The Satanic Son of Superman!

Superman is a lot of things. He’s a great hero, certainly. A symbol of all that’s good in the world, sure. He’s even a halfway decent reporter.

But he is not a very good father.

I mean, look at the evidence here: Whenever we’ve seen Superman as a father, the results have tended to fall somewhere between disappointing and disastrous. Sometimes, he raises a disaffected youth who travels the country on a motorcycle doing the “Funky Robot.” Sometimes, he raises a daughter who can’t stop making out with her cousin. And sometimes… He ends up raising the mass-murdering spawn of Satan.



Or at least, that’s the case in 1972’s Action Comics #410, which predates The Omen by a good four years and proves once again that Cary Bates–whose return to comics last month with True Believers included the phrase “weaponized WiFi”–was way ahead of his time.

Anyway, in this particular imaginary story Superman’s kid is Krys, who… Well, I’ll let Bates & Co. explain:



That’s right, folks: In addition to looking like Li’l Spock from that one episode of the Star Trek cartoon, Krys is pure evil, and possessed of the vast, ill-defined plot-driving power to do pretty much anything, up to and including turning water to sulfur and dragging chunks of a white dwarf star all the way across space and chucking them at a restaurant on the moon.

And if that wasn’t enough for a single super-parent to deal with, Superman also has to deal with the pressing threat of these guys:



The Trolvs–or as I like to call them, the Klandroids–are an indeterminate number of evil killer robots in bathrobes that were created by, and I quote Superman, “a dying criminal scientist who hated me bitterly,” which begs the question of why Bates went all vague instead of just saying “Lex Luthor.” I mean, it’s not like he was kicking off a whole series of the adventures of Widower Superman and his Satanic Offspring that might feature Luthor in future installments or anything, so why the hell not? Oh well, no point worrying about it now. More on these guys later, when they become relevant to the plot.

At this point, any questions about the Trolvs are going to have to take a back seat to wondering just how Superman’s kid turned out to be such a bad seed anyway. Is he the horrible result of Lana Lang mating with Superman in some bizarre insect form? Could it be that Lois Lane’s poison womb had finally gotten its revenge on a world that hated and feared her?

No, the actual cause comes from Superman’s one true love, Krysalla!



What? You guys don’t remember Krysalla, who appeared one time in an imaginary story by Cary Bates where she married Superman, revealed she was a witch, gave birth to his son and then died off-panel? Hmph. You kids today. No respect for the classics.

It’s worth noting that when she reveals her witchity nature to her husband, Clark’s awfully indignant for a guy who hasn’t bothered to tell his wife that he’s actually Superman. Remember, kids: Grown-up relationships should be built on honesty, unless there’s something you really don’t want to tell your wife. In any case, when the truth finally comes out, it’s because she’s worried that her dark powers will cause complications for their son, and, to nobody’s surprise, she is absolutely right.

Sadly, Superman himself doesn’t catch on until ten years later, after a decade of Krys’s subtle mass murder:



The catch here is that Krys doesn’t actually know that he’s causing all these horrible disasters and he’s actually a decent kid at heart, which doesn’t stop Superman, who has decided that his son’s evil power can no longer run unchecked, from strapping him to a chair and shooting him with a Future Gun:



And this is where it starts to get completely insane.

No sooner has Superman put his son down like Old Yeller than the boy splits in two, and at this point I can no longer make jokes about it, because the culprit behind Krys’s evil deeds is revealed to be…





Once he’s free of his host body, however, Krys’s Evil Twin’s reign of terror only manages to last a grand total of nine panels, screeching to a halt when the Trolv’s bust in and Superman–who can fly fast enough to break the time barrier and shoot death-rays from his eyes–conveniently fails to stop them until after they’ve killed the little rugrat.

Thus, Superman reveals that his Future Gun was only meant to put him into suspended animation until he could put together a proper exorcism, and everything eventually works out okay.

Still, though. An Interdimensional Ghost Demon Siamese Twin Brother…



Yes, Superman. Yes it is.

46 thoughts on “The Satanic Son of Superman!

  1. How many sons and daughters has Superman had by now, anyway? There has to be at least a dozen.

    Someone should do an Elseworlds where they all meet up, swap confusing back-stories, and then travel around fighting crime. Also, what the heck, throw in any other imaginary DC offspring in there as well, and the real ones, too. After all, if every comic book is someone’s first, then they can make the poor soul who chooses this offspring-infested Elseworld tale as their first comic as confused as possible.

