Let’s take a look at the pile of books and papers next to my bed. Here’s pile #1, on top of the bedside table:
* THE WORLD OF MR. MULLINER by Wodehouse
* BATMAN AND ROBIN, a British paperback with some 1940s adventures by inky Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson
* NEW YORKER
* The new BUD PLANT catalog which mocks my pitifully dismal disposal income
* THE BEST OF CLARENCE DAY — which is usually next to the bed or on the floor; somewhere nearby
* ANNE OF AVONLEA — wait — how did THIS book get on my side of the bed?!?!
* DEAR BESS, Harry Truman’s letters to his wife — there’s always a Truman book nearby
* TRY AND STOP ME by Bennett Cerf
And then there’s pile #2 on the floor, the one with some guilty pleasures:
* THE RAND MCNALLY 2003 ATLAS
* THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
* THE CARTOONIST’S AND GAG WRITER’S HANDBOOK by the one and only Jack Markow
* LITTLE LULU: LULU GOES SHOPPING, the new Dark Horse collection of early Lulu comics
* EPILEPTIC by David B., a new graphic novel worth checking out
* DUNC & LOO comic book from the 1960s by John Stanley, same guy who wrote a ton of the Little Lulu comics
* GREAT CARTOONS OF THE WORLD 5TH EDITION
* GIANT SUPERBOY ANNUAL (1964)
And which was the one I actually read most recently?
Oh yes! I had to read about Clark Kent’s first haircut. As we all know, Kryptonians’ hair is invulnerable to cutting! So a suspicious Smallville barber thinks Clark Kent is Superboy since the kid NEVER comes in for a haircut and Smallville is so danged small that this guy is, like, the only barber and seems to have a lot of pull with the locals. So, Superboy programs a robot (Yes, a ROBOT “from a magazine blueprint! Of course, mine will work on a super-scale.”) to go and get the haircut to prove that he’s a, uh, regular vulnerable-hair-growing-earth-kid.
This doesn’t work. The robot short circuits. Pride goes before the fall, Mr. Super-Scale-Kent! So, Superboy exiles the nosy barber to the Phantom Zone, never to be seen again. No, not really. Clark Kent puts on a skin-head wig and then a toupee. The barber cuts the toupee, realizes it’s a piece and Clark lies, telling him he (Clark) is bald. Barber: “You must’ve had one of those childhood diseases that made you lose your hair!”
Why Clark didn’t just say, “my mom cuts my hair” or I have a Ronco Suck-n-Cut home-styling machine, I don’t know! Regardless of the grand silliness of the plot, there’s some great art by long-time Superman/Superboy artist John Sikela.