the money to donate to the Daily Planet's project for an astrodome to cover a children's playground. During his world patrol, the Man of Steel happens to fly near the location marked on "Flashy" Fisher's map, and spots a sunken pirate ship, and old chest underwater!

It may only contain rum or old flint-locks, but Superman wants to make certain... SPLASH! When deep-sea creatures try to attack him, they are repelled quite effectively by super-punches! The Man of Steel unlocks the padlock in his own unique fashion! SMASH! He soon finds a fortune in gold and returns to Metropolis! The following day finds "Flashy" Fisher at the Daily Planet where he receives his check -- minus the Man of Steel's share! "Flashy" is sure Superman's donation for the astrodome will lift Clark's spirits! Once the former hood has left, the mild-mannered reporter notices a card accidentally left behind. "Sir Seer I Summon Spirits From The Past! Admission To Private Seances... $100.00 Per Session - 13 Oxford Drive!"

At night, Superman bores underground towards Sir Seer's place, and reaches the roof of the house. He watches the seance with his x-ray vision! "Duke" Cooper asks Sir Seer to cough up the ghost of Jesse James! The shadowy form of Jesse James soon materializes! The Man of Steel's x-ray vision spots no hidden image-producing device, no gimmick, or trick at all!

When asked by "Duke" Cooper about his greatest unclaimed haul, the ghost of Jesse James mentions Turtle Island, off the west coast, beneath Pyramid Rock! The Man of Steel is off to check this out! At Turtle Island, Superman finds Pyramid Rock, where the ghost of Jesse James claimed his gold was left behind. The place has become overrun with cougars since that time! Not wanting the cougars to lose their teeth and claws if they attack him, the Man of Steel uses his super-breath to send them to the other side of the island! Superman then lifts and flips one side of Pyramid Rock away! He finds Jesse James' loot, gold dust in rotted sacks!

Superman uses his heat-vision to fuse the gold dust into bullion form and delivers it to the authorities. The following day at the Daily Planet, "Duke" is given a check -- minus the Man of Steel's share! "Flashy" Fisher and "Duke" Cooper are present at the press conference for the astrodome, and share their tip-offs coming from the ghosts of Captain Kidd and Jesse James! Sir Seer invites the press to attend his next seance to prove he can conjure spirits from the past! The following day at the seance, the mild-mannered reporter and the girl reporter arrive from the Daily Planet and Lana Lang is covering the event for television. If Sir Seer can do what he claims, then Lana is Mrs. Superman! Lois knows that she is not and vows to try to expose the ghost-caller! The girl reporter is unaware that even the Man of Steel was unable to detect any trickery! Sir Seer says since they are all American citizens, he asks them to choose someone who appears on an American coin! Clark is asked to make his choice!

Lois suggests a coin from her cousin who collects them... The mild-mannered reporter asks Sir Seer to summon Queen Isabella of Spain! When the spiritualist tries to make contact, he claims the psychic vibrations are wrong this evening! As Lois prepares to expose Sir Seer, they hear a woman's voice, and the vibrations have cleared up enough for Queen Isabella of Spain to make her appearance! The girl reporter sees how her face matches the coin! She reveals the location of Columbus' lost treasure of gold trinkets he gathered in the new world! It was stolen by Columbus and buried in a cave now used by a strange man who casts a bat's shadow! This can only be the Caped Crusader in his Batcave!

In order to check the story, Clark says he will contact Superman to arrange a visit to the Batcave, and he is too busy to attend! They are to meet at the Daily Planet in one hour! The Man of Steel borrows a limousine from Senator Perry White and paints the windows black so that they cannot see the route to the Batcave! After a super-speed flight, the various reporters walk through Batman's trophy room, and the Caped Crusader insists to Superman that there is no hidden treasure in his Batcave! The Man of Steel's x-ray vision reveals behind a rock wall, Columbus' missing treasure! The reporters are unaware Sir Seer and his henchmen faked the ghosts of Captain Kidd and Jesse James! They didn't do Queen Isabella, but Sir Seer is convinced he has actual psychic power and never realized it! Although they planted the treasures of Captain Kidd and Jesse James, Queen Isabella may be real!

