Part I looked at DC Transformations broken down by Superheroes. This is part II and will look at transformations broken down by type of transformation.
Alien Collage Key
Action Comics #239, Adventure Comics #270, Aquaman #16, Batman #140, Blackhawk #177 (Alien Blackhawk), Detective Comics #251, Jimmy Olsen #32
Animal Collage Key
Action Comics #243 (Lion Headed Superman), Action Comics #296 (Ant Superman), Action Comics #303 (Kryptonian Monster), Adventure Comics #330 (Gorilla Braniac 5), Black Hawk #205 (Dinosaur, Gorilla), Jimmy Olsen #66 (Cat Headed Lois Lane), Lois Lane #13 (Cat Headed Lois Lane), Lois Lane #92 (Lois Lane Centaur), Supergirl #8 (Medusa Hair), Superman #165 (Lion Headed Superman). Is a Sphinx an animal? If so then in Superboy #103 there is one more animal transformation.
Baby Collage Key
Action Comics #284 (Baby Superman), Adventure Comics #317 (Baby Legions of Superheroes), Batman #147 (Baby Batman), Jimmy Olsen #66 (Baby Perry White), Lois Lane #10 (Baby Lois Lane)
Caveman Collage Key
Action Comics #169 (Clark Kent, Caveman, Blackhawk #205, Superman #171 (Superman Caveman), World’s Finest #138 (Caveman Batman, Robin & Superman), World’s Finest #151 (Superman Caveman)
Devil Collage Key
Action Comics #324 (Devil Supergirl), Jimmy Olsen #68 (Devil Superman), Jimmy Olsen #81 (Devil Superman)
Doppelganger Collage Key
Action Comics #312 (Clark Kent vs. King Superman), Adventure Comics #255, Wonder Woman #62 (Triplet), Wonder Woman #90 (Giant Double), Wonder Woman #98, Wonder Woman #102 (Triplet), Wonder Woman#111. Action Comics #341 doesn’t really belong in the collage since the Clark Kent is a Phantom Zone imposter but the decision to include was done for visual aesthetic reasons.
Element Transformations Collage Key
Blackhawk #182 (Stone Blackhawks), Detective Comics #294 (Calcium Batman), Detective Comics #302 (Bronze Batman)
Fat Collage Key
Action Comics #383 (Fat Supergirl), Adventure Comics #298 (Fat Lang Lang, Fat Superboy), Adventure Comics #330 (Fat Superboy), Adventure Comics #345 (Fat Matter Eater Lad), Flash #115 (Fat Flash), Jimmy Olsen #49 (Fat Jimmy Olsen), Lois Lane #5 (Fat Lois Lane), Superman #221 (Fat Superman)
Freak Collage Key
Action Comics #284 (Two Headed Supergirl), Aquaman #21 (Aquaman Giant Freak), Brave & Bold #68 (Bat Hulk), Batman #162 (Batman Creature), Challengers of the Unknown #50 (Giant Green Freak), Jimmy Olsen #53 (Giant Turtle Man), Jimmy Olsen #59 (Fat Freak), Lois Lane #66 (Lois Lane with Green Furry Feet), Rip Hunter Time Master #28 (Giant Blue Fanged Creature)
Gender Collage Key
Superboy #101, Superman #349, Superman/Batman #24, Jimmy Olsen #67, Jimmy Olsen #84, Jimmy Olsen #95. Incredibly there are some gender bending transformations is the normally stodgy pages of DC Comics. Jimmy Olsen was a cross-dresser in Jimmy Olsen #67, 84, 95, 159; Bah, Hembeck! #4 and Real Girl #6. Krypto became Kryptonia in Superboy #101. Krypto was not just turned into a female but a female collie! This happened due to red kryptonite. I would say the human equivalent of a breed is race. So if Superman ran into that particular piece of Red Kryptonite then he would become a woman and also change race. This would be a very politically correct Superman. Superman runs into female versions of himself in Superman #349 and Superman/Batman #24. Actually the whole topic of Superwoman versus Supergirl is rather complex but so far Superman has never been transformed into Superwoman and that’s ok with me! However, in Supergirl (vol. 4) #79 (2003) Superman is exposed to Pink Kryptonite and then shows gay tendencies. This was a spoof of the Red Kryptonite transformations of the silver age.
