Thursday, June 26, 2008
Love and the Gulf of Light-Years
For most of the history of the art form, comic books were written for kids, and often featured black-and-white moral conundrums, with equally simplistic solutions. In this issue of Action Comics from the early 1970s, Superman was faced with two Kryptonian survivors, an evil husband-and-wife team. In the final panel of the story, seen above, Superman offhandedly comments that he's imprisoned each criminal in a separate galaxy.
Wow. Not only is that unusually harsh, but think of the implications - Superman can fly from one galaxy to another to another, and then back again, all within a day or so, given that trillions of years haven't passed by Superman's next appearance in "The Super-Cigars of Perry White."
Beyond the silliness of the science, I find the concept of such a cruel punishment oddly compelling. Imagine being separated from your lifemate forever, galaxies apart! Who in the universe has ever known such distance from their partner? What kind of monster is Superman to exact such a punishment?
Told from the perspective of the villains, and in a different setting, this might make a pretty compelling short story.