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Author Topic: Philip Jose Farmer and Krypton  (Read 2886 times)
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TELLE
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« on: May 03, 2006, 03:10:23 AM »

Just came across this great old article about the true origins of Superman, in the style of the Sherlock Holmes/PJ Farmer scholar, and thought I'd share the link with folks here who may not have seen it before.  Maybe it's been referred to here before, I dunno.  Lots of stuff about the science of Superman:

http://www.pjfarmer.com/secret/marvelous/supermanfamily/kryptondecrypted.htm
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« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2006, 08:50:01 PM »

Very good find. Way to go, Telle! I had to read that like, five or six times before I got the jist of it. What is it about the Wold-Newtonverse that leads people to speculate about linguistics for like, ten minutes?

Reading this, I can't help but be reminded of Comic Book Guy's speech in SIMPSONS comics: "I was able to return here by attaching a mother box to a Stargate, retro-fitted with a Bergenholm Drive guided by a positronic brain."

Some of the ideas are pretty interesting: the idea that one of the beefs that Zod had with Krypton was the presence of blondes, a sign of Capellan genes. The idea of connecting Thyoph to Krypton and Kryptonite was created by Thyophite merging with Kryptonite. Calling Jor-El the "Doc Savage of Krypton" really made my day.

The most mindblowing idea was that Golden Age Superman was a different person, Hugo Danner from GLADIATOR (who was in, another twist, a Thyoph). This is so brilliant it actually is astonishing no one thought of it before. Golden Age Superman had never been a Superboy - GLADIATOR accounts for his younger years before adulthood. Golden Age Superman had a pair of farmers that he outlived (the distinct personalities of Martha and John Kent would not be fixed until the Superboy series), and he didn't deal with Kryptonite, either. Further, GA Superman went after racketeers and political corruption - much as Danner tended to do.

Nonetheless, they failed to provide a rationale for why two men would use Clark Kent as a name and call themselves Superman.

The most interesting idea was the idea that a blood transfusion from Silver Age Superman was what gave Golden Age Superman (aka Hugo Danner) his full range of Kryptonian powers - a story that was fictionalized in "Superman-Red, Superman-Blue."

I've read many attempts to incorporate superheroes into the PJF Wold-Newton framework, but I think ultimately you've got your world of superspies and pulp detectives on one hand, and your world of superheroes and science fiction on the other. In other words, attempts to connect say Operator Number 5 and Charlie Chan together to Spider-Man are ultimately not going to be as successful as say, connecting science fiction stuff like LENSMAN, ERB's Mars, and the Stainless Steel Rat to Superman and Kang the Conqueror.

Al Shroeder's family tree for Captain America was interesting and worked because Captain America was a pulp-contemporary character, with limited powers and wasn't insanely over the top. Stating that he is the nephew of Long Tom from Doc Savage's Fab Five WORKS with Captain America, and it works with Batman - who is another pulp detective type, but putting Superman in that same framework would be seriously pushing it.

A superhero world is not fundamentally supposed to be like the "real" world that someone like James Bond or Tarzan lives in. Superhero worlds feature Galactus trying to devour the earth and the Whirlwind robbing banks. There is a lack of subtlety and an extreme departure from reality that makes it very different than our world - this was why after a while, DC-Earth stopped being "our" Earth and the concept of Earth-Prime was created. You can only have Ayer's Rock revealed to be a giant robot only SO OFTEN before suddenly it stops being "our" world. All attempts to reconcile the presence of weird powers and cosmic beings with our own world have been unsatisfactory because it means removing the lack of subtlety that is the defining element of the superhero.

For instance, someone once asked how the Fantastic Four could be a part of the Wold-Newtonverse, and the response that particular Wold-Newtonian gave was that the so-called "battle with Galactus" was an overly embellished account of their battle with an earthquake machine at the center of the earth. While that does sound interesting, it illustrates that there is something about the Wold-Newton that by its nature does not lend itself to superheroes perfectly.

Has anyone mentioned a possibility that Jessica Drew, the 1970s Spider-Woman, may have been related to Nancy Drew? Nancy Drew's lawyer father was stated to have been a lawyer-associate of Doc's assistant Ham back in the first Lin Carter PRINCE ZARKON story.
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2006, 05:04:28 PM »

Glad you liked it.  Alot of the concepts are unfamiliar to me.
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