Wednesday, 27 December 2017

El Jabato

"In the 1950s and 1960s, the most popular comic books in Spain weren't about Superman and Spiderman - they told of the adventures of El Jabato, an imaginary ancient Iberian hero who fought against the Roman oppressors."
-Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind (London, 2014), Chapter 11, p. 211.

An addendum relevant to Poul Anderson Appreciation: Ancient anti-Roman freedom fighters, including the fictional individual, El Jabato, and the inhabitants of the historical town of Numantia, are regarded in Spain as symbols of national independence. The Numantians were defeated by the Roman general, Scipio Aemilianus, who had previously levelled Carthage. Delenda Est Carthago. All history is one story.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

The League IV

JSA: the original superhero team.
JLA: a revival.
Infinity Inc: the JSA's children.
Titans: the JLA's junior partners.
Freedom Fighters: a team encountered during a JLA-JSA team-up.
Helix: JSA-inspired opponents of II.
All Star Squadron: all the WWII heroes.
Young All-Stars: post-Crisis replacements of the main JSAers.
Young Allies: WWII allies of the Young All-Stars.

All superheroes, and therefore all superhero teams, are successors of Superman. The Legion of Superheroes are also successors of Superboy, who was "Superman as a Boy."

The League III

The Justice League was a revival of the Justice Society, the first super-hero team, which started in 1940 and had several off-shoots:

the Justice League
the Teen Titans
the Freedom Fighters
Infinity Inc
the All Star Squadron
the Young All-Stars
the Young Allies

More than you might think.

The League II

See The League.

Another way of putting it is that -

(i) The original JLA membership plus one early recruit equals:

2 Greek myths;
2 cosmic forces;
2 extraterrestrial exiles;
2 non-super-powered heroes.

(ii) Each of the two non-super-powered heroes founded and funded the League in a different screen adaptation.

That summarizes:

the original comics version;
one TV version;
the current cinema version.

From 1960 to 2017.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The League

The original JLA members were:

two Greek myths, an Amazon and an Atlantean;
two cosmic forces, speed and light;
two extraterrestrial exiles, a Martian and a Kryptonian;
one masked avenger, soon to be joined by one costumed adventurer.

Arguably, the non-super-powered avenger and adventurer do not belong in a superhero team but there is another perspective. Launching the League required someone with money. In Smallville, that is Queen. In the films, it is Wayne. The Justice League film includes an evocative scene where Wayne inquires about "the Aquaman."  

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

A new meaning of "Ragnarok": Surtr alone destroys only Asgard.

The mythological Hela has one side of her body alive and the other rotting.

Spaceships should not be able to get into Asgard. It is a different kind of place.

I don't think humor is appropriate.

Might there be a connection between Valkyries and Amazons? (The Justice League trailer was shown.)

There was a scene during the credits and another at the end. The end scene was an anti-climax.

Thor lost his hammer and an eye and is now King of the Aesir (not Asgardians) but in a spaceship, not in Asgard.

Odin is dead but can still intervene from beyond?

Banner is permanently Hulk?

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Smallville: Late In Season 10

Too much is already in place even before Clark becomes Superman. He and Lois are even planning the klutzy Clark.

I dislike a Phantom Zone where the "phantoms" have solid bodies, fight with swords, can be killed and cannot see outside the Zone. Do they need to eat?

Since Booster Gold is a time traveller, it does make sense that, if he wants to displace Superman in history, then he should arrive before Clark has become Superman.

Are there still Smallville: Season 11 comics? If not, then this is a closed continuity although there are now two other screen continuities, a movieverse and a TV multiverse, each with a Superman.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Who Is Superman?

Elliot S. Maggin's Lex Luthor has multiple identities so he assumes that Superman also has, like maybe:

Morgan Edge
Joe Namath
Bruce Wayne
Pete Ross
Graig Nettles
Jim Rice
Edward Kennedy

Luthor does not try to expose any of these aliases because he assumes that Superman would just create new ones. Superman plays the Clark Kent role so well that Luthor never suspects Kent although the guy spooks him somehow. There are times when Luthor is close to the truth but unable to see it.

