Mark Evanier may have solved the Al Plastino/JFK/Superman mystery

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Just before he died a few days ago, Golden Age artist Al Plastino got a lot of ink for what seemed like a sad story: in 1963, he drew a comics story featuring JFK and Superman extolling fitness that was canceled when President Kennedy was shot. Although the story eventually ran, Plastino was told the art would be given to the JFK library at Harvard following JFK’s death. Imagine Plastino’s shock 50 years later when he saw the pages instead on Or was it? Now, Mark Waid has theorized that the pages donated to the Kennedy Museum were actually the “Grassy Knoll” version of the story, one drawn by Curt Swan.


The Swan version was seen in a story about the tale printed in the New York Times. But did it ever exist? Mark Evanier has now come along with largely circumstantial, but still convincing ratiocination that suggests a second timeline:

I am a bit suspicious it was ever slated for any issue around this time. The story was ten pages. If they yanked it at the last minute and substituted another story, then the issue in question would have a different ten-page story in it. But #166, #167 and #168 all had book-length stories in them and #169 had three stories — one eight pages in length, one fourteen and one five. So where would a ten-page story have appeared? In each case, the cover of the comic in question went to press several weeks before the insides and the covers were specific to the stories inside. So there couldn’t have been a last-minute switch of the interiors for a ten-page story in any of them.


You’ll need to read the entire Evanier post to get to the bottom of the mystery, but it involves a publicity-hungry editor, and an older man’s failing memories. And what happens next will SHOCK YOU. While we may never get to the bottom of this footnote of comics history, it’s still a fascinating yarn.

Comments

  1. Ozymandias Rex says:

    Is the Mark Waid theory the same as the Ray Cuthbert theory explained in http://www.bleedingcool.com/forums/front-page-comic-news/75974-al-plastino-jfk-superman-original-art-heritage-auctions.html#post709001 ? I’m starting to get confused.

  2. Has anybody called the JFK Museum to see if they have the Swan pages?

  3. Brian Haughwout says:

    Jamie, if they had, they would likely have had an answer by now. Rather than relying on failing memories, any museum — especially a high profile one such a Presidential Library — would have to keep careful accession records of what had been received when & from whom. The hard part would possibly be whether a registrar would give out details on the collection, but they would likely do so if able to parties connected to the situation (Evanier, as a noted researcher in these matters and a friend, would likely be able to do so).

    (I say this as a member of the curatorial staff of a private naval museum who’s been involved in tracking down various research queries regarding what’s in the collection. If an underfunded institution like mine can do so when asked, a well-funded place like JFK can certainly take a request and turn it around in a reasonable time if approached properly — a.k.a by a proper researcher, someone at DC connected to donations, or even possibly a journalist with the proper patience.)

  4. Torsten Adair says:

    Searching the JFK Library, nothing approaching the above is shown.

    But there is always an editorial cartoon collection at presidential libraries, and JFK’s is here:
    http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKPOF-129-020.aspx

  5. Torsten Adair says:

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