Friday, 18 January 2013

Time And Change

Miss Violet Redfern was fourteen in 1945. She lived for decades in a Gothic house, where she had a gift shop, on Durban St above the river in Smallville. When a storm washed her back garden with its well and tree into the river and made her house unsafe, she moved to an apartment in a new building development outside the town.

She had known Lana Lang's parents who died in the meteor strike when Lana was three. Both Lana and Clark Kent visit Miss Redfern's shop where they befriend her and both of them also visit her again later in her new apartment.

By creating this elderly character who appears only in one Smallville novel, Dragon, Alan Grant generates a strong sense of Smallville as a real place enduring through the second half of the twentieth century. Smallville must have begun when Super(man as a)boy commenced publication in 1944. This was the very earliest Earth 1 story, contradicting the original Earth 2 continuity in which Clark Kent had begun his costumed career only in adulthood and after the deaths of his parents, swearing an oath at their graves like his successor, the Batman.

First published in 1944, Superboy comics had to be set ten or more years earlier because Superman always exists in the reader's present, the child's eternal present. This created problems for Superboy's chronology. Over time, he was depicted as living through his teens in different decades. Avoiding such problems, Smallville instead is set in the present, showing the youth of a future Superman.

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