Monday, 9 February 2009

It's The Super Sons!

Bob Haney's other classic is a series that annoys an awful lot of fans: It's those hip, fab & gear groovesters The Sons of Superman & Batman!

The Super Sons series ran intermittently in the pages of World's Finest Comics between 1972 & 1976, and were pretty much the most fun idea in comics ever. ( Remember when comics were fun? ) At a time when Marvel were kicking DC's butt by directly appealing to the youth/teenage market, DC were trying everything to fight back, from sending Green Lantern & Green Arrow out on the road to 'discover' America, to stripping The Teen Titans of their powers and making them into social workers, anything was fair game: Even turning Superman & Batman into teenagers.

Clearly somebody up at DC had realized that over the decades The Man Of Steel & The Caped Crusader had become, well, a little dull & middle-aged . In the parlance of the day, Supes & Bats were ' The Man '. But what if they weren't? What if, somehow, they could be made cool & hip again? What if they could be made: Teenagers? Not by actually transforming them, but by giving them sons of the readership's age. Oh, wait, but wouldn't that negate 40 years of comics continuity? Wouldn't that mess up everything? Has anybody got Bob Haney's number?

As mentioned before, continuity & Bob Haney were at best, nodding acquaintances. All he cared about was telling a good story. So, The Super Sons were born. A hoax? A dream? An imaginary story? Nope. This was real, this had happened. With no explanation, Superman & Batman now had teenage sons running around. World, meet Superman Jr. & Batman Jr!

And a lot of people have a problem with that. For instance, in one story, Crown For A New Batman, The Dark Knight fakes his own death in order to catch a bad guy, not letting Bruce Jr. ( or anyone else ) into the scam ( Gee thanks, Dad. There's positive parenting in action! ), so Batman Jr. & Robin fight over who's gonna take over the post of Caped Crusader.

Wait a minute! Robin can't be in here! You can't have Robin and a teenage Batman at the same time, that doesn't make any.......Ohhh, it's a Bob Haney story. Oh, well, ok, if you'd just said that to start with...

People also have trouble with the, quite often, cringeworthy ' hip & groovy ' dialogue our two teenage heroes spout. They can't seem to go a couple of panels without calling somebody ' baby' or ' chick '. To me, that's all part of the fun. Take The Shocking Switch of The Super Sons, where the boys convince their dads to go to a self help retreat ( ran by the frankly bizarre Dr. Zamm, who isn't the bad guy, by the way. )

Check out Batman's lounge suit. How is that NOT the funniest panel in the entire history of comics? Or here's Bruce & Clark enjoying some real southern hospitality in the best story, Little Town With a Big Secret, while on their cross-country jaunt ( shame they never ran into GL/GA ):

Later on, of course, the continuity-heads got their way, and the whole thing was explained, that Supes & Bats Jr. were actually part of a computer simulation the " real " Supes & Bats were playing, to see what life would be like if they had kids. ( Glad you've got time to sit around playing computer games, guys! ) Me, I honestly can't be bothered to care about such things. If, for the sake of a story, Superman & Batman have sons, my only question is: Is it an entertaining story? Nothing else matters. And, in this case, the answer is Yeah, baby, yeah!

You can read the whole, insane saga here:


  1. Yes! I was sure this was what you were planning, and you didn't let me down. :D This strip was pure Haney, and it was one of the best things DC produced. Sure, the plots were silly and the slang was 20 years behind times. Yeah, Robin and the Super-Sons being the same age was wacky. But it was FUN, doggone it! A most excellent post, m'friend!

  2. Wait ... Dr. Zamm?

    Okay, here's the thing. Bob Haney lived in Woodstock NY, as did I. And in those days, there was an allergist -- probably the only one -- named Dr. Zamm. I was one of his patients, and his son was one of my classmates.

    And I read those Super-Sons stories, but must have missed this one.