Hey, Bob, since you wrote lots of Superboy stories over the years, what do you think of the new “Smallville” TV series and what it does with continuity? It takes place in the present day… the meteor shower when the rocket landed… kryptonite having strange effects on earth people… the Langs killed… Lex Luthor living in town, running his father’s business… Pete Ross is African-American… no glasses on Clark… etc. Why do they allow all this stuff?
— James (email@example.com)
By “they,” I presume you mean DC Comics. Take your choice of answers: 1) It makes for more entertaining stories. 2) No one outside of die-hard comics fans – of which there are very few in relation to the potential viewing audience – cares one whit about comic book continuity. 3) Somebody paid DC for the rights to change whatever they wanted. 4) All of the above.
The correct answer is number 4.
That said, I’m finding the show enjoyable so far, though I hope it will not be composed entirely of stories in which a Smallville resident gets some strange power as a result of exposure to kryptonite. The interaction between Clark and his parents – despite the fact that John Schneider and Annette O’Toole both look too young – works well, as does Clark’s infatuation with Lana. The latter hearkens to the Clark / Lois relationship in the very early days of the Superman comics, though Lana is much nicer to CK than Lois was.
I like having young Lex Luthor in the series. While he is on the surface coming across as a nice guy, especially when defying his father, there’s also the glimmer of the character he will become as an adult. We’ve gotten a glimpse of his wanting to know more about Clark, realizing that there is more to the young Kent than meets the eye.
And there are little bits that show the writers have paid attention to the comic books. Jonathan’s father’s name was Hiram. Lana’s mother’s maiden name is Potter. (That particular factoid is the basis of one of Mark Waid’s favorite trivia questions. It was established that Professor Potter in the comics was Lana’s uncle; since his name was not Lang, he was obviously related on her mother’s side.)
So, I’m in favor of this spin on the life of the future Man of Steel. As long as it maintains its own continuity, it will be just as viable as any other version we’ve ever seen.
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
1. Name the “Temperature Twins” of the Rogues’ Gallery.
2. Out-of-date information said Blackhawk’s real name was what?
3. Treatment with a Zuunium ray gave who his super-powers?
4. Howling Commandos and Agents of SHIELD would follow what leader anywhere?
5. Icy death faced alien Cryll until he was rescued by whom?
6. Name the two “Books” of the Vertigo line.
7. Golden Eagle, remember him? Who was he named after?
8. Between Firefighters and Frogmen, who starred in SHOWCASE?
9. Until he joined The Avengers, who had been a foe of Iron Man?
10. The Marvel version of The Crusaders included what “incarnation” of Uncle Sam?
11. Name the comic book character portrayed in the movies by Bill Campbell.
12. Escaping Zemo’s explosive-filled drone plane was not possible for whom?
13. The Red Dragon’s comic originally had what title?
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. All of Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason novels have titles beginning with “The Case of…” (…the Howling Dog, the Velvet Claws, the Spurious Spinster, etc).
2. Composer Walter H. Piston won Pulitzer Prizes for two of his symphonies.
3. The Los Angeles Lakers are not named after any California body of water; the team moved there from Minnesota, where it was named for the more than 20,000 lakes.
AND WHILE WE’RE DISCUSSING TV SHOWS…
The other new series with some comic book ties that I’m enjoying is “Enterprise.” Yes, the stories have been less than earth-shaking so far, but it’s the little bits that make it enjoyable for me.
I like the idea that Archer gets to bring his dog along. And that we get to see so many of the devices (transporters, replicators, shields, etc.) we take for granted in the other shows and movies are subject to glitches and breakdowns. And especially the episode in which the crewmen land on an alien planet and start taking photos like a bunch of tourists.
Oh, and before you ask, the other new series I’ve added to my must-see viewing list are “Scrubs” and “24.”
Once again, my Official Unofficial Researcher John Wells comes to the rescue…
Here’s a little on Elongated Man and Plastic Man:
The Elongated Man and Plastic Man have only crossed paths a few times. They appeared together — but didn’t actually meet — in that great Perez-Ordway double-page spread in 1985’s CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #5.
