Truth, Justice, and Superman on Radio

Screenshot of the cover of the graphic novel “Superman Smashes the Klan” found at Polygon.com

I know I’ve been booted out as a follower of Mike Glyer’s fanzine File 770, but he can’t block my internet access, so occasionally I pop over to see what’s up. Most of the time it’s “not much,” but I did happen upon Pixel Scroll 10/23/19 The Little Green Man Was Very Sad, One Pixel Was All He Had.

sup

Cover art for a World War 2 era “Superman” comic book

Item 11 is titled SUPE’S AN IMMIGRANT, TOO. It links to an article where a 1946 version of Superman fights Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and befriends a Chinese immigrant family. I was all prepared for yet another reinvention of Superman who behaves like a 2019 progressive over 70 years in the past. That is to say, out of character and historically anachronistic.

And yet the Polygon article The Superman story that set the Ku Klux Klan back years is now a comic was a pleasant surprise.

A few days ago, I wrote Truth, Justice, and the American Way to illustrate how classic superheroes such as Superman and Captain America represented, not necessarily the United States as it is or historically has been, but as we want to be as a country and a people, a united people.

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Truth, Justice, and the American Way

superman

From the “Adventures of Superman” television show

“Truth, justice, and the American way.” The introduction (video) to the 1950s television show “The Adventures of Superman” starring the late George Reeves still sends chills up my spine. I first watched this series as a kid, and while it hasn’t always aged well, given its limited budget and it’s target of six-year-old boys, I still cherish some of its episodes.

But the whole “American way” thing seems to have fallen out of favor, at least in the entertainment industry.

Well, maybe not entirely. This scene (video) from the 2012 film “The Avengers” pretty much says the same thing. The clip is a little short, but the whole thing goes:

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From Up in the Sky

quarry

© Russell Gayer

“What the hell?” Sixty-two year old millionaire Warren Hollister stared down the long gully carved in his quarry terminating at an unconscious man being put on a wheeled gurney by ambulance attendants.

“It’s like I was saying. Thought he was dead, but when I checked, he was breathing,” gasped Jake Fischer, the Foreman.

“Not a scratch on him.” Hollister shook his head in wonder.

“No clothes either.”

“What are you suggesting?.”

“Who knows what happened? Last year the Russkies sent up Sputnik, and today, a man falls from the sky.”

“A superman, Jake, and right now, he’s mine.”

I authored this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields flash fiction writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 98.

This is actually part of a story that’s been floating around my head for years, the idea that a mysterious man can fall from the sky and into the hands of what could be a ruthless millionaire. Since Jake mentions that Sputnik was put in orbit the previous year, that puts my story in 1958, just over 60 years ago.

I got the scene for my rock quarry from this news story and very loosely based it on the 1953 “Adventures of Superman” television show episode Panic in the Sky (video).

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

Going Up

swing

Image credit Gamze Bozkaya via Unsplash

“Get back here, Deric! Do it now!”

The minute Enoch Fischer noticed the boy was missing, he knew there’d be trouble, but he didn’t suspect that not only had some fool strung up a swing at the edge of the cliff, but that the fifteen-year-old would use it.

“Relax. I’m fine. Can’t I have some fun once in a while?” The boy turned his head around as far as he could, but Enoch still could hardly hear him.

“That’s not fun, it’s suicide. Get off this instant.”

“Poor choice of words on your part, Dad.” He was laughing, taunting his adoptive father the way he had since he was able to walk. At the apex of the arc out into empty air, Deric pulled himself up by the ropes, twisted, and then falling, grabbed the seat with both hands. On the return swing, his legs were low enough to drag on the dirt and grass pulling him to a stop.

“You should have seen the look on your face.” He stood and swatted dust off of his pant legs, still laughing at the effect his stunt had on the older man.

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Visiting Home

small town

© J Hardy Carroll

The young reporter stood at one end of a torn up sidewalk in the heart of his home town. The place was going through growing pains again as city workers discovered it was worth a longer commute from rural towns in exchange for affordable housing, a lower crime rate, and cleaner air. There were times when Clark wished he could move back here too, but his career kept him in the midst of the city, the world really.

