Sunday, December 08, 2013

Number 1486: Another limb of the Superman family tree: Professor Supermind and Son

It’s widely believed that Philip Wylie’s 1931 novel, Gladiator, is the trunk of Superman’s family tree. In Gladiator Hugo Danner is raised by his father to be a super human, just as Superman is sent to Earth with superpowers by his father. So Professor Supermind and Son, who appeared in Dellְ’s Popular Comics, appear to be a branch of the same tree.

Professor Warren (no first name) and Dan Warren are the father-son team. Dan does some very Superman-like things with his powers, while Professor Warren exhibits an almost omniscient power to oversee events through his magical television. Like super vision it can apparently see everything, everywhere. The strip lasted 12 episodes in 1941 and ’42. I’ve mentioned before that Dell had its own set of superheroes, but dropped them long before superheroes stopped selling for other publishers. In the case of Professor Supermind and Son, I wonder if DC’s lawyers gave Dell Comics notice that they considered the strip to be infringing on Superman. There might be no evidence of such a contact, but the possibility, considering the litigious nature of the folks protecting Superman from imitators, is strong . That is, of course, without admitting Philip Wylie’s role in the whole genre.*

Artist on the first story, from Popular Comics #60, is Maurice Kashuba, and there is no artist listed for the second story, from Popular #61.

Thanks to Pappy’s Golden Age friend, Daniel, for pointing out that the original posting was out of sequence. I have corrected the error.

*According to reports, Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel said that Superman owed nothing to Gladiator, but author Wylie believed his novel was the inspiration.

1 comment:

Rustlingstim said...

Thanks for the interesting posting. I was particularly struck by the dust jacket illo - feels kind of Lynd Ward'ish.I've searched around a bit but can't gert a name for the artist. Any idead?
thanks, tim