A Tribute to the of






According to my sources, Kurt Shaffenberger has been gone 15 years as of the 24th of January and it’s been quite a while since we visited any of his work here at the Silver Lantern, so I’m thinking that’s what the doctor ordered.

As most Silver Age aficionados already know, Kurt’s work included a significant amount on the original Captain Marvel, or “Shazam!” as the DC title was known, due to the competition seizing onto the lapsed copyrighted name and Kurt’s style was pretty ideal for the Big Red Cheese and company. He’s also well known as a Superman artist and while I can appreciate his body of work, he never was my favorite. I believe I’ve commented before that despite it being a clean style, it was a little too cartoony for my tastes and Superman often looked a bit effeminate to me. Be that as it may, Kurt delivered the goods and we’ll review a tale that first saw light in Superman #142 with a publication date of January 1961. Cover art was done by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye and the first story in this book is “Lois Lane’s Secret Helper!” The tale is written by Otto Binder with Kurt doing pencils and inks and Mort Weisinger is our editor.

The story also made the cut for inclusion in Limited Collector’s Edition #C-31 from October/November of 1974. I own two copies of this oversized treasury edition. The first is my battered and well-read (and loved) original from my childhood and the second is a spectacularly generous gift from the webmaster, signed by the great Julie Schwartz himself and taken from his personal file/collection. Also, it may be of interest to some readers that Todd Klein uncovered some information about that wonderful painting of Superman that graces the cover of the Limited Collector’s Edition:

http://kleinletters.com/Blog/a-stanley-kaye-superman-painting-mystery-part-1/

Okay, onto our story, featuring none other than Krypto the Superdog on the splash page. The super-powered canine is daydreaming about a blissful home with the married Superman and Lois Lane with their little boy as a playmate for Krypto.

Things begin with Krypto flying into the atmosphere of Earth after taking a romp through outer space when he comes upon Supergirl, who invites him to join her while she secretly patrols Metropolis in her cousin’s absence.

Soon they hear sobbing in the apartment of the Lane sisters, Lois and Lucy. They overhear Lois crying her heart out that she cannot get Superman to marry her. Supergirl comments to Krypto that she’s tried to nudge things along as has Lori Lemaris, but Superman remains a bachelor. Krypto gets the idea that perhaps he can help and takes off to try to familiarize himself with human romance rituals. First stop: Venice, where a gondolier’s serenade inspires a young man to propose.

Krypto waits for his chance and when Superman returns he visits Lois apartment to offer her a news story. Miss Lane happily agrees, but says her apartment is too warm and suggests they go to the park. Krypto follows along and spies a bag of bird seed he can use to attract songbirds to serenade the couple. It seems to be working as Superman begins to make a suggestion to Lois, but then the birds end up attracting some roaming felines who scare the birds away and raise such a ruckus that Superman leaves as well. A teed off Superdog herds them into a nearby pond to punish them and then goes off in search of another plan.

This time he flies near a desert island where a couple of castaways are being rescued. The man is proposing to the woman who has been his companion and Krypto reasons that maybe some time alone with Superman and Lois will do the trick.

An opportunity soon presents itself when Clark Kent and Lois Lane are out with Perry White enjoying some R&R. Perry offers them the use of his motorboat while he fishes off the dock and Krypto clandestinely follows.

Using his tail to churn the waters, Krypto kicks up an artificial tidal wave that sends the boat onto a desert island and then the boat drifts away. Lois is furious that she’s been marooned with the sissy Clark Kent, but Krypto tries to stack the deck by rolling a boulder down the hill to shake some coconuts loose that weakling Clark couldn’t manage and then slamming into a mountainside to create an “earthquake” that throws Lois into Clark’s arms. Unfortunately the superdog also managed to open a crack in the earth that contained some lead ore and beneath, a kryptonite meteor, causing Clark to lose consciousness and confirming to Lois that he’s a weak sister. So much for this effort as a rescue helicopter arrives.

The flying superdog is next seen in the alps where he notices a proposal taking place and when another couple come upon the scene it gives the young man the courage (or peer pressure?) to do the same.

As fate would have it, Lois has temporarily fallen heir to a lost golden lab that she dubs “Beauty” brings her home to her apartment. She gathers some lumber and tools so Superman can construct a doghouse for Beauty and Krypto gets to work “courting” the canine by digging up and delivering a huge bowl of bones. Superman, seeming to take the hint, says, “…Lois, I’ll bring you gifts too, because…Great Scott!” Just then a pack of dogs, drawn by the pile of bones, has converged on the scene, disrupting the potential proposal. Our hero then flies off, stating that he needs to start his patrol and it was a silly idea in a weak moment.

Now Lois is well and truly peeved. The superdog is irritated, too and vows to become Lois’ dog to show his displeasure. Soon they’re out for a walk in the park and Superman descends, wondering what she’s doing with his dog. Lois informs him that Krypto has no desire to live with a bachelor his whole life and is now her dog, trading his super cape for a red sweater to seal the deal.

In the next moment, a member of the Metropolis P.D. strolls by and asks whose dog it is. Krypto snarls at Superman and Lois insists Krypto belongs to her. Superman quickly agrees and gives the readers a wink in the last panel as Lois is cited for not having a license for her dog, ending this little 8-pager.

Cute? Yeah. Kinda corny? Yeah. Classic Shaffenberger art? Oh, yeah. I dunno if it’s just nostalgia on my part or a soft spot for a familiar story, but this was the first story I thought of when I decided to spotlight Kurt Shaffenberger and I’ll give it a middle of the road rating of 5 for some short but sweet Silver Age fun.

Once again, we invite you to express yourself with any questions, comments, or suggestions. I’ll happily answer any e-mail at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

We’ll be back with another story right here at this very URL on the 15th of February, so c’mon back and, as always...

Long live the Silver Age!



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