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Thursday, July 14, 2005
 
Why I Love Reading Old Comics

It's because they have stories about heroes without the "warts and all" treatment that we have come to expect in the modern era.

A friend of mine recently scanned in his copy of Superman #33, from March 1945. The second story in that issue is "The Country Doctor", and while it's pure schmaltz along the lines of "It's a Wonderful Life", it's still a terrific celebration of heroes.

The story begins with Clark Kent discussing an idea for an article with his editor, Perry White:



Clark looks through the newspaper's old files and finds a story about Dr David Brown, who had passed up an opportunity to be a bigshot at Metropolis Hospital in order to practice medicine in the hamlet of Middletown. It's not hard to see why Dr Brown hasn't gotten wealthy from his practice:



The inevitable twist to the story comes when Dr Brown's son arrives home as a newly-minted MD:



Dr Brown had hoped that his son would join his practice and eventually take over, but it turns out that Junior has a desire to make more of his life than his old man did by heading to the big city. But then an epidemic (that Dr Brown has been warning would come) hits the town and father and son work feverishly (with much aid from Superman) to save the people. Unfortunately the strain is too much for the old country doctor:



If you've watched any Frank Capra movies, you can write the rest of the script yourself. The son has a train to catch to the big city, but he keeps getting delayed:



Eventually he realizes his true calling:



And Clark has a terrific story for Perry White, and a conclusion we can all agree with:

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