Although Siegel and Schuster created Superman, several subsequent writers have invested a lot more creativity and ingenuity into the character and his supporting cast.

Miracle Monday III

Elliot S. Maggin's Miracle Monday, like the fourth Superman film, shows Superman acting against nuclear weapons. What better use of Kryptonian powers?

I wasn't quite clear how the demon was defeated but it was because Superman had decisively resisted the temptation. There was no point in continuing to use Kristin's body to wreak harm if Superman consistently refused to kill it. Thus, John Milton's Paradise Regained is only about the temptations of Christ because Christ decisively establishes his Messiahship and defeats Satan by resisting the temptations. His public ministry and its conclusion are merely the working out of the consequences of this already won victory.

People celebrate without knowing why. This seems appropriate. Kristin realizes that there is good even in Luthor and confirms that, in Maggin's version of Superman's future, Supes and Lex will be friends again some day. Miracle Monday is the ultimate feel good book.

Miracle Monday II

See Miracle Monday.

Superman has one secret identity. In most (?) continuities, Clark Kent is a pretence. In John Byrne's continuity, Kent was real; Superman was a role.

The Martian Manhunter can have many secret identities because he is a metamorph. Elliot S. Maggin's Lex Luthor has many false identities because he is a criminal genius who needs both to hide from Superman's super senses and to remain active in the world. This makes sense. Everything about Maggin's understanding of these characters makes sense.

Maggin's two Superman novels reflect in detail the comics continuity of the 1970s with, e.g., Kent and Lang on TV. In fact, the novels exactly fit into this continuity. Maggin even wrote sequels in the comics.

Maggin's best idea was that, in the future, Superman and the reformed Lex will again be friends. See here. Also good is Alan Moore's alternative account of these characters' futures. See here and here.

Byrne, Maggin and Moore: three great Superman writers -

Moore: the "last story."
Byrne: a new beginning.
Maggin: insightful novels.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Miracle Monday

See here.

Elliot S. Maggin's first Superman novel, The Last Son Of Krypton, begins with Jor-El whereas his second, Miracle Monday, begins with Jonathan Kent. Clark Kent's story begins in Smallville, not on Krypton.

Maggin writes the Silver Age/Earth 1 Superman:

Clark was Superboy before he became Superman;
the Kents sold the farm and ran a shop;
Superboy had a secret tunnel;
the Kents died before Clark became Superman;
Luthor was a much imprisoned, much escaped criminal;
Kent moved from the Planet to TV;
he was hassled by news reporter, Steve Lombard;
this is the most powerful version of Superman;
no doubt there are many other differences from more recent continuities.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Three Superhero TV Series

The Oliver Queen of the Smallville TV series works with Clark Kent even before Clark has become Superman whereas the Oliver Queen of the Arrow TV series meets Clark's cousin from the parallel universe of the Supergirl TV series. Neither is the original Oliver. Two adaptations could not be more different.

Smallville has perhaps four kinds of characters:

familiar and recognizable, e.g., Clark and Lois;
the same only in name, e.g., Pete Ross, Cat Grant, the two Hamiltons; Glorious Godfrey;
new, mainly Chloe;
new characters in old roles - Lex's father, brother and half-sister.

I think that too much happens in Smallville even before Clark has become Superman.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Swedish Comics

Stieg Larsson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (London, 2008), p. 261.

Investigating the disappearance of a young woman, Harriet Vanger, Mikael Blomkvist finds some comic books on a bookshelf:

The 91;

- also a copy of Lektyr magazine.

