Ask a Librarian

Pulling Teeth from the Man of Steel

by Philip Montgomery, archivist
I want to be perfectly clear at the beginning of this post that being an archivist is a tough job. I can’t even begin to describe the trials that come with being an archivist. You have your dirt, your mold, your sneezing, your cold temperatures, your silverfish, your 50 year-old hypodermics, your jar of gall stones, your fake eyeballs. You get the picture.   I have to make very clear that this is a difficult job,  because someone out there will not understand that  reading comic books is just another one of those things I have to do. [big archivist sigh goes here]
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The McGovern Historical Collections houses two comic books both of which are related to dentistry and in the Autrey collection. I have read both of these comics…..multiple times. One comic features Dr. Strange, whom you may remember as a psychic, mystical master of dark arts. Today’s comic book features Superman, the Man of Steel, getting his tooth pulled. This is exactly the type of subject that would prompt deep philosophical discussions among my grade-school friends about the nature of superpowers and dentistry. For example, does Superman’s tooth retain superpower strength even though it has been pulled out of his head?
The most noticeable aspect of this cover is the depiction of pain. The artist nailed pain right to the wall. I will hazard a guess that this is the least collectible Superman comic ever printed, which might be some claim to fame. To put that in a more positive light, this has to be the most lame Superman story line of all time. Now that is something to chew on.
Frankly, the message from this cover is clear and substantiates what my grade school buddies and I knew all along. That no power can resist a dentist with true grit and forearms as big as hams. For the record, my dentist is wonderful, gentle and very professional. He is also a graduate of the UT School of Dentistry.
Someday, I will show you the Sigmund Freud action doll we have in the archives. He even has a replica rug mouse pad.