A Tribute to the of





Welcome to the latest edition of the Silver Age Sage: #476. If you're looking for a previous interview, please scroll down to the bottom of this page to the Special Features header. There you will find a list of links to all the creators who have been interviewed in the past.

I’ve been fortunate enough lately to be in touch with Jim Shooter [Sage #194 & #195] on another assignment I’m grinding away on for BACK ISSUE and so, for that simple reason, I thought it might be fun to go back to one of his early efforts for DC to review an old Superman story scripted by Jim. “Eterno the Immortal!” was the story from the November 1966 issue #343 of the flagship Action Comics title. That lovely cover was, of course, by the great Curt Swan [February 17th is the 100th anniversary of his birth] with George Klein inks and Ira Schnapp lettering. Interior art was by Wayne Boring with Joe Letterese doing the lettering chores and the infamous Mort Weisinger served as editor, though more likely the heavy lifting was done by editorial assistant E. Nelson Bridwell.

That splash page caption put me in mind of a comment Jim made during our epic interview several years ago when he approached Stan Lee at Marvel and said that his contemporaries called him the “Marvel writer.” See if you can detect a few Stan-like phrasings: “He’s mightier than a million mastodons…more intelligent than an army of Einstein’s…and H-bomb blasts don’t bother him! Who is he…Superman? Nope, you lose! We mean that 50-foot fink, Eterno! And what happens when these two titans tangle? Dive for cover and find out, as the Caped Kryptonian matches muscles with that gigantic juggernaut…Eterno the Immortal!

First stop, a distinctive spaceship just coming into our solar system and converging on Earth, piloted by the Superman Revenge Squad. There are three figures aboard the vessel, but we only hear the names Arl and Garan and they are, once again, bent on the destruction of the Man of Steel. Arl insists he has a can’t miss plan while Garan scoffs that they’ve tried many plans and every one has gone up in smoke. Arl says he’s used the time viewer to do a deep dive into the history of Earth and discovered that a billion years ago a highly advanced society called the Xan were calling the shots on Earth and their super science had even allowed the tall, handsome folk to build sky-cities, robots and androids to make life easier.

The pinnacle of their efforts was the 50-foot half android/half robot creation powered by the energy of the stars that they dubbed Eterno. He was invulnerable and truly built to last and even came with the added accessory of destructo beams he could project from his eyes to aid in mining and other worthwhile pursuits. His artificial brain was also fortified with all their collected knowledge.

You can see where this is going, right? Yep. Eterno began to wonder why he was the servant rather than the master of these inferior beings and bided his time until taking his rightful place. One day fate intervened when a cloud of space gas began to envelop the Earth and the Xan quickly realized it would destroy all life on the planet with the exception of that found in the oceans and seas. Their only hope is the use of Absorbium, but it could only be found at the Earth’s core. Eterno quickly volunteers to retrieve some, reasoning that while he is in no danger, a ruler must have subjects.

Quickly, the massive robot or android (I’m not sure if there is a significant difference) is blasting his way to the center of the Earth, but when he reaches the Absorbium, there is an unexpected side effect. The stuff freezes the titan in his tracks, where he remained for all these centuries and millennia.

Back in the present, Arl has decided to use the ship’s cyclo-ray to bore down and destroy the Absorbium, free Eterno and let the fireworks begin. Once freed, the massive robot wastes no time in using his destructo beams to work his way to the surface, causing all sorts of seismic activity that catches the attention of the scientific community, he finally emerges from the top of a mountain near Metropolis to continue his rampage.

Well, enormous android or no, you don’t pop up in Superman’s back yard without attracting the attention of the Man of Might, who soon shucks his usual blue suit and horn rims for a more dynamic blue and red set of duds as he goes to investigate.

Eterno is dismantling an abandoned downtown skyscraper while noting that the shrieking citizens are not the same Xan who constructed him and while their language is different, his immense intellect allows him to quickly pick it up. Just then, a powerful figure arrives and reduces the building in Eterno’s hands to rubble. Now the battle is on.

Despite being a veteran brawler, Superman’s efforts are stymied left and right as he tries to at least slow the hulking giant down long enough for the citizens to escape the arc of the melee. He builds walls to slow Eterno down, hits him with ineffective haymakers and even uses the familiar globe atop the Daily Planet to “bowl” Eterno through the street and into the subway, but the monster keeps coming back for more and they even discover that heat vision and destructo beams merely cancel one another out. It’s beginning to look like a super-powered draw when the Superman Revenge Squad hover closely to get a ringside seat. Arl warns Garan that he’s getting too close, but Garan is determined to be an eyewitness to the destruction of Superman.

