As the year nears its end, let’s look back on the past of the future. Tomorrow was different back then.
Edmond Hamilton was a science fiction writer and primary driver behind Captain Future, a juvenile-oriented space opera series. Known as the “Man of Tomorrow” and “Wizard of Science,” The Captain sailed through many adventures…
Hey, wait, what’s he doing fighting that other Man Of Tomorrow? And did he get a promotion?
Colonel Future appeared in Superman #378 in 1982, and threw down with Supes. But who is this mystery man?
Upon recovering from his ordeal, Hamilton did what any scientist would do in his situation…. don a retro-futuristic costume and embark on a career of crime.
A man gifted and cursed with the power to see the future…. but only when in mortal danger. This was a pretty wild idea in comics at the time, and kinda blew my 12-year old mind.
Superman flies off to find Colonel Future stealing more scientific equipment, and once again fails to stop him. Our Hero begins to wonder if the Colonel really is a man from the future, as he seems to know exactly how to best Superman at every turn.
Following another defeat, Supes flies off to deal with the threatening asteroid…
The good Colonel learned his lesson… or so it seemed.
Colonel Hamilton returned in 1984…
…after having a vision that convinced him Superman was soon going to die.
Unlike the first story, which was pretty clever and engaging, this one turned out to be rather lame. The guy at the end of the page is dressed as Superman to collect for a charity drive. Several others are doing the same, and some criminals get the idea of infiltrating by wearing Superman costumes and stealing the money. Through a complicated event chain, Hamilton ends up in a costume and gets shot at and techinically dies until resuscitated by Superman, fulfilling his vision.
The story did give us this neat sequence, though –
There’s also a brief scene of Hamilton congratulating a Dr. Isaacs on a proposal for a navigation system for the space shuttle. Perhaps a shout-out to another science fiction writer turned supervillain?
BONUS ROUND: In 1978, four years before this Colonel Future appeared, there was another version in a retro-style Superman story set in the 1940s…
The Colonel was of course stopped, and four years later he appeared again, lamenting how his failure to kill Superman had hurt his standing among the supervillain community –
And that was it for this version of the Colonel. He was last seen in July 1982, a mere 5 months before the jetpack version first showed up and replaced him.
Indeed, the first Colonel didn’t even get a write-up in 1985’s Who’s Who series, listing nearly every DC Comics character that ever appeared, while the not-so-villainous villain version got a full page…
So just how did Edmond Hamilton come to be connected to Superman, anyhow? A couple of readers wrote in asking that it be explained for younger readers, and one even suggested a possible inspiration for the story of Colonel Future –
Strangely, the editor’s response didn’t mention that longtime Superman editor Mort Weisinger created Captain Future in the first place!
Extra Trivia Bonus: Captain Future’s real name was Curt Newton. The first appearance of each version of Colonel Future was drawn by legendary Superman artist Curt Swan, who drew some of Hamilton’s Superman stories. A second appearance of the first Colonel was drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger. All of which, I’m sure, probably amused the writers and editor of the stories.
Amazon Prime is promoting Back To The Future Day all over their site, with a huge banner video on top of the pages, and streaming all 3 movies for free. I decided to watch Back To The Future II, partly because I have only seen it a couple times (less than the third, and far less than the first), and because it’s the movie which centers around today’s date.
A few random thoughts…
Alternate 1985 Biff looks strikingly like Donald Trump.
I forgot how good some of the special effects were. Absolutely outstanding for the, uh, time.
Doc’s shades. Metal awesomeness.
I want to hang out at the 80s Cafe.
J-Pop night’s unexpected (even by me) surprise encore does science! and research.
So this post about Vanilla Mood earlier tonight included the song “Harusaki Kobeni,” which is a rather poppy song. At the time, I did a quick youtube search to find the original by Akiko Yano but had no idea what I was reading since all results came back in Japanese, and
I’m too lazy an internationally famous nighttime DJ like myself doesn’t have time to mess with that sort of thing.
Enter wdydfae, who commented –
The song apparently goes back to the early 80s and was sung by Akiko Yano, backed by none other than Yellow Magic Orchestra, the milestone techno fusion band. It was quite a thing at the time.
During his research he discovered a post about the song on a site called Kayo Kyoku Plus, which explains that the song is about “enthusiastically admiring the cherry blossoms.” Enthusiastic is an understatement.. the song is so ferociously upbeat it makes last week’s relentlessly cheery songs seem like dirges –
The song was such a hit that it was used in a commercial for Kanebo Cosmetics –
So very 1981.
