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DIAL B for BLOG #300 presents The Forbidden Comic Book
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Elseworlds 80-Page Giant!

DC Superhero comics were born with the first appearance of Superman in Action #1, June 1938. Batman and Wonder Woman followed, then Flash, then Green Lantern and the rest. As the years passed, different locales, villains and supporting characters were introduced into these heroes’ stories. Some stuck around, some didn’t, and eventually a status quo developed.

Of course, once the status quo became set in stone, a problem arose: How to tell stories that contradicted it? Simple! Just call them “Imaginary Stories,” and warn readers that the events in them were NOT to be considered “in continuity.” So... Lois and .Superman WEREN’T really married after all, and they DIDN’T really have 18 children, half of which were super and half of which were non-super with deep feelings of inferiority. It was all “Imaginary.”

But the device soon became over used. Outrageous cover scenes lured readers into buying comics, but they were disappointed when the wild cover was explained away by making it part of an imaginary story, or a dream, or a hoax. In an effort to regain lost credibility, some covers began sporting banners that screamed “Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary story!” Eventually, times changed, and DC stopped doing such stories altogether.
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Then, many years later, the ELSEWORLDS line was created. In a DC “Elseworlds” comic, anything could happen, because every single story in the entire LINE -- actually a series of deluxe one-shots -- was considered “outside continuity.” In 1999, DC decided that each of their superhero books was to get an “80-Page Giant,” reminiscent of the old Silver Age giants, and “Elseworlds” went along for the ride.

Stories and artwork for the book were commissioned by editor Dan Raspler, who landed big names such as Kyle Bak er, Chuck Dixon, Aaron Lopestri, Tom Peyer, Trevor von Eden, Mark Waid, Ty Templeton, and even former Teen Titans and Brave and Bold writer Bob Haney. Once all nine stories for the book were completed, they were reviewed by both editor Dan Raspler and DC Publisher Paul Levitz, and .approved for publication.

The finished pages for the Elseworlds 80-Page Giant were sent to the printer, but before the presses could begin running in earnest, Levitz called and told them, ace reporter style, to “Stop the presses!” Upon further review of the Elseworlds story "Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter," Levitz had found it so objectionable that he decided to strike the book from DC’s schedule. Levitz told the printers, located in Canada, to halt the print run, and destroy any existing copies immediately.

But oops! Before the printer actually RECEIVED Levitz’ order, about 1,500 copies of the forbidden comic were shipped to England. Since that day, seven years ago, several copies of the Elseworlds 80-page Giant have found their way around the world, and back to America.

It is unknown how many copies survive to this day, but one thing is certain -- I, Robby Reed, author of this article and creator of this blog, bought ONE of them off e-Bay, and as a special 300th issue treat, I am now going to share with you the BEST parts, including the forbidden babysitter story. Here we go!

"TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE!"

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"SUPERMAN JR. IS NO MORE!"
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WF #215 WF #221 WF #222
Zany Bob Haney! This former writer of the original Teen Titans book specialized in creating the most ridiculously UNhip teen slang ever seen in comics. During his run on World's Finest, Haney introduced the supposed sons of Superman and Batman. Were these stories in continuity? Haney says they WERE -- but he's the only one who does. In the Elesworlds tale "Superman Jr. Is No More!" drawn by Kieron Dwyer, the Super Sons return, but Superman Jr. has decided to quit the family business...
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.In this vintage Silver Age-ish kind of story, Supes Jr. realizes he'll never surpass his old man of steel, so he decides to quit being a Super-person. Batman Jr. is desolate. But then, there's an accident in space, and Superman Senior dies!

But disasters won't wait. A plane goes down in the arctic, and fearless Batman Jr. skiis to the rescue wearing a parka over his uniform (shown left). .He can't locate the plane, but suddenly... Superman Jr. appears! Realizing he must carry on the Superman name, he has returned to the hero gig.

You'll NEVER guess what happens next. It was all a hoax! Superman shows up alive, and literally laughing in his son's face. You see, it was Batman Jr.'s idea to fake his death, to shock Supes Jr. into returning. Instead of being furious, Supes Jr. just laughs it all off, and the happy Super sons and dads fly off over Washington, DC. The End!

P.S. The whole story is posted HERE.

"LETITIA LERNER, SUPERMAN'S BABYSITTER!"
.This one is the forbidden story -- the one that got the book shredded. It's called "Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter," and it reminds me of the old Foghorn Leghorn cartoon "The .Slick Chick" (1962). In this Warner Bros. cartoon, Foghorn Leghorn has to babysit Junior, a born trouble-maker.

But in Kyle Baker's story for the Elseworlds Giant, it's Jonathan and Martha Kent who take a much needed break from caring for their super-son, and when they leave him in the hands of a babysitter named Letitia Lerner, havok ensues...
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Objectionable scene: Baby Kal-El bites through a live electrical wire, with shocking results!
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Even MORE objectionable scene: A baby in a microwave oven? SHRED THIS BOOK! QUICKLY!!
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But shredding aside, microwaving has no effect on a super baby from Krypton! And despite all the carnage, the Kents are SO grateful for an evening off that they tell Superman's babysitter, Letitia Lerner...
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So there you have it.

You have now read the forbidden panels from the forbidden story in one of the most forbidden comic books of all time. Do you feel dirty?

Please avoid the compulsion to electrify and microwave the next child you see!

P.S. The whole story is posted HERE.

"DC'S HALL OF SILVER AGE ELSEWORLDS FIRST PAGES!"
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For MY money, that is, for the mind-blowing $320.00 this comic book cost me to buy on eBay, THIS is the best feature in the entire Elseworlds 80-page Giant: "DC's Hall of Silver Age Elseworlds Pages" by Mark Waid and Ty Templeton. The "Hall of Golden Age Heroes" was an old series of reprints that once ran in Justice League of America (seen above left).The "Elseworlds" title and opening page (seen above right) are a parody of this feature. It's a series of wild splash pages meant to be funny. But they are not funny... they are f'n hysterical! Here are my favorites...
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"DARK KNIGHT OF THE GOLDEN KINGDOM!"
Here's a page from the Mark Waid / Alex Ross epic, "Kingdom Come," showing the spoiled, bratty children of the original superheroes going wild and having a huge brawl in the streets...
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And finally, pictured BELOW is a page from the last story in the Elseworlds 80-Page Giant, "Dark Knight of the Golden Kingdom," by Tom Peyer and Ariel Olivetti. It's a mercilessly satirical evisceration of "Kingdom Come," as well as "Dark Knight Returns" and other books.

Below, Team-Face, a Joker-Luthor mix a la Composite Superman, battles the bizarre hybrid children of superheroes: Aquahawk (Aquaman plus Hawkman), Martian Manhuntress (Jonzz Jonzz in drag plus the Huntress), Negative Wonder (The Doom Patrol's Negative Man plus Wonder Woman), and Green Canary (Green Arrow plus Black Canary).
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THE END!

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