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Author Topic: Was the Phantom Zone inspired by "A Christmas Carol?&qu  (Read 12393 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: October 06, 2006, 07:46:49 AM »

Obviously Uncle Morty and others read wildly, and obviously nothing in the book is a direct 1:1 correlation, but the idea that a horrific kind of punishment might be to be invisible, intangible, and unable to interact with the world...might have been inspired by Dickens's novel.

Take for instance, this passage:

Quote from: "A Christmas Carol"
It beckoned Scrooge to approach, which he did. When they were within two paces of each other, Marley’s Ghost held up its hand, warning him to come no nearer. Scrooge stopped.

Not so much in obedience, as in surprise and fear: for on the raising of the hand, he became sensible of confused noises in the air; incoherent sounds of lamentation and regret; wailings inexpressibly sorrowful and self-accusatory. The spectre, after listening for a moment, joined in the mournful dirge; and floated out upon the bleak, dark night.

Scrooge followed to the window: desperate in his curiosity. He looked out.

The air was filled with phantoms, wandering hither and thither in restless haste, and moaning as they went. Every one of them wore chains like Marley’s Ghost; some few (they might be guilty governments) were linked together; none were free. Many had been personally known to Scrooge in their lives. He had been quite familiar with one old ghost, in a white waistcoat, with a monstrous iron safe attached to its ankle, who cried piteously at being unable to assist a wretched woman with an infant, whom it saw below, upon a door-step. The misery with them all was, clearly, that they sought to interfere, for good, in human matters, and had lost the power for ever.
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2006, 05:15:53 PM »

Robert Bernstein certainly had the background where he would've been exposed to that.  The man is an unsung luminary, no doubt about it.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2006, 05:36:10 PM »

It seems a bit of a stretch for me, one being a place for those to go who have died with a long history of selfish deeds, the other a place to remove criminals to...the thing about the PZ to me was that the people retained all their physical appearance and desires though it seems like it might have been entertaining to be able to observe the universe like they could...

But I suppose there could have been some inspiration there...
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Permanus
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2006, 10:00:31 AM »

I always assumed (insofar as I ever really gave it any thought) that the Phantom Zone was a version of Hades as described in Greek mythology, especially the bit about paupers and people who have no friends being doomed to wander aimlessly along the banks of the Styx since they hadn't got the obole to pay for passage. An HG Wells short story also describes an out-of-body experience during which the protagonist witnesses the disembodied souls of the insane drifting around in similar fashion.

I have to say, though, that Dicken's evocation certainly does seem a lot like the Phantom Zone, especially the bit about the souls trying powerlessly to interfere in human affairs, something that Zod and co. are always trying to do.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2006, 12:15:19 PM »

It should be noted that earlier in this conversation, Marley's Ghost said to Scrooge, "I appear before you visible for but a single night. Many nights I have sat beside you invisibly." Scrooge shuddered at the obvious horror of this, but it does indeed sound very PZ-ish.

As an aside, despite the fact that this scene is so terrifying, the majority of film adaptations of A CHRISTMAS CAROL don't usually have it. The only one of the really "big" adaptations that has it is the John Barrymore technicolor version. The Barrymore version has Scrooge stare out a window to see hideous, barely substantial and transparent imps and elves dancing. I don't know whether it's the faded technicolor, but it was something you see under bad acid.
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Avilos
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2006, 03:27:08 AM »

Actually it is very clear that the Phantom Zone was directly inspired by the "Empty Doom" which appeared in the serial "Atom Man vs Superman".  Luthor, as the Atom Man, uses a device to banish Superman.
Just look at the last picture. While inside this "Empty Doom" Superman is able to watch people in our world as a PHANTOM. HE manages to use his mind to effect a typewriter to type a message for Lois. Who uses the machine to bring
Superman back. Sound familar? It is exactly the same concept, just that Luthor discovers it on his own.
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2006, 03:31:05 AM »

Quote from: "Avilos"
Actually it is very clear that the Phantom Zone was directly inspired by the "Empty Doom" which appeared in the serial "Atom Man vs Superman".  Luthor, as the Atom Man, uses a device to banish Superman.
Just look at the last picture. While inside this "Empty Doom" Superman is able to watch people in our world as a PHANTOM. HE manages to use his mind to effect a typewriter to type a message for Lois. Who uses the machine to bring
Superman back. Sound familar? It is exactly the same concept, just that Luthor discovers it on his own.


That makes a lot of sense.
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Avilos
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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2006, 03:36:12 AM »

Well I am not the first one to make the connection. But the first time I ever saw that serial the similarities were clear to me. Even without knowing others had made the connection. It is certainly one of the biggest things from a Superman media adaptation to be added to the comic books. But it is rarely listed along with Kryptonite, Perry, and Jimmy for some reason. Maybe because the name is different. Or just that so few people have seen the serials.
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