Friday, 28 February 2014

The Yesterday Gambit

"Miracleman: The Yesterday Gambit," reprinted in Marvel Comics Miracleman no 2, reads like a future episode published way ahead of schedule and starting right in the middle of the action.

If it were to be re-published yet again later in its rightful place in terms of fictional chronology, then some of the captions would have to be changed:

" is here, in a twilight future some three years hence..." (p. 13, panel 5).

The Miracleman Family remember adventures that they did not have and are made to forget one that they did have. How messed up can they get? later, Miraclewoman tells Moran that his meeting with her at least was real.

Smallville: Skinwalker

Local Native Americans are descended from a Kryptonian and include meteorically powered metamorphs. Is there a reason why Clark's spaceship landed in the same vicinity?

According to the Native American legends, a star in the Wolf constellation has disappeared. But that can't be Krypton. Krypton is a planet.

Googling about this tribe and their cave paintings reveals that there is one Hell of a lot more to come about the cave, including Kryptonian tech. Lex continues to fit the puzzle together. LexCorp now has cave paintings that include an octagon.

Henry Small is Lana's father and Whitney is missing in action.

West, Space And Time II

I went out in haste, posting the previous post without having finished it.

Classics Illustrated adaptations also included Jules Verne's bizarrely- themed Off On A Comet. Google confirms that this comics imprint also adapted Verne's From The Earth To The Moon. I am not sure whether the sequel, Round The Moon, would have been adapted separately or in the same volume or not adapted.

In any case, recently rereading Poul Anderson's first man on the moon story, "The Light," I reflected that this story could be included in a themed anthology with stories like Robert Heinlein's "The Man Who Sold The Moon" and with extracts from novels like Wells' The First Men In The Moon.

It then occurred to me first that Verne's characters do not land on the Moon and secondly that I have not read any of Verne's three interplanetary novels so I am now ordering them through the Public Library. Whether this will lead to any comparisons with Anderson remains to be seen.

Thus, the progressions from comics to prose fiction have been:

from Dan Dare to Anderson's Dominic Flandry;
from the comic strip The Time Machine to the prose The Time Machine to Anderson's The Time Patrol;
from the comic strip Off On A Comet to the three Verne interplanetary novels;
from "Riders of the Range" and TV Westerns to - nothing really, although I have read Shane a couple of times.

In terms of graphic adaptations, Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen has a space race between Victorian Britain with Cavorite and France with a big gun and, later, various European colonies on the Moon.

West, Space And Time

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation:

This is one of those posts that starts somewhere else but works its way back to Poul Anderson.

In the early 1950's, I got the weekly British comic strip paper, The Eagle, even before I could read it. This comic featured "Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future" and "Riders of the Range," a Western series that had a fictitious central character but that also incorporated historical figures and events. I realized even then that, although I loved Westerns, I preferred pictures of men in spacesuits to pictures of cowboys on horseback, thus sf to Westerns.

Many of my contemporaries had the same enthusiasm for football that I had for Westerns and sf. Why do people have such strong, and different, interests from such an early age? I don't know.

Dare's main adversaries, the Treens, were bald, green, hostile, humanoid extraterrestrials, thus similar to Dominic Flandry's opponents, the Merseians. Dare was a preparation for Poul Anderson's Flandry - who sometimes also wears a spacesuit. Despite his mastery of many genres, Anderson never wrote Westerns, except a joke Hoka story with Gordon R Dickson. ER Burroughs, who is also relevant here, did write four Western novels. ERB wrote comic book type characters but in prose fiction, including sf.