He tried to come back once a month to visit Ma, but as always, he’d never be able to stay long. He had his job to think about, and then of course he had his other job that was continually demanding his time and effort. He was fine with the fact that the world would always need Superman. Sometimes though, he wished they’d let him have just a few days so he could have the freedom to visit Ma and to be just a country boy who was raised in Smallville.

I wrote this for the Sunday Photo Fictioner photo writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above to inspire crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 169.

This photo looked like a small, rural town being forced to grow to accommodate an influx of commuters. There are plenty of places like that near where I live in Boise, Idaho. But a growing town doesn’t sound particularly exciting, at least to me, unless you consider that just like any small town kid, sometimes Clark Kent wants to hang up his cape for a few days and go home to visit his Ma.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane

super boy

© iStock

“Jimmy! Get off of the roof! You’ll fall!”

Eight-year-old Jimmy Parker had climbed out of the loft window onto the shingled roof and stood poised to fly, dressed in his complete “Superman” costume his Mom and Dad gave him for his birthday.

“I’ll be okay, Mom. Don’t worry.”

Jimmy thought Mom always worried too much. She’d been in the backyard hanging wet clothes on the line when she turned, looked up, and saw her only child surveying the horizon.

“Jimmy! Please! You know you can’t fly.”

He bent over slightly, almost losing his balance, cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled, “I’ll only be up here for a minute.”

It was super cool to be standing on the roof dressed up as his favorite hero. Yeah, the guy on the Superman show said it wasn’t the cape or costume that made him fly, and Jimmy knew he’d been born in Omaha, Nebraska and not on Krypton, but he wanted to feel the wind rippling across his cape just once while he stood someplace high.

Mrs. Helen Parker, Jimmy’s Mom, was terrified, but not for the reasons most Moms would be. Jimmy’s Dad was at work at his job as a fireman, and this being a bright Saturday afternoon in April, anyone might catch sight of Mrs. Parker’s little boy. If they looked at the wrong instant, they’d take him away from her forever.

Jimmy saw his Mom still looking up at him, afraid to move. He felt sorry for her, even though he knew he wasn’t going to get hurt.

“I’m coming down now Mom.”

Just like Dad told him, he looked around to make sure no one was watching, then he blinked and he was standing right in front of Mom on the grass in their backyard.

superman

From the “Adventures of Superman” television show

“See? I told you it would be okay.”

Jimmy’s Mom bent down quickly and hugged her baby boy. “Don’t ever do that again, Jimmy. I was scared to death.”

“Okay, Mom. I just wanted to feel like Superman a little bit. I won’t do it again.”

He also wanted to see if he could teleport all the way from the roof to the ground. He’d never jumped more than from one room in the house to the next before.

Jimmy Parker wasn’t an alien born on another planet, but being a mutant born in the midwest still had certain advantages.

I really did have a Superman costume complete with cape when my family and I lived in Council Bluffs, Iowa in the early 1960s. I didn’t go up on the roof of our house, but I did run around my backyard with my arms stuck out in front of me pretending I could fly.

I wrote this just for the fun of it.

The Pilot Episode of “Supergirl” : A Retro Review

supergirlNow that the television series Supergirl has moved to the CW from CBS, giving it a second chance at life and a second season, I thought I’d dust off my review of the series pilot, which I wrote last year for another blog.

I hadn’t originally intended on watching the pilot episode of Supergirl starring Melissa Benoist in the title role, but it was online, it was free, so I figured, what the heck. I didn’t expect to like it all that much, but I was curious how CBS was going to adapt decades of Superman and Supergirl canon. My reaction is mixed.

I’ve read a few of the other reviews of the pilot, both before and after I saw the episode, and they range from “good but not perfect” to “triumph for everyone wanting a strong female hero for a change”. You can see examples at Yahoo News, IGN, The Mary Sue, and The Los Angeles Times.

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