    Also, they could very well end up thinking that the heroes of the DC universe are a fertile and promiscuous lot.



    Seriously, I haven’t laughed this hard in five years.

  3. It could be a way to redeem Superboy Prime.
    “It wasn’t me, it was my invisible inmterdimensional ghost demon siamese twin brother. Honestly.”

  4. I’m still trying to figure out why the second panel states “He welds at will”? What’s so terrible about that, unless he’s using a 3010 rod trying to run a bead on an overhead butt joint. Then he’s just asking for trouble since that rod runs so hot, he’ll get all kinds of slag that he can’t chip out of that bead.

    Stupid evil welding brat.

  5. Reminds me of Gemini Saga and Alcor Zeta from Saint Seiya…

    Also, I wish my girlfriend had an interdimensional ghost siamese twin sister. Demon, too.

  6. That’s a pretty small Angry Mob on the cover. Also, it contains no women.

    Maybe they all married witches, and similar experiences to Superman’s have darkened their world view.

  7. I love how apparently revealing that she’s wearing an orange tube top and green pants, a combo that makes her look vaguely like a pumpkin, automatically makes Krysalla a witch.

  8. Whenever anything goeas awry at work from now on, in a loud clear voice I’m shouting “My arch foes – the Trolvs!!”. That oughta deter any queries as to how my day is going…

  9. According to his Wikipedia entry (and we all know those things are NEVER wrong) —

    “Bates appeared in his own comics several times alongside superheroes like the Silver Age version of The Flash and the Justice League of America.”

    If accurate, this is another way in which Cary Bates was ahead of his time. Apparently he was the original Mary Sue.

  10. Is it wrong that when i went to the panel of Superman’s daughter making out with her cousin, I expected to see two lesbian supergirls?

  11. “I love how apparently revealing that she’s wearing an orange tube top and green pants, a combo that makes her look vaguely like a pumpkin, automatically makes Krysalla a witch.”

    MW, I think it’s not the clothes, but the eyebrows.

  12. What an astonishing coincidence!! Once again, Superman falls for a girl with the initials “L.L.”! Well, I guess they’re not her initials, but still, they’re in there somewhere… Also her orange top and green pants remind me of Aquaman, so she’s also got a little of Superman’s mermaid gal thing going on.

  13. I believe the phrase “Superman’s supposedly evil son’s INTERDIMENSIONAL GHOST DEMON SIAMESE TWIN BROTHER” is the single greatest collection of English words ever created. Truly, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    (Also, I, too, am now FREAKING OUT.)

  14. What she’s wearing? Is Clark standing there in blue striped boxers? Oh, the perversity…

  15. “Someone should do an Elseworlds where they all meet up, swap confusing back-stories, and then travel around fighting crime.”

    This would be great, especially with a toy line.

  16. Lets not forget Superman and his wonderful parenting skills in Superman Returns. Nothing says “good responsible dad” like sneaking into your kid’s room without his mother and foster dad knowing, spouting some stuff he memorized off home movies of his own old man, then taking off.

  17. … god DAMN, that is awesome.

    And the worst thing Superman has ever done as a father has to be forcing the Super Sons to commit suicide.

    “Return to where you came from!” “The DISINTEGRATION PIT?”

  18. I kinda wonder what it must have been like to be Curt Swan. Most months you’d get a nice boring story where Superman fought a giant Brainiac robot and hucked Hostess pies, but then like once a quarter you’d get a story where Superman has to shoot his demon-child with a coma-inducing exorcism ray. I like to think he drank on these months.

  19. Finally a comic I have actually read.

    1972, maybe I read it a few years later, at my Nanas house.

    Strange feeling. I don’t remember it as a surprise at the time. He was Superman, ‘course he has weird kids.

  20. More than the rest of the insanity, I was struck by Superman’s line: “May God forgive me,” as he aims a rifle at his son. I can’t decide if it’s just horribly tragic for a comic book, or just bizarre to have an all-powerful creature from another planet suddenly a believer.

    And when did the Trolvs manage to move up to Arch Foe status? Shouldn’t that by definition be some foe that we’ve heard of before?

  21. Don’t forget, Superman/Clark Kent was brought up deep in rural Kansas. Ma and Pa Kent were probably very religious.

  22. “More than the rest of the insanity, I was struck by Superman’s line: “May God forgive me,” as he aims a rifle at his son.”