In addition to a fascination with space travel, I also acquired slightly later on a very great fascination with two other sf ideas, time travel and future histories. Flandry, of course, is a major figure in a long future history series. My introduction to time travel was another comic strip, the Classics Illustrated adaptation of HG Wells' The Time Machine. And Wells' novel was a precursor to Anderson's Time Patrol.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Miracleman 2

Marvel Comics Miracleman no 2 contains:

the next two episodes of the Original Writer's Miracleman;

"The Yesterday Gambit," a future episode published out of sequence but never before reprinted in color (and I am not sure that I still have Warrior back issues in the cellar);

Garry Leach art;

the earliest account of "The Birth of Marvelman", which is curiously combined with the story of a film about Marvelman;

the first ever, four page, Kid Marvelman story, originally published in Marvelman, which has a caption explaining that KM "...has been appointed by Marvelman himself..." (p. 41) - no origin story and KM takes action not only against a crook but also against a prejudiced policeman.

Is all this worth the £3 that I paid for it? Yes, if that is what we have to pay these days. I particularly appreciate having "The Yesterday Gambit" and in color and in better color than Eclipse Comics. Since I found a 20 pence coin yesterday and a pound coin today, I can imagine that the gods have subsidized me by 40%.

In the late 1980's, when I started to read comics again as an adult, I found a pound and went to a newsagent. One DC comic cost 40p and a special with extra pages cost 60p. The news vendor gave me 20p change, not realizing that one comic was a more expensive special. 120%: the gods could afford to be more generous 30 years ago.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Smallville: Dichotic

This is a good image of Chloe and Lana both looking suspiciously at Clark while he watches them with another guy.

Lana settles into the Sullivan household. That guy that Lana's aunt went to Metropolis with does seem to have been a one-off character.

I thought that Lex's road rage was out of character at this stage of his career and that he would turn out to be a mutant duplicate or under the influence of meteor radiation or etc.

The doctor he gets interested in looks familiar.

After Chloe and Lana have apologized to Clark at the end, neither of them seems happy when he says that he wants to be just friends.

Martha is finding it difficult to combine Kent farm life with working for a Luthor so her days with Lionel may be numbered.

Googling reveals that our villain will return, only to be killed, in Season Three. He has seen Clark use his powers to rescue both Chloe and Lana although both girls were too preoccupied or out of it to notice.

Pete does a good comic routine sarcastically helping Clark to look around a school workshop until a murdered body falls on top of him.

Clark designs a familiar-looking "S" for the Smallville High logo.

The closing scene is superb: simply Clark exiting the Talon and walking along Smallville Main Street at night.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Kents And Luthors

Let's look at this image again:

Jonathan Kent is driving while Lionel Luthor holds Lex and Martha Kent holds Clark;
Lex has become bald because of the event that brought Clark to Earth;
Jonathan is driving Lex to hospital;
Lionel will help Jonathan and Martha to fake adoption papers for Clark;
Jonathan will help LuthorCorp to move into Smallville;
Clark and Lex will become friends;
Martha will become Lionel's Executive Assistant;
Lionel and Lex will become rivals and enemies;
Clark will become Superman and Lex Luthor will become his mortal enemy.

This picture encapsulates all these future relationships.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Smallville: Ryan

In "Stray," a telepath learned Clark's secret and did not die at the end of the episode but, in this episode, that telepath, Ryan, returns and does die at the end. Clark uses his powers to try to save Ryan's life but is not successful.

Clark wants a surgeon in Hub City (another DC Universe location) to operate on Ryan's brain so he runs there. The surgeon is on a plane that has just started to move down the runway. Will Clark fly? No, but he does run and stand in front of the plane, obliging the pilot to stop.

 Before dying, Ryan warns Clark to watch Lex. In "Stray," Lex had defied Lionel by staying in Smallville. Now, he runs LexCorp and defies the corrupt Mayor of Smallville by backing his opponent. Unfortunately, we expect the future Lex Luthor to be involved in corruption.

We have not been seeing Dean but he is in the background. He and Nan will move to Metropolis but Lana will stay with the Sullivans.

Lex asks Clark how he sprung Ryan from the secure facility where he was being held in Metropolis. There is no way that Clark can stop Lex from being suspicious and the deception should have ended a long time ago.