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Author Topic: Science Optimism in Superman  (Read 3438 times)
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TELLE
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« on: June 15, 2006, 04:38:20 PM »

I love the way the Argo City survivors gather around Zor-El as he explains how they are going to survive.  The Superman comics of the Silver Age displayed such an optimism about science and scientists that is truly refreshing.

 http://superman.nu/wiki/index.php/Zor-El

Of course, the down-side was also there in the form of Luthor and addled inventors like Prof. Potter.

 Cheesy
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2006, 08:01:29 AM »

"We can stay alive indefinitely!" Man, if Zor-El lived on Earth, he'd be working for the oil industry.
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2006, 04:05:00 PM »

Well, this WAS during the "Our Friend the Atom" 1950s-60s, where most Americans truly believed in the "Big, Bright, Beautiful Tomorrow", so such wishful thinking wasn't confined to Argo City.   :wink:
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2006, 07:38:48 PM »

Well, kind of a mixture of horrible destruction or beautiful paradise...if you look at a lot of stories, a malevolent technology and being often sets up the problem to be solved in the comic...
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2006, 09:00:40 AM »

If people ask what the difference is between Superman in the 1950s and Superman in the 1960s, I think we just hit the nail on what it is: science fiction elements, with Superman treated as FLASH GORDON with death ray vision. Space Opera grandeur with STAR WARS-type battles and Isaac Asimov/ERB/Heinlein would have to wait until Julie Schwartz, but Superman living in an over the top, but nonetheless identifiable as science fiction world with gadgetry, progress, Hugo Gernsback-esque scientists in art deco cities, ornithopters, robots...these things came in with guys like Edmond Hamilton, himself a (great) science fiction writer.

As strange as some of Superman's sixties stories were, they were very different as a result of these science fiction elements than say, the Captain Marvel stories of the 1950s, which often involved villains with elaborate practical jokes.

As over the top and acid-trip weird as Superman got in the sixties, just the same you could learn tons and tons of science by reading his book (not as much in the Schwartz books like the Flash and the Atom, but plenty just the same).
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« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2006, 12:44:05 PM »

There is a strange beauty to the universe in many of the stories from that era, which is sometimes almost poetic: Superman, stranded in Krypton's past, uses a sniper rifle to affect events on Earth, or creates an interplanetary funnel of water to transport the citizens of Atlantis to a new world. It is a universe that is not browbeaten by boring physics: you not only can travel faster than light, but you often do, and planets will stop in their orbits to accomodate you.
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