Blomkvist has studied photographs of Harriet and others taken on the day when she disappeared. He intuits that he has spotted something significant in one of the photos but does not yet know what it is. This rings true. It sounds like the experience of other fictional detectives including Poul Anderson's Trygve Yamamura and Anderson's other characters, Nicholas van Rijn and Dominic Flandry, who must also apply detective skills to diverse situations.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Comparisons With Superheroes

Copied from Poul Anderson Appreciation:

Alien Animals
Words And Texts
 Hugh Valland And Superman
Green Lantern
A Mad Time Patrol Story

I hope that page viewers reread these earlier posts while I am out of town all day!

Addendum: Nineteen or so hours later, I am back from London and adding more links:

The Martian Manhunter  

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Before Superman

There have been at least three versions of a pre-Superman superhero role for Clark Kent:

Superboy in comics;
Superboy in the Superboy TV series;
the Red and Blue Blur in the Smallville TV series.

There was a pre-Superboy "Smallville Angel" in some comics and in a Superman novel by Elliot S! Maggin.

There have been at least three spin-off Superboys:

the Superboy of Earth Prime before the Crisis on Infinite Earths;

the Superboy of the Time Trapper's pocket universe after the Crisis;

the Superboy during the Reign of the Supermen after the Death of Superman.

Smallville presents characters who are the same only in name as the original versions:

Pete Ross;
two Hamiltons;
Morgan Edge;
Maxwell Lord;
Cat Grant;
Glorious Godfrey;
Oliver Queen.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Lois, Lana, Cat And Chloe

In 1938, Superman introduced Lois Lane.
In 1950, Superboy introduced Lana Lang.
In 1987, a new version of Superman introduced Cat Grant.
In 2001, Smallville introduced Chloe Sullivan, who is:

Lois' cousin;
the only one of these four to appear first on screen.

The Superman myth can still introduce new enduring characters.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Smallville: Lazarus

I saw Logan today but maybe it is too soon for spoilers.

Smallville: The Final Season, disc 1, begins with a trailer for the Green Lantern film.

To share Lex's memories, his clones would need not only bodies based on his DNA but also his RNA somehow inserted into their brains. Lex would not give them his memories if he wanted them only for body parts. There seems to be an assumption that a human clone is not only a genetic duplicate of an organism but also an exact duplicate of a person.

Clark wrongly assumed that it was Jor-El who had the power to give him a second chance at life. But who was it? Since Clark fell from the roof of the Daily Planet building without his powers, why was his body not damaged by the impact when it hit the street? How come he is back in an NDE scenario speaking to Jonathan at the end of the episode?

I think it is a bit much and over the top to have Darkseid invading at this stage. There is already more than enough going on to help Clark to become Superman. I think that the costume should first have appeared right at the end of the last episode.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Smallville: Approaching The End Of Season 9

In DC Comics in the 1950s and '60s, US government agencies did not kidnap, coerce or kill. Times change. In Smallville, Watchtower has two enemies: Zod and Checkmate. There could be a three-sided war. Temporarily at least, Luthorcorp has merged with Queen Industries and is run by Oliver Queen so it is no longer a threat.

Checkmate has internal sections that are secret from each other. How does Waller know about a threat from Apokolis?

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Smallville: Escape

Three couples:

Clark and Lois;
Ollie and Chloe;
Zod and Tess.

Clark, Lois, Ollie and Zod existed in the comics. Chloe is Lois' cousin and Tess is Lex's half-sister.

A post-Crisis comic books villain: the Silver Banshee. I don't think she possessed women before? Did she speak conversationally before? In the DC universe, legends of family ghosts come with a lot of detailed information about, e.g., how to open or close portals from the Underworld.

I already knew from Wiki info etc that Chloe would be married first to Jimmy Olsen, then to Oliver Queen. I never suspected that:

Chloe's Jimmy was not our Jimmy;
their marriage would end not in a split but in his death.

Does this mean that the Ollie and Dinah of this continuity never get together?

