Monday, February 23, 2015

Secrets Behind Inconvenient Truth-Telling

In these important panels from 1965's Superman #176, we begin to learn the causes for "Superman's Day of Truth!"

After Superman and Supergirl have demonstrated that today they will tell the honest, unblemished truth -- direct truth unshaded by normal conversational pleasantries -- then a few of the charatcers in this story decide to take advantage of this unexpected veracity.

First, Superman is in court to testify against a typical lowlife scum -- ahem, I mean, against a citizen who has the presumption of innocence -- when the creep's canny lawyer decides to ask (totally irrelevantly) Superman what his Secret Identity is.  Using that super-fast brain of his, Our Hero agrees that he's write it on a chalkboard once only.

And, "Fssstt!"  super-speed and super-friction come into play.  Outfoxed you, smart guy!  Nevertheless, the shyster comes back demanding the location of Superman's "secret Fortress of Solitude!"  As we all know from our fan tradition (and also from the story earlier in THIS VERY ISSUE), Superman's Fortress of Solitude is in the arctic near the North Pole.

HERE is the location given by Superman in his testimony, according to Google Maps:

... Of course, we kids wouldn't know that.  We would have just cringed at the idea of the Fortress's location being public, and then gone on to the next panel.

These next panels depict another attempt by sneaky Lois-and-Lana to trap Superman into "deciding" between them.  Of course, any super-shout that's so loud they cannot understand it, might also permanently damage their hearing, eh?

That little bit of sidestepping out of the way, Superman meets Supergirl in his Fortress, and they descend into Kandor for "the ceremonies."

What better place for "ceremonies" related to truth-telling, than Kandor?  (Think "candor.")  And now, in this accidentally preserved piece of Old Krypton, we the readers begin to learn the secret behind the truth-telling rules.  We learn of the ancient Book of Deeds, from which "the Elder" reads the lore of "Val-Lor, greatest hero of our home planet, Krypton!"  Quite a catchy name for a man of valor, you will agree.

Now we learn of an untold era in Kryptonian history, when Superman's home planet was invaded by the Vrangs in their flying saucer-like space ships.

(When I read the Vrangs' opinion of Kryptonian society -- "like sheep!  They know nothing of war!" -- I'm reminded of John Philpot Curran's statement, "The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."  -- or, as they say, "Freedom isn't free.")

As we will learn in our next instalment, the price paid by the Kryptonians for their non-vigilance was indeed slavery.  Also, we'll learn what an ancient invasion of Krypton has to do with Superman and Supergirl telling the truth, TODAY.

See you Wednesday!


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