The writer of the KKP site relates an apocryphal story…
I found out a rather interesting piece of trivia that I’m still not totally convinced about. Yano has had professional relationships with a wide variety of Western artists ranging from Janis Siegel of The Manhattan Transfer to Thomas Dolby.There is the famous line in Dolby’s biggest hit, “She Blinded Me With Science” in which he sings, “Good heavens, Miss Sakamoto! You’re beautiful!”Apparently, Yano had been observing the recording of the song, and Dolby was referring to her, since she had been married to YMO’s Ryuichi Sakamoto（坂本龍一） at the time. This is according to J-Wiki, but at another site, Miss Sakamoto is supposed to refer to their daughter, Miyu（美雨）, who is now also a musician but was only around 1 year old when “Science”came out. Not sure if this is true or not…just throwing it out there.
Few know that Isaac Asimov had a second career, apparently traveling and giving nighttime lectures under an assumed name [click image to embiggen]…
A clever disguise, even better than Clark Kent’s.
Skipping ahead a bit…
So the lecture circuit is just a cover for his real career…. arch-supervillain! Jimmy of course finds a way to signal his pal Superman…
Turns out he wasn’t really dead (no one ever is in comics, including Superman himself, who was killed in 1992), instead giving up his career as a supervillain and returning to the life of a science and sci-fi writer.
If you’re wondering how the hell DC Comics could publish something like this without getting sued…. that’s a story for another post.
Stolen without shame from John C. Wright –
Tomorrow at 9.26 and 53 seconds, it will be
Which is pi.
This will happen only once in the history of time.
The world ends. Prepare yourself.
(unless you are not on military time, in which case it happens twice, am and pm)
A bit more numerologizing at his site. No mention, however, regarding apple pi, American Pi, four of fish and finger pi, or private investigators. Disappointing, as one would expect a man of his intellect and wit to have a finger in every pi.
We saw the movie today. John C. Wright discusses it here, in depth and excellently, but DO NOT read it unless you have seen the movie. In Wright’s own words –
…And here I must draw a line and ask no one to step across it who has not seen the film. My main problem is that, for me, the movie worked on so many levels, as hard SF, as pure storytelling, as religious allegory, I don’t know what to say without spoiling it for the virgin viewer.
So there are spoilers in the following column, and these will diminish your enjoyment of this masterpiece going in, I assure you. Only readers who have already seen the film are allowed to read further.
Go see it. I cannot, can NOT, recommend it highly enough.
…or just dropping it in an unmarked grave somewhere?
A man living as a woman who suddenly passed away from a brain aneurysm was buried as “Geoffrey” not “Jennifer.”
Okay, whatever. I don’t care what name a person wants on their headstone. I don’t think it’s a big deal how the family chooses to lay to rest one of its members, since the deceased isn’t really going to be worried about it at that point. But again, I really don’t care how anyone outside of my own family handles funerals.
But now California has passed the Respect After Death Act –
It requires any official responsible for completing a transgender person’s death certificate to ensure it represents the deceased person’s gender expression, as documented in other government-issued documents, or evidenced by gender confirmation medical procedures.
Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center, a cosponsor of the bill, said this was a “common-sense bill that will help protect the dignity of our loved ones upon their passing.”
This is where the failure to think ahead comes in. Will the deaths of transgenders make note of their transgender status? If not, more deaths will be statistically attributed to women. For one, suicide rates are abnormally high among transgender people. After this law, will the numbers read as suicides among women increasing? Will fewer women die from breast cancer, statistically speaking? How will this affect statistics and subsequent medical research?
Then again, this might be a Blow For Equality in disguise. Men generally die younger than women… if transgender men are listed as women when they die, that would help achieve statistical Age Of Death Parity among men and women.
Bu maybe this is exactly what progressives want. If women can be numerically shown to be dying younger and more often, feminists can agitate for more government favors.
I find it amusing somehow that the article was posted under Yahoo’s “Parenting” section.
[Or: “Too Cool For JUST School”]
In keeping with what seems to be the New School trend around here these days…
Jet-powered school bus. Everyone should own one.
Watch all the way to the end.
Hat tip to VodkaPundit
Friday Night. Halloween. 12:30 AM EST. Rocktober’s Final Friday Night Videos has arrived… like fist to face.
You can’t kill the metal!
It comes from hell!
Halloween is scary.
Halloween is costumes.
Halloween is metal.
The apex, the sum total, of Halloween is
No one can destroy BatMetal!
BatMetal will strike you down with a vicious blow!