Addenda: How come Zod has Kryptonian powers now but not before?
This Clark-Lois relationship is different in every way from the one in the first Superman story. Then, Clark was acting klutzy and they wouldn't have shared a bed in any case.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Alan Moore-Related Posts

About Superman
Getting Superman Right
Comics And Science Fiction
Dead, Not Really
Different Takes On Superman
The Last Superman Of Earth-1 Comics
Fictions Within Fictions Within Reality
Life And Art II
Trilogies: Final Year?

About Miracleman

About Watchmen

About Jerusalem (also here, here and here)

About V For Vendetta

About The Killing Joke

an interview (also see here and here)

About Voice Of The Fire (and here)

About Swamp Thing (on Gotham City, see here and here)
(for the universe, see here)

About Halo Jones (also here

Between the Pedestals of Night and Morning

We have established that there is an affinity between:

James Elroy Flecker;
Poul Anderson;
SM Stirling;
Neil Gaiman -

- poetry, prose fiction and graphic fiction.

Gaiman quotes Flecker's "The Bridge of Fire" as being particularly appropriate, at the beginning of his The Sandman: The Wake. I reread this poem for help in meditation, then thought that readers of Anderson's and Stirling's works might also find it resonant.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Smallville: Persuasion

I do not understand why red sunlight will give the Kandorians superpowers.

Chloe tells Clark that the future they saw is changing. Surely what happened was that Lois visited a future with Chloe and Clark in it?

Clark destroys two city towers with heat vision. Surely this endangers lives?

A while back, the Kryptonian orb disappeared and was then anonymously mailed to Clark (I think to Clark). Who mailed it?

Smallville: Warrior

Smallville has:

a superhero story within the superhero story, Warrior Angel;

powerful magicians, Zatara and Zatanna.

Combining these two premises, the episode called Warrior has Zatara magically rewriting and cursing a valuable copy of Warrior Angel, no 1. The rewrite is that, when betrayed, Warrior Angel becomes a super-villain. The curse is that the first reader of the copy becomes Warrior Angel and, when betrayed, becomes a super-villain. But Zatanna counteracts the curse.

A cursed superhero comic has a strong resonance with DC Comics on Earth Real.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

DC Superhero Film Continuities

The First Continuity
Superman tetralogy.
Batman tetralogy.
Superman Returns.

Batman trilogy.

Third (so far)
Man Of Steel.
Batman versus Superman.
Suicide Squad.

Third (to come)
Wonder Woman.
Justice League.

In Smallville Season 9

We are told that Lois Lane visits the future and returns three weeks later with no memories of the future. The present is not a place that can be returned to three weeks later. It is the time from which she departed and she did not return to that time. She traveled three weeks into the future, which would explain why she had no memories from any further future.

Of course, we are later told that she did travel a year into the future. While she is in that future, Clark tells her to travel back into the past and prevent this future. He cannot coherently believe that the moment in which he is speaking and which therefore exists can be prevented from existing.

A Justice Society that was so low key that Daily Planet reporters had never heard of it? They are shown with perfect fidelity to the originals.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Mysterious Alternative Timelines

Sometimes sf writers make evocative use of the concept of altered timelines. Poul Anderson does this in his Time Patrol series. See here and here.

In DC Comics, the character called "Doomsday" was introduced to kill Superman - like Moriarty with Sherlock Holmes. Doomsday kills Superman in at least three continuities, on the third occasion in an altered timeline:

Superman and Doomsday fight to the death both in (i) post-Crisis comics continuity and in (ii) the Batman versus Superman film;

(iii) when, in the Smallville TV series, Rokk from the future tells Clark of an altered timeline in which Doomsday killed Clark, Clark, forewarned, is able to ensure that he is not living in that timeline.

Smallville: Doomsday

I watched Smallville: Doomsday, then had to read a summary to make sense of it but it does make sense.

Henry James Olsen dies but his younger brother, "Jimmie" Olsen, will become a Daily Planet photographer. This is a recognized alternative fictional form of the death and resurrection myth. Henry James Olsen dies knowing that Clark was the Red-Blue Blur but not knowing "Superman."

