King Krypton the Super Gorilla

Bloggified by Jake on Thursday, April 13, 2006

Superman came to Earth as a baby on a rocketship built by his father, Jor-El. He is the lone survivor of the doomed planet Krypton.

Yup, he's the only one.

Well, except Supergirl, who was born in Argo City, which remained in tact following the explosion of Krypton. Speaking of which, the people of the city of Kandor, shrunken though they might be, also survived, but that's it.

Oh, and Krypto, Superman's dog who was launched on a similar rocket shortly before the infant Kal-El to test whether the rockets would work.

Oops, almost forgot the Kryptonians in the Phantom Zone, but I'm pretty sure that's everybo--oh, yeah, Beppo the Super Monkey... and Mala, Kizo, and U-Ban... and a flame dragon... and a "snagriff"... and a frozen Kryptonian caveman in suspended animation...

Okay, come to think of it, being a survivor of Krypton may not be very special at all and to illustrate that point, let me introduce you to King Krypton from 1958's Action Comics #238.

The story begins, as Hamlet and most other great literary endeavours do, with Jimmy Olsen visiting Africa. He laments that Africa is becoming too civilized for him to get any good photographs, which prompts everyone in Darfur to feel very sorry for him as their lives are just plain too civilized. Just as he's wishing he had a wild animal to photograph, he learns to be careful what he wishes for. Actually, I doubt Jimmy learned shit, but you get my point.A giant gorilla comes tearing through the jungle, chasing their jeep at superspeed. He's also bulletproof and capable of tossing the jeep with super strength. Sound like anyone else you know? The only thing he's missing is a dumbass orangutan sidekick who does nothing but cause trouble for the gorilla, occassionally getting him killed every other week.

Jimmy uses his signal watch to bring Superman to Africa, just in time for the Man of Steel to catch the cub reporter and his guide as they plummet to Earth from their jeep, which has been tossed about a mile into the stratosphere by the ape.What kind of scientific studies? Curing gigantic supergorilla bronchitis? Of course, Superman understands any experiments like that would require a double blind study so they'll need at least two gigantic supergorillas.

Maybe he's thinking about testing cosmetics. A giant supergorilla would certainly last longer than some little white bunnies. You could cram Superman brand lipstick samples in his eyes all day long.

Superman builds a cage around the now-sleeping gorilla, using abandoned train tracks. But when the gorilla wakes up, he bends the steel and escapes by flying away. Superman scans the jungle with telescopic x-ray vision, spots a space ship, and quickly deduces this gorilla must be from Krypton... since who isn't? Superman speculates the gorilla must have been launched into space by Kryptonian rocket scientists the same way humans use monkeys to testpilot their rockets (remember, this is 1958).Thanks, Jimmy. We have a threat with power equal to or greater than Superman and driven by pure chaos, making it impossible to reason with it or to speculate as to its mext move. We may not know what to do about it, but at least we have a stupid nickname for it!

Sadly, Jimmy was just ahead of his time. Today, he'd be news director for CNN. "A giant gorilla is destroying Kampala? Okay, what title do we want on all our graphics? Do you think we can get some theme music and an animation for when we come back from commercials?"

Also, Superman's kind of letting himself go in the first half of this story. Maybe he was planning to subdue the supergorilla with Hostess Fruit Pies and ate them all on the way to save Jimmy. And they all went straight to his hips. His wide, child-bearing hips.

In his attempts to subdue and capture King Krypton, Superman actually causes more trouble, educating the gorilla in some of his powers.After chasing the gorilla around the jungle all day and constantly being a step behind because King Krypton is equally fast, Superman settles into camp, figuring the gorilla is sleeping, and tries to devise a plan to catch him before the ape reaches civilization. Jimmy suggests using Kryptonite to negate the gorilla's powers. Since Superman can't go near the Kryptonite without it killing him, the duty of searching the jungle for any stray Kryptonite falls to Jimmy and the guide.

First point of order: Superman can fly from Metropolis to Africa in the less time than it takes Jimmy Olsen to be hurled into the sky and fall back to the ground, yet after an entire afternoon and evening of top speed pursuit, he and King Krypton never left the wilds of Africa?

Second point of order: if King Krypton is asleep, why aren't they doing something now? What was Superman going to do if he'd caught the gorilla when it was awake? Why not do the same thing now? I think it stands to reason that a sleeping gorilla is easier to capture than a wide awake one.

Third point of order: Superman has a vault full of Kryptonite at the Fortress of Solitude. He could fly Jimmy up there, put the Kryptonite in a lead box, fly back, and settle this whole problem in about two minutes. Instead, he sends two men wandering through the jungle hoping they'll happen across one of the rarest elements on Earth. While you're at it, Jimmy, grab me a couple of 20-karat diamonds, a tiger who can play piano, the Holy Grail, and a diet soda that actually tastes like regular soda without that carcinogenic aftertaste.