    Another successful graduate of the Reed Richards School of Parenting.

  23. So there was a time when Clark Kent’s pants were gaudier and more circus-like than Superman’s? Huh.

    Someone should do an Elseworlds where they all meet up, swap confusing back-stories, and then travel around fighting crime.

    Man, Countdown would have kicked ass if “The Challengers of the Unknown” were the various Super-spawn from imaginary stories…

  24. “a whole series of the adventures of Widower Superman and his Satanic Offspring that might feature Luthor in future installments”

    Like Lone Wolf 2100 but better?

  25. God bless you, Chris, for making the “Li’l Spock” reference… that is EXACTLY what I thought upon seeing the pictures. You made my day!

  26. Good call on ‘Cassandra Nova’, Dave – I was thinking the same thing as I read the post.

    Now we must endeavor to find silver-age wacky precursors to all of Grant Morrison’s innovations!

  27. I haven’t read any of Morrison’s new Batman yet but didn’t he basically take bloggers saying ‘Grant Morrison isn’t as whacky as the Silver Age’ as a challenge?
    The thing that gets me about this Silver Age goofiness is its apparently unselfconcious. Morrison and Ellis KNOW they’re goofy or superweird or whatever. These guys were just completly insane

  28. Insane? Maybe.

    Able to fit four brilliant ideas into a single comic, instead of dragging them out over twelve issues (two TPs)? Absolutely.

    If Cary Bates had written _New X-men_ instead of Morrison, we would’ve had Cassandra Nova on page two, and a riot at Xavier’s by page five. (First panel: “We are tired of being outsiders here at a school for outsiders, Quentin!” Second panel: “Let’s all wear the same sweaters.”]

    Plus some kind of backup imaginary story where Cyclops’ brain is put in a giant robot designed especially for digging lunar soil, and he fights a three-headed space dragon.

    Conversely, Morrison’s “Superman’s Evil Son” Saga would have easily lasted six issues, and that’s not even counting the foreshadowing before that, and the endless flashbacks to it afterward.

    Honestly, I think plenty of Silver Age writers knew they were “goofy or superweird”. The difference is that they did it because they’re writing comics, and Morrison/Ellis/whoever these days somehow do the same kind of stuff and it comes off as artsy/edgy/pretentious.

  29. I dunno… i’ve read some of the stuff that influences Morrison and Ellis and stuff like ‘adapting a Borges story as a Doom Patrol comic and throwing in villians from a German’s children story and a form of divination based on Burroughs’ is like continuity porn for literary nerds.

  30. “Interdimensional Ghost Demon Siamese Twin Brother”

    Yet another great punk-rock band name.

  31. Yep, my name is Krysalla.

    I finally know where my parents got my name. I remember my parents saying something about finding my name in some Superman comic they had a long time ago. And so I decided to search for it. This was the most clear answer I’ve ever found. Thank you!

    Oh, and I am expecting a baby boy soon, and no, we are not naming him Krys, and no, I am not a witch nor is my husband Superman. And I definitely hope my son will not have a “INTERDIMENSIONAL GHOST DEMON SIAMESE TWIN BROTHER.”

  32. As for not naming Luthor as the creator of the (apparently self-perpetuating) Trolvs? You’re merely _assuming_ that it was him. And, we all know the old saying about assumptions!

    In truth, Superman has faced more than one mad scientist in his career. And, it just as easily have been one of them, as Luthor. Heck! It could even have been a counterpart of Doc Magnus, driven temporarily insane by the same Silver Age mood-altering space drug that once turned Perry White and Commissioner Gordon into Anti-Superman and Anti-Batman!!

    Hence, I see nothing wrong in _not_ specifying the Trolvs’ original inventor.

  33. I’m a middle-aged guy, old enough to remember the 70’s. Everyone reading this will find it hard to believe, but … this particular issue of action Comics happens to be the very first comic book I ever purchased! And from then on, I went on to become a devoted fan of superhero comics. In fact, I had the reputation in elementary school of being the most enthusiastic comics consumer that anyone knew. This was in the days when comics were primarily read only by the nerdy, out-of-it kids. And believe me, I qualified.

    But does that make this a good comic? I’ll be the first to agree that it certainly does not. I remember it fondly for sentimental reasons, but it is pretty ridiculous. There was some very good work being done in comics in the 70’s. This is not an example of that.

    But … I had to start somewhere.