Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Yes, He IS Annoying!

When Otto Binder created Beppo the Super Monkey in Superboy #76 (October 1959), I think he might have done too good a job in making the mischievous little primate annoying.

Beppo was a test animal that Jor-el kept in his lab on Krypton. (Which begs the question—why did Jor-el claim to have no more test animals when he launched his baby’s beloved puppy into space? Gee whiz, Jor-el really was a mean daddy!)

Beppo stows away in the rocket that brings Kal-el to Earth. He slips away unseen and spends some time tossing elephants around in the African jungle. But he eventually returns to Samllville and, after dressing in little Clark’s super-play suit, causes a lot of mischief that the Kents then blame on poor Clark.

But then Beppo is chased into deep space by a comet (not realizing that the comet can’t hurt him).

He’ll be back eventually, but unlike Krypto, we never do see very much of him. Pretty much all his appearances are as a member of the Legion of Super Pets. Krypto gets his share of solo stories, but I think Otto Binder was so successful in portraying Beppo as a pest, that he was simply “retired” from his solo career before his one-joke theme got old. Binder’s sense of humor makes this story work, but it doesn’t leave much room for effective sequels.

Oh, well, I still kinda like the little guy (though none of the Super Pets ever had the appeal that Krypto does), so I’m still glad he came into being.

We’ll examine the other Super Pets eventually, but the rest of them actually aren’t Kryptonian natives. So the next few entries will finish up our look at Kryptonian survivors before moving on to Streaky and Comet.

So far, our look at Superman’s expanding mythology during the Weisinger era has covered Supergirl, Dev-em, Krypto and Beppo. Gee whiz, we’re just getting started, aren’t we? We’ve still got Kandor, the Phantom Zone, the remaining Super Pets, the Legion of Superheroes, Superman’s time travel jaunts to Krypton, the various forms of Kryptonite, the Daily Planet staff, the Fortress of Solitude and several important villains to look at.

We’ll get to them eventually. Many superheroes have rich mythologies built around them, but Superman arguably has the richest.

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