Time Travel Issues
Superman inspired the Legion in the 31st century;
Rokk, a Legionnaire, time travels to the 21st century to visit Clark Kent before he became Superman;
Rokk returns to a 31st century in which history records that Clark died early, on a particular date, and there was no Superman;
Rokk returns to the 21st century to warn Clark and to try to change history back.

In the altered 31st century, was there:

no Legion?
no Rokk?
or a different version of Rokk who never joined a Legion and never time traveled to the 21st century?

Will Rokk get his original 31st century back or a third version?
Will he have duplicated himself by changing events?

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Smallville: Season 8, Concluding Episodes

Jimmy Olsen working in a bar owned by Mannheim, taking drugs, then working for Ollie. That gives us a whole new perspective on life, doesn't it?

Two Hamiltons, unrelated, different from each other and from the original! When the Hamilton based in Smallville died, I wondered if there would have to be another one in Metropolis.

Chloe on the run with Doomsday, then running from him. I am not sure what changed her mind but will re-watch the relevant section. It builds to a climax but I really hope that Doomsday is killed and stays dead this time. We can't have a Death of Superman because we haven't got a Superman yet.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Any Schmendrick

"Former Lord of Hell - - which is something any schmendrick can add to his resume these days." (1)
-copied from here.

In Kick-Ass, and maybe also in Smallville, it is like "former superhero" is something any schmendrick can add to his resume:

Lana Lang has become super-strong and super-fast;

Lois Lane has a very brief costumed career as Stiletto;

even Doomsday acts like a vigilante!

It looks like even the showdown with Doomsday is to happen before Clark becomes costumed. How will various people who know Clark not recognize him as Superman?

Current Reading And Viewing

Reading: Jerusalem, a prose novel by comics writer, Alan Moore, with a comic strip like cover. Some of the characters read comics. Three stages of Batman continuity are referenced:

a cinema serial;
a Superman-Batman team-up comic;
the films.

Viewing: Smallville dvds. I do not like the whole Doomsday theme. Doomsday was introduced in post-Crisis comics continuity merely to kill Superman. He does not need to be transferred to another continuity, especially not the way they do it here. Enough of a story could be generated just from Clark's adventures in Metropolis and his interactions with other characters.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Smallville: Hex II

See here.

Tim Hunter and Doctor Occult watch Zatara in Neil Gaiman's Books Of Magic.

Zatanna trying to get her father back is an old idea because, in her earliest appearances, she was looking for Zatara - who had disappeared - with help from several superheroes before she assisted, then joined, the JLA.

In Smallville: Hex, Zatanna gives Ollie, who is building the JLA, her phone number. In the course of the episode, she has interacted with Ollie and Clark although not with any other superheroes as yet.

The basis of magic needs to be clarified. Do magicians deal with gods, demons or energy? Speaking the spells backwards does not seem to have been carried over into Smallville.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Smallville: Hex

Chloe and Zatanna! ("Zatanna" rhymes with "Satan-ah.")

I knew that the Jimmy-Chloe marriage would not last but I thought that it would last longer than a couple of episodes. Jimmy behaves abominably. He has just married Chloe and has said that nothing can come between them. She wants to address their problems so he should at least try. Chloe's and Ollie's joint involvement in the proto-JLA can now bring them together although is there anything between Ollie and Dinah in this continuity?

Zatanna tries to resurrect her father, John Zatara, who first appeared in Action Comics, no 1, as did Superman, and died in Swamp Thing, no 50, by Alan Moore, although the circumstances of Zatara's death must be different in the Smallville continuity.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Copied from here.

We referred to DC Comics Crisis on Infinite Earths here while discussing the Smallville TV series. Now we should refer to it again while discussing Alan Moore's Jerusalem.

"A jackboxer from the Manhattan saltbogs of 5070 had managed to bring down a young ichthyosaurus with his whorpoon..."
-Alan Moore, Swamp Thing: A Murder Of Crows (New York, 2001), p. 85.