Your chances of just happening to find chunks of Kryptonite while meandering through Africa are about as good as stumbling upon ancient ruins still inhabited by decendants of the Romans who conquered this area thousands of years ago and who, depite having no contact with the rest of the world and living like jungle natives, speak English.Oh, goddammit...

So, Jimmy and the guide find Kryptonite in the form of the jungle Romans' spearheads, and Jimmy calls Superman in to help... because he's an idiot.Again, I say if only King Krypton had an orangutan that had been severely beaten about the head and neck at an early age, he wouldn't pose nearly the threat Superman speculates.

With Superman down, King Krypton, who had earlier stolen Clark's cape, swoops in to steal the rest of the super uniform. At least that's what Jimmy suspects. This is something psychologists call "projection," when one assumes the actions of another are motivated by the beholder's attitudes. In other words, if a gigantic supergorilla drops out of the sky next to Superman's prone, powerless body and you assume it's because the gorilla intends to strip the Man of Steel naked and strut around wearing his clothing, it's probably because you were thinking about how much you'd like to strip the Man of Steel naked and strut around wearing his clothing.

Having rendered both Superman and King Krypton powerless, the jungle Romans refuse to hand over a piece of Kryptonite in the interest of the world not being destroyed. Instead, they decide they want to see the two fight gladiator style.Let's just overlook the fact they somehow explained the concept of an arena battle to a gorilla. Once the two slam into each other in a ground-shaking collision, I'm thinking the jungle Romans might start to realize this plan was about as well thought out as playing catch with vials of nitroglycerine, but more deadly.When I was in seventh grade, I got jumped by two guys, Ben Inskeep and Dominic Apodaca, and, as part of my beating, my head was repeatedly slammed against a brick wall. I only bring this up because when I look at this frame, I can relate to what Superman is going through. Sadly, it makes me feel less a man as I failed to give a play-by-play narration when it happened to me.Run where, asshole? Oh, dear, unleashing two beings with the power to knock planets out of orbit in a small decaying stone ring is proving to be a bad idea? Who could have possibly predicted such a thing? If only there was some kind of a weapon that would keep them in check. If we only knew their weakness, we could craft some kind of projectile that could deliver it while keeping us at a safe distance.

But seriously, where would we find Kryptonite in convenient spearhead form in a place like this?

And it should be noted that once again, Jimmy Olsen plays a crucial role in the destruction of a priceless archaeolgical find.I guess it depends on how you define "defeated," but unless you mean "Will I be beaten to death for the first time in my life?" I'm pretty sure you've been defeated before, Superman, and, considering this is a thought bubble and not a speech bubble, I'm not sure who you're trying to convince. In fact, I'm not even certain this wouldn't be the first time you've been beaten to death. You've been defeated by every two-bit thief who can find a piece of Kryptonite. Sure, in the end you come back victorious, but the Sixers beat the Nets last night and even if the Nets win next Tuesday's game, it still counts as a loss in their record.

King Krypton cracks open the ground while jumping up and down on Superman's chest like that. Just beneath the surface, he exposes a huge chunk of Kryptonite. Both Kryptonians are stripped of their powers, but King Krypton is farther away and hasn't taken as severe a beating, so Superman gives up and assumes he's as good as dead.In the past, I have complained about the concept of super-intelligence. Doesn't it stand to reason that if King Krypton has super-gorila-intelligence, he's at least as smart as Jimmy Ol--bad example--at least as smart as the average high school graduate? If so, why has he shown no signs of intellect until now?

Regardless of whether it makes a damn bit of sense, the gorilla crawls over and throws himself on the Kryptonite.For starters, I thought lead was the only thing that could shield Superman from Kryptonite. Sure, King Krypton's going to get the worst of it, but there's still more than enough radiation to kill Superman too. On that note, how were these two fighting in an arena with nothing but about six inches of non-leaden dirt between them and a Kryptonite meteorite the size of a large dog and not feel the effects?

The now-partially-human King Krypton tells his story. He was working on an evolutionary machine, that would evolve creatures into future versions of themselves. Unfortunately, it didn't work, probably because all government funding was cut when Krytponian creationists demanded evolution stop being taught in public schools. Not only did it not work, it devolved him from a human into a gorilla, which seems like the machine was about as huge a failure as it could possibly be. Think about it. That's like inventing a fire extinguisher that actually just makes things burn hotter and faster or a car airbag that stabs you in the face with a two foot metal spike upon deployment.Well, I'll be damned. He did have a dumbass sidekick who nearly got him killed!

For some reason, the Kryptonite radiation helped revert him back to a human being and he decided to sacrifice himself to save Superman... whom he's never met... nor heard of prior to ten seconds ago when he suddenly stopped being a wild animal.Tone down the enthusiasm, Jimmy. Whoa, check out what you're gonna look like when you're dead, Superman! Isn't this cool? What kind of reaction is he hoping for from Superman?

Besides based on his "Will I be defeated for the first time in my life?" soliloquy, I think we know how Superman will die: in self-denial.

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