Then, he begins to monologue about how he’s like to tell Superman that Eterno is simply their puppet and tool, but the bumbling boob manages to hit a loudspeaker switch allowing Eterno to hear the statement. As you can imagine, Eterno does not take kindly to being referred to as anyone’s puppet and he diverts his attention to the ship. Even though they’re beating a hasty retreat and Eterno cannot fly, destructo beams have a pretty good range and the ship is brought down to ground and hard.

Arl desperately tries some of their experimental weapons, but Eterno is as indestructible as the day he rolled off the assembly line. In a last-ditch effort, they use the handy onboard atomic transmuter to alter some nuclear capsules in the ship to Absorbium, Eterno’s only Achille’s heel.

They fire the capsules at the charging monster and the desired result takes place as he is immobilized, but his momentum continues to carry him forward. The massive body of Eterno falls onto the ship crushing the passengers to dust and not one but two threats are neutralized at once.

Not a bad little 14-page story, particularly considering that Jim Shooter was in his mid-teens at the time, still matriculating through school and dealing with the more real threat of trying to deal with Mort Weisinger. I still am not the biggest fan of Wayne Boring’s art, but readily acknowledge his major contribution to the Superman mythos and would have loved the opportunity to speak with him. I’ll give this a 5 on the 10-point rating scale.

Also, be sure to check out the latest edition, #118, of BACK ISSUE where I got the chance to explore an unpublished Batman tale titled “Top Hat and Nails” by Steve Englehart and Trevor Von Eeden. Furthermore, I spotted a screen shot of credits for Birds of Prey and there was quite the impressive listing of Golden and Silver Age greats to include Carmine Infantino, Bob Kanigher, Bill Finger, Jerry Robinson and Lew Schwartz, among others.

Meanwhile, if you have a comment or suggestion, by all means express yourself. I can always be reached at professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you next time and…

Long live the Silver Age!



© 2000-2020 by Bryan D. Stroud


This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

Bryan D. Stroud

 

Special Features

Gaspar Saladino Interview

Arnold Drake Tribute

Joe Kubert Interview

Joe Giella Interview

Carmine Infantino Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 1)

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 2)

Ramona Fradon Interview

Bob Rozakis Interview

Dick Giordano Interview

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 1)

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 2)

Irwin Hasen Interview

Lew Sayre Schwartz Interview

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 2)

Jim Mooney Interview

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 1)

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 1)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 1)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 3)

Joe Simon & Creig Flessel Interviews

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 1)

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 2)

Len Wein Interview #1

Len Wein Interview #2

Tony DeZuniga Interview

Jerry Grandenetti Interview

Murphy Anderson Interview

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 2)

Stan Goldberg Interview

Marv Wolfman Interview

Bernie Wrightson Interview

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 1)

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 2)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 2)

Elliot S! Maggin Interview

Mike Grell Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews

Anthony Tollin Interview

Sam Glanzman Interview

Ernie Chan Interview

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 2)

Mike Friedrich Interview

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 1)

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 2)

Walt Simonson Interview

Gene Colan Interview

Gerry Conway Interview

Guy H. Lillian III Interview

Frank McLaughlin Interview

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 2)

Irene Vartanoff Interview


Don Perlin Interview


John Workman Interview (Pt. 1)


John Workman Interview (Pt. 2)


Tom Palmer Interview

Paul Levitz Interview

Jay Scott Pike Interview

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 2)

Carl Potts Interview

Larry Hama Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews 2

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 1)

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 2)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 1)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 2)

Alan Kupperberg Interview

Joe D'esposito Interview

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 2)

Ralph Reese Interview

Bob McLeod Interview

Bob Smith Interview

Jose Delbo Interview

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Thorne Interview

Bob Wiacek Interview

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 1)

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 2)

John Calnan Interview

Sy Barry Interview

Cary Bates Interview

John Severin Interview

Liz Berube Interview

Thom Zahler Interview

Paul Kirchner Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview #2

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 2)

Ken Bald Interview

Sal Buscema Interview

Angelo Torres Interview

Alex Ross Interview

Howard Chaykin Interview



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