Genie Collage Key
Detective Comics #322 (Batman Genie), Jimmy Olsen #42 (Jimmy Olsen Genie)
Giant Collage Key
Action Comics #325 (Giant Superboy), Aquaman #2 (Giant Aqualad), Challengers of the Unknown #20 (Giant Rocky), Challengers of the Unknown #36 (Giant Rocky), Detective Comics #243 (Giant Batman), House of Mystery #143 (Giant Zook), Jimmy Olsen #77 (Giant Jimmy Olsen), Superman #226 (Giant Superman), Wonder Woman #136 (Giant Wonder Woman)
Giant Head Transformations
Giant Head Collage Key
Action Comics #256 (Ultra Superman), Adventure Comics #324 (Evolvo Lad), Blackhawk #205 (Giant Headed Blackhawk), Challengers of the Unknown #39 (Giant Headed Rocky), Jimmy Olsen #22 (Super-Brain of Jimmy Olsen), Lois Lane #27 (Lois Lane’s Super-Brain), Superman #224 (Super Baby), World’s Finest #151 (Batman of 800,000 AD)
Actually the Super Baby in Superman #224 should not be included since this is not a transformed Superman but his mutant baby. However, the inclusion makes sense artistically.
Half Body Transformations
Half Body Collage Key
Action Comics #290 (One half body super, one half body not super), Flash #146 (Flash top, Mirror Master bottom), Green Lantern #29 (One half body visible, One half body gone)
Handicap Collage Key
Adventure Comics #259 (Blind Superboy), Adventure Comics #332 (Lighting Lad loses arm), Justice League of America, V1 #36
Jungle Collage Key
Batman #72 (Jungle Batman), Jimmy Olsen #10 (Jungle Jimmy Olsen), Jimmy Olsen #98 (Jungle Jimmy), Lois Lane #11 (Leopard Girl), Lois Lane #124 (Jungle Queen)
King Collage Key
Action Comics #244 (Undersea King), Action Comics # (King Superman), Batman #125 (King Batman), Jimmy Olsen #3 (King Olsen), World’s Finest #111 (Indian Superman King)
Mermaid Transformations Collage Key
Action Comics #284 (Mermaid Supergirl), Lois Lane #12 (Mermaid Lois Lane), Superboy #194, Mermaid Superboy, Superman #139 (Superman Merman),
Mirror Collage Key
Flash #124 (Mirror-Flash), Justice League of America #7 (Fun-House Mirror), World’s Finest #121 (Mirror Batman)
Negative Being Transformations
Negative Collage Key
Detective Comics #284 (Negative Batman), Mystery in Space #78, World’s Finest #126 (Negative Superman)
The Negative Superman should not be included since this is not a transformed Superman but another Superman but the decision to include makes sense visually and most of all I needed two covers to justify a category. Possibly, the Negative Superman should also be included in the Doppelganger category. Creating taxonomy of transformations has not been easy!
Old Collage Key
Action Comics #251 (Oldest Man in Metropolis), Action Comics #270 (Superman’s Old Age), Action Comics #396 (Crippled and Old Superman), Action Comics #397 (Part II), Batman #119 (Rip Van Batman), Flash #157 (Oldest Man Alive), Jimmy Olsen # (Old Jimmy Olsen), Lois Lane # (Lois Lane’s Old Age)
Ghost Collage Key
Action Comics #595 (Superman Ghost), Adventure Comics #357 (The Ghost of Ferro Lad), Blackhawk #127 (The Ghost of Blackhawk), Superman #186 (Clark Kent Ghost vs. Superman Ghost), World’s Finest #130 (Batman Ghost)
Phantom Collage Key
Action Comics #131(Superman in 4th Dimension), Adventure Comics #283 (The Phantom Superboy), Green Lantern #20 (Phantom Green Lantern), Jimmy Olsen #12 (Invisible Jimmy Olsen – title), Jimmy Olsen #40 (Invisible Jimmy Olsen – title), Lois Lane #33 (Phantom Lois Lane), Lois Lane #101 (Invisible Lois Lane), Superboy #162 (The Super-Phantom of Smallville)
In the Silver Age the words phantom and invisible are used in a sloppy manner. For example, Jimmy Olsen is twice turned into a phantom i.e. an insubstantial and invisible being but the title refers to an invisible Jimmy Olsen rather than a phantom Jimmy Olsen. This is rather strange since the Legion of Superheroes of the Silver Age has a Phantom Girl versus an Invisible Kid and their powers are very well delineated. You can see the Phantom Girl but not touch her. You can touch the Invisible Kid but can’t see him. Only by having both the powers of the Invisible Kid and the Phantom Girl could you have the powers of a ghost!
