"The Menace of Red-Green Kryptonite!" from Action Comics #275 (1961)
Written by Jerry Coleman
Art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye

"Many scientists believe [the pineal gland] is a remnant of a third eye early man once had in back of his head to warn him of danger behind. — Editor."

I’m really not sure that many scientists believe that.

"The Reversed Super-Powers!" from Action Comics #274 (1961)
Written by Jerry Siegel
Art by Kurt Schaffenberger

"Lois Lane is unworthy of you, Master! When she posessed super-powers and believed you did not, this woman refused to marry you! … >GASP!< … WHRrr-rrrr…”

Once, a renegade Superman Robot named Robot Z pretended to be Superman losing his superpowers in order to trick Lois Lane and prove that she only loves Superman for his superpowers.

"Wait! I… I mustn’t accept so quickly! Will I remain in love with a Superman who has no mighty powers? I… I don’t know…!”

It worked.

"The World of Mr. Mxyzptlk!" from Action Comics #273 (1961)
Written by Jerry Siegel
Art by Al Plastino

"My super-sneeze is destroying this solar system! Suspecting this might happen, I flew to a long-dead universe where all life vanished eons ago due to a terrible space-plague!"

Superman can destroy a solar system with a sneeze.

"Bizarro Meets Frankenstein!" from Superman #143 (1961)
Written by Otto Binder
Art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye

Editor’s Note: in the original Mary Shelley novel, Frankenstein was the name of the scientist who created the monster, through misuse, the term “Frankenstein” has grown to mean the monster itself!”

Apparently this particular bit of pedantry is at least half-a-century old. Is it really that horrible to use a scientist’s name to refer to the scientist’s as-yet-unnamed creation?

"Superman’s Rival, Mental Man!" from Action Comics #272 (1961)
Written by Jerry Siegel
Art by Curt Swan and Stan Kaye

">Gasp!< Y-you’re real! You’ve come to life, Mental Man! And here I thought you were just an imaginary comic strip hero I made up! … What do you w-want of me??!
"I want to marry you!"

You know you’ve been reading too many of these things when you can look at a set-up like this and immediately guess correctly that it’s an elaborate ruse put on by Superman in order to catch some criminals.

"Flame-dragon from Krypton!" from Superman #142 (1961)
Written by Jerry Siegel
Art Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye

But of course the horrible aspects of the era should never be glossed over. Anytime any Asian character shows up you better believe they use the adjective “honorable” at least once. This particular caricature is particularly horrendous.

And as far as I can tell from what is portrayed in the comics, at this point there are literally no black people in Metropolis.

"Voyage to Dimension X!" from Action Comics #271 (1960)
Written by Otto Binder
Art by Al Plastino

"This scarecrow will look like ‘Clark Kent’ to Lois! Now to check if the aliens have opened attack on the Earth!"

Some secret identity protection schemes are more sophisticated than others.

"The Old Man of Metropolis!" from Action Comics #270
Written by Otto Binder
Art by Curt Swan and John Forte

">Puff!<… It’s no use, Bizarro! In the old days either of us could have smashed the whole jail apart! Now we’re both as weak as kittens!”

I have a pet theory that Clark isn’t nearly as self-assured as he seems when he’s in costume and super-heroing, which is why I find moments like this very intriguing.

In this issue, Clark has a bad dream, imagining himself as an old man, forgotten by everyone as Supergirl, all grown up, replaces him in the spotlight of the world. This moment right here is the most touching of the whole thing to me, as Ultimately, Superman’s only companion ends up being Bizarro, as they both wash up in jail. Even though everyone adores him for all his superdeeds, perhaps Clark is still afraid that really the person he has the most in common with is Bizarro, a malformed outside that no one really loves.

But of course even in dream form, Lois can’t forget that guy and she springs him from jail before he wakes up.

"Superman’s Return to Krypton!" from Superman #141 (1960)
Written by Jerry Siegel
Art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye

"On through space rotates Krypton, toward its inexorable rendezvous with a cruel destiny, but at the sky palace, two pairs of lovers propose a toast, gallantly unafraid…”

"Superman’s Return to Krypton!" (not to be confused with "Superman Returns to Krypton!", the 1949 story wherein Superman traces a Kryptonite back through time and first learns where he came from, which is a nice story itself, albeit definitely no longer canon after the advent of Super-Memory) is a genuinely great, classic Superman story.

The setup is that due to a freak accident, Superman ends up hurled into the past, landing on Krypton some weeks or months before it explodes. Since he doesn’t have superpowers on Krypton, he can do nothing to prevent or escape the coming destruction, and instead takes the time to hang out with his parents, get to know the world where he was born, and to fall in love with a Kryptonian actress named Lyla Lerrol, with whom he shares many makeouts:

It’s all incredibly bittersweet and surprisingly touching, as Superman finds a happy, passionate life with Lyla and his parents, all the while knowing it’s going to end violently and soon.

I’ve excerpted the pivotal moment above, as the four of them celebrate in the face of certain doom.

Of course, just before the explosion, Superman is hurled away from Krypton in another freak accident, but somehow that just makes it all the more sad.

I would highly recommend giving it a look, along with everything else I’ve been reading through lately. There’s great stuff, and the stuff that’s terrible is at least terrible in interesting ways. You can find them for cheap in the Showcase Presents: Superman (as well as Superman Family and Supergirl) volumes, in which this story is collected in Vol. 2.

If everyone goes out and reads those I’ll seem less weird for being fascinated by these things, and that’s really my goal here.

The Son of Bizarro!" from Superman #140 (1960)
Written by Otto Binder
Art by Wayne Boring and Stan Kaye

"March, Bizarro soldiers! After parade, me will lead you into space! Us will go and DESTROY EARTH for kidnaping my son!”