Monday, November 20, 2006

Byrne & Smallville, Be Damned!


Once there was a wonderful age, a wonderful time to be a wide-eyed innocent American child. A time when I was young enough to take at face value the strict right-and-wrong values shown me in comic books and TV shows featuring upright guys (and gals too) who strove mightily to protect my chance for an innocent childhood.

During this time, DC Comics had a character called Superboy, whose comic book featured "The Adventures of Superman When He Was a Boy!" And, it made sense. Because (although I didn't know it) way back in Superman's origin story we were told that even as an infant he had mighty muscles.

And yes, during this more innocent time, we weren't thinking about Super-Projectile Diarrhea, or what if Superbaby gave Ma Kent a BIG HUG. No, these were cute stories where things were resolved quickly, and we were shown a world where -- although evil existed -- other people were helpful and good-natured, unless their actions proved otherwise.

As Elliott S. Maggin put it so very wisely, "There is a right and a wrong in the universe, and most of the time the choice is not difficult to make." After all, most of the time our life decisions are not as complicated as those depicted in movies or on TV. The characters in The Unit may have to decide whether to let someone live or die, but for you and I, it's pretty easy to see the right and wrong in letting somebody in front of us merge onto the highway, or holding the door open for somebody.

These books are little, 20-page children's books that were published in 1980, when execs at DC were trying to extend the life of the Superboy character wo a further generation. However, by now most buyers were probably nostalgic types like me.

Remember, you have choices. Do right! Help other people!

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