Saturday, September 23, 2006

Answers to Above

It should go without saying but read the other post first.

1. Are you kidding?
2. Super-strength; speed; invulnerability; heat, x-ray, microscopic, and telescopic vision; cold breath, super-ventriloquism

The old (1960s to 1986) Superman was more powerful than the God of the Old Testament. It took Jehovah six days to make a planet but Supes could whip one up in a matter of seconds (seriously). Nothing could hurt him but magic, other people or animals from his homeworld, or kryptonite (and, brother, was there a lot). Back in the day, he used super-ventriloquism to save his secret identity and, in at least one case that I know of, defeat a supervillian.

3. Clark Kent (Kal-El on Krypton)
4. Alien from planet that exploded. Absorbs energy from sunlight.

1. I'd be shocked.
2. Technically none. Master of martial arts, disguise, and detection; hundreds of bat-gadgets; loads of cash.
3. Bruce Wayne
4. After his parents were murdered, young Bruce dedicated his life to fighting crime. It helped that he inherited millions.

Wonder Woman
1. I've met a few who haven't.
2. Super-strength and fighting abilities; magic bracelets to deflect bullets; magic lasso that forces whomever she ties up to tell the truth (the writer who created her also HELPED invent the lie-dectector and was heavily into bondage...seriously).
3. DC Comics keeps switching this but last I heard, she had no secret identity but was called Diana in her homeland. At one point (and in the Linda Carter TV series) she had a secret identity by name of Diana Prince.
4. From Amazon tribe of Greek mythology. In various retellings of her origins, she was sculpted out of clay and magically came to life...lots of bondage makes this easier to swallow.

1. Do you live under a rock?
2. Annoying jingle--"Does whatever a spider can!"

Spiders are not really very strong and, as far as anyone can tell, don't have a sense that warns them of danger (if they did, they'd be a lot tougher to squish). Most spiders are not particularly fast and only certain species can jump impressively. Not all spin webs or can climb walls. All true spiders have some degree of venom...the one thing Spidey lacks.

3. Peter Parker
4. Bitten by radioactive spider (genetically engineered in movie and Ultimate Spiderman comic book).

The Hulk

1. Probably the easiest one to draw.
2. Super-strength, including ability to leap into orbit; invulnerability up to being able to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear weapon; ability to see into astral plane (extra-credit for knowing last one).
3. Robert Bruce Banner (David in tv show)

The first issues of the Hulk gave the puny scientist's name as Bruce Banner. Stan Lee used alliteration for most of his early creations--Peter Parker, Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Scott Summers, Matt Murdock, etc. As sole writer, this helped him remember them all but the trick backfired when he had the Hulk fight the Avengers. Greenskin changed back to human form who referred to himself as "Bob Banner." Lee explained the mistake by saying that "Robert Bruce Banner" usually went by his middle name but inexplicably started using his first for a short time.

Either because "Bruce sounds too gay" or to avoid "comic-booky" alliteration, the television show changed his name to David (see comments at the bottom of the last link).

4. Just before his creation, the gamma bomb, was detonated, Dr. Banner ran onto the test site to save Rick Jones, a stupid teenager who later became sidekicks to the Hulk, Captain America, and Captain Marvel. Initially he changed to the Hulk at night, but later whenever he became angry. "You won't like me when I'm angry."

Captain America
1. Just picture the flag. Soon the U.S. Constitution will forbid destroying the likeness of Captain America.
2. Super-strength (not as super as the Hulk's but still pretty super), speed, fighting ability, indestructible shield, wears chainmail under costume.
3. Steve Rogers

One often repeated claim about early comics was that the creators who were usually Jewish or Italian Catholics, tried to come up with the most white-bread names and characteristics for their characters. Joe and Jerry, a couple of Jewish kids from Cleveland, made Superman as average as they could in all non-super-characteristics (explaining why he's Episcopalian). Critics saw this as the result of an oppressive society crushing minority culture.

I don't completely buy it. Ian Fleming named his secret agent "James Bond" because it was the dullest name he could think of, and Fleming sure as hell wasn't an oppressed minority. I see it much more as a marketing tool than oppression.

4. Shortly before WWII, scrawny Steve Rogers was turned down by the Army but was given the chance to take the "Super Soldier Serum." This transformed him into a walking, Nazi-smashing machine. Sadly a Kraut spy shot the Super Soldier Serum scientist before he could make a whole division of super soldiers.

After the war, demand for superhero comics dropped like a rock and Captain America faded away. In the 1960s, when they came back into style, Stan Lee brought back Cap, explaining that due to Nazi trickery, he had been frozen in a block of ice since the end of the war.

1. Hot during the 1990s. Losing steam for years.
2. Demonic armor, strength, teleportation, energy beams, fighting ability.
3. Al Simmons (I had to look this one up).
4. After Al, a professional mercenary, died, the devil gave him the choice: eternal damnation or come back to life to lead Hell's army against God. Al picked "B" but the devil tricked him. Instead returning immediately and in his old shape, he was brought back years in the future, after his wife married his best friend. To rub it in even worse, the devil didn't bother healing his body a la "The Monkey's Paw." Deciding that agents of Hell didn't have his best interests in mind, Al defected to the side of Good.

1. Even DC comics changes his appearance every so often.
2. Strength, telepathy with fish and other marine life, at one point had a hook for a hand which was replaced by a magical hand made of water. Pretty much anything to lose the "talks with fish" image.
3. It used to be Arthur Curry but in the newer versions he doesn't have a secret identity.
4. Originally the son of a sailor and a maid from Atlanta, er, Atlantis. This has been changed several times to make the character seem cooler.

1. Although the most popular character among comic fans, he's probably the least well known to the public.
2. Fights like a human-wolverine (strength, speed, and stamina); healing factor allows him to quickly heal from any non-fatal injury.

Marvel Comics has been unclear about Wolverine's strength. Although he has repeatedly done things that only super-strength would allow, for a long time the official word was that he was no stronger than a typical human.

3. James Howlett

Initially he was supposed to be a real wolverine that was "evolved" into humanoid shape. Later a leprechaun referred to him as "Logan" and he was only known by this name for decades. Eventually Marvel Comics hyped up the story of his true origins and sold a comic series based on his early life.
4. Born with them. As a mutant, Wolverine naturally has his healing, strength, etc. but military tests later gave him unbreakable bones and razor-sharp, metal claws.

Plastic Man
1. Children of the 1970s should remember his Hanna-Barbera show.
2. Can stretch into any shape or form with minor color changes. In other words he can transform into Godzilla, a bulldozer, a tree, a naked woman, the Empire State Building, a lamp, or conceivably a full-sized planet but only colored with red from his costume, black from his hair, or Caucasian flesh tones.
3. Patrick "Eel" O'Brien (with variants including Ed O'Brien).
4. Like the Joker, Eel was surprised in the middle of a robbery and was knocked into a vat of chemicals. Saved and treated by an order of monks, the career criminal decided to join the FBI and fight crime.

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