"...barbed and ornate wolf-killing 'vulpoons'..."
-Alaon Moore, Jerusalem (New York, 2016), p. 970.

A "vulpoon" is not the same as a "whorpoon" but the coinage was sufficiently similar to make me reread Swamp Thing. Both are future weapons. Jerusalem, astonishingly, moves into what we call the future although ghosts can walk there.

Continuity Cops

The Legion had not heard of Chloe Sullivan (see here) and also were surprised to find Clark without tights, flights or glasses. Rokk thought that maybe the real Clark differed from his legend but the explanation was that Clark had not yet become the costumed superhero with a secret identity.

In post-Crisis continuity, the "Superboy" period of Clark's career was a legend so the Legion looking for Superboy would not have found him but the Time Trapper, for mysterious reasons, created a pocket universe with a Superboy and directed the time traveling Legionnaires into it. This is called "saving the appearances." There were several other instances of this post-Crisis:

multiple Earths existed until everything changed in the Crisis (that sounds like a fantastic reflection of Earth Real - "everything changed after the War");

Power Girl was not Kryptonian and Kal-El's cousin but Atlantean and Arion's granddaughter;

even J'onn J'onnz's green humanoid form was one of his metamorphoses;

Black Canary, not Wonder Woman, was a founding member of the JLA (later they changed continuity back again!);

the energy displaced in the Golden Age became the Young All-Stars, including the son of Hugo Danner and a new mother for Fury literally possessed by the Furies;

a new origin had to be found for Wonder Girl who had been a continuity anomaly in the first place.

DC are about to commit the biggest continuity crime of all with the Batman finding the Smiley button in the Cave! Who watches the watchmen?

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

"Long Live The Legion!"

I remembered that Chloe was supposed to have forgotten Clark's secret but I forgot that she had been abducted by Doomsday! And anyone reading this blog will have seen Smallville years ago and forgotten the sequence of events.

The Legion are great! I remember their first appearance in Adventure Comics. Metafiction: in Smallville, the Legion has never heard of Chloe Sullivan. Well, they had never heard of her before.

The Legion ring that Rokk gives to Clark is just for time travel so he should not be able to use it to reverse events as he does in "Infamous." Either do time travel well or don't do it.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Smallville: Infamous

OK. I realize that I have accidentally skipped over the "Legion" episode, which is probably why I am having a problem with continuity. However, if what Clark does with the Legion ring is time travel, then he should coexist with his younger self when he travels to the past. And, if it is not time travel but literally rewinding the rest of the universe around him - this has happened before in Smallville -, then it is even more absurd.

Smallville has had good dramatic situations with the main characters but it did not need Maxima and does not need "changing the past."

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Smallville: Requiem

An excellent version of the Toyman, connected to both Ollie and Lex. It is appropriate that Lex watches the Toyman through the eye of a doll.

Lex devises a diabolical plan to keep Clark and Lana apart. Lex himself is apparently dead at the end - killed by Ollie although the suspect is Schott.

Queen Industries and Luthorcorp have merged. It is amazing how much can happen before Clark becomes Superman.

I still think that there is an inconsistency. Chloe had been made to forget about Clark's abilities but now knows about them again.


Is there an inconsistency in Smallville, Season 8? Clark has brought it about that Chloe no longer remembers that he had special abilities. However, in "Power," he discusses his abilities with Chloe and she remembers them.

Lana is now super-powered and restarting her relationship with Clark? She has been super-powered before but we know that the relationship cannot last.

Although Clark will become Superman, he will not become either of the two current screen versions of Superman. There is one in the feature films and another in the Supergirl TV series.

Comics In Prose Fiction

Copied from here.

Some characters in novels must read comics. Stieg Larsson tells us how the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo got her nickname, "Wasp," but David Lagercrantz tells us instead that she named herself after the Marvel Comics Wasp.

