Superman #400: "The Cure-All"

Superman #400
"The Cure-All"
October, 1984

Elliot Maggin (Writer)
Al Williamson (Artist)
Letterer: Ed King
Colorist: Tatjana Wood
Julius Schwartz (Editor)

Armstrong City in the state of Luna in the year 2199... But as he grew older, the Man of Steel appeared less and less often... and one day, more than fifty years after he made his first appearance... no one had ever seen him for months -- perhaps years! Nobody but old Homer! One day, the Man of Steel just... wasn't there anymore! And it's hard to believe now, but there were some people who believed the human race would never survive without Superman! Luna is the latest of the several states to join the union this century -- The newest of America's frontiers... made from the rocks and minerals of the Sea of Tranquility on the moon... Now Homer wasn't saying whether the Man of Steel was dead or alive... but he was the last to see him anywhere near Earth -- and Superman himself gave Doc Homer a mighty secret! He gave old Doc Homer the secret of Superman Nectar and Doc is offering it to -- The children want to hear more about Superman! They don't want the sales pitch! They want to know what Superman was like! They ask old Homer if he saw him up close.

Up close? Of course he did -- and the Man of Steel was eight-feet tall if he was an inch! Of course Homer flew with him! Did any of the kids ever walk in space? Imagine that -- and make it ten thousand times better! It was 2067 -- or was it '68? Homer was a young naval pilot on the spacecraft carrier Bruce Wayne stationed in an asteroid belt... He was a hot pilot... but if one of the meteoroids hits him... he would be hot pilot stew!

As Unit 6 makes a distress call to the carrier Bruce Wayne, he discovers his radio's been knocked out! People had a funny feeling about life when the old Man of Steel was around. Like despair never existed -- The navy man faced death in his rocket cruiser and for a moment it was despair he felt -- but he also felt a rattle from outside and saw a fading bolt of blue... He felt the white-hot fire of hope Superman stirred so many times from the ashes of despair -- The elderly Man of Steel hopes that the pilot's oxygen helmet is fastened tightly... because they were going for a ride!

The pilot knew that everyone thought Superman was -- Dead? The Man of Steel tried it once, but it wasn't all it was cracked up to be! Superman still watched out for his friends... and Bruce Wayne was the best friend he ever had! The Man of Steel couldn't let someone stationed on the ship named for him be... be... The pilot notices that
there is something wrong with Superman. K-kryptonite! Somewhere in the asteroid belt there was... Kryptonite! In that instant, the pilot saw a legend reborn and start to crumble again...

Homer's newfound hope was turning to despair! One boy knows that couldn't have happened! Nearly all the Kryptonite in the solar system became inert when Superman was young... and someone found a cure for it prior to the turn of the century! Doc Homer tells the kid not to talk so fast! No one but the Man of Steel and Luthor, who developed it, knew what that cure was -- That was until Superman told him! The Kryptonite dust... floated with the meteor shower like snowflakes! In his cape was a pouch... Superman was choking! He needed what was in the pouch! The pilot couldn't fly like the Man of Steel could... but he would try to reach it! People always thought the Man of Steel had a pouch in that cape -- to carry his i.d. or his keys, and the pilot found it... He wondered what it was? Perhaps some sort of miracle cure?

He wasn't sure what to do with it, but the elderly Man of Steel had nothing to lose if it was fed to him... And if the pilot had anything to lose, he couldn't think of what it was! The cure-all cured his weakness! The rescue was back under way! As far as Doc Homer knew, no one's seen Superman since that day... As a reward for saving his
life out in the asteroid belt, the old Man of Steel gave Homer the secret of his own personal cure-all -- and for one thin twenty-five dollar bill, he would share it with them! They didn't know if the old man was telling the truth, but it sure was a good story! As they start to buy the cure-all, the boy points out that he knows it wasn't

Now how would the boy know -- Doc Homer asks as he takes a twenty-five dollar bill... that it wasn't true? The story was full of holes! You can't talk in space because there's no air to carry sound! You can't pour liquid into someone's mouth because it would float away! The spacecraft carrier Bruce Wayne wasn't commissioned until two decades later! Doc Homer claims that was the Bruce Wayne II! He was on the Bruce Wayne I in the navy! That should explain it... no? The boy insists that it explains that the old guy is a fraud! The Bruce Wayne I wasn't a a spacecraft carrier... but an aircraft carrier which floated on the oceans of Earth! Doc Homer pleads with the boy -- to take a swig of it... and then tell him if he still thought he was a fraud!

All eyes are on the boy as he takes a swig! He is delighted by the goo-ood taste and that's what counts! One man asks for two more bottles, while another will have a six-pack! As a horse-drawn carriage trundles off from the spreading artificial light of Luna... Doc Homer tells the boy it doesn't matter to folks what's true! The Man of Steel was history now... History was like a good cure-all. It doesn't matter how real it is -- just so it feels good going down! The grandson would always remember what his grandfather told him! He then asks if his Gramp was really in the navy. He sure was! He was stationed out in Alpha Centauri once and saw the darndest thing! He'll tell him about it...

This story was presented as one of the Living Legends of Superman!

The art for this issue was done by some of the finest comics artists in America.

Old Doc Homer knows how to capture his audience's attention and children make for a great audience.

The Legend of Superman has captivated folks for decades.

Having taken readers to the planet of Mongo and the Star Wars Universe, artist Al Williamson illustrated Elliot Maggin's story set in the state of Luna.

It's interesting that the boy points out the scientific flaws in the old man's story, but doesn't question that a Superman can fly.

The Man of Steel is a part of history now... from comic books to novels to animated cartoons to motion pictures.

We'll always remember him and we'll always remember who took us there.

In Memory Of Al Williamson

Steve Chung
"The Review-All"