Most comic geeks remember the Sun-Eater, a mysterious force that did exactly what it advertised: It would eat suns and bring about the catastrophe that one might expect. Not only did this Silver Age thingie get a revival by being the main menace in the Final Night crossover event of 1996, but most of us will recall that the original Sun-Eater gave the Legion of Super-Heroes its first fatality ever, when Ferro Lad died delivering a bomb to its core.
But what I'll bet most folks didn't know, no matter how big of a comic book geek you are, is that there was a precursor to the Sun-Eater, almost 10 years before its first appearance. That's right: FEAR THE SOLAR SPONGE!
You think I'm kidding. I give you World's Finest #96:
That's right. In the 1950's, something called "the Solar Sponge" was considered menacing. It was a different time, people!
It made people run in small groups:
There's something funny about people screaming as they run in comics. I don't know what it is, but it can't be denied. People screaming "run! run!" when everyone is clearly already running tickles me.
It's probably just me.
One challenging theme about the Superman-Batman team-ups in World's Finest was coming up with a menace that would give Superman a challenge, but wouldn't be so tough that it rendered Batman useless. These days, the excellent Superman / Batman monthly pulls that off pretty well somehow. It's a great read, if you haven't tried it already.
But back in the day? Well, thank goodness Robin always needed saving:
Okay, everyone catch that? The "good work" for which Batman is being congratulated is nothing more than saving the bacon of his own boy sidekick. Looking at this logically, Batman did nothing more than resolve a crisis that wouldn't have happened if he had stayed home and watched The Real McCoys. You could really get away with anything in the 1950's.
And, of course, I can always count on Superman to be a douche:
I ripped off a part of this creature's body and maimed it, but I didn't do it any harm.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure PETA would disagree with those humanitarian tactics, Clark.
See you tomorrow!