Superman #61: "Superman Returns To Krypton!"

Superman #61
"Superman Returns To Krypton!"
November-December, 1949

Story: Bill Finger
Art: Al Plastino

Readers know that the Man of Tomorrow comes from the alien world of Krypton, that perished in an explosion shortly after his birth there! We know that, but Superman has not! Now, in this sensational synopsis of a mysterious crime, the Golden Age hero finally learns of his origins! It happens, when... "Superman Returns To Krypton!"

At the office of Daily Planet editor Perry White, Lois is told to interview a fake fortune teller named Swami Riva who is swindling unsuspecting clients! Perry wants the girl reporter to pose as a rich society girl, to ask him some leading questions, and the Swami will be exposed in the Daily Planet! Mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent overhears this, and decides to keep an eye on Lois Lane as the Man of Tomorrow! Later, on a nearby rooftop, Superman uses his x-ray vision and super-hearing to eavesdrop on Lois and Swami Riva. When asked how she should invest her money, the swami claims his crystal ball is starting to clear... and he begins to foresee the future! It is then that the girl reporter's purse accidentally falls to the floor, and the fake swami foresees her Daily Planet press card! The snoopy reporter's future is starting to look very dark, but Lois manages to rush to a window, and sees the Man of Tomorrow arriving to the rescue! Swami Riva realizes he can escape through the room's secret panel if he manages to stall Superman! He warns the Man of Tomorrow to stay back or else he will put a hex on him!

The fake swami concentrates with his hypnotic eyes, intoning gibberish, and making some mystic passes... Suddenly, Superman can feel all of his strength draining out of him... Staggering near the swami, the Man of Tomorrow manages to throw a feeble punch... missing his target completely! The swindler is surprised when he raises his hands, and one of them manages to knock the Man of Tomorrow down! He had only pretended to hex Superman, but it looks like he actually possesses astral powers! Swami Riva warns the girl reporter to remain quiet or else he will hex her, too! Seeing the Man of Tomorrow lying on the floor, hex marks the spot where he made the hero helpless!

Once the false swami has left, the Man of Tomorrow's strength returns... He realizes that the closer he got to him, the weaker he became! He is at a loss to explain it! Once Lois tells her story to Perry White, the editor promises Superman not to print the story! There would be a rise in crime if the new got out! The Man of Tomorrow is certain Swami Riva himself is spreading the news. Swami Riva's story is not so easily believed! He offers to rent his power to two crooks and go along with them on their job. If Superman shows up, he will hex the hero, and make their robbery a success! The following day finds mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent receiving a mysterious tip by phone... Big Eddie's gang is about to crack the safe at the Herculo Hardware Company! Later at the Herculo Hardware Company Warehouse, the gang is aware that Clark Kent is a friend of Superman, and that he no doubt contacted him!

As the Man of Tomorrow enters the warehouse, the crooks start throwing hardware at him! By compressing the thrown hardware, Superman manages to create a handy cannon ball, and sends it rolling at his two assailants! Picking up some nails and a pipe, the Man of Tomorrow manages to nail one of the hood's coat to the wall! Swami Riva emerges from behind some lead sheeting, and makes his hex on Superman! The Man of Tomorrow feels weakness once more, and tries to fight it... but he cannot... The two crooks take advantage of Superman's unfortunate situation... and start hitting him!

Once Swami Riva and the gang leaves the warehouse, the Man of Tomorrow regains his strength! By now, Big Eddie gives the news to the rival papers in Metropolis! Swami Riva plans to extort more money from the wealthy by threatening to hex them unless they pay him! When his victims receive his letters, they pay the ten thousand dollars, and are unwilling to risk denying the man who hexed Superman! Realizing there is no such thing as a hex, the Man of Tomorrow figures it must be some form of hypnosis, and decides to check up on Swami Riva! At police headquarters, he learns the swami's real name is Dan Rivers, and that he was last seen working a carnival show with his partner, Mooch Carlin! At the carnival, the Man of Tomorrow questions Carlin, and learns how Rivers went into the swami racket by first buying a big rock from the Acme Jewelry Shop for his turban... to impress the rubes! Later, at the Acme Jewelry Shop, he learns that Rivers could not afford a real gem, and was sold a cheap shiny stone! The jeweller shows Superman an smaller stone! The Man of Tomorrow suffers the same weakness, but the effect is less potent! He learns that the gem came in a gem shipment from a rock collector named Harry Peters! Superman flies out west to seek out the rock prospector, wondering why the stones affect only himself, and not others! In the mountains, Harry Peters shows the Man of Tomorrow where he found the two stones, and learns that the rock expert was unable to identify them - having never seen anything like them before! Peters guesses they are meteorites and Superman decides to travel backwards in time, in order to chart their course back to their point of origin! The Man of Tomorrow breaks through the time barrier and continues to follow the white path of light back to their source! Back through time and space, Superman arrives at a planet outside of Earth's solar system! The Man of Tomorrow witnesses an advanced civilization, and a people of great intelligence and physical perfection! They do not see him because he is not from their time period, and can view them as he would a silent movie by reading lips. One mother is worried that her son is past the age of five, but he does not yet know his engineering! The Man of Tomorrow soon spots a man who looks more like himself than he does! Superman follows this remarkable man named Jor-El, who tells his wife, Lora, that the council did not believe him about the uranium core of their planet has been building towards a deadly chain-reaction... Jor-L ha warned them that Krypton would explode like one giant atomic bomb! Lora hears a distant rumbling sound... The building rock violently as great fissures crack open all over the ground! It has happened just as Jor-L has warned them! There is only room for one of them and the baby in the model space-rocket. Lora realizes her place is at her husband's side, but their son must have his chance at life! The infant is placed inside and the model space-rocket is sent off into the void of outer space! Kal-L is the sole survivor of Krypton's great civilization! As the model space-rocket makes its way through space, the once mighty world of Krypton explodes into so much stardust! A planet has died, but the Man of Tomorrow wonders if the infant will survive his journey?

