Maybe Count's First Nitpick

As a youth two of the earliest comics I ever owned were a pair of 100-page digest-sized Superman reprints detailing some of Superman's most absurd adventures. These were some of my earliest experiences with the character (I'm sure cartoons and commercials had first introduced him to me).

I recently rediscovered one of them, a themed book detailing some of the many other secret identities that Superman had been forced to use over the years. The collection is bookended by stories about Superman-as-other-superheroes, in the last story memory loss convinces Clark Kent that he's the flash, while Barry Allen becomes convinced that he's Superman. The first, charmingly, concerns Jor-El using a future-telling machine to help him decide which planet he should send his newborn son to.

The twist is that on each planet fate would conspire to transform him into a different member of the Justice League. On a planet of Giants he'd be Atom, on a Waterworld he'd be Aquaman (still weirdly able to control fish, for some reason), on a red-sun medieval Earth his gift for invention would turn him into Green Arrow, and on a red-sun planet identical to Earth, for no good reason, he would become the Flash, and then die by accidentally running off into space.

The most interesting one, however, was the red-sun near-future planet where he'd become Batman because he would be raised by a former lawman to be the ultimate crimefighter. Kind of like Batman Beyond, actually. The writer decided to make the planet as much like Gotham City as possible by announcing that it's always night there.

Let's set aside the environmental consequences of that for a second, and check the explanation for this bizarre phenomenon:

(click to bigify)

This is what got me as a child - why would someone build a satellite so large that it would cover a planet's view of the sun? It's only now, reading it again over twenty years later, that I realize what happened, and it's yet another example of the problem of writing, drawing, and publishing comics on such a tight schedule that there was essentially no oversight.

The writer, thinking that it would be a good idea to work in the 'voice' of Jor-El, a brilliant scientist, uses the accurate word for something orbiting the planet, "satellite", and then didn't bother to describe a 'moon' in the visual section of the script.

It's nice when the mysteries of childhood are solved, even if it's just one of the inconsequential ones.

Oh, and before you ask, no, the future machine couldn't have helped with the imminent destruction of Krypton, in fact, it accurately predicted that even if they used it to convince the science council of Jor-El's theories, there wasn't enough time left to build full-sized rockets to ferry people to safety.

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