In Alan Moore's Jerusalem, a boy growing up in Northampton in the 1960s reads about:

Iron Man battling Kala, the Queen of the Underworld;
Spiderman fighting the Vulture;
Superman and Batman meeting when young;
the Skrulls;
the Human Torch;
Starro the Conqueror;
the Baxter Building;
Avengers Mansion;
the Fortress of Solitude.

He reads Strange Tales, Fantasy Masterpieces, Fantastic Four and Thor with "Tales of Asgard" by Jack Kirby.

I remember the Skulls, Starro and the regular Superman-Batman team-up in World's Finest Comics.

Friday, 27 January 2017

The Red And Blue Blur

(Clark Kent, reporter, undercover as a cop.)

In a novel by Elliot S! Maggin and also I think in pre-Crisis comics, there were reports of a mysterious "Smallville Angel" preventing accidents and disasters before Clark went public as Superboy. In a later continuity, when Clark had not had a "Superboy" period in his career, there were nevertheless unconfirmed sightings of "the Superboy" running very fast around Smallville.

In Smallville, there is a Red and Blue Blur before there is a Superman in Metropolis. The Blur and the Green Arrow are two vigilantes. Clark's cop partner gives him the standard "badges versus capes" argument that has been familiar since Watchmen.

This post has referred to maybe five continuities:

a novel;
pre-Crisis comics;
post-Crisis comics;
a TV series;
a graphic novel.

Smallville: Bride

Zod and Faora's son, Doomsday, abducts Lois Lane's cousin, Chloe Sullivan, from her wedding to Jimmy Olsen at the Kent farm. Before the abduction, Lois discusses her feelings towards Clark with her ex, Oliver Queen. Tess Mercer, illegitimate daughter of Lionel Luthor and half-sister of Lex Luthor, was on the island with Oliver. Of these eleven characters, only three were specially created for Smallville although all the relationships between the characters have changed.

In Arrow, Shado, Shado's father and a version of Fyres were on the island with Ollie.

Addendum: I should have mentioned Lana Lang who, like Ollie, tracks Lex and shows at the wedding. There is a sense of important events occurring again.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Smallville: Early Season 8

Who works on the Kent farm now that Clark is living there but commuting to work at The Daily Planet in Metropolis?

Who mailed the Crystal to Clark?

Where is Lana?

Where is Lex?

Where will Kara look for Kandor?

I had some questions about Faora but they have been answered here.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Smallville: Toxic

Smallville: "Toxic" gives us the Smallville versions of:

Ollie on the island;
what happened to Ollie's parents.

Ollie survived for two, not five, years on the island, then there were other people there, totally different from any other version. Much later, when he knows Clark in Metropolis, Ollie is given evidence that Lionel Luthor had murdered his parents.

Luthorcorp owns the Daily Planet but why does the Luthorcorp CEO base herself in the Planet building instead of in the Luthorcorp building?

Smallville seems to be treated as a suburb of Metropolis. We have already been told that, from a high enough point, the city is visible from the town, like looking into the future.

From Starling City And The Island Back To Smallville And Metropolis

On dvds, I have gone from Arrow, Season One, final episode, to Smallville, Season Eight, episode 1. On the island, Ollie kills Fyres who had killed Shado's father.

In Starling City:

the good guys switch off the Undertaking device just in time but there is another device;
Ollie saves the Glades but not the East Side of the City;
Glades residents loot before escaping;
Moira is arrested;
Martin Merlyn has been publically exposed by Moira and defeated by Ollie - but is he arrested or does he escape?;
Ollie and Laurel are back together;
Tommie dies saving Laurel.