The Man of Steel arrives at the seance parlor to present Sir Seer with a check for his share of the Batcave treasure! As a return favor for locating the Batcave treasure, Superman asks for the spirit of Jor-El to be called forth! Lois Lane and Lana Lang watch as Sir Seer summons forth the spirit of Jor-El! The Man of Steel asks his father's spirit if the secret nuclear weapons test that he and Supergirl are conducting at the Fortress of Solitude will be sucessful. The ghost of Jor-El warns his son that he is tampering with forces beyond even his control! If he persists, tomorrow at sunset, the Fortress will be turned into Kryptonite by the resulting explosion...

As he fades away, Jor-El warns his son not to perform the deadly experiment! When Lois urges him to follow his father's advice, Superman promises the girl reporter that he will be careful! If anything were to happen, they will be able to summon his ghost, and he will be taking Clark Kent along to cover the experiment! Sir Seer begins making plans! The following day at sunset, Lois and Lana feel a tremor shaking the room, just as if an earthquake has struck! The radio report announces the seismograph station report of the epicenter of the shock-wave was in the Arctic! The girl reporter knows that is where the Fortress of Solitude is located!

Lana tells Lois that this may be only a regular earthquake and that they should wait for both Superman and Clark to return! Three days later, there is no sign of the Man of Steel and the mild-mannered reporter's desk remains unoccupied! Lana and Lois decide to visit Sir Seer and have him summon Superman's ghost! The girl reporter can't bear to see Superman's ghost and asks to see Clark's instead! Clark's emerald ghost appears, alongside the Man of Steel's spirit, and reveals the secret he has kept for so very long.

The mild-mannered reporter and the Man of Steel share the same spirit and the Earth's greatest champion will never fight evil again! With Supergirl gone, the Superman Emergency Squad gone, and the robots destroyed, there is no one to stop crime in Metropolis! Sir Seer decides it's time for the "Spirit Gang" to go to town at a Metropolis jewelry store, a fur warehouse, and a bank.

The explosion of the bank vault brings the Man of Steel to grips with the would-be bank robbers! Superman speeds his way through the rampant crime wave and the round-up leads to the hide-out of Sir Seer. The Man of Steel finally deduced the phony spirits when Telstar's worldwide communications had met interference during each of his seances! Once he figured out their racket of melting down stolen gold items and forging them into false copies of historical treasures planted in out of the way locations... the government never questioned its authenticity!

All contraband gold that had been melted down was stolen loot hidden by former criminals who had gone straight! Since the Man of Steel could not arrest them for lack of evidence, he has to make them think it was safe to return to a life of crime! Superman attended the seance in secret and used the girl reporter's coin to simulate Queen Isabella's spirit by using his super-vision to magnify the image on the coin through the crystal ball, and used super-ventriloquism in a high voice. He arranged with the Caped Crusader to place the false Columbus treasure in the Batcave and borrowed historical relics from the Columbus exhibit! Superman later faked the ghosts of Jor-El, himself, and Clark Kent, then used his and Supergirl's heads together underground to create shock-waves to be picked up by the seismographs!

As the Man of Steel completes his explanation, Sir Seer realizes how his own stupidity resulted in he and his "Spirit Gang" being rounded up for jail! Now in his jail cell, Sir Seer calls upon the spirit of Houdini to show him how to escape, but his call remains unanswered! Back at the Daily Planet, the mild-mannered reporter explains how the Man of Steel kept him under wraps -- and the girl reporter realizes that Superman was having a private joke at her own expense -- and Lana Lang's. He knew if he revealed his secret identity, they would both accept his demise!

On the cover of Superman #186, "The Two Ghosts Of Superman!" appear before Sir Seer, Lois Lane, and Lana Lang!

The false ghosts created by Sir Seer were green in color.

"Flashy" Fisher prefers a purple suit to go along with his green tie and white hat.

If fashion were a crime, he'd be in prison.

A super-punch in the jaws is enough to drive a shark away.

"Duke" Cooper looks a lot like actor Jesse White.

Superman knows all about fierce cougars, especially the ones who continually try to unmask him, and prove themselves worthy of marrying him.

The Queen Isabella coin was an commemorative half-dollar issued during the Columbian Exposition of 1892.

Senator Perry White's limousine is purple with optional blacked-out windows for optimal driving conditions.

Among the various items in Batman's famous trophy room is a giant eight ball, and I'm sure the Caped Crusader never saw this one coming.

The Man of Steel and the Maid of Might had to put their heads together to fool both seismographs and the underworld!

Sir Seer doesn't need a crystal ball to see that he won't be getting out of prison any time soon.

Steve Chung
"The Two Reviews Of Superman!"