[personal profile] thelazyreader posting in [community profile] scans_daily
How many people remember the late, great Starman series by James Robinson? Regarded as one of the greatest comics of the 90s, but relatively obscure these days, the series tells the story of Jack Knight, the son of Ted Knight, the Golden Age Starman. Robinson turned what was one of DC's dime-a-dozen C-list legacy characters into a believable, three-dimensional character that I could identify with and enjoyed reading for much more than his superheroics.

Halfway through the series, there was an arc where Jack went adventuring in space looking for Will Payton, his girlfriend's brother. Problems regarding boom tubes and wormholes caused the trio to become lost in space and time, and among the places where they landed was Krypton, decades before its destruction.

Jack and co jump out to explore the Kryptonian surface and are immediately greeted by none other than...



Far from the near-mythical figure in Superman history, the Jor-El here is an enthusiastic teenager with a hobby of exploring the unknown. Jack and his crew decide to show him around their ship.



By the way, the blue guy is Mikaal Tomas, a bisexual alien who briefly held the Starman mantle, and the old man in the suit is a hologram of Ted Knight created by a Mother Box computer that's been programmed with his personality(It's a long story).

Jor-el is curious about Earthlings, and Jack tries to explain his reason for undertaking his journey.



Quaint. But this is the hyper-advanced, sterile society of John Byrne's Krypton, where emotions have been largely suppressed in favour of efficiency and perfection. Jor-el is something of a rebel who wants to break away from societal norms. He's not the only one, and the suspicious Kryptonian authorities soon arrest Jack and his crew, suspecting them of being affiliated with an organised rebellion.

So Jack finds himself in an isolation chamber being interrogated by the talking head of Seyg-El, Superman's grandfather.



I love Robinson's riffing on the fact that most aliens in science fiction look completely human aside from the odd difference in skin colour.

Jor-el breaks out and breaks Jack out, and they make their escape. Meanwhile, the Mother-Box-programed-as-Ted-Knight runs circles around Seyg-El in pseudo-scientific and philosophical debates.



After fighting off a shit-ton of security droids they make it back to their ship. And now comes the answer to our question, and a key moment in Superman's history.




So Jack Knight(a relatively minor character in the grand scale of the DC universe) was directly responsible for the creation of Superman, one of DC's flagship characters. Ironic.

To my readers, I highly recommend you buy the collected trades of the Starman series even if you didn't find this story particularly enjoyable.

Date: 2011-01-14 03:49 pm (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
At this point I think everyone had a hand in everyone else's origin.

Date: 2011-01-14 04:02 pm (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
I remember reading on TVtropes that Jor El was actually convinced to send baby Kal to Earth by Thomas Wayne. Because while other races offered Kal things like power and glory, Thomas promised if he found Kal he'd love him like a son and raise him with Bruce.

Date: 2011-01-14 04:12 pm (UTC)
espanolbot: (Default)
From: [personal profile] espanolbot
I thought that it was interesting that Jack actually felt bad about this, and felt compelled to tell Clark that he'd been to Krypton and met his father. In the silver age and stuff people seemed to go back in time to Krypton all the time, but felt no remorse in not telling the Kryptonians of their eventual extinction.

Date: 2011-01-14 05:11 pm (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
In the Silver Age everyone was a sociopath.

Date: 2011-01-14 05:22 pm (UTC)
dr_archeville: Doctor Arkeville (Default)
From: [personal profile] dr_archeville
Seyg-El

Reference to Jerry Siegel?

Nice!

Date: 2011-01-14 05:27 pm (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
Loving the art, never heard of "Snejbjerg" - any other info? A first name, perhaps?!

Date: 2011-01-14 05:37 pm (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
True. I'm mildly surprised Wolverine wasn't there.

Date: 2011-01-14 06:00 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
OR A DAUGHTER JOR-EL

But, :'[

Awww!

Date: 2011-01-14 07:13 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Back in the Silver Age, in a story where an adult Kal was stuck, powerless, on pre-kaboom Krypton, he befriended his father (impressing him with what he remembers from his super-memory), started a romance with a popular actually arranged for the construction of fleets of space arks to rescue the population, but hadn't factored in Brainiacs attack on Kandor, which meant all the ships were lost.

Date: 2011-01-14 07:18 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
It's Peter Snejbjerg, also worked on "Books of Magic" series, an Abe Sapien series, The Light brigade.

Does some terrific art I agree.

Date: 2011-01-14 07:34 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
You're missing my favourite scene from that issue, where Jack summarises how humans make children, as he describes that "We do it the old fashioned way, sweaty and squirty" with an enormous grin on his face, and Seyg-El's disgusted reaction just makes him happier.

Date: 2011-01-14 08:41 pm (UTC)
darkblade: (Default)
From: [personal profile] darkblade
If he's powerless shouldn't he have lost his super memory too or do the stupid powers not count?

Date: 2011-01-14 08:46 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
His intellect was always part of his brain, and didn't suffer when he lost his powers. He wouldn't be able to think superfast or learn at superspeed again, but he would recall what he had read and known.

Date: 2011-01-14 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] cricharddavies
Issue, not arc.

Date: 2011-01-14 11:04 pm (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
Cliched "hand in great character's creation" aside, I liiike this story.

Also, how is Knight bisexual? o_O

Date: 2011-01-15 01:04 am (UTC)
okkult3000: (Default)
From: [personal profile] okkult3000
On this version of Krypton, all babies were genetically-tailored and grown in mechanical wombs. Presumably, Jor-El and Lara wanted a boy and said as much on the order form.

Date: 2011-01-15 01:05 am (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
(I thought they hadn't been assigned to each other yet?)

Date: 2011-01-15 01:06 am (UTC)
okkult3000: (Default)
From: [personal profile] okkult3000
I kind of miss this version of Krypton.

Date: 2011-01-15 01:11 am (UTC)
okkult3000: (Default)
From: [personal profile] okkult3000
Maybe the Science Council had hit its quota for girls that year and it had already been decided that Jor-El's offspring would be male?

Date: 2011-01-15 01:12 am (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
You win a special DC No Prize!

Date: 2011-01-15 01:32 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
of course the key point there was "if." They didn't really offer those things persay. "We promise to raise him as a great warrior." It just gave Jor-El an idea of what to expect. With Thomas and his "I'd raise him if he were my own," Jor-El really got the idea there were people who cared and would be willing to accept him.

lol

Date: 2011-01-15 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] sleepymax
Haha. I did laugh out loud.

Date: 2011-01-15 03:45 am (UTC)
schala_kid: Stephanie Brown as Batgirl (Default)
From: [personal profile] schala_kid
Superman/Batman #50 and that part warmed my heart, I always wanted a what-if with Bruce and Clark growing up together (of course just like all alternative reality stories in comics, it would turn tragic in a milisecond).

I don't think that story is really considered canon but it was really sweet, and Clark and Bruce realized they saw each other as brothers.

Date: 2011-01-15 03:53 am (UTC)
crinos: (Default)
From: [personal profile] crinos
Could someone post scans please? Love to see it.

Date: 2011-01-15 04:48 am (UTC)
schala_kid: Stephanie Brown as Batgirl (Default)
From: [personal profile] schala_kid
I kind of miss this version of Jor-El, he wasn't a dick.

Date: 2011-01-15 04:51 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] jlbarnett
I believe they called those the Baldies.

Date: 2011-01-15 02:49 pm (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
Oh! Sorry, misread.

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scans_daily: (Default)
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