Monday, October 27, 2008

The Inspiration For Stewie Griffin?

If your only exposure to Superman was a carefully put together selection of some of his comic stories from the '50s to the early '70s you'd be forgiven for thinking that the various Superman titles were intended as some sort of surrealist commentary on society rather than superhero comic books. A typical example from 1970 can be found in a post to Scans Daily by Doop. (And of course I shamelessly stole a bit of Doop's scan for the picture above.) In the "imaginary story"(as a lot of the crackiest offenders were) "Beware the Super-Genius Baby!" Superman and Lois Lane have married, and soon Lois is pregnant. But a supervillain, Professor Ulvo, uses a ray to make the fetus develop into a superbaby, and within a week of his birth he has adult level intelligence. He also has an evil streak, and Supes eventually has to fight his own son to keep him from taking over the world.
The story is bizarre enough, and the little details don't help. Note for example that Lois is married to Superman, and not his secret identity Clark Kent, and they live togetber as Mr. and Mrs. Superman in a typical suburban neighbourhood. I wonder how much the property values dropped given the potential for supervillain attacks and so forth. And the poor kid has no name, simply being refered to as "Superman's baby." No wonder he goes villainous so easily!
Regular Scans Daily poster icon_uk notes that the baby in this story is very much like Stewie Griffin from the cartoon Family Guy. As I'm sure most readers will know Stewie is basically the mind of a crotchety adult in the body of a one year old, and has tried and failed at such schemes as doing in his mother Lois and taking over the world. So the obvious question is whether Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane was inspired by this old Superman story when he created Stewie. The answer is most certainly no. Stewie was obviously intended to be a play on/inversion of the typical TV and cartoon baby, who generally is there simply to be cute and do cute baby things. Still, the similarities, including both nasty tikes having a mother named Lois, are interesting.
If you find the material in the post I linked to interesting there's a lot more to be found on Scans Daily. You might also want to check out Superdickery for various bizarre comic covers, Superman and otherwise.

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