Time passes as the tiny model space-rocket carries the sole infant survivor towards another planet! It is now in the solar system and is heading for Earth! An elderly couple find the rocket, and remove the infant before the model space-rocket disintegrates in Earth's atmosphere! The elderly couple adopt the infant and name him Clark Kent! The Man of Tomorrow realizes that he is the infant from the lost planet of Krypton, and he now knows why he possesses powers and abilities far beyond those of normal Earthlings!

The meteorites are particles of Krypton, sent into outer space! When the planet exploded, all of its atomic elements fused together into one deadly compound! The compound gives off rays which are deadly to Kryptonians... and this is why it weakens him! He races forward to the 20th Century once more... Now in an underworld hangout, he learns Swami Riva is on Pier 14, and is now working with Hijack Hal's mob! Flying above Pier 14, the Man of Tomorrow sees Swami Riva is wearing his turban with the deadly stone, and he is ready to put the hex on Superman once more! Super-breath sends the turban into the river! The Man of Tomorrow laughs at Swami Riva's latest attempt to hex him!

Superman's two feet slam down heavily on the planks of Pier 14, sending the startled crooks into the air! The Man of Tomorrow has one final piece of business - the one remaining particle of Kryptonite on Earth! Superman pays for the other small meteorite and asks for a messenger to deliver it to a Mr. Smith at a certain address! The messenger handdelivers the package to a waterfront address, where Mr. Smith asks him to place it on a table, and thanks him! Once th young man has left, "Mr. Smith removes his disguise, and becomes the Man of Tomorrow once more! It was a necessary disguise to have some else handle the delivery of the Kryptonite... which is sent through a trap door to join the swami's turban at the river's bottom! A radio report about Superman flying again and the hex being a hoax is broadcast! Only he knows that somewhere in outer space, there must be more Kryptonite particles, and he hopes none falls to his adopted world once more! It remains to be seen...

The Silver Age Superman of Earth-1 made his own return to Krypton in Superman #141 (November, 1960.)

On Earth-2, Clark Kent works for George Taylor at the Daily Star.

On Earth-1, Clark Kent works for Perry White at the Daily Planet.

On Earth-2, Perry White occasionally substituted for George Taylor whenever he went on vacation.

Superman is vulnerable to both Kryptonite and magic.

The Kryptonite encountered by the Man of Tomorrow is colored red, not green.

Red Kryptonite has unusual effects on Kryptonians for anywhere from twenty-four to seventy-two hours.

Superman managed to bowl the gang with their own hardware, and nail one of their number by piping down.

Unfortunately, he really could have used lead to protect himself from Swami Riva's deadly stone!

Mooch Carlin is the partner of Dan Rivers at a carnival show.

Mike Carlin is a Superman editor at DC Comics.

A light-year is a unit of length used informally to express astronomical distances.

Krypton was a planet with green seas and purple land masses.

On Earth-2, Kal-L is the son of Jor-L and Lora, and a survivor of Krypton's destruction.

On Earth-1, Kal-El is the son of Jor-L and Lara, and a survivor of Krypton's destruction.

Jor-L wears a green headband, purple tunic with yellow emblem, yellow wristbands, and yellow pants.

On Earth-2, the inhabitants of Krypton referred to themselves as "Kryptonites".

On Earth-1, the inhabitants of Krypton referred to themselves as "Kryptonians".

On radio, Kryptonite was invented as a story device which enabled radio actor Clayton "Bud" Collyer to take a two-week vacation, and have another radio actor perform the groans of a weakened Superman who was the prisoner of crooks in possession of Kryptonite.

Swami Riva got sent up the river, thanks to the Man of Tomorrow, who is truly a Golden Age hero without "pier"!

Jimmy Olsen is Superman's Pal.

Bibbo lives on the waterfront and refers to the Man of Steel as his "fav'rit"!

"On The Waterfront" starred actor Marlon Brando, who would go on to portray Jor-El in Superman (1978).

Steve Chung
"Superman's Review To Krypton!"