Paul McCartney and Supergirl's Tragic Ordeal


I was watching the second Beatles movie, Help! with my son, and about four minutes into the story, Paul starts playing an electric organ:

Paul's Organ

Being a comic fan, I wondered what comics were on the organ, and in particular the one that was open in front of Paul. Unfortunately, the IMDB trivia page for Help! only mentions Superman comics, and the movie image is too blurly to identify the open story.

But at about 25 minutes into the film, there's another scene set at the Beatles home, with John sitting at the organ:

John's Organ

This image shows all the comic covers, face on. Here's the relevant details enlarged:

Comics on an Organ

It's pretty clear that there's three Jimmy Olsen's, two Superman's and three Action Comics's. All Superman-related DCs, no Marvels.

The UK parts of Help! were filmed in March-April 1965 (according to Wikipedia), so I guessed that the comics would date from March 1964 and earlier.

I visited the cover gallerys at Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics, and the Grand Comic Database, and found the matching comics:

Comics Identified

For more details, visit their pages at the GCD:

Quite a spread of dates: October 1962 to May 1964.

Now I returned to the picture of Paul playing the organ, and enlarged the comics details:

Paul's Comics

It's fairly clear that the closed comics are the three Jimmy Olsen's and the two Superman's. That means that the open comic must be one of the Action Comics: #304, #311, or #314. Also, it looks like the comic is open in the middle, to the start of a backup story

A visit back to GCD for the three Action Comics, narrowed the search to three possible Supergirl stories:

All these stories appear in the DC reprint: Showcase Presents: Supergirl Vol. 2, but I don't have a copy. However, a search of the Web soon turned up the front pages of the stories.

The Maid of Menace! is a fairly important Supergirl story since it introduces one of her Silver Age villians, Black Flame:

The Maid of Menace

That's obviously not the story in front of Paul, although the blurry red logo does look like Supergirl.

The Day Super-Horse Became Human" is a favourite of comic bloggers since it has Supergirl falling in love with Super-horse:


That's not the story Paul's reading either. So it looks like it must be Supergirl's Tragic Ordeal!:

Tragic Ordeal Open Comic

YES!!. This page and the movie close-up match.

Of all the comics in front of him, Paul went for the tearful story of Supergirl having to choose between the Danvers and Zor-El and Allura. Even worse, it was a two-part story, so perhaps Paul never learnt how the terrible dilemma was solved!

Dr. Andrew Davison
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