Yesterday we looked at a rather curious cover appearance by a super-villain wannabe. Let's keep the theme going and take a look at another, this time from Superman Annual #2 from 1960/1961.
This collection of reprints celebrates some the greatest super-villains ever featured! Naturally, we see Brainiac, Bizarro, and Titano. All three of these villains had been in about a half-dozen stories each, up until this book came out. They've also gone on to more than stake their claim as iconic Superman adversaries. Titano less so, but this was DC in the 60's, so of course a gorilla gets top corner billing!
More curious, however, is the inclusion of Metallo, The Invulnerable Enemy, and The Thing From 40,000 A.D.
In retrospect, the inclusion of Metallo seems like a no-brainer, but at this point his first (and only) appearance was overshadowed by Supergirl's first, as they shared the same debut issue with Action Comics #252 from May 1959.
That's my newest holy grail book that I bought off the boards earlier in the year. But that's not really what we are here to talk about. Back to the nobodies...
Metallo would have no other appearances until his brother picked up the Metallo moniker in 1977 and proceeded to turn him into one of Superman's A-List villains. Or at least a B+, if not an A. In retrospect, they got lucky here with Metallo as he would go on to become a player.
So what happened to The Invulnerable Enemy and The Thing From 40,000 A.D.?
The Invulnerable Enemy had one, and only one, in-continuity appearance back in 1957 from Action Comics #226. I don't have a copy of that issue yet, but it does sport a great looking cover if you get the chance to look it up.
The Thing From 40,000 A.D. had one more shot at notoriety, but alas he never caught on. His first appearance was from farther back in Superman #87 from 1954. That story was reprinted in Superman #196 from May 1967, with a new cover by Curt Swan.
I love the Superman vs. Superman covers, and while this one is fun, it doesn't hold a candle to the original cover by Wayne Boring. It's on my short list of books that I'm focusing on currently, so hopefully I'll find the right copy to add to my collection soon.
And that was the last we saw of The Thing From 40,000 A.D. for another two decades until he was featured in DC Comics Presents #89 from January 1986.
He even gets a cover appearance, beating up the Omega Men! Alas, he gets caught in a disintegrator beam before the issue's end, and winds up as some sort of repentant, sentient thought cloud...never to be seen again.
In retrospect, I guess you can never discount anyone. While TTF40000AD (that acronym really didn't save me much time, did it? Especially since I've now typed more letters in this parenthesis than I would've if I just typed out his full name to begin with.) would never capitalize on his second chance like Metallo, maybe there's hope for The Invulnerable Enemy yet....it's only been 60 years, there's still time...