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Cover Date: January 1980
Cover Price: US $0.40
Issue Tagline: Happy 16th Birthday
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 32 pages
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Letters Column: The Letter Column has the EXTRA – DAILY PLANET (volume 79 issue 42) Also, there is a 35-year tribute to Superboy. (see the Notes below for more)
During Clark Kent’s birthday party, his friend, Pete Ross asks “…if this is your 16th birthday, how come there are 17 candles on the cake?”
Clark explains that his Ma and Pa have been putting an extra candle on his cake since his eighth birthday. There is then a flash-back story that tells of Clark’s first public appearance in Smallville as Superboy on his eighth birthday.
During the flash-back story we are introduced to a pair of immortal aliens from an extinct civilization/race, Myla and Byrn. They explain how they encountered the rocket ship of baby Kal-El when it was on its way to Earth. Their scans on the ship indicated that the life-form on board could withstand their tests to make themselves mortal, a device that would isolate and extract the aging factor from another living being. When they made the transfer, the other life-form would then become immortal. But, before they could use the device on the baby in the rocket, the rocket ship passed through a space-time-warp. Myla and Byrn’s ship missed the warp and were swept away in vortex of the warp. But, after years of searching, they found the blue-green planet – Earth. They made Superboy a proposition to become immortal in exchange for his own aging-factor. Superboy tricked them into thinking he actually used the device on himself (he used his heat-vision to counteract it), unbeknownst to the aliens. They left, happy that they had succeeded in their mission.
Superboy deduced that it was their highly evolved brains that wasn’t letting them age and die. He placed a placebo in their minds by allowing them to witness him using the device on himself. The aliens were now experiencing an aging-factor, but it was really their minds doing the aging for them.
The aliens use an amnesia effect on Superboy before they left to make him forget their encounter, but Jonathan and Martha weren’t made to forget. So, on every birthday after that Martha put an extra candle on Clark’s cake as a “secret token” of thanks and good luck for the next year.
This issue reveals why Jonathan and Martha are younger looking: a chemical from another dimension made them years younger than they were.
A 35-year tribute to Superboy, the article explains how this first issue is printed almost exactly 35 years to the day that Superboy first made his appearance in January/February issue #101 of MORE FUN COMICS, in 1945.
Jerry Siegel, the creator of Superman, in a 1941 interview to the SATURDAY EVENING POST, said he wanted to do a story on Superman’s youth, and how he used his powers for practical jokes.
The story never came about and Jerry was in the Army in World War II when the first 5-page story of Superboy saw print. Instead of using his powers for practical jokes though, Superboy was a helper and not a tormenter. In later years, Jerry was a writer for the Boy of Steel though.
Also, the article tells how the name of Smallville, wasn’t revealed until 1949. The name Jonathan Kent was first used in ADVENTURE comics #149 (February 1950), before that he was just known as Pa Kent.
A year later in 1951, Ma Kent got her name – “Marthe” in Superboy #12 (later changed to Martha).
Krypto the Superdog, appeared first in ADVENTURE comics #210
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