When Disneyland opened its doors for the first time on July 17th, 1955, other media companies quickly saw the potential of Uncle Walt's ambitious theme park and feverishly began contemplating their own large scale tourist traps. One of these copycat companies was DC Comics, who obviously had more than just a comic book story in mind when they rolled out "Superman Visits Supermanland" in Action Comics #210 only a few months later (click on the images for a larger view).
Reading like a storyboard pitch to a group of potential investors (which it very well could have been), the tour begins with a traffic jam of family sedans making their way into a new "colossal, super-stupendous amusement park" named Supermanland. Standing astride the entrance was a giant Superman statue, which one tourist likened to "the ancient Colossus of Rhodes" (you know, back when people actually knew what the Colossus of Rhodes was).
The first attraction the anxious crowd crammed into was the Rocket Room, an elaborate theatre designed to simulate a flight to the planet Krypton.
Who's that eccentric, vaguely sinister-looking character in the lower-right corner? That would be a Supermanland park employee, or "cast member" as they'd say in Disneyland. Looking more like some kind of futuristic Space Nazi, these guys ran all of the attractions, drove the simulated vehicles, and supervised the crowds...with nary a female cast member in sight.
Like most of the attractions featured in the story, the Rocket Room seemed like something the technology of the time could actually pull off. Using "blasts from air vents and vibrating seats" the simulated journey took its passengers to a re-creation of Superman's home planet. Note that Krypton was still being portrayed as an entire planet of supermen, which was the original vision of Siegel and Shuster.
How do you top a flight to "a planet of unearthly beauty"? Why, take a tour of the Daily Planet, of course! Yeah...it's seems a little unlikely that a crowd this big would "flock" to see wax statues of the Planet staff.
Next up was the Superman Super-Powers Building, where visitors could simulate the powers of the Man of Steel. As the boys lifted 2-ton weights and crushed guns, check out the lone girl...who passively smiled and did nothing (perhaps patiently awaiting the 1959 arrival of female role model Supergirl).
The testosterone continued to rage at the Super Shooting-Gallery, where weapon-toting boys (minus girls) could riddle a Superman statue with real ammo and arrows...little suspecting a special Opening Day twist...
Other attractions included a cartoon movie theatre...
...a Superman Merry-Go-Round (you rode on it
by perching on Superman's back, by the way)...
...and a fully-stocked gift shop named The Hall of Trophies.
Right. Kids are in a near-riot to buy Superman Health Food! (whatever that is)
A Hall of Trophies highlight was the "Free Etched Kryptonite" offer, which involved using a highly corrosive and toxic acid in close proximity to children.
Of course, what better way to cap off a fun and uplifting day at Supermanland than to witness the simulated death of an entire civilization?
Nothing like the defining tragedy of Superman's life serving as constantly-looping entertainment for the masses!
Despite DC's best efforts to generate pubic interest in a Superman theme park, this would be the last time Supermanland would appear in a Superman comic book. However, it wouldn't be the last time the idea of a Superman theme park would be floated. Next time, we'll take a look at the even more ambitious Amazing World of Superman!