However, I would say the Phantom Zone precedent means that a being that is both invisible and insubstantial due to scientific means is a Phantom. Silver Age science even established that the Phantom Girl could visit the Phantom Zone and say “hello” to Mon-El but the Invisible Kid could not enter the Phantom Zone. Ghost Boy could have kept Mon-El company 24/7, if he had wanted to and that might have been a nice subplot I had never thought about at the time. Ghosts as opposed to phantoms have supernatural origins and generally control of both their visibility and maybe their insubstantial nature. Are you confused? Well too bad because if you had grown up on Silver Age comic books then this would all make perfect sense. Still the ghosts should be easy enough to label!
However, ghosts in the DC universe often turn out to be phantoms i.e. there is a scientific rather than supernatural explanation. The Ferro Lad ghost turns out to be a controller created phantom but the real Ferro Lad ghost then causes the controller to die of fright. Because of all this terminology confusion, the decision was made to make one category for phantom, ghost and invisible transformations. The visual effect is the same and comic books are all about the visual effect.
Radioactive Collage Key
Detective Comics #17 (Radioactive Batman), Jimmy Olsen #17 (Radioactive Jimmy Olsen)
Robot Collage Key
Action Comics #225 (Robot Superman), Action Comics # (Clark Kent Metallo), Adventure Comics #237 (Ma and Pa Kent Robots), Green Lantern #36 (Green Lantern Robot), Jimmy
Small Person Transformations
Small Collage Key
Action Comics #283 (Small Supergirl), Adventure Comics #330 (Small Colossal Boy), Detective Comics #127 (Small Batman and Robin), Detective Comics #148 (Small Batman and Robin), Flash #109 (Small Flash), Justice League of America #10 (Finger Puppet Justice League), Justice League of America #18 (Shrunken Justice League), Justice League of America #60 (Bee Drone Justice League), Superman #245 (Super-Mite)
Tree Being Transformation
Trees Collage Key
Justice League of America #9 (Justice League Trees), Lois Lane #112 (Superman Tree)
Underwater Being Transformations
Underwater Collage Key
Batman #118 (Merman Batman), Superman #244 (Superman’s Undersea Kingdom)
Werewolf Collage Key
Action Comics #283 (Linda Danver’s Werewolf), Jimmy Olsen #44 (Jimmy Olsen Wolf-Man), Superboy #116, Superboy #180
Transformations at DC comics during the Silver Age showed definite patterns. Certain heroes were transformed more than others. Batman and Superman suffered a lot of transformations but this could be function of the fact that both Batman and Superman were in multiple titles that had extremely long runs. Transformations were popular and the transformation of the top superheroes at DC during the Silver Age made marketing sense. Lois Lane did not have as many transformations as Jimmy Olsen but her 12 transformations seems like a high number given that she only starred in one title. The marketing logic might have been to use popular transformations that worked with one of the Superman family members with the other Superman family members that had a comic book title and hope for similar success. Wonder Woman suffered the doppelganger transformation five times and this is an extreme case of the same transformation being used again and again with the same character almost obsessively. Wonder Woman in the Silver Age was a strange little title and someday I am going to write an in depth analysis of what was done to Wonder Woman during this time period. Transformations at DC during the Silver Age are almost always one-shot affairs. The exception is in the Legion of Superheroes were Lightning Lad lost his arm for several issues and Matter Lad was turned into a fat boy for several issues.
Marvel handles transformations in an entirely different manner. Transformation is an ongoing plot device in the case of the Hulk, Iron Man’s many armors, the Thing, the six-armed Spider-Man and X-23’s vampirism. Even the relatively short term transformation of Captain America into a werewolf lasts more than one issue. I will eventually write another DC vs. Marvel article comparing the role of transformation in the comic books of the two companies.
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