BEING A SLIGHT
EXPLANATION OF THE REAL STORIES
OF SOME COMIC BOOK "SUPERHEROES" IN THE WNU
Please bear with me while I enter forbidden territory. I am now about to talk about something that most WNU scholars shun. It is something that even my living source from the Wold Newton Universe has only confirmed with a great deal of reluctance. There are "super" heroes in the WNU whose exploits have been recorded in our universe through various media but mainly in the medium of the so-called "comic" or "funny" books. The scope of this article is not to discuss all those characters who exist in the WNU and also exist in the pages of the so called "funny" books, such as The Phantom, Zorro, Jonah Hex, Archie Andrews, Dick Tracy, etc. but rather the high profile "super" heroes who have "powers beyond those of mortal men".
We all know
Superman, although not the exaggerated version prevalent in post war
existed in the WNU as did his friend and relative by marriage, Batman.
research has uncovered the existence of the Sub-Mariner, Captain
The Spirit, Neptune Perkins, Plastic Man, his son Elongated Man, the war time super soldier projects, Gladiator, Rebirth, X and M which gave us the "superheroes" Captain America, Invisible Agent, Creature Commandos, The Unknown Soldier.
Dr. Nevins has explored some of the truths behind the so called "super" heroes of the war effort. He has effectively demonstrated that the "Human Torch" of "comic" book fame had some basis in reality but was special effects wizardry performed by a stage magician (Norgil) and an inventor of some repute (Click Rush).
Also examined by Dr. Nevins were the story of the "Whizzer" a super speed hero also of some repute. The realistic basis for this tale was a British special operations program using Professor Alfred Gibberne's drug the "accelerator.
"This stimulant gave the human body super speed; that is, once taken a human being could run at speeds so great that other humans were reduced to statues, and miles could be covered in the space of seconds." The drug was however fatally flawed most women and men died after taking one dose their systems unable to take the tremendous increase in the metabolic rate. There was also the extreme danger of moving too rapidly while under the influence of the drug. Many a volunteer burst into flames upon reaching too high a velocity.
Dr. Nevins has uncovered a possible reality-based explanation of the "comic" book hero, Green Lantern. The Green Lantern was in fact an alien device used by an unknown person. However the powerful radiations exuded from the "lantern" poisoned and eventually killed the person who had used it. The lantern is (purportedly) in a U.S. government owned warehouse that contains among many other artifacts, the arc of the covenant, the remnants of Martian (Sarmak) war machines, a mangled T800 arm and a host of other objects too dangerous for the common citizenry to even know about.
There are others of course, not many but quite a few. The real exploits of the "super" heroes are overshadowed by voluminous output of the "comic" book industry. There are literally thousands of characters whose exploits posit destruction and death on epic proportions just about every week. It is easy to loose sight of the fact that out of the thousands of characters out there, some of the comics are based on a handful of real people. Dr. Nevins has explored some of this content in his scholarly articles.
We must first understand that although the "comic" book characters and exploits are based on real people they are highly fictionalized, often to a point where the true character is unrecognizable so far as its comic book persona or continuity are concerned.
The reason for this of course is deliberate, it adds to the mystery of the character. It also creates a fundamental disbelief about the reality of the character that allows him or her to operate without a great deal of press coverage, although a few characters such as Superman or the Spider did get constant press.
Most of these
vigilantes followed the example set by Superman and licensed the use of
characters by the comic book industry and sometimes the film and radio
television media. Superman did this at first because he wished to make
alien origins seem less ominous or frightening. This actually had the
making most people disbelieve their veracity. He also wished to warn
that there was a new force to be reckoned with. Since comics also until
recently provided a bit of moral guidance to children, he thought that
example of a good super strong character easily defeating evil
help children stay on the right moral path. Then there was the money,
comic book companies paid an annual or monthly fee for the use of the
and royalties based on the sale of books. Most of the characters we
donated their proceeds to charity, some did not. Those that did not
be judged too harshly, for crime fighting can be an expensive business
money had to come from somewhere, especially if crime fighting becomes
obsession that it tends to crowd out your day job.
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© 2001 by
the author, Dennis E. Power. No
copying or reproduction of this article or any portions thereof in any form whatsoever is permitted
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© 2001 Dennis Power