|Brace yourselves ...|
How often does the Last Son of Krypton find himself in a situation which leaves glowing-green super-poop bursting against his spandex dickey? Well, here’s a handy chart from Superman Family #165 which covers just the essentials, and which is actually used in lieu of the periodic table in some Kansas district schools.
|"...and does anyone know the atomic number of Titano? Class?"|
Missing from this chart is Yango, the Super-Ape from Krypton (and also Superboy #172 “World of the Super-Ape”).
|Pa Kent ain't the brightest|
tool in the basket.
After a slightly Doolittlized re-rendition of the traditional “yokels found a durn sputnik” origin of the Babe of Tomorrow, the story takes us to Africa, where poachers are being vaporized or abducted or just plain disappearing without a trace in the commission of their crimes. Stumped – and giving a good goddamn for some reason which fucking escapes me – local authorities summon Superboy to help them crack the impenetrable mystery.
|Feel free to make your own joke about|
Madonna or Brangelina here...
Aping (haha) a wounded gorilla, Superboy is collected by a passing clutch of noble primates - Luckily for him they weren’t just horny and opportunistic – and take his apparently injured form to a hidden cave carved out with super-creepy monster faces and a big glowing red orbs (which Superboy chokingly acknowledges remind him of the sun of his home planet, just in case it escaped us).
Inside, Superboy finds some of the abducted poachers – and YANGO, SUPER-APE from KRYPTON, who has AN AWESOME JUMPER and RAD TASTE IN HEADGEAR and also SPEAKS FLUENT KRYPTONIAN and still somehow the thing where Superboy dressed up in a gorilla suit was the weirdest part of this story. I’ve been reading comics for too damn long.
|Whoa, Superboy hardly ever uses the "K-Word"...|
Yango and Superboy engage in a mighty tussle, trading powerful blows and lashing out at each other with torrents of heat vision, and probably all the gorillas in that cave should have died because of the volcano-hot temperatures. The battle ends with Yango whipping Superboy around by his cape and flinging him into the night like so much poop. I leave it to your discretion to decide whether - by subsequently escaping into the timestream - Superboy was conducting a tactical strategic retreat for the purposes of gathering intelligence or if the chicken-shit beat super-cheeks at breakneck speeds BUT whatever the case, there he went.
|He can't take it there!|
Turns out Superboy is right, and he travels back to the halcyon days of everything he ever knew or loved being blowed up into radioactive cinders to witness Kryptonian super-scientist and noted anthropologist Professor An-Kal wrapping a tiny gorilla baby in swaddling clothes and swaddling rocket. “You must not die with this ungrateful planet’s* passing,” he tells the insensate, sleeping baby ape, “Not after the years of intensive conditioned-cybernetic brain-programming I’ve devoted to you since birth!” Of course not! Then he does what all scientists do with the hard scientific work of a lifetime dedicated to the advancement of human knowledge – he launches it randomly into space.
*Hey, what did the planet ever do to you? Besides blow up.
|"Because I hadn't thought of it until now? |
Thanks kid!" ZOOM
SOON THEREAFTER – about a year later, in fact, in Superboy #183 a slight variation on the theme is visited in the pages of a story titled “Karkan The Mighty - - Lord of the Jungle!”
I’ve been pretty good about not referring to gorillas as monkeys, but I’m going to willfully abandon this so I can describe this story as RED SON ... but with monkeys. WHY DON’T YOU PUT ALL THE BANANAS IN A BOTTLE?
|Gosh, I dunno Pa, it wasn't there yesterday on|
your way home from the store ...
Anyway, because there aren’t apparently any people in Kenya, Superbaby is found, adopted and raised by gorillas, taking the name Karkan and wisely hiding his junk – first under a leopard print tunic and later under the swaddling blankets from his Kryptonian rocket, meaning that even though he lived his entire life in the deepest, darkest forests of Africa, he still knew how to dress like Rick James. Civilization will out, you know.
This is almost exactly like Tarzan meets Avatar or Dances With Wolves meets Gorillas in the Mist, only with a head injury and fetal alcohol syndrome.
|Yeah, that is messed up.|
Karl comes complete with a pretty, good-hearted niece named Toni, and I applaud the creative team for not naming her Laura Langley or Loretta Lincoln or Lisa Lampenelli or some other double-L combination which takes the already-stretched series of coincidences and throws them off a bridge.
Karl manages to capture Super-Karkan (there’s kryptonite, of course), has his amusingly named native servant Tarugi tie up and cage the wild super-teen, and then gets on a boat back to America in order to … sell … tickets … to see a … half-dressed, illiterate white boy feeling ill and turning a little green. I honestly don’t quite understand Karl’s plans here, but suffice it to say that Superboy is on a boat and that’s what passes for a story here so far.
|All right, now this Superboy-monkey story is getting sexy...|
Toni helps rescue Karkan, Karkan flips over the boat, he tries to go back to his gorilla chums but they encourage him to follow his dreams of moving to America’s east coast and becoming a stand-up in the highly competitive Boston club scene, and then he flies off with Toni and we sort of hope he understands that she’s not got super-powers too so he doesn’t fly into space with her or something, because he doesn’t speak English and she probably doesn’t speak phoney-baloney ape yammer.
|For instance, "the reacharound".|