2020. Wow! It’s really here.
Back in 1980, Superman comics depicted the future world of 2020…
So no, we are not living in floating cities with flying cars and controlled weather. Much less having a superhero around.
That’s the downside. On the upside, we’re not living in this either…
Ya know, if DC Comics had any smarts at all, they would be selling a Superman 2020 collection right now, maybe with a new story or two included. Not just to coincide with the arrival of the year 2020, but the concept was perfectly suited to our Current Year in its wokeness.
See for yourself…
It’s got nazis! And a sop to concerns about overpopulation as well.
The nazis even have their own cool salute…
…and predicted the soyboy epidemic.
And best of all…
…even though these “Purists” are totally racist, they’re also not racist at all. Now that’s a hell of a trick.
Seriously, DC could make sales from a high-concept series and score virtue-signaling points all at once. They accidentally stumbled across a form of wokeness that might actually make a profit.
Then again, they might get in trouble for this…
Even in the imaginary future, some things never change.
Happy New Year!
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.
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.
There is a man who wears red and lives at the North Pole who, one Christmas Eve, delivers presents to children all around the world.
No, not that guy…
From this comic, where Superman teamed up with Santa Claus to stop the villainous Toyman from corrupting children with his evil toys.
The best part is when Supes, of all fictional people, doesn’t believe in Santa. At least Santa shows up on the NORAD tracker.
BONUS: Had to post this pic from the ’40s just for fun.
…explained in one page.
Originally from “The Sale of The Century” by Craig Boldman, Kurt Schaffenberger, and Bob Oksner. They don’t make comics like that anymore, sadly.
Going for the obvious finish to this post…
Your government wishes you a happy Dependence Day.
Okay, I can’t be completely cynical. Have another one.
Hope you’re all having a happy 4th.
Bonus pic, click to embiggen –
Batman is 75 years old today, first appearing in Detective Comics #27, which hit newsstands onMarch 30th, 1939. Along with Superman, he is one of the longest running continuing characters to be published without interruption, something that had never been done before or since (although Wonder Woman is set to hit 75 in a couple of years).
That said, he looks pretty young for his age.
This is the guy who ninja-trained Roissy.
Remember the days when it was the Superman movies that were awesome and the Batman movies… not so much? Now The Dark Knight is the height of excellence.
It’s International Women’s Day and artist aleXsandro Palombo has done a series called “What Kind Of Man Are You?” featuring images of well-known cartoon characters in scenes of domestic violence.
Characters include Prince Charming and Snow White, The Flintstones, and The Simpsons, among others. I’m not sure what kind of statement he’s trying to make beyond the equivalent of flying a ribbon from your car antenna, but I think he missed the target here. This image, for example…
…isn’t particularly striking, pardon the pun, since we’ve seen Homer do worse to Bart almost since Day One. If anything, Marge is getting off easy (and I seem to recall Maggie launching an unprovoked attack at Homer at one point).
As for the superhero images, they’re pretty tame (seriously, after being hit by Superman, Wonder Woman shouldn’t even have a head anymore). Even the Super Friends cartoon, which looks to be the inspiration here, was more dynamic and energetic. But more importantly, he didn’t need to come up with some new image to show Superman committing domestic violence – there’s tons upon tons of source material in the actual comics.
Those are way niftier ways of trying to murder the one you love, especially if you have super powers. Gotta put some style in your game. But I digress.
So it’s established that Supes was not very nice to his girlfriend. But domestic violence is not always one-sided. Often the woman is an aggressor as well. It’s not as well known because women are generally less likely to manage causing physical harm to the man, which is illuminated through the extreme situation of the Superman-Lois dynamic… what’s she gonna do to him without taking extreme measures?
Which she’s done. Repeatedly. It’s only fair to look at things from Superman’s side of the story and see how Lois has treated him.
Superman isn’t the only one to be the victim of his girlfriend turning on him. Batman’s crazy cat lady squeeze dropped a hurt on him something fierce.
Another aspect of domestic violence that is not often mentioned is that there are times when the woman starts the fight, provoking him into retaliating or sometimes even forcing the man into defending himself. With his greater strength, he is more likely to visibly injure the woman.
The unstated assumption here appears to be that those with power will abuse it unless shamed into restraining themselves. Delving into characters like these undermines the concept – comics and cartoons are loaded with Women Of Power. Aside from Superman, who is more powerful than Wonder Woman? In addition, unlike the caped Boy Scout, she was explicitly trained to fight and even kill. So should we expect a scene like this?