Smallville: WB show an ‘Elseworlds’ story at heart
In the pilot episode of SMALLVILLE, the new WB series that debuts at 9 p.m. Oct. 16, we see a slightly different Clark Kent, one that we haven’t ever seen before.
In the series, Kent is a teenager growing up in Smallville, Kan., and coming to terms with the fact that he’s not like any other freshman at Smallville High.
This version of the Superman legend, which, by the way, is quite good, takes the Man of Steel into a new realm. He doesn’t have a costume. He isn’t even called Superman. Instead, he’s just a quiet force of good in a town littered with enough X-Files to make Dana Scully’s hair turn white.
The series is described as a “reinterpretation” of the Superman myth, something that’s done a lot in DC Comics.
In fact, comic book publishers have made quite a killing on making TWILIGHT ZONE versions of their characters’ titles. DC publishes a line of comics called “Elseworlds,” where fans can read the adventures of different versions of its most popular characters.
The cast of ‘Smallville’ includes Lana Lang, Clark Kent and Lex Luthor.
New stories, often packaged in fancy-looking books with hefty price tags, come out virtually every month.
These alternate storylines range from the intriguing to the outright strange. There have been stories where Batman is actually a vampire vigilante. One tale puts Superman’s arrival on Earth in the early 1800s, and tells how he had to choose sides during the Civil War.
Other stories pit heroes such as the Green Lantern against the critters from the “Alien” films that starred Sigourney Weaver. The alien from “Predator” has even squared off against Batman.
They often have clever titles, too: SPEEDING BULLETS (The infant “Superman” is found by the Waynes and grows up to be Batman after Ma and Pa Wayne are gunned down), METROPOLIS (The story of Superman set in the world of the famous sci-fi silent movie) and THE JUSTICE RIDERS (The Justice League set in the Old West).
Over at Marvel Comics, the home of Spider-man and the X-Men, there’s the occasional WHAT IF …? title. These books ask questions like “What if the Hulk Killed Wolverine?” or “What if the World Knew That Daredevil Was Blind?”
A few years ago, Marvel and DC even merged their universes to create a set of stories featuring amalgamated characters, with titles like BULLETS & BRACELETS, which had Wonder Woman fused with the gun-toting vigilante, The Punisher.
Other Elseworlds options
Now, through my sources at DC and Marvel, I’ve gotten wind of new “Elseworlds”-style books under consideration:
- “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider-man” — When teen-ager Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, he not only gets the strength, agility and climbing ability of a spider, but also its size, too. The story ends abruptly when Aunt May squashes him with a broom.
- “Emerald City: The Lantern King” — Green Lantern is whisked away to the land of Oz by a tornado. In the
Emerald City, he kicks the stuffing out of the Wizard, takes over and
becomes an evil tyrant. Later, he’s driven out by Dorothy and her team
when they drop a mile’s worth of yellow-brick road on him, exploiting
his magic ring’s famous impurity.
- “Batman in Your Belfry” — Bruce Wayne, all dressed up as the caped crusader, accidentally gets in through an open window, and you can’t get him out because you’re afraid he’ll fly into your hair.
- “What If the Fantastic Four Had Five Members?” — In this shocker, the team is forced to change its letterhead.
- “Aquaman vs. Gremlins” — He accidentally got them wet, and all hell broke loose.
- “The Power of THOR” — In a combination of Captain “Shazam” Marvel, Thor and Bob Villa, Young Billy Batson says the magic word THOR, which stands for “The Hammer Of Remodeling” and becomes a really good carpenter.
- “Greased Lightning” — Flash, the world’s fastest man, takes a job at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
- “What If Wolverine’s Claws Were Replaced With Kitchen Utensils?” — While the story was boring, the recipes were world-class.
- “Amazon Calling” — Wonder Woman infiltrates Avon, and has some wonderful facial cleansers to sell to housewives.
- “Hulk Smashed!” — Taking the title from his “famous” self-referential battle cry, “Hulk, smash!,” the green-skinned behemoth descends on Milwaukee and chugs the entire Miller brewery.
- “Superman: Man of Balsa Wood” — The Man of Steel no more, Clark Kent develops an extreme aversion to whittling tools.
Sept.11 benefits:In response to the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., Marvel and DC Comics have produced two items that will benefit disaster relief. DC has created a poster, based on the cover of Superman No. 11 from 1942, by golden-age artist Fred Ray. Marvel has created a comic-sized pin-up book called “Heroes” by a variety of artists, including Dale Keown, Tom Palmer, Carlos Pacheco, and Joe Madueria.
Local retailers Comic Store West at Maple Village II and Comix Connection in the Delco Centre will be selling the publications and donating their own profits to disaster-relief funds, making your investment doubly helpful to the recovery effort.
For more information on the sales, call Comic Store West at 845-9198 or Comix Connection at 843-6516.