The Adventures of Jerry Lewis #105, March-April 1968

As the story opens, Superman has been fighting a “cosmic creature” for a full three days and three nights. When he finally defeats it, it explodes as it’s revealed to be a robot. Unbeknowst to the Man of Steel, Lex Luthor is responsible: the blast was a means to expose Superman to a fine spray of Kryptonite dust. Over the next few hours he grows increasingly weaker as the dust starts to take effect.

Perry White sends a very tired Clark Kent to investigate “the growing power and danger of teen-agers, how they’re the number-two enemy — after China!” It seems that a computer has selected Jerry Lewis’s young nephew, Renfrew, as a potential typical teen. Clark finds Jerry’s house a complete mess thanks to a recent rampage by Renfrew. Renfrew then soaks Clark with the contents of a large bowl of water. Dripping wet, Clark goes to the bathroom to change clothes — and stashes his super-suit in a laundry hamper, as he wears some of Jerry’s things.

Jerry’s housekeeper soon discovers the super-suit, and gives it to Jerry — who immediately tries it on!

Having tracked the Kryptonite trace Luthor arrives, but Clark spots him and immediately realizes Luthor’s fiendish plan. Dressed as Superman, Jerry is in imminent danger — but Clark accidentally knocks himself out. Luthor chases Jerry firing a hail of bullets, but the bullets just bounce off the suit. Renfrew tries to help, but has to be rescued by a revived Clark as Jerry runs into a junk yard. Trapped, it looks like the end of the line for Jerry as Luthor closes in. Just then, a sudden gust of wind — in reality Clark’s super-breath — pulls the super-suit off Jerry.

Superman appears, having cleaned the Kryptonite dust off of his outfit, and quickly disposes of Luthor. Forgetting his assignment, Superman heads for deep space and another monster — after all, “That Renfrew is worse than Kryptonite! I just had to get away for the rest!”

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The cover and interior art are by the sure hand of Bob Oksner, although the Superman figure on the cover looks like Wayne Boring, so I suspect that’s been pasted in from somewhere. Arnold Drake seems to get the blame for the story, but there are no credits in the issue itself. It’s all hideously unfunny: the very height of hilarity seemingly intended to be Clark swallowing a pigeon as he uses his super-lungs to extract the super-suit from Jerry.

The notion of teenagers being a menace is kind of interesting, and I wonder whether that was genuine concern on the part of the middle-aged creative team (Murray Boltinoff was editor), or just a means to an end/comment on Renfrew’s character? The “menace” of teens doing their own thing was of course also featured in that other big hit title of 1968: Brother Power, the Geek. Superman’s guardian, Mort Weisinger, was most certainly unhappy about that!

The appearance by Superman in the Jerry Lewis title seems to be part of an attenpt by DC to bring in more readers: over the course of a couple of years, the book also played host to Batman (#97), the Flash (#112), and Wonder Woman (#117 – see HERE). They’re all pretty painful reads, and it’s wonder the book survived as long as it did — however, the official statement of circulation that appears in this issue puts the average print run at 341,000, with an average sale of 181,000! That sales figure wasn’t great for the time, but isn’t disastrous — it seems Lewis was able to command the loyalty of a heck of a lot of readers.

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