In Smallville:

the scenery and action make it look more like a feature film than a TV episode;
the Martian Manhunter gets Clark's powers back for him but loses his own but they will have to return;
with Lionel dead and Lex missing, there is a new acting Luthorcorp CEO;
Chloe has lost her healing power but gained enhanced intelligence (?);
there are versions of Ollie and Dinah different from those in Arrow;
there is a proto-JLA, as in the DC movieverse;
this JLA is Ollie, Dinah, Clark, Arthur Curry, Cyborg, Bart and the Martian Manhunter;
they are saboteurs/terrorists to Luthorcorp;
Clark leaves the farm and starts at the Planet but is not yet in costume.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Arrow: Season One

The Hood can be Oliver Queen or John Diggle. It seems that there was no Black Canary before there was a Hood. Despite his almost super-heroic strength and martial arts skills, Oliver meets his match in Merlyn who becomes the fifth person to know that Oliver is the Hood. Oliver thinks that he will hang up the Hood after preventing the Undertaking and therefore gets back together with Laurel. I have yet to watch the last episode.

I first encountered Green Arrow in a comic book and Blackhawk in a cinema serial, both in the 1950s. Now there is a Blackhawk security firm in an Arrow TV series. There is also a Coast City, Central City and Bludhaven but there might not be a Metropolis since Supergirl, and therefore also Superman, is in a different universe.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017


Mike Grell's Green Arrow became a killer whereas the vigilante in Arrow kills from the beginning, having learned it on the island.

Both the masked vigilante of Gotham City and the hooded vigilante of Starling City are strong, fast and skilled enough to defeat any number of opponents without apparent effort. This puts them in a category intermediate between heroes and superheroes.

In Smallville and Arrow, flashbacks to years ago show the actors as much younger. Is this CGI?

The third last episode of Arrow Season One shows the Queen's Gambit departing and Merlyn's instrument of ethnic cleansing arriving.

Monday, 9 January 2017

A Changing Origin Story

Originally, Oliver Queen learned archery on a mesa but later it was changed to an island.

The Longbow Hunters summarized the island origin story and introduced two new ongoing characters, Shado and Eddie Fyers.

The Year One Annual put one other person on the island.

GAY1 put a lot of other people on the island; Ollie lied when he said he was alone.

Arrow put a different large group of people on the island, including among them Shado and a different version of Fyers. Shado teaches Ollie archery. Arrow also made Queen's motivation more like that of the Batman. The hooded archer vigilante is an avenger, not an adventurer. He is fulfilling his dead father's last wish and is targeting a list of named criminals, not crime in general. The Batman's only specific target was Joe Chill. In Arrow, Queen goes straight to a hood without a mask but nevertheless conceals his face.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Origins And Essences

Superman has to be strong and fast and to wear a recognizable version of the familiar costume. Flight became an essential power very early. I do not think that an extraterrestrial origin is essential. In Smallville, Clark Kent could be a meteor freak.

The Batman has to:

see his parents shot dead in front of him at the age of five;
train hard for twenty years;
be inspired by a bat flying through the window;
dress like a bat to fight crime;
hang out in the Cave -

- but why did Joe Chill not kill the witness, Bruce?

Wonder Woman has to be a super-strong Amazon.

Aquaman has to be amphibious and strong and fast under water but not necessarily Atlantean.

The Flash would be nothing without speed but his top speed can vary a lot.

The Martian Manhunter has to be a Martian with unusual powers.

Oliver Queen:

has to get off a yacht and onto an island where he will learn archery and survival skills;
falls and swims or is thrown and floats or escapes in a lifeboat when the sabotaged yacht sinks;
is alone or very far from alone on the island;
is self-taught or taught;
in the Year One Annual, escapes from one island only to land on another;
in Arrow, returns to a complicated family scenario that did not exist in previous versions.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Three Alan Moore Quiz Questions

I am making a long reach here but why not?

(i) In which two works does Alan Moore adapt the song-title, "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," in different contexts?

(ii) In which two works does Alan Moore invent different although related meanings for the letters, "N.F.," which, in British politics, stand for "National Front"?

(iii) In which two works does Alan Moore refer, in different ways, to 1984?

Clue: of these six works, five are comic strips and one is a prose novel, of which Moore has so far written only two. Because of the preponderance of comics, I have posted these questions on Comics Appreciation rather than here where I am currently discussing Moore's prose fiction.