Paul Kupperberg and Alex Saviuk came up with an inspired story for 1986’s DC COMICS PRESENTS #93 that brought Eel O’Brian, Ralph Dibny and Jimmy “Elastic Lad” Olsen together with a mystery villain called the Malleable Man as “The Elastic Four.” In the end, Malleable Man unmasked as Skizzle Shanks, a former crony of Eel from POLICE COMICS #1 who tried to recreate the circumstances that created Plastic Man.
Ralph and Eel both had origin stories in 1988’s SECRET ORIGINS #30 but only appeared together on the cover. Since then, they’ve been seen together three times — 1996’s GUY GARDNER: WARRIOR #39 (page 3), 1999’s JLA/TITANS #3 (page 4) and at Wally West’s wedding in 2000’s THE FLASH #159. As for Stretch, he and Plas were both at the grand opening of Warriors in 1995’s GUY GARDNER #29 but they never appeared together, darn it!
And, since someone is bound to ask, Stretch and company’s appearance in SUPERBOY came in issue #65 (1999). Most recent Hero Hotline sighting:
Diamondette shows up on page 21 of WONDER WOMAN #175.
John Wells (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FROM THE EMAILBOX:
I am looking for what probably most everyone else who writes you is looking for: The value of comic books. I have four BLUE BEETLE comics. (1) June 1967, #1. (2) Aug. 67, #2. (3) Dec. 67, #4. (4) Nov. 68, #5. Looking at a chart I got off the internet I would say they are somewhere between Good and Very Fine. If you can advise me of approximate worth I would very much appreciate it. Thanks in advance.
— Don (OGSAN@aol.com)
In Good condition, #1 catalogs at $10.00, #2 at $4.55, and #s 4 and 5 at $3.65 each. There’s quite a difference between a Good rating and Very Fine, but kicking them up to Fine boosts the catalog prices to $30.00, $13.65, and $11.00. Of course, as I’ve said numerous times before, they are really only worth what someone is actually willing to pay you for them.
Any good web sources for ordering s.b. comics?
— Mangey St. Justine (email@example.com)
Probably, but you’d need to tell me what “s.b. comics” are.
Snaggletooth was with what cartoon program?
Snagglepuss was a secondary feature on “Quick-Draw McGraw.” If anybody knows of Snaggletooth, please fill me in.
Who is the Calculator and what connection does he have with the Americommando?
— Rhys (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As shown in HERO HOTLINE #6, the villainous Calculator and the Coordinator had some interaction in their past. And since I revealed officially right here (back in my May 28, 2001 column – check the SBC archives) that the Coordinator was indeed supposed to be Tex Thomson a.k.a. the Amreicommando, there is indeed a connection.
What is the Calculator’s real name and what is his connection with “Harry”? Well, that part hasn’t been revealed… yet.
When are you going to do Mazing Man as a Vertigo title?
— Oliver Townshend (email@example.com)
Though it is something I would hope would never come to pass, over the years artist and co-creator Stephen DeStefano and I have made jokes about doing a Vertigo version of our favorite character.
Among the things that would be added to make the book fit the “mature readers” mold: Guido would be selling drugs. KP would be a battered wife who fled her abusive husband, though he would track her down regularly. Brenda would be an alcoholic; Eddie a philanderer. Denton would be a hypochondriac comics fanboy who is fixated on comic book continuity to the exclusion of all else. Maze, of course, would not exist at all, except in an acid flashback shared by the rest of the cast.
Oh, yes, and just to make sure it was properly Vertigo-ized, everybody would spout four-letter expletives. On every page. In every panel.
But really, we felt we were doing an adult series within the context of “regular” comic books. As I said in one of the issues’ letter columns, I did not expect ‘MAZING MAN to be a comic book for 5-year-olds. While it looked kid friendly and we avoided things that could be offensive, we were not always telling stories that could be appreciated or related to by children.
That’s it till next week. In the meantime, get your questions and comments into print by using the handy box in the column on the left.
Basketball season is in full swing. Find the team names in these answers.
1. Captain Cold and Heat Wave
2. Bart Hawk
3. Brin Londo a.k.a. Timber Wolf
4. Nick Fury
5. Space Ranger
6. MAGIC and FAERIES
7. Jazz musician Charley Parker
8. Kings of the Wild
10. Spirit of ’76
11. The Rocketeer
12. Bucky Barnes
13. TRAIL BLAZERS
It’s a slam dunk! A new question every day at Anything Goes trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia.
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.