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Sam’s Story

I just read Superman/Batman #26 (yes, its a comic book) — an issue which was dedicated to Jeph Loeb’s son, Sam Loeb, who recently died from cancer at the tender age of 17. It has an all-star cast of writers and artists including Jeph Loeb himself (the great author of A Superman For All Seasons, Batman: Hush, and Batman: The Long Halloween and also a former consultant for Smallville), Joss Whedon (writer of Buffy, Astonishing X-Men, Firefly, the new Wonder Woman movie), Geoff Johns (who writes like every comic for DC), and Jim Lee (like the best comic artist EVER).

The main story was written by Sam before he died about a short adventure that Robin and Superboy go on. I have to be honest — the story is not particularly good (although it has many humorous and touching moments), although its a great deal better than any story I could come up with. The story that really got to me was the story in the back, the one Jeph Loeb wrote on his own (with art by his friend Tim Sale) called “Sam’s Tale”

Its told from the perspective of Jonathan Kent, Clark (aka Superman if you really don’t know)’s adopted father, where he tells the story of Clark’s childhood friend Sam, “He had a gift. He could make Clark laugh.”

“One time, Sam made Clark laugh so hard, milk came out of my son’s nose. I’m not sure Martha [Jonathan’s wife] found it as amusing as the boys did, but she loved seeing Clark happy.”

One day Sam comes to school in crutches and casually blames it on a soccer injury . . . “I imagine that at that moment, Clark wished he never had X-ray vision.”

“The school year was almost finished when Sam dropped by to see Clark.”
“CLARK: What did you do to your hair?”
“SAM: It’s my Lex Luthor look. C’mon, I’m dead sexy.”

They go out to the farm and talk (which is offest with a very heart-rendering sunset background by Tim Sale).
“CLARK: What can I do to help…?”
“SAM: What you always do. Be my pal. Laugh at my stupid jokes. Clark, I’ve got the best friends, the best doctors, the best outlook. Don’t worry.”

“Three days later, Miss Landers came in from a staff meeting. Clark saw that her eyes were red and swollen. She had the impossible task of telling a group of children that one of their own had died.”

I have no way of knowing how much the story was real or just based on reality … but Sale’s art just had this quality to it that I can’t describe which really emphasized the emotions of everyone involved in the story. I don’t know if Mr. Loeb saw himself more as Jonathan trying to make sense of the world or trying to comfort a “Clark” in his life or maybe he saw himself more as Clark, unsure of what to do or how Sam had such courage, but for anyone interested in the story, I hope you go out and get it — all profits go towards establishing a scholarship fund in Sam’s name.

“Sam’s Story” ends with a note which…

“Your destiny does not lie in a hospital bed.
Far greater achevements are to come
Own your destiny
Best friends, best doctors, best outlook
no worries”

dated: 2/17/2005, Sam Loeb: 4/13/1988 – 6/17/2005

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